[OPE-L:1525] Re: quiz

riccardo bellofior (bellofio@cisi.unito.it)
Wed, 20 Mar 1996 07:42:43 -0800

[ show plain text ]

At 11:46 18-03-1996 -0800, akliman@acl.nyit.edu wrote:
>Answers to Riccardo's quiz questions:
>A. Schumpeter. I think this is a "fair," i.e., accurate account.
>B. Morishima. Unfair. Marx is determining not relative prices but money
> prices, and the profit rate is determined *before* and independently of
> output prices. Moreover, I think the real point of Ch. 9 of Vol. III was
> not to give a unique determinate answer for prices of production (for
> there cannot be a unique one unless input prices and the rate of profit
> are given), but to illustrate the conservation of value and surplus-value
> in exchange.
>C. Baumol. Fair as explanation of a mathematical representation of the
> process but not, of course, an account of the actual process.
>D. Mirowski. Fair, though the substance metaphor is a bit misleading, and
> value is not conserved in Marx's theory the way Mirowski contends, in my
> view. It is conserved in exchange, created in production, destroyed through
> consumption. But I think that when values change, the aggregate value of
> capital can change without "going" anywhere, contrary to Mirowski.
>E. Steedman. Unfair. C and V are not "derived" from data, they *are*
> (some of) the data.
>As far as sources go, perhaps
>A. History of Economic Analysis?
>B. Marx's Economics?
>C. Baumol's reply to Samuelson in the _JEL_?
>D. More Heat than Light
>E. Marx after Sraffa
>What don't I win?
>When will winners be announced?
>Why are you asking?

First of all, Andrew, I thank you for your fairly detailed and scholarly
answer, which I woud suggest as a model - but, alas, I accept more rapid

To your questions: I expect to have at least a 250f answers (10 persons?) from
people on this list, before giving 'officially' the correct answers. If, as
it is likely, we would not reach this percentage in a reasonable time (a
week), I can give the answers privately - so that those who did not
answered will be punished for not having particpated to the game 8-)

Why am I asking? Curiosity, of course. But I also had some expectations on
how people would have reacted, and I wanted to check. And when I'll have
given to you the answers, may be some tentative conclusions on
interpretations and all that may be, not too seriously, proposed.

I enioyed meeting you and all the other OPE-L (and not OPE-L) people at the
Boston EEA meeting. I was happy to found a lot of letters from the list,
and sorry from the bad news on David Gordon, an author so relevant for all
the people working in the Marxian and Radical traditions.



May be someone on the list wants to play with me awhile. I ask:

(i) who are the authors behind the following quotes?

(ii) do you think that the content of the quotes is a fair interpretation
of Marx?

A. "This misreading - on which a surprising consensus seems to exist among
both critics of Marx and Marxist writers - consists of interpreting Marx's
values and his prices of production as two alternative systems. For Marx
the rate of profits on which prices of production depend could not have
been determined by means other than the labour theory of value".

B. "The expression 'transformation problem' is not Marx's ... there never
was for Marx a 'problem' of transforming values into prices of production.
There was only a problem of correctly determining relative prices and,
therefore, of correctly determining the rate of profits"

C. "Unlike Ricardo's, Marx's argument is explicitely framed in two stages.
Since the prices of production differ from the values only on account of
the different distribution of the overall surplus-value of the economy,
according to Marx the rate of profits is accurately determined, for the
economy as a whole, on the basis of the labour theory of value. The prices
of production are then obtained from the value by replacing the
surplus-value produced in each branch of production with the part of the
overall surplus-value of the economy belonging to that branch according to
the general rate of profits."

D. "What constitutes the substance of value cannot, in fact, but constitute
the substance of revenues, as the latter stem from the breakdown of the
value of a given set of commodities. It follows that the conception of
abstract labour as the substance of value necessitates that the whole of
this substance be found in the prices of production, having merely been
partly diverted away from some commodities and channeled into others (as
the enlightening comparison with the 'conservation of energy' shows)."

E. "It has been seen that Marx's basic insight was correct in that the data
from which individual labour values and the aggregate magnitudes S, V, C
are derived, do suffice to determine the rate of profits and relative

There is no prize.

Thank to those who will be so kind to participate.


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