# [OPE-L:393] Re: Clarification re price/value theory

Paul Cockshott (wpc@clyder.gn.apc.org)
Thu, 2 Nov 1995 11:26:39 -0800

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Andrew
------
Help! We're back to specific deviations vs. the existence of deviations
as
such. All I can do is reaffirm that any and all deviations must be able
to be explained without violating the law of value but, indeed, on the
basis of it. But do we have to go round and round? Isn't it clear that
either
(a) surplus-value and profit are not quantitatively incommensurable, and
that any and all differences must be explained in general theoretical
terms,

or
(b) one is a "value" quantity and the other an "exchange-value"
quantity,in
which case the ONLY kind of value/price relationship concerns RELATIVE
values
and prices, and the specific correlations become all-important?

And isn't it clear that Marx maintained (a)?

Paul
----
No it is not at all clear. Marx states that the substance of value
is abstract labour, and that this recieves a fetishsed representation
in the exchange value of a commodity - in the material form of
another commodity. An exchange ratio between two commodities is
thus of dimension c1/c2 whereas value is of dimension
labour.seconds. As such they are of different dimension and
incommesurable. What one can compare are ratios of per-unit value
with ratios of exchange values:

Given commodities c1, c2, and m ( gold)
we have two exchange values of dimension c1/m , c2/m

We also have two ratios of output per unit time
c1/L.t , c2/Lt

Thus we can compare the ratios of exchange values (c1/m)/(c2/m)
with the ratios of the ratios of output per unit labour
(c1/L.t)/(c2/L.t) since both ratios are then of dimension
c1/c2.

One can obviously do a similar comparision using the inverse
expressions m/c1 and L.t/c1.