File spoon-archives/marxism-thaxis.archive/marxism-thaxis_1996/96-10-29.043, message 34

Date: Fri, 25 Oct 1996 11:22:09 +0930
Subject: Re: M-TH: HoPE

Add a fifth. Marx says in vol 111 of *Capital* that he is concerned only
with price movements corresponding to value movements. Even this is not
strictly correct, but it is much closer to the truth than the propositions
Justin cites which hold only with equal organic compositions of capital. I
would state something a bit stronger than the purely qualitative version of
value theory. Marx can be taken as positing values (the inverse of labour
productivity - which can be defined using prices and can be "negative" etc
contrary to what Brewer assumes) as  a kind of "shadow" price through which
one can theorize the relation between price movements and productivity
movements. In particular, I think Marx is committed to what I call the "Law
of Value", namely, that competition in markets leads to a progressive, all
round decrease in values, which presupposes that there is at least a strong
positive correllation between prices and values. Saying the prices and
values (taken as the inverse of labour productivites) are proportional is
wrong but saying that they are strongly correllated is quite plausible. The
weaker proposition also rescues a fair bit of Ricardo, as well as allowing
one to adopt a more generous interpretation of Marx than is customary in
mainstream economics and in simplistic commentaries such as Brewer's recent

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