[OPE-L:7420] [OPE-L:952] Re: Re: value and price

Ajit Sinha (sinha@cdedse.ernet.in)
06 May 99 13:02:01 IST (+0530)

Jerry writes:
> Ajit wrote in [OPE-L:946]:
> > My question is, in this exchange relation, where
> > does time dimension enter? Is this problem defined for an
> instant
> > of time or for a period of time?

> Jerry:
> Certainly, time enters into price determination. Yes, the
> distinction
> between input prices and output prices is defined for a period of
> time.
> I.e. production (and all moments in the circuit that occurs
> during a
> *period* of production) take time. More specifically, the time at
> the
> beginning of the period, where one has input prices, is different
> from the
> time at the end of the period, where one has output prices.
So you are determined to keep dancing around my simple questions?
And I'm determined to persist. When you say "input prices", what
are they? Aren't you defining your "input price" at a point in
time--that is the point of time when inputs were bought. Similarly
for your "output prices". So both your "input prices" and "output
prices" are defined for only a point in time. And the
question is how these prices were determined? As is clear from your
own account, time does
not enter in the definition of price. Price defined for "during a
period" is an oxymoron.
> > So let me
> > ask you again, what do you mean by price if not a pound of
> cabbage
> > worth $1?

> Jerry:
> If the price of cabbage is $1/pound then it tells us that the
> current
> exchange rate, expressed in US imperial monetary units, of
> cabbage against
> the $ is 1.00. As far as I can tell this last sentence was
> entirely circular.
Whether you go round and round in a circle or go straight, its your
choice. But what you have done above is the definition of price,
which says that a pound of cabbage exchanges against one $. And you
immideately realized that you had to add "current" in your
explanation to suggest that this definition is only valid for a
point in time and not over a period of time.
> Jerry:
> Now, let me be (slightly) more specific. The price of cabbage
> varies both
> *spatially and temporally*. Spatially, it varies regionally and
> internationally. Temporally, it varies as well (e.g. there is no
> reason to
> assume that November, 1998 cabbage prices in a particular region
> will
> equal January, 1999 cabbage prices).
Who is assuming any such thing? If you look into what you are
writing closely then you will see the problem with your reasoning.
What you are saying is nothing "specific" about the question you
were answering above. You have moved from the problem of "what is
price" to an entirely different problem of "what causes prices to
change". And that's what I intend to clearify--this muddling up of
separate problems.
> You ask what price represents. It represents the value-form and
> the value
> of commodities, cabbage included (of which, when cooked, I am
> rather fond
> of).
I have no idea what this is about. I'm glad you like cabbage. It is
good for you.
> I had written:
> > If not really, then what question your theory of value is
> concerned
> > with?

> Jerry:
> I thought I answered that in my last post. You added later in
> your post
> that I "danced around" your question. I suppose that is true
> since I
> didn't really understand what you were asking or getting at.
> When you can't grab onto your partner, one must of necessity
> dance around her/him. Nonetheless, even if it was a "soundbite"
> (short)
> answer that you are unsatisfied with, it was an answer.
Did anybody get it? because i didn't.
> I had written:
> > I'm so glad that you brought about the example which I was
> > going to bring about myself. You see there are two questions
> that
> > are entirely of different nature which you guys confuse into
> one
> > and think that you are doing dynamics. One question is about
> why
> > two commodities differ in value at a given point of time, and
> the
> > other question is why the value of one commodity differs
> between
> > two time points. People think that the second question is
> > essentially about dynamics and time is the essential aspect of
> this
> > problem.

> I agree that a comparison in price between 2 time points is not
> necessarily a dynamic problem (especially if there is no
> technical
> change). Nonetheless, if we are going to talk about what occurs
> both
> within a period and from one period to another, we must recognize
> that
> time (at least logical time) is an essential part of the problem.
The point I was making is that the comparison of prices at two
point in time due to changes in the conditions of what determines
prices is similar to comparison of prices at two different places
with different conditions. So i don't understand your comment about
it is not a dynamic problem "specially" when there is no technical
change. How technical change make any difference to the basic
structure of the problem. The prices between two countries may
differ because they are using different technology, which is
equivalent to the problem of price changes over a period of time
due to technical change. Your comments about "what occurs
both within a period and one period to another" is too vague. One
does not know what you mean by "period", it does not sound like a
point in time. Then again one does not know what you mean by "what
occurs". I think we need to keep to one issue and clearify it
rather than create vagueness about the whole situation.
> I had written:
> > But it is not true. Your example of price of cabbages
> > being different in US, Australia, and India at a given time
> point
> > is basically of the same nature as the second question, even
> though
> > time does not figure in as a dimension in this problem. So what
> is
> > the essential difference between the two problems? In the first
> > problem,
> Jerry:
> ("why commodities differ in value at a given moment in time")
because their technical conditions of production differ.
> Ajit again:
> > what is given is that the rate of profit as well as wages
> > are equal for both the commodities, and thus their differences
> in
> > values must be explained by something other than wages or rate
> of
> > profits.
> > One the other hand the second question looks for the
> > causes that explains the changes in either wages or rate of
> > profits. It's about finding the causes that changes the givens
> of
> > the first problem. So these two problems are separate problems,
> and
> > mixing them together can only create muddle and mumbo jumbos.

> Let's recall what we are discussing: the difference (if any)
> between input
> prices and output prices. Yet, this is not a question defined as
> occurring
> at a given moment in time -- indeed it requires the passage of
> time. Nor
> is it necessarily a dynamic problem.
> Let's consider an end to a circuit. The commodity output, let's
> say, has
> been transported to the market and has a price (output price).
> Before the
> next circuit can commence, the commodity output must be sold.
> That, in
> general, takes time. Then, capitalists must purchase inputs (LP,
> MP)
> before production can continue. That, as well, takes time. And,
> of course,
> production itself takes time. Indeed, both production and
> circulation take
> place over time -- even within the context of what occurs during
> a
> "period".
The question we are discussing is whether a theory of price can
entertain time dimension or not. So let us keep to that. You cannot
do much progress in understanding changes in prices unless you
understand how prices are determined in the first place.
Cheers, ajit sinha
> In solidarity, Jerry