RE: SV: [OPE] Ricardo and The Iron Law Of Wages

Date: Mon Jul 14 2008 - 11:36:15 EDT

Hi Martin:
I agree with you. Ricardo's theory, as former OPE-L member Duncan Foley
once said here, is more dialectical than is commonly supposed. The problem
here hence might not be with Ricardo but with the 'translation' of Ricardo,
by later-day Ricardians and surplus approach theorists, into the formal 
logic of linear algebra. Obviously something was lost in the 'translation'!
When Marx's theory is 'translated' into linear algebra, I think - similarly -
a lot lot 'information', nuance, and  complexity is lost.
In  solidarity, Jerry
> > A note. Reading original texts in their context is always a tricky thing and topics very often get obscured, especially in a lot of the more literary interpretations of political economy. However, the way I have read Ricardo there is nothing which supports a rigid interpretation of the subsistence theory of wages. Ricardo himself noted:> "Perhaps this is expressed too strongly, as more is generally allotted to the labourer under the name of wages, than the absolutely necessary expenses of production. In that case a part of the net revenue of the country is received by the labourer, and may be saved or expended by him; or it may enable him to contribute to the defence of the country."> D. Ricardo, Principles of Political Economy, The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, ed. P. Sraffa, vol. 1, Cambridge, 1951, p. 348n. > In Ricardo there is no such thing as any "iron law" for anything, such assumptions would be counter to his whole methodology. I have never read any statement by Ricardo which was not immediately qualified, just as it should be in *good* social science. 

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