[OPE-L:1271] Re: determination of constant capital

Paul_Cockshott (wpc@cs.strath.ac.uk)
Fri, 1 Mar 1996 01:44:04 -0800

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Paul's response boggles the mind. I have shown that the quantitative
results of temporal and simultaneous valuation truly differ, so that
the differences pertain to different CONCEPTS of value determination,
not just different ways of accounting. Paul responds that accounting
problems do occur where things have to be revalued. YES, PAUL, but
on the basis of the ACTUAL output prices--and the temporal and
simultaneous CONCEPTS of how value is DETERMINED imply DIFFERENT
output prices.

What is involved here is a redefinition of the concept
of value. It is not yet a theory of output prices.
Andrews example is half way between a static example
and a dynamic example, in that he takes two snapshots at
different points in time and assumes
a) that all production processes are synchronous
b) that production processes are non-overlapping
c) that technical change occurs in discrete jumps

The standard theory of value defines values at a point
in time, but it does not assume that prices immediately
follow changes in value. To deal properly with a comparison
of the standard theory of value and Andrews theory with
regard to their predictions for prices one would have
to give a much more precise formalisation of both. Only
at that point could we say whether they actually predict
different sets of prices. We do not yet know what the
implications for output prices of the two theories would be.

Standard value theory is defined in an inertial reference
frame, you are introducing the effects of an accelerated
frame of reference as productivity accelerates. This is a
valid theoretical question to pose, and, if you wish, I will
attempt to come up with a formalisation for it. I am not
aware of any in the literature, but that may just be my

Simultaneism implies a THEORY of how value is
DETERMINED that is wholly INCOMPATIBLE with the determination of
value by labor-time.

I really do not understand this. In the standard theory,
the only thing that produces changes in values is a change
in labour requirements for production.

What you produced a proof of was a different proposition,
that there exists more than one set of labour requirements,
lengths of the working day, allocation of the product between
classes that is compatible with the same rate of surplus
value and rate of profit. I see nothing contentious in
what you have shown.

You object to my example on the grounds that:
<<Paul also says simultaneism makes good sense because it implies that
if output remains the same (as is implied by a 1% rise in labor
productivity and a 1 0.000000all in labor extracted) and real wages remain the
same, then the profit rate remains the same. I agree this makes good
sense if your THEORY is that value is not determined by labor-time.
But in Marx's theory, as we all know, the unit value of output should
fall, thus lowering the profit rate, when the same amount is produced
with less labor.>>

No. There will be no change in the rate of profit because,
s, c, and v have all gone down by 1%.
Note that I made the point that all your examples are flow
examples working on flow rate of profit not a stock rate.
Under these circumstances s/(c+v) can not change under
a uniform scaling of all its components. If you were to
construct some stock examples where the rate of profit
would be

p = s / (K + c.t_1 + v.t_2)

where K is fixed capital stock, c, flow of means
of production consumed, v flow of wages, t_1 turnover
time of consumed means of production, t_2 turnover time
of variable capital, then a uniform rise in labour
productivity would produce losses on the capital
account, which, depending on the size of K could
decrease the rate of profit.

Face it--simultaneism implies that physical input (including real wage)
and output magnitudes determine everything else, except for the
unit of measurement. Dmitriev knew this, Sraffa knew this, the Sraffians
know this, Okishio used this concept to "prove" Marx wrong, etc. Why
do "Marxists" refuse to recognize this extremely simple FACT?

Since labour is a physical input, I would certainly agree that
physical production conditions determine values.

What Okishio proved, I dont know, as I have not read him.
How much of what Marx wrote is he supposed to have disproven?