Re: [OPE-L] fully automated economy and capitalism

From: GERALD LEVY (gerald_a_levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Fri Nov 30 2007 - 07:48:03 EST

Sraffa is not interested in interpreting a system of zero wages as a real social possibility: whether such as system could be realized is not the point. Sraffa is asking what  is the upper bound of the rate of capitalist profit, not because he ever expects the system to reach that bound but because it may be theoretically useful to know that a rate of profit will always be below it. No doubt Kliman could also engage in the same exercise.
Hi Ian H:
The issue concerns the meaning of limit cases and whether 
a specific limit case if _beyond the limit_ of a particular 
If one postulates a limit case, then the limit case must
be logically consistent with the rest of the basic propositions
of the theory. 
Within the Sraffian paradigm, there is (of course) production
of commodities by means of commodities.  Within Marx's 
perspective, commodities under capitalism are produced
by wage-labour using commodities (and nature).  
The key difference here is the role of *labour* in creating
commodities. For Marx, value represents a  *specific social 
relation* which requires the expenditure of *human* labor and
that labor take a particular form.
The limit case where V=0 is _beyond the limit_ from a Marxian
value-theoretic perspective.
To begin with, where V=0 (the 'limit case'), *non-labor*
can produce commodities (and hence our thought experiment).
This is _beyond_ the limit of Marx's paradigm. 
Furthermore,  in the limit case where  V = 0, then _all_ of 
Marx's formulas break down.  What is the formula for the
rate of profit  where V = 0?  If V = 0, then the formula
becomes S/C.  Yet, that is a vulgar perspective which 
suggests that S is created by C - a theorem which Marx
emphatically rejected.
If you want to hop on board the Sraffian paradigm, then
assuming V = 0 is OK, I guess.  But, it is a limit case
_way_ beyond the limit of Marx's perspective.  It is 
ironic that it has been included in "numerical
illustrations" which claim to simply re-state "Marx's 
Marxism" in its allegedly "original form".
In solidarity, Jerry

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