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

From: Paul Bullock <>
Date: Thu Sep 03 2009 - 04:46:09 EDT


I think one can say that the simple conception B allows us to understand/ is
a step towards understanding/ that conception A is the dynamic reality, ie
how the law of value is active day to day. It is a reflection of Marx's
method of 'reconstruction' of an understanding of reality, it is not a
question of using both in the sense that both are concretely true, but that
that your B precedes A logically so that the law of value is shown to work
itself out, ie that the law of value can be proved to exert an historically
determinate role as long as current class relations continue as they are.

Paul B.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Dave Zachariah" <>
To: <>; "Outline on Political Economy mailing list"
Sent: Monday, August 31, 2009 8:37 PM
Subject: Re: [OPE] replacement cost and historical cost (again)

> 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
>> production.
>> (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)?
> I do not think that it is controversial. As I recall he clearly, if not
> explicitly, deals with case (A) in vol. 1, in the example of technically
> backward producers.
> //Dave Z
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Received on Thu Sep 3 04:48:32 2009

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