[OPE-L:6277] Historical, real and current costs

Sun, 15 Mar 1998 11:58:51

A reply to the PIAF:

> Date: Sun, 15 Mar 98 05:56:50 UT
> From: "andrew kliman" <Andrew_Kliman@CLASSIC.MSN.COM>
> To: ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu
> Subject: RE: [OPE-L] Historical, real and current costs


1. Thanks for your clarifications. I guessed that "widget" means what
your better dictionary reads. In Costarican Spanish we have an
equivalent for "widget" --"chunche"-- which sounds very funny for
other Spanish speaking people.

2. I understand that you are tired of corn but, as title for a book I
would prefer "The Production of Corn by Means of Corn"; "The
Production of Widgets by Means of Widgets" is not elegant. Sorry,
but I think you couldn''t translate your known best-seller "Das Korn"
as "The Widget". "Widget" designates something that is everything
and, at the same time, nothing, i.e. it abounds in methaphysical
subtleties and theological niceties. Really materialists --as I think
you are-- deal with real things, as corn. What do you think?

3. You write:

> 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.

Is the fall in the general price level a "nominal fall"? Or, have we
a better "technique" to produce widgets, reducing the unit labor-
time? In any case, between 9 p.m. and midnight there cannot be
cheaper widgets available because labor-time hasn''t been used to
produce new ones. We have only stocks produced by means of

1 hour -----> 1 widget

Stocks bought by workers between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m., produced with
this technique, were worth $1 per piece. But after 9 p.m., it seems
that 1 hour is expressed externally by $0.98. I would say that you
have 2 MELTs, one before 9 p.m. ($1/hour), and other between 9 p.m.
and midnight ($0.98/hour). If, between 9 p.m. and midnight, we
measure value by means of its *internal* measure (labor-time) the
widget is still worth 1 hour, but the external measure of value
records $0.98.

In your example, the possibility that the price prevailing before 9
p.m. had been "inflated" seems to be discarded, so we are not seeing
an alligment of money figures to labor-time figures. I say this
because your suggested cause of the falling price --"falling profit
rate"-- could imply such an alligment.

As you see, I''m stil in the dark.

Alejandro Ramos