A Critique to the So-Called Temporal Single-System Interpretation of Marx's Value Theory

Xxxx Xxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx at xxxxxxxxxxxxx.xxx
Tue Feb 27 14:55:14 MST 2001


A Critique to the So-Called Temporal Single-System Interpretation of
Marx's Value Theory,

Dong-Min Rieu (Chungnam National University, Korea)
e-mail : rieudm at cnu.ac.kr

1. Introduction

The purpose of this paper is to examine the recently developed tendency
in the labor theory of value dubbed as the temporal single-system
interpretation (hereafter TSS interpretation) in the current literature
(see, e.g. Freeman & Carchedi eds. 1996,  Kliman. 1997, Ramos. 1997,
Kliman & McGlone. 1999, Freeman. 1999). TSS interpretation asserts that
the two conventional aggregates in the transformation procedure and the
tendency of the rate of profit to fall hold in Marx's original form. It
also alleges itself as an interpretation of Marx's own theory, not as a
new theory or approach.

TSS interpretation classifies various interpretations of Marx's value
theory according to the two criteria; (1) dual or single system
according as whether value and price are regarded as two independent
systems or mutually penetrating single system. (2) simultaneous or
temporal system according as whether inputs and outputs are
simultaneously valuated in the equilibrium framework or temporally
valuated introducing historical time.
Whereas the main feature of dual-system is to posit value and price as
mutually independent linear equation systems in the same vein of
Leontief-Sraffa-Morishima, single-system interpretation argues that the
values of constant and variable capital depend on the prices, not the
values, of them. In so far as dual system is posited, the two aggregates
in the 3rd volume of Capital can not be compatible, as shown by
Bortkiewicz. However, they are compatible in single-system
interpretation. Therefore, it is argued that the inconsistency critique
of Marx's value theory can be refuted.

On the other hand, simultaneous valuation in the tradition of general
equilibrium theory leads to the theoretical results that nullify the
dynamic implications of Marx's value theory. For example, Okishio
theorem, placing Marx's value concept in a static setting, could negate
the law of falling tendency in the rate of profit, which can only be
grasped in a dynamic perspective. Temporal system interpretation alleges
that it can replicate Marx's results by defining the variables within
historical time. Therefore, the redundancy critique of Marx's value
concept (e.g., Samuelson. 1971, Steedman. 1977) can be imputed to the
fallacy of simultaneous valuation.

The arguments of TSS interpretation are provocative in the sense that it
not only vindicates Marx's theoretical results in an orthodox way
(Laibman. 1996), but also aims at the dominant discourse of almost all
price theories, i.e. simultaneous equilibrium concept.

First of all, can it be alleged as an interpretation loyal to Marx's
value concept? However, the question like this has tended to result in
never-ending and unproductive citations and recitations of Marx's own
texts including Capital. Therefore, I will try to answer the question
put in a more indirect way; can the TSS interpretation refute
theinconsistency critique and the redundancy critique of Marx's value
theory in a more effective way than the other interpretations? I will
show that it is neither a superior nor a more efficient interpretation.
Furthermore, a perverse implication of the TSS interpretation will be

Next, I will treat the logical consistency of the concept of historical
time advanced by the TSS interpretation.

Xxxx Xxxxx Xxxxxx
Ph.D Student
Department of Political Science
SUNY at Albany
Nelson A. Rockefeller College
135 Western Ave.; Milne 102
Albany, NY 12222

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