[OPE-L:1015] Re: Reply to Simon

S.Mohun (S.Mohun@qmw.ac.uk)
Fri, 9 Feb 1996 04:09:46 -0800

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I still think that Alan is quite unnecessarily confusing.

I also feel, very strongly, that posts should be as short as possible.

So, in this spirit:

Alan correctly points out that Marx writes (p141): "Linen = coat is the
basis of the equation". But it is the basis of the equation, not the
equation itself. Alan then says "Let us suppose that the linen's value is 8
hours, and that it exchanges for the coat whose value is 4 hours". Fine, but
this now specifies the equation more precisely, viz:
2 coats=1unit of linen.

It is this step which Alan wants to deny. Only then can Alan say "the form
of value is not just a qualitatively different expression of the same
number. It is a different number" and "once we understand that there are two
numbers under discussion, the entire difficulty vanishes".

Alan is confusing 'different number' with 'independent number'. That 8 hours
of SNLT make 2 coats, and that 8 hours of SNLT make 1 unit of linen are 2
quite independent postulates. But without the number being the same, there
is no reason at this level of abstraction
1. why a coat should express its value relatively in terms of half a unit of
2. why half a unit of linen should figure as the material embodiment of the
value of the coat.

Since only the process of exchange a posteriori determines what hours are to
count as socially necessary, no other interpretation makes sense. Alan's
interpretation of what Marx says cannot be sustained. 'Equivalent exchange'
for Marx means both qualitative and quantitative eqality.

Alan then goes on to talk about not Simon's interpretation of what Marx
says, but what I, Simon, think is the appropriate way to talk about the
value of money. This is completely irrelevant to what is at issue, (although
not I think without interest!)

Hope this hasn't been too long.

Simon Mohun,
Dept of Economics,
Queen Mary and Westfield College,
Mile End Road,
London E1 4NS,
Telephone: 0171-975-5089
Fax: 0181-983-3580