[OPE-L:1555] Re: Temporality and Simultaneity

John R. Ernst (ernst@pipeline.com)
Tue, 26 Mar 1996 09:13:04 -0800

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I thought we were discussing how to understand the concept of
the rate of profit in CAPITAL. Hence, when you state:

"The rate of profit that is relevant is that arrived at by dividing
the current book value of aggregate national capital by the total
profit of all firms in the industrial, commercial and financial

This is not in any sense an equilibrium rate. But it is real
and measurable."

I wonder why you include the capitals invested in the commercial
and financial sectors in your denominator. In the FRP discussions,
neither of these sectors exist. What happens to the
taxes these firms pay is also unclear. Are not taxes part of
surplus value?

On the use of "book value" in your definition, for me, questions

1. Would not $1000 assigned to the stock of circulating capital
soon to be used be no different than the $1000 machine "on the
books"? Yet, if the machine is to be used for 10 years and
the stock of circulating capital to be consumed next year,
would not the rate of profit differ, assuming that either
investment produces, say, $100 in profit? Just asking.

2. Within those books, do capitalists include a figure for
"good will"? If so, do you eliminate it?

Let me close with still another question:

As we know, your definition allows one to proceed in an
empirical fashion. You say that your rate of profit is
not an equilibrium rate of profit. Of the three possible
definitions mentioned to which of them does it come closest?
If none, how do we find your definition in CAPITAL? Here,
I am simply trying to figure out how you moved from the
abstract discussion in CAPITAL to the more concrete level
that allows you to measure the rate of profit empirically.

It was good to meet you in Boston.