[OPE-L:6843] Re: surplus value, commercial workers and merchant capital (fwd)

From: glevy@pop-b.pratt.edu
Date: Sat Mar 30 2002 - 11:41:35 EST

Re Ian's [6842]:

> The distinction between surplus product and surplus value is 
> important:  slave owners, feudal lords, tributory systems, etc 
> have all appropriated  surplus product (and surplus labour) but 
> not surplus value. However, it  would be absurd to claim that 
> merchants, even in 'backward conditions', do  not appropriate 
> surplus value but only surplus product,  surplus labour or
> just money (Marx says that money is the expression of exchange 
> value, even  in 'backward conditions' of commodity exchange)  when > they buy cheap and sell dear.

I agree that buying cheap and selling dear by merchant capitalists
can be conceptualized in terms of a redistribution of surplus value
(even though surplus value does not 'arise' from the activities of merchant capitalists.)  When I pointed to the creation of wealth as distinct from surplus value re merchant capital, I was thinking in part of the 'original' accumulation of capital.  I was pointing to the distinction between surplus value and surplus product in a "wider
global context", rather than merchant capital per se (see below):
in that wider context whether a part of the surplus product takes the form of surplus value depends on whether that part of the surplus product takes the commodity-form and the specific class relationship under which that portion of the surplus product was produced.

In solidarity, Jerry

> >I agree that the redistribution of surplus value does not explain the
> >whole picture where 'backward conditions' (what a terrible expression!)
> >prevail. In order to explain this and the wider global context, we not
> >only have to look at the distribution of surplus value but also at the
> >distribution of *wealth*.  Moreover, the distinction between surplus value
> >and *surplus product* also has important meaning.

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