# [OPE-L:1903] Re: Re: value-form theories

Subject: [OPE-L:1903] Re: Re: value-form theories
From: Fred B. Moseley (fmoseley@mtholyoke.edu)
Date: Sun Dec 12 1999 - 09:49:41 EST

In a post of Dec. 9, Jerry wrote about R-W's value-form theory:

> In the last page cited in the subject index there is a brief discussion
> of *ideal surplus value* (and *ideal profit*). The presentation starts
> with the following:
>
> "Accumulation of capital generates an increasing amount of ideal
> surplus value s, defined as s = (m-w)I (where m is the ideal
> money expression of labour, w the wage rate and I social
> aggregate labour). The term 'ideal' refers to as yet
> unvalidated entities" (104)
>
> This will remind many listmembers of a discussion that we had some
> time back (Spring, 1998 ?) on "ideal value".

I am not sure exactly what is meant by "ideal" prices and "ideal" profit.
I hope to review R-W's book and the OPEL archives soon on this point. How
do these "ideal" prices and profit differ from actual (or equilibrium)
prices and profit?

I have a few questions about R-W's equation: S = (m-w) L.
(I substitute L for I in Jerry's equation because it stands for social
aggregate labor.)

1. What variables are taken as given and which variable is determined by
this equation?

2. What are the units in terms of which the variable L is defined?
Presumably, in units of labor-hours, right?

3. Is S is the variable determined by this equation, and the other
variables taken as given? If so, then L must be determined independently
of S, right? Otherwise, there would be circular reasoning and a
tautology, not a theory.

Therefore, if my understanding is correct, then R-W also assume, just like
I do, that labor exists independently of prices, and determines prices, or
at least "ideal" prices. There would be no difference between us on this
general point.

4. But a further question: what are the precise units of labor in this
equation: abstract labor or concrete labor? In other words, does one
hour of labor of a particular kind = one hour of all other kinds of labor
intensities (abstract labor)?

5. And I guess we have to return at some point to the difference between
ideal prices profit and actual (or equilibrium) prices and profit, and the
question of the determination of the latter. What is the R-W equation for
the determination of actual profit, as opposed to "ideal profit"?
Is it similar to the above equation, or different? If different, then
how?

I look forward very much to continuing the discussion.