[OPE-L:5390] Re: Re: Re: Re: turnover time and surplus value

From: Rakesh Narpat Bhandari (rakeshb@Stanford.EDU)
Date: Mon Apr 23 2001 - 03:18:09 EDT

re 5388

Fred, I shall  answer your questions but there's the outstanding one 
which I posed to you: why did Marx twice flub in asserting this 
problem of double divergence?

>Thanks very much to Jerry and Charlie and Paul C. for their recent posts
>on this topic.  This is a response to Rakesh's (5373).
>On Sat, 21 Apr 2001, Rakesh Narpat Bhandari wrote:
>>  >On Fri, 20 Apr 2001, you wrote:
>>  >>  Re Rakesh's [5367]:
>>  >>
>>  >>
>>  >>  The question, though, is whether the magnitude
>>  >>  of surplus-value *in the aggregate* is altered by
>>  >>  turnover time.
>>  >
>>  >Assuming the size of the working population, the working
>>  >day and the real wage are being held constant, obviously not.
>>  >
>>  >A change in turnover time is just another way of saying that
>>  >there is change in the organic composition. It affects only
>>  >the rate of profit per person year of capital employed.
>>  Sure the magnitude of surplus value is not affected (as Jerry, Paul C
>>  and Charlie seem to be all arguing), the rate of surplus value
>>  however is. And the rate of surplus value is obviously a (if not the
>>  main concern) concern of vol 1, so this suggests that the
>>  determinants of s/v are not exhausatively treated in volume one, as
>>  Fred *seems* to be suggesting to me.
>Rakesh, I thought it was clear that, in our recent discussion, I have been
>talking mainly about the MAGNITUDE of surplus-value, not the rate of
>surplus-value.  Our discussion has been about the magnitude of
>surplus-value in Marx's equation value = K + S.  My persistent question
>has been: is the magnitude of surplus-value in this equation the same as
>or different from the surplus-value determined in Volume 1?

We are obviously talking past each other. The magnitude of surplus 
value is always total value, as monetarily expressed, minus cost 
price. That's what it is in vol 1; that's what it is in vol 3.

>At first, you seemed to argue that the magnitude of surplus-value is not
>determined in Volume 1, but is instead affected by turnover time analyzed
>in Volume 2.  But now you seem to agree (with Jerry and Charley and Paul
>C. and myself) that the magnitude of surplus-value is not affected by
>turnover time and hence is determined in Volume 1.  (I notice that in your
>numerical example, the reduction of turnover time does not affect the
>magnitude of surplus-value, which remains at 50; please see below.)

Well do note that you are implicitly granting my point that we are 
not given an exhaustative determination of the rate of surplus value 
in volume one, and I would argue that the rate of surplus value--the 
relation between the capitalist class and the working class in the 
process of the production of capital--is obviously the main topic of 
volume one, not the absolute magnitude of surplus value.

At any rate, the magnitude of surplus value will be changed by a 
reduction or elongation of circulation time as well. So the magnitude 
of surplus value *in any one year* cannot be determined until we know 
the time spent in circulation in that year (assuming that productive 
capital lies fallow during circulation  time).

You could say that the maximum magnitude of surplus value is 
determined in volume one. But we cannot the actual magnitude of 
surplus value produced in any given year until we consider volume 2 
determinants, e.g.,  circulation time.

>So, I ask again:  what is the relation between the magnitude of
>surplus-value that is determined in Volume 1 and the magnitude of
>surplus-value in the equation value = K + S in Volume 3?

I do not what you mean by the magnitude of surplus value being 
determined in volume one.

I take it that you mean that in vol I Marx shows that surplus labor 
is alone the source of surplus value, and since in my interpretation 
if the means of production are bought below value--a truly freak case 
with no practical relevance--surplus labor may not alone be the 
source of surplus value, I can't have got  Marx right.

And you seem to be further arguing that if we agree with you that the 
value transferred from the means of production is the value of the 
money paid for them, then it would not affect total value if the 
value of the means themselves was above that the value of the money 
advanced to buy the means of production. That is, the means of 
production being purchased below value could not itself lead in any 
way to the enlargement of surplus value.  So your interpretation of 
the determination of value is consistent with the volume one thesis 
that surplus labor is alone the source of surplus value.

But I have already responded to this (OPE 5127).

In volume one Marx argues that SURPLUS VALUE--a monetary 
residual--derives entirely from LIVE LABOR, that is from the sum of 
value which live labor (a) transfers gratis from the means of 
production and (b)the value it newly adds over and above this--as 
that sum of value is monetarily expressed--minus cost price.

Yes, it is conceivable that if the means of production were 
systematically bought below value, the mass of surplus value could be 
enlarged thereby. But this in no way undermines the thesis that live 
labor is the sole source of surplus value, for it is live labor alone 
that transfers the value of those means to the output. Being able to 
purchase means of production below value would NOT be a source of 
surplus value without the unpaid work of live labor which remains the 
sole source of surplus value. So I am at a loss why exactly you think 
my interpretation undermines key claims of volume one.

   Marx's point IN VOLUME ONE is that the value which workers transfer 
from the means of production and thus preserve is a gift the working 
class performs for free for the capitalist class.

However Marx gives good reason to believe that on empirical 
probabilistic grounds the purchase of means of production below value 
cannot be a secure source of surplus value for capital *as a whole*. 
And he is of course very correct about this.

So in no way is my interpretation inconsistent with volume one 
findings, as you continue to suggest.


>  Are these two
>magnitudes of surplus-value the same or different?  If different,
>why?  And what is the textual evidence?

So for me surplus value is always the same, the said monetary 
residual and its source is exclusively live labor. In no way does my 
interpretation undermine volume one findings, AND IT HAS THE ADDED 

And then there is yet another advatange to my interpretation: it 
maintains Marx's adherence to the idea that due to our fetishistic 
social relations value is in principle not observable or directly 
measurable. In your interpretation the value transferred from the 
means of production *is* the visible flow price of the machine.

Yours, Rakesh

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