[OPE-L:6995] Re: surplus value discussion

From: gerald_a_levy (gerald_a_levy@msn.com)
Date: Mon Apr 15 2002 - 09:11:42 EDT

Re Ian's [6993]:

> I agree that the account of what happens is important. As I said in
> response to some earlier post, which I can't remember, I am not sure
> whether the redistribution of value theory of commerical profit is correct
> (but equally I am not sure that it is not). Your formulations about
> redistribution of value in various cases of buying cheap in order to sell
> dear are therefore acceptable to me, although there are also other cases
> where profits are appropriated (Marx calls them 'super profits') because
> 'individual values' differ from market value. This is so in many instances
> of profits from trade, and also in cases where one more productive
> capitalist  will appropriate super profits (the individual rate of surplus
> value of this capitalist will be above average).

I agree that the subject of "super profits" (and *international value*)
should be brought into this discussion.  More specifically, I think it
would be desirable if we could further articulate the relationship
between the redistribution of value and surplus value internationally
and the appropriation of surplus profits.  As I can recall, Ernest
Mandel in _Late Capitalism_ placed great emphasis on surplus
profits and I think Alan F also suggested a large role for surplus
profits in the creation of international value (in his "Links" article
on moral depreciation, if I recall correctly.) For the most part,
though, this seems to be a largely unexplored avenue -- which is
quite odd when you think about it given the importance of the
divergence of individual values from market values.

> I agree also that in cases
> such as sale of diamonds, the profits do not represent surplus value
> extracted from the workers employed but from the ultimate purchasers.

Hmmm. Because diamonds are a luxury good? Diamonds can also serve,
of course, as an element of constant capital (I guess diamond bits would
be classified as constant circulating rather than constant fixed capital?).
As a commodity sold as a consumption good, though, I would have to
say that most diamonds internationally are sold to  *working-class*
consumers (even if the larger and most expensive diamonds are destined
for consumption in bourgeois families.)   In the case of diamond pricing,
we clearly have to examine how *rent*  plays a part in the redistribution
of surplus value _and value_  to diamond mine owners. It's interesting
to note in this connection how *advertising* by the diamond cartel has
helped to stimulate the  consumer demand for diamonds  and thereby
lead to increased prices for diamonds on world markets (and how the
trade in diamonds has led to warfare in Africa and a call for an
international boycott of diamonds -- thus advertising helps to shape
consumer demand and consumer and political movements can help
to re-shape that demand: the international campaign against the fur
trade is another instance of the later movement.)

The rest of your post covers topics just recently discussed so I will
pass over it now.

In solidarity, Jerry

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