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 Post subject: Simple Question(s)
PostPosted: Mon May 29, 2017 10:17 am 
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Anybody want to show how the increasing productivity of labor, productivity defined as increased physical output per hour, increases relative surplus value?

Anybody want to show that when wages are not declining, and when consumer prices are not falling?


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 Post subject: Re: Simple Question(s)
PostPosted: Mon May 29, 2017 12:41 pm 
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Ok, I'm confused, but I'll bite.

Increases in productivity as such don't increase relative surplus-value. Only increases in productivity in the spheres of production that produce means of subsistence for the working-class do this. These means of subsistence, in a given state of society, constitute a definite quantity of use-values. If the productivity of labour required to produce these use-values increases, the labour-time required to produce them correspondingly falls. The value of labour-power, which corresponds to the value of the workers' means of subsistence also falls, the time needed for the worker to replace the value of variable capital during the production process falls, and assuming that the worker continues to work for the capitalist for the same amount of time as previously, the amount of time he works to produce surplus-value increases.

But then you add, you want this proved when wages are not declining, and consumer prices aren't falling. This is where I'm confused. The price of a commodity is, in it's most simple form, the expression of the value of the commodity in terms a certain quantity of the money commodity. If the value of these commodities (labour power and consumer goods) fall at the same time as the value of the money commodity then a decrease in the value of labour-power and means of subsistence could go along with their prices remaining the same or even increasing.

But then I get stuck because, according to Marx, the price of a commodity is actually equal to it's cost-price plus the average rate of profit, not it's value. Maybe you want to make a point about how this alters the above somehow? But Marx's point is that value relations are theoretically prior to and should be considered before the surface relations of capitalist production, the latter don't fundamentally alter the conclusions drawn from the analysis of the immediate production process.

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- Marx, Comments on James Mill -

"Citizen Weston illustrated his theory by telling you that a bowl contains a certain quantity of soup, to be eaten by a certain number of persons, an increase in the broadness of the spoons would produce no increase in the amount of soup. He must allow me to find this illustration rather spoony."
- Marx, Value, Price and profit -


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 Post subject: Re: Simple Question(s)
PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2017 9:52 am 
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seems Marx went over this here:

Surplus value and productive force. Relation when these increase.
https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/w ... e/ch07.htm


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 Post subject: Re: Simple Question(s)
PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2017 9:53 am 
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Quote:
Increases in productivity as such don't increase relative surplus-value. Only increases in productivity in the spheres of production that produce means of subsistence for the working-class do this. These means of subsistence, in a given state of society, constitute a definite quantity of use-values. If the productivity of labour required to produce these use-values increases, the labour-time required to produce them correspondingly falls. The value of labour-power, which corresponds to the value of the workers' means of subsistence also falls, the time needed for the worker to replace the value of variable capital during the production process falls, and assuming that the worker continues to work for the capitalist for the same amount of time as previously, the amount of time he works to produce surplus-value increases.


Yes, agreed. RSV has a very specific, and limited cause and effect. Yet, in his writings, in the Economic Manuscripts 1857-1864 and in Volume 3, Marx tends to ignore that specificity and attributes RSV simply the improvement in the productivity of labor. I can give you any number of quotes from Marx if you like.

And, clearly the value of the wage has to decline for RSV to be actualized, as occurred in the long deflation. It is not simply an instance of reducing the size of "V"-- its quantity, but the relationship internal to V, the proportions devoted to necessary labor time and surplus labor time. If I reduce by half the quantity of V in hours due to improvements in production processes, I am not altering the rate of surplus value. It takes 2 workers 2 hours to reproduce the value equivalent to their wages during a total labor time of 16 hours. If I improve the production process I replace one of the workers with machinery the gives replaces the 2 hours of necessary labor by bequeathing 1 hour of its stored value to each day of the production process, I've done nothing that necessarily alters the rate of surplus value

Let's say, that V amounts to $240, and that represents a NLT of 2 workers X 2 hrs, or 4 hours. the constant capital is $720, the working day is a total of 8 hours long, so we have 16 hours of labor time:

c=720 = 12 hours

v=240= 4 hours

s= 720 = 12 hours

C= 1680= 28 hours; s/v =3, s/v+c = .75

Now, I improve the production process by improving machinery so that

c= 780= 13 hours

v= 120 = 2 hours

s= 360 =6 hours

C= 1260 =21 hours

s/v =3, s/v+c = .4. The capitalist has reduced his/her cost basis some 6%, making the investment in c a good deal for the capitalist but the total capital has NOT accumulated; it has declined as the mass of unpaid labor has declined. Capital can only accumulate if the labor employed increases so that the unpaid labor increases.

It is impossible to increase RSV by increasing the output per hour in production. Nor is it possible, contrary to Marx, by increasing the intensity of production. Time is the measure of intensity and exchange is blind to everything but time, as time is everything. Marx uses various examples of increased intensity creating more value in the same time units, but if that were the case, it would blow apart, completely, the labor theory of value.

When I was in Detroit, "speed-up" of the production line was always on the mind of management, and speeding up of the production line really did require an intensification of effort. But how did that produce more value, when the measure of intensity is precisely the same for the measure of the impact of machinery, i.e. greater output per time-unit?

We can confront the situation where labor is compensated at less than its value, a condition akin, more or less, to primitive accumulation and which Marx, rightly, leaves out of the "model" of accumulation.

Marx gives tremendous weight to the appropriation of relative surplus value, identifying it as the real subsumption of labor by capital, the index to the transformation of capital from developing to developed.

