Re: More on David L's critique of TSS

From: Paul Bullock (paulbullock@EBMS-LTD.CO.UK)
Date: Tue Apr 22 2003 - 07:04:51 EDT


The point was made to Mr Kliman a long while ago,  OPE-L 4867... with
workers living on air  we would find no work necessary, no exploitation and
no capitalism., so no debate. A debate that can be continued on these terms
can only show that 'concepts' are  entirely ideal, not even mataphysical,
for the participants, and not at all materialist in orientation, or baring
any practical purpose in mind for the workers against actual exploitation.

Paul Bl.

----- Original Message -----
From: <rakeshb@STANFORD.EDU>
Sent: Saturday, April 12, 2003 1:07 AM
Subject: More on David L's critique of TSS

> I invite comments and corrections by any who have followed the debates
> in Research in Political Economy. Thanks again to Paul Zarembka for
> putting together such high quality and stimulating volumes.
> I had mentioned a peculiarity in the examples that Kliman and Freeman,
> as well as David L, have been using: workers are supposed to live on air
> and there is no growth in the size of the proletariat over time. Of
> course if workers were living on air and capitalists could use their
> growing means of production to employ and exploit more workers over
> time, it's not clear that the rate of profit would fall whether one uses
> the simultaneist or temporal conception of value--as long as we were
> assuming that total labor productivity was not falling, i.e., the sum of
> indirect and direct labor required per unit of output was not rising.
> For those who have seen the KF example which David reworks on pp.297-99
> in Research in Political Economy, vol 19, they will notice that I have
> only modified it in the following example. I simply allow for more labor
> to be employed each period though of course I allow for the means of
> production to grow faster than the labor force, i.e., I assume a rising
> I should emphasize that unit values do decline in each period in my
> example as per TSS requirements; they just don't fall as fast since
> additional labor is being absorbed in each period.
> So let's allow the physical ratio of C to L increase incrementally from
> 10:10 or 1:1 in the first period (I don't show here the original KF
> table in which the physical quantities are laid out); in the second
> period we will have 12:11; then 15:13; and finally 20:17.
> Period  C (hrs) L(hrs)  X(hrs) ROP [(X-C)/C]
> 1       50      10      60      0.200
> 2       60      11      71      0.183
> 3       71      13      84      0.183
> 4       84      17      101     0.202
> Again there is no trend for the decline in the rate of profit as long as
> we keep the TSS methodological assumption that variable capital (or v)
> can be held at zero and workers thus imagined to live on air.
> Even if we assume that variable capital is 1/2 of L or in other words
> the rate of exploitation is 100% and thus the rate of profit is
> calculated as (X-C)/(C+V), we still don't get a clear trend towards a
> falling rate of profit in this four period model.
> And the reason remains the same as long as we are assuming that unpaid
> labor time determines surplus value: the greater physical quantity of
> means of production allows more unpaid labor to be absorbed in each
> Now, none of this is meant to discount the breakthrough which Kliman and
> Freeman have made in demonstrating that there are two conceptions of
> value and for the determination thereof. I do think that both Duncan
> Foley and David L do recognize that KF have opened up a new perspective
> on the value question (though of course the seminal contribution seems
> to have been John Ernst's).
> I would also like to express a criticism of David L's simulation on p.301.
> It seems that more means of production are produced in the period before
> than are used in the period following.
> Where does the demand then come for these extra means of production? Is
> there some implicit Malthusian third party which is doing the consuming?
> Where do these means of production go?
> More importantly,it seems that the example artificially inflates the
> output while minimizing the input. Of course the material rate of profit
> will be so high here that it's not surprising that David L is able to
> demonstrating some kind of tracking by the value rate of profit. But it
> seems that he's stacked the example.
> Yours, Rakesh

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