[OPE-L:2498] Re: Was Lenin a nondualist, supporter of the single-system vision

glevy@acnet.pratt.edu (glevy@acnet.pratt.edu)
Mon, 10 Jun 1996 05:33:12 -0700

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Paul C wrote in [OPE-L:2492]:

> What I take
> Marx and the classical political economists as holding was that, in
> modern language, prices are highly correlated with labour values, that
> if value is the signal, and deviations due to supply and demand imbalances
> the noise, then the signal to noise ratio is high.

This is an interesting proposition, but one which by my reading does not
follow Marx. It may be that certain "classical" economists believed in
this assertion. I would say that, in general, when one attempts to
translate Marx's analysis into the "modern language" of economists, that
one can encounter problems that stem from the different methods of
investigation employed.

> Saying that commodities in aggregate exchange at their values is vacuous
> since it would still be true even if there was a zero correlation
> between prices and values.

It is a "vacuous" statement that *Marx* made, did ne not? It is preferable
from my perspective since it allows for systematic deviations between
price and value for individual commodities. While you have argued that the
transformation from value to prices of production is unnecessary, Marx
attempted to show via the transformation how and why commodities do NOT
exchange at their value.

> Chapter 1 of capital deals with exchange value and price.

He doesn't deal with actual price determination for individual commodities
in Ch. 1.. This is consistent with both his method and is evident by the
assumptions made at that level of analysis.

> The analysis of the production of surplus value is contingent upon there
> being a positive correlation between prices and values.

There doesn't have to be a precise correlation for all commodities.

> If one believes this, then the whole analysis of exploitation is
> pointless.

If one asserts that all commodities either sell at their value (or that
there are only minor deviations), then one will have a very difficult
time accounting for actual price determination. Moreover, any empirical
analysis which studies price-value correspondence does not *by itself*
tell us anything significant since a theoretical and historical analysis
is required to give meaning to those numbers. Further, any statistical
sample from an individual country can not be used to prove that a relation
exists for all countries.

In OPE-L Solidarity,