[OPE-L:4947] Re: determination of real wages

Wed, 7 May 1997 05:54:14 -0700 (PDT)

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A couple of points on my ope-l 4918, commenting Riccardo's 4914:

Riccardos in 4914:

> > The Marxian sequence value-rate of profit - prices is lost.

Alejandro R. in 4918:

> Are you refering to **Tugan sequence** value-rate of profit -
> prices?

This is wrong. This "sequence" was proposed by Bortkiewicz, not by
Tugan. I hope to have some time to comment further on this important
point which I think is a cause of misunderstanding between Riccardo
and me. I think we cannot attribute this "sequence" to Marx because
there is neither textual evidence nor logical basis to do that.

Alejandro R. in 4918:

> I find very interesting the passage of Vol I, Ch. 9 when Marx gives
> some examples about the calculation of the rate of surplus value
> (Penguin, pp 327-9). After a complex example IN MONEY TERMS he says:
> "There remains $132 as the weekly value created, which = $52 variable
> + $90 surplus. The rate of surplus value is therefore 80/52 = 153.85
> per cent. In a working day of 10 hours with average labor the result
> is: necesary labor = 3.9 hours and surplus labor = 6.1 hours" (p. 328)

Obviously there is a mistake in the amount of "surplus" which is $80.
Taking the oportunity, I want to quote Riccardo's article on RRPE

But thing are very different if we look at the capitalist process
from the point of view of workers as laborers and of capital as
a whole. Here the crucial matter is how much live labor is
performed and how much of the live labor expended by workers
must be devoted to the production of the necessary wage goods:
**thus the relevant measure of exploitation is now the "value"
rate of exploitation, unaffected by price determination**. The
latter is, so to speak, the thermometer of the relative strenght
of social classes within the labor process and is the main factor
determining the "price" rate of exploitation. (p. 17, emphasis

I think this summarizes Riccardo's concernings regarding how
labor-time determines "price" magnitudes, in the particular case of
the rate of exploitation. I share his concernings but I want to note
the following:

a) In Marx's piece above quoted he calculates the rate of
exploitation on the basis of PRICE magnitudes. So, in some sense
(that we should precise) it seems to me that they are "affected by
price determination". Or, in other words, I find difficult to explain
Marx's procedure maintaining an interpretation of his theory of
value in which MONEY is a secondary, "false" aspect and the only
"important" or "relevant" thing is "labor time" (conceived as

b) I think Riccardo's attempt to stress the importance of the
determination of value by labor-time seems to accept the
interpretation of this process given by authors like Tugan,
Borkiewicz et al. In particular he seems to accept that under any
theoretical circumstance the so-called "lambdas" are a faithful
depiction of Marx's labor-values and that the rate of exploitation
should be calculated on the basis of such "lambdas".

c) My point is that this process of determination of value by labor
time can be conceived in **an alternative way** to the current vision
that, I think, Riccardo uncritically accept. In particular, I dont
think that "lambdas" (and magnitudes that we can calculate on their
basis, like the "value" rate of exploitation) are a correct
description of Marx's labor-values beyond a very abstract situations
(price = values, no technical change).

Alejandro R.