From: Ian Wright (wrighti@ACM.ORG)
Date: Mon Nov 06 2006 - 17:45:58 EST
> That was not my point. My point was that the labour of supervision paid > the capitalists enough for them to reproduce. Thus the consumption out > of profits is not necessary for their reproduction as you would have it > in your accounting scheme which makes their consumption socially > necessary. It pretty much comes down to this: do you want to (i) calculate actual labour-values based on the current state of the economy, or (ii) calculate counterfactual labour-values based on an economy that lacks capitalist consumption, or in some way changes capitalist consumption from its current level? If your goal is (i) then I recommend we use real-costs labour-values. You won't have a transformation problem. But if your goal is (ii) then don't expect your labour-value accounting to match your price accounting (especially if you follow Sraffa and count profit-income as a nominal cost of production that gets reflected in unit prices, but do not count the labour-embodied in capitalist consumption goods as a real cost of production that gets reflected in unit labour values). You will have a transformation problem. My point of view is this: capitalist consumption is a real cost, regardless of whether that consumption is subsistence, luxury or both. Certainly capitalists don't need big homes, yachts and helicopters to keep pumping out profit-income. But they do consume such things, and labour is expended to produce them. So I'd like to know how much labour-time is required to produce unit commodities from scratch given the current state of the economy. Therefore I need to also count the labour-time required to produce capitalist consumption during the period of replacement. If I don't do this, I'm calculating labour-values for another, different economy, in which capitalists abstain from consumption. > David Z has shown in his recent article in the IDR that the closer > correlation between prices of production and real prices than between > labour values and real prices that we observed in the UK is anomalous. > In most countries the reverse holds. It's interesting that Sraffian labour-values do well compared to Sraffian prices of production. I'd like to be able to explain this one day in terms of a dynamic model. As we both know, the assumption of a realised uniform rate of profit, so crucial to linear production theory, is empirically false.
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