Re: [OPE-L] fully automated economy and capitalism

From: Ian Hunt (ian.hunt@FLINDERS.EDU.AU)
Date: Thu Nov 29 2007 - 18:09:35 EST

Sraffa is not interested in interpreting a system of zero wages as a
real social possibility: whether such as system could be realized is
not the point. Sraffa is asking what  is the upper bound of the rate
of capitalist profit, not because he ever expects the system to reach
that bound but because it may be theoretically useful to know that a
rate of profit will always be below it. No doubt Kliman could also
engage in the same exercise.

I found Kliman's book a troubling combination of points about
empirical details (individual capitalists often purchase capital
goods at prices different from that prevailing for them at the time
goods produced with them are sold) and systemic claims. Its main
shortcoming, though, was the assumption that the 'inconsistency' in
Volume 3 is fatal to Marx and would lead people to junk his theory of
the capitalist system. Vol 3 was published from notes by Engels. It
was clearly intended to present Marx's theory of how and why 'prices
of production" deviate from values and it failed to do that properly.
So what? The basic question is whether Marx's project (clearly
signalled in Vol 1 and the strikingly thought out structure of
Capital) of saying that 'prices of production' in capitalism are
determined by 2 tendencies, the tendency to reflect 'values' and the
tendency for profit rates to equalize between industries throws light
on the nature of capitalism as a social system (not just a theory of
prices of production-that really would be a return to Ricardo). There
is plenty of room for debate in that but it should be untroubled by
the 'inconsistency' in Vol 3 of Capital.

>  > I agree that it is socially pointless to speculate on this it is
>merely in the context of Klimans assuming zero
>>  wages and Ajits response that I mentioned it
>Paul C:
>The irony here is that Kliman's book (and the TSSI in general) stress
>that they are *interpretations* of Marx.   Furthermore, as Anders
>emphasized, Kliman's book concerns the question of the internal
>consistency of *Marx's* thought.  Yet, Marx never assumed
>zero wages.  This is an assumption which comes from Sraffa,
>not Marx.  This fact that much of the TSSI engagement with
>other perspectives has been fought on "Sraffian terrain" is not
>generally  recognized by the author: some of the TSSI advocates,
>imho,  have become unwittingly Neo-Sraffians.
>In solidarity, Jerry

Associate Professor Ian Hunt,
Dept  of Philosophy, School of Humanities,
Director, Centre for Applied Philosophy,
Flinders University of SA,
Humanities Building,
Bedford Park, SA, 5042,
Ph: (08) 8201 2054 Fax: (08) 8201 2784

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