RE: [OPE] value-form theory redux

From: Paul Cockshott <>
Date: Sun Mar 15 2009 - 13:44:24 EDT

This is not right. Kantorovich shows that his resolving multipliers exist where you have a known set of technologies, and a socially determined planed output.
From: [] On Behalf Of Alejandro Agafonow []
Sent: Sunday, March 15, 2009 9:45 AM
To: Outline on Political Economy mailing list
Subject: Re: [OPE] value-form theory redux

According to Kantorovich, if the planner knows the technical possibilities of all factor of production, and their objective returns in labor time for each alternative use, he might decide if a given production plan is optimal or not.

The problem is that Kantorovich assumed as given the knowledge about ‘alternative uses’. In absence of at least a ‘market for consumers’ and some degree of competition among productive units, it is not reasonable to assume that you can know all the alternative uses of factors. This is a course of the Marxist thought, which very few scholars have overcome.

So I disagree with P. Cockshott. Kantorovich was far from having demonstrated that ‘commensurability’ arises from the objective properties of the technology and labour processes. Since a ‘market for consumers’ is essential, commensurability keeps being a result of consumers’ subjectivity as last resort in a labor time accounting economy.

Ph. Dunn is right in his observation about commensurability, which by the way Jurriaan and Jerry have totally missed in their discussion about theory of value. But I’m not sure about Dunn’s observation of the equalization of marginal utilities. Does Ph. Dunn have in mind the allegedly equalization of marginal costs and prices in the long run under capitalism?

A. Agafonow

De: Paul Cockshott <>
Para: Outline on Political Economy mailing list <>
Enviado: domingo, 15 de marzo, 2009 1:15:35
Asunto: RE: [OPE] value-form theory redux

I think Kantorovich demonstrated pretty clearly that such commensurability is possible in the absence of commodities and commodity production and that it arises not from anything subjective but from the objective properties of the technology and labour processes that are available at any given instant.

From:<> [<>] On Behalf Of Dave Zachariah [<>]
Sent: Saturday, March 14, 2009 8:54 PM
To: Outline on Political Economy mailing list
Subject: Re: [OPE] value-form theory redux

Philip Dunn wrote:
>> Are human beings capable of comparing loaves of bread quantitatively
>> with other goods or services even if these are not commodities for
>> exchange? If yes, then that is the property of commensurability that I'm
>> referring to.
> They could compare their utilities, I suppose. Subjective utility is not
> even a property of the use-value.

You are missing what I'm getting at: Are agents *capable* of some form
of 'economic calculation' as Howard put it, e.g. making statements about
equivalences between different quantities of qualitatively distinct
goods and service, *outside* the context of exchangeable commodities?

//Dave Z
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Received on Sun Mar 15 13:48:09 2009

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