[OPE-L] PUPL and the total profit/total surplus value identity

From: Jurriaan Bendien (adsl675281@TISCALI.NL)
Date: Mon May 22 2006 - 16:30:42 EDT

What I meant to say Jerry, is that I think that the PUPL issue has little to
do with a classification scheme in the first instance, but with:

1) which types of production create new additional value
2) how do we interpret the changing division labour (imperfectly represented
in statistical classifications) with respect to value-creation
3) what circuits of capital flows are involved, where do they begin and end
4) What are the boundaries of (new or current) production
5) What are the constituents of the value product (the newly created value,
equal to variable capital expenditure plus surplus-value)

As regards 1), value is in Marx's theory an attribute of products of human
labour only (other assets may have prices, or imputed prices). However, many
of these "products" are in fact services and indeed the statistical majority
of the global wage-earning class nowadays works in activities defined as
service industries of one kind or another. The question is than how we would
distinguish between those services which create new value and those that do
not, and to answer that, isn't so straightforward and requires us also to
look at 2), 3), 4) and 5). As regards 2), many "services" of course either
yield tangible products or contribute to tangible products.

Supposing that we solve that problem, then we have a group of activities
which do not create new value but generate incomes. Then we face 4), i.e.
are those income-generating activities themselves "production" or are they
to be excluded from the valuation of total gross output of production
altogether? Further, regarding 5) if the activities are not value-creating
labor, how then can the income/expenditure obtain from them be included in
the value product at all?

Typically the answer to this last question has been that the income
pertaining to these activities represents NEW value, currently TRANSFERRED
from the value-creating sector; it is therefore part of the new value added,
the value product, but since it is not variable capital expenditure, it must
be either surplus-value (in the case of profit income from activities that
do not create new value themselves) or a deduction from surplus-value (in
the case of wages earnt from activities that do not create new value
themselves). Yet this approach implies a double problem:

a) ordinary salary income from, or expenditure on ordinary salaries for,
production activities that do not create value themselves is simultaneously
included in the value product (and by implication the gross output), and
also regarded as a deduction from that value product,
b) total new surplus value cannot equal total new profits even in principle,
since the "non-productive" labor income is included in total new
surplus-value as expenditure met from current revenue, but excluded from
total new profits.

From this point of view, it might seem more consistent to exclude
"non-productive" labor income from the value product altogether but include
it in gross output, i.e. since it is not a variable capital expenditure, it
has to be a constant capital expenditure, i.e. a kind of "intermediate
service". Even so, do we do not know to what extent salary-type expenditure
is met from reserves already held, or is met from current gross revenues; we
have to adopt some kind of convention.

Whatever the case, it is clear that the concepts of net and gross output
cannot simply be taken for granted; their computation depends on using
certain accounting conventions.


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