Re: [OPE-L] Why aren't non-labourers sources of value?

From: Paul Cockshott (wpc@DCS.GLA.AC.UK)
Date: Fri Apr 22 2005 - 06:03:21 EDT

>So the nub of the issue seems to be what we take capital (and therefore

>capitalism) to be. For me, the whole problem of surplus value, hence of
>lies precisely in explaining it on the basis of free exchange. Unpaid
labour, in 
>*this* context (the sale of labour-power), is the solution. 

1. Exchange is a value conserving process, (in the terms of
   my online seminar it is a unitary rotation operator on amplitude

2. The payment of a debt is a unitary rotation operator.
   I.e., it is free and fair exchange.

3. Production takes place outside of the realm of exchange and
   leads to the formation of new material goods. Any viable 
   capitalist economy will have a production process that
   yields a material surplus.
   Production is thus not a conservative process and
   can not be represented by a unitary operator.

4. Production uses labour and thus gives rise to wage debts. 
   The cancellation of these debts is value conserving
   and thus free and fair exchange.

5. Survival of capitalist firms presuppose that the wage debts
   they incur will be less than the net commodity surplus produced
   in the production process.

Where is there a problem?


        -----Original Message----- 
        From: OPE-L on behalf of Rakesh Bhandari 
        Sent: Thu 21/04/2005 18:06 
        Subject: Re: [OPE-L] Why aren't non-labourers sources of value?

        At 2:49 PM +0100 4/20/05, Andrew Brown wrote:
        >Hi Rakesh,
        >Maybe we have in mind rather different things. I have in mind
        >capitalism -- where there is, for example, real subsumption of
        >labour process -- rather than the processes involved in capital
        >to dominate production, i.e. coming to be developed (processes
that of
        >course continue to this day, as capital continues to expand and
        >across the globe). These processes of development may be those
        >in your mind? These processes of development are very revealing
        >developed capitalism, e.g. the history of the enclosures is one
        >direct coercion and ongoing resistance.
        >I would argue that (developed) capitalism is to be initially
        >characterised by the prevalence and dominance of capital,
M-C-M' with
        >M'>M. The increment M'-M = dM here occurs through, inter alia,
        is it free? is it even an exchange? I think not.
        >Buying a slave is not a free exchange so cannot explain dM.
        The inference here does not seem valid.
        >slavery were predominant then it would be slave owners, not
        >that would drive production.
        slave owners can be capitalists, producing commodities from the
        start.  Marx certainly did not deny this
        >  Buying labour power explains dM.
        surplus value is the appropriation of unpaid labor time. It
        in capitalist slavery that labor power is not at all paid for
        while in formally free wage labor it appears that labor is fully
        >  With this
        >comes the whole ideology of freedom for all, characteristic of
        >capitalism, based on the double freedom of labour.
        >Re. 'sharp distinction': this concerns the status of the
labourer and of
        >labour in slavery and capitalism - the different forms taken by
        >exploitation in different modes of production. It does not
concern the
        >comparison of slave labour and free labour within one single
mode of
        >production (e.g. capitalist). In both modes, of course, both
slave and
        >free labourer generally get a hiding at the point of
        >Re. 'fluidity and creativity of labour': within slave-based
        >there are a fixed range of tasks to be done by 'talking
animals' and
        >animals, with land, tools etc. To the extent that slave owners
get their
        >way, fluidity or creativity of labour does not extend beyond
        >I continue to be embarrassed about my lack of historical
knowledge on
        >this stuff...
        >Many thanks,

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