[OPE-L] Proposition #5

From: Jerry Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Sun Mar 11 2007 - 13:06:30 EDT

Hi Ajit:

Proposition #2  stated:

> 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
> serfs.

In our model of capitalism,  since there are only two classes -- the working
class (the direct producers,  which sells labor power to capitalists in
exchange for a wage) and the capitalist class (which owns and controls the
entire means of production,  directs the labor process, and has legal title
to the commodities produced by wage-labor)  it follows that:

o  the commodities which compose 1 + 2 + 3  are all a consequence of a
    capitalist production process which requires the expenditure of labor
    time by wage-workers.

o  wage-workers use the money (gold) that they receive from capitalists for
    the sale of  the commodity labor power to purchase the commodities
    which they need to sustain themselves at their customary standard of

o  After the total commodity product has been sold and wages have
     been deducted  (2) and there has also been a deduction of the amount
     of money required for the replacement of the means of production
     used up (1),   then any money left over is the *monetary equivalent of
     the surplus product* (3).

It is crystal clear, therefore, that just as the wealth of the feudal lords
was created by the labor of serfs and the wealth of the slaveowners was
created by the labor of slaves so too it should be clear that the wealth of
capitalists is created by the labor of wage-workers.  However, what needs
 to be explained more is how this process occurs.

The question being posed therefore is NOT what is the source of
delta M in the formula

M - C - M'

(where M' equals M plus delta M)

but rather  HOW  is the surplus product produced under capitalism?
I.e.  HOW does the character of CAPITALIST production (which
includes commodities and money) change the FORM of the surplus
product?  Afterwards, we can get to  the ways in which the surplus
product can be INCREASED under the stated conditions.

Your turn.

In solidarity, Jerry

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