[OPE-L:2008] Re: Re: A possible paradox in the theory of value

From: Paul Cockshott (clyder@gn.apc.org)
Date: Sun Jan 02 2000 - 15:24:01 EST

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At 08:37 02/01/00 +1100, ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu wrote:
>I think you're double-counting the 500K hours for the production of the
>means of subsistence of the operators. If I'm paid a wage of $1,000, and
>then spend it all on commodities, then it counts just as $1,000.

Here is a reproduction table that illustrates what I mean. There is
no double counting.
There are 5 productive activities producing cake, bread, corn, bakers
and farmers. Farmers stand in for unskilled labour. The economy maintains
10 farmers using as inputs 10 unskilled humans ( column h ) and
15 tons of bread ( col br).
Bakers stand in as skilled labour in the example, the economy produces
a gross output of 10 bakers, using 10 people to do so, but one of the
bakers is retained to represent the cost of training new bakers. Again
the bakers consume 15 tons of bread.
The production of material products then uses one or other of the two
class of labour plus corn as an input.

            output b f c h br val tot v Profit price
cake tons 20 4 20 1.00 20 4.45 1.0
bread tons 30 5 30 0.91 27 5.55 0.9
corn tons 60 10 10 0.47 28 10 0.5
bakers 10 1 10 15 2.62 26 1.5
farmers 10 10 15 2.36 24 1.4
b= bakers, f=farmers, c= corn, h=humans, br=bread

The surplus product takes the form of cake 20 tons of which have a value
of 1 person per ton.

The commodities are assumed to sell at their value, whereas the labour
is purchased for the cost of its reproduction. The values are given
by all the labour directly and indirectly necessary for their reproduction.
Thus the value of a farmer is 2.36 persons, that of a baker 2.62 persons, but
they are paid only 1.4 and 1.5 respectively.

The profit of 20 is just sufficient for the capitalists to purchase
and eat all the cake produced.

The question is not one of double counting but whether one treats the
costs of reproducing labour as part of the value of what it produces.
If the costs of training enter into the value of the product, so should
the costs of feeding.

If one adopts this approach, one can do the accounting quite consitently.
One ends up with the value of annual profits being equal to the working
population. ( Note that when dealing with value accounts per annum, the
dimension is persons since it is the result of cancelling out person years
per year to give persons ).

It would be interesting to check whether this method of accounting
or Marx's method leads to a more accurate prediction of prices.
Paul Cockshott (clyder@gn.apc.org)

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