[OPE-L:854] Simon's post: equal exchange

Alan Freeman (100042.617@compuserve.com)
Thu, 25 Jan 1996 19:47:27 -0800

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Rather than reply to Simon's post all at once, which I wouldn't like
just to pass us by, I want to try and isolate individual points in
individual posts. This is because he makes a large number, which
could well be the basis for several quite distinct discussions.

It also helps me try and stick to my own principle of trying to
identify positive points first.

I think a discussion of Simon's term 'equal exchange' would be
useful for two reasons:

(i) because I think this is a useful way of expressing the difference
between sale at prices equal to values, and sale at prices not
equal to values. The question is whether, in exchange, the
labour of one producer exchanges against an equal amount
of labour of another producer. My argument about Volume I
is that I don't think Volume I is constructed on this assumption,
as is conventionally believed.

Parenthetically and to avoid any confusion, I don't think this is
the same issue as whether there is an exchange of equivalents.
If 1 coat worth 4 hours exchanges with 1 hat worth 1 hour,
there is unequal exchange because 4 hours is exchanged against
1 hour. But in this exchange, 1 hat is still equivalent to 1 coat.

(ii)because the concepts of both equal and unequal exchange are
as far as I can see additions to the lexicon of Marxian terminology,
and I think good ones.

I would be interested from OPE-Lers to hear where they think the
first use of either term appeared, and whether they think these
terms are a useful and consistent extension of Marx: since,
if I remember rightly, the extension of Marx is a shared goal.