Re: [OPE-L] price of production/supply price/value

From: Ian Wright (wrighti@ACM.ORG)
Date: Thu Feb 09 2006 - 12:55:32 EST

Hi Andy

"The (to my mind) 'clinching' point runs as follows. You [that is with
your neo-R hat  on] have a scalar magnitude (price), attached to each
commodity, continually  giving rise to a complex matrix, viz. the
input-output matrix of an economy. Variations in price, on your
account, are causing variations in this input-output matrix such that
the resulting matrix is always a member of the set of feasible
reproduction proportions. However, and this is the key point, it is
impossible, or miraculous, for variations in a scalar magnitude across
commodities (and through time) to cause variations in a matrix, the
input-output matrix, such that these variations continually conform to
feasible reproduction proportions. Impossible, that is, *unless* there
is a way of reducing, or necessarily relating, the set of matrices
representing feasible reproduction proportions to a scalar varying in
magnitude from commodity to commodity. Only if such a scalar exists
and tethers price magnitude can the continual reproduction of
capitalism be possible, on this argument."

I don't understand your argument. It is the "unless" step that I don't
understand. Why do you think that an economic structure (e.g. i/o
matrix) *must* be reduced to a non-price scalar in order for the
economy to reproduce over time?

There are simple models of price/quantity dynamics on i/o structures,
although this is not an area I have studied. Goodwin, for example,
developed some models based on diagonalizing the commodity space into
independent eigencommodities, which helped him simplify the dynamics.
The stability properties of such models is, I think, problematic; but
nonetheless, I don't see how you've established that the idea of an
economy reproducing through time via interactions between prices and
quantities on an i/o structure *necessarily* implies there is an
underlying value substance. I am sorry but I am not getting your

> Note there is nothing in this argument to suggest that we are dealing with a 'substance'. We are dealing with a 'something', a 'something' that must tether price magnitude.

Why does that "something" have to be a "substance". Why can't it be a
structure? The latter cannot be represented as a scalar.

I note your point about time, which is linked to an invariable measure
of value; but let's not pursue this now, as you suggested earlier.


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