[OPE-L:2413] RE: Re: Profit rate and profit share

From: P.J.Wells@open.ac.uk
Date: Fri Feb 25 2000 - 10:00:43 EST

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> yes there's loads on empirical measures of the profit rate from some
> sort of marxist perspective. i'd be very interested to here more about
> your review of this stuff.
        Early stages yet -- I'll be coming back to the list with more
questions and ideas as I go on.

> paul dunne's editor's introduction to the 'quantitative marxism' book, is
> quite good on this but nearly 10 years old now. would be good to
> have a systematic update on what has been going on since then
> (including, of course, the work of many members of this list). is there
> any one reference you would point to in particular?
        One reference surveying the field, or a specially interesting
particular contribution?

        As you say, there doesn't seem to be much in the way of recent
survey articles; worst looking at (tho' it is terribly garbled thanks to
gremlins at the editorial stage) is a source of similar vintage to Dunne's:
Richard Walker (1988) "The dynamics of value, price and profit", Capital &
Class 35 (Summer 1988), pp 146-181.

        The garbling mentioned unfortunately means that some of the
references in this survey article are obviously wrong, and more seriously
others are less obviously wrong, while others are just incomplete.

        Nonetheless there is much of interest; not least, in the present
context, the fact that Walker is sceptical about the importance of the
profit rate: "Capitalists... [are not] indifferent to profit rates, ...
[but] the satisfactory performance of the capitalist economy does not rest
on fragilely on the regulatory signals of profits and prices. *In other
words, we must demote the profit rate from the heights it usually occupies
in economic analysis*." (p. 155, emphasis added)

        The last sentence quoted, of course, puts Walker out of step with
some others on various counts.

        As to individual work, I'm actually going through Wolff, Weisskopf
and Moseley's contributions at the moment, but I also think that Dumenil and
Levy are tremendously interesting. Of course, from the perspective of my own
work I have a tendency to be sceptical about what country or sectoral
averages tell us (it's going to be a *critical* review!)


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