[OPE-L] Marx on the 'maximum rate of profit'

From: glevy@PRATT.EDU
Date: Sat Oct 07 2006 - 07:19:05 EDT

Note how Marx -- unlike Sraffa and some Marxists -- does NOT claim
that wages equal zero when there is a maximum rate of profit.  On
the contrary, the following make it clear that he believed that a
Maximum R occurs where there are _positive_ wages.

In solidarity, Jerry

 Value, Price and Profit
XIV. The Struggle Between Capital and Labour and its Results
But as to profits, there exists no law which determines their minimum. We
cannot say what is the ultimate limit of their decrease. And why cannot we
fix that limit? Because, although we can fix the minimum of wages, we
cannot fix their maximum.

We can only say that, the limits of the working day being given, the
maximum of profit corresponds to the physical minimum of wages; and that
wages being given, the maximum of profit corresponds to such a
prolongation of the working day as is compatible with the physical forces
of the labourer. The maximum of profit is therefore limited by the
physical minimum of wages and the physical maximum of the working day. It
is evident that between the two limits of the maximum rate of profit and
immense scale of variations is possible. The fixation of its actual degree
is only settled by the continuous struggle between capital and labour, the
capitalist constantly tending to reduce wages to their physical minimum,
and to extend the working day to its physical maximum, while the working
man constantly presses in the opposite direction.

The matter resolves itself into a question of the respective powers of the

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