[OPE] question re published letters Engels

From: Jurriaan Bendien <adsl675281@telfort.nl>
Date: Fri May 15 2009 - 16:19:14 EDT


I have no particular animosity to any OPE-L list members, but I think both
the Ricardian embodied labour interpretation and the valueform
interpretation are mistaken, though the Ricardian theory correctly
identifies human labour as the content of economic value, and the valueform
theory correctly regards the intent of Marx's theory as quite different from
Ricardo's. I also cannot feel any particular reverence for Marxists who in
reality mutilate the ideas of Marx and Engels, and substitute their
ideological philosophy for serious scientific argument.

I favour another interpretation, similar to what Marx adopts in Das Kapital,
according to which product "values" refer to averages of current normal
replacement costs in labourtime. In this interpretation,

(1) product values and product prices are separate and autonomous
dimensions, instead of value and exchange-value being identical, and these
dimensions do not even need to correlate positively in a strong way. Thus,
products are constantly traded above or below their value, with the general
systemic aim of realising above-average profits, in conditions of imperfect
(2) Any macro identity of product values and product prices is only a
theoretical assumption, without this being necessarily true at all in the
real world; there is no reason why for every quantity of output sold above
its value an equal quantity of output must be sold below its value at the
same time.
(3) The Smithian-bourgeois theory according to which markets create economic
equilibrium is rejected as a reification, because such a balance never
exists in reality (there is only the ongoing process of mutual adjustment of
demand and supply) and because economic stability instead depends on the
reproduction of the capitalist relations of production.

Probably I won't post a lot in coming months anyway, as I have a number of
other issues I need to spend time on. I will try to write a wikipedia
article on the valueform.


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Received on Fri May 15 16:21:12 2009

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