[OPE-L:1038] Re: Pure and Normal

Gilbert Skillman (gskillman@mail.wesleyan.edu)
Sun, 11 Feb 1996 08:52:33 -0800

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Paul writes:

> I would agree that there is some room for merchant capital
> to appropriate part of the social surplus product prior to
> the development of capitalist production, but it remains
> a subsidiary element in the surplus product. It is only with
> the real subordination of labour to capital that the
> bourgoisie appropriates the greater part of the surplus
> product.

Paul, I agree with the sense of this, subject to two caveats. The
first one is for the sake of clarification: it is under the
*capitalist mode of production* that merchant capital is a subsidiary
element of the surplus product. Prior to this, and this is the
second caveat, Marx describes merchant's capital as appropriating all
of the surplus labour plus some of the workers' subsistence. Thus
merchant's capital was capable of taking the "greater part" of the
surplus product, all by itself.

The importance of formal and real subsumption of labor under capital
lay in expanding the amount of surplus value, through the creation of
both absolute and relative surplus value.

In solidarity, Gil