Notes on Ricardo’s Principles (23) – 価値 22

中湖 康太




If we suppose this cause of variation to be removed, and the same quantity of labor to be always required to obtain the same quantity of gold, still gold would not be a perfect measure of value, by which we could accurately ascertain the variations in all other things; nor with fixed capital of the same durability; nor would it require precisely the same length of time before it could be brought to market. It would be a perfect measure of value for all things produced under the same circumstances precisely as itself, but for no others. If, for example, it were produced under the same circumstances as we have supposed necessary to produce cloth and cotton goods, it would be a perfect measure of value for those things, but not so for corn, for coals, and other commodities produced with either a less or a greater proportion of fixed capital, because, as we have shown, every alteration in the permanent rate of profits would have some effect on the relative value of all these goods, independently of any alteration in the quantity of labor employed on their production.


「もし、金が穀物と同様の状況で生産され、それが永遠に変わらないとしても、同様の理由で、衣料や綿製品の価値の完全な基準にはならないのである。金やその他の商品も完全な価値の基準にはならない。しかし、既に述べたように、利益率の変化による商品の相対価値への影響は、相対的に小さく、何と言っても、その生産に必要な労働量の違いが最も大きな影響を与えると言える。従って、金の生産において、この要因を排除できたら(労働投入量に変化がなければ; KN注)、理論的に考えられる標準的な価値の基準にほぼ近いものを得ることになるといってもよいだろう。金は、他の商品との比較で、その生産における労働と資本の比率がほぼ同等と考えてよいだろうか。」

If gold were produced under the same circumstances as corn, even if they never changed, it would not, for the same reasons, be at all times a perfect measure of the value of cloth and cotton goods. Neither gold, then, nor any other commodity, can ever be a perfect measure of value for all things; but I have already remarked that the effect on the relative prices of things, from a variation in profits, is comparatively slight; that by far the most important effects are produced by the varying quantities of labor required for production; and therefore, if we suppose this important cause of variation removed from the production of gold, we shall probably possess as near an approximation to a standard measure of value as can be theoretically conceived. May not gold be considered as a commodity produced with such proportions of the two kinds of capital as approach nearest to the average quantity employed in the production of most commodities? May not these proportions be so nearly equally distant from the two extremes, the one where little fixed capital is used, the other where little labor is employed, as to form a just mean between them?



If then, I may suppose myself to be possessed of a standard so nearly approaching to an invariable one, the advantage is that I shall be enabled to speak of the variations of other things without embarrassing myself on every occasion with the consideration of the possible alteration in the value of the medium in which price and value are estimated.

To facilitate, then, the object of this inquiry, although I fully allow that money made of gold is subject to most of the variations of other things, I shall suppose it to be invariable, and therefore all alterations in price to be occasioned by some alteration in the value of the commodity of which I may be speaking.


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