A few questions regarding economics

May 2024 Forums General discussion A few questions regarding economics

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  • #120541
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    Sympo wrote:
    DJP wrote:

    "If they are employed by a capitalist then yes. The capitalist will still be syphoning off surplus value (or surplus labour – same thing), it's just that in terms of total value no new value has been created."What do you mean with "syphoning"?I don't understand. How can an individual be economically exploited if he's not creating surplus value for his employer?Marx's analysis takes place on the level of groups, i.e the capitalist class and the proletariat, rather than the level of individuals. The working class *as a whole* is exploitedOh yes definitely.I guess that the people who aren't economically exploited(unemployed, homeless people etc) would have a better life in Socialism than in Capitalism.

    Proletarian class, and wage slavery would not exist within a socialist society. Socialism is not going to be an economical system either. We can not analyze socialism from the point of view of the bourgeois ideology or bourgeois economic

    #120542
    DJP
    Participant
    Sympo wrote:
    I don't understand. How can an individual be economically exploited if he's not creating surplus value for his employer?

    Only productive labour produces new value. Productive labour is employed labour in the sphere of production that directly produces commodities.Unproductive labour includes the self-employed, managers, accountants, sales assistants and the service sector in general. The wages that workers receive in these sectors does not represent newly created value but is drawn from the productive part of the economy.So an employed sales assistant will not be producing any new value, but the activity will be drawing in value created elsewhere in the economy. The employer will be extracting surplus value from the worker, but the origin of this value will be in the productive sphere of the economy.These categories only apply to capitalism.Make sense? 

    #120543
    DJP wrote:
    Unproductive labour includes the self-employed, managers, accountants, sales assistants and the service sector in general. The wages that workers receive in these sectors does not represent newly created value but is drawn from the productive part of the economy.

    To make things a little more complicated: a nurse or doctor in the NHS is unproductive, but if they were doing exactly the same work at a private hospital, they would be productive.

    #120544
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    The same case will be applied to state workers, they are employed by the state which is the organ of the ruling class, and the state is financed with surplus value, and that surplus value that the capitalist owns is the  product of the production sector extracted at the point of production, even more, some presidents might fall within the category of being members of the working, as the military and police. The workers are not the  tax payers, it is only a myth created by  capitalism   PS The ex-president of Uruguay was an employee of the state, and he was receiving a small salary, driving an old VW, and he was living in a very small house, which was his presidential office

    #120546
    Bijou Drains
    Participant

    Surely many "self employed" workers are nothing but wage slaves in fancy dress. Many are working for employers who are exploiting their labour power in exactly the same way as waged workers, just with less employment protection.

    #120545
    Anonymous
    Inactive

     if we do not understand the laws of operation of capitalism, we can not understand this society based on profits, that is the reason why it is called the profits system. We are all surrounded by dead labor.    All the definitions about capitalism given by the bourgeois economists in ewgard to  the capitalist society,  are just romantic definitions, they are the intellectual  gendarme of this society, and they are econometricsRichard Wolf who is a Doctor in Economics graduated from Harvard and Yale, he said,  that he never learned Economics, until he studied Marx and Political Economy, and despite that, some of his concepts are mistaken because he has not abandoned completely what he learned before studying Marxism.The Socialist Party is one of the few socialist organization which  has been able to understand Political Economy in a proper way, and has simplified all the concepts to be easily understood

    #120547
    DJP
    Participant
    Tim Kilgallon wrote:
    Surely many "self employed" workers are nothing but wage slaves in fancy dress. Many are working for employers who are exploiting their labour power in exactly the same way as waged workers, just with less employment protection.

    It's quite likely, in fact true, that many "self-employed" workers are not really self-employed, yes. But the productive / unproductive labour distinction is not entirely dependent on this.

    #120548
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    Tim Kilgallon wrote:
      Surely many "self employed" workers are nothing but wage slaves in fancy dress. Many are working for employers who are exploiting their labour power in exactly the same way as waged workers, just with less employment protection. 

    And they are called 'White Collars workers" and others are called 'Blue Collars Workers" This society has created  many myth and fetish to confuse the working class, they are members of the working class exploited by legalized thieves called capitalists.. Retirement is deferred salary. I met many catholic priests  who were receiving a small salary and  living in povertyMonsanto has forced many small self employed peoples to go into bankruptcy,  and to  join the rank of the proletarian class. During the 2008 crisis  there were many peoples considering themselves as members of the middle class, ( Doctors, Lawyers, CEO, etc, )  who ended up making lines to apply for unemployment benefits, and they had to returned their BMW, AUDI, and Mercedes Benz, and they lost their home ( renting a house to a bank for 30 years  ) and now  they are living in small apartments. All workers are poor, even if you are wearing Florsheim shoes, or Christian Dior suitsA guy working  on the street carrying a cart selling hot dogs, is a member of the working class, but  they are  considered as member of the middle class, and some of them do not make enough money to pay their rent or to feed their family, and most of them they do not have medical insurance, retirement benefits. and social protectionMost employees of Walmart comply with  the requirement to apply for social service benefits, and Walmart is an enormous multinational corporations who has accumulated an enormous amount of capital.Many years ago banks used to have assembly lines, called professional working station, and the employees were called professional workers, it was just a fancy title to motivate them to products piece works every day. similar to the workers of a factory  Doctors working for HMO hospitals only have 15 minutes to exam their patients, and those companies produce large profits.The main issue  is that workers on the unproductive sectors are part of the production  of surplus value in the whole context of the capitalist economy . 

