[OPE-L:7277] Re: interpreting Marx's texts

From: gerald_a_levy (gerald_a_levy@msn.com)
Date: Tue May 28 2002 - 16:12:06 EDT

Re Fred's [7274]:

> Jerry, I don't see what is so difficult about a brief summary of Marx's
> theory of surplus-value.

Fred, you didn't ask for a brief summary of Marx's theory of surplus value.
You asked instead in [7266] for how I would present a "general theory of
profit" to students and/or workers.  I interpret a "general theory of
profit" to not only deal with the source of profit but also the distribution
of profit among capitalists and landowners.

> I would say:  Profit (or surplus-value) is the excess of money (dM) that
> emerges at the end of the circulation of capital.

I would say that surplus value only becomes actualized through
exchange and can only be converted into profit following sale.

> According to Marx's
> theory, the magnitude of surplus-value depends on the quantity of surplus
> labor, which is the excess of the working day over necessary
> labor-time.

I would say that what is missing from the above is SNLT.    This
is crucial for understanding the meaning of labor-time.

> Necessary labor-time is the time necessary for workers to
> produce a value equivalent to the wages they are paid.  It is in this
> sense that workers are exploited: they produce more value than they are
> paid, and therefore a part of their working day produces surplus-value for
> capitalists, for which workers receive no equivalent.  It follows from
> this theory that there are inherent conflicts in capitalism over the
> length of the working day and over the intensity of labor, and that there
> is an inherent tendency toward technological change that reduces necessary
> labor-time.
> Jerry, would you agree or disagree with this brief summary?  What of
> significance would you say is left out?

See above.

> However, critics argue that this theory is contradicted by the tendency of
> profit rates to equalize across industries.  That is why I think a strong
> response to this criticism is necessary and worthwhile.

Hilferding and Bukharin didn't give "strong responses"?

In solidarity, Jerry

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