[OPE-L:2258] Re: Speed of Revaluations

ernst@pipeline.co (ernst@pipeline.com)
Thu, 16 May 1996 15:35:35 -0700

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A brief, but not "brilliant", response to Michael's post.

Michael says:

I sit back with amazement at some of the brilliance here, but ...

I have asked this question before about value. I will try again.

Does anyone really believe that revaluations take place instantaneously?
In the U.S., United States Steel began with an overvalued oligopoly. It
was probably not until 1970 before the fictitious value was wrung out of it

[allow me to use the term fictitious value here].

Value readjustments come with differing seeds in different industries.

In some sectors, they come quickly; in others glacially.

Why are we so hung up on trying to get an exact measure out of this?

Suppose a bunch of workers asked us to help them figure out what to do?
How much would our measurement of value help?
John says:

I tend to agree with your implicit point of view on the matter
of instantaneous revaluation. Yet, some work in this area is
or could be useful.

1. It would be interesting to compare the trends in the economy
by looking at the economy 2 ways -- with instantaneous revaluation
and with revaluation as it actually occurs. However, first
we would have to settle a few matters with respect to depreciation.

2. Most of the people who make an effort to measure value have to
deal with the theoretical problems involved. Indeed, most seeing
such a meaure seem to have thought about depreciation a great deal
most than most who read Marx in order to help workers "figure out
what to do."

3. Insofar as part of our answer to that bunch of workers may involve
describing the manner in which capitalism operates as well as how
a mechanized economy could operate without private ownership, some
understanding of valuation and revaluation of capital would be
crucial. Thus, again, assuming you have to understand what you
measure, I always keep at least one eye on what those seeking such
measures are doing.

4. Much of the frustration on the matter of valuation and revaluation
involves its location within Marx's framework. That is, can you
really consider depreciation prior to introducing a rate of
interest? I note that all of Marx's calculations in CAPITAL never
deal with fixed capital and its amortization. Rather, he invariably
computes the rate of profit as though it will turnover in one

5. I am curious about those "seeds" that differ from industry to

That said, I would not instantaneously dismiss theories which
include instantaneous revaluation.