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

From: Paul Cockshott (wpc@DCS.GLA.AC.UK)
Date: Mon Feb 13 2006 - 05:05:45 EST

Fred Moseley wrote:

>On Sat, 11 Feb 2006, Paul Cockshott wrote:
>>I don't have any refernces to Sraffian works that do that,
> but I don't doubt that one could reformulate things in that way.
>I am not so sure.  I would like to see it actually done,
>i.e. assume unequal turnover times and exchanges at
>different points in time.  It seems to me that,
>if one assumes given physical quantities,
>and from these determines relative prices
>that will reproduce the same physical quantities
>in the next period, then one must assume that
>all industries have the same turnover period
>and that all exchange take place at the same time -
>the end of the single period.
I am not sure that I want to devote the two weeks to a month
that it would take to work out the maths of this, but there
are obvious mathematical modelling strategies that one can use.

1. For each industry and each input one must distinguish
    a) a working stock of each means of production required to sustain
       production of the final output at a unit level
    b) a consumption rate of the means of production that is implied by
       production at the unit level.
    Combined these two give us a stock which can be valued as capital
    and a flow required for the labour value and reproduction cost

2, To handle turnover time one introduces the concept of a stock of
    work in progress that is required to produce the final output. One
    then divides each industry into a pair of industries, the first element
    of the pair produces the final output but requires a working stock
    of work in progress to do this. This working stock is then analysed
    using rules 1.a and 1.b above. The second element of the industry
    is engaged in the production of the work in progress, This has the
    inputs the one would normally have for the industry but its output
    is the work in progress commodity,

    It can be seen tha this device doubles the number of commodities
    in the system - it now has the original n sold commodities plus
    n other commodities which represent work in progress.

    Of course depending on the level of detail to which one wants to
    pursue the analysis you could split an industry up into several
    sub phases. To take the cannonical ricardian example of wine
    production one might split it into grape production, juice
    production, fermentation and maturation, the output of each of
    which represents work in progress.

    An agriculturally based industry like that may actually be better
    analysed using Sraffas fixed period analysis, but if one looks
    at plastics production, there are stocks of various intermediates-
ethylene, styrene etc
    which themselves represent work in progress. In the latter case one
    is dealing with continuous flow production.

>>-----Original Message-----
>>From: OPE-L [mailto:OPE-L@SUS.CSUCHICO.EDU] On Behalf Of Fred Moseley
>>Sent: 11 February 2006 15:17
>>Subject: Re: [OPE-L] price of production/value
>>Hi Paul, thank for your message of last Monday, which I seem to have
>>deleted by mistake.
>>You said:
>>"I agree that the Sraffian theory oversimplifies in this area [the
>>"harvest" method].  However, one could recast all of it in terms of rates
>>of flow but it is not clear that this would invalidate the result that
>>prices of production could be deduced independently of recourse to labor
>>I don't deny that in Sraffian theory prices of production can be deduced
>>independently of labor values.  Rather, I argue that this conclusion has
>>nothing to do with Marx's theory, because Marx's theory is based on an
>>entirely different logical method, and it follows from Marx's logical
>>method that prices of production cannot be deduced independently of
>>Paul, would you please send me references of Sraffian works that reject
>>Sraffa's "harvest" method and reformulate the theory in terms of unequal
>>turnover times and exchanges at different points in time.  I don't see how
>>these points could be made consistent with the reproduction of the same
>>physical quantities, period after period.
>>Thanks very much.

Paul Cockshott
Dept Computing Science
University of Glasgow

0141 330 3125

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