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

From: glevy@PRATT.EDU
Date: Wed Oct 11 2006 - 08:03:26 EDT

> Although I havenīt followed this whole thread, in my opinion, the
> maximum rate of profit, defined as S/C, derived from V=0, is a limit
> to a particular mathematical expression of the rate of profit, namely
> the rate of profit= f(v) and does not reflect an historical tendency,
> though it is not a mathematical tautology, as it clearly contrasts with
> the idea of the maximum rate of profit being infinite.
> Paul Cooney

Hi Paul:

OK, we agree that it does not reflect a historical tendency.  Beyond that,
I would add now:

1) if  it is to have any meaning for comprehending a real subject, then
at the limit the subject must still exist.  But, logically the existence
of capitalism is impossible where V = 0 since the existence of a positive
quantity of V is a necessary condition for the existence of the subject.

2) [If you must and for the sake of discussion], assume V = 0.  What is
the meaning of that to the 'rate of profit'?  It would mean that:

r  =   ____


i.e. there is an  *identity* between the rate of profit and constant

If, however, there is a 's' in the numerator, then the 'surplus value'
would have been created by dead labor and you have a theory which
asserts that 'at the limit'  surplus value is only increased by  increases
in  constant capital, a result that perhaps would please my good friend
Steve Keen.

What a contrast to Marx's meaning of a maximum rate of profit! In Marx's
theory a maximum rate of profit had important political-economic meaning,
especially for the class of wage-workers -- a class that is assumed away
in the more modern meaning of a maximum rate of profit.

In solidarity, Jerry

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