[OPE-L:1269] Re: determination of constant capital

Paul Cockshott (wpc@clyder.gn.apc.org)
Fri, 1 Mar 1996 00:33:14 -0800

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Costas addressing Andrew
What has changed in your example is the labour required, which
must mean that people work more, harder, or there are more of them
working. Someone must have appropriated the benefits of this, even
if these benefits are contained in the same material substance. Your
theory must reflect these economic relations, which are of the first
order of significance. The higher rate of profit which would result
if one took Marx's approach, captures this connection very powerfully.
How does your approach deal with it?

Note that Andrews example does not presuppose an increase in the
labour required, only its multiplication by a constant K, which
could be greater than or less than 1.

This is equivalent to a general change in the productivity of labour,
since the material output is held constant. If K>1 then there is
a decline in productivity and there are no 'benefits' to be
appropriated, everyone simply has to work longer, but the proportional
division of the working day between surplus and necessary labour is
unchanged, there is no higher rate of surplus value and no higher
rate of profit. There are disbenefits here, but they are experienced
exclusively by the workers since the working day is assumed to
have risen. Since the capitalists dont work, they see no difference.

If K<1 there is rise in labour productivity, and in this case there
are benefits, which are again exclusively experienced by the workers,
in the form of a shorter working day. Again since the capitalists
dont work, they experience no loss in this case.