[OPE-L] Ricardo on the value of manufactured goods, or does the tail wag the dog?

From: Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM
Date: Sat Apr 09 2005 - 08:53:37 EDT

Hi Phil,

Thank you for highlighting this issue.

> The exchangeable value of all commodities, whether they be manufactured,
> or the produce of the mines, or the produce of land, is always regulated,
> not by the less quantity of labour that will suffice for their production
> circumstances highly favorable, and exclusively enjoyed by those who have
> peculiar facilities of production; but by the greater quantity of labour
> necessarily bestowed on their production by those who have no such
> facilities; by those who continue to produce them under the most
> circumstances;  meaning-by the most unfavorable circumstances, the most
> unfavorable under which the quantity of produce required, renders it
> necessary to carry on the production.

Note what Ricardo writes above about the determination of the exchange-value
of _manufactured_ commodities.  Indeed, his claim concerns _all_

Let's take the case of industry:

Is the exchange-value of  commodities produced by industrial capital
by the conditions of production of the firms who produce those commodities
"under the most unfavorable conditions"?

Isn't that a tail (firms with the highest costs of production and lowest
of labor) wag the dog (firms with the lowest cost of production and highest
productivity of labor) argument?

Isn't the exchange-value of  a commodity determined, instead, by the
conditions in the most advanced ('regulating') capitals in a branch of

In solidarity, Jerry

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