File spoon-archives/marxism-thaxis.archive/marxism-thaxis_1996/96-10-29.043, message 72


Date: Sun, 27 Oct 1996 05:36:04 GMT
Subject: Re: Re: M-TH: value theory and intuitive expla


On Sun,Oct 27, 1996 12:07:09 AM, Justin Schwartz wrote:  
  
>  
>On 26 Oct 1996, jc mullen wrote:  
>  
 
>> Well I need more time to think this one over.  
>>  Butthere are some things I don't understand. How can competitive 
markets  
>> with a price and a cost for labour explain how more value is produced 
with less  
>> labour. Maybe maths built around these ideas can reflect (simulate) 
changes in  
>> the economy, but how could they -explain- it.   
>  
>Your question begs the question by building in the term value. The kinds  
>of explanation taht would be offered by the sort of economic theory I was 

>discussing, which don't use value as a theoretical term, don't purport to 

>explain how more value is produced with less labor. They purport to  
>explain,a mong other things, how more commodities are produced at cheaper 

>prices with less labor. The challenge for the value theorist is toi  
>explain what reference to value adds. I concede that value talk is useful 

>as a way to discuss exploitation, although I would cut the notion of value

 
>free from embodied labor. But this is, as hans d. and some othersw ere  
>saying, a qualitative use of the notion that does not turn on the labor  
>theory of value.  
  
"The challenge for the value theorist is to  
explain what reference to value adds."  
  
One of the things that value "adds" is the conceptual understanding of 
*capital* as an economic, quantitatively determined, category.  For Marx, 
capital is accumulated "dead" labor.  The most crucial economic category, 
the rate of profit, is shown by Marx to depend on the *quantitative* 
relationship between the *aggregate* of this accumulated past labor and the

*aggregate* living labor set in motion by it.  No non-Marxian theory has 
even come close to a satisfactory concept of capital--most try to dissolve 
it entirely into the fantastical notion of "discounted present value of the

future income stream that will be derived from the capital assets."  To 
quote the very best of non-adherents to the labor theory of value, Joan 
Robinson:  
  
"The evaluation of a stock of capital goods is the most perplexing point in

the whole of the analysis which we have undertaken. Indeed in reality it is

insoluble in principle." (The Accumulation of Capital, p.117)  
  
Shane Mage  
>


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