Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Theories of Surplus Value, Part III, Chapter 23 - Part 23

Along with this increase in the labour employed, even if the rate of surplus value remains the same, the mass of surplus value rises. This rise in the absolute mass of surplus value goes along with a relative fall in the mass of surplus value, compared to the mass of capital laid out to produce it, because the mass of material processed rises by a larger proportion than the mass of labour employed, and of the surplus value produced by it. However, the technical development that causes productivity to rise, and so change the technical composition of capital, also affects the value both of fixed and circulating constant capital, and of the means of subsistence/variable-capital. By reducing the value of constant capital, this acts to raise the rate of profit. By reducing the value of wages, it also raises the rate and mass of surplus value, and also, thereby, the rate of profit

In determining the organic composition of capital, and the effect on the rate of profit, of changes in it, its also necessary to examine this second factor of the value composition of capital. This value composition, as seen in previous chapters, can change for different and opposing reasons. For example, if the value of the components of capital remain the same, but the technical composition rises, the organic composition will thereby rise as a consequence. But, the technical composition may remain the same, but the value of raw material might rise, so that the value composition rises, even though no more material is being processed. Or, the value of wage goods might rise, causing wages to rise, or a labour shortage may cause wages to rise. In that case, the value composition would fall, even though no more labour was being employed, and no more surplus value is being produced. In fact, because the rise in wages would cause the rate of surplus value to fall, less surplus value would be produced, and the rate of profit would fall. 

Secondly, however, if one assumes that the organic composition of capitals is given and likewise the differences which arise from the differences in their organic composition, then the value ratio can change although the technological composition remains the same. What can happen is: a) a change in the value of constant capital; b) a change in the value of the variable capital; c) a change in both, in equal or unequal proportions.” (p 383) 

In addition to the changes described above, as set out in previous chapters, changes in the value of constant and variable capital also results in a release or tie up of capital, as also described in Capital III, Chapter 6. So, if the value of constant or variable-capital falls, the money-capital previously required to be metamorphosed into them is released, and is converted into revenue. This revenue can either be consumed as revenue, or it can be accumulated as additional capital. If it is used as revenue, no additional productive-labour is employed, and so no additional surplus value is produced. (That does not mean that more unproductive labour, as domestic servants, mistresses etc. may not be employed out of the revenue). The rate of profit rises, because this surplus value represents a greater proportion in relation to the capital. If the revenue is accumulated as additional physical capital, so that the scale of production rises, and more productive-labour is employed, the mass of surplus value will also rise, as well as the rate of profit rising. 

If the value of constant or variable-capital rises, the opposite conditions will apply. In all cases, the rate of profit will fall, because the surplus value will represent a smaller proportion in relation to the capital. Unless revenue is converted into capital, so that production continues on the same scale, the amount of labour employed would fall, so that the mass of surplus value itself would fall. 

No comments: