Re: [OPE-L] cockshott, Fw: [OPE-L] basics vs. non-basics and financial services

From: Diego Guerrero (diego.guerrero@CPS.UCM.ES)
Date: Sun Oct 09 2005 - 13:24:01 EDT

When you say that credit money cannot be accumulated it seems like if you
thought again in a piling up of things. For me to accumulate is to avoid to
spend some money into consumption goods and services in order to be able to
reinvest the exceeding money in new means of production.

But the main point, when you say:

>There is no more accumulation than before, since all the new
>    profit is immediately spent on luxuries, so collectively the
>    capitalist class has not improved its ability to accumulate
>    by employing its servants to make luxury commodities.

None worker can of course produce anything without the proper means of
production. Moreover, the reproduction schems show that some proportions
have to be respected. Therefore when the capitalist class put a part or all
their servants to produce commodities, don't matter which class of
commodities, it has to respect those proportions. But all workers coming to
factories from capitalists' houses are equally productive, as you can see in
the following example with three departmentes.

A) Simple reproduction:

I        10c + 5v + 5s        =   20
II        8c + 4v + 4s         =   16
III       2c + 1v + 1s         =   4
Total    20c + 10v + 10s  =   40

All surplus value is consumed by capitalists: 6 in commodities of II (of
which 1 for their servants) and 4 in commodities of D. III.

B) Now, capitalists bring their servants to their factories and therefore
increase their factory workers in 1/10. They distribute the new workers
among the three departments and give to all the departments the means of
production that are needed for production. They "pay" all this by a
temporary renouncement to a part of their consumption. I say "Temporary"
because they will be able later to consume more than before whereas the
overall mass of workers consume the same as before. See table 2:

I        11.5c + 5.75v + 5.75s        =   23
II        8.4c + 4.2v + 4.2s             =   16.8
III       2.1c + 1.05v + 1.05s         =   4.2
Total    22c + 11v + 11s               =   44

Where capitalists consumed before 6 (II) and 4 (III), we have now 5.8 (II)
and 4.2 (III). The mass of incomes receives by all workers is the same as
before (11) but all this is now variable capital while it was just 10
before. New variable capital means new value, therefore more surplusvalue,
accumulation, etc.

All workers (11/10 as compared with before) produce now surplus value, and
the rate of profit in the three departments is 33.3%. There is no
distinction between workers in dep. III and those of D. I and II. The fact
that capitalists have accumulated their money for buying more means of
production (including new productive workers!) is what explains that total
production of value, value added and variable capital have all increased.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Paul Cockshott" <wpc@DCS.GLA.AC.UK>
Sent: Friday, October 07, 2005 2:12 PM
Subject: Re: [OPE-L] cockshott, Fw: [OPE-L] basics vs. non-basics and
financial services

> Diego Guerrero wrote:
>> No. I disagrre with "2 person years worth of expenditure on servants
>> wages will allow him to employ 4 servants". It is supposed that the wage
>> of a servant is the same as the wage of a factory worker. The difference
>> is that the former do not create surplus value at home.
> Paul C replies
> I too was assuming that the wage of servants and factory workers was
> the same and each was paid 1/2 person year for doing a person year
> of work. That implies that an expenditure of 2 person years on servants
> will employ 4 servants. This wage of 1/2 person year per year was
> implied in your original example.
>>  > 2. The second problem is that you have still done the calculation
>>  >    at the level of an individual capitalist not in terms of entire
>>  >    sectors as is done in volume II.
>>  >    Once you do this you have to ask 'who purchases the luxuries?'.
>>  >    If you construct an example you will find that the total number
>>  >    of person years appropriated by the capitalist class has not
>> changed
>>  >    if the servants go to work in dept III.
>> I don't think this is a problem. My single capitalist can be divided
>> into as many as you want. Money for buying the new luxuries come from
>> surplus value created by all factory workers who were former servants.
> Paul C
> ------
> Let us follow your suggestion and subdivide your capitalist. Your
> capitalist
> now becomes a collective capitalist. Where does the money to purchase the
> surplus value come from?
> They capitalists can sell to each other, but collectively this sector of
> capitalists have no net extra income. The internal expenditure within
> the sector has gone up true. The labour time of their personal
> servants formerly was consumed without being expressed in any accounts.
> It is now expressed in money, but:
> 1. The total number of hours labour appropriated has not changed.
> 2. There is no more accumulation than before, since all the new
>    profit is immediately spent on luxuries, so collectively the
>    capitalist class has not improved its ability to accumulate
>    by employing its servants to make luxury commodities.
>>  Is not money what can be accumulated, and money can come from
>> anywhere? Which do you prefer: Smith's view or Marx's?
> No, this is at the heart of our difference. Money is only
> be accumulated under pre-capitalist modes of production
> like early feudalism.
> Only in such societies does money take the form mainly
> of silver or gold. In 18th century Scotland when
> Smith was writing, money was predominantly in the
> form of credit as banknotes. This has been true
> of every working capitalist economy. Either banknotes
> or bills of exchange or chequing accounts are
> what money is.
> In capitalist economies money is predominantly credit
> not gold. Credit money can not be accumulated because
> the sum of mutual debits and credits is always zero.
> What appears as an accumulation of money by one agent in
> the economy is exactly balanced by the accumulation of
> debt by another party. It is a zero sum game.
> If one capitalist is building up their credit balance
> in the bank, another is running up debts to balance
> that credit. As a whole the capitalist class can not
> accumulate money.

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