[OPE-L:2100] Chapter 5

Paul Cockshott (wpc@cs.strath.ac.uk)
Tue, 7 May 1996 02:36:48 -0700

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Alan writes
But once this logical reversal is accomplished, once the equations start
writing the theory, then of course, a 'story' has to be invented to
accompany the equations. Since nothing Marx writes in Volume I justifies
such a derivation of value, everyone who adheres to this equation ends
up constructing an 'intepretation' of Marx in which either he holds
that there was once a society which reproduced in accordance with this
equation, or Volume I models a simplified form of society in which this
'conceptually' happens, or that such a society is the 'essence' of his
theory of value: *any* story will do, just to get the goods exchanging
in proportion to the values predicted by this ridiculous equation.

Paul C
My concern is not to come up with a consistent interpretation of Marx, but
to come up with a correct theory of value, recognising that Marx, along
with his predecessors in the labour theory of value made significant
contributions towards this.

As to whether the equations of value are ridiculous or not, that is
a matter to be tested empirically. As economic theories go, the classical
theory of value is an astonishingly good predictor of prices in
capitalist societies. Alan does no service to Marxism in its polemics with
neo-classical economics by categorising the equations of value as
ridiculous - there is nothing hte neo-classicals can come up with that
will touch them as a generally testable theory of prices.
Paul Cockshott