Saturday, June 26, 2021

Background Needed For Debates On The Labor Theory Of Value Versus Marginalism

A Propertarian Getting The Better Of The Wrong Side Of The Argument

I have been looking at some debates on YouTube. Not only is there a culture of twitch streamers debating. There are some, such as Noah Cortez "Booksmarts", critiquing debates. By the way, here is a video providing an overview of (Resnick and) Wolff's academic work, seemingly inspired by the prominence Wolff is gaining with his YouTube presence.

I suppose that this post is aspirational, and some of these points can be argued over. I guess, this post is related. I'd like for the debaters to:

  • Recognize that such a debate topic is orthogonal to a debate on socialism versus capitalism. Thus, Barone's economic calculation problem is not on-topic, without an argument.
  • Know the distinction between use value and exchange value, as in Aristotle (arguably), Adam Smith, Ricardo, and Marx. Use value is about physical properties of commodities, not preferences or utility functions.
  • Know something of the theory of revealed preference, ordinal utility, and cardinal utility.
  • Distinguish between market prices and natural prices, also known as prices of production. Prices of production are defined when outputs are at the level of what Adam Smith calls effectual demand.
  • Distinguish between the short run and long run in, for example, Marshall. Some, maybe, should know that Mises' evenly rotating economy is compatible with an analysis of prices of production. Walras' general equilibrium is a theory of the long run.
  • Recognize prices of production are consistent with utility maximization, as in marginalism.
  • Distinguish prices of production from embodied labor values, also known as employment multipliers. Maybe debaters should be able to contrast labor values with labor commanded.
  • Recognize supply and demand are not functions of price in Smith, Ricardo, and Marx, but are such in marginalism. Well-defined functions for supply and demand were abandoned, more or less, in marginalist long run theory after the CCC.
  • Understand that variations of organic composition of capital suggests, as explained by Marx in his account of the transformation problem, that prices of production cannot be expected to be proportional to labor values.
  • Known that Marx claimed, in Volume 3, that the rate of profits used in calculating prices of production comes from the system of labor values. Max also claimed that total prices and total profits were equal to total labor values and total surplus values, or so I think. I call these some of Marx's invariants.
  • Have some familiarity with national income accounting and Leontief matrices.
  • Have some awareness of empirical results on the labor theory of value as a theory of price.
  • Have some awareness of empirical results on trends in the OCC, the rate of exploitation, and the rate of profits.
  • Have some view on what empirical results test marginalism. Does behavioral economics show that it is both falsifiable and false?

By the way, I do not have a high opinion of Böhm-Bawerk's Karl Marx and the Close of his System.

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