< < <
Date Index
> > >
Re: World system, unequal exchange, Turkey (Cem Somel)
by E. Ahmet Tonak
02 December 2003 20:46 UTC
< < <
Thread Index
> > >
I am very glad that my good friend Cem was able to share his important and
meticulous work with the English-speaking world. His article has so many
insights regarding policy shifts in Turkey and their implications for
Turkish economy at large.  Having said that, I should point out that because
his article is based on the notion of economic surplus rather than
surplus-value many of our earlier criticisms of those empirical works based
on economic surplus are applicable here as well (you may review those in
Shaikh&Tonak, 1994:202-209).

Specifically and in order to point out how dramatic the empirical sense one
may get based on these two different approaches, I'd like to compare some
preliminary estimates of the rate of surplus value (calculated by my student
Kaan Parmaksiz based on Shaikh&Tonak methodology in 1998) with the rates of
"economic surplus" as reported in Cem's piece (calculated by myself).  The
rates start
with approximately the same 1981 value, 1.29 and 1.20 for the rate of
surplus value and that of "economic surplus" respectively. But, that point
on until 1988 they behave very differently, i.e. the rate of surplus value
increases by 103% while the rate of economic surplus decreases by 19%!  This
is the period which was characterized by Yeldan (1995) as "surplus
extraction through wage suppression."  BTW, Yeldan (1995) is not exclusively
"theoretical" work on economic surplus as classified by Cem --it has many
insightful empirical estimates, including "excess wage income" estimates.
He also uses a version of productive and unproductive labor distinction when
he conceptualizes "surplus depleting" and "surplus generating" concepts
(Yeldan 1995. RRPE, Vol.27, #2).  The interesting thing is that the dramatic
difference in the behavior of the above-mentioned rates also existed between
our US (s/v) and Stanfield's rate of economic surplus: during 1965-69 our
rate declined by 4.2% as his increased by 9.7%!

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "g kohler" <kohlerg@3web.net>
To: <wsn@csf.colorado.edu>
Cc: <somel@metu.edu.tr>
Sent: Tuesday, December 02, 2003 11:52 AM
Subject: World system, unequal exchange, Turkey (Cem Somel)

> just published in CJE - empirical study - abstract below
> Cambridge Journal of Economics 27:919-933 (2003)
> Copyright © 2003 Cambridge Political Economy Society
> Estimating the surplus in the periphery: an application to Turkey
> Cem Somel
> Middle East Technical University.
> Address for correspondence: Cem Somel, Department of
> Economics, Middle East Technical University, 06531 Ankara, Turkey; email:
> somel@metu.edu.tr
> Abstract
> This note discusses how the economic surplus concept can be used to
> the constraints the world system imposes on economic development. An
> estimation of the surplus for Turkey for 1980-96 utilises Köhler's unequal
> exchange analysis to measure the transfer of surplus abroad and the
> minimum wage to calculate essential private consumption. The estimation
> yields the allocation of the surplus between non-essential consumption,
> investment and unrequited transfers abroad. The note assesses Lippit's
> argument that the main obstacle to development is the misuse of the
> in the domestic economy and not transfers abroad.
> Key Words: Economic surplus . Dependency . Development

< < <
Date Index
> > >
World Systems Network List Archives
at CSF
Subscribe to World Systems Network < < <
Thread Index
> > >