Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Theories of Surplus Value, Part III, Chapter 19 - Part 30

So, again for simplicity, its now assumed that capitalists B only advance capital as variable-capital. In other words, they employ labour to which they pay wages of £90 10/11. They add a 10% surcharge to this, giving a value of their output of £100, which is the constant capital sold to capitalists A. With the proceeds of this sale, they now have the £90 10/11 they paid as wages, returned to them, and they have a surplus value of £9 1/11. This profit of £9 1/11, is then the result of overcharging capitalists A, just as the £10 profit of capitalists A was the result of overcharging workers A

In respect of workers B, they have been paid wages of £90 10/11, and they now spend this buying necessities from capitalists A. The commodities produced by workers B were sold by capitalists B to capitalists A for £100. Now capitalists A sell commodities with a value of £90 10/11 for £100. So, it's now again clear that the workers B cannot buy back commodities to the same value that they have contributed by their labour. 

“For 90 10/11 they receive a quantity of goods which has only nominally a value of 90 10/11, for every part of A’s product is made uniformly dearer, or each part of its value represents a smaller part of the product because of the profit surcharge.” (p 43) 

B capitalists do not make their profits directly from selling their products above their value to their own workers, but by selling their products above their value to capitalists A, who, in turn, sell their products above their value to the workers of B. If capitalists A increase the surcharge on their products, their own surplus increases, but it would thereby deprive capitalists B a portion of their surplus, because they would have to pay more for the commodities they, in turn buy from A. But, if A were to increase their surcharge from 10% to 20% then capitalists B would do the same, so that the cost of constant capital for A would rise, thereby reducing their own surplus. 

In other words, this is the same argument as seen before, in relation to the Mercantilists and profit on alienation, that profit, in total, cannot be explained by such mutual overcharging, because what one gains as a seller they equally lose as a buyer. 

“A and B may even be considered as a single class. (B belongs to A’s expenditure and the more A has to pay to B from the total product, the less remains for him.) Out of the capital of 290 10/11, B owns 90 10/11 and A 200. Between them they expend 290 10/11 and make a profit of 29 1/11. B can never buy back from A to the tune of more than 100 and this includes his profit of 9 1/11. As stated, both of them together have a revenue of 29 1/11.” (p 44) 

There are then two other groups of capitalists to consider; C capitalists who produce means of production used by producers of luxuries, and D who are producers of luxuries themselves. The immediate demand for C's commodities only comes from D. C only realises a profit by overcharging D. D makes a profit by levying a surcharge on top of what they pay for their means of production bought from C, and and also on top of what they pay their own workers as wages. 

Capitalists C can use some of the profit they make from D to, in turn, buy luxuries from D. But, they must also buy necessaries from A. And, C's workers must also buy necessaries from capitalists A, as do the capitalists and workers from D. C realised the variable-capital, paid as wages to their workers, on the sale of means of production to capitalists D. The workers from C spend these wages buying necessaries from A. C could never form sufficient demand for D's product, because C only makes their profit from selling means of production to D, whereas D's production comprises not just these means of production but also the value of their own immediate labour, plus the surcharge. Some of the output of D can be consumed by capitalists D themselves, but can also be consumed by capitalists A and B. Similarly, to the extent that capitalists A and B consume luxuries, rather than necessaries, produced by A, that output is available for consumption by capitalists C and D, and their workers. 

“It is clear further that [according to Malthus] the nominal surplus-value in D (for C is included in it) does not constitute real surplus product. The fact that the worker receives less necessaries for 100 thaler because of the surcharge imposed by A can, at first, be a matter of indifference to D. He has to expend 100 as he did before in order to employ a certain number of workers. He pays the workers the value of their labour and they add nothing more to the product, they only give him an equivalent. He can obtain a surplus over and above this equivalent only by selling to a third person and by selling his commodity above the cost-price.” (p 45) 

In reality, the product of D capitalists, producing luxury goods, comprises surplus product and surplus value, the same as any other capitalist production. The reason is that this output contains unpaid labour. The value of output of a luxury goods producer comprises the value of means of production used in its production, plus the new value added by labour. But, this new value is less than is paid to workers in wages, as the value of their labour-power

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