Sunday, 17 June 2018

Theories of Surplus Value, Part II, Chapter 16 - Part 24

Marx then carries out a similar calculation in relation to land type II. On this land, 20 workers produce 65 tons of corn. At the market value of £3, the £40 of wages again only employ 13.33 workers, who thereby produce 43.33 tons of corn. Of this, again, 20 tons directly replaces the constant capital, and 13.33 tons replaces the variable capital, which leaves a surplus product of 10 tons, which constitutes the rent

“Only in class Ia, where in fact 33⅓ tons or quarters, that is the total product, is required in kind to replace constant capital and wages, there is neither surplus-value, nor surplus-product, nor profit, nor rent. So long as this is not the case, so long as the product is greater than is necessary to replace the capital in kind, there will be conversion of profit (surplus-value) and capital into rent. Conversion of capital into rent takes place when a part of the product is freed, which, with a lower value, would have had to replace the capital, or [when] a part of the product which would have been converted into capital and surplus-value falls to rent.” (p 457) 

And, of course, the same applies in reverse. If, for example, as a result of a crop failure, the value of corn were to rise sharply, so that far from there being a surplus physical product, over what is required to reproduce the constant and variable capital, there would be an insufficient physical product, which could only be replaced by a reduction in the capital, equal to the sum of the physical deficit required to reproduce the constant and variable-capital, in kind. As Marx puts it, 

“At the same time it is evident that if constant capital becomes dearer as a result of dearer agricultural produce, the rent is very much reduced, for example, the rent of III and II [is reduced] from 50 tons, equal to £150 with a market-value of £3, to 26⅔ tons, i.e., almost to half. Such a reduction is inevitable since the number of workers employed with the same capital of £100 is reduced for two reasons, firstly, because wages rise, i.e., the value of the variable capital rises, secondly, because the value of the means of production, the constant capital, rises. In itself, the rise in wages necessitates that out of the £100 less can be laid out in labour, hence relatively less (if the value of the commodities that enter into the constant capital remains the same) can be laid out in constant capital; thus £100 represents less accumulated and less living labour. In addition, however, the rise in the value, of the commodities which enter into the constant capital, reduces the amount of accumulated labour and for this reason of living labour, which can be employed for the same sum of money, as the technological ratio between accumulated and living labour remains the same. But since, with the same productivity of the land and a given technological composition of the capital, the total product depends on the quantity of labour employed, as the latter decreases, so the rent must also decrease.” (p 457-8) 

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