[OPE-L:2485] Re: Was Lenin a nondualist, supporter of the single-system vision

Paul Cockshott (wpc@cs.strath.ac.uk)
Thu, 6 Jun 1996 07:58:46 -0700

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>Paul C wrote:
>> If this value that is added is not made manifest as a change in the price
>> of the product relative to the raw materials then the whole marxian theory
>> of profits is an absurdity. You can not have a theory of surplus value
>> without a theory of relative prices.
>Marx's analysis of value and surplus value was not intended to be a theory
>of relative prices, IMHO. The concern with price determination is an
>obsession of modern economists (although, one might also see it as a
>continuation of the Ricardian identification of value with exchange
>Moreover, Marx only said that in the *aggregate* commodities would sell at
>their value (and the sum of value=sum of prices of production & sum of
>s=sum of profit).

Paul C:
Where does he make this restriction?

To take such a restricted position makes a nonsense of the whole analysis
of exchange value and price. Exchange value is by its nature a relative
phenomenon, if you aggregate all commodities together then you abstract
from the phenomenon of interest. What does it mean to say that the
aggregate of commodities sell at their value?

Since in a commodity money system, the commodities exchange against gold
when they sell, then to say that the aggregate of commodities sells at
its value implies that gold as a particular commodity exchanges for
other commodities containing an equal amount of labour. Fair enough,
but what is so special about gold that makes its exchange value be
governed by labour and not that of other commodities?

>He did *not* say that the "value that is added is ...
>made manifest in the price of the *product* ... (emphasis added, JL).

Paul C:
Is this not the whole import of the analysis of surplus value in
the first volume of Capital?

Is this not built in to his worked examples?

>fact, he repeatedly stated that individual commodities are sold on the
>market at prices either above or below their value. He recognized that
>individual commodity prices are subject to a number of contingent factors
>including those related to supply and demand.
Paul C:
Yes, but this point was well understood by all the classical political
economists. The question was what happened when one abstracts from the
short term fluctuations caused by supply and demand. This is certainly
the point that Lenin is making when he says that value is the law of price.

Paul Cockshott