Full text: Policy Implications of Surplus Approach

Relation of the Surplus to Kalecki's Gross Profit (Mark-Up ) 
I think that Kalecki's gross profit, though it includes much 
more ( the whole salariat!) bears a close relation to the 
classical surplus. The main difference is: The classical 
case assumes cpmpetition in the market for the product 
and a kind of monopsony in the labour market. Kalecki 
assumes all permeating monopolistic elements ( imperfect 
competition and oligopoly ) Thus exploitation takes place 
on the market of the products. For MaRX IN the contrary 
exploitation takes place not in distribution but in production. 
Teh class struggle is thus located in the workshop: 
It is about hours, piece rates, discipline, rules and 
regulations. Marx has a point here which escapes Kalecki, 
just as the monopolistic elements in the labour market 
were not explicitly dealt with by him. On the other side 
the one—sidedness of Marx's view blocks the way to an 
understanding of present day wage and price formation. 
The shifting of cost implicit in Kalecki's mark-up is 
a^par-fe^o^f every day lif e /kw- >v-, ^ ( « l" ol<?Wh" > 
One special point made by Kalecki is of considerable topical 
interest to-day. He says that in a sharp recession 
business firms, on a kind of tacit understanding, may 
sometimes increase their profit margins in order to 
counteract the pressure of increased overhedd cost (per unit 
As the last recession progressed we could hear again and 
again that major concerns haD Been able to cut their 
overhead substantially (getting rid of management,for example ) 
so that with unchanged prices they were able to protect 
themselves against losses. This is not exactly the way in 
which Kalecki imagined it but it comes to the same.

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