[OPE-L:4509] Re: Not Cricket?

aramos@aramos.b (aramos@aramos.bo)
Mon, 24 Mar 1997 07:23:40 -0800 (PST)

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In ope-l 4498, Riccardo B. wrote:

> Let me summarize: I have nothing against the idea that the
> value of constant capital and the value of labor-power are determined
> (after the tranformation) as the value *represented* (the labour commanded
> in exchange) by these given money quantities of constant capital and
> variable capital. But I hold that this is the end-result of the
> transformation, and more speciically that to understand Marxian view of the
> origin of surplus value as a class phenomenon we must hold to a *dual*
> determination of the value of labour power, first at exchange values and
> then at prices.

Alejandro R. comments:

I find your "racconto" in this post very interesting. Unfortunately I
dont have right now a lot of time to enter in details.

Perhaps in Marxist tradition is there some confusion about 2
different things: (a) what it seems you call the "laws of exchange"
and (b) the two poles of value: value-substance (labor-time) and value-
form (money). It is true that in Marx there are a *dual*
determination, as you say, but this refers to the "dialectic of
value", the relationship between labor-time an money, not to two
different "laws of exchange" put "in paralell" as is depicted in
the orthodoxy of the "transformation problem". (You refer to the
"dual determination of the value of labor power" but this of
course holds for all commodities, not only for labor-power).

Put in other terms: Why dont you use the IMO VERY CLEAR terminology
given since Vol. I, Ch.1? There, Marx distinguishes effectively two
poles of value, as said above, labor-time and money, but these two
poles ARE NOT 2 "laws of exchange", are contradictory aspects of
that that is a "common thing" of commodities namely, value. We have
throughout Capital a twofold analysis in terms of money-value and
labor-value. These two "spheres" are, at the same time, linked and
completely separated. This doesnt mean that both spheres determine
both "laws of exchange". Always there is only one "law of exchange"
(prices = values, or prices = production prices, or etc.) which is a
**necessary and contradictory** way to express the "inner nature of
value", its "substance".

So, "value", has 2 aspects but there is only one "law of exchange".
The specific quantitative nature of this law of exchange changes
between Vols I+II and III.

For example, given the premise of Vol. I (prices=values) one can
follow a DUAL analysis of both poles of value (labor-time and money)
despite that there is no room to conceive something that the orthodox
"transformation problem" with the so-called 2 "laws of exchange". If
you suppose, e.g. technical change, both poles of value do begin to
have a "contadictory" movement as, for example, I show in the article
on Okishio that, I think, I sent you.

The analysis of the "determination of value" is the analysis of the
"dialectic" between value-substance and value-form, not the
determination of an "law of exchange" by another ("hidden")
"law of exchange" that I think you are suggesting when you say: "we
must hold to a *dual* determination of the value of labour power,
first at exchange values and then at prices." The "hidden law" is
your "first at exchange values" and the "other law" is "prices".

Sorry Ricc: My comment is a little bit chaotic, but hopefully you
will be able to grasp the essentials of what I want to say.

Alejandro Ramos