[OPE-L:2908] Re: Value of labour power and real wage

Gil Skillman (gskillman@wesleyan.edu)
Wed, 28 Aug 1996 10:04:26 -0700 (PDT)

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Paul writes:

>Gil, in an overall empirical study, you are of course correct that s/v
>cannot be taken as constant. Holding s/v constant, however, does help
>theoretically to understand a "technical" cause for declining r. My
>reply to Gerry may help here.

My concern is more than just empirical, Paul, it has to do with the logical
coherence of the associated theory. To hold s/v constant while allowing c/v
to vary is to assert that these terms are independent of each other. But
this is far from obvious. Marx specifies in Vol. I that the specific
implication of real subsumption is that it promotes relative surplus value,
i.e. raises s as it lowers v. Thus the engine that drives rising organic
composition of capital must also be expected, in the absence of explicit
argument, to drive a rising rate of surplus value, so that it is
theoretically suspect at best to hold the latter constant while allowing the
former to increase.
Whatever else it is worth, the Okishio theorem provides a plausible
illustration of this problem.

In solidarity, Gil