Re: [OPE-L] Che Guevara and the Sraffian notion of profit

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@BERKELEY.EDU)
Date: Wed May 09 2007 - 19:21:22 EDT

> On Wed, 9 May 2007, Paul Cockshott wrote:
>> I agree with what [Ajit says] about the real wage.
>> What I worry about here Ajit is how one models the process by which
things like fossil fuels are transformed into wastes.
>> >From the standpoint of capitalist accounting, there is no problem,
>> in that fuel below the ground is free and only costs due to the labour
required to extract it. Thus from the standpoint of
>> a critique of neo-classical economics it is just fine for
>> us to ignore this.
>> But from the standpoint of the long term rational use of natural
resources, it should be possible to model this in some way.
> I recall interesting work by Barry Commoner (sometime in the
> 1970s) on constructing an input-output table that included use of
natural resources and production of waste.  I used this in
> teaching a course in the "Science and Industrial Studies" program at
Napier College.  Maybe I could find the article again.  It
> might perhaps have appeared in Scientific American.
> Allin.

I would imagine that Partha Dasgupta has attempted to theorize such waste
in terms of neo-classical economics. In his recent short introduction to
economics he gives the example of the unmeasured costs in terms of
ecological damage and disruption to peasants of providing licenses to
foreign logging companies for the purposes of creating foreign exchange
revenue. It's the one point where something objective intrudes into his
analysis. Most of the time he is talking about how trust determines which
one of multiple equilibria is realized, of how expectations are
self-reinforcing to the point of creating booms and busts, of how
subjective discount rates determine the possibilities of cooperation (with
little objective analysis of why the rates are what they are).


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