Re: [OPE-L] Reclaiming Marx's "Capital": book launch talks, reviews, media coverage

From: ajit sinha (sinha_a99@YAHOO.COM)
Date: Sat Sep 01 2007 - 18:52:40 EDT

--- Philip Dunn <hyl0morph@YAHOO.CO.UK> wrote:

> Hi Ajit
> The 50-50 split is arbitrary just for illustrative
> purposes. I don't
> know of any way to tell what is wages and what is
> profit in the case of
> the self-employed.
> If the other painting was sold for only two million
> that is only one
> million wages plus profits for an hour's work.
> I am unable to see the force of your objections.
The force of my objection is that by your reasoning my
same expenditure of "labor time" has different wages
and creates different values by your definition, which
makes your definition nonsensical.
> Assets such as Picassos are valuable in the everyday
> sense of the term.
> I have given an example to suggest that they possess
> value in Marx's
> sense, embodied labour value.
> Do you think that Piccassos possess value?
> If so, what do you consider the nature of this value
> to be? Where did it
> come from?
> If not, why not?
It is because value is a theoretical concept. Adam
Smith, Ricardo, and following them Marx defined their
theoretical field by taking only those commodities
into consideration whose supply could be increased or
reduced by application of more or less labor. They had
a concept called center of gravitation, which was
central to their understanding of 'competition' in
capitalism. Marx's 'absolute' value category also
applies only to such commodities. Rare paintings such
as Picaso's that are fixed in supply do have prices
but don't fall under the law of competition or
gravitation. Their prices are solely determined by the
intensity of demand (or utility). People who are
generally not very clear about the theories make the
mistake of jumping quickly from theoretical categories
to empirical categories. For example, reducing total
money prices of an economy to some kind of total value
by using whatever translation mechanism they do,
forgets that value categories can only be applied to
only a subset of the commodities that have prices in
the empirical world. Furthermore, at any given time
prices of commodities are not equal to 'prices of
production' or values. Even if you assume that value
categories could be applied to all the commodities in
the market, if the market prices are not equal to
prices of production or values then the proposition
that total money prices must be equal to total money
equivalent of value would be wrong, unless you assume
that demand curves of all the commodites are identical
rectangular hyperbolas. I hope this clearfies your
thinking somewhat. Cheers, ajit sinha

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