Thursday, December 13, 2018


  • Matthew Klein writes, in Barron's, about "Tarrifs and the Minimum Wage Are More Alike Than You Think". I disagree with some of the stuff in the middle about efficiency and reject the dualistic notion that government intervention is a meaningful concept. But this article otherwise parallels some of my arguments here.
  • Josh Mason has made available his piece in Jacobin about the state of economics after the global financial catastrophe.
  • The Review of Political Economy has made available Pierangelo Garegnani's posthumous On the Labour Theory of Value in Marx and in the Marxist Tradition. I have yet to read Fabio Petri's introduction. Some points from Garegnani's article:
    • Chapter 1 of volume 1 of Capital is not meant to be a proof of the Labor Theory of Value (LTV).
    • The LTV fills an instrumental role in providing a calculation of the rate of profits prior to the system of prices of production.
    • Much of volume 1 remains valid, even after correcting the mathematical theory. For a given technology, there is a trade-off between wages and the rate of profits. Capitalists try to increase relative and absolute surplus value.
    • Marx's account of profits as the result of the exploitation of workers is descriptive, not a moral or ethical judgement.
    • Rudolf Hilferding did not have the mathematical machinery (e.g., theorems on the principal Eigenvalue of a matrix) to counter Eugen Böhm von Bawerk's criticism of Marx. Consequently, his attempt is misdirected.


Sturai said...

On the point about calculating the Rate of Profits prior to the Production Prices. I wonder if what we are talking about is the Maximum Rate of Profits (R).

Robert Vienneau said...

Garegnani is talking about what Marx intended. His understanding of the system of prices of production is that Marx was wrong on this point. Still, much of volume 1 works anyways.

There is an argument, that I've never understood, that focuses on the maximum rate of profits for justifying a tendency for the rate of profits to decline.