Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.
Non-UMass Amherst users, please click the view more button below to purchase a copy of this dissertation from Proquest.
(Some titles may also be available free of charge in our Open Access Dissertation Collection, so please check there first.)
THE RATE OF SURPLUS-VALUE IN THE UNITED STATES: 1947-1977
The concept of the rate of surplus-value occupies a central role in Marx's theory of the "laws of motion" of capitalism. The rate of surplus-value (the ratio of surplus-value to variable capital) expresses quantitatively the main conclusion of Marx's theory of surplus-value, that surplus-value is purely the result of an increase in the variable capital which is exchanged for labor-power. One important prediction of Marx's theory is a tendency for the rate of surplus-value to increase as a result of the development of the productivity of labor in capitalism. This dissertation subjects this prediction of Marx's theory to an empirical test by deriving estimates of the rate of surplus-value in the United States from 1947 to 1977. There are three main theoretical issues involved in the estimation of the rate of surplus-value, which have to do with the specific features of observable reality to which Marx's concepts of surplus-value and variable capital refer: (1) Do Marx's concepts of surplus-value and variable capital refer to measurable quantities of labor-time or to measurable quantities of money? (2) Does Marx's concept of variable capital refer to the wages of all employees of capitalist firms or only to the wages of employees engaged in production activities? (3) Does Marx's concept of variable capital include the taxes paid by workers and/or the income provided to workers by the government? The empirical results of this dissertation show that the rate of surplus-value in the United States increased 19 percent over the period of study. Thus, these empirical results are consistent with the prediction of Marx's theory of a secularly increasing rate of surplus-value. Further analysis of these empirical results reveals that the ratio of unproductive labor to productive labor increased a very significant 82 percent over this period. This increase was the primary cause of the decline in the conventional profit to wages ratio and of the decline in the percentage of surplus-value available for capital accumulation.
MOSELEY, FRED BAKER, "THE RATE OF SURPLUS-VALUE IN THE UNITED STATES: 1947-1977" (1982). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI8229583.