[OPE-L:3693] Re: cost price and value

Allin Cottrell (cottrell@wfu.edu)
Thu, 21 Nov 1996 14:07:12 -0800 (PST)

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Right now I only have time to offer a couple of brief
clarifications in response to Fred's latest.

> 3. Allin's third argument has to do with the third paragraph of Section 2
> of Chapter 12 of Volume 3. Allin argues that Marx's conclusion in this
> paragraph that a change of wages does not affect the price of production of
> an "average" commodities is true whether the cost price of this "average"
> commodity is equal to the value or the price of production of the inputs.
> In other words, Marx could be assuming here that the cost price is equal to
> the value of the inputs.

No, that's not what I was saying. I agree that the whole
point of this section in Marx's text is to treat the case
where the cost-price of the commodity produced by a capital
of average composition is not equal to the value of the
inputs (which, as I stated, is a "new consideration"
relative to the discussion in the preceding chapter). Marx
claims this does not affect his "theorem" that a change in
the wage has no effect on the price of such a commodity, and
I think his argument is valid. My attempted clarification
of Marx involved stressing the point that his argument goes
through *regardless of whether or not the price of
production of such a commodity (i.e. the output commodity
produced by the capital of average comp.) equals its value*.


> I would like to
> point out that the premise of [Allin's] fourth
> argument is the opposite of the
> premise of Allin's second and third arguments. There two earlier arguments
> presume that the cost price is THE SAME for both the determination of the
> value and the determination of the price of production of commodities,
> thereby acknowledging the considerable textual evidence to support this
> interpretation.

Again, no. I do not accept that "the cost price is the same
for both the determination of value and of price of
production", *in the general case*, and none of my arguments
take that as a premise. My view is that the value of the
output commodity equals the sum of the values of the
non-labour inputs, plus the value created by the current
labour input. This is consistent with Marx's statements to
the effect that there are *two* sources of deviation between
price of production and value on the output side (inequality
between surplus-value and profit, inequality between value
of inputs and price of inputs).

Allin Cottrell
Department of Economics
Wake Forest University