On Mon, 14 May 2001, John Ernst quoted: > The point Paul and I are making is that talk of necessary and > surplus labour at the level of particular capitalist enterprises > is just a heuristic device. These concepts are properly defined > at the social level. Workers producing nothing but luxury good > for capitalists are performing no necessary labour: it's _all_ > surplus. So their becoming more productive does not raise the > rate of surplus value. The same amount of surplus labour is > performed and the same surplus value produced, only now it's > embodied in a larger mass of use-values. Ricardo was very clear on > this (using his own terminology, of course). and wrote: > I think you should say that when you refer to the social level in > this case you assume not only equilibrium conditions but also an > equilibrium in which all processes earn the same rate of return. > For example, if the increased productivity in the luxury goods > sector translates into temporarily greater profitability in that > sector, firms may shut down processes in the production of > necessities that were earning lower rates of return. They would > thereby lower the necessary labor time and hence the overall rate > of return would increase. Hmm. You have capital being dragged out of Dept I by the prospect of high profits in luxuries. But that's going to reduce the output of workers' means of subsistence. Closing down the least profitable processes in Dept I may raise average labour productivity there, but only by reducing output. Now, unless wages are cut (which is a different matter, surely) there will be an excess demand for wage goods and capital will flow right back. This doesn't make much sense to me. Allin.
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