Friday, 14 December 2018

Theories of Surplus Value, Part III, Chapter 19 - Part 40

The Ricardian opponent of Malthus does not understand what he means when he talks about the demand from workers being adequate. What Malthus means, and is quite correct in saying, is that workers can never produce sufficient demand to buy back all they produce, because if they did, their wages would have to be high enough to pay for them, which means it would be impossible to produce surplus value

“The same writer says: 

“… the very meaning of an increased demand by them” (the labourers) “is a disposition to take less themselves, and leave a larger share for their employers; and if it be said that this, by diminishing consumption, increases glut, I can only answer, that glut […] is synonymous with high profits” (op. cit., p. 59). 

This is meant to be witty, but in fact it contains the essential secret of “glut”.” (p 61) 

Peterloo.  The manifestation of the bourgeois political
revolution, as the bourgeoisie demanded its own political
rights and freedoms, backed by the growing industrial
Malthus' defence of the landlords, particularly in his “Essay on Rent”, was in response to the growing movement of the bourgeoisie, dragging the workers behind them, in a struggle for political rights and freedoms. It was manifest in Adam Smith's hostility to monopoly, and particularly all of those feudal and guild monopolies that restricted development and extracted surplus value on the basis of that monopoly and rent. Malthus sought to separate out the landlords rent, which as Marx demonstrates actually rests upon the monopoly of landed property, from other monopoly profits. In a time when the cry was “no landlords”, Malthus sought to justify the role of the landlord and rent. But, as the Ricardian opponent of Malthus writes, 

“... but neither did the vulgar cry of ‘No Landlords’ necessarily mean that there ought to be no such thing as rent, but rather that it ought to be equally divided among the people, according to what was called ‘Spence’s plan’. But when he proceeds to vindicate landlords from the odious name of monopolists, from the observation of Smith, ‘that they love to reap where they never sowed’, he seems to be fighting for a name… There is too much the air of an advocate in all these arguments of his” (op. cit., pp. 108-09)” (p 61) 

Thomas Spence put forward the ideas based on the Ricardian principles that the land should be nationalised, and all rent collected by the state. That would then reduce what the state had to collect in taxes, so the burden on capital would be reduced, and accumulation increased. The bourgeoisie never implemented this plan, because sections of the bourgeoisie also became large landowners and married into aristocratic families, but, moreover, once the workers began to assert their own interests, the bourgeoisie feared that an attack on any form of private property could lead to an attack on all forms of private property. 

No comments: