Re: capitalism in a single sector? (was: basic sectors 1or more)

From: Paul Cockshott (paul@COCKSHOTT.COM)
Date: Tue Sep 30 2003 - 16:34:48 EDT

glevy@PRATT.EDU wrote:

> Paul C wrote:
> > 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.
> With respect to capitalism, how can sectors be "self sufficient
> islands"?  Isn't the inter-connectedness of capital across
> sectors a distinguishing feature of capitalism?  Or are you
> exploring the possibility of "self sufficient islands" outside
> of -- yet 'co-existing' with -- capitalism?

What I am talking about is the internal structure of i/o tables,
I am asking what if these were partitioned sparse matrices with 2 or
more non-overlapping rectangles along the diagonal something like
a use matrix of:
4  3  0  0  1
1  1  0  0  2
0  0  4  6  9
0  0  2  1  3
0  0  0  0  0
A labour input vector of say
1  2  1  2  6
And a gross product row vector of
8  4  19 6  12
with the final column representing consumer goods
and all others representing means of production.

>   Then again,
> maybe I just don't understand _why_ you are interested in this
> topic.

 I dont at present see any immediate practical relevance, but it
seems to be an implicit assumption of Sraffa that there is one
basic sector, which is probably accurate for capitalist economies
in practice, but is not logically necessary.

As to practical relevance, it seems clear that the Sraffa/von Neumann
model applies not only to economies but to the growth
of cells. Consider a biofilm with multiple bacterial species,
these might be modeled by an i.o. table somewhat like
the one above. The analogue of the maximal profit
rate here would be the maximal rate of exponential growth
of the biofilm. There might be a number of practical
applications of this kind of modelling.

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