[OPE-L:6442] Re: [OPE] What is prior? Response to Ian

Alan Freeman (a.freeman@greenwich.ac.uk)
Thu, 09 Apr 1998 01:38:22 -0500

Alan [3 April 1998 15:07]had written:

"The decisive point is that distribution does not enter into the
determination of the magnitude of value."

Ian [6 April 1998] replied:

"I don't know about Fred, but I would disagree with this. First, it is not
clear that the independence of the magnitude of value from distribution is
an ' epistemologically more general principle' or even an epistemological'
principle. if the principle were justified, it could only be as an
ontological principle,"

Alan now replies:

OK I guess from Fred's response that you and he are at odds on this one
but I'm not trying to make any special point here, just to find out what
the discussion is about, as far as I can using the terminology of the
thread's originators (Fred and Chris)

I'm happy for it to be an ontological principle, or indeed any kind of
principle. But I still think it is prior, in the following sense: Fred's
principle is a consequence of mine, but not vice versa. Or let me rephrase
that since I can't claim ownership of a principle and anyhow both Fred
and me agree on both principles. So let's call them principle (a) and
principle (b).

Using Chris's notation let C=c+v+s

Principle (a): C is determined logically prior to its elements
Principle (b): v+s is determined logically prior to its elements

(Using Fred's meaning for 'logically prior')

Now, principle (a) follows from principle (b) but principle (b)
doesn't flow from principle (a). For, we could have a situation where
v+s was fixed, but c was variable. In that case, C could not be
determined prior to c.

That's my point; it's not meant to be a very complicated one, rather
an attempt to understand what is being said.

However it does connect into my comments [4 April 22:28] on 'two rates of
profit' for the following reason: Albarracin shows that if we abandon the
assumption of equal profit rates, then c (in a simultaneous calculation)
depends on the distribution of profit rates and is not uniquely
determined. Therefore I suspect that in fact, neither principle (a)
nor principle (b) can be sustained outside of profit-rate-equalisation.

To put it another way, I think that profit-rate-equalisation is a
presupposition of Fred's approach; a logically necessary prerequisite.