[OPE-L:8130] Re: Re: Re: Re: RE: Re: philosophy and political economy

From: Francisco Paulo Cipolla (cipolla@sociais.ufpr.br)
Date: Thu Dec 05 2002 - 15:21:21 EST

You seem to agree that we cannot say that (L-Ln)m explains why value added is
greater than (Ln)m. It simply says that for there to be surplus value (L-Ln)m>0.

"Fred B. Moseley" wrote:

> On Wed, 4 Dec 2002, Francisco Paulo Cipolla wrote:
> > Fred wrote:
> > I argue that Marx took the wage-bill (i.e. variable capital) as given, and
> > then assumed that the quantity of value added (VA) produced is determined
> > by the product of the quantity of socially necessary labor-time (L) and
> > money-value produced per hour (m); i.e.
> >
> >         VA = m L
> >
> > >From this basic assumption, the quantity of surplus-value is explained, as
> > follows:
> >
> >         S = VA  - V             V is variable capital
> >
> >           = mL  - V
> >
> >           = m (L - Ln)          where Ln = V / m
> >
> > This theory explains why value added is greater than variable capital -
> > because in only takes workers a part of the working day to produce
> > value-added equal to variable capital.  But without the assumption that VA
> > = mL, there would be no explanation.
> >
> > Hi Fred and colleagues of OPE-L,
> > It is not clear to me why your  algebra allows you to conclude that "this
> > explains why value added is greater than variable capital". It explains rather
> > why a condition for the existence of surplus value is VA>V, or saying the same
> > differently: a condition for surplus value is that L be greater than Ln. But
> > none of this algebra explains why in fact it is. This difference between L and
> > Ln seems to me to be a result of history. It was true in feudalism already!
> > Capitalism increases the distance between L and Ln. Maybe it was just a matte
> > of expression. Could you clarify further? I thank you in advance.
> > Paulo
> >
> Hi Paolo, thanks for your questions.  My brief responses are:
> 1.  This equation (or rather Marx's theory which the equation
> summarizes) identifies the determinants of surplus-value: L and Ln, which
> are quantities of labor-time that exist as separate entities from
> quantities of money - even though necessarily connected with quantities of
> money, with the precise relation between them expressed by this
> equation.  I agree that one also had to go further and explain the
> determination of L and Ln, which Marx's theory also does (see #4 below).
> 2.  This equation also explains more than the "condition of existence" of
> surplus-value.  It also explains the precise magnitude of surplus-value,
> which is proportional to surplus labor, with m as the factor of
> proportionality.
> 3.  I also agree (of course) that surplus labor already existed in
> feudalism.  But the unique thing about capitalism is that surplus labor
> APPEARS TO DISAPPEAR!  Because capitalist pay wages to workers, the
> relation between capitalists appears to be one of an equal exchange, with
> no surplus labor involved.  Mainstream economic theory explains profit (or
> at least tries to, and fails) by factors other than surplus labor - the
> marginal productivity of capital, abstinence (!), risk, etc.  The main
> achievement of Marx's theory (in my view) is that it destroys the illusion
> of an equal exchange between capitalists and workers and clearly
> demonstrates that surplus-value is the result of surplus labor, i.e. of
> the exploitation of workers.
> 4.  Capitalism does indeed "increase the distance between L and Ln."  Much
> more so than other mode of production.  From this inherent tendency to
> increase surplus labor, Marx's theory derived in Volume 1 the following
> important further conclusions: (1) inherent conflict over the length of
> the working day; (2) inherent conflict over the intensity of labor, and
> (3) inherent technological change.  This impressive explanatory power is
> unmatched by any other theory of profit.
> Paolo (and others), any further comments?  Thanks again.
> Comradely,
> Fred

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Fri Dec 06 2002 - 00:00:00 EST