LOV - value of references?

Chris Burford cburford at gn.apc.org
Sun Jul 2 22:10:06 MDT 1995

Hi Justin,

You are clearly very committed to asserting that there is
not a dynamic of value in capitalist society, and have returned to
the subject on 30th June. It is helpful that you yourself have clarified,
and therefore agree with Jerry on this, that Sraffa did not write
The Production of Commodities from Commodities in order to
criticise the marxist application of the theory of value.

It is also helpful that you clarify that it is mainly through
Steedman that Sraffa's name has come to be linked with a
marxist position critical of the marxist theory of value.

I posted a criticism of Steedman's assumptions on this list, which
you did not comment on. Does that mean you agree with them as a
model of a capitalist economy because they appear to me highly

You continued in a reply to Jim Devine by saying there is a lot of
other stuff, most of it rather technical and you refer to Samuelson,
Moroshima, Howard and King.

While I accept your wide reading is often valuable on this list I
have a problem on this subject with you referring to many authors without
 quoting from them or summarising from them an intelligible argument.

I feel this is an eclectic approach that proves nothing and is
particularly dangerous in the field of economics where the bourgoisie,
who directly or indirectly fund many economic posts, have every reason
to wish to obscure the marxist law of value.

Everyone agrees the law of value is not designed to give quantitative
results on particular prices, and yet of course bourgois economists
are asked to concentrate on this sort of data in the short term.

There is nothing wrong with having a disagreement or a differing
perspective on this list, but you seem to me to refer to a lot of
authors as being important without being able to give one argument.

What I do pick up from you, which is a telling point in quite a different
way, is that you feel marxists pay reverence to the LOV in a religious
way, without any application. It certainly comes over to me that
you see the transformation issue as tantamount to the theory of
transubstantion in the Catholic church, and feel the need as a good
atheist to insists that no way could wine turn into blood, bread into
flesh, or could prices and the division of labour in a commodity producing
society, equilibrate according to the law of value. The first two
are religious mysteries but where is the mystery in the third?

If your library is as good as it sounds, please give could you give
quotes that might convince someone of the merits of atheism
because I continue to think overall that the law of value sounds
very materialist and its application seems very dialectical?

Chris Burford, London.

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