Inicio > Economía marxista > «A new attractor for the rate of profit»: Paul Cockshott, Allin Cottrell and Tamerlan Tajaddinov

«A new attractor for the rate of profit»: Paul Cockshott, Allin Cottrell and Tamerlan Tajaddinov

We propose a specific measure of the steady-state or long-run equilibrium rate of profit and argue on theoretical grounds that this rate serves as an attractor for the actual aggregate rate of profit. Empirical analysis using the Extended Penn World Tables suggests that the steadystate rate is a good predictor of the actual rate one or two years later.

JEL classifications: O4 Growth, Population; P1 Capitalism; B5 Heterodox Economics

1 Introduction

In this note we propose a specific measure of the steady-state or long-run equilibrium rate of profit and argue that this rate serves as an attractor for the actual aggregate rate of profit.

Our proposal differs from standard ‘classical’ accounts of the rate of profit in that it depends on neither the wage share of income nor the organic composition of capital. While theoretical analysis does not tell us how quickly to expect convergence of the actual rate of profit on the steady-state value, empirical analysis using the Extended Penn World Tables suggests that the steady-state rate is a good predictor of the actual rate one or two years later.

2 The steadystate rate of profit

We approach the time-evolution of the rate of profit from the standpoint of capital accumulation, as in Cottrell and Cockshott (2006), Zachariah (2008) and Cockshott et al. (2009). Initially we assume that all measurements are performed either in labour hours, or—what amounts to the same thing—in a monetary unit whose labour-time equivalent does not change from year to year. Using this approach we derive an equation for the time-evolution of the rate of profit and show that the rate of profit tracks towards a long-run value which depends on the rate of growth of the working population along with the fraction of profit that is reinvested.

Profit can be measured as a flow of labour value, in which case its units are person hours per annum, which in dimensional terms is just persons since the division hours/annum gives a scalar. Thus the annual flow of profit when measured in labour terms corresponds to a certain number of people—the number of people whose direct and indirect output is materialized in the goods purchased out of profits.

The capital stock of a nation is, in these terms, a quantity expressed in millions of person years. And the rate of profit is then:

R = ƒ Millions of workers whose product is bought by profits / Millions of worker years represented by the capital stock

The evolution of R then depends on how rapidly the capital stock is built up compared to the growth rate of the number of workers producing the surplus that corresponds to profit.

A new attractor for the rate of profit

Cockshott is a Reader and Tajaddinov a research student in the Department of Computing Science at the University of Glasgow; Cottrell is a Professor in the Department of Economics at Wake Forest University.

Fuente: EconoMarx21

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