Re: [OPE-L] basics vs. non-basics

From: Paul Cockshott (wpc@DCS.GLA.AC.UK)
Date: Wed Sep 21 2005 - 04:20:47 EDT

Diego Guerrero wrote:
> Is not R in Sraffa's theory the maximun rate of profit? If so, it is a
> ratio or quotient between two "things" that must have some (physical)
> dimension. For instance, in Marxian theory, the rates of profit and
> surplus value are also quotients. They have no dimension but are the
> ratios of quantities of labour or money (measured in hours or euros).
> So, the rate of profit is an (maximum) eigenvalue as well, but this pure
> number is the quotient of two units that are in fact the same "thing".
> But again: which is the physical unit of the standard commodity? It must
> have one and I cannot conceive of nothing different from labour.
> Diego

Fair point about R being a ratio. The things of which it is a ratio
are vectors of commodities. I dont have any difficulty thinking of this.
Many ordinary commodities are themselves vectors of their components.
Consider NKP fertilizer used on farms, this is a simple mixture of nitrate,
potassium salts and phosphates. Despite being a mixture it
has physical bulk and can be quantified.

Sraffa's abstraction is essentially similar to the chemists notion
of a Mole, a gram of a compound specified in fixed proportions corresponding
to the molecular structure.

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