[OPE-L:4365] Re: produced and realized profit

Michael_A._Lebowit (mlebowit@sfu.ca)
Tue, 11 Mar 1997 18:15:15 -0800 (PST)

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In message Tue, 11 Mar 1997 09:25:39 -0800 (PST),
Paul Cockshott <wpc@cs.strath.ac.uk> writes:

> Fred:
>> I know of no textual evidence from Volume 2 that discusses a
>> distinction between the surplus-value produced and the surplus-value
>> realized, as
>> being
>> two different magnitudes. Nor do I think that Marx argued in Volume 2
> that
>> the amount of surplus-value realized depends on capitalists'
> expenditures.

> Paul C:
> Marx may not have been aware of it, but if you read volume 2 in the light
> of Kalecki you can see that it is logically implied by the reproduction
> schemes. Kalecki draws his analysis directly from a vol II type
> reproduction
> scheme.
> I think that disagreement on this is very significant, as, in my opinion
> at least, any attempt to extend Marxs analysis to the dynamics of the
> capitalist
> economy is almost bound to either end up looking like Kalecki or be
> directly derived from Kalecki.
> Kaleckis most important discovery, one of the most significant discoveries
> in
> economics this century, was that profit depended causally upon capitalist
> expenditure.
> If people think that Kalecki was wrong on this then we should discuss it,
> as
> we will not get very far in discussing the effects of international trade
> and state expenditure unless we agree on it.
> In my opinion Kalecki made the most important contribution towards an
> understanding
> of volume 4 topics.

I'd like to indicate my strong agreement with Paul on the above. Even if
Marx *himself* were not aware of the point (and we know that Marx did not
complete his consideration of the reproduction models), Kalecki's point is
logically derived from the reproduction schema and should be understood as
part of the analysis for (post-Kalecki) Marxists
However, let's not be too quick to conclude that Marx was *not* aware of
the inference! His entire discussion is framed in terms of the effect of
capitalists having too low a level of expenditures. Further, since Fred
asked for textual evidence, here are two passages from Vol. II, Ch. 20 that
appear relevant to the Kaleckian proposition that profits (ie, realised
surplus value) depend upon capitalist expenditures:

1. "The general conclusion that follows, as far as concerns the money that
the industrial capitalists cast into circulation to mediate their own
commodity circulation, is that whether this is advanced on the account of
the constant portion of their commodities, or on account of the
surplus-value existing in these commodities in so far as it is spent as
revenue, the same amount flows back to the respective capitalists as they
themselves advanced for the monetary circulation" (Vintage,477)

2. "In relation to the capitalist class as a whole, however, the proposition
that it must itself cast into circulation the money needed to realize its
surplus-value (and also to circulate its capital, constant and variable) is
not only far from paradoxical, it is in fact a necessary condition of the
overall mechanism" (497).

This last passage seems like pretty strong support for the Kaleckian
argument. I cited it in an article that is relevant to this discussion,
"Analytical Marxism and the Marxian Theory of Crisis," in the Cambridge
Journal of Economics, 1994, No. 18. (The "analytical marxism" part isn't
directly relevant--- since no methodological individualists have entered the
discussion--- but the crisis theory part may interest some people.) Further
to Paul's point--- I don't think I saw this in the discussion of the
reproduction models until after I had read Kalecki.

in solidarity,
Michael A. Lebowitz
Economics Department, Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, B.C. Canada V5A 1S6
Office (604) 291-4669; Office fax: (604) 291-5944
Home: (604) 872-0494; Home fax (with warning): (604) 872-0485
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