[OPE-L] Capital reproduction theories and the facts

From: Jurriaan Bendien (adsl675281@TISCALI.NL)
Date: Sun Sep 10 2006 - 07:34:35 EDT


Hi Paul,

Just quickly, I'm aware that assets and liabilities are equal in a balance
sheet consolidation - what I was thinking of though was the aggregate "net
worth" of financial assets, expressed as a sum of capital owned at a balance
date (a "stock value"), and this net worth is usually expressed as a
non-zero number unless I am very much mistaken.

This is often difficult to measure - although various countries nowadays try
to measure the "net worth" of at least households in the national economy,
this is often a total net worth, not differentiated according to *asset
types* held. The American IRS provides tables for example on "All Top
Wealthholders by Size of Net Worth" where financial assets are tabulated
separately:
http://www.irs.gov/taxstats/indtaxstats/article/0,,id=96426,00.html but this
does not cover the whole population obviously. You can also get IRS data on
the "net worth" of corporations, but there is no separate treatment of
financial assets and physical assets.  Tax-reported assets and liabilities
may of course vary from the true situation.

In the UK, however, more relevant data is readily available which you can
consult for yourself. Thus, the Statistics Office reported on 23 July 2005
as follows:

"The total value of the UK at the end of 2004 was 5.8 trillion. Latest
estimates from an Office for National Statistics (ONS) report, Capital
Stocks, Capital Consumption and Non-Financial Balance Sheets 2005, show that
at the end of last year the total net worth of the UK including financial
assets was 5,843 billion - an increase of 404 billion on the previous
year. Today's report publishes tables showing the market value of the UK's
non-financial assets - a measure of the country's wealth. The detailed
figures show that the most valuable asset continues to be housing with a
total value of 3,427 billion - up 12 per cent on the previous year and 59
per cent of total wealth. Of this, 3,221 billion belongs to households and
non profit organisations - around 55 per cent of the nation's wealth in
2004."
www.statistics.gov.uk/pdfdir/capital0705.pdf

So from the British data, you can separate out the "stock" of physical
assets and the "stock" of financial assets for the whole economy.

... and later:

"Total net worth of the UK including financial assets at end 2005 was 6,012
billion. This is an increase of 119 billion on the previous year. Detailed
figures of the country's wealth show that the most valuable asset continues
to be housing with a total value of 3,575 billion. This is up 4 per cent on
the previous year and is equivalent to 59 per cent of the nation's wealth.
The value of housing stock belonging to the household and non-profit
organisations sector was worth 3,356 billion."
www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=479

I do not have the relevant publications available here just now to make an
analysis.

But anyway, this is just to say there are several measures available in
macroeconomic statistics to assess the role of the international transfer of
wealth in the accumulation process. No Marxist that I know of has tried to
establish what the gains and losses are in this respect though.

Jurriaan


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