[OPE-L:7858] Re: Re: 'Hic Rhodus, hic salta!'

From: clyder@gn.apc.org
Date: Fri Oct 25 2002 - 16:09:36 EDT

  > > 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.
> Yes, but  the labour-time that creates surplus-value is SNLT.   What
> labor constitutes SNLT can only be known when (if) the commodity
> product (C) is sold for money (M').   

This strikes me as arrant subjectivism. Known to whom?
Why is knowing it important?

You express the viewpoint of the individual bourgeois, who needs
to know if his particular investment will pay.

Considered objectively, there will be underlying causes which will
determine how much of each commodity will get sold. The quantity sold
is determined by various objective conditions - for instance the 
quantity of steel sold is determined by the current production levels
in the steel using industries. It is this requirement that determines
how much labour - given current technical conditions - is socially 
necessary in steel production. These objective conditions determine
the sales. The quantity sold reveals to the individual bourgeois whether
the labour he employed was socially neccessary. But if steel production
exceeds current steel consumption then some of the labour expended on
steel production is unecessary. It is not the lack of sales that makes
labour unecessary but labour's lack of necessity that explains the 
dearth of sales.

> Thus my point to Fred about the role of
> "givens" in Marx's theory -- if something is taken to be given now at one
> stage in the reconstruction in thought of the object (capitalism) then one
> must  be able to specify *what* later stage in the analysis it will _no
> longer be_  given (but is instead shown to be either a result or modified)
> and then one has to develop that comprehension.

That is true enough, and it is then later analysis of the reproduction
schemes that dispells the subjectivist interpretation of SNLT that
you were advancing earlier.
> > 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,
> Good points.
> > 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
> > magnitude of surplus value.
> And non-propertied classes since a substantial proportion of the wages
> paid to the working class take the form of deductions from surplus value
> when (a portion of) those revenues are expended on  salaries for workers
> \who are unproductive (of surplus value) workers.
> The way I understand the question, after the sale of C for M' then the
> revenues can be divided into productive consumption and unproductive
> consumption of that surplus-value.  This division forms a formal limit to
> the accumulation of capital since only that portion of s which is
> productively consumed can expand the accumulation of capital.

Yes I agree with this.

> A former undergraduate mentor, Jim Becker, discussed this subject at
> length in his book _Marxian Political Economy_.  While I don't necessarily
> agree with all that he wrote on this topic, I think it has been a largely
> undeveloped subject.
> > 3. As an accounting category,
> Do other listmembers classify profit as _only_ a "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.
> And it is conceptually the same as what I described in the paragraph
> above that began "The way I understand the question ....".
> > 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.
> No argument.
> > The key factor that varies in Kalecki's equations is of course
> > employment.
> That hasn't been established above.  Perhaps we should go on to
> consider that question?
> > 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.
> At the level of analysis national accounts don't all contradictions come
> into play?  Or is that only the world market?

At the level of the national accounts, according to Kalecki the trade
surplus acts as another determinant of profits.

> In solidarity, Jerry

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Sat Oct 26 2002 - 00:00:00 EDT