[OPE-L:3773] Re: Average Commodity

Paul Cockshot (wpc@cs.strath.ac.uk)
Wed, 4 Dec 1996 02:47:53 -0800 (PST)

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>3. Tugan, Bort. et al. presented this PARTICULAR hypothesis
>as the ONLY possible reading of Marx text. They also
>concluded, on the basis of this reading, that Marx's
>theoretical project was a failure.
>Actually, what happens is that the "dualistic reading"
>implies a lot of "anomalies" regarding some fundamental
>Marx's statements. Two examples: Twin equalities, average
>commodity (price = value). These clear and fundamental Marx
>results cannot be reproduced using the two-systems

Paul C:
It is almost inevitable that it will be subsequently
possible to derive anomalies and lacunae from the
writings of a pioneer, this is a commonplace occurence.
It does not undermine the general significance of
somebody's work if there are some inconsistencies.
I would not call the twin equalities, and the idea
of the average commodity as fundamental results of Marx.

They are derived components of the theory,
dealing with first order corrections to the
fundamental theory presented in volume 1. If they were
fundamental, then volume 1 would logically be dependent upon
volume 3 rather than vice-versa. The substance of the
Tugan, Bort critique rests on pointing out that there
are second order perturbations that ought to be taken
into account. Fair enough, but these are perturbations
of perturbations. These would only challenge the fundamental
results if one had a highly non-linear system of equations
in which second order perturbations could drastically
shift the results. This is not the case with price of
production theory under reasonable assumptions about the
rate of profit. The rate of profit is typically well under
100%, so the effect of perturbations is highly damped.

>4. So, obviously it is perfectly legitimate to "deduce"
>concepts from Marx's text (like "price organic composition"
>and "value organic composition") in the light of one or
>another "reading paradigm". The problem with these "tools"
>is that they cannot permit us to replicate fundamental
>Marx's affirmations. Their results do contradict another
>statements that is easy to find in the text. This is not
>the case of the "deductions" done on the basis of the non-
>dualistic view.

That is as may be, but the cost of your reading is to
make marx the advocate of a theory with little or no
net predictive ability.
Paul Cockshott