zero average profit

From: Ian Wright (ian_paul_wright@HOTMAIL.COM)
Date: Fri May 30 2003 - 14:26:05 EDT

I have a basic question that troubles me, which may nevertheless
have a very obvious answer that I'm just not getting. Any help
on this would be appreciated.

When considering simple circulation at the beginning of Capital
Vol 1., Marx explains, as I understand it, that if (a) the total
money in a closed economy is fixed and (b) exchange is money
conserving then (c) average profits are zero (and he therefore
concludes that profits cannot arise from circulation). Essentially,
any profit is cancelled by another's loss.

Let's place the possibility of hoarding to one side.

Marx then discusses how the distinction between paid and unpaid
labour-time accounts for surplus-value. But the introduction of
capitalist exploitation doesn't change the above conditions (a)
and (b). So in this situation, consequence (c) still follows and
we'd expect average profits to be zero (rather than, say, a
uniform positive rate of profit).

Is there a flaw in this reasoning?


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