From: gerald_a_levy (gerald_a_levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Sat Nov 22 2003 - 09:20:36 EST
Hi again Phil. You wrote: > This means that the shop is in Dept. I. The (liquor) shop doesn't produce means of production. Neither does it produce means of consumption (the whiskey). It _sells_ means of consumption. The problem here might be with the simplicity of the reproduction schemes. In practice, there are business firms which buy commodities from Dept. I or Dept. II producers and then re-sell those commodities to capitalists in Dept. I or Dept II or to workers or capitalists as consumers. Indeed, there are many thousands of firms which specialize in the *distribution* of commodities. There are also business firms which produce and sell *joint products* which are sold both to capitalists in Dept. I and II and to consumers (e.g. electricity). This means that these firms are in both Dept. I _and_ Dept II. (It becomes even more complex when we consider modern trends for *diversification*). There are other firms that specialize in selling commodities to other firms *within the same department*. E.g. machine supply manufacturers, who produce within Department I, sell commodities to other Dept I firms. In this case, the 'consumers' are other business firms in the same department. None of this complexity, though, determines whether the labour employed by these firms is productive or unproductive of surplus value since productive labour can be employed by capitalists in Dept. I or II (or capitalists which span both departments) regardless of whether the buyer is a capitalist from either department or a working-class or capitalist consumer. One has to recognize that there are limitations to the reproduction schemes. They represent a simplified 'picture' of economic relations in a similar way that the "Circular Flow of Economic Activity" represents a simplified representation of relations in standard (neo-neoclassical economic) thought. Precisely because the reproduction schemes represent a simplified picture, one has to go on to analyze the subject from the standpoint of capitalist production as a whole. Because of that I question your "strategic decision not to read Volume III" (although, of course we all know that you've read Volume III!). While it is true that the drafts for what became Volume III were mostly written after the drafts for what became Volume II, the Volume III drafts are able to inform our understanding of Marx's comprehension of the distinction between productive and unproductive labour precisely because the subject matter is capitalist production as a whole rather than only the process of capitalist circulation. > 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. Why does the shop labour have to add value? In solidarity, Jerry PS: > I definitely wobbled at this point. It was late at night. < I definitely know the feeling. I've been there and done that ... many times. Sometimes pre-coffee morning posts produce similar results.
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