Re: [OPE-L] Proposition #5

From: ajit sinha (sinha_a99@YAHOO.COM)
Date: Mon Mar 12 2007 - 16:05:14 EDT

--- Jerry Levy <Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM> wrote:

> Hi Ajit:
> Let's stick with this proposition for the moment and
> see
> if we can agree.
> > How is it crystal clear that "the wealth of
> > capitalists is created by the labor of
> wage-workers"?
> > First of all, you haven't even defined what you
> mean
> > by *wealth of the capitalists*.
> In the model I suggested,  there were only two
> classes:
> capitalists (who have a monopoly on the ownership
> and
> control of the means of production) and wage-workers
> (the direct producers who sell labor power to
> capitalists in
> exchange for a money wage).
> If there is one class which does not directly
> produce goods
> but rather survives off of the proceeds produced by
> another
> class,  then doesn't it necessarily also follows
> that there  is a
> surplus product?  Capitalists don't live on air,
> after all.
> Since capitalists own and control the means of
> production
> and are legally entitled to the commodity product,
> let's define the
> "wealth of the capitalists" as the monetary worth of
>  the total product
> minus the monetary worth of  necessary consumption
> (2).
> What capitalists decide to do with the money
> required for the
> replacement of the means of production (1) and
> monetary
> worth of the surplus product (3) is another
> question.  If they wish to
> maintain the same or greater scale in the next round
> of production,
> then this implies something in terms of what they do
> with (1)
> and (3) -- as we shall see.
So, I see! By wealth, you mean income. Generally, in
economics wealth is differentiated from income. Wealth
is a stock concept and income is a flow concept. The
capitalist could have inherited thousands of acres of
land and other kinds of wealth from his/her feudal
ancestors. But there is no problem as long as we are
clear about what you are talking about. The money
value of the surplus product is the income of the
capitalist by definition.
> Ajit:
> > All we have here is
> > that you have the *money value of surplus product*
> > (since implicitly you already know the prices) and
> the
> > knowledge that all the things were produced by
> using a
> > lot of machines and things and labor. That's all.
> You're basically correct: what we have is that
> commodities
> were produced by lots of wage-workers who utilized
> means
> of production.
Be careful in your formulations. Wage workers do not
utilize means of production. It is the capitalist who
utilizes the labor of the wage workers and the means
of production together. The wage-workers have no
control over the production process. Their labor is
utilized in the same manner as coal in the production
process. This is the foundation of the notion of
alienated labor.
The class relationship which has been
> outlined
> tells us that the total product minus the amount
> paid to wage-
> workers (which is used by wage-workers to purchase
> the
> commodities required to reproduce themselves at
> their customary
> standard of living) becomes the property of the
> capitalist class.
> If you were to say that this is an obvious 'result'
> given the
> assumptions made, then I'd agree with you.
Also keep in mind that when you take wages given in
terms of money, you cannot necessarily ensure that
prices will always be such that workers are able to
consume at their customary level. You are trying to
have both the real as well as the money wages as
given. But I'm letting such things pass right now.
> Jerry:
> I suppose the claims which I have made could be
> criticized for
> being too dependent on axioms.  This is a valid
> criticism but I
> think misses the very limited purpose of the
> interventions I am
> making: I am  aware that there are
> over-simplifications being
> made which need to be flushed out in a more
> developed
> explanation.   So, if you were to say that the
> 'results' presented
> depend on the assumptions and stipulations made then
> I'd have to
> agree with you.
> Ajit:
> > But you have already explained that the total
> product
> > is produced by the use of machines, raw materials
> (recall your suggestion that there is no fixed
> capital)
Yes, but since you put back the fixed capital in your
1,2,3 formulation, I had to bring the machine in. In
any case, you could assume that machines are used up
in one production cycle.
> > and labor.
> There is WAGE-labor. This is crucial for the
> relationships I am
> trying to explain.
> Ajit:
> > You assume that prices of the goods produced
> > are known, so you multiply the gross outputs of
> all
> > the goods produced with their prices and arrive at
> the
> > *money measure* of the gross output. From which
> you
> > subtract the *money measure* of raw materials and
> > depreciation of machines plus the money value of
> > commodities purchased by the workers out of their
> > given money wages. What is left is the *surplus
> > product* (so the surplus product was taken for
> granted
> > in conceiveing the total output) and if you
> multiply
> > them with their known prices and add them up, you
> get
> > *money measure* of the surplus product.
> Exactly. You understood what I have said correctly.
> Ajit:
> > So what is the meaning of your question?
> So far I have only claimed that there is a surplus
> product
> produced by wage-workers (yes, working with means of
> production) which is appropriated by capitalists and
> that
> there is a connection between this and labor time,
> commodities,
> and money.  (i.e. labor time by wage-workers is
> expended
> producing the total and surplus products;  the total
> and
> surplus products takes the form of commodities and
> all  that
> entails;  money is used to measure the exchange
> rates of
> commodities). These subjects need to be specified
> more for
> us to understand more about this process.
> In solidarity, Jerry
There are some slippery formulations here. But I'll
let them pass. I'm interested in seeing where you are
going with this. So, go on. Cheers, ajit sinha

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