[OPE-L] Proposition #3

From: glevy@PRATT.EDU
Date: Wed Mar 07 2007 - 12:35:04 EST

Hi again Ajit:

Thank you for your patience.  I'm still in the preliminary
stage where I'm presenting basic ideas in such a way that
there is unlikely to be disagreement from your perspective.

In a previous post I said that the subject was capitalism and
that there are two *classes*  in the abstract model of that
subject that I will be presenting.  Yet, the concept of class
presupposes certain ideas which it is now time to make explicit:

Define the *total product* as the total amount of goods and
services produced in an economy in a certain period of time.

Define the *necessary product* as that portion of the total
product which is needed to maintain the inputs in the labor
process -- means of production and the direct producers
-- at their current level or in their current condition for the
next round of production.  Thus, the necessary product
equals the consumption of the producers at their customary
standard of living plus the depreciation of means of production
plus the replacement of  other [non-labor] materials used up.

The *surplus product* is what remains out of the total product
after the necessary product has been deleted.  In other words,

The total product =  1 + 2 +3

where 1 = replacement of means of production used;

          2 =  necessary consumption

          3 = surplus product

Thus,     1 + 2 = necessary product; and
          2 + 3 = net product

1 + 2 + 3 are all a consequence of a production process and hence
requires the expenditure of  *labor time* by the direct producers.
This labor time is expended by producers using means of production
and hence involves both direct and indirect labor time.

*Note that in the above there was no mention of value, commodities,
wage-labor, capital, capitalists, or markets.   Hence, other modes of
production could be thought of in terms of the above concepts.*

Consider two other such modes of production:  slavery and feudalism.

In a simple slave society in which there are only two classes --  slaves
(the direct producers) and slaveowners -- the total, net, and surplus
products are created by slaves who utilize means of production which
are themselves produced by slaves who utilized means of production.

Hence, it is crystal clear that in such a slave society the wealth of the
slaveowners is created by the labor of slaves.

In an abstract feudal society where there are two classes -- serfs (the
direct producers) and lords -- the total, net, and surplus products
are created entirely by the serfs (the direct producers).  Like
slaveowners, the lords live off of the surplus product created by the
direct producers. I.e. the surplus product is expropriated by the lords.

It is just as clear here also that the wealth of the feudal lords
(recalling the assumption of a closed economy and hence an inability to
expropriate wealth from other societies) was created by the labor of

If there is agreement on the above, in the next installment I will return
to the subject of the commodity.

In solidarity, Jerry

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