Re: [OPE] replacement cost and historical cost (again)

From: Anders Ekeland <>
Date: Mon Aug 31 2009 - 16:42:37 EDT

Hi Ian,

I would say yes - that is controversial as a general rule. Because in
a non-static linear (= Marxian, realistic) model the fact is that
both A and B operates at the same time, efficient (mechanised,
automated, very low wages) products compete with less efficient (less
mechanised, less automated, high wage ...).

So "replacement cost" is not a well-defined entity when you have
multiple technologies and increasing returns to scale for most of
them. There will always be technological rents (super profits) - and
further innovation so that any equilibrium "long term" replacement
costs will never be found.

But since there is significant scale effects - often the replacement
costs will be the benchmark. But the labour that "was" (less
efficient or more efficient?) expended will of course try to get
socially recognized and get its "fair" remuneration in the market.
But but because capitalism revolutionizes the means of prod. - with
very, very significant increasing returns to scale and old computer
will not get a price covering the labour embedded - if it can be sold
at all, i.e. be recognised as socially necessary labour at all - very
often things have a very short life cycle from top product to garbage problem.

What is the dominant tendency depends on the actual context and
analytical problem.


At 21:21 31.08.2009, Ian Wright wrote:
>Quick question, which will help me in some current work. Very much
>appreciate any answers.
>(A) It seems to me that the only concept of (socially necessary)
>labor-value that Marx uses in Capital is replacement cost; that is,
>the SNLT of a commodity is the total labor required given current
>production techniques. So the labor-embodied in a commodity is a
>property of a commodity in the context of the current forces of
>(B) Some interpreters see another concept of SNLT; that is, the labor
>embodied in a commodity is the labor that *was* expended to make it,
>i.e. historical labor costs. So the labor-embodied in a commodity is a
>property of the commodity, regardless of context.
>Would it be controversial to state that Marx everywhere and always
>meant (A) and not (B)?
>ope mailing list

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Received on Mon Aug 31 16:45:59 2009

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