[OPE-L:5394] Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: turnover time and surplus value

From: Rakesh Narpat Bhandari (rakeshb@Stanford.EDU)
Date: Mon Apr 23 2001 - 13:31:34 EDT

re Allin's 5392

>On Sun, 22 Apr 2001, Rakesh Narpat Bhandari wrote:
>>  >Marx's rate of exploitation, s/v, maps onto the division of the
>>  >aggregate working day into its surplus and necessary components.  s/v
>>  >rises if the working day is lengthened, cet.par., or if the time of
>>  >necessary labour is shortened, via an intensification of labour or an
>>  >improvement in technology which permits the workers to produce their
>>  >own subsistence in a shorter time.  Any other putative reason for an
>>  >increase is s/v is flim-flam based on stock-flow confusion.
>>  Marx does not have one measure of exploitation. May I recommend that
>>  you, Paul C and Charlie  refer to what Marx called the ANNUAL RATE OF
>The "annual rate of surplus value", introduced in Vol. II, should not
>be confused with the ordinary rate of surplus value from Vol. I, and
>only the latter bears the interpretation of a rate of exploitation.

I am not confusing the two; nor did I forget either. In Vol II Marx 
does not call one the annual rate of surplus value and the other the 
rate of exploitation. Can you show me where he distinguishes between 
the two in this way?   They are both presented as measures of the 
rate of surplus value.
as indeed they are:  S/V or S/v, as Charlie helpfully distinguished them.

>That is, an increase in the "annual rate of surplus value" can occur
>for reasons having nothing to do with a change in the rate of

Again Marx does not counterpose the annual rate of surplus value to 
the rate of exploitation. We have S/V vs. S/v.  The question becomes 
what is a better measure of exploitation of the working class by the 
owning class once we consider turnover time. I argued implicitly in 
5380 that since a reduction in production time, cet par., is best 
understood as an increase in the exploitation of the working class or 
as an example of labor coming to be dominated by its own product, it 
is best that we measure exploitation in terms of the annual rate of 
surplus value since by that measure the increased exploitation will 

Moreover--and this is a different point--if we only measure the rate 
of surplus value as S/v, then we will not understand perhaps the main 
countertendency by which capital beats off a falling profit rate from 
upward pressure on the OCC. This is Engels' point based on his 
Manchester experience (he also notes that the statistics are often 
not good enough to pick out this most important effect). For Engels 
it seems that a rise in rate of surplus value derives less from an 
increase in S/v than in S/V. The latter has the potential to create 
profit rates of true Arabian Nights proportions.

>Suppose a capitalist has $1000 to spend on wages.  He uses this to
>employ workers who work half of their time producing their own means
>of subsistence and half their time producing surplus value (so that
>the rate of exploitation, s/v, is 100%).  Also suppose the daily wage
>is $1.
>Now consider two scenarios (to keep things simple I assume a 5-day
>working week and a working month of 4 such weeks, or 20 days).
>Scenario A:
>   At the start of each month the capitalist lays out $1000 to employ
>50 workers for the month ($1 per worker per day for 20 working days).
>At the end of the month the capitalist sells the output for $2000.
>Next month the process repeats...
>Scenario B:
>   At the start of each week the capitalist lays out $1000 to employ
>200 workers for the week ($1 per worker per day for 5 working days).
>At the end of the week the capitalist sells the output for $2000.
>Next week the process repeats...
>By assumption, the rate of exploitation is the same in both cases,
>100%.  The "annual rate of surplus" value, however, is higher in 
>case B, where the variable capital "turns over" 4 times more 
>As you can see, the real difference between the two cases is that the
>capitalist is employing 4 times as many workers in case B;  it's not
>that he's exploiting the workers more intensively.

This is not a good example of a reduction in production time. It 
takes 1000 working days in both cases to produce the same amount. the 
example which I gave demonstrates a halving of production time. Since 
workers produce twice the quantity per annum even though the flow of 
variable capital remains the same, I argue that this is obvioulsy  a 
case of a rise in the rate of surplus value or the rate of 
exploitation. You choose not to describe it this way. So you would 
have the profit rate increase in my example derive (I suppose) from a 
fetishistic factor such as time reduction, not from a change in the 
social relations between classes. I, not being, an economist resist 
that conclusion and argue that what we have here is an increase in 
the power of the capitalist class over the working class as a result 
of the labor's own greater productivity.

At any rate, we are agreed (I suppose) that as an empirical matter 
the annual rate of surplus value has to be considered if we are to 
understand how capital can beat off a falling profit rate from upward 
pressure on the OCC. So we return to Jerry's question about how to 
pick out this effect from the data at hand.



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