FROM POLITICAL ECONOMY BY JOHN EASTON
15th April 2018
A MARXIST TEXTBOOK THAT’S EASY TO UNDERSTAND
The Cycle of Capitalist Production
How the Value of the Product is Made Up
THE CYCLE OF CAPITALIST PRODUCTION
The secret of capitalist profit is not to be found in the sphere of commodity exchange and circulation; it must be sought IN THE SPHERE OF PRODUCTION.
In this Marxism differs from the “apologists for capitalism”
They do not go beyond the sphere of circulation.
“………He who before was the money – owner now strides in front as capitalist,
the possesor of labour – power follows as his labourer.
The one with an air of importance,smirking, intent on business; the other timid and holding back ,like one who is bringing his own hide to market and has nothing to expect but a hiding ” Marx.
NB -When the capitalist sets about production he starts with capital in a familiar form –
MONEY, with which he buys the “MEANS OF PRODUCTION”.
The means which he needs to undertake production normally include a factory in which to produce,machinery and tools with which to fashion his raw materials themselves ,including fuel. .
However all this is no more than preparation for production.
If he is actually to produce, the capitalist must secure workers and set them to work.
The capitalist then buys raw materials,hires labour-power, rents (or buys) a factory and machinery – in short, changes his money into various commodities (M–C) which he intends not to simply sell (as did the Merchants),but to use in the productive process.
He sets the workers to work transferring the commodities he started with into other and different commodities, which are sold and the capitalist has his money back.
That is capital in the same form that he started with- or he is a disappointed man if there is not more money than that which he started with.
Turning money into money
M–C–P — New C — M+
The problem to be solved is how M becomes M+ and where does the extra money, the Profit come from ?
HOW THE VALUE OF THE PRODUCT IS MADE UP
Firstly -Capitalists buy raw materials including fuel and other auxiliary materials from other capitalists at more or less the same price – the correct price.
Secondly -Part of the value of the finished product is in the building,plant,and machinery, which do not get swallowed up in the production process other than they become worn out over a period of years.
We call this “depreciation” and it applies to all.
Thirdly- Part of the value of the finished product represents the value “newly added” by the labour of the workers who transform the raw materials, using the fixed inputs, into the finished product.
But whereas the value of the inputs remains more or less unchanged, the “newly added” value by the labour of his workers is greater than the value for which he pays his workers.
In cash terms, the workers are paid less in wages than the added value which their labour gives to the product.
The capitalist thinks of wages as the price paid for labour.
Price is value expressed as money !
The question is “WHAT IS THE VALUE OF LABOUR”
Or so it seems at first.
But how do we value the working day ?
Looking more closely try to imagine what it is precisely
that a worker sells in exchange for the wages he receives.
When a worker takes employment – when he “hires himself” to a capitalist,
he,in fact, puts at the disposal of the capitalist for a specified length of time –
an hour-a day -a week -or a year – his capacity to work,
that is, the “aggregate of those mental and physical capabilities existing
in a human being which he exercises whenever he produces
a use value of any description” Marx !
THE WORKER DOES NOT SELL HIS LABOUR,
but his capacity or power to labour, his LABOUR- POWER.
He puts his labour- power temporarily at the disposal of the capitalist.
The capitalist uses that labour power, well or ill,wastefully or economically.
The worker does not sell the actual contribution he makes to the creation of products;
he sells his power to work ,his labour-power.
It is of importance to remember the distinction between LABOUR- the actual expenditure of human skills and energies (ON COMMODITY PRODUCTION )- and LABOUR -POWER, the capacity, power to work
( What the worker sells for (WAGES)
WAGES THEN ARE THE PRICE OF LABOUR-POWER.
Since price is the money expression of value,
we must discover how the value of labour -power is determined.
VALUE OF LABOUR POWER
THE LIVING STANDARDS OF THE WORKERS
THE SECRET OF SURPLUS VALUE
Why not collect the whole series together as a reference or teaching tool ?
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