[OPE-L:3747] Re: Two causes of deviation?

aramos@aramos.b (aramos@aramos.bo)
Sun, 1 Dec 1996 19:04:47 -0800 (PST)

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A brief reply to Allin's [3744] written in reply to my OPE-
L [3705].

> 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.

I ask Allin to re-read Table B, because what I "mapped" is
the "various values and price-value deviations into the"
VALUE, not into the "eventual price of production of the

> 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).

As far as I remember, the point Allin wanted to make is
that the reading of this paragraph was impossible in the
single-system view. Now, Allin seems not only to
acknowdledge that that reading is possible but also
he is claiming that he already has "made the point".
Actually, Allin claimed that there are TWO causes of
deviation and I showed that there IS ONLY ONE CAUSE. In
Table A, commodities are considered as OUTPUTS, and in
Table B, they are considered as INPUTS. In both Tables, we
have the SAME deviation, and not "two sources/causes" of
deviation. So, Marx's text can be read in perfect coherence
with the single-system interpretation and does not support
Allin's dualistic idea that there are "two different"
sources of deviation.

> 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.

I thorough analysis of this "another sort of deviation"
implies a post. Now, I only want to note the following:

a) This is not "another sort of deviation", but simply the
result of the "vertical" reallocation of the only
"deviation existing".

b) I showed that the "behaviour" of this "deviation" is
similar to the deviation of the commodities considered as
outputs. So: high composition capitals imply a number > 0,
low composition capitals imply a number < 0, and average
composition capitals imply a number = 0.

is another version of the non-dualistic general result
that the deviations value/production price of the
commodities considered as OUTPUT are zero. This Marx's
clear statement CANNOT BE REPRODUCED in the dualistic view,
under any relevant circumstance.

I would want ask Allin to reflect about this fact: Under
the single-system view there are a lot of Marx's claims
that are EASILY replicated (e.g. that the deviations are =
0) while under the two-system view practically we cannot
make sense of Marx's text.

> But of course the standard or dualist view recognizes
> no such distinction.

I have no doubt of this. The dualist view is unable to
understand the **elemental** dialectic of the concept of
value. Value is a unity of labor-time and money, from Vol.
I, Ch. 1 on. Value is labor-time that must be represented
by money. This is not only "Hegel" but the obvious reality
of capitalism, the system Marx analyses.

In Vol I this representation of labor-time as money is
accomplished without divergences: money represents DIRECTLY
the amount of labor-time contained in the commodities.
I ask Allin to see the innumerable examples given by Marx
in Vol. I in which the "value magnitudes" are represented
in terms of "pounds sterling".
A "health reading" of this kind could be Vol. I, Ch. 9,
specially the examples about how to calculate the rate of
surplus-value. There, Marx "paradoxically" derives the labor-
time magnitudes FROM money magnitudes.

The only difference introduced in Vol III is that the
monetary representation implies "divergences" regarding the
labor-time contained in the commodities.

The idea that Marx's value is unilaterally "labor-time" was
introduced in the literature by authors like Bort. or
Tugan. It is not in Marx text. Undoubtedly, these authors
have a strong Ricardian bias in their reading, and believed
that Marx's theory of value was IDENTICAL with that of
Ricardo (as, e.g. Paul is still believing). In the case of
Tugan, he also was a Kantian for whom there was not so
strange to have two "systems": one "invisible" staying
"behind the appeareances", which were not understood in a
Marx- Hegel way, but, e.g., in the "modern" Paul's version,
as "noise".
The "invisible", self-contained system (which is only a
particular case of the system of prices considered in Vol.
III, Part 2) becomes the "standard/erroneous"
representation of Marx's value. But this formalization
cannot account for Marx's results. Tugan & Co. presented
this as "a Marx's failure". The only failure, of course,
was the formalization of Marx that Tugan and Bortk. have

(I do not know if Allins is conscious that he is defending
a PARTICULAR formalization of Marx theory did by Ricardian
people in order to show that Marx was wrong.)

> Value is nothing other than value contained in the
components of value.

Well, this is the dualistic definition of value,
neglecting, inter alia, the critique of Ricardo done by
Marx. In particular, neglecting that MONEY is the
representation of LABOR-TIME, and UNABLE to reproduce Marx's
fundamental statements.
I would wish to ask Allin about this: Is not "reasonable"
for you that in capitalism "money" is a representation of
"labor-time"? Does not this make sense for you at all? Why
do you think that Marx's vision of world was Platonic or
Kantian? What is the basis of your idea that Marx is
correctly represented by "two systems" that cannot be
"mixed" or "contaminated"? How can you make this compatible
with the obvious dialectical Marx's vision of capitalist
economy? Why do you conceive the two aspects of value only
as SEPARATION? Is not clear that there is ALSO a "moment"

> And I see no indication in Marxs texts that he had such
> a distinction in mind either.

It is obvious that this distinction is not explicitely
stated by Marx. But it appears insofar as we follow some
indications provided by him. For example, that regarding
the possibility of "decompose" the components of value or
production prices into proportional parts.

But, most important: This distinction DOES NOT AFFECT in
any way Marx's statements. As you can see in Table B, the
different from the "deductions" made on the basis of the
dualistic view which imply, for example, that the twin
equality cannot be obtained, or that the "average commodity"
has a price of production which is not equal to its value.
These kind of "results" DO CONTRADICT Marx's theory as a
whole, because they come from an erroneous formalization
of what Marx is saying. The deviations presented in my
Table B DO NOT CONTRADICT in any way Marx's theory, despite
he does not establish them explicitely. These "deviations"
are simply a logic consequence of the reading of the extant

Allin: Thank you very much for your reply,

Alejandro Ramos M.