[OPE-L:4376] Re: Re: Re: Re: Technical change and general truths

From: Allin Cottrell (cottrell@wfu.edu)
Date: Mon Oct 30 2000 - 22:25:21 EST

On Mon, 30 Oct 2000, Rakesh Narpat Bhandari wrote:

> there may be some controversy as to how I define surplus value. but
> Marx himself is quite clear:
> "the surplus value or profit consists precisely in the excess of
> commodity value over its COST PRICE, ie., in the excess sum of the
> total sum of labour contained in the commodity over the sum of labor

I think this quotation must be corrupted: if not, it's a poor
translation.  The International edition has:

"The surplus-value, or profit, consists precisely in the excess
value of a commodity over its cost-price, i.e., the excess of
the total labour embodied in the commodity over the paid labour
embodied in it."

This formulation (surplus value = total labour embodied in
commodity minus paid labour embodied in it) seems to me a
derivative one: it derives from the Marx's primary formulation
(surplus value = total labour performed by working class minus
the necessary labour time), on the auxiliary assumption that the
value contributed to the product by the means of production is
just equal to the value of (labour-time embodied in) the means
of production.

> I am at a total lost why the mass of surplus value has been
> stipulated to be equal in the unmodified, so called value
> scheme and the transformed, so called price scheme.

Marx: "the sum of the profits in all spheres of production must
equal the sum of the surplus-values, and the sum of the prices
of production of the total social product equal the sum of its
value" (vol 3, ch 10).

You get one of these equalities for free, by a choice of units.
Suppose we use this freedom to impose sum of prices = sum of
values.  Now what about the other one?  You seem to be saying
that 'total profit = total surplus value' is true by virtue of
the fact that, whatever the sum of profit may be under prices of
production, we will say that the sum of surplus value equals
that number (regardless of what the sum of surplus value is "in
value terms"(!)).  But then Marx's claim above is empty; it's
100% stipulation.


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