Capital & Class. - 1982. - Issue 17 by Conference of Socialist Economists

By Conference of Socialist Economists

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But is there really such a derivation? I see two problems in Lippi's thesis . First, he seems to confuse two levels at which the universal principle can possibly be understood . The first is the essentially trivial idea that each society must necessarily allocate its social labour force among several type of activities . The second and more substantive one refers to the different idea that this requirement universally proceeds through the measurement of the labour embodied in products . In his book Lippi sometimes confuses these two levels .

11 Thus, in this pure system, the sum of prices can change only in two ways : either through a change in the total magnitude of value or through one in the size of the ME . sum of values . In the Marxian literature, this notion is rarely mentioned . Is In fact Marx and his followers implicitly and arbitrarily assumed that the ME is equal to one, so that the same figures could be applied to values and to prices . On the one hand, this undoubtedly facilitates the construction of numerical examples illustrating the theory, since an easy jump from value categories to price categories is then possible .

For value is not related to a technically ideal norm of production but to the average norm which is in existence at a given moment . The suggested distinction is thus based on a substantive, technological view, a position which must be rejected . Certainly, such distinctions can make sense and be useful for many purposes, but they have no relevance within the theory of value . As a result of this rejection, I defend the view that capitalists (when they are not rentiers but work in their firms) and their delegates, are productive of value, like all other workers .

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