(OPE-L) Re: Figures on the declining rate of profit

From: gerald_a_levy (gerald_a_levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Thu Dec 18 2003 - 10:08:56 EST

Paul C and Simon:

While I appreciate what I take to be Simon's apple-and-orange
objection to comparing empirical findings which use different
definitions and standards of measurement,  I'm wondering whether
the following might meet Paul C's requirements.

Michael J. Webber and David L. Rigby, in _The Golden Age
Illusion: Rethinking Postwar Capitalism_ (NY, The Guilford Press,
1996, ISBN 0-89862-573-4),  present empirical findings
(see Ch. 8, especially Fig. 8.21 on p. 317) on the rate of profit and
the value composition of capital for  Australia, Canada, Japan,
and the USA.

Presumably, W&R consistently defined terms and utilized a
common empirical methodology for this international comparison,
so Simon's apple-and-oranges objection should not apply here.
The question remains, though, if the empirical work that
Allin and you conducted on the UK can be made comparable
to that of W&R. (I don't know the answer to that question.)

Interestingly, W&R -- like Allin and yourself -- were greatly
influenced by Farjoun and Machover's _Laws of Chaos_.
Yet, there is no reference to the writings of AC/PC in their

What do you  think of the empirical methodology  used in
_The Golden Age Illusion_?

In solidarity, Jerry

Paul C wrote:
> For this purpose I am not so concerned with the
> comparability of the figures, I am more concerned with
> whether there are broad trends in the organic composition.
> The figures that I am using for the UK are those from the paper
> that Allin and I had in Capital and Class 55, where we
> set out our methodology in some detail. I would not
> expect other peoples methodologies to be identical.
Simon wrote:
> How are you defining the OCC? Are you using productive capital and
> productive labour? Or all capital and all labour? Is capital fixed capital
> only or are you including inventories and work in progress? What about the
> constant capital elements of circulating capital? And finally (!),
> presumably you are using constant price series (otherwise you are
> measuring
> the VCC), but what are your deflators? Any figures you get are going to be
> sensitive to the answers presumed to these questions, and are therefore
> highly likely to be noncomparable.
Paul C wrote:
> I am writing something where I want to cite evidence of a declining rate
> of profit being empirically associated with a rising organic composition
> of capital. I have figures for the UK, does anyone have figures they could
> email me for other countries.
>I am looking for tabular data that I can format into graphs myself.

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