Economía marxista para el Siglo XXI

Archivo para la Categoría "Análisis empírico"

The sources of profitability

Flaschel, Peter; Fröhlich, Nils and Veneziani, Roberto

This paper is built around a theorem proved analytically and exemplified empirically in Flaschel, Franke and Veneziani (2010) which states that profitable capital-using labor-saving technical change is under mild conditions always reducing the labor content of commodities. This type of technical change therefore increases Marx’s value rate of profit in a systematic way. Against this background the paper studies the relationship between the actual value and price rate of profit and derives expressions that show that the deviation between them may be of a secondary and unsystematic nature. This result is then exemplified empirically using flow as well as stock matrix data for the German economy. The paper argues on this basis that prices of production are in fact of a questionable nature and an unnecessary detour in the input-output oriented analysis of the profitability nexus between total labor costs and the actual prices of the considered commodities.

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Labor Productivity and the Law of Decreasing Labor Content

Peter Flaschel, Reiner Franke y Roberto Veneziani

University of Massachusetts Amherst

Working Paper 2010‐11

This paper analyzes labor productivity and the law of decreasing labor content (LDLC) originally formulated by Farjoun and Machover (1983). First, it is shown that the standard measures of labor productivity may be rather misleading, owing to their emphasis on monetary aggregates. Instead, the conventional classical-Marxian labor values provide the theoretically and empirically sound measures of labor productivity. The notion of labor content and the LDLC are therefore central in order to understand the dynamics of
capitalist economies. Second, some rigorous theoretical relations between different forms of prot-driven technical change and productivity are derived in a general input-output framework with ¯xed capital, which provide deterministic foundations to the LDLC. Third, the main theoretical propositions are analyzed empirically based on a new dataset of the German economy.

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Fostering Manufactures in Advanced Countries: Against the Secular Tide?

Manufacturing as a share of GDP, percentages, 1995-2010 (end year change given in legend)

John Weeks

The Financial Crisis of 2007 resulted in massive losses of actual and potential output, accompanied by increases in unemployment unmatched since before World War II, increasing by fourteen million in the OECD countries (four million for the Euro zone and almost seven million for the United States alone). Still suffering from the effects of the severe financial dysfunction of the last decade, we now face the imminent possibility of a second banking disaster that could be even worse, prompted by mismanagement of Euro bond debt relief.

A famous cliché, repeating the same behavior with the hope of a different outcome is a definition of madness, accurately describes the fumbling attempts by US and European leaders to contain the excesses of financial misbehavior, which generate (degenerate, perhaps) a looming threat to global economic and social stability. It is not surprising that several major European politicians, including the leader of the British Labour Party, call for a policy shift from finance to industry. Those in favour of such a shift confront the challenge of first justifying it, then designing the policies to realize it.

Several prominent and progressive economists in Europe and the United States dismiss the need to influence purposefully the structure of output, in other words, “industrial policy”. They argue that the essential problem is a runaway financial sector that must be radically reformed through severe curtailment of its functions – return banking to the dull business of lending. If this is done, the argument goes, the structure of output can sort itself out. For example, with the populations of Europe, North America and Japan growing older, it may be that these countries should focus their employment growth on the health-associated service sectors.

As superficially compelling as this argument may be – let the “young” countries produce and the “old” consume – it ignores the specific advantages of industry and especially manufacturing. First and fundamental is what Thorstein Veblen called “the instinct of workmanship”, the creative potential of humanity through cooperative production. Veblen argued that is in the process of collective work that people express and realize their imaginative and creative powers, which is obvious if one discards the obfuscating rhetoric of individualistic competition. Manufacturing involves more than making commodities; it is the cooperative process of creation. A society that abandons making things loses its creative potential.

More concretely, manufacturing has linkages than services do not, which integrates an economy both in the technical (input-output) sense and socially (through organizations of workers, employers and consumers). The interaction between the technical and social linkages generates product and production innovation. But, even if one accepts the advantages of manufacturing, a frequent objection to arguments for promoting manufacturing is that its declining importance in advanced economies is akin to a natural law. The empirical work of two great economists, Simon Kuznets and Hollis Chenery, has been interpreted to imply that the secular decline of manufacturing is and will be observed almost without exception across countries as they develop.

