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Fred B. Moseley wrote:
> Thanks very much for all the interesting posts from Rakesh, Ajit, Alfredo,
> Andy B., John E., etc. I returned to Massachusetts over the weekend and
> will respond to these posts as soon as possible (with classes starting
> next week).
> I will start with Ajit's (3715), which lists 10 problems with my
> interpretation of Marx's theory. I will first reply in this post to the
> last 9 points and then reply in a subsequent post to the first point,
> which requires a longer response.
> On Thu, 24 Aug 2000, Ajit Sinha wrote:
> > (2) You say that in your system (which is supposed to be Marx's) the *givens* are
> > C (in money terms), V (in money terms), m (the value of money), and L. Whereas in
> > the "Sraffian" system it is the physical means of production and the real wages
> > are taken as the *givens*. Now, I have just a simple question here. What do you
> > think L is doing in your *givens*. Are laborers supposed to be counting money for
> > the time period L or jumping up and down in the air? If you say that L is given,
> > then by implication technology (i.e. the physical input-output system) is given
> > whether you see it or not--L is the part of the technology, if it is given then
> > technology is given too. I simply don't understand how can you say things like
> > that.
> L is a given because this is Marx's version of the "labor theory of
> value". I do not say that ONLY money-capital is taken as given, but
> rather that constant capital and variable capital are taken as given as
> quantities of money-capital. In addition, the quantity of current
> abstract labor (Lc) and money-value-added per hour (m) are also taken as
> The technology indeed exists, but that does not mean that Marx's theory
> must begin with physical inputs and outputs. The quantities of
> money-capital also exist, but linear production theory does not take these
> as given. The totality of the capitalist economy exists, and each theory
> chooses a different starting point as its initial givens.
Fred, 'L is a given because this is Marx's version of the "labor theory of
value".' is no answer to the question. It is similar to saying that the quantity of
cheese is given because I have a cheese theory of moon. My point is that the L is part
of the technology, and therefore, if it is *given*, then the theory is taking the
technology as given too. The whole input output structure is implicit in your theory.
When you say that constant capitals in money terms are given, what else you could mean
by this than the fact that the physical inputs used in the production process is given,
and you take that their prices are given too, so you get your given version of constant
capital in money terms by multiplying the physical inputs with their prices. So you
also have to take the Sraffian input output structure even to get to your so-called
monetary quantities of givens. The difference lies in the fact that in the Sraffian
system the determination of prices such that the rate of profits on investments is
equalized is taken as a problem, which is theoretically solved. In your system even
prices are taken to be *given*, which leaves your theory with no problem to solve. The
adding and subtracting that you do from one given to another given is solving no
theoretical problem (it may be a problem for a book keeper), and that's why you have no
theory. You say your "m" is given too. But this is obviously not given (as something
observable), it is derived by taking the ratio of L and the nominal net GDP. Now how do
you get your GDP? Of course by multiplying the final goods and services by their
respective prices. So you must take the sectoral outputs in physical terms as given
before you could derive your "m". So the whole idea that everything is given in macro
terms is phony baloney. You cannot get those macro figures without somekind of
vertically integrated or Sraffian type input-output structure. In other words, you need
to take the input-output structure of the economy as given before you could get to your
givens. By the way, is there any problem that your theory is trying to solve? If so,
what is it?
> > (3) By the way, how do you measure the socially necessary abstract labor L, which
> > you have taken as *given*?
> Socially necessary labor-time is defined in terms of hours of simple labor
> (with reductions assumed for unequal skills and unequal intensities).
Good! So your "socially necessary" does not include any demand aspect anymore.
> > (4) You had stated earlier that "Marx's theory of surplus-value, presented in
> > Chapter 7 of Volume 1, is expressed in terms of money, that are determined by
> > quantities of labor-time." I'm still waiting to hear your explanation of how is
> > this expression in terms of money is *determined* by the quantity of labor-time.
> > (5) You say that the purpose of volume one is to determine dM in money terms. But
> > all your writings only state that this is how it is rather than determining dM in
> > any sense of determination.
> Ajit, in my last post and in several papers I have summarized Marx's
> derivation of the determination of dM, or surplus-value, as Marx presented
> it in Chapter 7 of Volume 1, which concludes that: S = m Ls. This
> equation says that the variables on the right-hand side DETERMINE (i.e. as
> their product) S, or dM, the variable on the left-hand side. What more
> determination do you want?
But Fred! your dM is given straight away by subtracting from your nominal net GDP,
which is given in your theory, the variable capital, which is also given in your
theory. This is any capitalist's book keeping exercise. The whole rigmarole about S =
mLs is nothing but a pretense. Your S or dM is not determined by the given Ls. It
already has been determine before you could even introduce the concept of Ls. Just
think about it.
I'm too busy right now with other work, so let us keep to this central issue only for
the timbering. Cheers, ajit sinha
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