question for David Laibman re: TSS critique

From: rakeshb@STANFORD.EDU
Date: Wed Apr 09 2003 - 16:08:21 EDT

Hi David (if you're still on this list),
As someone influenced by Grossmann, I got a chuckle out of your
extending one of Freeman's/TSS's schemes beyond five or so periods in
order to show that the rate of profit cannot fall as a result of viable
technical change or that over the long term the money and value rates
of profit will track the (rising) material rate of profit. Of course
you will remember that Grossmann extended Bauer's reproduction scheme
in order a limit to capital in the shortage of the mass of surplus
value as a result of a falling rate of profit. You have turned "the
tables"--so the speak--by using Grossmann's own trick!

My question is simple: since the original TSS scheme which you extend
makes use of the dubious v=0 assumption (challenged by Jerry), what
would happen if we assume that capital actually pays for more workers
each period in order to work the growing quantity of means of
production. I don't know whether this means v would grow absolutely
each period since the money wage per worker could be falling each
period even with a constant real wage as the unit values of wage goods
falls. But it seems reasonable to assume that the absolute amount of v
grows each period with the growth in the workforce though of course
that absolute growth in v would be limited by the fact that the rate of
exploitation should be growing as well. It (the absolute amount of v)
could even grow if we stipulate a fixed real wage. That depends on the
absolute growth in the workforce.
At any rate, it does seem to me that the whole attempt to determine the
possible trajectories of the rate of profit becomes meaningless once we
assume that v=0 or that workers live on air. It seems to me that your
counter-argument then suffers from accepting just that assumption built
into the TSS model, an assumption which Jerry very astutely called into
question long ago.
Now of course you may be able to show that the rate of profit will not
fall if we assume a constant real wage.
I know that Freeman and Kliman are interested to show that there are
two concepts of value--a simultaneous and inter-temporal one. Their
simple example may show just this.
Yours, Rakesh

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