Re: [OPE] [1] Marxian equilibrium & reply to Wright.

From: Ian Wright (
Date: Wed Feb 20 2008 - 15:22:05 EST

Hi Alejandro

> What I think I am in the way to successfully refute, is the Marxists
> pretension that T is the origin of average temperature toward the
> office’s temperature spins, when actually we have had previously to
> decide which the appropriate temperature would be, turning to a
> dictator’s decision (the office’s boss), biding in the market (the
> auction organized by employees) or democratically voting (a ballot where
> each employee has one single vote). That is, the origin of average
> temperature toward the office’s temperature spins is determined in last
> resort by human preferences that would decide to which level adjust the
> central temperature setting. This simple statement is irreconcilable
> with LTV gravitational centre thesis and transformation problem.

But in economic reality neither entrepreneurs or consumers decide what
labour-values shall be.

We can no more decide that it takes 5 hours to produce a pair of shoes,
rather than 10 hours, than we can all decide to fly to work by flapping
our arms rather than walking.

Of course human subjectivity, such as consumer preferences, affects how
resources are allocated and therefore form part of the causal chain that
controls the future trajectory of technical change and hence labour-values.

But at all times the prevailing labour-values are attractors for
market prices. And there is empirical evidence for this.

In my view it will not be possible to construct a dynamic theory of
market prices by ignoring an essential determinant of their formation,
that is objective costs of production. Of course you are welcome to try.

> How can you state Ian that labour has the same regulative effect of a
> temperature setting, if labour precisely lacks the program that would
> show it toward which goal reorient the system? That is, labour itself
> can’t be a regulator as far as lacks the criterion that determines its
> socially necessary character. This socially necessary character only can
> be offered by consumer preferences –-and in the past some Marxist added
> the preferences of a dictator, shamefully Oskar Lange among them.

You are saying that "consumer preference" is the dog that wags the tail,
and the dog can wag the tail in any manner it likes. I think the former
is a major simplification, and I deny the latter. The tail has size,
weight and is subject to gravity. Such objective conditions are
essential determinants of its actual trajectory.

Marx begins Vol 1 by analytically separating use-value and
exchange-value. That's a mighty abstraction. But it doesn't imply that
his theory of value denies the existence of feedback from consumers.
Remember that the "law of value" is to a large extent Marx's version of
Smith's "invisible hand".

I am not convinced of the desirability of detailed planning, which is
why I haven't commented on this part of your criticism.

Best wishes,

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