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

From: Ian Wright (wrighti@ACM.ORG)
Date: Fri Feb 23 2007 - 13:20:18 EST


Hi Diego

> The price of an output that firm A is selling to firm B, the
> buyer, is at the same time the price of the input that B is buying indeed.

OK.

> So I ask you: should we compute the value of a taxi service "at value"
> without taking into consideration that the petrol they buy as an input has a
> price much higher due to taxes? Etcetera.

I agree that in more concrete models we must take taxes into
consideration and that the nominal money cost of such taxes represent
amounts of labour time.

> The formula is the same in both cases: wH = l + mHA. That is values are the
> sum of direct labour (l) plus the value of the inputs (measured by the
> labour-equivalent of market prices). Note that this is not a contradiction
> but represents Marx's idea that in the analysis of the process of value
> formation what matters is the duration, the intensity and other aspects of
> the process of spending living labour whereas the value of the inputs is a
> secondary issue so that they can be taken as given (data). This is why I
> quoted Marx's about the "retorts and other vessels" being necessary to a
> chemical process, BUT DISTINCT FROM IT, which is what really matters.

How do you compute the MELT?

You stated that your formula for values in the case of equilibrium
prices of production is:

> pH = mH(A+B)(1+r)

Looking briefly at your paper it seems that B is the workers
consumption matrix. If so your formula above is mathematically the
*same* formula that I derive in my paper
(http://65.254.51.50/%7Ewright/realCost.pdf)

v = vA*(1+r)

where v are (nonstandard) labour values, A is the technique augmented
by workers consumption and r is the *labour value* rate of profit.

I agree that this (nonstandard) formula is the correct definition of
labour values in the context of capitalist production, in contrast to
the standard definition. Once the correct definition is adopted then
all Marx's aggregate equalities obtain, and other important paradoxes
of the labour theory of value get resolved too.

But I do not agree that these nonstandard labour values must be
computed from market prices. I prove they are independent of the price
system (although of course in dynamic contexts there are causal
relations between the dual accounting systems).

I have briefly skimmed your paper. I should read it more carefully
before saying more. But it seems that our view on this specific issue
is close. :)

Thanks,
-Ian.


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