Subject: [OPE-L:1698] Re: Re: Re: determination of value transferred
From: Andrew_Kliman (Andrew_Kliman@email.msn.com)
Date: Fri Nov 19 1999 - 00:31:28 EST
I want to reply to the recent posts of Fred and Paul Cockshott in
this thread, but here's a quick response now that just deals with
Fred's most recent post (OPE-L 1696).
"Andrew, you have said in recent posts that you now agree that the
textual evidence suggests if the price of cotton changes while a
batch of already-produced yarn is on the market (not yet sold),
then the value
transferred from the cotton to this already-produced yarn will
change correspondingly, right?"
I have NOT said that I "now" "agree." I have said that this has
ALWAYS been my interpretation. I quote from my OPE-L 1626:
"According to my interpretation, ... pre-existing stocks of yarn
(that "contain" cotton) will also be revalued upward when the rise
in price of cotton occurs. The amount by which the value of these
pre-existing stocks of yarn increases is the amount by which the
value transferred increases, i.e., the amount by which the price
of the cotton "contained" in them increases. This has been my
interpretation as long as I have had one."
Please note the last sentence carefully.
The rest of what you say is right, Fred.
Fred: "In this case, the value transferred to the
already-produced yarn will no longer be equal to the actual
historical cost of the cotton now worked up into yarn, nor will it
be equal to the "pre-production costs" of this cotton, right?"
Fred: "How then will the new magnitude of the value transferred
to this already-produced (but not yet sold) yarn be determined,
according to your interpretation? Will it be taken as given or
determined in some other way?"
If something is taken as given by a theorist, the theorist is not
addressing how it is determined. Its process of determination is
not accounted for. Nothing is determined by being taken as given.
According to Marx, the value of a commodity is determined by the
labor-time socially necessary to reproduce it currently. This
socially necessary labor-time is the living labor extracted in
production, plus the labor-time equivalent of the sum of value
transferred from used-up means of production. The sum of value
transferred is the price of the used-up means of production when
they entered production, such that their own use-value is
This is how the value of the most recently produced unit of the
commodity (yarn) is determined. But the value of ALL units of the
commodity is determined by the labor-time socially necessary to
*reproduce* it *currently*. So the value of pre-existing stocks
of the commodity is determined in the exact same way, by the
labor-time socially necessary to PRODUCE the most recently
produced unit. Accordingly, the value transferred from the means
of production (cotton) to pre-existing stocks of the commodity
will be the same as the sum of value transferred to the most
recently produced unit.
Note that the relevant issue is *not* WHEN the commodity's value
is determined -- as Alejandro Ramos noted, it is always being
determined and re-determined by the now-current conditions -- but
BY WHAT it is determined. It is determined BY the labor-time now
needed to produce commodities of this type -- the sum of the
living labor extracted from workers producing the newest unit plus
the price of the means of production used up in producing this
newest unit when these means of production entered production.
Fred: "Furthermore, if there is no further change in the price of
cotton before this batch of yarn is sold, then the value
transferred from the cotton to the yarn will be equal to this new
current price of cotton, will it not? In other words, won't the
price of cotton as input by assumption will be equal to the price
of cotton as output, even though they are not determined
simultaneously from given physical quantities?"
I'm not sure I understand this. Let me take a wild stab. Cotton
was harvested last month, and won't be harvested for another year.
So its price as an output was its price last month, say 10. If
some of this cotton enters production of yarn today, then, ceteris
paribus (i.e., excluding stuff like changes caused by speculation,
dumping of cotton stocks on the market, etc.), its price is still
10, so 10 is the sum of value transferred to the yarn produced
today (and by "reaction," to all pre-existing stocks of yarn).
But this is NOT what is meant by the "price of cotton as input
[... is] equal to the price of cotton as output." What this
phrase refers to is the postulate that, in the phase of the
circuit of capital C ... P ... C', the cotton price that pertains
to C is the same as the cotton price at the time C' is produced.
If I've understood your question correctly, it doesn't refer to C
... P ... C' at all. Instead it refers to C' - M' - C'.
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