[OPE-L:4267] Re: Mandel vs. Baran-Sweezy

Alejandro Valle Baez (valle@servidor.dgsca.unam.mx)
Sun, 2 Mar 1997 13:04:10 -0800 (PST)

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On Thu, 27 Feb 1997 aramos@aramos.bo wrote:

> Ive been browsing a book written by a listmember, Alejandro
> Valle-Baeza called "Valor y precio: Una forma de regulacion del
> trabajo social", UNAM, Mexico, 1991.
> Alejandro Valle summarizes an article written by Mandel in 1967,
> published in Spanish as "La teoria del valor y el capital
> monopolista". In this work, Mandel criticizes Baran-Sweezy thesis
> that capitalism development implies an "increasing surplus".
> According to Alejandro Valle's summary, Mandel's thesis seems an
> important precedent of recent interpretations emphasizing the
> determination of value by labor-time vs. the "surplus school".
> Perhaps Alejandro Valle himself or someone who had read this article
> could further comment on this topic. For example, could Mandel's
> article be considered --at least in some aspects-- a clear precedent
> of TSS analysis?
> Alejandro Ramos M.
Thanks to Alejandro for this remark. There were published two articles in
Spanish about this matter, in the same volume, by Mandel.
Mandel, E. 1971. "Capital excedente y realizacion de la plusvalˇa" in
_Ensayos sobre el neocapitalismo_. Mexico: Ed. Era. pp. 26-35.
(translated from International Socialist Review, N.Y. jan-feb. 1967. and
"La teoria del valor y el capitalismo monopolista", pp. 36-51. (ISR,
Jjul.aug. 1967).

Mandel criticized many topics of Monopoly Capital. From my point of view,
the core of his critic is: the concept of potential surplus used
Baran-Sweezy seems to contradict the theory of surplus value stated by
Marx. It seems reasonable for non-Marxist theory that monopoly capital
could increases surplus without limit by increasing selling price in
relation to cost. Baran and Sweezy claimed that the law of falling rate of
profit should be substituted by the law of increasing surplus. If such
behavior of surplus is possible, the most important problems in monopoly
capitalism is surplus realization.

The critic of Mandel to this is simple
and (I think) correct:

S(t+1)/S(t)=L(t+1)/L(t) s'(t+1)/s'(t)
where S(t) is surplus value in time t
L(t) is labor force in time t
s'(t) rate of surplus value in t, defined by: S(t)/L(t)

According to this the rate of growth of surplus is limited by labor force
growth and by the changes in rate of surplus value. Hence monopoly capital
cannot change this and to increase the surplus value growth it is
necessary to increase rate of surplus value (asumming constant rate for
L(t)), as in the competive age.

In adittion to this basic point, Mandel criticizes the inclusion in
surplus value of several non-productive activities, for example advertising.

In short, Mandel made clear that the conclusion of Baran Sweezy is
incorrect and that it is based on labor value theory negation. I used this
example in a book about Marxian Theory of Value because I think that
actual reality supports Mandel's assertions.


Alejandro Valle Baeza