[OPE-L:371] Re: Clarification re price/value theory

akliman@acl.nyit.edu (akliman@acl.nyit.edu)
Mon, 30 Oct 1995 06:40:23 -0800

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Paul C. suggests that the discrepancy between surplus-value produced and
profit received in different industries is not a prima facie contradiction
to the law of value, because surplus-value is a value category, profit a
category of exchange-value.

No doubt, Paul's theory is a legitimate one, and it explains why he's
trying to develop a relation between value and price by looking at the
correlations of relative values and relative prices, which does away
with the alleged unit of measurement problem--consonant with his recent
C&C article with Cotrell & Michaelson.

But this was definitely not Marx's view. He affirmed the prima facie
contradiction, its importance for the disintegration of the Ricardian
school, and tried to work it out. When he deals with the transformation
in Ch. 9, Vol. III, he is dealing with *quantitative* discrepancies. The
text notes this clearly. Also noted in the text is that he is abstracting
from changes in the monetary expression of value. Thus he says that a change
in total price is always to be explained by a change in total value--but
of course he is not referring to a mere change in the monetary expression
of these values.

Moreover, Marx laid great stress on the aggregate equalities of total price
and total value, total profit and total surplus-value. Within Paul's theory
such equalities are meaningless.

Again, I think Paul has a legitimate theory. He's trying to substantiate it
empirically. But I don't think the theory or the empirical work has much
to do with Marx's conceptions of value and price or the value theory based
on them.