[OPE-L:5361] RE: Luxury goods and profit rate

ID (bellofio@cisi.unito.it)
Thu, 7 Aug 1997 03:54:27 -0700 (PDT)

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The starting point should be, from the point of method, the privilege
accorded to a macromonetary view. Now, in an economy where money is needed
to finance production and investment demand is authonomous, the result is
not exactly what Aijt is saying - that the rate of exploitation is a
class phenomenon, referring to the sharing out of the product of the
social working day?

That is, the whole of individual capitalists' behaviour, backed by
the banking system, is not just the way the capitalist class appropriates
the 'profit-goods'? And hence, cannot we say that necessary labour is the
labour embodied in the production of wage goods, and surplus labour the
labour embodied in the goods which are not made available to workers?

The important points here are two: (i) bank finance to production
allows firms to decide the composition of output; (ii) the monetary nature
of capitalism means also that there are subjects (firms, the State) who
can define their demand in real terms, while that's not true for workers
as a class.

As the French F. Simiand said long ago: the money wage is a fact,
the real wage is an opinion. I think that this view, which is the same as
the New Interpretation, is the same behind what I am suggesting - though
of course I would argue that in my way it is more consistently maintained
8-). So I don't see what I am saying as clashing with Foley's argument.
Simply, my argument points towards the idea that we must distinguish the
rate of exploitation (in 'value' terms) from the profit/wage ratio (in
labour represented terms). What I reproach to Aijt is that he seems not to
see that this is exactly the consequence of the monetary nature of
capitalism. Indeed, Marx's was a Monetary Theory of Production. The stress
must be both on Monetary and on Production.

I confess that I am uneasy with Duncan's stressing the ex post vs.
ex ante view. How can we distinguish, ex post, production from
circulation? And as I urged some time ago on the list, does not an ex-post
view reduces itself to the value-form approac? I think that for Marx
though value was eventually actualized in exchange, value was in a
meaningful sense a potential magnitude before the selling of products; and
that Marx also thought that in the capitalist totality there was a
dominance of production. The whole of vol. 1 is the demonstration that
value is the result of a specific kind of activity: abstract labour as
actually really subsumed by capital in production. Of course this nuances
have to disappear ex post, where what you see is only private
labours turned out social when bought by money . Now, is not Capital, the
three volumes, nothing but
the *construction* of this ex post?


Riccardo Bellofiore e-mail: bellofio@cisi.unito.it
Department of Economics Tel: (39) -35- 277505 (direct)
University of Bergamo (39) -35- 277501 (dept.)
Piazza Rosate, 2 (39) -11- 5819619 (home)
I-24129 Bergamo Fax: (39) -35- 249975