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

From: Ian Wright (iwright@GMAIL.COM)
Date: Thu Sep 22 2005 - 12:08:19 EDT

> Yes but any product will require labour as an input. Associated
> with the labour input are two things
1. A wage w which is a share of the surplus
> 2. A vector of necessary reproduction commodities which will require
> basics

This is true, but has no bearing on "beans". The property of a commodity
being basic or non-basic is solely a property of the technical coefficients
matrix, not income distribution, whether nominal or real.

If "beans" are part of the "necessary" real wage, and we decide to represent
this in A, which is your earlier suggestion, then the "beans" are basic, and
there is no difficulty.

But the condition of the problem is that "beans" are not part of the
"necessary" real wage. They may, or may not be, part of the "surplus"
portion of the wage. It doesn't matter.

This seems to follow from the paragraph labeled 8
> in Sraffa's Production of Commodities.
> Thus no isolated self reproducing sections can exist
> unless the workers in these sections do not consume
> products that are produced in the basic sector.
> That is of course possible, but that would indicate
> that they lived in a different country which
> had no trade relations with the basic sector, in
> which case there must be some other goods
> which make up the basic sector in their country - corresponding
> to other previously non-basic rows of our equations.

Let's assume that the bean workers consume goods from the basic sector. Are
you then wanting to say that, therefore, "beans" are basic?

They are not. Part of the problem with the Sraffian representation is that
the portion of the "surplus" real wage can be relegated to "the limbo of
non-basic products".

Do you think going over a two-commodity example would help us understand
each other? You may have a point that I have not grasped, or vice-versa.

Best wishes,


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