[OPE-L:1607] Re: definitions and capitalist relations of

Gilbert Skillman (gskillman@mail.wesleyan.edu)
Thu, 28 Mar 1996 08:57:50 -0800

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Paul writes:

> On the topic of KRP and their relation to the
> existence of profit.
> If one is willing to approach the matter from the
> other direction - that of aggregate reproduction in
> society as a whole, then it can be argued that the
> essential precondition for profit is that there
> exists a class that owns the entire product immediately
> on production.

Two questions: (1) Given Marx's stipulation that one cannot produce
surplus value (and thus profit) for oneself (I, 268, Penguin),
wouldn't we have to add that the class which owns the entire product
must be other than the class that produced it?

(2) Doesn't usury capital extended to small producers constitute a
counter-example to this claim, as amended? Usury capitalists did not if
fact own the entire product immediately on production (other than in cases of
foreclosure), and yet usurer's interest included a component
equivalent to profit:

"...the usurer's interest being the part that later appears as profit
and ground rent..." (III, 730)

"What takes place [with usury] is exploitation by capital without the
mode of production of capital. The rate of interest appears very
high, because it includes profit and even a part of wages."
[Grundrisse, 853]

In light of the foregoing, I'd prefer to put it, following Roemer's
theoretical treatment and Marx's historical treatment, that
differential ownership [in the limit, class monopoly] of the *means*
of production is the essential pre-condition for profit. Is this