Re: Quantifying Values: response to Alan

jurriaan bendien (
Sun, 18 Jan 1998 04:26:41 +0100

Alan writes:
> (2) I don't think it is proposed to exclude annual net interest. I'm not
> clear what this remark means. To me, if it's part of surplus value then
> can't be part of production costs.

you seem to me to be saying that banking is at one and the same
> time as an appropriation of surplus value and a production cost, and that
> doesn't make sense to me. I suspect that the words haven't conveyed what
> you really want to say. Could you clarify this?
Well maybe I misunderstood a previous post of yours, I took you to be
saying then that interest and rents should be excluded from the calculation
of the Marxian annual product. Of course, interest payments are a
production cost to a manufacturer, an income for the banker, and an
appropriation of surplus-value from the social point of view (insofar as
current net interest receipts are concerned) - all at the same time.
I don't have the documents here, but from memory in the SNA system they
can't really decide on their treatment of banking activity in GDP, and
create an oddity called a "nominal bank charge" or "nominal industry" which
is formally first included and then deducted again (?) in the calculation
of GDP. It's a decade ago since I worked on that particular problem, and I
cannot recall now the precise details of the conceptual issues involved. I
would need to look at it again, but my hunch is that interest receipts and
rent payments (other than the owner-occupied housing imputation) were not
supposed to be included in GDP calculated to SNA standard, I think on the
ground that they were conceptually unrelated to (the value of) SNA-defined
"production", hence also not part of value added. (Someone else familiar
with UNSNA may know the details of that story). Whereas I wanted to argue
that annual net interest receipts are part of value added.