[OPEL:6214] RE: Marx and historical costs

Gerald Levy (glevy@pratt.edu)
Mon, 23 Feb 1998 09:45:07 -0500 (EST)

When a debate goes on for a long time (as this one has), it is a good
idea sometimes to ask the question that Jurriaan asked:

> So what is the debate really about ?

To begin with, it's _not_ really about empirical measurement (themes that
are being discussed separately in the "NIPA" and "productive and
unproductive labour" threads).

Also, I don't agree with the following accessment by Andrew K:

> It is about Marx's law of the tendential fall in the profit rate.
> According to the law as Marx himself stated it, the profit rate has a
> tendency to fall due to rising productivity (combined with a rise in
> the value measure of the technical composition, i.e. the organic
> composition).

While this has been a subject of debate in other contexts on this list,
I don't think that's really what _this_ thread is mainly concerned with.
Also, I note that (correct me if I'm wrong, Fred) one of the major
participants in this thread that Andrew has been debating would claim that
he accepts the LTFRP "as Marx himself stated it." If Andrew thinks that
Fred's interpretation necessarily leads to a rejection of the LTFRP "as
Marx himself stated it" then I think Andrew has to make that case
explicitly (preferably in a separate thread on the LTFRP).

So what _is_ being debated?

What is being debated in this thread includes:

a) whether the TSS (_and_ alternative) conceptions of the determination of
the rate of profit and the valuation of constant capital are internally
consistent and logical, and;

b) whether the TSS (and alternative) interpretations of Marx on the issues
specified in a) are accurate interpretations which can be documented
(hence the plentiful quotations from Marx in this thread).

Thus, I think this thread _is_ primarily about the a critique by some
(like Fred) of certain key elements in the TSS interpretation(s) and a
critique by some TSSers of the implications of certain alternative
conceptions (e.g. in "New Interpretation", dual system, etc.

What I'm not yet sure on is _the extent_ to which this debate goes to the
heart of TSS and alternative conceptions.

But, then, I've been primarily a listener (i.e. lurker) in this thread
rather than a participant. So I may be way off-course.

In solidarity, Jerry