Re: (OPE-L) Re: Unproductive Labour and the Two Department Model

From: Phil Dunn (pscumnud@DIRCON.CO.UK)
Date: Sat Nov 22 2003 - 01:40:53 EST

Hi Jerry

Thanks for your comments.  I was quite confused.  Taking your
comments into account, here is a second go at it.

Suppose that the shop has to remit to the manufacturer $8 for the
bottle of whiskey before it is sold to me, the customer.   At that
point the remittance of $8 is analysed into a cash sale of a bottle
of whiskey to the shop of $10 and a cash sale of a retailing service
to the manufacturer of $2.  The commodity capital of the manufacturer
($10) is fully realised at this point.   Also the commodity capital
of the shop is fully realised ($2).  I thought that the bottle of
whiskey, with value equivalent to $10, then went into the shop's
constant capital.  This is wrong.  I now think it goes into the
shop's merchant capital.  When I eventually buy the whiskey, the
bottle leaves merchant capital and revenue the $2 is recognised by
the shop.  Merchant capital is M-C-M.  There is no self-expansion.
It is unproductive capital.

The argument depends on the accounting distinction between
realisation (getting the cash) and recognition.  Usually revenue is
recognised before the cash comes in.  Here it is the other way round.

This means that the shop is in Dept. I.  The idea that the shop's
revenue comes from the manufacturer's surplus value is rejected.
Also rejection is the idea that the shop adds value to the
merchandise.  The shop nevertheless adds value and has a productive
M-C ... P... C'-M' circuit.  The bottle of whiskey never forms part
of the shop's constant or commodity capital.

I have made some brief responses below.


>Phil wrote:
>>  Whose commodity capital is realised when I buy a bottle of Johnny
>>  Walker at the liquor store?
>>  In general this is complicated.  Let me make some simplifying
>>  assumptions to clarify the issue.  First, if the shop is unable to
>>  sell the bottle it can be returned to the manufacturer.  Second, the
>>  price is controlled by the manufacturer.  Third, when the customer
>>  pays $10, $8 is remitted immediately to the manufacturer and $2 is
>>  the shop's sales revenue for retailing services.
>Without these assumptions, though,  the commodity capital of Johnny
>Walker is realized when the whiskey is sold to the retailer.  When
>the retailer then sells the whiskey to final consumers,  the revenues
>received are kept by the retailer and only go back to the Johnny
>Walker to buy more stock.

I take the point.  My revised version is at the top.

>  > Under these
>>  conditions the merchandise forms no part of the constant or the
>>  commodity capital of the shop.
>Hold on... is it (subject to the assumptions you made) commodity
>capital _or_ constant capital?

It is the merchant capital of the shop, as I now think.

>I'm still not getting why, from your perspective,  the output of
>Johnny Walker  should be counted as part of Department I.
>Unless the whiskey is a joint product used to provide energy
>or lubrication for constant fixed capital (and hence becomes
>constant circulating capital),  isn't it means of consumption?

I definitely wobbled at this point.  It was late at night.

>In solidarity, Jerry

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Sun Nov 23 2003 - 00:00:00 EST