[OPE-L:4457] [BRUCE] Re: value and productivity in "A Contribution..."

Gerald Lev (glevy@pratt.edu)
Thu, 20 Mar 1997 09:22:11 -0800 (PST)

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A question for Andrew K., prompted by a point in his "A Contribution..."
(#4427, 4428, 4430, 4450):

In Part III, right after his Table 4, Andrew quotes Marx (1977, 130-31) on
the relation between productivity and value, and he then sums up the gist
of the quote by saying:

"When, for instance, productivity doubles from one period to the next, the
unit value of the commodity falls in half"

i.e., when productivity rises by a factor of two, the value of output is
reduced to a specific fraction (one divided by two) of its previous level.
This happens, note, "from one period to the next." Presumably then, if
productivity rises by a factor of 1.25, then the value of output falls to a
fraction (one divided by 1.25, or 80%) of its previous level. A value that
was previously 2, for example, would in this case ("from one period to the
next") fall to a new level of 1.6 (which is 800f 2).

However, Andrew's Table 3, presenting his own TSS accounting of an example
in which productivity rises rises at precisely this 25% rate in each
period, seems to imply a different result. The Table doesn't show the unit
value of output, but it is easily calculated: in periods 0, 1, 2, 3, the
value of the commodity is 2, 1.92, 1.792, 1.6384 respectively.

My question(s) for Andrew: given the productivity improvement here, why
doesn't value as you calculate it behave "from one period to the next" in
the way that you (correctly, in my view) say that Marx would insist upon?
Even after 3 periods here, value as you calculate it has yet to reach the
level (1.6) that the very first productivity improvement should have
yielded, given the summary you gave of Marx's view. Or is this, perhaps, a
failure of the TSS view to "replicate" Marx?


Bruce B. Roberts
Department of Economics
University of Southern Maine
Portland ME 04104-9300
(O) 207-780-5503
(H) 207-772-7047
fax 207-780-5507-------------------------------------------------