Re: [OPE-L] The lump of surplus value fallacy and the Moseley paradox

From: Jerry Levy (jerry_levy@VERIZON.NET)
Date: Fri Jan 11 2008 - 15:55:58 EST

Ironically, the same authors who argue that the wages of unproductive workers are a "deduction from surplus value" (which is actually literally an expression Marx uses in his manuscript) include those wages as a portion of surplus value, in their social account of gross product (e.g. Shaikh & Tonak, Moseley).  From a mathematical point of view, this does not make much sense, since - at least  as far as I know - a deduction cannot be an addition at the same time; that's a mathematical error.

Hi Jurriaan:

Sorry, you lost me.  Assume for the moment that there is a given
amount of surplus value. If the wages for unproductive are paid out of s, then why is there an addition at the same time?  If u goes up, that would mean that the quantity of s which can be redistributed among capitalists or further 'deducted' by the state has gone down, not up.  If there is a 'paradox' it is that if u represents a deduction from s then they have an incentive to reduce u to the minimum.  But, to the contrary, u has increased markedly in late capitalism. This paradox can be explained with reference to competition, though: i.e. even if from the standpoint of capitalists as a whole u represents a deduction from s it has nonetheless become a customary and competitively (and, in some cases, legally) 'necessary' expenditure from the standpoint of capitalist firms.

In solidarity, Jerry

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