However, the secular decline interpretation of the long run evidence does not imply the disappearance of manufacturing in the advanced countries. This inference derives from the belief that absolute and relative wage costs dictate the relocation of production from more to less developed countries. A moment’s reflection reveals this to be an extremely superficial and indefensible argument. If wage costs play this determining role, then the relocation argument applies to all traded commodities, including services, which are typically characterized by a higher share of employment costs to total costs, as well as less skilled labor. Thus, if the argument were true, there would be very little left that could be produced profitably in the advanced countries.

While it is beyond the scope of a short article to deconstruct the theory allegedly supporting the wage-cost relocation argument, a look at recent advanced country experience demonstrates its inadequacy. The chart shows the share of manufacturing in GDP for four large advanced countries, Germany, Japan, the United States and the United Kingdom. I selected the years 1995-2007 because in either years data for Germany would not be consistent, and during 1990-1994 the German statistics are distorted by the restructuring and closure of factories in the east. The chart data end with 2007 because the Financial Crisis caused a sharp decline in the manufacturing sectors of almost all OECD countries.

The difference between Germany and Japan, with a slightly rising and almost stable share, and the United States and United Kingdom, with shares sharply declining, appears much too extreme to be explained by the same underlying “natural” process. The differences arise from policies pursued in each country toward finance and “offshoring”. Most important for the United States and United Kingdom have been policies that lower the cost of relocating to other countries, in specific those that facilitate escape from organized labor and de facto tax incentives (see K. Clausing & K. Hassett in the Brookings Trade Forum 2005, 457-490).

Full article at Social Europe Journal

¿Hay un futuro aceptable para los trabajadores en el capitalismo? El caso latinoamericano

"Pajarera" dormitorio para trabajadores agrícolas en Córdoba Argentina en: http://iconoclasistas.com.ar/2010/01/05/el-trabajo-precario-nos-ocupa/

Alejandro Valle Baeza

Resumen
Una lavandera latina en Nueva York, en 2003, trabajaba más de ochenta horas a la semana, ganaba cerca de 3 dólares la hora muy por debajo del mínimo legal, no obtenía pago por horas extras, ni disfrutaba de vacaciones y no tenía servicio de salud (1). Los migrantes aceptan estos trabajos porque en sus países de origen las condiciones de trabajo son aún peores. Haití alguna vez fue autosuficiente en su consumo de arroz, el principal cereal de su dieta, hoy importa una buena parte de él. Ese es uno de los resultados de las políticas neoliberales pues la libre importación de arroz en Haití destruyó la producción local y no creo los puestos de trabajo que prometió. Desde hace tiempo Haití vive una crisis que se ha agudizado con los aumentos de precios de las materias primas.

The Haitain crisis is so extreme it forces people to eat (non-food) mud cookies (called “pica”) to relieve hunger. It’s a desperate Haitian remedy made from dried yellow dirt from the country’s central plateau for those who can afford it. It’s not free. In Cite Soleil’s crowded slums, people use a combination of dirt, salt and vegetable shortening for a typical meal when it’s all they can afford (2).

Los desmesurados aumentos de precios de los alimentos no son la principal causa de los problemas en el mundo. Una organización argentina informó que diariamente mueren niños de hambre en un país que alguna vez tuvo un ingreso per capita superior al de muchos países desarrollados y que hoy tiene un balance alimenticio favorable que superaba al 10% de su PIB en el período 2004-2005 (3). En Argentina y en Haití como en muchos países el capitalismo no está creando trabajos suficientes para que una enorme porción de su población tenga una vida digna.
En este trabajo avanzo en la dirección de responder a la pregunta sobre si hay un futuro aceptable para los trabajadores diciendo no, no hay futuro decente, especialmente en los países atrasados o “en desarrollo” como los llaman los organismos oficiales. La respuesta aunque insuficiente aún se basa en los siguientes hechos:

  • En todo el mundo las condiciones de vida para una gran porción de los trabajadores eran malas y además se estaban deteriorando desde antes de la crisis iniciada en 2008. Eso se debe a que el capitalismo de los últimos treinta años, el neoliberalismo, ha requerido y conseguido explotar más a los trabajadores. Esta mayor explotación muestra tres defectos: ha significado un empobrecimiento absoluto para grandes porciones de la población; ha sido incapaz de explotar a toda la fuerza de trabajo potencialmente explotable y esta población sobrante no ha podido encontrar formas dignas de reproducir sus condiciones de vida.
  • En los países atrasados, si el caso latinoamericano es generalizable, el segundo de los defectos de la fase neoliberal surgió antes de ésta pues tiene al menos cincuenta años. De manera que aún si desapareciera el neoliberalismo los problemas futuros de muchos trabajadores no serán resueltos por el capitalismo.
  • En la fase neoliberal se agudiza la destrucción del medio ambiente que amenaza la vida misma.

