[OPE-L:4734] Re: use-value of money

Allin Cottrel (cottrell@wfu.edu)
Fri, 11 Apr 1997 07:39:32 -0700 (PDT)

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Michael W. writes:

> Is there any distinction to be made between 'collapsing a
> distinction between value and price' (we're all SS now?)
> and pursuing parsimony in ontological commitment?

Yes. Collapsing said distinction is a 'false economy' from
the standpoint of theoretical parsimony.

Consider (for the sake of argument, and just to get rid of
the value / price-of-production distinction for present
purposes) an economy in which there is a uniform value
composition of capital. Then values provide the 'centres of
gravitation' for prices. Now, how is the gravitation
supposed to work? On the 'standard' account, if the
aggregate output of commodity X exceeds the quantity that
can be sold at a price corresponding to value, then we'll
have P < V, and a competitive adjustment will be set in
motion whereby the output is reduced, taking us towards the
re-establishment of P = V. How does one tell this story if
the excess production of X reduces _both_ its price and its
value? The argument requires a 'deviation' of some kind, to
which the market adjusts. So we're going to need a third
term, namely the labour-time required to produce the
commodity (the label 'value' having been withdrawn from this
concept). We'll have to say the adjustment responds to a
situation where the price is below that corresponding to the
labour-time required to produce (LTRP) X. Alright, but then
what job is 'value' doing in the analysis? And what
determines its magnitude? Is is always just equal to price?
Is it somewhere in between price and LTRP?

Allin Cottrell.