[OPE-L:4726] Re: Re: "Don't go like that" (Was "What is Volume I about?")

From: Rakesh Narpat Bhandari (rakeshb@Stanford.EDU)
Date: Wed Dec 20 2000 - 22:53:14 EST

a reply to Andrew Kliman's 4725

>A reply to Rakesh Bhandari's OPE-L 4534.
>In prior posts, I have shown that Rakesh's interpretation of
>Marx's value theory must be rejected, because it is incompatible
>with the theory of which it is the interpretation.  Specifically,
>under Rakesh's interpretation, surplus-labor isn't the sole source
>of profit.  Indeed, under Rakesh's interpretation, there can be
>surplus-labor but negative profit, and negative surplus-labor but
>positive profit.

Andrew, I thought I dealt with this, but of course I may not 
have--you don't here respond to my original post. As I said there, 
let's say that in Dept I there is positive surplus value coupled with 
a loss as the means of production are sold below value. Then Dept II 
could enjoy profit even if workers there produced no surplus value at 
all. So in the system as a whole, the profit appropriated has its 
source in the surplus value produced by the working class.

>   Rakesh asserts that the "surplus-value" that
>arises from nowhere in his interpretation is in fact a "transfer"
>of surplus-value from the past.

I don't understand why you are saying that surplus value arises from 
nowhere in the example above.

>Unfortunately, this is left as an assertion by Rakesh.  He does
>not prove it, nor even try to prove it.  I am convinced he is
>wrong, that he's engaged in double counting.

Don't see the double counting in the above example, which is the one 
I originally gave. Don't remember your argument that there is double 
counting. Please elaborate.

>   But neither my
>intuition nor his counts for anything here.  It is up to him to
>prove his assertion, or to fail trying to do so.   Until such time
>as he proves the assertion, I stand by my demonstration that his
>interpretation implies that surplus-labor isn't the sole source of

OK we take bortkiewicz-sweezy's transformation model. We hold total 
price equal to total price of production. After the simple price 
scheme is transformed into the price of production scheme, the mass 
of surplus value can be greater in the modified scheme than in the 
unmodified one given the depts have certain occs and sizes (remember 
I define surplus value as the residual once total cost price is taken 
from total price).

So if Dept III were to be relatively big in size and have a much 
higher relative organic composition--this is obviously a freak case 
with no practical relevance--then after the transformation the total 
cost prices would be reduced and the sum of surplus value increased 
(though of course the unit prices of luxury goods would rise as well, 
so there would be little practical change for the capitalists).

But in this case surplus labor or new live labor is not the sole 
source of profit.

But I have not denied that such a result could obtain.

I don't see however why  Marx would deny that if the means of 
production were bought over and under value, ceteris paribus, the 
mass of surplus value would be reduced or increased.  Marx is simply 
arguing that on a systematic basis that the purchase of input means 
of production and raw materials at prices below value cannot be a 
source of surplus value; I do not read Marx denying that it can, 
under certain conditions, be a source of surplus value.

Moreover, you seem to confuse the finding that in certain situations, 
the source of the mass of profit need not be new live labor *alone* 
with the claim that live labor is neither sufficient nor necessary 
for there to be surplus value at all.

But in the simple price scheme there would be no surplus value and 
thus there would be no surplus value to be distributed according to 
the principle of a uniform profit rate in the price of production 
scheme if the difference between total simple price and total cost 
price was not positive as a result of the exploitation of labor. Only 
because live labor has produced surplus value does the need to 
equalize the profit rate arise in the first place. So I don't see how 
I am denying that surplus labor is necessary and sufficient for there 
to be positive profit.

Yours, Rakesh

>In a subsequent post responding to someone else, Rakesh suggested
>that he couldn't come up with *realistic* examples in which, under
>his interpretation, there is  surplus-labor but negative profit,
>or negative surplus-labor but positive profit.   Of course not.
>But that's irrelevant.  What is at issue is whether, under his
>interpretation, surplus-labor is NECESSARY and/or SUFFICIENT for
>positive profit.  (It is neither necessary nor sufficient; so
>surplus-labor is simply not the "cause" or source of profit under
>Rakesh's interpretation.)  What is not at issue is whether, under
>realistic conditions, surplus-labor and profit just HAPPEN to
>coexist, i.e. coexist for reasons that have nothing to do with
>surplus-labor being the source of profit.
>Andrew Kliman

I am saying that surplus labor is necessary and sufficient for 
positive profit; this is not the same thing as saying that surplus 
labor has to be sole source of profit in all conditions.

Andrew, there was also this response to one of your points in my original post:

>On another matter.  If the temporal single-system interpretation of the
>quantitative dimension of Marx's value theory is an "adding up"
>interpretation, then so is Rakesh's interpretation.  In BOTH
>interpretations, the value of the product is equal to AND determined by
>the sum of value transferred from used-up means of production plus the
>value added by living labor.  In BOTH, two sums of value are added.  (But
>this is not what is meant by an "adding up" theory of value.)

No, you have an adding up theory of *price*. Higher compensation for 
paid direct and indirect labor should not in itself add up to greater 
value or price. But all the complete transformation exercise does is 
change the compensation for the inputs, the paid direct and indirect 
labor, the cost price; it cannot by the nature of the case change the 
value of the output and thus its price (assuming a constant monetary 
expression of value). The sum of prices in the unmodified scheme must 
equal the sum of the prices of production.

You would have it that a simple change in the money compensation for 
paid direct and indirect labor can issue in rising prices which 
implies a higher output value on the assumption of a constant 
monetary expression of labor value.

So you allow higher input prices to add up to higher output prices, 
instead of diminished surplus value. This is antithetical to Marx who 
learned here from Ricardo on whom he spared no praise on this point.

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