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

From: Paul Cockshott (wpc@DCS.GLA.AC.UK)
Date: Wed Sep 28 2005 - 18:05:08 EDT

```The totals will be in natural units - kilograms per annum say for iron
and corn

and persons for the labour column.

The totals vector is thus one of mixed type, but it is type compatible
with

the  output and surplus columns.

For an analysis of  the maths of such dimensioned type systems see the
chapter 9

section 3 of 'SIMD Programming', (Cockshott and Renfrew, Springer
Verlag, 2004).

________________________________

From: OPE-L [mailto:OPE-L@SUS.CSUCHICO.EDU] On Behalf Of Diego Guerrero
Sent: 28 September 2005 21:56
To: OPE-L@SUS.CSUCHICO.EDU
Subject: Re: [OPE-L] basics vs. non-basics

Paul C. wrote:

Table 1

iron    corn    labour  output          surplus

iron    440     1100    110     825             185
corn    100     500     50      2250            550
silk    100     100     20      1000            1000
totals  640     1700    180

But how do you sum the different physical inputs in order to obtain
those "totals"? Total of what? You need to use either (labour) time or
another unknown physical property (common to all commodities) that you
should mention. If not, you must be using monetary prices (ie, ratios of
labour times used in producing commodities and money).

Yours,

Diego

----- Original Message -----

From: "Paul Cockshott" <wpc@DCS.GLA.AC.UK <mailto:wpc@DCS.GLA.AC.UK> >

To: <OPE-L@SUS.CSUCHICO.EDU <mailto:OPE-L@SUS.CSUCHICO.EDU> >

Sent: Wednesday, September 28, 2005 5:37 PM

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

Diego
--------

Dear Ian, Rakesh, Paul C. and Jerry:

I have been travelling, therefore I have had to postpone my answer:

The only point I want to make is this: In a real economy, not one where
there is proportional growth in every branch (like the one implied in
Paul's
Mole-Sraffian notion), we have only one way to know which has been the
rate
of growth of the economy in physical terms. We have to use labour and
measure its quantities in a physical unit: hours, etc. The other
possible
way is starting from money quantities and deflacting them, but this is
not a
"real" mesure. So, when we speak of a physical surplus for an economy
(real
economy) as a whole we have to be conscious that there can be no other
physical measure that quantities of time (of labour) unless we renounce
to
know if this economy is growing or decreasing, etc.

Marx once wrote about Adam Smith being too Scottisch. I would say that
those
who can conceive of an aggregate physical surplus in terms others than
labour-Time are too Scottisch as well.

_____________
I can not deny that I am Scottish, but I would deny that one can
be too Scottish.
But more seriously:

Do you require a fully balanced economy on a von-Neumann growth
path for the notion of a standard system to be relevant.

No. Consider the following economy with a surplus
but which is not balanced.

Table 1

iron    corn    labour  output          surplus

iron    440     1100    110     825             185
corn    100     500     50      2250            550
silk    100     100     20      1000            1000
totals  640     1700    180

Sraffa wrote that every economy contains a
standard system, which can be discovered by :

2. Scaling back those basic industries whose share of the
output mix is excessive compared to their share
of the input mix.

Table 2 shows the result of applying this
rule to the economy in table 1.
We have first discarded the silk industry as non basic.
Then, observing that the ratio of iron to corn in the output
was 825/2250 = 11/30 but the ratio of  iron to corn in the input of
the basic sector was 540/1600 = 11/32<11/30,
we scale back the iron industry  until the iron/corn ratios are equal
in both the input and the output at 1/3 giving the Standard
System shown in Table 2.

Table 2
iron    corn    labour  output  R
iron    400     1000    100     750     0.5
corn    100     500     50      2250
totals  500     1500    150

Note that the iron/corn
ratios in both input and output are 1/3, and the the ratio of
the total output to the total input is 3/2. This gives an
expansion rate R of 0.5 or profit rate of 50%.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Paul Cockshott" <wpc@DCS.GLA.AC.UK <mailto:wpc@DCS.GLA.AC.UK> >
To: <OPE-L@SUS.CSUCHICO.EDU <mailto:OPE-L@SUS.CSUCHICO.EDU> >
Sent: Wednesday, September 21, 2005 10:20 AM
Subject: Re: [OPE-L] basics vs. non-basics

> 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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