Todo apunta a la conclusión de que el capitalismo se ha agotado y la humanidad deberá superar esta forma de organización social o retroceder. Socialismo o barbarie es la disyuntiva que nos tocará resolver en un futuro no muy distante.

Notas

[1] Gonzalez, Marco Vinicio, “ ¿Quién crees que lava la ropa en Nueva York?”, Masiosare 294 suplemento de La Jornada, agosto 10 de 2003.

[2] Global Food Crisis: Hunger Plagues Haiti and the World by Stephen Lendman Global Research, April 21, 2008 http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8754

[3] Los datos del comercio argentino de alimentos son de FAO, Food situation in Latin America and the Caribbean, May-June 2008, pp. 2 http://www.rlc.fao.org/iniciativa/pdf/bolobs1_en.pdf

Lea o descargue “Is There an Acceptable Future for Workers in Capitalism? The Case of Latin America “ en Saad Filho, A. and Yalman, Galip L., eds. Economic Transitions to Neoliberalism in Middle-Income Countries: Policy Dilemmas, Economic Crises, Forms of Resistance (2009). London: Routledge: pp. 202-212.

“The Eurozone Between Austerity and Default”: Varios autores

C. Lapavitsas, A. Kaltenbrunner, G. Lambrinidis, D. Lindo, J. Meadway,
J. Michell, J.P. Painceira, E. Pires, J. Powell, A. Stenfors, N. Teles

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY ………………………………………………………………………………………………….1
1. INTRODUCTION ……………………………………………………………………………………………………4
2. A PROFUSION OF DEBT: IF YOU CANNOT COMPETE, KEEP BORROWING …………………………………………………….7
2.1 THE MAGNITUDE OF PERIPHERAL DEBT ……………………………………………………………………………………………… 7
2.2. THE ECONOMIC ROOTS OF EXTERNAL DEBT ………………………………………………………………………………………. 11
2.3 THE EVOLUTION OF DEBT IN THE PERIPHERY ………………………………………………………………………………………. 16
3. RESCUING THE BANKS ONCE AGAIN …………………………………………………………………………………………. 23
3.1 BANKS IN THE EYE OF THE STORM ………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 23
3.2 FUNDING PRESSURES ON EUROPEAN BANKS …………………………………………………………………………………….. 26
3.3 THE EUROPEAN SUPPORT PACKAGE AND ITS AIMS ………………………………………………………………………………. 29
3.4 WILL THE PACKAGE WORK? …………………………………………………………………………………………… 32
4. SOCIETY PAYS THE PRICE: AUSTERITY AND FURTHER LIBERALISATION …………………………………………………….. 34
4.1 THE SPREAD OF AUSTERITY AND ITS LIKELY IMPACT………………………………………………………………………………. 34
4.2 THE PERIPHERY TAKES THE BRUNT OF AUSTERITY POLICY ……………………………………………………………………….. 39
4.3 MISSION IMPOSSIBLE? ……………………………………………………………………………………………… 40
5. THE SPECTRE OF DEFAULT IN EUROPE ……………………………………………………………………………………….. 47
5.1 DEFAULT, DEBT RENEGOTIATION AND EXIT ……………………………………………………………………………………….. 47
5.2 CREDITOR-LED DEFAULT: REINFORCING THE STRAIGHTJACKET OF THE EUROZONE …………………………………………. 49
5.3 DEBTOR-LED DEFAULT AND THE FEASIBILITY OF EXIT FROM THE EUROZONE …………………………………………………. 50
APPENDIX A THE CRISIS LAST TIME: ARGENTINA AND RUSSIA ……………………………………………………………….. 55
THE WASHINGTON CONSENSUS BRINGS COLLAPSE TO BUENOS AIRES…………………………………………………………….. 55
SOME LESSONS FROM ARGENTINA ……………………………………………………………………………………………. 58
RUSSIA’S TRANSITION FROM A PLANNED ECONOMY: COLLAPSE AND RECOVERY …………………………………………………. 59
DEFAULT IS NOT SUCH A DISASTER, AFTER ALL …………………………………………………………………………………………. 61
APPENDIX B CONSTRUCTION OF AGGREGATE DEBT PROFILES ………………………………………………………………… 63
APPENDIX C DECOMPOSITION OF AGGREGATE DEMAND …………………………………………………………………….. 68

