Re: On the 'Unanswered Questions About Rent'

From: Paul Zarembka (zarembka@BUFFALO.EDU)
Date: Mon Jan 26 2004 - 21:51:50 EST


Thanks for your posting.  I've just quickly looked over again Marx's
chapter on Absolute Ground Rent.  The last paragraph begins with

  "This absolute rent plays an even more important role in the extractive
industry proper, where one element of constant capital, raw material, is
wholly lacking and where, excluding those lines in which capital consisting
of machinery and other fixed capital is very considerable, by far the
lowest composition of capital prevails."

I argued in a 1979 piece that a low organic composition of capital is
required for Absolute Rent, but unfortunately the argument would require
some elaboration.  Could I merely point to the above sentence to suggest
that Absolute Rent would not apply to oil extraction where a high c/v
obtains?  If this is insufficient and you have access, I could point to my
"Accumulation of Capital in the Periphery", R.P.E., Vol. 2 (1979), pp.


--On Monday, January 26, 2004 8:17 PM -0600 Cyrus Bina <binac@MRS.UMN.EDU>

>   * Absolute Rent (AR) in Marx reveals the immediate effects of property
> relations.   Such effects include the types and patterns of ownership of
> agricultural lands.  According to Marx, AR in agriculture is the result
> of ?monopoly? of private land ownership. AR must be paid to the owner of
> lowest quality land under cultivation, the land that is called ?marginal?
> land.  Marx maintains this terminology in order to keep the conversation
> and, by going beyond it, advances his own theory. Marx?s capital (or
> land) does not have anything to do with ?marginal? analysis.  Indeed, his
> ?regulating capital? remains lumpy and connected with ?average
> productivity.? Marginal land for Marx is the lowest quality land that may
> or may not be coincided with the ?regulating value? of the total product
> in agriculture.  Once the ?regulating value? of the product from the
> ?marginal? (lowest quality land) land represents the ?regulating value?
> of the total product of land, AR will become a part and parcel all
> individual values associated with all categories of lands under
> cultivation.  And, once (for reasons given in #5) eliminated, neither the
> ?individual? value(s) nor the ?regulating value? of total product does
> include AR.

RESEARCH IN POLITICAL ECONOMY,  Paul Zarembka, editor, Elsevier Science

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