[OPE-L:5587] Re: Re: What is the effect of changes in Dept IIb/III?

From: Paul Cockshott (paul@cockshott.com)
Date: Wed May 16 2001 - 07:12:14 EDT

On Tue, 15 May 2001, you wrote:
> Re John's [5573]:
> > Jerry,  it seems to me that necessary labor time
> > would not change due to an increase of
> > productivity in the luxury goods sector if
> > one assumes that all processes are equally
> > profitable prior to the change in productivity in
> >  that sector.  However, as the
> > change occurs, the luxury goods producer would > earn a higher  rate of
> return and the workers
> > would be creating more social value than before.
> Yes, they would be creating more value during
> the same working hours (i.e. there would be no
> increase in absolute surplus value).

Increase in productivity does not equate with increase
in value. Au contraire to relative devaluation of the product.

> > If the higher rate of return induces capital to
> > move to the luxury
> > goods sector and the social value created falls
> > such that the rate
> > of return in that sector becomes equal to all
> > others,
> There might be barriers to the movement of
> capital  to Dept IIb. In any event, this process is
> not an instantaneous process and even if it were to
> happen eventually,  how would you describe the
> situation before then?
> Also, what happens if the gain in productivity is
> small enough that it doesn't lead to a significant
> change in the expected RRI?  E.g. let's say that
> the economy-wide RRI is 10% but now
> instead of a RRI of 10.0% in IIb, the RRI there -
> due to a small productivity increase - goes up to
> 10.1%.  Given the fact that a significant portion
> of capital exists as stock and not money-capital
> and the gain from movement would be so low,
> why would we anticipate a shift into IIb?
> Doesn't  it have to rise to a certain threshold
> before capital flows to IIb? (also, there are
> very concrete practicalities that would inhibit the
> free movement of money capital under these circumstances, e.g. brokerage
> transaction fees
> and taxes.)
> > then unless
> > some of the movement changes the prices of
> > workers' consumption goods
> > the rate of surplus value, necessary labor time
> > and the rate of
> > return will not change.  Note that Marx says that > relative surplus
> > value is ultimately generated by changes in the
> > values of workers'
> > consumption goods.
> Wasn't he in that context referring to an increase
> in relative surplus value caused by labor-saving technical change?   In so
> doing, he was referring
> to one (the predominant) form in which relative
> s can be increased.
> So what happens after the productivity increase
> but if there isn't an in-flow of capital into Dept IIb
> or in the interim before that happens?  The
> workers in Dept IIb are being paid the same
> wages as before and there is no reason to
> suppose that there will be a change in the value
> of their consumption goods. They now produce
> more output in the same working time. Why
> should we then not say that there has then been a
> decrease in necessary labor time and an
> increase in surplus labor time in that sub-
> department?
> In solidarity, Jerry
> PS re Allin's 5572:  you assert that necessary and
> surplus labor time are "heuristic" devices when
> referring to "particular capitalist enterprises".
> Since we are referring not to individual firms, but
> to production departments, could you explain 
> why you think that these concepts are
> heuristic at that level of analysis?  Are you making
> essentially the same argument that Paul made
> recently about the armaments sector?
Paul Cockshott, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, Scotland
0141 330 3125  mobile:07946 476966

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