[OPE-L:3681] Re: [3676] Value contained in cost-price

aramos@aramos.b (aramos@aramos.bo)
Mon, 18 Nov 1996 07:16:06 -0800 (PST)

[ show plain text ]

In OPE-L 3676 Allin says:

"4. Neither Fred nor Alejandro has yet addressed what I
regard as a key statement of Marxs on this whole matter,
namely that a price/value deviation among the non-labour
inputs to a given commodity is a cause from which arises
"a deviation in prices of production from values" on the
output side (Moscow, 206-7, plus a few other locations).
How can they make sense of this? On their reading --
where, *in the general case*, value = cost-price plus
surplus value, and price of production = cost-price plus
profit, with only one "cost-price" in the picture -- there
should be only *one* source of such deviation, namely a
divergence between profit and surplus value, not two as
Marx states."

I apologise because I have had time to give Allin my own
intepretation of this. As Allin, "Ive been bogged down with work
recently" and, worst, I think this week I will be very busy.

However, I would wish to mention that, I think, I have already
presented bits of "my clue" to interpret this in 3673 (Point
"Third") and 3651. My main reference is a suggestion that Marx
does en Ch. 9 (Penguin, p. 260; my Moscow edition, p. 158).

Here, Marx refers to an "method of reckoning" presented in Vol.
I (Chapter 9, section 2) by which "the product of any capital
can be treated as if one part simply replaces capital, while the
other only represents surplus-value" (Penguin, p. 260).
Interesting use of this "method of reckoning" by Marx are in
Capital II, Ch. 3 (Penguin, p. 169-71) and Theories I, Ch. 3,
Section 10 (p. 110-51)

So, in the present case we can "decompose" the different
components of the cost-price (exchanged at their production
prices) into two fractions: a part corresponding to the "value
contained" into these commodities and a part corresponding to
the "deviation between value and production price".

It is true, as Allin says, that we have "only one "cost-price"
in the picture", but we can "decompose" it into "proportional
parts", for example, into a fraction representing the "value
contained" and another representing the "deviation".

Then, for any commodity, we can add, on the one hand, the
"values contained" and, on the other, the "deviations". So, in
what we can call the "total deviation" of a given commodity, we
have a part that corresponds to the "deviation contained in the
components of cost-price".

In the passage Allin cites, Marx is specially concerned with the
"average commodity". In that case, we have that although this
is an "average commodity" the components of its cost-price
could contain a deviation (positive or negative) between the
"values contained" and the production prices the capitalist has
paid for them.

In any case, in my article --written with Adolfo Rodriguez-- we
followed Marx suggestion and worked out a couple of tables
"decomposing" the components (in that case) of the production
prices into proportional parts. (See Marx and Non-equilibrium
Economics, pp. 65-72). I would interpret the paragraph Allin is
citing through a table **similar** (not equal) to that in the p.
71 of this book.

I kindly ask Allin some time to respond to his important point.

Alejandro Ramos M