[OPE-L:3616] Re: Fundamental Un-Marxian Theorem

From: Andrew_Kliman (Andrew_Kliman@email.msn.com)
Date: Mon Aug 07 2000 - 19:37:57 EDT

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A response to Gil Skillman's OPE-L 3611.

Gil, you're wrong again -- or, perhaps, you continue to be wrong.

Once again, you've invoked the "Fundamental Marxian [sic] Theorem." Once
again, you've done so in order to defend the notion that the exploitation
theory of profit does not require that value be determined by labor-time.
The determination of value by labor-time, in your words, "besides being
logically problematic, [is] completely unnecessary to establish the
logical correspondence of profit and capitalist exploitation.
So why not dispense with [it]?"

There is a huge, gaping problem with this argument, which I have already
brought to your attention on this list. Unfortunately, you seem to have
decided to ignore it, and instead to continue to tell your tale.

The problem is that the Fundamental Marxian [sic] Theorem DOES NOT HOLD
IN ACTUAL ECONOMIES. A paper of mine that's forthcoming in _Capital and
Class_ demonstrates that -- under the standard (simultaneist and
dual-system) interpretation of Marx's value theory -- surplus-labor is
neither necessary nor sufficient for the existence of positive profit,
EVEN IN THE SINGLE PRODUCTION CASE (i.e., no joint production). Except
in some very unrealistic special cases -- all profit rates are exactly
equal, or physical surpluses of each and every use-value are positive, in
each and every period, no matter how short the period -- "surplus-labor"
can be positive while "profit" is negative, and "surplus-labor" can be
negative while "profit" is positive.

The paper further shows that the temporal single-system interpretation of
Marx's value theory is the only existing interpretation according to
which surplus-labor is both necessary and sufficient for positive profit.

You also write:

"Marx... had to justify an alternative basis for comparing the price and
value regimes ...."

Huh? Marx didn't have two different "regimes" (or "systems"). He had a
single system of values and prices. Bortkiewicz "corrected" Marx by
transforming his single system into two systems, remember?

Andrew Kliman

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