[OPE-L:1550] Re: Temporality and Simultaneity

John R. Ernst (ernst@pipeline.com)
Mon, 25 Mar 1996 23:14:44 -0800

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Let me comment on your answer to the 3rd of my questions
and then answer the question you ask me.

Jerry writes:

>John asked in [OPE-L:1548]:
>> 3. When we speak of the falling rate of profit, about what rate of
>> are we talking? The equilibrium rate? Andrew's? The "ex ante"
>I thought Marx was pretty clear: its the "law of the tendency for the
>*general* rate of profit to decline" (emphasis added, JL).
>I don't interpret the general r as either the "equilibrium rate" or the
>"ex ante" one. Do others agree or disagree?

Here, whether or not others agree or disagree, while essential to our
dialog, misses my point. Within the literature on the falling rate of
profit the "general" rate of profit is most often seen as the
equilibrium rate of profit.

Quoting me, Jerry writes:

>> That we are asking these questions in 1996 is scary.

and then asks:

>It's my turn for a question:
>-- Could you please explain the "scary" dimensions of the questions and
> how that relates to 1996 and before?

There's a ton of literature on the falling rate of profit. It is one of
the two
most frequently debated issues within the realm of Marxian economics. Yet,

here we are trying to define it in 1996, a century after the publication
of Vol. III. I find it frightening that "we" have such little clarity.
what have we been arguing? You've tacitly accepted Andrew's definition
of the rate of profit, yet that definition has not been around that long
again, is not generally accepted.