From: Ian Wright (wrighti@ACM.ORG)
Date: Tue Feb 07 2006 - 15:42:18 EST
Hi Andy > -something (say price) that has no necessary relation to something else > (say feasible reproduction proportions) cannot continually cause the > latter. > > You are effectively denying this premise, as far as I can tell. No. If I gave that impression then I didn't explain myself clearly -- sorry about that. Let's say price has a necessary relation to feasible reproduction proportions (and vice-versa). That is the "something" that is continually causing the "latter". But those prices need not refer to some common non-price substance (the "other" scalar). It is possible that there is simply a relation between price (phenomenal scalars) and a configuration (not a substance, simply a structure of relations). I think this is how many anti-essentialist neo-Ricardians view the matter. (E.g., I think this motivated Ajit's work with Paul on how the choice of numeraire affects the direction of price movements. Ajit thinks a dynamic theory of value is meaningless. -- Again, I don't agree, but the logical consistency of this view is undeniable, at least if the TP is accepted.) > This is > so because you agree that price is causing production relations and you > agree that price is a scalar. Yet you deny that any scalar (price or > otherwise) is necessarily related to feasible reproduction proportions. No, the neo-Ricardian critique says that the labour-value scalars are not "necessarily" related to "feasible production proportions". But prices can be. > In other words you are saying that something with no necessary relation > with feasible reproduction proportions (price, as determined by a > Sraffian calculation) is continually causing feasible reproduction > proportions (it must be since if it didn't capitalism would have > collapsed long ago). Before we go any further on this could I ask > whether or not I have understood you correctly thus far? I think you may have misunderstood. > If you simply > deny the above stated premise then it is the premise we should be > discussing. If not, then you must be arguing that the above premise is > not violated by the neo-R 'refutation' of the LTV (but I don't yet see > how your argument can be sustained). The latter. The question is whether prices need to represent some other "substance", not whether prices can affect economic configurations. I note your point about it being a bit "silly to argue that the scalar we are after is exactly proportional to market prices. Rather at a very abstract level, we may find *aggregate* equalities holding (i.e. the level of vol. 3, ch.9, at least where inputs are not transformed) but surely at more concrete levels they won't." The point of the N-R critique is that even at the very abstract level Marx's value theory cannot have the explanatory role it is supposed to. But Marx held (and in this I think he was correct) that we *will* (not may) find the aggregate equalities holding, at the very abstract level of prices of production. > -the total available labour-time to society is equal to the total > available production time to society. That is, there is a finite amount > of production that can be done in any given time period and this > 'available production time' is entirely determined by, indeed the same > as, the available labour-time Yes this is true. > On my argument, this proposition makes labour-time the only scalar that > could possibly continually cause feasible reproduction proportions. But the existence of another scalar, other than price, which underlies price accounting, is what is in question. The neo-Ricardian critique attacks Marx right at the very foundation of his project. Best, -Ian.
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