[OPE] Comments desired on surprising result in "A Marxist Modeling of Capitalism"

From: Paul Zarembka <zarembka@buffalo.edu>
Date: Thu Jun 03 2010 - 09:00:38 EDT

I am presenting this paper at the Association for Heterodox Economics,
"The Economy of Tomorrow", conference in Bordeaux next month.


It is a technical paper mostly, but the results are surprising for me,
namely, that perhaps ten percent of surplus value seems to be all that
was needed to sustain the world levels of accumulation of capital over
the past century and a half. This would suggest that political
economists need to consider ever more carefully where the other ninety
percent goes (luxury consumption of capitalist cannot be very much of
that ninety percent; unproductive labor could be).

I would appreciate any careful evaluation of my work. Basically, I
don't want to have made any mistakes, either in judgment or technique.
Please email me if you wish a copy of the draft.

Thanks very much,

Paul Zarembka, SUNY at Buffalo


A Marxist Modeling of Capitalism, Suggesting Theoretical Over-emphasis
on Accumulation of Capital"

*Abstract: *In Volume I of /Capital/, Marx offers actual data from a
Manchester spinning factory describing that business. In Volume II, he
offers schemes of reproduction to help understand accumulation of
capital while mentioning numbers which actually suggest correlation to
the spinning factory data. Nevertheless, Marx seems to slide over the
costs of new machinery when analyzing accumulation, instead focusing on
wear and tear (depreciation). In this paper, we offer a modeling of
accumulation that takes account of modern estimates of the composition
of capital, i.e., the relation of labor time invested in constant
capital compared to the labor time employed with that constant capital,
relying principally upon U.S. and Canadian estimates.

We find empirically that the composition of capital fluctuates but does
not show much trend. We also consider levels of the rate of exploitation
and of utilization of surplus value required for achieving actual
historical levels of accumulation of capital, and include consideration
of the turnover of capital. We find that only a small portion of surplus
value, perhaps ten percent, is required for actually achieved
accumulation. This suggests that a focus on the utilization of surplus
value for the accumulation of capital misses vast other terrains for the
utilization of surplus value.

Our result is suggestive of an over-emphasis within Marxist political
economy on accumulation of capital.

(V23) THE HIDDEN HISTORY OF 9-11, Seven Stories Press softcover, 2008 2nd ed
====> Research in Political Economy, Emerald Group, Bingley, UK
====> Paul Zarembka, Editorwww.buffalo.edu/~zarembka

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