transformation

James Miller jamiller at igc.apc.org
Wed Oct 4 21:44:21 MDT 1995


TRANSFORMATION PROBLEM

   This is in response to a post by Rakesh Oct. 3,
dealing with the law of value in relation to the
transformation problem.
   Rakesh focuses his attention on the evolution of
the law of value prior to the rise of capitalist
society.
   He states, "but this did not mean that the law
of value operated before capitalism, only that it
took much less mystifying form at its earliest
stages."
   My argument that the law of value existed and
operated before capitalism is based on Marx's
work, and is substantiated by numerous quotes from
him and Engels on this topic. Take a look at my
paper entitled, "History and the Law of Value,"
posted in the Progressive Sociologists Network
at csf.colorado.edu.
   It may be true that the law of value took a
"less mystifying form" at its earlier stages, but
this point would have to be explained further. I
would be glad to hear more on this, but my main
objective here is to defend Marx against Sweezy.
   Thanks, Rakesh, for recommending Heilbronner
and Postone for further reading on this.

   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -

   Thanks also to John R. Ernst for recommending
the works of Steedman and Medio on the transformation
problem. I haven't had time to read their
contributions to this discussion, but if there is
any reference that you think would be especially
helpful, let me know.
   I focused my criticism on Sweezy, and as I
mentioned in an earlier posting, on Anwar Shaikh,
as well, because the reproduction scheme format
for the discussion of the transformation problem
has become so widespread in modern writings, and
I haven't seen anyone call attention to the
inappropriateness of this method. As we have seen,
Murray E.G. Smith, writing in 1994, still clings
to this approach.

Jim Miller
Seattle


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