[OPE-L:1635] Re: technical change and real wages

Subject: [OPE-L:1635] Re: technical change and real wages
From: Gerald Levy (glevy@pratt.edu)
Date: Wed Nov 03 1999 - 04:28:09 EST

Ajit wrote in [OPE-L:1633]:
> Chris, there is no basis for this "assumption" in Marx. What is the
> logic behind the assumption that rate of surplus value will remain
> constant in the face of technical changes? All Marx is doing is to
> suggest that *if* the rate of surplus value remains constant then the
> implication of a rise in the organic composition of capital is a fall
> in the rate of profits. <snip>

I'm with Ajit on this point. In his discussion of "more intense
exploitation of labour" in the chapter on "counteracting factors",
Marx makes it clear that the rate of surplus value can not be taken to
be constant over the process of accumulation and discusses briefly the
case which he takes to be typical -- that of an increase in the rate
of surplus value.

btw, does the following passage (from the chapter on "Development of the
Law's Internal Contradictions") anticipate and answer the Okishio

         "No capitalist voluntarily applies a new method of production,
          no matter how much more productive itmay be or how much it
          might raise the rate of surplus-value, if it reduces the rate
          of profit. But every new method of production of this kind
          makes commodities cheaper. At first, therefore, he can sell
          them above their price of production, perhaps above their
          value. He pockets the difference between their costs of
          production and the market price of the other commodities,
          which are produced at higher production costs. This is
          possible because the average socially necessary labour-time
          required to produce these latter commodities is greater than
          the labour-time required with the new method of production.
          His production procedure is ahead of the social average. But
          competition also makes the new procedure universal and subjects
          it to the general fall. A fall in the profit rate then ensues -
          firstly perhaps in this sphere of production, and subsequently
          with the others - a fall that is completely independent of the
          capitalists' will" (Penguin ed., pp. 373-374)

In solidarity, Jerry

This archive was generated by hypermail 2a24 : Sun Dec 12 1999 - 17:29:13 EST