[OPE-L:7850] Re: Re: 'Hic Rhodus, hic salta!'

From: clyder@gn.apc.org
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


> 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

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