“The price so regulated = the expenses of capital, + the average profit (F.I. 10 p.c.), is what Smith called the natural price, cost price, etc. It is the average price to which competition between different trades (by transfer of capital or withdrawal of capital) reduces the prices in different trades. Hence, competition reduces commodities not to their value, but to the cost price, which, depending on the organic composition of the respective capitals, is either above, below or = to their values.”Look carefully at the passage in yellow highlighting. If this was really always Marx’s private, consistent and honest opinion from 1862 onwards, it only proves how volume 1 of Capital was a deeply dishonest work of propaganda by a deceptive communist ideologue.
Marx to Engels, 2 August, 1862
Why? Because volume 1 leaves readers with the impression that commodities tend to exchange at their true labour value and that was a real “law” of 19th century capitalism and a serious empirical theory of price determination for that same period of capitalism. The few cryptic statements about prices of production in volume 1 in footnotes do not change this fact, and, if anything, deeply underline Marx’s sleight of hand.
One might defend Marx by arguing that he was a sloppy, inconsistent and confused thinker who either (1) changed his opinions on this subject in the course of his life, swinging back and forwards between two mutually contradictory views or (2) he was guilty of holding inconsistent, contradictory views simultaneously when he wrote volume 1 of Capital, privately holding an opinion he did not uphold in that volume.
But either way Marx is damned.