[OPE-L:7478] [OPE-L:1013] Re: Marx's concept of prices of production

Allin Cottrell (cottrell@ricardo.ecn.wfu.edu)
Tue, 1 Jun 1999 22:39:59 -0400 (EDT)

On Tue, 1 Jun 1999, Tsoulfidis Lefteris wrote:

> If one tries to test empirically Marx's proposition of the tendential
> equalization of the interindustry profit rates (in a period of fat and
> lean years) by just examining the long run tendencies of interindustry
> _average_ rates of profit it is likely to find convergence of

Do you mean "unlikely"?

> interindustry profit rates around the general rate of profit. This
> appears to contradict the tendential equalization of profit rates
> argument.
> The trouble, however, with these studies is that they do not
> really test Marx's idea. In Marx the equalization of profit
> rates takes place only for the regulating capitals (see also
> Botwinick 1993), which in general differ from the average.
> An example could be in agriculture where the regulating
> capital is the marginal capital which of course differs
> substantially from the average.

This sounds a bit like special pleading. Surely agriculture is
a special case, with its naturally-ordained distinction between
the margin and the average.

Allin Cottrell.