Re: [OPE-L] Ajit's Paper on Sraffa and Late Wittgenstein

From: ajit sinha (sinha_a99@YAHOO.COM)
Date: Mon May 29 2006 - 06:48:12 EDT

--- Ian Wright <wrighti@ACM.ORG> wrote:

> The error in Sraffa's dated labour representation is
> that the price of
> money-capital, r, is not reduced to its labour cost.
> It's a real-cost
> accounting error to not reduce it.
Ian, I don't understand what you mean by "price of
money capital r", no such concept is there in Sraffa.
The dated labor aproach only shows that the price of a
commodity can be resolved into only wages and profits
in the case that there is some positive wages. This is
referring to Adam Smith's idea that price is resolved
into wages, profits, and rent. The method of Smith was
silightly different but the work I'm doing on Smith
now will show that his method was robust. The idea
that Sraffa is alluding to Smith here is also clear
when he at the outset declares it as "cost of
production aspect", a term Marx used for Smith's
"additive theory". In any case, the purpose of this
chapter was to show that the Austrian notion of
quantity of capital determination on the basis of
'period of production' was logically flawed. Now
getting back to your concern, You should notice that A
in the equation represents the gross output of the
commodity a, thus the question of capitalist's
consumption or non-consumption has no meaning here.
> It necessarily follows from Sraffa's surplus
> equations that
> money-capital is a commodity and r is its price,
> once the physical
> distribution of the surplus is specified. Section 4
> of the paper
> deduces this result.
There is no such thing as a commodity called "money
capital" in Sraffa.
> There's a simple low-dimensional numerical example
> of a corn economy
> at the end of the paper that presents the Sraffian
> real-cost
> accounting error. The results hold for arbitrary
> numbers of
> commodities.
I have not read your paper and my computer advises me
not to open your web because its address is of a type
that may contain problems. So if you send me your
paper by attachment, I'll read it and get back to you
after sometime, as I can't promise to read it
rightaway. But I think you are on a wrong road.
Bringing any idea of capitalist consumption in the
problem of value and price determination is a red
> For precision and clarity, we should first answer
> this question: Do we
> interpret Sraffa's surplus equations to represent a
> state of
> self-replacing equilibrium or not?
What do you mean by "self-replacing equilibrium"? Do
you mean something like Marx's simple reproduction
schema? In any case, I don't think Sraffa's equations
care for equilibrium at all. But other Sraffians
disagree with me. I have just completed a paper which
critiques Garegnani's interpretation of Sraffa's
prices as centre of gravitation. I'll send you the
paper privately and not burden the list with it.
> If the answer is "no", then real costs in general
> are undetermined,
> including labour-value. Nothing much can be said
> about real costs as
> we're talking about a novel distributional event
> with an undistributed
> surplus.
I don't understand why you keep introducing your terms
into Sraffa? There is no such thing as "real cost" or
determination of "real cost" in Sraffa's book. And the
idea that if the system is not in equilibrium then
neither cost (real or whatever) or labor values are
determinable is simply wrong. You must mean something
more than what you are saying here.
> If the answer is "yes" then real costs in general
> are determined,
> including labour-value. But in this case Sraffa's
> real-cost accounting
> is faulty, as manifested in the dated labour
> representation.

Ian, you are taking a wrong road. Stop and rethink.
First of all, I'll advise that a good way of
understanding the whole business of value theory is
not to first join a team and try to play for that
team. What I mean is that there is no need to start of
my saying, "I'm going to defend or prove that Marx was
right". I started of that way, and that led me to
waste a lot of time. I think that the most
non-materialist aspect of Marx's theory or philosophy
is the notion of labor-values. The concept is
completely metaphysical! Don't you think that it is
possible for us to imagine an economy where all
productive labor is replaced by robots. Still this
economy will have division of labor, capitalists,
prices of commodities, profits. And you can also
imagine wage labor, who are relegated to doing only
unproductive labor. What will happen to the concept of
labor-values in this economy? Again, think of another
example, in agriculture a wage laborer who is paid
subsistence wage and a horse work to produce surplus
corn. Why is that it is the wage laborers labor
produces value and surplus value and not horses? Think
of an answer in materialist terms and not metaphysical
terms. Cheers, ajit sinha

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