[OPE-L:3744] Re: Re [3606], [3678]; Two "causes" of deviation?

Allin Cottrel (cottrell@wfu.edu)
Sun, 1 Dec 1996 16:44:57 -0800 (PST)

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In a previous posting I raised the matter of the passage in
vol. III, ch. 12, where Marx talks about the deviation of
price of production from value, on the output side, arising
from two factors: the deviation between profit and surplus
value, and the deviation of prices from values among the
inputs. I argued that this statement would have to be seen
as wrong on the single-system view -- specifically, the
second factor mentioned above would *not* contribute to a
price-value deviation on the output side (though it clearly
would on the standard or "dualist" reading).

Fred and Alejandro have both now replied on this. Here is a
brief rejoinder. First, let me just note that this
formulation of Marx's is not isolated. There's a very
similar statement in TSV. vol. 3, and also, I think,
elsewhere in Capital, III (though I don't have these
works to hand right now).

Anyway, Fred recognizes the problem, and his answer is that
in the relevant sentences Marx is using the word "value" in
a different sense (namely, the sense of vol. I) from that of
the surrounding text. This seems an odd claim. There's no
indication in the text that this is the case. And
furthermore it would seem to undermine the credibility of
the whole "transformation" project, if it turned out that
the term "value" acquired a different sense in vol. III from
that of Vol. I. Marx's readers were waiting for a
resolution of the apparent tension between the labour theory
of value (whether by that name or not) and the "requirement"
that all capitals earn an equal rate of profit. If Marx's
resolution involved changing the meaning of the word "value"
he could reasonably be accused of verbal trickery.

Alejandro has offered a numerical example in which he maps
the various values and price-value deviations into the
eventual price of production of the output. But in doing so
he has, I think, illustrated a point I made earlier. That
is, in his examples the deviation between the price of
production of X and the value of X is fully accounted for by
the deviation between the profit realized in X and the
surplus-value contained in X (as these terms are understood
on the single-system view). But he has come up with
*another* sort of deviation, namely that between the value
of X and the "value contained in the components of value" of
X. But of course the standard or dualist view recognizes no
such distinction. Value is nothing other than 'value
contained in the components of value'. And I see no
indication in Marx's texts that he had such a distinction in
mind either.

Allin Cottrell
Department of Economics
Wake Forest University