Re: [OPE-L] Proposition #5

From: ajit sinha (sinha_a99@YAHOO.COM)
Date: Tue Mar 13 2007 - 10:12:29 EDT

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

> Hi Ajit:
> I only have time today for some brief interventions
> so
> #6 (on labor) will have to be put off (maybe
> tomorrow).
> > > 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).
> > 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.
> Re last sentence: true, but this was excluded by
> assumption.
Not really!
> All that needs be said in terms of the theory at
> this point
> is that capitalists own and control the means of
> production
> including land.
That's one thing but to deduce from it that all the
wealth owned by the capitalist is produced by
wage-labor is wrong. Land is wealth and could be owned
by the capitalist but in no case is produced by
> Whether or not capitalists use all this wealth
> productively
> for the purpose of  receiving  the same or more
> monies is
> another question.
That's not even a question here.
> >  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.
> Part of it represents income; part of it is used to
> purchase labor power and means of production for
> the next period of production.
By income one does not mean the amount of money
somebody uses for his own consumption. There is only
two categories of income in your world: wages and
profits. All profits are the income of the
capitalists. What does the capitalist decides to do
with his/her income is another matter. We should be
clear about the meaning of the theoretical categories
we use.
  In any event,  these
> monies
> belong to capitalists and it is therefore the
> decision of
> capitalists about how those monies should be spent.
> > > 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.
> Workers utilize means of production on the job even
> though they do not control them.  You are of course
> correct that they don't decide on how they should be
> used and that they are required as a condition of
> employment to use means of production in a manner
> specified by capitalists, but nonetheless workers
> _do_ use means of production in the production
> process.
> That's not an illusion or a slippery formulation,
> it's a simple
> fact.
Then labor-power is not a commodity is also a simple
fact. If you want to hold on to your proposition that
labor-power is a commodity, then you have to admit
that before the production begines the workers have
already sold their capacity to work to the capitalist.
Thus the work belongs to the capitalist and not to the
worker, so how could the worker utilize anything by
working? Now, this capacity to work as you have
already defined is expenditute of human energy. How is
this stored up human energy will be used in the
production process is the decision of the capitalist
and not the worker. The human energy is utilized by
the capitalist in the process of production as coal
is. It would be simply wrong to say that workers
utilise coal and capitalists utilize workers. Cheers,
ajit sinha
> > Their labor is
> > utilized in the same manner as coal in the
> production
> > process. This is the foundation of the notion of
> > alienated labor.
> It is true here because of the constant circulating
> capital
> assumption (machines can exist in this model but
> they are
> assumed to be used up entirely in a production
> period.)
> When we consider machinery and modern industry I
> don't
> think it's accurate to say that capitalists utilize
> means of
> production in the same way as they utilize coal. For
> instance,
> certain kinds of means of production can be designed
> in such
> a way that they can assist the capitalist in
> controlling the labor
> process.  The same can not be said for coal.  But,
> this is an
> unnecessary complication at this point.
> > 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.
> Yes, that's true.
> > In
> > any case, you could assume that machines are used
> up
> > in one production cycle.
> Yes, that's what I was implicitly assuming.
> In solidarity, Jerry

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