marxism-digest V1 #166

Paul_Cockshott wpc at
Wed Jun 14 02:29:02 MDT 1995

I agree that you don't kick away theladder till you have climbed it, but
when the ladder is broken, you can't climb it. The ladder of quantitative
value theory is definitely broken.

You dont seem to have taken on board the point that
the entire argument against value theory that you
have been advancing is based on a false hypothesis:
that the rate of profit is independent of the
organic composition of capital.

In fact the rate of profit is negatively correlated
with the organic composition. Industries with high
organic composition have on average lower rates of
profit. This feature of reality just does not fit
in with the Sraffian model.

What we see in fact is a partial transformation
from values to prices of production. The process
of equilibration of the rate of profit never goes
far enough to complete the transformation. This
only makes sense if values have an underlying
reality as an attractor for the price vector,
with a tendancy towards profit equalisation acting
as a form of systematic noise on the signal.

When I was an economics student I thought that
Sraffa was talking about the real world. It was
not until I started doing empirical investigations
that I realised what every scientist should know,
that one must adjust ones theories to the facts.
One must not mistake one's theories for facts.

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