[OPE-L:3090] Re: formulas for the rate of surplus value

Allin Cottrell (cottrell@wfu.edu)
Mon, 23 Sep 1996 06:25:58 -0700 (PDT)

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Jerry asks:

> Why is s/(s+v) better than s/v?

It's a matter of exposition/notation rather than substance, but
I find it easier to work with a magnitude in the range 0 to 1
rather than in the range 0 to infinity. s/(s+v) is just a
proportion -- the fraction of the working day appropriated by
capital -- while Marx's s/v is a ratio of proportions,
which seems to me a little awkward to work with.
This may be off the mark, but I wonder if Marx was influenced
by 'political' considerations in defining the rate of surplus
value as he did: for instance, a rate of exploitation of
400 percent (s/v) sounds 'worse' than 80 percent (s/(s+v))
-- though of course these figures carry the same information.