[OPE-L:1907] Re: Transforming the Transformation

John R. Ernst (ernst@pipeline.com)
Tue, 23 Apr 1996 07:34:30 -0700

[ show plain text ]

As of now I received two replies on the following. The replies

John wrote:

What does the transformation problem look like if we try to
do it backwards? That is, most "solutions" follow Marx and
attempt to explain the transformation of values into prices of
production. Why not transform prices of production into values?

That is, assume a set of capitals in which the rate of profit is
uniform and the compositions of capital differ. In moving from
this initial state which we call Period I to the next, assume
that one of the capitals which is above average in composition
grows at a faster rate than the others, the rate of profit remaining
the same. Does an hour of abstract labor in Period I create the
same amount of value as it does in Period II? The same problem
arises if a capital of lower than average composition grows at a
faster than the others.

Simon writes:

I don't understand the specification. Why should anything different happen
in Period II if the uniform rate of profit does not change?

John responds:
The relation between total price and total value changes since the
labor added in the production process of period II creates less or
more value than average since it is working with a capital of a
larger or smaller composition respectively. Living labor does not
add the same amount of value expressed in prices as before.

Marx's transformation of value into prpr (of PrPr into value
as well) takes place in the same period, not across the two
periods. This is so by definition.

Your point is therefore misleading.


I'll plead guilty to misleading folk into the notion that one
should look at matters, including the transformation, using
some idea of real time. If, by definition, you lose time
itself, what exactly is being analyzed? To be sure, I have
no doubt that it may be useful to look at some phenomenon
without time; however, if bringing time into the picture then
misleads or makes the analysis seem faulty, it is unclear
to me who is misleading whom.