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

From: Dave Zachariah (
Date: Thu Jul 03 2008 - 07:39:58 EDT

Alejandro Agafonow wrote:
> ZACHARIAH: «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?»
> WRIGHT wrote following Marx that “[…] deviations of prices from values 
> are social error signals that function to redistribute labour.” (pp. 
> 18) This is not but the wrong thesis of labour values spinning prices. 
> Wright’s paper is based on this assumption!

Perhaps we should slow down a bit. It feels as if I'm missing some 
information from your posts. You give me a quote by Ian Wright who 
suggests a mechanism by which markets can reallocate social labour.

But this is not what I asked for. What you originally said was "one has 
to face the fact that market economies are never able to reach “natural 
prices”", so I asked who has claimed that market economies do reach 
natural prices? Nobody. What is claimed is that labour values of 
commodities are attractors to market prices. It says nothing about 
actually reaching "natural prices", what ever natural prices are.

> Voila! You have prices matching labour values. You have your so worthy 
> natural or production prices.

Nobody has mentioned "natural or production prices".

> My single price is not but an analytical simplification that doesn’t 
> make any harm to the right understanding of real markets.

It does harm to the very concept of "labour values spinning around 
prices", turning it into nonsense. Your following analogy about planet, 
suns and satellites seems so forced that we should break it down into 
something simpler:

Think of a 2D graph, with time on the x-axis and magnitude on the 
y-axis. Suppose we take a single commodity-type and plot a price 
proportional to its labour-value over time. It is a single curve, that 
is varies fairly slowly. If we look at a short timespan the curve is 
just a horizontal line.

Now, we face the problem of plotting price. In a real capitalist 
economy, at any point in time on the x-axis there is a large number of 
different prices. There is no consistent curve over time. Ok, so let's 
try to follow each seller (assuming it has a single individual price at 
any moment in time) of the commodity-type, this results in large number 
of discontinuous curves varying all over our 2D graph. There is no 
meaningful way to say here that labour-value oscillates around market 

//Dave Z
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