[OPE-L:7414] [OPE-L:946] Re: value and price

Ajit Sinha (sinha@cdedse.ernet.in)
05 May 99 12:26:12 IST (+0530)

>To my simple question:
>What do you mean by
"prices"? Is it exchange ratios between two commodities at any
given time or not? If not, then what is it?
Jerry responds:
> Price is the monetary expression of the value-form. Yes, it
> expresses in
> part a system of exchange relations among commodities (and
> people).
So let's continue with the "part" (so that we stop dancing around
simple problems). My question is, in this exchange relation, where
does time dimension enter? Is this problem defined for an instant
of time or for a period of time?
> I had written:
> > The question is how does, let's say, a pound of cabbage is
> worth $1
> > is established?
> Jerry responds:
> That's *your* question. It's not mine (although, I have some
> questions
> about it -- see next comment) and I don't think it was Marx's.
Just above you accepted that at least in part that's what you mean
by 'prices', now you say it's my question and not yours. So let me
ask you again, what do you mean by price if not a pound of cabbage
worth $1?
> I had written:
> > Is your theory of value (or prices) concerned with
> > this question or not?
> Jerry writes:
> Not really (but, hey, if you want to talk about a pound of
> cabbage, that's
> OK with me. Did you notice a big disparity in the price of
> cabbage in the
> US, Australia, and India? If so, what accounts for these
> [systematic]
> variations in price in different markets in the world economy?)
If not really, then what question your theory of value is concerned
with? I'm so glad that you brought about the example which I was
going to bring about myself. You see there are two questions that
are entirely of different nature which you guys confuse into one
and think that you are doing dynamics. One question is about why
two commodities differ in value at a given point of time, and the
other question is why the value of one commodity differs between
two time points. People think that the second question is
essentially about dynamics and time is the essential aspect of this
problem. But it is not true. Your example of price of cabbages
being different in US, Australia, and India at a given time point
is basically of the same nature as the second question, even though
time does not figure in as a dimension in this problem. So what is
the essential difference between the two problems? In the first
problem, what is given is that the rate of profit as well as wages
are equal for both the commodities, and thus their differences in
values must be explained by something other than wages or rate of
profits. One the other hand the second question looks for the
causes that explains the changes in either wages or rate of
profits. It's about finding the causes that changes the givens of
the first problem. So these two problems are separate problems, and
mixing them together can only create muddle and mumbo jumbos.
> I had written:
> > If not, then what question your theory of value (or prices) is
> > concerned with?
> Jerry responds:
> Soundbite answer:
> The social relations characteristic of generalized commodity
> production
> and exchange and the dynamic ("the law of motion") of capitalism.
Your soundbite answer suggests that you are more interested in
dancing around confusions rather than confronting them and
clearifying them. Cheers, ajit sinha
> In solidarity, Jerry