[OPE-L:5857] Re: [OPE -L] Re: BEA and Depreciation

Duncan K. Foley (dkf2@columbia.edu)
Thu, 18 Dec 1997 13:51:05 -0500 (EST)

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At the end of a very informative post on the BEA's struggles with measuring
depreciation, John remarks on the admittedly very great difficulties
involved in measuring surplus value in the strict sense given the
uncertainties about actual "economic" depreciation:

>If all we see is a depreciation
>charge of 100 hours in the first year, who is to say what it will be
>in the second year? That is, what prevents the second year charge for
>becoming 90 hours or 100f 900 hours, the value of the machine at
>the beginning of the 2nd year? For me, these are real questions
>concerning Marx's own view of the matter despite their rather
>fundamental nature.
I'm all in favor of a serious investigation of the ins and outs of
depreciation, but I'm a little disturbed at the suggestion that we can't
get pretty good estimates of the key Marxian ratios (the rate of
exploitation, for example) for real economies until we resolve these very
knotty problems. I also doubt that Marx had any view of these very
technical and complex accounting issues, as a matter of fact.


Duncan K. Foley
Department of Economics
Barnard College
New York, NY 10027
fax: (212)-854-8947
e-mail: dkf2@columbia.edu