Munich Personal RePEc Archive

National Accounts in Value Terms: The Social Wage and Profit Rate in Britain 1950-1986

Freeman, Alan (1991): National Accounts in Value Terms: The Social Wage and Profit Rate in Britain 1950-1986. Published in: Quantitative Marxism, Ed. Paul Dunne No. Book (1 March 1991)


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This paper reproduces, for archival purposes, chapter 5, of the same name, which appeared in Dunne (1991). It represents one of the first systematic attempts that I know of, to present complete ‘Value National Accounts’, that is to say, accounts presenting social reproduction in terms of the value categories of Karl Marx.

The critical requirement is not, as might be thought, the reduction of money categories to labour time categories: though this is desirable particularly when comparing or aggregating the accounts of different countries or in tracing the movement of an economy over time, if the Monetary Equivalent (MELT – see Ramos 2004) has been changing. Rather, it is to ‘transform’ the accounts in such a way that there is a single source of value added (labour) instead of, as in the standard accounts, the normal three sources of value which are Marx’s ‘Holy Trinity’ of capital, land and labour.

The consequence of bestowing on land and capital the property of creating value means that money sums such as interest and rent, instead of being presented as deductions from the value added or, in national accounts terms ‘transfers’ from labour to capital, are treated as if they were sources of value in their own right, mystifying not only the production process itself but the distribution of the produced value between social classes.

The paper proposed, and quantified for the UK economy, an alternative presentation in which these mystifications are corrected, and on this basis, established a ‘completed scheme of reproduction’ showing the role of productive and unproductive labour respectively in the UK economy.

The paper also marked a watershed in the evolution of what was to become the Temporal Single System Interpretation (TSSI) of Marx’s theory of value. I had not at that time met Andrew Kliman. However, very shortly after this paper, working with Paolo Giussani, we arrived independently from Andrew Kliman at the formulations of Marx’s schemas of reproduction that the key features of TSSI. I entered into correspondence with Andrew Kliman shortly after this, and the IWGVT was established not long after that.

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