[OPE-L:3888] Re: Surplus-Value vs. Surplus Product

John Ernst (ernst@pipeline.com)
Mon, 30 Dec 1996 02:28:12 -0800 (PST)

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At 10:36 AM 12/29/96 -0800, Jerry wrote:
>Andrew K wrote in [OPE-L:3886]:
>> SURPLUS-VALUE" indicates that the "surplus product" may represent something
>> other than a positive surplus-value, that is, a zero or negative
>> surplus-value.
>Declining and/or zero surplus value I can understand. What, though, is the
>meaning of "negative surplus value"? Would this mean that labor is
>exploiting capital???!!!

Can a capitalist economy show overall negative profits? It can and, at times,
it has. At such times, the extent to which workers are exploited as
measured by the rate of exploitation is hardly an issue. If these negative
profits are peculiar to a sector or industry, we need only recall that
workers are exploited as a class.

Quoting Andrew, Jerry continues:

>> In the next sentence, therefore, when Marx writes that "It can
>> represent a DEDUCTION FROM VALUE," the final three words indicate that the
>> positive "surplus product" can represent a negative surplus-value.

Jerry comments:
>A deduction from value does not mean that there can be negative surplus

Here, Andrew pointed to a possibility and asserting that it can not be advances
the discussion not one bit. If there is a deduction from value, it is clearly
possible that that deduction may be so large that capitalists experience a loss
despite the increase in surplus product.

Andrew continues:

>> I can explain all this clearly and simply, with no hocus pocus.
>> Assume that corn is produced by means of
>> seed-corn and living labor, and that workers are paid in corn, before
>> production. <snip>

Jerry remarks:

>Hocus pocus.
>Had Marx wanted to develop a corn model, he might have written _Das Korn:
>A Critique of Agricultural Economics_ (that's an inside joke, right
>Andrew? :-)). Don't you think that *money* has to be incorporated into the
>model and that c, v, and s all take a monetary form?

By all means, let's put money into the models. But I do think Andrew's
example can be followed in terms of corn. It's too easy to say that since
money is not present the example is flawed. Put money into it and one could
then say -- "Where is the fixed capital?" or "What about joint production?"
Why not address the example itself?