[OPE-L:2918] Re: Value of labour power and real wage

Paul Zarembka (ecopaulz@ubvms.cc.buffalo.edu)
Wed, 28 Aug 1996 19:20:56 -0700 (PDT)

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On Wed, 28 Aug 1996, Gil Skillman wrote:

> 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

My reply to Jerry addressed this, I believe. You are using a kind of
general equilibrium approach, or a kind of "reduced form", while I am
interpreting Marx to be "abstracting from changing s/v" for the
discussion of the falling tendency. You are correct that Okishio
approaches problem similarly to yourself.