[OPE-L:7360] Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: interpreting Marx's texts

From: Steve Keen (s.keen@uws.edu.au)
Date: Sat Jun 08 2002 - 01:21:03 EDT


As James Bond says, "Never say never again": here is Marx on the value of 
money (Vol III,p. 352 Progress Press edition):

""What, now, does the industrial capitalist pay, and what is, therefore, 
the price of the loaned capital?... What the buyer of an ordinary 
commodity, buys is its use-value; what he pays for is its value. What the 
borrower of money buys is likewise its use-value as capital; but what does 
he pay for? Surely not its price, or value, as in the case of ordinary 
commodities." (Marx 1894,  p. 352.)"

As for its stability:

""Ricardo never uses the word value for utility or usefulness or "value in 
use". Does he therefore mean to say that the "compensation" is paid to the 
owner of the quarries and coalmines for the "value" the coal and stone have 
before they are removed from the quarry and the mine--in their original 
state? Then he invalidates his entire doctrine of value. Or does value mean 
here, as it must do, the possible use-value and hence the prospective 
exchange-value of coal or stone?" (Marx 1861 TSV Part II, p. 249)

The fact that in general he worked with commodity money of a constant value 
reflects his approach of beginning at the most basic level and adding in 
additional complexities as the analysis developed. He never did get around 
to writing the coherent analysis of when the wage exceeded the value of 
labor power, or when the value of money varied with capitalist expectations 
of profit. But he clearly intended to do so:

"For the time being, necessary labor supposed as such; i.e. that the worker 
always obtains only the minimum of wages. This supposition is necessary, of 
course, so as to establish the laws of profit in so far as they are not 
determined by the rise and fall of wages or by the influence of landed 
property. All these fixed suppositions themselves become fluid in the 
further course of development." (Marx Grundrisse 1857, p. 817.)

The valid use of the word "never" w.r.t. Marx is that he "never" finished 
what he set out to do.

At 12:38 PM 6/8/2002 Saturday, you wrote:
>Diego writes:
>>I disagree. Ricardo and Marx wanted what Mattick and you say but wanted 
>>to explain prices too. Of course the object of a theory of value is not 
>>to explain every price of every commodity at every moment in time at a 
>>hyper-individualistic level. Its object is however to explain the main 
>>trends in the value of the main types of commodities or sectors because 
>>this amounts to explain the heterogeneous and unequal process of capital 
>>accumulation which in turn determines the process of allocation of labor 
>>inside the economy.
>How could it have have been Marx's objective in three volumes of Capital 
>to provide a theory of the determination of individual or sectoral 
>commodity prices and relative prices or even the real general price level 
>since he
>1. never dropped the assumption of a constant value of money
>2. he never broke down his transformation tables into unit values
>3. He never factored in different turnover times or the role of monopolies 
>in his transformation tables, etc.?
>>I guess you are referring to Alfredo Saad-Filho. I promise to read this book.
>Yes, and I feel quite silly not to have got Alfredo's name right; perhaps 
>if we meet in person, I shall not make this embarrassing error again. But 
>I promise you the book is quite illuminating.
>All the best, Rakesh

Home Page: http://www.debunking-economics.com
Associate Professor Steve Keen
School of Economics and Finance
Campbelltown Campus, Building 11 Room 30,
s.keen@uws.edu.au 61 2 4620-3016 Fax 61 2 4626-6683
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