[OPE-L:6564] [OPE-L:29] Weeks' and the FRP

Alejandro Ramos (aramos@btl.net)
Fri, 22 May 1998 00:01:14 -0400

Dear comrades:

I'm happy to come back to the list!!

I've been reading John Weeks' Capital and Explotaition, Princenton, 1981,
particularly the chapter devoted to Accumulation and Crises, and I would
wish to share with the list a couple of passages that I find particularly

Weeks writes:

"Accumulation is initiated by the *advancing of capital*, and the elements
of production are purchased at some *set of prevailing values*. Further,
production occurs on the basis of workers employing a quantity of fixed
means of production *purchased at some set of values*. Technical change
reduces living labor relatively to the means of production, raising the
organic composition of capital. Once the production process is completed,
the produced commodities must be realized. Since technical change does not
occur evenly, different capitals bring the same commodities to the market
after using different quantities of concrete labor in their production. In
the process of realization, *new values* are objectified in these
commodites, *lower than before*.

"This results in two major consequences. First, within each branch of
industry, a redistribution of surplus value occurs. Those capitals
unaffected by technical change will have higher cost prices than those
which have introduced the new technique. As a consequence, at the uniform
selling price, the former will realize less surplus value as profit than
the latter. For the less efficient capitals, the rate of profit will fall.
This fall in the rate of profit for these capitals is the result of *having
initiated the circuit of capital at one set of values and realizing their
commodities at a second*.

"But this is also true of the innovating capitals, and leads to the second
effect. For all capitals, the *realization of values are below the initial
values*, so that the capital advanced (the denominator of the profit
formula) is calculated upon values that are higher than the values that
determine the amount of surplus value realized. The greater the increase in
the productivity of labor, the greater will be the quantitative difference
between these *two sets of values*. (pp. 205-6; emphases added.)


"The task... is to explain both why the rate of profit does fall and why
under some circunstances it does not. A theory that always predicts one or
the other is no guide to understanding reality, where *both* occur." (p. 205)

Alejandro Ramos