[OPE-L:1915] Re: value-form theories

clyder (wpc@dcs.gla.ac.uk)
Mon, 13 Dec 1999 10:10:48 -0000

----- Original Message -----
From: C. J. Arthur <cjarthur@pavilion.co.uk>
To: <ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu>

> Why must value appear is indeed a good question. There ar e two answers.
You actually give 3 answers, 2 of which would only appeal to Hegelians but
the third :
> 3.)In a previous post I asked *why* the law of value obtains. As far as I
> can see the only alternative to value form theory would be a Smithian
> argument of the kind Marx exasperatedly advances in his letter to
> Kugelmann, namely that the necessity of a social distribution of labour
> makes itself felt even when production is divided, because through
> price reflects this necessity.
> Even if this works for SCP (which I doubt) it is superseded when we have
> capitalism because now it is capital's drive for valorisation that is the
> central fact.

I would agree with this general argument for the law of value, but you
should be cautious with your last sentence. The weight of empirical
studies seems to indicate a very close correlation between production
prices, market prices and labour values. Of 8 studies that I have seen
only two show anything different - those by Steadman of the Irish
and Victoria economies. These exceptions are for economies which
are both small ( greater statitistical noise) and have a high proportion
of primary production ( rent effects).

The evidence seems to indicate that the same basic mechanism of
a necessity for the proportionate allocation of social labour shows through
very clearly in a capitalist economy. The specifically capitalist
of this ( production prices) is comparatively weak.

> P. S. Please note that I have a new Email address,
> <cjarthur@waitrose.com>
> but the old one will also run until next summer. (To be doubly sure load

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