[OPE-L:6286] Historical, real and current costs

Sun, 15 Mar 1998 18:11:34

A reply to the PIAF:

> Date: Sun, 15 Mar 98 20:03:53 UT
> From: "andrew kliman" <Andrew_Kliman@CLASSIC.MSN.COM>
> To: ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu
> Subject: RE: [OPE-L] Historical, real and current costs

I''d written:

> "John Cassidy's article ... [contains] a big mistake, attributing Marx's
> theory an "internal inconsistency", something that many Marxists consider a
> "minor point", although it has an enormous impact on the common
> people."

Andrew replied:

> Yes!
> But do you really think anyone actually considers this a minor point?

Well, I think serious Marxist scholars, as Paul Cockshott, think that
the internal inconsistency issue is not important. As you may
remember, he argued about this in OPE-L 3723, Nov 28, 1996:

Paul Cockshott:

"The reason why I am reluctant to accept the single system
interpretation is that in order to make a particular sense of what
were working notes later published by Engels as volume 3, it involves
discarding the clear and explicit definitions of value that Marx
later published in volume 1.

"It seems that the whole motivation is based upon an attempt to
preserve the 'one conservation law to many that occurs in Marxs drafts
for the theory of prices of production. It is only in the light of
later criticism that the simultaneous conservation of total price and
total profit appeared to be *inconsistent*. I see no reason to believe
that Marx had forseen what was in any case a relatively *arcane
criticism* that was to be made by later economists. I can not remember
reading anything in Capital to indicate that Marx had tried to make
total prices = total values and total profit = total surplus value
after transforming input prices, and had realised that this was


"The argument about whether Marx had a single or dual system approach
to value is *anachronistic*, it projects todays concerns into the

"It does so in what seems to me to be a fundamentally defensive and
ideological fashion, and, even within these terms seems to want *to
defend a relatively minor hypothesis* - the dual conservation of
total prices and total profits." [Emphases added by "*"]

So, to respond to your question: Yes, there are indeed people who
consider this a "minor, ideological, point". Of course, Cassidy is
not among them.

Alejandro Ramos