[OPE-L:3496] Re: Re: valuation of imports

From: Paul Cockshott (wpc@dcs.gla.ac.uk)
Date: Tue Jun 13 2000 - 05:04:48 EDT

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At 09:02 12/06/00 -0600, you wrote:
>I don't think that the USA and the Euro zone are comparable in the sense that
>the US represents a single nation-state. A better comparison, imo, would be
>between the Euro zone and the NAFTA zone.

The problem with nafta is that it is not a currency union. Does the US
a single nation state? I thought that it was a federation of such states?

> > The point about using only US labour inputs in computing values
> > in the US is that only such labour is
> > a) freely disposable accross the range of all economic activities in
> the country - many services for example can not be produced
> abroad.
>Interpreted literally, this would include labour employed in the state sector
>as "labour inputs in computing values".

I does not imply that. I am saying that from the standpoint of the us economy
domestic and foreign labour are different, as domestic labour is disponable
across the whole gamut of economic activities - including un-productive ones
yes, but that does not mean that we have to include unproductive activities
as productive of value.

The point is that from the standpoint of the US economy, US workers are
universal robots, who can be applied to the production of any combination
of goods and services within the production possibility frontier. Mexican
domiciled workers are not in the same situation. Their ability of to substitute
for US workers, whilst substantial is not complete. There are differences in
skill, but more importantly imigration barriers prevent them from being
able to freely for US labour substitute in service activities.

This distinction does not exist within the Euro zone where there is a
currency union, a customs union and free labour mobility.

On the secondary question of whether some public sector labour constitutes
socially necessary labour time, in my opinion it definitely does, one should
include labour required to produce and maintain roads for example as
part of the socially necessary labour time. In practice there are difficulties
in separating things out exactly due to the level of granularity of the
i/o tables, but in principle the fact that labour is employed by the public
rather than the private sector is imaterial as to whether it is socially

> > The labour of its citizens is the basic productive resource
> > of the country.
>Whether the labor is performed by citizens or not should not determine which
>labor is creative of value. In the US and many other countries, a significant
>percentage of the labor force is composed of non-citizens including
>undocumented workers. Surely, they are creative of value as well.

Sorry - slip of the finger - include the metics.

> > b) accross the US population there is a given average level of skill
> > and productvity, this will not be the same as the average level of
> > skill in other countries
>This is tautologically the case. However, one could equally say that there is
>a given but *different* level of skill and productivity in different *regions*
>of the US. Indeed, these regional differences are significant in many cases.
>Thus, we might expect a different mix of skills and productivity in
>Connecticut vs. Louisiana. Similarly, we might expect significant differences
>in skills and productivity in Scotland vs. England. Within the Euro region,
>although one could calculate an average, we might anticipate significant
>variations in skill and productivity in comparing Spain to Germany, Italy to
>Austria, France to Britain, etc.

Yes but labour is free to migrate from Louisiana to Connecticut or from Glasgow
to London or from Naples to Vienna. It is not free to migrate from Mexico
to the US.

> > c) It relates to what value flow accounts are. Value flow accounts are
> by dimensional analysis person years per year, thus == persons.
> Value flow accounts are an image of the distribution of social
> labour within the country.
>Above, you suggest that the ideal unit should be the customs union. Why should
>it be "within the country" in the US whereas it should be within the customs
>union for the Euro zone?

A country has in the past been unproblematic - corresponding to a unitary
state. The Euro zone is in a transition stage to becoming a unitary state,
as was Germany 145 years ago after the Zollverein. During the transition
period such formations have part but not all of the characteristics of
a single country. As an advocate of the state theory of money, I would
say that the establishment of the Euro represents a major component of
the formation of a European state. The Euro will be acceptable for the
payment of public and commercial debt throughout the zone. This severely
constrains the degree of tax and public expenditure divergences that
can be accomodated between different parts of Europe.

> > The only sensible way to convert a flow of imports into a number of
> > people is to look at the number of people who have to provide the
> > exports needed to purchase the imports.
>Why is this "the only sensible way"?

Come up with another suggestion and we will see if it holds water.

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