[OPE-L:1461] Re: Temporality vs simultaneity

riccardo bellofior (bellofio@rs950.cisi.unito.it)
Tue, 12 Mar 1996 08:48:52 -0800

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Massimo wrote

>For that matter I do not find any difficulty in imagining value categories
>" behind" any bourgoise economic category. I don't think this is the
>problem. The problem is to have a theoretical framework in which
>value and price are two sides of the same coin AND this coin being
>class relations of production.

What if class relations of production could be analyzed with means others
than the labour theory of value? And shold not the labour theory of value
shows to be essential to the topic, to be retained?

On the analytical point, I side with Bruce's post, which I've just read.

On the more general issue, my idea is that *if* the only role of labour
theory of value is the determination of individual relative prices and the
rate of profits (as Garegnani maintains), it probably could be shown to be
correct (as some Marxists have replied) but nevertheless *redundant*. Then,
it should be abandoned, whatever our sentimental links to it.

The conclusion may be different, and for me *is* different, if there are
other roles to the labour theory of value which it *alone* is able to
perform. First of all, we must read it as a macrosocial accounting system;
then, we must stress its inseparability from money; finally, we must see it
as the specific way in which Marx frames innovation as coming out from the
direct and indirect means of control living labour - or, as Balibar puts
it, 'class struggle on the side of capital' as the way capital extract
labour from workers. The labour theory of value in Marx is at the
crossroads of monetary theory, innovation and class struggle, though he,
following Ricardo, gave too much weight to the relative price dimension. In
my outlook, the data on which the simultaneists construct their equations
are the *result* of the process analyzed by Marx. As a consequence, I do
not have great problems with a simultaneist approach to *price*
determination, though I frame the capitalist process as a monetary sequence
where the morphology of the system endogenously change and is structurally

Here is where I part company with all the great names that Massimo quoted.
Wicksell was only able to describe the working of a true monetary economy;
Schumpeter show the relationship between bank credit and innovation, but
through a faulty theory of the latter; Sraffa (or, more precisely, the
Neoricardians) thought that economic analysis must be built on 'given'
conditions of production disregarding the monetary nature of the economy
and the what the French calls the 'formation' of economic magnitudes, and
theorizing a segmentation in economic theorizing. And so on.

I know only the labour theory of value which sees an internal link among
all the previous dimensions.

Riccardo Bellofiore e-mail: bellofio@cisi.unito.it
Department of Economics Tel: (39) -35- 277505 (direct)
University of Bergamo (39) -35- 277501 (dept.)
Piazza Rosate, 2 (39) -11- 5819619 (home)
I-24129 Bergamo Fax: (39) -35- 249975