[OPE-L] PUPL and the total profit/total surplus value identity

From: Jurriaan Bendien (adsl675281@TISCALI.NL)
Date: Wed May 17 2006 - 13:03:08 EDT

I think the basic thought behind many Marxian computations is that, for the
purpose of empirical measurement, total surplus-value equals the total net
value added (excluding perhaps bits like the "imputed rental value of owner
occupied housing") less variable capital expenditure, however defined. This

(1) that the official gross and net output measures in the product account
are accepted as basically valid (give or take a few adjustments) and

(2) that the Marxian non-value-creating labor income ("non-productive" labor
income) treated as a deduction from surplus-value is a component of CURRENT
value added, assuming that the official output measures validly state the
value of the product.

However, there are many statistical reasons for believing this approach may
not be satisfactory from a Marxian point of view - in particular,

(1) each of the components of value added and gross output is itself a
statisticaly "adjusted" figure, i.e. adjusted according to specific
principles of valuation and a specific definition of flows related to
production, which ought to be questioned.

(2)  If the Marxian non-value-creating labor income is defined to be very
large, i.e. half or more than half of total labor compensation, this
obviously has a large quantitative effect on the measure of total

(3) the total Marxian non-value-adding labor income ("non-productive" labor
income) may not be a redistribution from CURRENT surplus-value created, but
paid out of already existing capital funds.

You argue:

V and C are  *advanced* in Marx's theory to the extent that --within
period analysis -- money to purchase means of production and
labour power is assumed to be spent before production in the new
period can commence.

I.e. in the formula M - C {MP, LP} ... (P) .... C' - M'

M - C happens before P.


Not sure if this is so - after all, as Marx notes, there is a difference
between money used as "means of purchase" and as "means of payment". You can
contract to purchase (M-C) or sell (C-M) something and defer payment for it
(e.g. using credit, as Chai-on notes, or a legally sanctioned obligation);
that is, an act of economic exchange can occur prior to or after, and
independent of, payment. Of course, in official economics the social process
of economic exchange largely disappears from view; as we have prices and
markets, economic exchange is assumed to occur, and mostly does not warrant
any further analysis.


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