[OPE-L:7334] RE: Re: interpreting Marx's texts

From: mongiovg (mongiovg@stjohns.edu)
Date: Wed Jun 05 2002 - 12:09:25 EDT

>===== Original Message From "Fred B. Moseley" <fmoseley@mtholyoke.edu> =====

>> I think that were Marx alive he would use matrix algebra.
>I don't think so.  Because matrix algebra does not fit with Marx's logical
>method.  Matrix algebra Marxism assumes that the rate of profit is
>determined simultaneously with prices of production and that the initial
>givens in Marx's theory of values and prices of production are the
>physical quantities of inputs and outputs.  Marx's own logic, to the
>contrary, assumes that the rate of profit is determined prior to prices of
>production, by the Volume 1 analysis of capital in general, and that the
>initial givens are quantities of money-capital (constant capital and
>variable capital), quantities of abstract labor, and the money-value
>produced per hour of abstract labor.


Obviously this is a huge issue, so let me make a small point.  The terminology 
of "simultaneous" versus "prior" is perhaps a little  misleading here.  The 
simultaneous equation formulations of Marx's value theory don't take a stance 
on the temporal priority of determination: they simply maintain that if the 
real wage is given the profit rate cannot be explained INDEPENDENTLY of prices 
of production. If one accepts this proposition then there are two options for 
reading Marx: either (i) the rate of profit he has in mind is an altogether 
different entity from what is traditionally understood by the normal rate of 
profit: he's talking about a different concept from the one Smith and Ricardo 
had in mind when they referred to the profit rate; or (ii) Marx's explanation 
of the profit rate, if he means by "profit rate" what Smith and Ricardo meant, 
is incorrect.


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