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Isaak Rubin, Fundamental Features of Marx’s Theory of Value and How It Differs from Ricardo’s Theory, 1924, in Responses to Marx’s Capital: From Rudolf Hilferding to Isaak Illich Rubin, ed. by Richard Day and Daniel Gaido, Chicago, IL; Haymarket Books, 2017, p. 557.
In simple commodity production such equalization of the conditions of production in the various branches signifies that some definite quantity of labor, expended by producers in the different spheres of the economy, furnishes a product of equal value. The values of commodities on the market are directly proportional to the quantities of labor required for production… But if value is determined by the quantity of labor that is socially necessary to produce one unit of the commodity, this quantity of labor depends in turn on labor productivity. The development of labor productivity reduces the socially necessary labor time and lowers the value of a unit of the commodity… Thus the development of labor productivity brings about a change in value of the products of labor; and the change of value, in turn, affects the distribution of social labor between the various branches of production. From labor productivity, to labor value, to the distribution of social labor: such is the scheme of a commodity economy in which value plays the role of regulator, establishing equilibrium — amongst all the constant deviation and fluctuations — in the distribution of social labor between the various branches of the economy. The law of value is the law of equilibrium in commodity society.
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Isaak Illich Rubin, Fundamental Features of Marx’s Theory of Value and How It Differs from Ricardo’s Theory, 1924, in Responses to Marx’s Capital: From Rudolf Hilferding to Isaak Illich Rubin, ed. by Richard Day and Daniel Gaido, Chicago, IL; Haymarket Books, 2017, p. 556.
Commodity economy can only exist because every disruption of equilibrium calls forth a tendency towards its restoration. This tendency to restore equilibrium is inherent in the very mechanism of the market and market prices. In commodity society not a single commodity producer directs another to expand or to curtail production. But, through their activity in relation to things, people influence the laboring activity of others — without knowing that they are doing so — and motivate them to expand or curtail production. Overproduction of cloth and the resulting fall in prices below value induce cloth-makers to curtail production, and the reverse occurs in the case of underproduction. The deviation of market prices from values represents the mechanism through which overproduction and underproduction are overcome, creating a tendency towards re-establishment of equilibrium between a given branch of production and the other branches of economy.
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Isaak Rubin, Fundamental Features of Marx’s Theory of Value and How It Differs from Ricardo’s Theory, 1924, in Responses to Marx’s Capital: From Rudolf Hilferding to Isaak Illich Rubin, ed. by Richard Day and Daniel Gaido, Chicago, IL; Haymarket Books, 2017 p. 556.
Every society that is based upon a division of labor necessarily presupposes a certain distribution of social labor among the different branches of production. Every system of division of labor is, at the same time, a system of labor distribution. In primitive communist society, in the patriarchal peasant family or in socialist society, the labor of all members of a given economic unit is consciously allocated in advance between particular kinds of tasks, depending upon the character of the needs of members of the group and upon the level of labor productivity. In commodity economy there is no one to regulate the distribution of labor between individual branches of production… A commodity economy is a system of continuously disrupted equilibrium.
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Isaak Rubin, Fundamental Features of Marx’s Theory of Value and How It Differs from Ricardo’s Theory, 1924, in Responses to Marx’s Capital: From Rudolf Hilferding to Isaak Illich Rubin, ed. by Richard Day and Daniel Gaido, Chicago, IL; Haymarket Books, 2017, p. 546.
The role of exchange, as a necessary moment of the production process itself, results from the unorganized character or so-called “anarchy” of capitalist production. In a socialist society, exchange in its contemporary form would be redundant. Social organs would determine in advance the specific production relations between people that are needed for a proper and steady course of the material-technical production process. Consumer goods and means of production would move from one person to another not on the basis of exchange, or through buying and selling, but in a pattern that is predetermined by society and meets the requirements of the technical production process.
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