[OPE-L:4281] Re: Re: Re: Part Two of Volume III of Capital

From: Allin Cottrell (cottrell@wfu.edu)
Date: Wed Oct 25 2000 - 19:45:17 EDT


One more thought on the matters we've been debating.

You're insistent upon "realism".  That's reasonable in itself,
but I'd point out that your commitment to realism is selective.  
You totally reject simple reproduction as too unrealistic to
bother with, yet you're willing to accept a perfectly equalized
rate of profit, at least for the sake of argument.

You may say, "But the equalized rate of profit is the terrain of
the argument between Ricardo and Malthus -- Marx had to accept
it, in order to intervene effectively."  I respond: One always
has a choice between (a) accepting one's opponents' chosen
terrain for the sake of argument, and making the best of it, or
(b) stating a case for the principled rejection of one's
opponents' terrain of argument.

It's my impression that some real capitalist economies over some
(relatively brief) historical periods may have more or less
approximated simple reproduction; on the other hand, I don't
believe that _any_ real capitalist economies over any historical
period have closely approximated an equalized rate of profit.  
The data we have show that profit rates have a fairly wide, and
fairly constant, dispersion (though at different times,
different industries have occupied the "low" and "high" slots in
the distribution).

My inclination is to minimize the "transformation problem" along
the lines proposed by Farjoun and Machover in their "Laws of
Chaos" (Verso, 1983), rather than trying (for the nth time, and
quite hopelessly) to reverse the historic judgment enacted upon
the transformation (on the maintained hypothesis of an equalized
rate of profit) by the economics profession since Bortkiewicz.


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