Tuesday, 27 August 2019

Theories of Surplus Value, Part III, Chapter 22 - Part 8

In Capital I, it was seen that Nassau Senior, in opposing the reduction in the working-day, wrongly argued that the constant capital value, consumed in production, had to be reproduced out of the new value created by labour during the day (Senior's Last Hour). Ramsay repeats this false argument here. 

““… the rise of wages […] is limited by the productiveness of industry. In other words, … a man can never receive more for the labour of a day or year than with the aid of all the other sources of wealth, he can produce in the same time. … his pay must be less than this, for a portion of the gross produce always goes to replace fixed capital” (i.e., constant capital, raw materials and machinery, according to Ramsay) “with its profit” (op. cit., p. 119).” (p 334) 

This argument itself flows from Smith's “absurd dogma” that the value of commodities resolves entirely into revenues, and thereby is the result of the new value created by labour. Ramsay should not have fallen into this error because, as was seen earlier, he correctly identified the value of commodities as being determined by the living labour required for their production, in addition to the value of the constant capital consumed in their production. Marx notes, 

“Here Ramsay confuses two things. The amount of “fixed capital” embodied in the daily product is not the product of the day’s labour of the worker; in other words, this portion of the value of the product represented by a portion of the product in kind is not the product of this day’s labour. On the other hand, profit is indeed a deduction from the daily product of the worker or from the value of this daily product.” (p 334) 

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