[OPE-L:3209] Re: Marxian Emprical Research

Steve Keen (s.keen@uws.edu.au)
Tue, 1 Oct 1996 13:20:30 -0700 (PDT)

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What you called "the Hilferding approach" is not Hilferding's, but that
of Sweezy and Meek. Sweezy and Meek argued that the additional
value-creating ability of skilled labor reflected the hours spent in
training. Hilferding au contraire argued that education transferred not
just the exchange-value of training--which is effectively the hours of
student and teacher spent in training--but also the use-value of that
training--which was, he said, "to be the source of new value". There is
thus no pre-ordained ratio between the cost of education, and
education's enhancement of value-creating power.

While the Sweezy/Meek argument means that training is not seen as a
source of additional surplus-value, the Hilferding approach says that
skilled education normally would be such a source.

The Sweezy/Meek approach has been attributed to Hilferding through
sloppy reading of Hilferding's rejoinder to Bohm-Bawerk. We had a debate
over this on OPE quite some time ago--which was referred to in an
earlier mail to you by an OPE member (I don't have the relevant numbers
at hand). You might also check the original _Karl Marx & the close of
his system_ to see for yourself, or alternately, I have a paper on this
in the _Journal of the history of economic thought_, Vol 17 No 2 1993.

Steve Keen

Andrew Trigg wrote:
> I take the point that there are different ways of looking at the
> labour reduction problem. It could be the costs of training that drives
> things (the Hilferding approach) but this is not very practical for
> empirical work. The approach which takes wages as the indicator of
> labour quality is tractable, since wages are observed in various types of
> data. Both approaches can be defended on textual and theoretical grounds
> but one of them is more suitable for empirical research. Correct me
> if there are studies which have modelled the Hilferding approach
> empirically.
> In solidarity,
> Andrew Trigg.