Friday, 16 June 2017

Theories of Surplus Value, Part I, Chapter 4 - Part 101

[12.] Earl of Lauderdale [Apologetic Conception of the Ruling Classes as Representatives of the Most Important Kinds of Productive Labour]

Marx says he will examine Lauderdale's apologetic for profit later. It is that capital gets paid for doing what labour would have to have done, or could not do.

Lauderdale opposes Smith's view on accumulation and also on productive and unproductive labour, arguing that what Smith calls the “unproductive powers of labour” are only the “productive powers of capital”.

He rejects Smith's view of surplus value being created by labour in production, arguing, 

““If this, however, was a just and accurate idea of the profit of capital, it would follow that the profit of stock must be derivative, and not an original source of revenue: and capital could not therefore be considered as a source of wealth, its profit being only a transfer from the pocket of the labourer into that of the proprietor of stock” (l.c., pp. 116-17) [p. 157 ].” (p 265)

Lauderdale basically uses the same objections as Garnier in attacking Smith's view on productive labour. That is, he picks on Smith's arguments about material as opposed to immaterial production, rather than the definition of productive labour as that which exchanges with capital, and is productive of surplus value.

For Lauderdale, as for others such as deTocqueville, the profit arises from the saving of labour. This argument was encountered previously too. For example, suppose we take a productive labourer such as a carpenter. If this carpenter employs a cook, so that he saves his own time cooking, and is thereby enabled to perform productive labour, in carpentry, isn't the labour of the cook thereby productive, because it enables this additional carpentry?

The answer is no. The time spent cooking his own meals would have been unproductive for the carpenter, and it cannot be transformed into productive labour simply because it is performed by someone else now on his behalf.

Lauderdale writes,

“ “The labour of the manufacturer fixes and realises itself in some vendible commodity… Neither the labour performed by the menial servant, nor that of which the necessity is supplanted by circulating capital,” < by this he means money> “do naturally stock, or store themselves up in such a manner as to be transferred from one to another for a defined value. The profit of the one and the other alike arises from saving the labour of the owner or master. The similarity is indeed such that it is natural to suppose the same circumstances which led the one to be deemed unproductive, would naturally create the same impression with relation to the other.” > And thereupon he quotes Smith, Book II, Chapter II, > (Lauderdale, l.c., pp. 144-45) [pp. 195-97].” (p 266)

The succession of these arguments against Smith would then be “Ferrier, Garnier, Lauderdale, Ganilh.” (p 266)

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