[OPE-L:5226] Re: Re: RE: RE: Re: [Mike W] Re: use-value as quantitative

From: Rakesh Narpat Bhandari (rakeshb@Stanford.EDU)
Date: Wed Mar 21 2001 - 19:46:33 EST

re 5225

>Perhaps I had better first apologise for my tone in the previous 
>email; I have I think even more experience (in discussions with 
>marxists) of being in the intellectual minority [I count Arun Bose 
>as the only other scholar who has explicitly argued "<I>Theorem 
>6<D>: In a capitalist economy with positive capital accumulation, 
>labour is not, <I>immediately<D> or <I>ultimately<D>, the <I>only<D> 
>or the <I>main<D> source of price, ***surplus produce***, or 
>profit." (Marx on exploitation and inequality, Delhi Uni Press 1980).

(my emphasis)


It seems to me that you are conflating use value and value, the 
determination of the physical quantities produced and the 
determination of the value of the produced output.

Marx is not saying that the use value of labor power is the only 
source of surplus produce, defined as the physical quantity of goods 
over and above those needed for replacement of the goods consumed in 

The physical quantity of commodities produced is determined by the 
quality and quantity of the consumed means of production, the 
quantity and quality of the direct labor employed and the interaction 
of tools and direct labor (e.g., more will be produced if better 
tools are employed by more skilled labor).

(1) Qmp + Qlp + (QmpxQlp) => Quv

In the above we count means of production and labor power of greater 
quality simply as a greater quantity.

Now  no one is denying that the physical quantities produced are 
determined as much by the use value of the machine as the use value 
of labor power. Indeed in an advanced economy, it may make most sense 
to say  that it is the interaction between machine and workers which 
best accounts for the quantities produced.

However, no matter how great or little in quantity the use values 
produced, their value is determined as the sum of indirect and direct 
labor time.

(2) Lmp + Lc => V

Now of course if labor is more physically productive in use value 
terms due to use of a better machine, the rate of exploitation can be 
higher in value terms  since (assuming a constant real wage) there 
will be a reduction in the variable capital which has to be advanced 
to allow workers to buy the wage goods which they  need.

(For the same reason, there could be a gain in surplus value from  a 
reduction in the constant capital which has to be advanced to 
purchase the means of production needed to absorb surplus labor).

So yes it can be said--and here perhaps I break with Michael W-- 
that the use value of the machine INDIRECTLY contributes to the 
determination of which portion of total value is surplus value no 
less than the use value of labor power directly determines the sum of 
surplus value produced.

But I don't think this is what you are saying.

Yours, Rakesh

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