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

From: Dave Zachariah (
Date: Thu Jul 03 2008 - 15:32:30 EDT

on 2008-07-03 15:55 Alejandro Agafonow wrote:
> ZACHARIAH: «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.»
> When WRIGHT speaks of “social error signals” referring to “deviations 
> of prices from values”, he is not but speaking of an outcome that in 
> one way or another is going to or should be achieved. COTTRELL & 
> COCKSHOTT make something similar when approve the alleged empirical 
> studies proving the proportionality of prices and labour values y 
> capitalists economies.

Ok, so "reaching natural prices" was a mistranslation.

> The crucial point is that this “attractor function” is fatally damaged 
> when we comprehend that “deviations of prices from values” ARE NOT 
> “social error signals”.
> A comprehension of the dynamics of real markets would let you 
> recognize that these deviations are the norm indeed.

You are placing too much emphasis on "social error"; that was Ian's 
wording. Put it in a different way: the deviations of market prices from 
prices proportional to labour values are claimed to serve as feedback 
signals. The deviations are indeed the norm or else there would not be 
any feedback.

> To obtain this result you have to cover the fact that some 
> entrepreneurs are actually obtaining extraordinary proceeds. You force 
> reality to adopt Marx’s assumption that market really generalizes 
> methods of production until a point which nobody is able to obtain 
> extraordinary proceeds.
> Unless you arbitrary select a single commodity in a stage of the 
> production cycle when have entered too much competitors in this 
> market, your are not going to obtain this “single curve”. This is not 
> but a temporary and strange situation.

You are simply wrong. Labour value is a theoretical quantity of the 
social labour necessary to reproduce a good or service under the 
existing standard conditions of production. Whether one takes 'standard' 
to mean either 'average' or 'best-practice' is a theoretical choice. But 
it does not assume anything about the number of competitors on the 
market, and certainly does not contradict that some firms make 

There are a large number of production techniques but we determine 
labour value using one or a composite of many; then you will have a 
single curve but a large number of discontinuous price curves spread 
over our 2D graph.

Therefore I agree with Ian's final words in his previous post.

//Dave Z

(On a different note: Why do you insist on chanting "entrepreneurs" all 
the time, it is the firms that produce and directly earn profit, and the 
dominant capitalist firms can hardly be abstracted as "entrepreneurs".)

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