[OPE-L:5215] Re: Wild Corn

Duncan K. Foley (dkf2@columbia.edu)
Sun, 8 Jun 1997 16:13:00 -0700 (PDT)

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In reply to Andrew's OPE-L:5212:

>First, to clarify my wild corn example. Duncan writes "Wild corn is still
>free after the production process, as I understand the terms of the example.
>.. I would make the net product here 5 bushels of produced corn, since I
>would distinguish wild corn as a separate (potential) commodity that happens
>to have a zero price both before and after production."
>No, the wild corn does not exist. It has been used up, destroyed,
>productively consumed in the process of producing the corn output.

I don't have any problem with this point.

>whether produced or wild, all the corn is physically indistinguishable. Were
>wild corn to exist at harvest time -- which, again, it does not -- it would
>have to have the same value as the produced corn. Corn is corn is corn.

But if wild corn is a perfect substitute for cultivated corn, and wild corn
continues to be available for free (well, of course, in reality you'd have
to expend the labor to pick it), why is anybody bothering to cultivate corn
to begin with?

I continue to fail to see how this example constitutes a criticism for the
NI definition of the MELT.


Duncan K. Foley
Department of Economics
Barnard College
New York, NY 10027
fax: (212)-854-8947
e-mail: dkf2@columbia.edu