From: Ian Wright (wrighti@ACM.ORG)
Date: Fri Nov 02 2007 - 12:53:43 EDT
> (2) Let's suppose that labor is homogeneous. Even then > it is not clear what the labor-values of constant > capital measures and why it should be conserved? > Marx's argument of conservation of labor (assuming > homogeneous labor) works okay if we assume that total > capital is only variable capital. Marx seems to have > made this simplifying assumption (even though he > criticizes Ricardo for doing so) during his argument > about allocation of total labor (i.e. 'law of value'). > But the argument no longer holds when constant capital > is introduced. Marx thought that he had solved the > problem with his rate of profit formula [S/(C+V)], > that's why he insisted that after transformation the > total values must be equal to total prices of > production (i.e., that the conservation principle > holds). But this rate of profit is itself dependent on > the assumption that the conservation principle holds. > So the argument seems to go in a circle. Cheers, ajit > sinha You get these kinds of conceptual difficulties with standard labour-values, which don't correctly measure replacement costs in terms of labour time. But once one correctly measures replacement costs, then Marx's conservation claims are ok, and the labour-value rate of profit equals the price rate of profit etc.
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