[OPE-L:6275] RE: Historical, real and current costs

andrew kliman (Andrew_Kliman@CLASSIC.MSN.COM)
Sun, 15 Mar 98 05:56:50 UT

A reply to the PIAF:

From: owner-ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu on behalf of aramos@aramos.bo
Sent: Saturday, March 14, 1998 8:43 PM
To: ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu
Cc: Multiple recipients of list
Subject: [OPE-L] Historical, real and current costs

Ale: "1. What is a "widget"? None of my 3 English Dictionaries include this

Webster's Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary defines "widget" as: "1. :
GADGET 2 : an unnamed article considered for purposes of hypothetical

I got tired of corn.

Ale: "2. Where do the widgets bought and consumed by the workers before 9 pm
come from? Are there stocks of widgets? Are there other widget producers?"

Yes, there are stocks of widgets. The workers' use their wages to acquire
some (or all) of these stocks.

Sorry that my reference to "Moneybags" confused you. Think of him as J. V.
Dzugashvili. The New Interpretation, and *all* concepts of the MELT, concern
the total social capital. So all figures of my example concern the total
social capital.

Ale: "3. Do the produced widgets require and additional process of "drying"?
Wouldn''t this process need some living labor or other inputs (kind of fixed

Oy. No, the drying does not require labor. We have here a variant of the
famous problem of wine fermenting in casks, which led to the disintegration of
the Ricardian school.

The widgets dry on the ground. Assume that land is free.

And, to anticipate: once the widgets are dry, the customers come to where
they were drying, pay Dzugashvili $0.98 each, and pick them off the ground.
(I am therefore revising the part of the example that stated "Moneybags then
takes them and sells them ...".) Hence, there is no productive labor (labor
productive for capital) that is performed after 5 p.m.

Ale: "4. Is the producer you are describing an "average producer", in the
sense s/he uses an "average technique"?"

Dzugashvili is the head of the executive committee of the bourgeoisie. The
executive committee oversees its class interests as a whole, including in the
sphere of production. The "technique" is actually the weighted average of
techniques for the total social capital. You may assume that all 100 widgets
are produced using the exact same technique.

Ale: "5. It seems the produced widgets are sold after 9 pm and before
midnight. You say that the price at 9 pm (and I suppose that after this) is


Ale: "If the producer is a "price taker", s/he cannot sell his/her widgets
for $1 so, the 100 hours cannot be expressed as $100, so s/he wouldn''t be an
"average producer"."

Oy. "Average producer" in Marx's work has nothing to do with the price of the
output (assuming homogeneous products, of course).

Since the example concerns the total social capital, what is happening is
simply that the general price level falls, for whatever reason (e.g., due to a
drop in investment following a fall in the profit rate). Before 9 p.m., the
total social product would have sold for $100; after 9.m., it actually sells
for $98.

Andrew Kliman