Thursday, 31 March 2016

Notes on Marx's Capital.

  • Commodity has two aspects- use value(ways people find them useful) and exchange value(they can in principle be exchanged for other commodities).
  • "Exchange value shows that in spite of their distinct use values ,commodities are equivalent( at least in one respect) to one another. In this sense, in spite of their differences all commodities are the same"
  • "In commodity economies(where most goods and services are commodities) money fulfills two roles..."  simplifies exchange ratios between commodities. Commodity exchanges are indirect through use of money.  Exchanges are not direct as in barter.
  • "The double nature of commodities as use values with exchange values has implications for labour"
  • commodity producing labour is concrete labour producing specific use values e.g. clothes,food, books etc.
  • when goods produced for exchange they have a relationship of equivalence to one another. In this situation labour is also abstract(general) labour. Commodity producing labour is both general and specific at the same time.
  • Concrete labour producing use values exists in all types of society.
  • Abstract labour is historically specific. It only exists where commodities are being produced and exchanged.
  • "Abstract labour has two distinct aspects- qualitative and quantitative- that should be analysed seperately"
  • Abstract labour derives from the relationship of equivalence between commodities, it is historically contingent. But has real existence.
  • Labour is equivalent as abstract labour because commodities are produced for exchange. Their equivalence appears through the convertibility between money and commodities.
  • The ability of money to purchase any commodity shows that money represents abstract labour.
  • The stability of the exchange values shows that there is a quantitative relationship between the abstract labours necessary to produce each type of labour.
  • a defining feature of capitalism is generalised production of commodities.And production of commodities is for profit.
  • Labour power is potential to produce things. Labour is its use.
  • M- C < MP + LP...P...C- M'
    M=Money, C=Commodities, MP= means of production, LP= labour power, P=Production, transformed commodities=C' and more money =M'.
  • "The circuit starts when the capitalist advances money(M) to purchase two types of commodities(C) means of production (MP) and labour power (LP) during production(..P..) thw workers transform the means of production into new commodities(C') that are sold for more money(M'). Marx calls the difference between M' and M surplus value. Surplus value is the source of industrial and commercial prodit and other forms like interest and rent".
  • Surplus value cannot arise purely from must arise from the process of production. Marx says it arises from the consumption of a commodity whose use value is to create new value.
  • "Value is a social relation between commodity producers that appears as exchange value, a relationship between things. Value appears through commodity prices that is through the relationship between goods and money"
  • value relation develops fully only in capitalism.
  • if value is a social relation  then its source and the origin of surplus value is in the performance of commodity producing labour.
  • "Surplus value is the difference between the value added by the workers and the value of labour power. "  Workers work for longer than it takes to produce the goods that they command or control. In the rest of the time workers are exploited. They produce value for the capitalists.
  • If goods necessary to reproduce the workforce can be produced in 4 hours but the working day is 8 hours then the workers work 'for themselves' half the time and in the other hald they work 'for the capitalists'. the rate of exploitation( the ratio between what marx calls surplus and necessary labour time is 100%)
  • Capitalists cannot avoid exploiting the workers. Exploitation through extraction of surplus value is a systemic feature of capitalism. They must exploit to remain in business.
  • Workers may be exploited but need not be poor in absolute terms. the development of technology increases productivity of labour and allows even the poorest to potentially be comfortable however high the rate of exploitation may be. "Specifically if the productivity of labour rises faster than the wage rate relatively well- paid workers in highly productive economies may be more heavily exploited than badly paid workers in less productive economies".
  • "competition between firms producing similar goods with distinct technologies leads to differentiation of profit rates" this drives technological progreess in capitalism.
  • Absolute surplus value:-longer hours,more intense labour or employment of better trained workers. Was important in early capitalism with 12-16 hours of work. In present times means lengthening of working week, penetration of work into leisure time, faster work, less breaks, working in freetime. 
  • Relative surplus value:- most important form of exploitation in modern capitalism. Introduction of new technology and new machines increases profit rate. More inputs to be worked up into more outputs in a given time. Reduce quantity of labour needed to produce. Productivity rises faster than wages.Productivity growth can outstrip wage increases for long periods.
  • Capital is a social relation that appears as things. Capital is a class relation of exploitation.
  • Productive and unproductive labour?  Is this a meaningful distinction? What does Federci say?
  • Federci, "When we said that housework is actually work for capital, that although it is unpaid work it contributes to the accumulation of capital, we established something extremely important about the nature of capitalism as a system of production. We established that capitalism is built on an immense amount of unpaid labor, that it not built exclusively or primarily on contractual relations; that the wage relation hides the unpaid, slave -like nature of so much of the work upon which capital accumulation is premised."
  • Housework and reproduction of people helps in the process which is used by capitalism to produce surplus value?
  • According to marx labour in capitalist society is productive if and only if it produces surplus value. Its irrelevant whether its a good or service. only relations under which its produced matters. Marx saw only wage labour as productive. Output the labour produces must be marketed.  There can be wage labour which is unproductive.
  • From marx's definition advertising is unproductive. Financial workers too.
  • Marx rejects the idea financial capital adds value to it.
  • Money is not a generally accepted means of exchange. Its used because its a universal equivalent. Its essential property is that it can be immediately exchange for all other commodities. Money be used regularly to become this.
  • Money's original form must be as a commodity. Money is the monopolist of the ability to buy.
  • "Money as capital can be indicted by M-C-M' (Money- commodities- other commodities) a summation of market transactions (or simple exchange)" the motivation purpose is acquisition of money profit  while C-M-C' is acquisition of different use values."
  • "It is not money which creates capitalism but capitalism that transforms money into capital".
  • commodities are goods and services for sale not for consumption by their own producers.
  • value dependent on productivity?
  • Are there things which are commodities which do not involve human labour???
  • Marx's Labour Theory of Value built on Ricardo's criticism of Smith's LTV with Ricardo suggesting that labour must earn more than it's paid.  Marx built on top of Ricard's LTV and brought out its radical implications.
  • Marx says the money form arises out of the exhange relation not imposed from outside or not a suggestion from someone. it expands from an exchange which expands to become generalized and systematic to cover the whole of society. Is this a logical argument or a historical one? It can't really be treated as a historical argument anthropologically. It's more likely a logical argument.  There may have been different monetary systems but capitalist commodity exchanges disciplines all those forms into a singular relationship between money form and commodity form. The logic of capitalism means that as exchange proliferates means that money and commodities will move into this relationship.
  • Money- relationship between universal and particularity.
  • Use Value (Material qualities, Quantities, Heterogenous)
  • Exchange Values( Quantitative and Homogenous)
  • Value (Immaterial and Relational, Socially Necessary Labour Time)
Work in progress...

