[OPE-L:4156] RE: Counting Sheep

andrew klima (Andrew_Kliman@msn.com)
Wed, 5 Feb 1997 20:10:42 -0800 (PST)

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A reply to John's ope-l 4148:

John: "The only given is that it [a machine] is scrap after, say, 5 years.
That's it. It would seem that in this situation you would have to use only
hypothetical calculations since what happens "ex post" gives you insufficient
information to make your value calculations."

Before the fact the engineers can say how long the machine should last at
such-and-such a speed. After the fact we know the speed at which it actually
was run. So if we cared about real estimates, I think reasonable ex post
estimates of wear and tear in percentage terms are possible.

But I'm not interested in that here. Hypothetical is fine, since ALL aspects
of any example we discuss will be hypothetical.

I think it is important also not to confuse what *happens* with what is
*known*. A machine has the capability of lasting such and such an amount of
time at such and such a speed. That's a fact. It isn't hypothetical. The
firm may never know that fact. We may never know it. But it remains a fact.

John: "if the capitalists' calculations have, as you say, little in common
with yours ..."

I didn't say that. I said they don't necessarily *have to have* anything in

John: "... does your rate of profit differ from theirs? If so, how?"

Yes. Partly for the reasons I've discussed, having to do with how they figure
profit. The whole surplus-value doesn't get counted as profit when a charge
is taken for anticipated or actual capital losses.


Andrew Kliman