[OPE-L:7016] Re: Re: surplus value discussion

From: Ian Hunt (Ian.Hunt@flinders.edu.au)
Date: Thu Apr 18 2002 - 21:04:19 EDT

Dear Jerry,
I thought I said that the sale does NOT add to the use-value of the thing
sold but itself COULD be a use-value to the purchaser. That is, in addition
to the commodity sold, the purchaser obtains title to it, and this
obtaining of title could be regarded as a use value according to the most
general definition of 'use-value'. Or so it seems to me, but i remain
uncertain whether this is a 'useful' way of looking at sale. In any case, I
hope this explains my comment about a 'double use-value'.

>Of course, it is presumed that the buyer of the commodity (re-) sold
>by the merchant capitalist will think that the commodity has use-value.
>In most cases, this simply means that when it was decided to re-sell
>the commodity, that it still had use-value. The action of the merchant
>capitalist -- if all that is done is the transferring in the title of
>ownership -- does not thereby necessarily increase the use-value of
>the commodity to be re-sold.   So when you say  that there is a
>"double use-value"  exchanged, I'm not sure what you mean.
>> In any case, one of the important aspects of Marx's theory of surplus
>> is that profits are seen as claims or shares of the total surplus labour
>> society.
>Yet, unless we assume fully developed capitalist relations, not all of the
>total surplus labor of society takes the form of profits.  Thus, the claim
>that the sum of S equals the sum of profit is not necessarily the same,
>even once capitalism has become the dominant mode of production, as
>the claim that the sum of surplus-labor equals the sum of profit.
>>To see rent, finacial or commercial profit as redistributions of
>> surplus value is, on this minimal interpretation, just to say that these
>> shares enforce a different distribution of surplus value from what it
>> be if we considered only competitive industrial capitalists in abstraction
>> from capital as a whole.
>In the case of rent, I think we have to ask *who pays the rent?* in order
>to determine whether there is a transfer of surplus value *or* a transfer
>of value.  (Here I am thinking of how advertising and marketing costs can
>represent a rent on working-class consumers if  many of the commodities
>purchased by workers are systematically sold at market prices greatly in
>excess of value.)

I agree that not all the surplus labour takes the form of profit. i also
agree that there are forms of exploitation additional to the extraction of
surplus value from wage workers by industrial capitalist, so that the extra
claims on surplus value are not claims on surplus value entirely generated
by industrial capitalists. This is all a matter of the incidence of the
other claims to surplus labour which either has the effect of increasing
exploitation of the working class, independent proprietors, etc or of
diverting surplus labour from industrial capital. I suppose the incidence
of other claims varies with conditions a weakened working class with
crippled unions or individual proprietors facing a merchant monopoly might
very well lose a lot,

Associate Professor Ian Hunt,
Director, Centre for Applied Philosophy,
Philosophy Dept, School of Humanities,
Flinders University of SA,
Humanities Building,
Bedford Park, SA, 5042,
Ph: (08) 8201 2054 Fax: (08) 8201 2784

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