RE: [OPE] The English sub-titling of 'Capital'?

From: Paul Cockshott <>
Date: Wed May 27 2009 - 09:33:21 EDT

This is what I mean by more style than facts.

You dont even approach asking factual questions:
a) What is the appropriate metric for measuring the 'problem':
                                                                       the relative correlation of prices, prices of production and values?
                                                                       then mean absolute deviation?
b) Is there factual evidence for the formation of general rate of profit?

c) Is there factual evidence for the basic assumption that the rate of profit of industries is independent of their organic composition

This shows the limitations of 'critique' Ricardo assumes a general rate of profit, as an internal critique Capital accepts this stylised fact, without investigating whether the assumption of the general rate is empirically valid.

From: [] On Behalf Of Anders Ekeland []
Sent: Wednesday, May 27, 2009 1:48 PM
To: Outline on Political Economy mailing list
Subject: RE: [OPE] The English sub-titling of 'Capital'?

Paul C:

>There is too much style and too little in the way of facts here.
>The factual evidence for a trasformation problem existing is very weak.

The transformation problem exists when there is so little consensus
among Marxist economist on:

a) On the proper framework for a solution:

- is a static equilibrium solution the only proof of a solution?

- If we have a dynamic solutions - must there be a long term
equilibrium solution? Will that one converge to the static one? Or is
it only necessary to show oscillating system, where C is abruptly
adjusted in order to get the system going for yet another cycle. That
is we have a social surplus that is distributed (transformed) by a
myriad of processes, so only studies of for example division between
financial vs. industrial capital is necessary, or various branches of
industry - disregarding the organic composition.

- what is the relationship between of market prices vs. prices of production

b) How do we theoretically handle an economy (a very realistic one)
where prices and values have a dynamic "flexibility", that is a
changing relationship (driven by competition = innovation => ever
changing "socially necessary labour) - constantly different profit
rates etc. etc.

c) How to relate these theoretical categories to existing statistics?

d) How to treat productive and unproductive labour in light of
existing statistics?

e) How to look at commodity money vs. fiat money and the "Endogenous
Money Paradigm"
etc. etc.

I agree that there is no transformation problem in the sense that
labour values are transformed by various processes in real existing
capitalism every day, but theoretically we do not have a good grasp
on it. Maybe it should be declared a non-problem, but then one have
to argue that point of view in great detail - given the long history
and the major role it has played for Marxian economics. It is in fact
our "Hic Rhodus, hic salta!" for all Marxist economists.

Or what did you have in mind Paul?



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Received on Wed May 27 09:37:50 2009

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