Saturday, 20 May 2017

Theories of Surplus Value, Part I, Chapter 4 - Part 75

“All products which are only means of production cannot be consumed in kind, in their immediate form, as revenue, but only their value. This however must be consumed in the branches of production which produce directly consumable articles.” (p 235)

On this basis, all of social production can be divided into the production of means of production and means of consumption, and likewise into capital and revenue. The fact that these can be broken down further does not change matters.

For example, revenue not only divides into wages and surplus value, but surplus value itself divides into profit, interest and rent.

“Rent, interest, etc., are parts of profit; the income of the State good-for-nothings is part of profit and wages; the income of other unproductive labourers is the part of profit and wages which they buy with their unproductive labours—it therefore does not increase the product existing as profit and wages, but only determines how much of it they consume, and how much is consumed by the labourers and capitalists themselves.” (p 235)

In other words, the state covers its expenditure including the payment of wages to functionaries out of the taxes it collects. But, those taxes are themselves a deduction from the revenues of others. Taxes to cover the functioning of the state itself are a deduction from the revenue of those for whom the service is provided. For example, if the state provides teachers for workers education, the education provides part of the workers' consumption, and rather than being paid for by a price it is paid for by a tax on wages.

Similarly, a prostitute obtains their revenue by selling their services to the worker, capitalist or landlord who pays for these services out of their own revenue.

Equally, although some means of production may also be used as means of consumption, this does not really change anything. If we were to include a third department, in which all commodities that could be used either as means of production or means of consumption are included, we would find that of the production of this department a proportion of its output was actually used as means of production, and so belonged to Department I, and the other portion belonged to Department II.

In addition, many products once used, can themselves be used again for some other purpose. For example, clothes when used can be turned into rags which are used in paper production.

“But no one produces linen in order that it should become, as rags, the raw material for paper. It only gets this form after the linen weaver’s product as such has entered consumption. Only as excrement of this consumption, as residuum and product of the consumption process, can it then go into a new production sphere as means of production. This case, therefore, is not relevant here.” (p 236)

It is only that part of the value of the means of production that is newly created, i.e. that constitutes revenue. In the example above, that is the entire value of the means of production, because it was assumed no constant capital was used in their own production.

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