Re: [OPE] Market socialism [the false assumption of the law of value]

From: Dave Zachariah (
Date: Thu Jul 03 2008 - 05:07:08 EDT

Alejandro Agafonow wrote:
> ZACHARIAH: «If you have a planned economy with some sort of prices 
> there is no market mechanism by which they can gravitate around labour 
> values. This says nothing about whether the labour theory of value 
> holds as a scientific theory about market exchange.»
> The false assumption here is that market mechanism cause the 
> gravitation of prices around labour values. For making a reply you 
> have to face the fact that market economies are never able to reach 
> “natural prices”.

But Alejandro, a stochastic labour theory of value never makes the claim 
that market economies reach some set of "natural prices". You can't find 
that in Ian's paper either. Could you please point to a quote where such 
a claim is made, implicitly or explicitly?

A stochastic LTV makes some claims about the existence and mechanisms 
upholding a distribution of ratios of labour-value to market prices for 
transactions across a market economy. Whether the claims hold is a 
matter of empirical investigation.

Tell me whether these are false assumptions:

   1. There is an immediate and local need for firms to meet their
   2. Capitalist economies have a high level of inter-industry integration.

It is through these premises that a stochastic "law of value" can emerge.

> ZACHARIAH: «For a given commodity-type during a period of time its 
> labour value (singular) is fixed or slowly varying but there is a 
> multitude of market prices that vary over time and space.»
> It seems to me that you are confusing labour as a substance forming 
> part of a single product and prices as an accounting phenomenon, being 
> able to get imputed to single products.

What do you mean here? You wrote previously that 'labour value spins 
around price'. Well, what does that mean other than: for a given 
commodity-type there *one* variable (labour value) that oscillates 
around another *single* variable (price)?

I'm saying that this is conceptually wrong. There is no *single* price 
here. Our given commodity-type has is a *multitude* of prices that *vary 
much faster* than the single variable labour-value.

//Dave Z
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