[OPE-L:2116] Depreciation for Paul

Alan Freeman (100042.617@compuserve.com)
Thu, 9 May 1996 00:01:28 -0700

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Paul writes:

Surely you would concede that when preparing their profit accounts firms
do attempt to take into account the extent to which their profits may
be due to stock appreciation?


My first response is Yes. But let's not lose sight of what was under
discussion. I want to answer the question, but not at the cost of losing
the last discussion from view.

Under discussion was the K-McG transformation interpretation. Allin said
it did not equalise something that ought to be equalised; I replied that
this was true, but it did equalise what Marx said should be equalised.
I am happy to move on to the more complex issue of how the capitalists
do accounts, but first we have some accounting of our own.

Is this procedure an internally consistent and valid interpretation of
Marx's transformation or not?

If not, why not?

I am concerned that every time agreement or clarification on basics
is close, the discussion slips into something else, interesting but
complex, only to come back to the old question two months later as
if the debate never happened.

It is only fair to ask for a straight answer or two. Allin threw a
question at us, we replied with a straight bat, and you say you
accept our answer.

Some conclusions flow from that. In the *original* discussion -
whether K-McG is a valid interpretation of Marx's transformation -
were they right or were they wrong?

I think we should register agreement clearly and register disagreement
clearly. Otherwise one never knows on what common ground one stands.

I said I think that v=va+l is ridiculous. That wasn't hyperbole or
excess. It was a carefully chosen characterisation. I stick by it and I'm
happy to debate it. But I don't act as if it doesn't exist. I don't think
it is a diversion or orthogonal to the debate. I don't construct histories
of economic thought from which it is absent.

I take it head-on. I may say very nasty things about it but I don't
*dismiss* it. That's the difference. I recognise and understand both
how it works, and what it claims to do.

I accord it the honour of opposing it seriously.

I think the solution we have been proposing deserves the same honour.