[OPE-L:6287] El Chunche (was "Historical, real and current costs")

Sun, 15 Mar 1998 18:20:12

A reply to the PIAF:

> Date: Sun, 15 Mar 98 19:13:34 UT
> From: "andrew kliman" <Andrew_Kliman@CLASSIC.MSN.COM>
> To: ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu
> Subject: El Chunche (was "Historical, real and current costs")

> Ale: "In Costarican Spanish we have an equivalent for "widget" --
> "chunche"--
> which sounds very funny for
> other Spanish speaking people."
> My dictionary spells it "chuncho," and says this definition of
> chuncho is Honduran.

If the meaning is "widget", the spelling is wrong. I don''t know if
the word comes from Honduras, but I''m afraid that no many
people in US and Europe (even dictionary writers) can distinguish
between Honduras and Costa Rica.

> "Sorry, but I think you couldn't translate your known best-seller
> "Das Korn" as "The Widget"."
> How about _El Chunche_?

You wouldn''t be taken seriously by tropical followers of Sraffa and

> ""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?"
> Who gives a damn about thought? It is nothing but a
> superstructural reflex > produced by the material base.

Right, finally, you are seeing the light.

> Labor--Wages, Land--Rent, El Chunche--Widget: they do their
> ghostwalking as
> social characters, and simultaneously as REAL THINGS.
> Of course, the sole REAL THING is Coca-Cola ("Its the real thing").

But, unfortunately, a bottle of Coca-Cola has not only use-value but
also has a value. So, we can''t avoid metaphysical subtleties and
theological niceties.

> I had written:
> > 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.
> Ale replies:
> "Is the fall in the general price level a "nominal fall"?"
> Actually, I didnt give you (a temporalist) enough information to
> determine this. But I didnt pose the question to temporalists
> (this was not another "quiz.") I posed the question to Duncan
> and other proponents of the simultaneist MELT, for whom, I
> believe, history doesnt matter here. I believe they have all the
> information they require.

I think it''s unfair to say that Duncan and other people working in a
"simultaneous framework" don''t take "history", or "time", into
account. What they do is to take time into account differently,
I think. You may think that a "temporalist" approach only implies
to put "t" subscripts in your equations. I mean, I''m sure someone
can calculate a MELT for 1997 and another for 1996 and holds that
this is a temporalist calculation.

What is actually "simultaneism"? I think the idea is that you can
conceive a "period" as a temporal *homogenous* time span, in which
there is no distinction, e.g. between input and output prices. We
would have only one price for each period. The distinction between
the *qualitative* different phases of a period (circulation --
production -- circulation; M-C ...P... C''-M'') is considered
irrelevant. The prices at the end of a period must be the same as the
prices of the beginning in such a way that the period is conceived as
an instantanous time span, i.e. actually as no-time. Regarding the
calculation of the profit rate, a true believer in simultaneism may
say that what you don''t seem to understand is that when you are
determining the rate of profit, you must determine it on the value of
capital at the time of the determination of profit. So, actually,
there are no distinction between the time in which the inputs are
bought and the time in which the output is sold and the profit
realized. Both times are not distinguishable. "Period" is an
homogenous, "instantaneous" time interval.

Now then, although each period is conceived as a kind of self-
contained entity, you can compare "periods" between them. For
example, you can compare the MELT of 1997 with the MELT of 1996.
This is another conception of what "temporal" is. But this
kind of comparison is "external" in the sense that these periods are
not really interconnected. The result of one period is irrelevant for
the following. (This would be the second feature of simultaneism.)
The no *connection* between periods means that the output price of
one period doesn''t become the input price of the following. There is
a "discontinuity" between the prices of each period, instantaneously

What are other features of simultaneism? Why does it become a kind of
"creed" in Economics?

> Ale: "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)."
> Yes, of course. So would I. But our paradigm is temporalist. I
> don''t think this possibility is permissible within the
> simultaneist paradigm.

Despite some evidences, I find difficult to believe this.

Alejandro Ramos