[OPE-L:2920] Re: Value of labour power and real wage

Gil Skillman (gskillman@wesleyan.edu)
Thu, 29 Aug 1996 07:37:18 -0700 (PDT)

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In response to the following,

>> 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.

Paul Z. writes:

>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.

What? General equilibrium has absolutely nothing to do with it. I'm
pointing out that by *Marx's own analysis*, the engine which generates
rising organic composition of capital (creation of relative surplus value
via advancing real subsumption of labor under capital) must also be expected
to increase the rate of surplus value, in or out of "equilibrium". Thus it
is at best irrelevant to hold s/v constant as c/v is allowed to rise; as an
economic category this scenario is an empty box--again, by Marx's own
analysis in Volume I. "Abstracting from changing s/v" is equivalent to
"abstracting from economic relevance."

> You are correct that Okishio
>approaches problem similarly to yourself.

This is doubly inaccurate. First, I didn't say that "Okishio approaches
problem similarly to [my]self"; I said that the Okishio theorem provides a
plausible illustration of the problem discussed above. Second, since my
"approach to [the] problem" in this discussion is Marx's in Volume I, you're
suggesting that Okishio and Marx approach the microeconomics of the problem
in the same way. This is of course not true.

In solidarity, Gil