Friday, 6 January 2017

Theories of Surplus Value Part I, Chapter 2 - Part 12

[4. Confusion of Value with Material Substance (Paoletti)]

Marx quotes Paoletti, to illustrate the way the Physiocrats confused use value with value. Paoletti claims that industry does not create additional “matter”, as agriculture does, but only manipulates its form.

““Such a multiplication of matter” as are the products of the earth “has certainly never taken place through industry, nor is it possible. This gives matter only form, it only modifies it; consequently nothing is created by industry.”” (p 60)

According to Paoletti, the fact that industry creates something new, in that it creates new forms, represents not an increase in value, but only an expense.

““Give the cook a measure of peas, with which he is to prepare your dinner; he will put them on the table for you well cooked and well dished up, but in the same quantity as he was given, but on the other hand give the same quantity to the gardener for him to put into the ground; he will return to you, when the right time has come, at least fourfold the quantity that he had been given. This is the true and only production” (p. 197).” (p 60)

The creation of form by the industrial worker, he argues, is not a creation of new value, because it does not create any additional “matter”, and the labour used to create this form only has the value of the means of consumption required to reproduce that labour-power – means of consumption which are themselves the product of agriculture.

That this is true, he says, can be seen by the fact that,

““Hardly has a new manufacture of any kind made its appearance, but it immediately spreads within and outside the country; and see! very soon competition from other industrialists and merchants brings the price down to its correct level, which … is determined by the value of the raw material and the costs of the labourers’ maintenance” (pp. 204-05).” (p 60) 

This is the confusion that also lies behind the conception of Adam Smith and others, in relation to the difference between labour and labour-power. It leads to a cost of production theory of value, as was also seen in relation to Adam Smith.

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