Re: [OPE-L] Ricardo on the value of manufactured goods, or does the tail wag the dog?

From: Philip Dunn (pscumnud@DIRCON.CO.UK)
Date: Thu Apr 14 2005 - 03:55:38 EDT

Hi Jerry

Quoting Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM:

> > The capitalist farmer pays the landlord some money.  The landlord gives
> > something in return - access to infra-marginal land.  To reject the idea
> > that  the landlord is selling a commodity, especially the producer
> > commodity,  labour-power, is perhaps understandable.  The landlord is,
> > qua landlord, idle.  She just banks the cheques. But it should not be
> > dismissed if the alternative is to allow that landlords can get hold of
> > surplus value - they are not capitalists.  How can they do that?
> Hi Phil:
> How can they do that?
> Capitalists receive surplus value in the form of profit.  Capitalists can
> then exchange some portion of surplus value (since it takes the money-form)
> for  the legal right to use the land land.  What is being sold (or, better
> yet,  *leased*) in the case of unimproved land,  are property  rights, not
> commodities.   The land can not be a commodity in this case because it is
> not a product of  labor.  Even though the land is 'valuable' in a
> common-sense use of that term, it does not represent value.  Of course,
> every child knows that land (i.e. itself, by itself) has value.  Every child
> would be wrong.

If nothing can have value that is not a product of labour then the commodity
labour-power, in so far as it has value, is the product of labour.  Its value
is the labour embodied in it like any other commodity.  What happens in
production? Is the embodied labour transferred to the product?  In that case
only surplus value is new value.  Alternatively, the value of labour-power is
destroyed in production.  Which of these would you pick?

(I have no objection to value being destroyed in production.  If costs exceed
revenues value is destroyed and labour is negative.  But that is another


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