“To be a productive labourer is therefore not a piece of luck but a misfortune” as Marx puts it (Capital, vol. 1, page 477)

“Productive labour... is wage labour which... produces surplus value for the capitalist.” (Theories of surplus value, vol. 1, page 152)

Marx defines productive labour on pages 476-477 of Capital, vol 1. He goes into much more detail in Theories of Surplus Value, vol 1, pages 152 – 304 and pages 389 – 413. Supplementary points on circulation capital are included in Chapter 6 of Capital, vol, 2 and chapters 16-19 of Capital, vol 3. (all page numbers refer to old Lawrence & Wishart editions).]

"Most capitalist technology is destructive of the environment and our health. We see clearly today that industry is eating up the earth, and if we had a communist society much of the work we would have to do would be spent just cleaning up the planet. This means we have to rethink every type of technology. Take the computer, for instance, just one computer requires tons of soil and pure water. So the idea that we can have a world in which machines do all the work and we can just be their supervisors, Marx’s vision in the Grundrisse, is untenable. First we have to work to build the machines. They are not self-reproducing. Somebody has to take the minerals out of the ground and build them. They also require a particular form of social organisation and social control that is the opposite of the type of co-operation that people need for the construction of an egalitarian society."-Silvia Federici.

"The assumption that human emancipation or liberation has to pass through a dictatorship of the proletariat is not part of the politics of the commons."-Silvia Federici.

Silvia Federici- "Commons and communism. Well, communism is such a big term, but if we think of communism in the sense established by the Marxist-socialist tradition, then one difference is that in the society of the commons there is no state, not even for a transitional period. The assumption that human emancipation or liberation has to pass through a dictatorship of the proletariat is not part of the politics of the commons. Also a society of commons is not premised on the development of mass industrialisation. The idea of the commons is the idea of reclaiming the capacity to control our life, to control the means of our (re)production, to share them in an egalitarian way and to ‘manage’ them collectively. The reconstruction of our everyday life, as a strategic aspect of our struggles, is a much more central objective in the politics of the commons than it was in the communist tradition. Is communism an expanded common? Not if we define it within the parameters of the Marxist tradition. But Marx’s description of communism as a society built on the association of free producers is compatible with it. Moreover the late Marx seems to have become convinced that commons, for example the Russian communes could become a foundation for a ‘transition to communism’, even though he believed this would be possible only if there would be a revolution in Germany, or other parts of Europe, providing a technological know-how, so that the Russian communes wouldn’t have to go through a capitalist stage. The commons means sharing the use of the means of reproduction, starting with the land, and creating co-operative form of work. This is already beginning to happen. In Greece and Italy, now, on the model of Argentina, workers that have been laid off are taking over factories and trying to run them in a self-managed egalitarian way to produce for people’s needs, rather than for profit."

No comments:

Post a Comment