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    George Reisman, Le redressement passe par la reconstitution du capital, non par des "plans de relance" étatiques + Classical Economics vs. The Exploitation Theory

    Johnathan R. Razorback

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    Date d'inscription : 12/08/2013
    Localisation : France

    George Reisman, Le redressement passe par la reconstitution du capital, non par des "plans de relance" étatiques + Classical Economics vs. The Exploitation Theory

    Message par Johnathan R. Razorback le Ven 28 Nov - 23:27



    "It should be realized that wages, too, which no one disputes are attributable to the labor of the wage earners, vary with things other than the expenditure of labor by the wage earners—for example, with the state of technology and the supply of capital equipment and with competitive conditions in other industries. For an income to be attributable to labor, it is by no means necessary that the performance of labor be the only factor determining its size. In fact, by such a standard, virtually nothing could be attributed to human labor beyond what people could produce with their bare hands. Income is to be attributed to the performance of labor, despite its variation with the means employed and with other external circumstances, on the principle that it is man's labor which supplies the guiding and directing intelligence in production. It is only on this basis that a worker using a steam shovel, for example, is to be credited with digging the hole he digs, no less than a worker using his bare hands, for he guides and directs the steam shovel.

    Guiding and directing intelligence, not muscular exertion, is the essential characteristic of human labor. As von Mises says, "What produces the product are not toil and trouble in themselves, but the fact that the toiling is guided by reason." Guiding and directing intelligence in production is, of course, supplied by businessmen and capitalists on a higher level than by wage earners—a circumstance reinforcing the primary productive status of profits and profit earners over wages and wage earners.

    I would like to note that the attribution of profits to the labor of businessmen and capitalists is also perfectly consistent with their simultaneously reflecting the general state of time preference in the economic system. Time preference operates to determine the general rate of return on capital, which businessmen and capitalists then earn or not on the basis of their individual productive accomplishments. Perhaps a useful analogy is the fact that consumer demand determines the general earnings of workers of a given degree of skill in comparison with those of workers of a different degree of skill. Yet, at the same time, each individual worker is responsible for his own earnings. This is merely a restatement of the principle that income is attributable to labor even though it varies with other factors as well. In the case of profit, one of those other factors, operating as a general determinant, is time preference.

    The precise nature of the work of businessmen and capitalists needs to be explained. In essence, it is
    to raise the productivity, and thus the real wages, of manual labor by means of creating, coordinating, and improving the efficiency of the division of labor.

    Businessmen and capitalists create division of labor in founding and organizing business firms and in providing capital. Business firms are the central units of the division of labor: they represent a division of labor externally, in the division of tasks between the different firms and industries, and internally, in the breakdown of tasks among different divisions, departments, and individual workers within the firms. The provision of capital is indispensable to the existence of the division of labor in its vertical aspect, that is, to a succession of workers each beginning his work where others leave off. In its absence, workers would have to wait to be paid by the ultimate consumers. In many cases, such as the production of durable equipment, the construction of buildings, and, still more, of factories producing durable equipment, including durable equipment for the further construction of such factories, this would entail a waiting time extending beyond the lifetimes of the workers, and even beyond the lifetimes of their children. The provision of capital, therefore, introduces a necessary division of payments, as it were, which permits producers to be paid within a reasonable period of time after performing their work. And the more capitalistic—the more capital intensive —the economic system, the larger is the proportion of the labor force which can be employed in the production of temporally more remote consumers' goods.

    Businessmen and capitalists coordinate the division of labor in seeking to avoid losses and to earn higher rates of return on their capital in preference to lower rates of return. For in so doing, they are led to try to avoid over-expanding any industry relative to other industries and, at the same time, to be sure that any industry that is insufficiently expanded relative to other industries is further expanded. This is a major aspect of the significance of the principle, so well developed by the classical economists, that there is a tendency toward a uniform rate of profit on capital invested in all branches of industry. In addition, the managerial activity of businessmen and capitalists represents a coordination of the internal division of labor in their firms.

    Finally, businessmen and capitalists continuously improve the efficiency of production as the result both of their competitive quest for exceptional rates of profit and their saving and investment for the purpose of accumulating personal fortunes. The only way to earn an exceptional rate of profit where the legal freedom of competition prevails is by being an innovator in the production of better products or equally good but less expensive products. The exceptional profits from any given innovation then disappear as competitors begin to adopt it and make it into the normal standard of an industry. This requires that one introduce repeated innovations as the condition of continuing to earn an exceptional rate of profit. In this way, the entire benefit of every innovation tends to be passed forward to the consumers in the form of better products and lower prices, with exceptional profits being entirely transitory in the case of each particular innovation and a permanent phenomenon only insofar as improvement is continuous.

    The saving of businessmen and capitalists to accumulate personal fortunes operates to achieve economic progress by ensuring that a sufficiently high proportion of the economic system's ability to produce is devoted to the production of capital goods, with the result that each year's production can begin with the existence of more capital goods than were available the year before. Their saving and investment has this effect by virtue of raising the demand for capital goods relative to the demand for consumers' goods, and thus of making profitable the greater relative production of capital goods. (A further aspect of this saving and investment is that the demand for labor is raised relative to the demand for consumers' goods.)

    In the light of these facts about the nature of the productive contribution of businessmen and capitalists, it is possible to revise the classical doctrine of the labor theory of value in a way that helps to explain a steady rise in real wages and which nullifies the so-called iron law of wages. And that is simply this: In steadily raising the productivity of manual labor, the businessmen and capitalists are constantly reducing the quantity of labor required to produce virtually every good. The effect of this is steadily to reduce prices relative to wages, i.e., to raise real wages
    -George Reisman, Classical Economics vs. The Exploitation Theory, 24 janvier 2005.

    «You'll have to think harder than you've ever done before, because you will be on your own -relying on your own judgment and the logic of the arguments you hear or consider, rejecting all authorities and all bromides, and taking nothing on faith. »  
    -Ayn Rand.

      La date/heure actuelle est Mar 22 Aoû - 5:37