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

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@BERKELEY.EDU)
Date: Sat Mar 24 2007 - 13:33:49 EDT

What Marx is saying is simple: "In writing up my tables, I assumed
that the value transferred from the used up means of production was
proportional to the cost price of the used up means of production but
since we now know that the means of production had to have been
purchased at market prices regulated by prices of production rather
than value, I really don't have a way of determining the value
transferred in each branch from the cost price of using up of means
of production, but we should not assume that the value transferred is
proportional to (or can be identified with) the cost price of the
used up means of production.  I also assumed that wage goods were
bought at value but as they probably sold above or below value, fewer
or more workers could have been hired with the advanced v than I
assumed, and the rate of surplus value was accordingly lower or
higher than I had assumed. Now that I have introduced the
understanding of the difference between price of production and
value, I should revise my transformation tables so that I do not
identify the value transferred from the means of production with the
manifest cost price of the used up means of production, but I have no
way of determining from what is available to me in a fetishistic
economy--that is, price data--what the exact respective values of the
used up means of production were, but it also does not really matter
to the logic of the transformation as we know the total new value
added will tend to be distributed to equalize profit rates on the
basis of differences in the cost prices of the various sectors. "

Ultimately I think Foley is correct: we can look at the GDP data and
make some estimate from the new value added  what the rate of surplus
value and the value of money are.  But we are not going to be able to
figure out precisely the actual value transferred from used up means
of production in any one branch; there can be no precise calculation
of deviation between value and price of production in each branch.
And Marx clearly does not think anything of importance hangs on
impossible precision in this case.


This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Sat Mar 31 2007 - 01:00:12 EDT