[OPE-L:69] [OPE-L:305] Re: Re: Re: Chapter 1

Fred B. Moseley (fmoseley@mtholyoke.edu)
Fri, 6 Nov 1998 09:43:30 -0500 (EST)


Thanks for the agreement that Marx assumed consistent exchange, and that
consistent exchange implies that exchange-values are equals.

I will return as soon as possible to the question of consistent exchange
(and other questions). Unfortunately, I have two sets of exams to grade
this weekend.


On Thu, 5 Nov 1998, Steve Cullenberg wrote:

> Date: Thu, 05 Nov 1998 17:32:36 -0800
> From: Steve Cullenberg <stephen.cullenberg@ucr.edu>
> Reply-To: ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu
> To: ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu
> Subject: [OPE-L:298] Re: Re: Chapter 1
> Fred,
> Yes, I think we can agree on this. Marx defines the concept of exchange
> value in such a way that it satisfies RST. Indifference is not at stake
> with Marx.
> The question I have been pressing is: does Marx (and many others since)
> define exchange values this way because he/they feel that there is
> something about the nature of exchange that either theoretically or
> empirically enforces such an exchange of equality, or, is it the case that
> Marx considers exchange as an equality as a simplification and sets up
> exchange ratios between commodities so that in fact they are equal in
> abstract labor. And, if the latter, the question becomes just how robust
> this simplification is.
> I want to stress this point. There is nothing obvious about the claim that
> exchange should be understood as an equality. Most economists don't make
> that presumption. Why, then, should Marxist economists impose this
> specific structure on the process of exchange? One doesn't need to do so
> to talk about the relationship between labor coefficients and prices, to
> take one example.
> Steve
> >1. If one assumes that the exchange-values of commodities satisfy the
> >conditions of RST, does this necessarily imply that the exchange-values
> >are equals?
> >
> >2. Is it reasonable or fruitful to assume that exchange-values satisfy
> >RST?
> >
> >Your last post focuses entirely on the second question. However, your
> >earlier posts had also argued that the answer to the first questions is
> >NO, and presented indifference as a counter-example.
> >
> >Can we now agree that the answer to the first question is YES, and that
> >indifference is irrelevant to Marx's argument? Because Marx's argument is
> >in terms of real numbers and indifference is not. Real numbers that
> >satisfy RST are necessarily equal.
> >
> >This does not get us very far in Marx's overall argument, but it is an
> >important first step, and one that has been disputed ever since
> >Bohm-Bawerk. So consensus on the validity of this first point would be at
> >least a small advance.
> >
> >The second question is more difficult. I will have something to say about
> >that soon. But can we at least agree that the answer to the first
> >question is YES?
> >
> >
> >Fred
> >
> >