Gil, let me jump ahead (or we'll get bogged down in too many points at once): > >>> >>>Imagine an exchange economy of A's and B's in which the A's are all small >>>commodity producers--thus non-capitalists-- and the B's are all merchant >>>capitalists. Each merchant capitalist buys commodities from some producers >>>(M-C) and sells them to others at a profit (C-M', completing the circuit >>>of capital). If this is done by the merchant capitalists as a class we > >>have surplus value in the sense you attribute to Marx: M-C-M', with M' >>>greater than M, as an aggregate category descriptive of the entire class. >>>Of course, for the class of small commodity producers taken as a whole, we >>>have an aggregate circuit C-M-C', with the value content of C' less than >>>that of C, *but this is utterly irrelevant from the standpoint of Marx's >>>definition, as you have specified it.* All we need to know is that M' > M >>>in the circuit of *capital*. >> >>No new value has been created in the circulation of *commodities*. We >>begin at t0 and end at t+1. At t+1 the merchants have M' and the >>independent commodity producers have C'. > >That's right, and M' is greater than M, so by your own definition, surplus >value has been achieved. > >>You misunderstand Marx's aggregate definition. > >No, I asked if you had any problem with my understanding of your >characterization of surplus value as an "aggregate category", and you >voiced no concern at all. It doesn't seem legitimate to bring up a new >issue now that it seems there's a difficulty with the definition. Well, then I was not clear about precisely what I meant by aggregate. Marx has established that all values can be expressed as sums of money. The total value has a monetary expression at t0; it has a monetary expression at t+1. In your example of merchant example there is precisely no more value at t+1 than at t. M' minus M in aggregate terms (which is not the same as M' minus M for any individual or subgroup for the whole) is zero in your example. There is no surplus *value*. > Since value as Marx >defines it can only arise in commodity production, and exchange is not >production, then it follows immediately that *if* surplus value is >*defined* as corresponding to newly created value, then surplus value >cannot arise solely in exchange. > >And since this fact follows tautologically from the *definition* of surplus >value, this renders the entire analysis of Ch. 5 superfluous. No because you have proven that subgroups could come out ahead which would give the appearance to them of the possibility of surplus value simply through the circulation of commodities. Ch 5 shows that in the aggregate the circulation of commodities cannot be a source of surplus value. Moreover,there is indeed an element of tautology in the argument; Marx is trying to clarify that that the circulation of commodities may increase their worth to their new owners but that does not increase the value of those commodities in the aggregate. That is, Marx is trying to sharpen the distinction between use value and exchange value. Yours, Rakesh > Would you >agree, Rakesh, that if surplus value is defined as being based on newly >created value, then one can infer from the fact that exchange is not >production that exchange cannot itself give rise to surplus value, and that >one could make this inference without reading a line of Chapter 5?
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