[OPE-L:2517] Re: Was Lenin a nondualist, supporter of the , single-system vision

Duncan K Foley (dkf2@columbia.edu)
Thu, 13 Jun 1996 11:23:20 -0700 (PDT)

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On Thu, 13 Jun 1996 glevy@acnet.pratt.edu wrote:

> Duncan wrote in [OPE-L:2511]:
> > Since your position is that embodied labor coefficients are very highly
> > correlated with market prices, and that is what justifies reference to
> > them in empirical work, it seems that you come out operationally pretty
> > much where I do: that we can, either exactly, in my view, or to a very
> > good approximation, in your view, use market data to measure the critical
> > Marxian parameters.
> A couple of questions:
> (1) Could you explain more what you see as the "operational" similarity
> between your conception and Paul C's (and Allin's)? Are you simply
> suggesting that you agree with the project of empirical measurement of
> Marxian categories using national income and I/O data or are you
> suggesting a more fundamental agreement?

Well, it seems to me that Paul C and Allin's research program (of which I
am a major fan) would embrace measuring, for example, the rate of surplus
value and the turnover rates for capital using actual price data (say from
the income statements or balance sheets of firms, or from National Income
Data). I was contrasting this with the method of first using embodied
labor coefficients derived from I/O tables to convert the accounts to
"labor values" and then doing the measurements, as some people have
suggested. There is surely a fundamental disagreement about the
philosophical and theoretical foundations of the LTV, but curiously
enough, it may not affect operational measurement very much.

> (2) I don't understand your distinction that we can use market data to
> measure the "critical Marxian parameters" -- *"exactly"* (rather than as a
> "very good approximation"). Could you please explain exactly what exactly
> means in this context?

In the "new interpretation" the rate of surplus value is definitionally
the ratio of non-wage income to wage income. That's what I meant by
"exact". I suppose Paul C. and Allin would want to evaluate the rate of
surplus value in principle by converting to embodied labor coefficients,
but their empirical findings suggest that the market prices are pretty
good approximations.