[OPE-L:4200] Re: profit rate determination

aramos@aramos.b (aramos@aramos.bo)
Thu, 13 Feb 1997 04:49:49 -0800 (PST)

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In [OPE-L 4199, Jerry writes:

> Note also that my question in #4192 concerned understanding
> "actual capitalist economies" rather than interpreting Marx.

I do not understand this separation. IN MY CASE, I read and interpret
Marx in order to understand "actual capitalist economies" as well as
the historical process of development of capitalism. I want to
know what are Marx's real insights about this. The problem is
that Marx's work has been commented by a lot of people saying that it
is wrong. Let us suppose that I want to understand the present levels
of unemployment in several countries. What are Marx's insights about
this? Well, for example, the Law of Accumulation and the LFTRP. But
we have "modern interpreters" as Tugan (and his follower Okishio) who
say that the LFTRP is false because an increasing material
productivity would imply an increasing rate of profit. They even
"demonstrate" this using a math supposedely more developed than that
of Marx. So, to know if Marx's insight is valuable in understanding
"actual capitalism", I need firstly to contrast what modern
interpreters have been saying about this. This implies to study
Marx's work that is mainly a draft. So, it is necessary *to precise*
and *to clarify* what are Marx's insights in order to understand
actual capitalism. It is clear that the "interpretation work" is
heavy (and sometimes seems "hairsplitting" as Andrew K. said) because
1) its draft nature 2) the work of the precedent interpreters who,
IMHO, in many cases, have been "misinterpreters".

In my personal case, the work of understanding actual capitalism is
not so easy because in these countries it is very difficult to
have means of research. "Economics" is a kind of religion
(neoliberalism) that you have to "share" in order to find jobs. This
means that it is *absolutely impossible* to find funding to develop
independent empirical ("concrete") research. But, I want to say that
my interest for Marx in the last years arose from my personal
experience in Argentina during the hyperinflations of the 80s (an
"actual capitalism"). Although I studied Marx in the University, it
was that violent experience, as well as the present hegemony of the
crudest neoliberalism in Latinamerica, what stimulated me to study
Marx again. In itself I do not love "hairsplitting work".

Alejandro Ramos M.