[OPE-L:7260] [OPE-L:785] Re: technical change and productivity change

Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@phoenix.Princeton.EDU)
Sun, 28 Mar 1999 11:36:09 -0500 (EST)

Using the Sraffian commodity theory of value, Spencer Pack has given an
example a fully automated economy in which there is a positive average rate
of profit and relative prices despite there being no workers or, to put it
differently, v being zero. This then raises at least two problems:

1)why would a society not based on the appropriation of labor by one class
from another have a uniform profit rate
2)the Sraffian model does not allow us to understand what limits capital as
a mode of production puts on the advancement of automation; it provides no
explanation for why full automation or the zeroing out of v is indeed
impossible under capitalism. Pack takes it as a mark of superiority of the
Sraffian model over the Marxian one that the former can determine the
average profit rate and prices in a fully automated economy! Again the
universality of the model--here its ability to accomodate fanciful thought
experiments--is taken as an indication of its superiority.

It does seem to me that Jerry's insistence on the inappropriatness of this
assumption strikes at the heart of the matter.


Spencer Pack, Reconstructing Marxian Economics: Marx Based Upon a Sraffian
Commodity Theory of Value. Praeger.