From: Gil Skillman (email@example.com)
Date: Thu Aug 29 2002 - 16:46:53 EDT
Was: Re: Re: Re: Re: RE: Fred's remarks on Marx, Sraffa & Rents Hi, Fred. You write >Gil, the fact that, in a system of commodity money, the money commodity >has no price and is a scarce precious metal is not a historical >contingency, but a necessity due to the nature of money. Marx did not >discuss the money commodity in Part 2 of Volume 3 because the money >commodity has no price of production and does not participate in the >equalization of profit rates like other industries. Fred, my point--or one of them, anyway--was that the money commodity need not have a "price of production" for it to be appropriately included in the so-called "price of production" equation system. So long as its *inputs* have prices of production and it is produced by capitalist firms, then a corresponding relationship I referred to as an "accounting equation" would necessarily still have to be satisfied along with the others, and thus must be included. Thus the real issue here is whether Marx intended to exclude the money commodity sector *a priori* from his Chapter 9 analysis on the basis of the historically contingent issues you raise. Speaking just for myself, I'm not entirely convinced by your argument given that (a) Marx does not explicitly indicate that he is excluding the money commodity sector from his Ch. 9 analysis ( and I'm tempted to ask: what *other* industries do you understand Marx to have ruled out on the basis that they were not organized on a capitalist basis as of when he wrote the draft of Volume III in the mid-1860s, and what other unstated restrictions do you understand him to have made as to the generality of his theoretical argument in that chapter?) and (b) in an earlier chapter in Vol. III Marx represented his project as a general theoretical exercise that *abstracted* from such historically given exceptions. But whether or not I'm convinced, I originally posted this scenario asking if you found it relevant to our discussion. You've indicated that you don't, so good enough--we might as well move on. In anticipation of the next step of our discussion I went back and read your post in the archives that first mentioned this notion that surplus value is determined prior (in an analytical sense) to prices of production. I reproduce the relevant passage below for reference: >... matrix algebra does not fit with Marx's logical >method. Matrix algebra Marxism assumes that the rate of profit is >determined simultaneously with prices of production and that the initial >givens in Marx's theory of values and prices of production are the >physical quantities of inputs and outputs. Marx's own logic, to the >contrary, assumes that the rate of profit is determined prior to prices of >production, by the Volume 1 analysis of capital in general, and that the >initial givens are quantities of money-capital (constant capital and >variable capital), quantities of abstract labor, and the money-value >produced per hour of abstract labor. Questions (with apologies if you already addressed these before I became aware of this exchange): (1) At what prices are the elements that determine "the rate of profit" evaluated, if not prices of production, and what basis is there for using these alternative prices, if they never actually obtain, even abstractly? For example, in your above statement, at what prices are "quantities of money-capital" and "the money-value produced per hour of abstract labor" evaluated, if not the prices of production referred to above, and on what grounds are they invoked? (2) In your reading, what conditions does Marx require to render valid the postulate that the rate of profit is determined (analytically) prior to prices of production? Posing these questions is an imposition, I realize, for which I apologize; but I think these issues have to be clarified up front in order to avoid future misunderstandings about what constitutes relevant arguments with respect to Marx's analysis on this point. Thanks in advance.
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