[OPE-L:1661] Re: Re: Re: technical change and real wages

Subject: [OPE-L:1661] Re: Re: Re: technical change and real wages
From: Ajit Sinha (ajitsinha@lbsnaa.ernet.in)
Date: Thu Nov 11 1999 - 02:17:16 EST

Duncan K. Foley wrote:

> Actually, it seems to me that Okishio was trying to answer this passage (on
> the assumption that the technical change was once-and-for-all), by showing
> that if the new method appeared to raise the rate of profit for the
> individual capitalist it could not lower the rate of profit in the system
> as a whole once it was universally adopted.


I agree with this. I think the real problem in Marx is that he
assumes that at
any time a spectrum of technology is operating to produce one
commodity. He is
not clear in this case which technology will determine the value,
so sometimes
he thinks of taking some sort of 'average technology' to be the
determining. I think this procedure creates various theoretical
problems for
Marx. The better way out would be to assume that the most
efficient technology
at any time is the value determining technology. Cheers, ajit

> >Ajit wrote in [OPE-L:1633]:
> >
> >> Chris, there is no basis for this "assumption" in Marx. What is the
> >> logic behind the assumption that rate of surplus value will remain
> >> constant in the face of technical changes? All Marx is doing is to
> >> suggest that *if* the rate of surplus value remains constant then the
> >> implication of a rise in the organic composition of capital is a fall
> >> in the rate of profits. <snip>
> >
> >I'm with Ajit on this point. In his discussion of "more intense
> >exploitation of labour" in the chapter on "counteracting factors",
> >Marx makes it clear that the rate of surplus value can not be taken to
> >be constant over the process of accumulation and discusses briefly the
> >case which he takes to be typical -- that of an increase in the rate
> >of surplus value.
> >
> >btw, does the following passage (from the chapter on "Development of the
> >Law's Internal Contradictions") anticipate and answer the Okishio
> >Theorem?:
> >
> > "No capitalist voluntarily applies a new method of production,
> > no matter how much more productive itmay be or how much it
> > might raise the rate of surplus-value, if it reduces the rate
> > of profit. But every new method of production of this kind
> > makes commodities cheaper. At first, therefore, he can sell
> > them above their price of production, perhaps above their
> > value. He pockets the difference between their costs of
> > production and the market price of the other commodities,
> > which are produced at higher production costs. This is
> > possible because the average socially necessary labour-time
> > required to produce these latter commodities is greater than
> > the labour-time required with the new method of production.
> > His production procedure is ahead of the social average. But
> > competition also makes the new procedure universal and subjects
> > it to the general fall. A fall in the profit rate then ensues -
> > firstly perhaps in this sphere of production, and subsequently
> > with the others - a fall that is completely independent of the
> > capitalists' will" (Penguin ed., pp. 373-374)
> >
> >In solidarity, Jerry
> Duncan K. Foley
> Department of Economics
> Graduate Faculty
> New School University
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