Remuneration of Natural Resources: a Black Hole in Economics. According to the Physiocratic school that prevailed in France in the XVIIIth century, economy is based on nature. Infact, Physiocracy means “domain over nature”. Therefore the physiocrats believed that economy was ruled by a natural order and that nature alone (land, mineral quarries, etc) was the source of wealth. Francois Quesnay, the main representative of the Physiocratic school, retained in his famous Tableau économique that only land was productive and therefore that only land owners had the rights to the net profit. Infact the only kind of profit that Physiocracy admits is the income of natural goods, while it denies any other type: the capitalist’s gain and the workers salary (Ricossa 1982, p. 197). For what concerns labour, physiocrats thought that it did not produce a net profit, but only a part of the production (gross income) necessary for the biotic consumption of the worker and of his relatives, that is the part necessary for the survival and reproduction of the species (Immler 1996, pp. 70- 71). For what concerns capital (given exclusively by artificial goods and not natural ones), it produced a gross profit necessary only to depreciate the capital used in the productive cycle, but not a net profit, considered null. It so descends that the only net profit was income, as if the only substance creator of value was nature, land (Ricossa Ibidem). Labour and capital could only reproduce themselves and not create extra. The Classical English school, that reigned between the end of the XVIIIth century and the XIXth century (Smith, Ricardo etc.), gave the theoretical basis that enabled Marx to sustain a thesis the same as the preceding, but considering as the only substance creator of value labour instead of natural resources: only labour could produce extra. As a consequence, who takes the extra, that means the net profit, without owning the substance creator of value - labour, is an exploiter. “According to Immler... this thought ended up giving a definite scientific systemation to the annulment of nature from the productive process of wealth...” (Bevilacqua 2002, p. VII). Marx would have therefore set the basis for a physical-natural critic of political economy. The neoclassical or marginalist school (Jevons, Menger, Walras, Marshall, Pareto etc.) asserts instead that the creation of value proceeds in the opposite sense: not from the factor toward the product, but from the product toward the factor. It is infact the sold production that indirectly gives value to the productive factors: land, labour and capital. Starting from the protopostulates of the profit, salary and utility maximization by respectively the production, labour and consumption units, it reaches, throughout a series of theoretical steps the so-called “ Paretian optimum”. If each unit, under the auspices of the free market, maximizes its own benefits within the limits of the means at its disposal, this situation is not optimal since nobody can modify it without damaging someone else. “This optimum property of the perfect competition equilibrium is given by a theoretical model never actually realized. The perfect competition is an utopia (Ricossa, Ibidem, p. 33). It derives the market crisis and the inability of the neoclassical or marginalist school to resolve the problem of determining the value and therefore the profit distribution. Aim of this work is to contribute in giving light to the black hole of economics given by the elimination of the main nuclei from which value comes: the natural resources.

La remunerazione delle risorse naturali: buco nero della scienza economica

CHANG, Ting Fa Margherita;PICCININI, Livio Clemente;ISEPPI, Luca
2005

Abstract

Remuneration of Natural Resources: a Black Hole in Economics. According to the Physiocratic school that prevailed in France in the XVIIIth century, economy is based on nature. Infact, Physiocracy means “domain over nature”. Therefore the physiocrats believed that economy was ruled by a natural order and that nature alone (land, mineral quarries, etc) was the source of wealth. Francois Quesnay, the main representative of the Physiocratic school, retained in his famous Tableau économique that only land was productive and therefore that only land owners had the rights to the net profit. Infact the only kind of profit that Physiocracy admits is the income of natural goods, while it denies any other type: the capitalist’s gain and the workers salary (Ricossa 1982, p. 197). For what concerns labour, physiocrats thought that it did not produce a net profit, but only a part of the production (gross income) necessary for the biotic consumption of the worker and of his relatives, that is the part necessary for the survival and reproduction of the species (Immler 1996, pp. 70- 71). For what concerns capital (given exclusively by artificial goods and not natural ones), it produced a gross profit necessary only to depreciate the capital used in the productive cycle, but not a net profit, considered null. It so descends that the only net profit was income, as if the only substance creator of value was nature, land (Ricossa Ibidem). Labour and capital could only reproduce themselves and not create extra. The Classical English school, that reigned between the end of the XVIIIth century and the XIXth century (Smith, Ricardo etc.), gave the theoretical basis that enabled Marx to sustain a thesis the same as the preceding, but considering as the only substance creator of value labour instead of natural resources: only labour could produce extra. As a consequence, who takes the extra, that means the net profit, without owning the substance creator of value - labour, is an exploiter. “According to Immler... this thought ended up giving a definite scientific systemation to the annulment of nature from the productive process of wealth...” (Bevilacqua 2002, p. VII). Marx would have therefore set the basis for a physical-natural critic of political economy. The neoclassical or marginalist school (Jevons, Menger, Walras, Marshall, Pareto etc.) asserts instead that the creation of value proceeds in the opposite sense: not from the factor toward the product, but from the product toward the factor. It is infact the sold production that indirectly gives value to the productive factors: land, labour and capital. Starting from the protopostulates of the profit, salary and utility maximization by respectively the production, labour and consumption units, it reaches, throughout a series of theoretical steps the so-called “ Paretian optimum”. If each unit, under the auspices of the free market, maximizes its own benefits within the limits of the means at its disposal, this situation is not optimal since nobody can modify it without damaging someone else. “This optimum property of the perfect competition equilibrium is given by a theoretical model never actually realized. The perfect competition is an utopia (Ricossa, Ibidem, p. 33). It derives the market crisis and the inability of the neoclassical or marginalist school to resolve the problem of determining the value and therefore the profit distribution. Aim of this work is to contribute in giving light to the black hole of economics given by the elimination of the main nuclei from which value comes: the natural resources.
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