Date: Wed Oct 23 2002 - 16:19:21 EDT
> Paul C responded: > > > I think here you should not use the same phrase surplus - value to refer > > to two different things > > - the value produced over and above the share going to > > labour, and > > - the money profits of the capitalist class. > > These are categories at different levels of abstraction. The laws > > governing the latter are quite different from the laws governing the > > former - indeed as Kalecki indicates the causal relations involved > > appear almost inverted in the case of profits. > > Here's the way I look at the question: > > Unlike the form that the surplus product takes within other modes of > production, under capitalism the surplus product necessarily takes > the form of surplus-value and hence is expressed as money (since > under generalized commodity production where capitalism prevails > the value-form is a necessary form of appearance of value and money > becomes a necessary form of appearance of the value-form). Indeed, > under capitalism the value of labour-power and value in general > necessarily come to be expressed as money due to the nature of the > commodity-form. Thus, the generalization of the money-form is a > *necessary presumption* for the creation of value. Without the > money-form the relationship between the producers and the ruling > class (and with it their shares of wealth) would take an essentially > different form. I agree that money is a necessary feature of capitalism, but that does not make surplus value and money profit the same thing for three reasons: 1. The concept of surplus value is established at the level of the basic relations of production and rests on the difference between necessary and surplus labour time. Marx's analysis in vol 1 is concerned with establishing that surplus value is regulated by the relationship between necessary and surplus labour time, and to establishing that surplus value can thus only be increased by either extending the working day - absolute surplus value, or reducing necessary labour - relative surplus value. 2. The identification of surplus value with profit is also wrong because profit is only part of surplus value. Interest, rent and unproductive expenditure constitute major other portions of surplus value. Profit is thus a form of revenue, or more properly an accounting category operating at the level of individual property relations and subdivisions of property. Its magnitude can thus vary as a result of the proportionate division of revenues within the propertied classes, quite independently of the magnitute of surplus value. 3. As an accounting category, profit is not determined by the magnitude of surplus labour time, instead it is driven by Kalecki's equation P = I + cc where P is profit, I is investment and cc is capitalist consumption. This equation is of course just another way of writing the reproduction formulae of vol 2. Profit therefore is driven by the expenditure of the capitalist class, and again for this reason can vary quite independently of the magnitude of surplus value. The key factor that varies in Kalecki's equations is of course employment. > > Also, -- putting the question using the same terms you > expressed above -- what specifically is the level of abstraction where > the laws governing the share of wealth going to laborers and the share going > to capitalists is systematically developed? Moreover, what 'laws' are you > thinking of in this context? > The level of abstraction used is one in which the divisions of surplus value are ignored and one just looks at the social labour budget and works out how many social working hours per day are required to reproduce the working population at its current level of consumption. One is not at this stage concerned with the monetary equations operating at the level of the national accounts which determine the accounting profit of the corporate sector, the flow of funds between it and the banking sector etc.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Thu Oct 24 2002 - 00:00:01 EDT