Re: [OPE] Linear transformation between equilibrium prices and labour values

From: Dave Zachariah <>
Date: Sun Dec 05 2010 - 12:53:01 EST

On 2010-12-04 04:14, Alejandro Agafonow wrote:
> The problem is that the hypothetical state of equilibrium in a capitalist
> economy is bullshit. I wonder if the efforts to support the Marxian
> theory in these terms are of any worth. After all, equilibrium
> economists are facing an increasing discredit in the profession.
I share some of Alejandro's skepticism, but a more fruitful question
about Ian's model is: What are we to make of the attractor point of the
system? This attractor point arises when one reduces the degrees of
freedom of the system significantly, by fixing (a) the technical
structure of the economy and (b) the consumption patterns of the
working-class and capitalist class.

I'm not sure Ian's conclusion
> "What labor times do production prices represent?" is
> nonstandard, not standard, labor-values. Prices of production
> represent total labor costs [i.e. including capitalist consumption].
can be taken to a real capitalist economy. The attractor point is not
simply never reached, it is in reality an unstable point: The very
processes inherent to the capitalist mode of production (competition on,
production for, and consumption through the market by a large number of
uncoordinated agents) would immediately push the system away from the
above attractor point even if it were forcibly brought there. That is to
say, the equalizing mechanism --- what you suggest in your analogy is
gravity --- is matched by other disequilibrating mechanisms.

One result from your model is that if the equilibrating mechanism
operates alone, the capitalist economy heads towards a state of
parasitism. Not only do the flow rates of profit become equal but the
consumption of the rentier class becomes a permanent pattern that etches
itself onto the production system. This is the matrix C. This reminds me
of Paul C's remark that the divergence between between the equilibrium
prices and (standard) labour values could be the result of class
struggle. However, if one allows for the rentier consumption mix to vary
itself then the establishment of C in the production system is far from
obvious. The one-to-one mapping between the money lent by a rentier to a
firm and his ex post consumption vector ceases to exist.

Hence I see no need of the nonstandard labour values as such, and they
are probably undefined in a real capitalist economy.

//Dave Z
ope mailing list
Received on Sun Dec 5 12:55:32 2010

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Fri Dec 31 2010 - 00:00:02 EST