[OPE-L:3441] RE: Assumptions, Assumptions, etc.

John Ernst (ernst@usa.pipeline.com)
Tue, 15 Oct 1996 21:11:43 -0700 (PDT)

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In OPE-3439, you ask what did I learn. OK.
(From discussions surrounding the one commodity
examples with v=0 or with v assumed to be very,
very,very small.) The list is by no means all

1. I learned a great deal about Duncan's claim that
Andrew was ignoring IVA as he computed value added.

2. I learned more about the differences in results
concerning the rate of profit based upon assumptions
concerning the constant capital to output ratio.

3. I learned something about the empirical studies
concerning the FRP. Fred's concern about the historic
valuation of c became clear.

4. I learned more about the several different ways to
compute the FRP.

5. I learned that within the TSS framework, we have
to find a way to discuss the prices that capitalists
actually see as accumulation takes place over time.

6. I learned that simplifying assumptions in examining
the accumulation process can be useful in isolating

7. I've learned that the micro/macro split in Marxian thought
goes beyond Okishio although his work points to the need
to put the two together in some way that makes sense.

Most of all, I learned that we have a lot to learn. I'm
willing to postpone any judgment concerning how one
treats the labor of prison guards and the like as I still
am unclear about the accumulation process on a fairly
basic level. With regard to questions of method, given my
remaining unclarity concerning that process, I do not
feel I am in any position to worry about levels of
abstraction as that would mean I've got something together
that I do not. All I insist on from others as well as
myself is rational dialog as we try to put this thing

To argue that v > 0 is important, one should show that it
is and not simply assert that it is. No one is saying v=0
in all of capitalist society and, if they are, so what? In
reality, it is not. If we are to consider prison guards,
we should be humble enough to admit that we have a
a great deal of difficulty in discussing the production
of one commodity in cases where that one commodity is
the only input. Later for those guards.

So what about v > 0. In those one commodity examples,
if we consider that case and wages are actually advanced,
does v, like c, get revalued after the production process?

Searching for & sometimes finding a bit of clarity,