I think something else is going on, given the extremely limited conditions under which relative surplus value can be appropriated, and I think that something else is not relative surplus value through the introduction of machinery, but reducing turnover times dramatically for capital as a whole, and this drives the expansion of capital, extensively, as well as the intensification of the accumulation process.
___________

Anyway, in my dotage I'm grappling with all the things I've been "uneasy" about in my readings of Marx-- like:

how could cotton production, based on slavery in the US South, and elsewhere, produce surplus value, when surplus value is the result of wage labor, requiring the division of the working day into necessary and surplus labor periods, which separation gives labor its dual existence as use value and exchange value?

Why is it that armament production (and the like) is not considered "productive labor" when productive labor is pretty much defined by Marx as labor that produces a surplus value? Is production of assault rifles unproductive labor when purchased by the government, but somehow productive labor when purchased by individuals for hunting?

Same question for infrastructure work-- roads, bridges, utilities, railroads, etc.-- why performed by or for the state-- unproductive labor? But if owned, or operated, "privately" it's productive labor? That's attributed a knowledge of purpose to the objects of, and object of, the mode of production... and I don't think that exists.


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 Post subject: Re: Simple Question(s)
PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2017 11:47 am 
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Quote:
Marx gives tremendous weight to the appropriation of relative surplus value,


in the link I posted just before you had a chance to notice it, Marx seems to downplay it for later capitalism:

Quote:
Thus the more developed capital already is, the more surplus labour it has created, the more terribly must it develop the productive force in order to realize itself in only smaller proportion, i.e. to add surplus value – because its barrier always remains the relation between the fractional part of the day which expresses necessary labour, and the entire working day. It can move only within these boundaries. The smaller already the fractional part falling to necessary labour, the greater the surplus labour, the less can any increase in productive force perceptibly diminish necessary labour; since the denominator has grown enormously. The self-realization of capital becomes more difficult to the extent that it has already been realized. The increase of productive force would become irrelevant to capital; realization itself would become irrelevant, because its proportions have become minimal, and it would have ceased to be capital.


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 Post subject: Re: Simple Question(s)
PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2017 12:57 pm 
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Noa wrote:
Quote:
Marx gives tremendous weight to the appropriation of relative surplus value,


in the link I posted just before you had a chance to notice it, Marx seems to downplay it for later capitalism:

Quote:
Thus the more developed capital already is, the more surplus labour it has created, the more terribly must it develop the productive force in order to realize itself in only smaller proportion, i.e. to add surplus value – because its barrier always remains the relation between the fractional part of the day which expresses necessary labour, and the entire working day. It can move only within these boundaries. The smaller already the fractional part falling to necessary labour, the greater the surplus labour, the less can any increase in productive force perceptibly diminish necessary labour; since the denominator has grown enormously. The self-realization of capital becomes more difficult to the extent that it has already been realized. The increase of productive force would become irrelevant to capital; realization itself would become irrelevant, because its proportions have become minimal, and it would have ceased to be capital.



Yes, I get that, but if the necessary labor is falling, then the value of the wage has to decline, and not just relative to the capital employed, but absolutely in terms of time-- i.e. it takes less time to reproduce the wage. Certainly the productivity of labor can contribute to a rise in wages, as fewer laborers are employed, the resulting savings can be apportioned with some accruing to the fewer laborers; but if the productivity of labor cannot produce more value, and does not automatically cause the necessary labor to decline, then it cannot augment the rate of surplus value.


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 Post subject: Re: Simple Question(s)
PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2017 2:12 pm 
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"value of the wage" is an imprecise expression. The value of labor-power is what you mean, labor itself has no value of course. Like Z said, Marx assumes that the labor-time doesn't decline.


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 Post subject: Re: Simple Question(s)
PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2017 4:52 pm 
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Right the wage has to decline, in tandem with the value of the labor-power. But Marx hardly downplays the importance of relative surplus value-- he calls it the real domination of capital; and refers to its importance extensively in the manuscripts.


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 Post subject: Re: Simple Question(s)
PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2017 2:00 am 
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you appear to assume not just that the value of labor-power declines, but that the expended labor-time declines ("few laborers"), which seems common sense when we think of automation causing unemployment, but Marx assumes that the (same number of) workers continue to work the same hours.


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 Post subject: Re: Simple Question(s)
PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2017 2:54 am 
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sartesian wrote:
Right the wage has to decline, in tandem with the value of the labor-power. But Marx hardly downplays the importance of relative surplus value-- he calls it the real domination of capital; and refers to its importance extensively in the manuscripts.


You ask good questions, I don't know if I have any good answers for you. But with regards the real domination of capital, I always interpreted it in the sense that the factory system and the technology of large scale industry requires labour to be social in order to operate it, which completely excludes the possibility of any return to pre-capitalist social relations which were reliant on either a low level of agricultural productivity, or on a labour process which was capable of being performed by a single individual or a small group of artisans. Capitalism becomes not just a social form, but a necessity for the continuation of industry on a large scale (the only real alternative being directly social labour in the form of communism).

_________________
"The death of the poor man is the worst eventuality for the creditor. It is the death of his capital together with the interest."
- Marx, Comments on James Mill -

"Citizen Weston illustrated his theory by telling you that a bowl contains a certain quantity of soup, to be eaten by a certain number of persons, an increase in the broadness of the spoons would produce no increase in the amount of soup. He must allow me to find this illustration rather spoony."
- Marx, Value, Price and profit -


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