RE: [OPE] review of Dumenil & Levy's Capital Resurgent

Date: Sun Jun 01 2008 - 08:01:56 EDT

[MP wrote:]
> Also, monopolistic forces, such as intellectual property right, increase > measured productivity.
[JB wrote:]> > let's say a factory produces a car which sells at the factory > > gate for $20,000, that $20,000 unit price does not simply represent the > > value added or the factor incomes generated by the factory - it also > > includes intermediate operating costs in building it. When you buy the > > car, in other words, you do not just pay for the wage costs and gross > > pretax profit income of the manufacturer implied in building the car, > > but also the intermediate operating costs, including for all the > > componentry purchased to make the car. In Marxist phraseology, the unit > > price of the car is not V+S, but C+V+S.
Hi Jurriaan and Michael P:
The example you [JB] gave above concerns an oligopolistic market, which 
has monopoly power. In such a case,  where price can diverge from value,
how does one know what the actual per unit costs are?  It would be nice
if corporations would open their books so that national income accountants
and we (and trade unions!) could know, but they typically don't. 
> > In summary, I think the "fetish" people often fall victim to is that the > > sectoral "net output" values cited in economic statistics represent the > > sums of the "unit prices of products and services produced". 
Hmmm. I think that the problem in this case, the "fetish" if you will, among Marxians
is the belief that commodities sell at their values. That is, they often take
an assumption made at a very abstract level of analysis and fetishes and
eternalizes that into the proposition that either value equals price or that
it "ordinarily" equals price. But, what is the historical and empirical basis
for this claim if we recognize that there can be temporal and spatial 
divergences of price from value?
This problem isn't quite as much of an issue for other schools of thought
which measure productivity only in physical terms rather than through 
"value analysis".  Marxians are in the curious position of having two 
separate definitions of productivity (physical quantities and value magnitudes)
and multiple ways of measuring them.
In solidarity, Jerry

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