[OPE-L:6338] Rates of Profit?

Gerald Levy (glevy@pratt.edu)
Mon, 23 Mar 1998 16:46:33 -0500 (est)

John asked on Mon, 23 Mar 1998:

> As I recall, in V3 of CAPITAL, Marx uses two terms to
> describe the rate of profit -- general and average.
> Is this a translation problem or is his use of the
> two different adjectives intentional?

The title of V3, Ch. 9 in the Penguin edition is:

"Formation of a General Rate of Profit (Average Rate of Profit) and
Transformation of Commodity Values into Prices of Production."

My German edition suggests that this is not a mis-translation: "Bildung
einer allgemeinen Profitrate (Durchschnitts-profitrate) und Verwandlung
der Warrenwerte in Produktionspreise".

He goes on to write that: "These [different rates of profit
prevailing in different branches of production, JL] rates of profit
are balanced out to give a general rate of profit which is the average of
all these different rates. The profit that falls to a capital of given
size according to this general rate of profit, whatever its organic
composition might be, we call the average profit" (Penguin ed., p. 257).

There are many other references as well. E.g. in V3, Ch. 10 there is: "...
wherever an average profit is established, i.e. a general rate of profit,
.... (Ibid, p. 274).

In solidarity, Jerry