[OPE-L:515] Re: value-creating power

Steve.Keen@unsw.edu.au (Steve.Keen@unsw.edu.au)
Mon, 20 Nov 1995 13:36:52 -0800

[ show plain text ]

Thanks for Iwao Kitamura for his reply to my posting on Hilferding
and the value-creating capacity of skilled labor--and he is right
that I agree with Hilferding's analysis on this. It discerns the
value (exchange-value) of the training from its value-creating capacity
(use-value), whereas all other attempts--such as those by Sweezy and
Meek--confuse the two, and conclude, as Harvey later put it, that
"What is involved is essentially the same as what is involved in
tracing the preservation of value embodied in means of
production." (p. 87)

There is just one qualification that I would add to Iwao's take
on this point, which otherwise I agree with entirely. His expression
for the value-creating capacity of education was:

Wx = SIGMA ((m-1)*Wp/(1+r)**t) (r=discount rate)
(t=1 to n)

It is important here to acknowledge that this, when it might be
calculated by capitalists, is just an estimate: it is thus the
*expected* value creating capacity, and this expectation may be
either confounded, or exceeded. This brings in an element of
uncertainty as a valid component of Marxian analysis, whereas
in general Marxian economics has been "weak", compared to
Post Keynesians, on the question of uncertainty.

Interestingly, Marx used this language when assessing another
conundrum for the labor theory of value--the determination
of the exchange-value of undeveloped resources, such as
minerals "in situ" in an undeveloped mine:

"...does value mean here, as it must do, the possible use-value
and hence the prospective exchange-value of coal or stone?"
(Marx 1861 Part II, p. 249)

Steve Keen


Harvey, P., 1985. "The Value-creating Capacity of Skilled Labor
in Marxian Economics", Review of Radical Political Economics,
Volume 17 No. 1/2, pp. 83-102.

Marx, K., 1861. Theories Of Surplus Value, Parts I, II and III,
Progress Press, Moscow, 1963, 68, 71.