Re: [OPE-L] questions on the interpretation of labour values

From: Diego Guerrero (diego.guerrero@CPS.UCM.ES)
Date: Wed Feb 21 2007 - 03:47:35 EST

On Tue, 2007-02-20 at 16:07 -0500, Jerry Levy wrote:
>> There is much talk about value determination (and determination of
>> PoP) but what about the determination of market prices?  Some times
>> Marxists simply revert to saying that individual market prices are
>> determined by S and D.  But, isn't there are a _class_ analysis that we
>> can bring to an examination of the determination of market prices?
>> Don't we have something more and different to say about market
>> price determination than what has been said by mainstream economists?
>> Don't we need some 'microeconomic' theory of market price
>> determination rather than only a  aggregate perspective?
>> In solidarity, Jerry
> We don't need a theory of market price determination or of value
> determination. There can be no ex ante determination of value any more
> than there can be an ex ante determination of market prices.

In my opinion, values and market prices determine each other mutually.
Values are created by labour but the value of a commodity includes the
MARKET price of the inputs. As Rakesh said in his last message, Marx has
been misread also in this point. In
<> I
argue that the inputs have to be valued at market prices (m), not at values
(w) or production prices (p)--I thus disagree with Alejandro Ramos and Fred
Moseley too. In Capital I and II, Marx is assuming that m = w, and in
Capital III, that m = p, but this is only the first assumption in analysis.
As a general theory it should be assumed that m = m, different from both w
and p. One can find in Marx's texts a fondation for this. The reason is that
he is (and we should be) interested in the process of creation of NEW
values, and he says explicitly that for this we can and must abstract from
the values that come from other places, like in the case of the chemist:

<<The circumstance, however, that retorts and other vessels, are necessary
to a chemical process, does not compel the chemist to notice them in the
result of his analysis. If we look at the means of production, in their
relation to the creation of value, and to the variation in the quantity of
value, apart from anything else, they appear simply as the material in which
labour-power, the value-creator, incorporates itself. Neither the nature,
nor the value of this material is of any importance. The only requisite is
that there be a sufficient supply to absorb the labour expended in the
process of production. That supply once given, the material may rise or fall
in value, or even be, as land and the sea, without any value in itself; but
this will have no influence on the creation of value or on the variation in
the quantity of value.>>

I show in the paper that if we assume this, it is possible to keep all
Marx's equalities: total prices = total values, total profitts = total
surplus value, one single rate of profit and so on.

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