Re: [OPE-L] "Levels of abstraction"

From: Jerry Levy (jerry_levy@VERIZON.NET)
Date: Tue Jan 29 2008 - 10:53:47 EST

> I have no evidence that Marx thought that total profits and total > surplus values obtained from production were strongly
> diverging magnitudes, rather, he assumes that their magnitudes
> will be "approximately" equivalent.

Hi Jurriaan:

I think there is some unclarity in his writings on the issue of whether total profits and total surplus value (and total values and total prices of production) are at any moment in time  and place "approximately" equivalent or not. He indicates at various points that there can be spatial and temporal variations but whether those variations are of a small magnitude or not is not really answered.  A less abstract way to pose an issue (and moving away from interpreting Marx) might be to ask whether in the current conjuncture (where fictitious capital and credit have great importance) there is reason to suppose that total s  "approximately" equals total profits. I.e. we could place the issue in a temporal and spatial context to examine whether the variations of total s and total profit are of a large magnitude during some periods and places and "approximately" equal in other periods. A time series for many countries might allow us to see that. Perhaps Dave Z,  Paul C, Iwao (or others) have the data that would allow us to empirically examine this issue?

In solidarity, Jerry

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