[CrashList] Marxist valuation + RE: physical capital and energy price hikes
julp at freesurf.ch
Thu Sep 28 10:51:20 MDT 2000
[Julien to Charles and then Mark]
>This article in part treats certain important commodiities in simple commodity
>relation to each other , a la Chapter 1 of Capital as a way of estimating
>I thought it was a clever way to
>show a Marxist approach to value in contrast with the methods of bourgeois
>economists, with all the confusion about inflation etc.
Charles, I also think that all attempts until now to make market price
comparisons across time failed while trying to take inflation into account,
resulting in confusion. Therefore, we indeed need other ways of thinking about
However, the article does not look at commodities in relation to each other, but
to certain market prices of those commodities in relation to each other.
Comparing market prices of different commodities can certainly be more
uselful than to use deflators and stuff but... This article clearly not to compare
commodity prices but to replace the mainstream deflator by the price of gold
to exagerate the price of oil. Is that in any way marxist? And note the quote of a
VP of some corp from a plan to control inflation! Is that marxist???
Instead of trying to find a better deflator than the mainstream one, why don't we
look at relation between the market prices of actual commodities (not precious
metals) depending on what we want ot investigate? F.ex., the price of oil to the
price of the wheat bushel might be an interesting index to look at historically
indeed if we want to look at agriculture and oil.
Or better still, why don't we look behind the prices. Mark and others continually
refer to the world oil production not in dollars or in pounds of gold but in barils.
This is a very good thing to do. We could look at a historical chart of
oil_consumption/population for the world or for countries. My little suggestion
for the moment is that, if we want to grasp the effect of the oil price hike, a good
statistic to peek at would be oil consumption per inhabitant for poor countries
vs. oil production per inhabitant for rich countries. When we see both diverge a
lot in a short period of time, then we will be able to say (whatever the market
price for oil is) that this is a time of great stress and scramble for scarce oil
which will have serious economic consequences. If someone knows where to
gather this kind of data (oil consumption per country), please tell me.
>Have to factor in capital-saving effects of new technology.
Mark, I should probably have stopped the thread following such a short and
vague answer but...
Historically, new technologies have rather increased the capital base of our
economies rather than shrank it. Now, the financial bubble enabled capital
spending to go through the roof so I doubt there's been much capital-saving.
Has the capital goods production sector been in a crisis lately? If there's been
any shrinking of the capital base of "western" economies, it's probably rather
because of delocalization of more capital intensive stuff than in the past.
But I don't even know how you measure capital in this sentence and how it
relates to the energy price hikes, so I may have missed your point.
More information about the A-List