[OPE-L:3699] Re: cost price and value

Allin Cottrell (cottrell@wfu.edu)
Sun, 24 Nov 1996 19:27:36 -0800 (PST)

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I'm afraid we're deeper in the mire here.

Fred writes:

> I argued in (3692):
> 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.

After this, Fred gets me wrong, probably because I was not
sufficiently explicit. What I was objecting to, in his
characterization of my view, was the clause following "in
other words" in the last quoted para above. This is one
location where Marx is clearly *not* assuming that
cost-price = value of inputs (as Fred also holds -- I'm
agreeing with him on this).

> However, it doesn't really matter. Allin's clarification of his argument is
> still beside the point. My original point in emphasizing this passage was
> that Marx is clearly arguing here that the price of production of average
> commodities IS EQUAL to their values.

The burden of the post to which Fred was responding (sorry,
I've lost track of the numbers) was an attempt to show that
what Fred here takes as "clear" is in fact not so clear. My
argument was that what Marx was really saying was: It's *as
if* these commodities exchanged at prices equal to their
values -- "as if", in the sense that one gets the same
result, that a change in the wage will not affect price.

I suspect, though, that this debate -- which I have found
quite interesting -- is now well into the range of
diminishing returns. One reaches a point of intricacy and
convolution, where the short, quick cyber-format ceases to
be the best form for making progress.