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Marxian debates on the falling rate of profit

  • Freeman, Alan

The purpose of this paper is to examine the discussion among marxists about the rate of profit. This is done by the method of symptomatic reading, hence in a different way from what has become standard. Beginning from the fact that Marx and his critics draw diametrically opposite conclusions from the same premises – continuously rising productivity as a defining element of accumulation – I enquire into the presuppositions and necessary conclusions of the two opposed interpretations in order to lay bare the logical world-view which underlies them. I show that the opposed conclusions which are drawn by scholars from the two main paradigms arise not from errors of logic but from their opposed value concepts. My aim is, without presupposing which is right, to investigate what each concept actually is. This paper is non-mathematical but contains many numerical examples and a detailed textual exigesis. It is a good starting point for the new student of temporal approaches to value and their difference from the simultaneist (equilibrium) standpoint. It contains a more or less complete non-mathematical exposition of the temporal calculation of the profit rate, and demonstrates that the simultaneist approach leads to the creation of value without labour.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 2588.

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Date of creation: 26 Jun 2000
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:2588
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