Monday, 10 July 2017

Theories of Surplus Value, Part I, Chapter 6 - Part 1

Quesnay’s Tableau Économique (Digression)

[1. Quesnay’s Attempt to Show the Process of Reproduction and Circulation of the Total Capital]

Marx notes his discussion here a “digression”, which runs from page 422-37 of his manuscript. In none of it, until page 437 of the manuscript are there any quotations from the various authors he discusses. This has led to the belief that it was written in April 1862, when Marx was staying in Manchester, and may not have had any of the works of these authors with him.

Marx uses a version of the Tableau found in Schmaltz's “Economie Politique. Ouvrage traduit de l'allemand par Henri Jouffrey”, tome 1, Paris, 1826, p 329. However, Marx identifies the flow of money and commodities by the use of lines marked a-b, a-c, c-d and so on. Even so, its still not easy to follow. I have tried to make it clearer in the diagram, without losing the original character of either the Tableau, or Marx's amendment to it, by introducing colour, so that each colour shows the movement of money from each respective source.

Each of the lines represents a starting point, with the money shown at the start point being the money in the possession of that group, whilst the money shown at the end point is the money they have spent with the group there. So, for example, at starting point a, the landlords have ₣2 Billion. They pay ₣1 Billion, a-b, to farmers to buy food. Conversely, b-a, represents ₣1 Billion of commodities sold to landlords.

The landlords also pay ₣1 Billion to industrial capitalists (the sterile class) for manufactured goods, a-c, whilst ₣1 Billion of commodities flow in the opposite direction.

Similarly, at a', the farmers have ₣2 Billion in money and pay ₣1 Billion to industrial capitalists for manufactured goods, a'-b', whereas at a'', the industrial capitalists have ₣1 Billion in money and buy ₣1 Billion of agricultural products from farmers, a''-b''.

There are three classes involved in the social reproduction process, here. Firstly the farmers, which includes not just the capitalist farmers, but also their workers; secondly, the landlords, which would also include their retainers; thirdly, the sterile class, which comprises the industrial capitalists and their workers.

“The first point to note in this Tableau, and the point which impressed his contemporaries, is the way in which circulation is shown as determined purely by the circulation and reproduction of commodities, in fact by the process of capital.” (p 308)

No comments: