[OPE-L:2174] Re: Re: Re: value-form theories

From: riccardo bellofiore (bellofio@cisi.unito.it)
Date: Sun Jan 16 2000 - 11:00:43 EST

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At 20:04 +0100 15-01-2000, Fred B. Moseley wrote:

>According to my interpretation of Marx's quantitative theory of value
>added, L in this equation is ABSTRACT labor (La), in which quantities of
>skilled labor and more intensive labor (Li) have been converted into
>equivalent quantities of simple labor by means of multipliers or
>"reduction coefficients" (ki) that Marx took as given; i.e.
>(2) La = SUM ( ki Li)
>This quantity of abstract labor is taken as given in Marx's theory of
>value added.
>The m in equation (1), according to my interpretation of Marx's theory of
>value added, is the money-value-added per hour of simple labor, which is
>also taken as given and which Marx assumed is determined by the inverse of
>the value of the money commodity (e.g. gold).

>If VF theory is to provide a determinant quantitative theory of value
>added, then the m in equation (1) also must be taken as given, and
>must be determined independently of this equation and of value added.
>It is not entirely clear to me exactly how the m is equation (1) is
>determined, according to VF theory. As I understand it, labor in
>different industries and different firms will have different mi's. Right?
>But what determines the magnitudes of these mi's? Is the determination of
>these mi's related in any way to different skills and intensities?
>Are they determined independently of equation (1) and value added?

I am deeply impressed by the debate on OPE-L on value-form theories, I am
collecting the posts, and I would like to intervene. It is impossible now,
so, if the debate will be alive in the following couple of months I hope I
can say my opinion later.

Now I have only two points of clarification from Fred:

> from your point about abstract labour above I understand that in your
>opinion the notion of 'abstract' labour has *nothing* to do with exchange,
>either ideal or actual: am I right?

> I am curious of your answer to your second question. That is: it is not
>entirely clear to me exactly how the m is equation (1) is determined,
>according to Fred. It is independent from value added? It is independent
>from exchange? By postulation? Which is the mechanism fixing the 'm'?

Ad you know, I have never understood very well how you fix your 'givens'.
It appears to me that, at first sight, you seem to reason in this way: in
Marx these magnitudes are givens; so if we want to be Marxians we assume
them as givens; then we build a model; then we go and test the model; if it
is OK, the theory is OK. Right? I would have objections on this theoretical
path (but I cannot argue thel now).

My personal opinion about VFT is that it rightly stressed the dimension of
'form' in Marx, but that it has lost the 'substance', and there is no
substance without the form, and viceversa, at least according to Marx. Hic
Rhodus, hic salta. As a consequence, VFT in my opinion has no quantitative
'theory', simply a quantitative 'accounting' (just as Sraffa, who
definitely is not a value form theorist).

I hope I could argue these points in the future.


        Riccardo Bellofiore
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