Saturday, 8 October 2016

Capital III, Chapter 48 - Part 11

At the base of every mode of production, resides the law of value, because, even in a communist society that has massively expanded the productive forces, it is still necessary to produce all of those use values that are a necessity for human existence, and the objective constraint, described by the law of value, in relation to the allocation of social labour-time, thereby continues to operate. It is only when productivity has risen to such an extent that even all of the expanded set of material needs of society are met, that any available surplus labour-time becomes available for use in a manner that represents real human freedom.

“Just as the savage must wrestle with Nature to satisfy his wants, to maintain and reproduce life, so must civilised man, and he must do so in all social formations and under all possible modes of production. With his development this realm of physical necessity expands as a result of his wants; but, at the same time, the forces of production which satisfy these wants also increase. Freedom in this field can only consist in socialised man, the associated producers, rationally regulating their interchange with Nature, bringing it under their common control, instead of being ruled by it as by the blind forces of Nature; and achieving this with the least expenditure of energy and under conditions most favourable to, and worthy of, their human nature. But it nonetheless still remains a realm of necessity. Beyond it begins that development of human energy which is an end in itself, the true realm of freedom, which, however, can blossom forth only with this realm of necessity as its basis. The shortening of the working-day is its basic prerequisite.” (p 820)

The surplus value produced in the society appears as the average profit. This average profit divides into a portion paid to the functioning capitalists as profit of enterprise. The true nature of these functioning capitalists was seen in Chapter 27, when Marx described their function in the worker owned co-operatives, where they were employed by the workers to perform that function. They are the people described by Engels, as those required to build socialism, and who would be absorbed into the SPD.

"In order to take possession of and set in motion the means of production, we need people with technical training, and masses of them. These we have not got, and up till now we have even been rather glad that we have been largely spared the "educated" people. Now things are different. Now we are strong enough to stand any quantity of educated Quarcks and to digest them, and I foresee that in the next eight or ten years we shall recruit enough young technicians, doctors, lawyers and schoolmasters to enable us to have the factories and big estates administered on behalf of the nation by Party comrades."

(Engels Letter To Bebel October 1891)

The more capitalism develops, and expands public education, as described in Chapter 17, the more workers are able to perform these functions, which causes the wages of these functioning capitalists to fall.

Their role and their income should not be confused with that of the Directors placed above them, whose role is to represent the interests of shareholders and other money-lending capitalists, as opposed to the interest of big industrial capital itself. Apart from that element of the average profit that must be accumulated, and that which forms the profit of enterprise, the remainder is available for distribution as dividends, which represent the interest on the money-capital loaned to the business by shareholders.

The other deduction from this profit and its distribution is landed property, which demands rent for the land made available and required for production to take place.

Marx comments,

“Just as the operating capitalist pumps surplus-labour, and thereby surplus value and surplus-product in the form of profit, out of the labourer, so the landlord in turn pumps a portion of this surplus-value, or surplus-product, out of the capitalist in the form of rent in accordance with the laws already elaborated.” (p 820)

But, really this should read that as the operating capitalist pumps surplus value out of the worker, so not only the landlord, but also the money-lending capitalist pumps surplus value out of the operating capitalist, one in the form of rent, the other in the form of dividends and interest.

It is productive-capital which pumps surplus value from the worker. The worker has no relation to either landed property or money-lending capital, in the production process, from which both are excluded.

“However, the landlord plays a role in the capitalist process of production not merely through the pressure he exerts upon capital, nor merely because large landed property is a prerequisite and condition of capitalist production since it is a prerequisite and condition of the expropriation of the labourer from the means of production, but particularly because he appears as the personification of one of the most essential conditions of production.” (p 821)

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