[OPE-L:4016] Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Surplus value or surplus argument?

From: Steve Keen (s.keen@uws.edu.au)
Date: Mon Oct 09 2000 - 08:38:03 EDT

Forgive me Fred, but sometimes when I read what you say is Marx, I wonder
whether we're talking about the same author.

(1) The following two tables are taken from Vol III. In both of them, the
ratio S/V is the same in all industries--an assumption to which you object.
Well maybe, but Charlie did make it. I don't see how you can casually drop
it, and then claim you're not modifying Charlie:

Kap III: 57
          Capital   Labour    Surplus-value  Total output
Old       100       20        10             130
New       90        30        15             135

Kap III: 157.

      Constant Variable  R.S.V.    S.V. Product   R.P.
I     80       20        100       20   120       20%
II    70       30        100       30   130       30%
III   60       40        100       40   140       40%
IV    85       15        100       15   115       15%
V     95       5         100       5    105       5%
Sum   390      110       100       110  610       22%

"RSV" in that table is the ratio S/V, which from recollection Marx assumed
constant ACROSS INDUSTRIES in every example he ever gave (bar one, where he
was playing with the possibility I have followed up, that "the use value of
the machine significantly greater than its value; i.e.
that its devaluation in the service of production is not proportional to
its increasing effect on production" Grundrisse: 383).

Now if you drop the assumption that S/V is constant across industries, then
you don't have a transformation problem, for sure. But you also don't have
a labor theory of value.

(2) "Proportional to" does not mean "1:1": it means "always in the same
ratio", whether that is 1:1 as in Marx's examples above, or 2:1, or
1200:37. As you define it, your own argument is inconsistent, since from
S=m.Ls, you would only have "proportionality" as you just used the term if
m=1. I presume that's not what you mean.

At 11:52 PM 10/7/2000 -0400, you wrote:
>On Sun, 8 Oct 2000, Steve Keen wrote:
>> Subject: [OPE-L:4006] Re: Re: Re: Surplus value or surplus argument?
>> When I said that surplus value is proportional to necessary labor, I meant
>> that in the labor theory of value the ratio S/V is taken as constant. 
>Do you mean (as I take from your next sentence) that the ratio S/V is
>taken as constant ACROSS INDUSTRIES?  If so, I don't see this as a
>necessary assumption (see more on this below).  But in any case, the
>constancy of the rate of surplus-value across industries does not imply
>that surplus-value is proportional to NECESSARY labor.  Surplus-value is
>proportional to SURPLUS labor.  Surplus-value would be proportional to
>necessary only if the rate of surplus-value (S/V) were = 1.  So I am still
>puzzled about why you say that surplus-value is proportional to necessary
>> If your key equation is instead
>> S= m.L - V
>> then I don't see how you can maintain a constant rate of surplus value
>> across industries. Therefore if this equation is made pivotal, I think you
>> have a rather different theory to the one Marx set out.
>The equation
>	S  =  mL  - V
>is an equation for the total economy as a whole, not for individual
>industries.  For the analysis of the total economy, it doesn't really
>matter whether the rate of surplus-value is constant or not.  But just to
>clarify, could you please explain more why you think that this equation
>makes it difficult to "maintain a constant rate of surplus-value across
>And my main point remains:  according to my interpretation, surplus-value
>is proportional to surplus labor.
Dr. Steve Keen
Senior Lecturer
Economics & Finance
University of Western Sydney Macarthur
Building 11 Room 30,
Goldsmith Avenue, Campbelltown
PO Box 555 Campbelltown NSW 2560
s.keen@uws.edu.au 61 2 4620-3016 Fax 61 2 4626-6683
Home 02 9558-8018 Mobile 0409 716 088
Home Page: http://bus.macarthur.uws.edu.au/steve-keen/

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Tue Oct 31 2000 - 00:00:09 EST