Re: (OPE-L) Ajit's paper

From: ajit sinha (sinha_a99@YAHOO.COM)
Date: Tue Jun 01 2004 - 03:22:45 EDT

--- Riccardo Bellofiore <riccardo.bellofiore@UNIBG.IT>
> Ajit,
> on your first point, I wonder how you can think a
> proposition can be
> formally incorrect if it follows necessarily from an
> argument
> according to which all the social product represents
> in money nothing
> but living labour, extracted in a specifici social
> way: the problem
> may be how to articulate price and value, not that
> value is "nothing
> but" that monetary expression in that definite
> social form.

Riccardo, Let's leav aside the problem of what is a
"social product". It is not clear what you mean by
"all the social product", though. If you mean gross
product, then not many Marxists would agree with your
statement. My guess is that you mean net product.
Well, then now look at what could "living labour"
mean. Here you are talking about all the direct labor
performed in one production period. All these direct
labors are of different kinds, such as carpentary,
masonary, etc. They are different kinds of concrete
labor. So unless you somehow add up these concrete
labors you cannot put the so called "living labour"
against money, and that's your problem.

My point was not that a statement such as "the value
of a commodity x is 10 hours of socially necessary
abstract labor" is wrong. Actually I think it is
right. But I want Rakesh or you or anybody else to
first commit that it is either right or wrong, so that
we can move to next logical stage of the problem. Now,
it appears that you think that the above statement is
right. Then we have to think how does one arrive at
the measure of "10 hours of labor".
> on your second point, as long as the methods of
> production are fixed,
> well, not only Neoclassical questions (based on
> "change") disappear:
> also Marx's, since the value and surplus value
> theory is all about
> money, the determination of the length of the social
> working day, the
> insensity of work, the change in techniques, etc: I
> guess you have
> read Volume I of Capital. May be Marx didn't realize
> that when you
> come to define prices and assume that the technique
> is given, it is
> meaningless trying to "prove" that the social
> product comes from
> nothing but the exploitation of living labour; but
> the critics who
> crucify KM for this simply cancels his problems.
I don't understand what you are driving at here. But
in any case, when Marx determines value of a
commodity, he does it on the basis of 'given'
thechnique. When technique changes, value changes. But
for every value defined, there is a corresponding
"dominant" or "average" or 'socially necessary"
technique given.
> Just a question: how do you explain that Sraffa
> never said a SINGLE
> word against Marx's LTV, say, from the 1930s on?
> That all the oral
> tradition I know goes in the other direction? That
> the written
> Archive paper show that he tried to maintain a
> STRONG reference to
> Marx's LTV say, at least, until the early 40s, well
> on in the
> construction of the 1960 book? That even after the
> book he even,
> consistently, defended Marx's transformation?
Sraffa was a Marxist. This, however, does not mean
that he thought that everything was okay with the LTV.
(all you have to do is to check his chapter on dated
labor). As far as value theory is concerned, he
thought that there was a sharp divide between
"objective" explanation of value and the "subjective"
explanation of value. He decidedly was on the
"objective" side. The LTV, according to him was one
dominant variant of the "objective" theory. However,
he did think that the attempt to reduce all costs to
labor was a move backward from William Petty (i.e.,
from physical objective cost measures)--see his
lecture notes. But still he though that the LTV
performed the job fairly well. But when it came to
theoretical rigor, it had some problem. I think he did
try to solve the transformation problem, but could
not. Cheers, ajit sinha
> I am more interested in opening problems than
> reaching too quick answers.
> rb
> At 0:55 -0700 31-05-2004, ajit sinha wrote:
> >--- Rakesh Bhandari <rakeshb@STANFORD.EDU> wrote:
> >>  Ajit,
> >>  I look forward to reading your paper (and there
> is
> >>  the one in Westra,
> >>  et al.). A few quick points.
> >>
> >>  1. The money commodity should not be treated as
> any
> >>  other commodity
> >>  in a set of simultaneous equation: more than the
> the
> >>  average rate of
> >>  profit will tend to be secured in this branch
> (see
> >>  Michelle Naples on
> >>  absolute rent in the precious metal sector), and
> >>  there is no
> >>  mechanism by which to affect supply such that
> the
> >>  average rate of
> >>  profit will have been made in the "money branch"
> >>  over the long term
> >>  (see my OPE-L posts, based on my reading of
> Ricardo
> >>  and Malthus:
> >>
> >>
> >>  Fred Moseley has of course written on this (see
> his
> >>  website).
> >_________________
> >Rakesh, None of these people can answer my very
> simple
> >question--the question that I asked you in the
> other
> >post, that you have not answered yet. So let me
> again
> >reiterate. Let's say somebody says, 'the value of a
> >commodity x is 10 hours of socially necessary
> abstract
> >labor'; Is this statement formally correct or
> >incorrect. If incorrect, then why and if correct,
> then
> >formally how can one arrive at the measure of 10
> hours
> >of SNA labor?
> >________________________
> >>
> >>  4. While Hahn questions the assumption of input
> and
> >>  output prices as
> >>  equal in order to enter demand considerations to
> >>  close the equations,
> >>  Giusanni, Freeman and others question that
> >>  assumption in order to put
> >>  technical change into the formalism.
> >_________________
> >
> >Hahn is coming from intertemporal general
> equilibrium
> >position. Whatever one may think of the GE, one
> cannot
> >deny that it is a theory of prices. For the A-D
> model,
> >different time periods define different
> commodities,
> >and thus can have different prices. But these
> prices
> >are determined by the determinants other than
> prices.
> >That's why it qualifies to be a theory of prices.
> If
> >they determined prices of a commodity in time t on
> the
> >basis of observed prices of the same commodity in
> time
> >t-1, then it would not be a theory of prices but
> >rather be simple mumbo-jumbo, which is what TSS is.
> >Hahn's critique of Sraffa on this score is not
> sound.
> >All Sraffa's equations are saying is that the rate
> of
> >profits is calculated on the basis of the
> replacement
> >coast of the physical capital items used up in
> >production. As far as technical change is
> concerned,
> >since technique of production is one of the
> >determinant of prices, a change in technique will
> >definitely explain change in prices, but it will be
> >the technique in use that must explain the prices
> at
> >any time. Cheers, ajit sinha
> >  That seems to
> >  > me to be the real
> >  > fight--about how and why to drop the static
> >>  assumption in the
> >>  Sraffian formalism when it comes to studying
> actual
> >>  capitalist
> >>  economies, ie. when one is doing more than
> >>  critiquing popular
> >>  mythology about the productivity of capital and
> >>  profit as just
> >>  reward. Sen implicitly recognizes Hahn's point
> but
> >>  pays no attention
> >>  to the Marxian criticism. But that's where the
> >>  action is.
> >>
> >>  Rakesh
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >__________________________________
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> --
> Riccardo Bellofiore
> Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche
> "Hyman P. Minsky"
> UniversitÓ di Bergamo
> Via dei Caniana 2
> I-24127 Bergamo, Italy
> e-mail:
> direct    +39-035-2052545
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