[OPE-L:2137] Re: Gold and rent

From: John Ernst (ernst@pipeline.com)
Date: Thu Jan 13 2000 - 11:24:55 EST

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I have no idea why some of us insist that the marginal
gold producers earn only the average rate of profit. That is,
why must this happen in reality? The reason in theory
is obvious; absolute rent does introduce a problem
for those who think it is of import to be able to
derive a set of prices given the physical quantities of
inputs and outputs. For these folk, absolute rent must
go. Hence, Marx's notion of rent becomes Ricardo's.

For those who want to start with labor hours in order to
get a set of prices, differential rent becomes a problem
as well since its very existence indicates that not all actual
hours of labor create the same value even if we assume
that all labor is simple labor. In this framework,
rent in both forms -- absolute and differential --
disappears as an economic category. Rental property
becomes worthless. The question then becomes -- Are we
still talking about capitalism?


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