## Wednesday, 22 February 2017

### Theories of Surplus Value, Part I, Chapter 3 - Part 42

Suppose the flax grower produces 300 kg of flax. Its value comprises 1 hour/£1 value of seed, and £2 value of labour added. Of the output, 100 kg is set aside just for the reproduction of the seed, so that only the remaining 200 kg are actually sold to the spinner. In that case, although the value of output is equal to £3, only £2 actually goes into circulation, and comprises a part of the constant capital of the spinner. When the spinner then uses this flax in the production of the yarn, only this £2 of value is incorporated in the value of their output, and when the yarn is sold to the weaver, the weaver only has to give them £2 of linen in exchange for it. (The weaver, of course, gives an additional quantity of linen equal to the value added to the constant capital by the spinner's labour).

“It is clear in the first place that the producers of the elements of the linen, of the constant capital of the linen, could not consume their own product, since these products are produced for production and do not enter into immediate consumption. They must therefore spend their wages and profits on linen—on the product which finally enters into individual consumption. What they do not consume in linen, they must consume in some other consumable product exchanged for linen. As much (in value) linen is therefore consumed by others as they consume in other consumable products instead of linen, It is the same as if they had themselves consumed it in linen, since as much as they consume in another product is consumed in linen by the producers of other products.” (p 128)

Looking at how the linen is then allocated Marx summarises the situation thus.

The linen has a value of £36 made up £12 newly added labour, £24 loom and yarn. The machine maker and yarn producer receive eight metres of linen with a value of £24. Marx assumes that the machine maker and yarn producer have added a third of the value by their added labour. That is the £24 value of machines and yarn £8, is the value of added labour, and £16 is the value of wood, iron and flax that comprise the constant capital of the machine maker and yarn producer.

In terms of linen, eight metres were paid out by the weaver, and of these 2.66 metres make up the consumption of the machine maker and yarn producer, leaving 5.33 metres left over, and which are the equivalent of the value of the constant capital of the machine maker and yarn producer, i.e. the equivalent of £16 or 16 hours of value.

If we take the flax grower then, Marx says, (and assuming no wear and tear of his fixed capital) all of the linen they receive from the yarn producer can go to consumption, because they replace their constant capital – the flax seed – out of their own output, and so do not have to buy it with linen.

Marx makes an error here. He previously said that the value of the constant capital of the machine maker and yarn producer combined was equal to 5.33 metres of linen, or £16. He begins by then setting the value of the constant capital of the yarn producer as equal to this 5.33 metres. Afterwards, he corrects it, and assumes that the yarn producers constant capital only has a value equal to four metres of linen.

We then have a situation where the constant capital of the weaver is equal to eight metres of linen (£24) divided into six metres of yarn, and two metres loom. For the spinner, Marx assumes that the value of their output comprises the four metres of linen (constant capital) and two metres of linen (new value added by labour).

The machine maker's output in linen equivalent comprises 1.33 metres of linen (constant capital) and 0.66 metres of linen (new value added by labour).

Of the four metres of linen that are the equivalent of the constant capital of the spinner, these are exchanged with the flax grower and machine maker. Marx assumes that three metres goes to the flax grower and one metre to the machine maker.

“A considerable part of the constant capital in the flax, used in its production, has not however to be replaced; for the flax-grower has already returned it to the land in the form of seed, manure, fodder, cattle, etc. Therefore in the part of his product that he sells, only the wear and tear of his instruments of labour, etc., has to be included as constant capital. Here we must rate the labour added at two-thirds at least and the constant capital to be replaced at one-third at the most.” (p 130)

The total value of output of the flax grower is then equal to three metres of linen. Of this, two metres goes as revenue, and is equal to the new value added, whilst one metre is equal to the value of constant capital. This leaves a number of things still not accounted for. There is the equivalent of one metre of linen, which is equal to the flax grower's constant capital, 1.33 metres equal to the constant capital for the loom, and one metre, which is equal to the value of the spinning machine.

The spinning machine has a value equal to one metre of linen. It is comprised of 0.66 metres for constant capital, and 0.33 metres for added labour.

There is also the one metre of linen equivalent of the flax grower's machinery, which is divided 0.66 metres constant capital, and 0.33 metres new value added.