Artículo Completo

RMF occasional report
SEPTEMBER 2010

“Tasa de ganancia – Tasa de plusvalía – Composición orgánica del capital, Estados Unidos”: Marcel Roelandts

Capitalistmo & Crisis Económica

  • Tasa de ganancia – Tasa de plusvalía – Composición orgánica del capital, Estados Unidos
  • La tasa de plusvalía y sus determinantes, Estados Unidos (1948-2008)
  • La composición orgánica del capital y sus determinantes, Estados Unidos (1951-2008)
  • El cuadro metodológico de la teoría de las crisis en Marx y su validación empírica
  • Salarios y productividad (EEUU)

Tasa de ganancia – Tasa de plusvalía – Composición orgánica del capital, Estados Unidos

JPEG - 61.5 kB

Capitalistmo & Crisis Económica

La tasa de ganancia mide la rentabilidad del capital total invertido. Indica cómo éste último se valoriza y expresa así el grado de realización de la finalidad capitalista. De todas las leyes del capitalismo, ésta es la que Marx consideraba como la más importante históricamente [1]. Sus fluctuaciones nos presentan dos dinámicas :

1. Por un lado, las pulsaciones a corto plazo de los ciclos de acumulación, compuestos sucesivamente por un período de alza de la tasa de ganancia, después por una baja, y acabándose por una recesión (1954, 1958, 1970, 1974-75, 1980-82, 1991, 2001, 2007-08). Son los ciclos económicos típicamente estudiados por Marx en El Capital [2], ciclos que él llamaba “decenales” [3].

2. Por otro lado, las evoluciones tendenciales de la tasa de ganancia a medio plazo que dan lugar a cuatro grandes fases de una quincena de años cada una: al alza (1951-66), a la baja (1966-82), de nuevo al alza (1982-97), y verosímilmente de nuevo a la baja (1997-…)… tendencia aún por confirmar en los años venideros para esta última fase.

Tasa_de_ganancia_-_Tasa_de_plusvalia_-_Composicion_organica_del_capital_Estados_Unidos

Valores trabajo y precios en España

César Sánchez y Maximilià Nieto Ferràndez, “Valores, precios de producción y precios de mercado a partir de los datos de la economía española” (Labour value, production prices and market prices from the Spanish economy data). Investigación Económica, v. LXIX núm. 274, octubre-diciembre de 2010, pp. 87-118.

El trabajo que se presenta es una contribución empírica al debate reciente sobre la relación entre valores, precios de producción y precios de mercado a partir de datos referidos al caso español (Tablas de Insumo-Producto 2000, TIO-2000). Los resultados obtenidos, en línea con los de otros autores para otras economías, confirman la mayor capacidad explicativa de los valores sobre los precios de mercado, en comparación con cualquier otro posible valor base alternativo, mostrando además que no es
un problema del índice de correlación o distancia utilizado, como han venido objetando diversos autores. El trabajo estima el nivel promedio de variables fundamentales como la tasa de ganancia, la tasa de plusvalor y la composición de capital para España en el año 2000. Asimismo, y con la intención de ampliar el debate teórico, se propone una interpretación alternativa de la relación entre valores y precios de producción, a partir de una reformulación del concepto de valor que pretende resultar más coherente con los propios fundamentos de la teoría del valor trabajo.

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This paper is mainly an empirical contribution to the current debate around the labour value, production prices and market prices departing from data referred to the Spanish case (TIO-2000). We show that the obtained results fall in line with other author’s data for different economies and confirm the greater explanatory capacity of the labour value (in comparison with alternative base values) to explain market prices.
We claim that this conclusion does not depend on the used correlation index, as it has been argued by various authors. We also review the average level of fundamental variables such as profitability, rate of surplus value and capital composition. Finally, we present a theoretical contribution to the value controversy, suggesting an alternative interpretation of the relationship between values and production prices. To this end, we discuss a reformulation of the concept of labour value that aims to be more coherent with the very foundations of the labour theory of value.

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