[OPE-L:5575] Re: What is the effect of changes in Dept IIb/III?

From: John Ernst (ernst@pipeline.com)
Date: Mon May 14 2001 - 17:04:34 EDT

(Note to all,  I've chopped off a few of the "re's" to make the 
subject readable.)

At 03:12 PM 05/14/2001 -0400, Allin wrote in 5574:
>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, I assumed (and was not very clear about it) that capital was
and depreciating as productivity increased in the lux. goods sector.  If the
rate of return is higher in that sector, then ,yes I assume, it will grow
than the others till the rate of return decreases in that sector.  I see no 
need to refer to wage cuts or excess demand for wage goods as the sector
the goods is simply growing more slowly (for a while) than the lux goods
Indeed, with the increased productivity in IIb, there may well be a "natural" 
derease in the demand for wage goods as the number of workers in that
sector might
decrease relative to the other sectors.

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