[OPE-L:1493] Re: Temporality vs simultaneity

John R. Ernst (ernst@pipeline.com)
Wed, 13 Mar 1996 17:52:54 -0800

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In OPE 1492, you make a number of statements with which I
probably disagree. However, before firing devastating salvos
your way, I thought I'd simply ask for a bit of clarification.

1. Gil writes in reference to Andrew's post.

"What's really at stake, it seems to me, is the legitimacy of the
assumptions. These have been challenged on a number of grounds.
However, it strikes me, after reading Andrew's RRPE article on the
subject, that the TSS approach *of itself* is neither necessary nor
sufficient for rehabilitating Marx's theory of the falling rate of
profit. Indeed, *value theory* of itself is neither necessary nor
sufficient for the rehabilitation of Marx's theory."

When you refer to the "rehabilitation of Marx's theory are you still
speaking of the falling rate of profit?

2. Again, with reference to Andrew's post, Gil writes:

"...as I understand Andrew's argument, it requires that
capitalists calculate rates of profit on the basis of *historical*
rather than *replacement* costs of capital (i.e., that capitalists
fail to ignore sunk costs). [Please correct me if this understanding
is wrong, Andrew.] Now, I doubt that this is the case, but that's
really beside the point: whether or not capitalists ignore sunk
costs is an empirical issue that does not depend on the comparative
*theoretical* fidelity of the TSS system to Marx's conception."

I assume all of us mean the same thing by "sunk costs." Is the
idea that a capitalist measures his rate of profit by measuring
the profits made against the capital advanced an empirical issue?
Or, perhaps, we are excluding "sunk costs" from capital advanced?

3. I think Gil and I have been here before, but, at any rate, Gil
states, in the same post:

"Finally, I don't think it's been emphasized before that Marx's theory
of the falling rate of profit is at odds with his story in section
1 of Volume I, Ch 25, on the general law of capitalist accumulation.
If the profit rate falls due to the mechanism suggested in Volume
III, the rate of accumulation will slow down, driving the rate of
profit right back up."

I'd like to be clear on what you see as the mechanism in Vol. III.
Here, I'll note that in Chapter 25 of Vol. I, Sect. 1, Marx assumes
that the techniques of production are unchanging.

Off to EEA,