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Title: Value and price : a critical analysis of the 'transformation problem'
Author: Moreno, Julio Fernando Goicoechea
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1979
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Academic economists have spent decade after decade in groping attempts to find a new solution to the "Problem" of transforming commodity values into forces of production, to replace the one provided in Marx's Capital. A large number of attempted solutions have been proposed, none of which can be considered as satisfactory. Nevertheless, this modern hydra draws book the veil to reveal what it hides. Thus, what interests us here, is not the difference of shade among the solutions that have been offered to the presupposed "Problem," but rather the nature of the "Problem" itself and those assumptions on which the "Problem" rests. The thesis as a whole takes as a starting point, and rotates around, the work of Ladislaus von Bortkiewicz, foremost propounder of the "Transformation Problem". Before attempts to solve the "Problem" can be made, the "Problem" itself and its terms of reference - which cannot be taken as articles of faith - must be thoroughly examined in scrupulous detail. It is necessary to contrast these terms of reference with the most general and the most abstract elements characterising the bourgeois mode of production as exposed in Marx's Capital. It is an important argument of this thesis that theme economists, and von Bortkiewicz in particular, have failed to pay adequate attention to the assumptions from which this "Problem" is derived, although these are fully examined by Marx. Through a critique of von Bortkiewicz, including consideration of his replacement of value merely by indexes, the thesis sets forth the bourgeois doctrine of value which underlies the "Transformation Problem" and the doctrine's inherent links with Léon Walras, along with Pierre Joseph Proudhon and Eugen Dühring, and shows how this doctrine modifies Capital, Vol. I. These modifications are shown to constitute an insurmountable barrier to recognising the achievements of classical political economists: they weaken our understanding of Adam Smith in explaining how the differences in the skill of labour materialised undergo equalisation, and of David Ricardo, especially in analysing the extent - or magnitude - of value. Value and price are each confined by von Bortkiewicz into a separate system of its own, leading to self-contained principles of accounting not necessarily in monetary terms. The strength or weakness of these two systems is considered by examining their explicit assumptions. In particular, they are confronted with Marx's own three components of commodity value, namely, constant and variable capital and surplus value on its own or in its modified form, i.e. profit. The "Transformation Problem" is dealt with as an outcome both of the bourgeois doctrine of value and of the dual system of accounts, and its inner coherency is systematically and repeatedly tested and it is found to be unsatisfactory. In spite of claiming conversion of values into prices, von Bortkiewicz is found to be exclusively modifying his price-calculation, while value-calculation is obliterated by him.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available