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At 13:23 21/01/00 -0000, Michael J Williams wrote:
>Quite. Marx is an inspiration not a final authority, so my short answer is:
>Because 'labour' is *my* answer to the question How does M => (M + dM)
What puzzles me is why you think that there is anything to explain here.
It is only within Marx's problematic of exchange values being proportionate to
labour content that there is anything to explain. It is only because he first
establishes the domain of exchange as being a paradise of Bantham and the rights
of man, in which the Lockean presupposition about the right to private propery
through labour held, that he has a paradox to explain - how equivalent exchange
could give rise to a circuit that ended up with more value than it starts out
But it is only from the standpoint of Lockean property theory and the
labour theory of value, the most developed forms of bourgeois thought on the
matter in his day, that there is a problem. If you dont start out from the
assumption that equal quantities of labour exchange with one another, where
is there a problem?
If one simply wants to explain the existence of profit as a category in the
economy, quite separate from any assumtions about the labour theory of value,
then Kalecki's explanation is perfectly adequate. Basically this went as
Let Y be the net national income. Let w be the national wage bill, then p=Y-w
will be property income. We then have to determine the magnitude of p, or given
w the magnitude of Y.
He identifies national income Y with the total sales by all firms in the
( excluding at first questions of foreign trade which he deals with later).
Total sales can be subdivided into
1. Sales of consumer goods to workers c
2. Sales of investment goods to other firms i
3. Sales of luxuries to property owners l.
so Y= c+ i + l
He then assumes that workers as a class can not afford to save and that they
spend their whole income on consumption goods. Thus he has 3 equations
1) Y= p+w
2) Y= c + i + l
3) w = c
>From which he deduces that p= i+l
That is to say, the level of profits is determined by the level of
capitalist consumption and new investment by firms.
Note that he does not have to assume anything about the labour theory
of value. His only assumptions relate to the nature of the property relations
- that there exists a class with cash reserves and a class without it.
Why, Mike is there any problem with explaining profit for you, why bring labour
into it at all if you dont think labour regulates prices.
Paul Cockshott (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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