Friday, 12 September 2014

The Law Of The Tendency For The Rate of Profit To Fall - Part 39

The Rise In The Rate of Turnover (4)

In Part 38, the role of the Internet in speeding up the circulation of capital was examined in relation to much faster payments systems, and purchasing systems. The change in the nature of production and consumption in raising the rate of turnover was also examined. But, that change in the nature of production and consumption impacts the rate of turnover as a result of the role of the Internet in other ways.

For example, one aspect of the change in consumption patterns, is the growth of expenditure on things such as music, film, computer games and so on. Initially, a lot of this was conveyed electronically by use of CD's and DVD's, which then still had to be physically shipped. The media required for that purpose was continually improved, but the revolutionary shift arises with the Internet, which means that a piece of music, film, video game, can be transferred instantaneously from one side of the globe to the other, and at the same time, payment for that commodity can be transferred simultaneously into the bank account of the seller. Given the extent to which these new industries, and types of commodities play an increasing role, this revolution in production and distribution is even more significant. These are already low organic composition/high profit industries to begin with. By massively increasing the rate of turnover of the advanced capital employed within them, not only is the mass of capital hugely increased, but so is the annual rate of profit.

Its no wonder that the capital employed in these industries, can afford to pay high wages to workers for the complex labour they supply, and yet these capitals still make huge masses and rates of profit. As Marx points out, it is the fact of these new high profit areas, which act to raise the average rate of profit, which explains why the rate of profit itself, never falls by more than the rate at which the mass of capital expands.  An example of the huge extent of this new industry is illustrated by the launch in the last few days of Destiny.  The game is reputed to have cost around $200 million for development, nearly all of which is attributable to the complex labour of computer programmers.  A further $300 million has been advanced for other costs.  Yet, these costs are reported to have been recovered just on the first day of trading, when sales of the game worldwide, are said to have been around $500 million, all of which were delivered instantaneously via internet download.

To, the extent that these capitals are themselves industrial capitals that take on some of the functions of merchant capital – a restaurant has to sell as well as produce its meals, a football club must sell seats at its matches and so on – or else has to rely on specialised merchant capitalists for this function – for example, even computer software suppliers often transfer the function of providing downloads to third party merchants – Marx's analysis of the role of the rate of turnover in circulation, as it affects merchants capital, the rate of profit, and prices is significant, as I will show next.

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