Re: basic sectors 1or more

From: wpc@DCS.GLA.AC.UK
Date: Mon Sep 29 2003 - 11:01:15 EDT

Quoting Ian Wright <ian_paul_wright@HOTMAIL.COM>:

> >Consider 3 departments
> >Ia produces means of production some of which it uses itself
> >Ib produces means of production some of which it uses itself
> >II is wage goods which use both Ia and Ib
> >Ia and Ib however are autarchic
> If Ia and Ib are autarchic then the set of basic commodities
> is empty, i.e. there isn't one or more commodities required
> for the production of all other commodities. Zero production
> of one basic commodity implies zero production for all
> commodities (basic and non-basic). In this example, zero
> production of a commodity in Ia would not prevent production
> of commodities in Ib (and vice-versa).

I agree that with respect to Sraffa's definintion of the
basic sector being commodities that enter into all commodities
there is here no basic sector. But that is what I am trying to
probe - the possibility that instead of a single basic sector
there could be self sufficient islands within the i/o table.

> >There is now no single basic sector acting as an upper limit
> >on the rate of profit. At first sight, it would seem that
> >were there a uniform rate of profit, then whichever of
> >the sectors Ia and Ib had the smaller eigen value would
> >constrain the overall rate of profit. I am not sure about this though
> In addition, a usual assumption of the physical quantities approach
> is that there is always at least one basic commodity that requires
> labour for its production. So, irrespective of whether your
> example is a possible economic situation, it falls outside of what
> is usually considered.

I assume that both Ia and Ib require labour for their production.
But if we assume that no wages are advanced but adopt instead
sraffas division of the national product approach, this does
not impair treating Ia and Ib as both being relatively basic.
In these circumstances wage goods are not basic.
> The answer you give: that one of the sectors, Ia or Ib, must
> be a limiting factor seems right, but the analysis would need
> to proceed without the concept of a set of basic commodities
> (I think). There aren't 2 basic sectors here, there are none.
> -Ian.
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