[OPE-L:7498] [OPE-L:1035] Re: Re: Marx's Concept of Prices of Production

Fred B. Moseley (fmoseley@mtholyoke.edu)
Fri, 11 Jun 1999 17:52:23 -0400 (EDT)

Hi John,

Thanks for your latest post. I agree that we are making progress, albeit
slowly and laboriously.

Two quick responses before I leave for the weekend.

1. Marx's increase in the money wage in Chapter 11 is an increase in the
real wage, so all your related comments have to be revised: Marx says
toward the end of the chapter (pp. 305-06)

In both cases, that of a rise of wages and that of a fall, the
working day is assumed to REMAIN THE SAME, AND SO ARE THE

How the matter is affected if the rise or fall in wages derives
from a change in the values and hence in the production prices of
commodities that customarily go into the workers' consumption
will in part be further investigated below, in the section on
ground-rent. The following points, however, have to be made here once
and for all:

If the rise in wages results from a change in the value of the
necessary means of subsistence, the only modification of the
process analyzed above occurs when the commodities whose
price-changes serve to increase or lessen the variable capital
also enter as constitutent elements into the constant capital
and hence do no simply affect wages. But in so far as they do
only affect wages, the above argument contains all that has to be

If the money wage increases by 25% and the price of wage goods remain the
same, then the real wage also increases by 25%.

I have looked for the later discussion in the chapter on rent, without
success. Maybe someone else knows where it is. It would be interesting
to see.

2. I have argued before (several times) that the reason why input prices
must = output prices in Marx's determination of prices of production
change is that prices of production change if and ONLY IF productivity or
the real wage change. If input prices are not equal to output prices,
then "prices of production" will continue to change every period, even
though productivity and the real wage remain constant, as Andrew and Ted's
examples clearly demonstrate.

I look forward to returning to the discussion next week.