[OPE-L:5398] Re: Re: 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 - 15:59:09 EDT

re Allin's 5396

>On Mon, 23 Apr 2001, Rakesh Narpat Bhandari wrote:
>>  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.
>The only meaningful measure of exploitation, per se, is the division
>of the working day into its necessary and surplus components: what
>proportion of their time do the workers work for themselves, and what
>proportion for the capitalists?  Anything else is "playing with
>numbers".  Financial ratios that may be calculated by capitalists (or
>by Engels on their behalf) are another matter; while they may have
>their uses they are not a measure of exploitation.

Consider again the example which I gave. Workers can produce a given 
quantity in half the time. This means that capitalists now can 
advance half the variable capital. The doubling of workers' 
productivity results in an advantage only to the owning class since 
the flow of variable capital remains the same. the workers in no way 
benefit from the doubling of their own productivity as reflected in a 
halving of production time; the capitalist class is able to use that 
doubling of productivity to advance half the variable capital, and 
then to use the proceeds of labor to effectively employ labor again 
in a second production cycle at no cost in variable capital to itself.

  How can this not be a rise in the exploitation of the working class, 
an improvement in the social position of the owning class to the 
working class, a monopolization by one class of all the benefits of 
increased productivity.

We have two measures of the rate of surplus value. I would agree that 
the rate of exploitation does not change if both S/v and S/V remain 
constant; however, if either or both change, then we do have an 
increase in the rate of surplus value in some sense. On this we are 
agreed. I argue that a rise in the annual rate of surplus value, cet 
par., is best understood as heightened exploitation, and that the 
improvement in profitability that derives therefrom should be 
attributed to the greater exploitation of the working class. That is, 
to a change in social relations between classes, not to a change in a 
'factor' such as *variable capital advanced* or a reduction in 
*time*. This is a fetishistic, positivistic economics.

>Rakesh says:
>>  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...
>And of my example, with $1000 laid out either monthly or weekly, he
>>  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
>>  [of physical output]...
>It had better take the same working time to produce the same physical
>output, or else we are conflating (a) an increase in relative surplus
>value of the ordinary Vol. I sort, which certainly corresponds to
>increased exploitation, with (b) an effect that is strictly due to a
>change in "turnover time" (i.e. something that was not dealt with in
>Vol. I).

Again you have *time* itself responsible for the the spike in 
profitability in my example.  This is the positivist kind of 
fetishism (attributing social relations to things, making things of 
social relations) of which Marx's life work is a critique. This is 
the kind of claim I would expect from an economist, someone who walks 
in the footsteps of Senior or Bohm Bawerk.

Yours, Rakesh

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