Re: [OPE] No rise is s/v? Kliman's empirical work on the falling rate of profit

From: Paul Zarembka <>
Date: Sat Oct 17 2009 - 11:29:04 EDT


At least since Wolff's work 30+ years ago, those working in the area are
aware of what you describe. However, I disagree that it could be a
simple matter of 'taste'. If it were, then a researcher is freed to
adjust his or her 'taste' to obtain some result desired (e.g., about the
falling rate of profit). Indeed, a lot of that goes on in empirical
work throughout economics.

In Kliman's current empirical work, I was struck by the simple absence
of discussion to ignore unproductive labor, when we know that it was
discussed a lot by Marx. While complex topic and increases a
researcher's data task enormously, but it can be done. It is still up
at .


(V23) THE HIDDEN HISTORY OF 9-11, Seven Stories Press softcover, 2008 2nd ed
====> Research in Political Economy, Emerald Group, Bingley, UK
====> Paul Zarembka, Editor

Philip Dunn wrote:
> Hi Paul
> It well known that measurements of s/v are sensitive to the
> classification of sectors as unproductive or productive. If
> unproductive sectors are forming an increasing fraction of the economy
> then the measured s/v will increase over time because the "profits" of
> unproductive sectors are deemed to have come from the surplus value of
> productive sectors.
> If 100% of the economy is taken as productive you don't get this odd
> effect.
> It is a matter of taste, I guess. De gustibus.
> On Fri, 2009-10-16 at 09:23 -0400, Paul Zarembka wrote:
>> Some of us have received from Andrew Kliman a link to his draft
>> "Persistent Fall in Profitability", i.e.,
>> Working with US data since 1947, he concludes: "the rate of
>> surplus-value remained roughly constant over the entire course
>> of each period taken as a whole, the rate of surplus-value had
>> only a very minor influence on the rate of profit over longer
>> spans of time". However, Andrew has no recognition whatsoever
>> of unproductive labor (actually, he doesn't even mention it in
>> his 105 pp. first draft). I don't recall having seen other
>> work by Kliman which discusses Marx's productive versus
>> unproductive labor, although I would presume he has taken a
>> position on it somewhere since it hardly seems possible to
>> ignore the discussion.
>> Those who have worked with US data and included unproductive
>> labor find that the rate of surplus value is indeed rising
>> considerably. My paper for the Marx gala conference in Amherst
>> lays out these works (Wolff, Moseley, Shaik and Tonak) but I
>> have yet to include Mohun's 2005 Cambridge Journal article
>> correcting Shaikh and Tonak. (From a lecture I just heard from
>> Tonak in Kocaeli University in Turkey, I understand him to
>> accept Mohun'w work as an improvement.) Mohun's work reports
>> from 1964 to 2001 a rise in s/v from ~2 to ~3 - a 50% increase
>> - with the conceptual distinction between productive and
>> unproductive labor incorporated. Mohun's result makes sense
>> of the stability of real wages in that period for the US while
>> the production of relative surplus value continues.
>> Any thoughts on this matter? Paul Zarembka
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Received on Sat Oct 17 11:39:00 2009

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