    #120549
    Dave B
    Participant

     It is true that many so called self employed or self described self employed are ‘disguised employees’ and thus wage workers. It is discussed quite well below. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IR35 It was and still is widespread in the computer or IT industry where it isn’t unusual for 30% and over of the ‘workers’ are employed thus. The genuine self employed or simple commodity production that continues to co-exist within the general capitalist economy tend to be selling products, commodities and services to the workers. Eg kitchen fitters, car mechanics, plumbers etc etc. Or in areas of the economy which don’t require or benefit economically or productively from large amounts of capital. When they do sometimes say with a self employed lorry driver with his ‘own’ £250,000 rigg or a restaurant owner they can be producing surplus value that goes to pay the interest on the loaned capital. The merchant capitalist class, in our case the supermarkets, can also use their capital the exploit the producing self employed in several ways. Eg. Capital Vol. III Part IVConversion of Commodity-Capital and Money-Capital into Commercial Capital and Money-Dealing Capital (Merchant's Capital)Chapter 20. Historical Facts about Merchant's Capital   …..and exerted only a merchant's control, for that was for whom they really worked.[8]This system presents everywhere an obstacle to the real capitalist mode of production and goes under with its development. Without revolutionising the mode of production, it only worsens the condition of the direct producers, turns them into mere wage-workers and proletarians under conditions worse than those under the immediate control of capital, and appropriates their surplus-labour on the basis of the old mode of production. The same conditions exist in somewhat modified form in part of the London handicraft furniture industry. It is practised notably in the Tower Hamlets on a very large scale. The whole production is divided into very numerous separate branches of business independent of one another. One establishment makes only chairs, another only tables, a third only bureaus, etc. But these establishments themselves are run more or less like handicrafts by a single minor master and a few journeymen. Nevertheless, production is too large to work directly for private persons. The buyers are the owners of furniture stores. On Saturdays the master visits them and sells his product, the transaction being closed with as much haggling as in a pawnshop over a loan. The masters depend on this weekly sale, if for no other reason than to be able to buy raw materials for the following week and to pay out wages. Under these circumstances, they are really only middlemen between the merchant and their own labourers. The merchant is the actual capitalist who pockets the lion's share of the surplus-value.[9]Almost the same applies in the transition to manufacture of branches formerly carried on as handicrafts or side lines to rural industries. https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1894-c3/ch20.htm   It still goes on now in a different form with small, say, diary farmers; who can be just as militant as regards industrial ‘unionised’ action as any in the factory system. Historically it can be very important as discussed by the likes of Adam Smith re 18th century onwards and ‘corn factors’. Who would buy up the corn at harvest time and low prices to sell at higher prices later. The small farmers lacked the reserve capital to hold onto their product until later. It is not much different in economic principal really, on a smaller scale, when it comes to reserve capital to the payday loan thing as the advertisements. If you have a little bit of loot stashed away you don’t have to go to a payday loan shark at 1000% APR when the car breaks down, the boiler goes on the blink, the electricity bill comes in or if you are a small farmer the rent or tax bill.  In Russia in the late nineteenth century after the serfs started to become more simple commodity producers when the annual tax and rent bills etc came in they couldn’t pay and borrowed cash at interest from more frugal hardworking peasants. Eventually the less forward thinking peasants got in debt over their heads to be foreclosed on and ended up working on their former ‘own’ land as wage slaves for their creditors. According to Karl the same thing happened to the small Roman peasants who also had slave owning agricultural commodity producers to compete with on the market. As well in Judea in AD6; JC was actually accused by the Roman ‘Jewish’ collaborators, according to the gospel narrative, of telling people not to pay roman taxes.   The so called anti slavery American civil war had many causes and aspects etc. However in the early part of the 19th century the simple commodity producing small peasantry of the North didn’t give shit about what was happening south. It was only the prospect of it moving North, or Northwest with the potential of slave labour being used to produce the same kind of commodities as the likes of Abe Lincoln’s socio economic peers that set alarm bells going. A bit like outsourcing and relocating factories to China and competing with lower remuneration for work. People like the Ingalls of the little House On the Prairie might think, or not,  that slavery is an abomination to start with but they would hate it even more once they had to go economically head to head with it. NHS heath workers produce a commodity that is just as important as regards reproducing workers labour power as Mars bars, orange juice and central heating repairs. I think retail workers add value; the litmus test is would people still be doing that kind of thing in socialism?

    #120550
    ALB
    Keymaster

    "Non productive" workers can be said to be "exploited", not in the sense of producing surplus value for their employer (which by definition they don't do) but by working longer hours than needed to replace the value of their labour power. This would apply to civil servants. Others, working in commerce, will, as has been pointed out, be working to allow their employer to grab a part of the surplus value produced in the productive sectors of the economy and be getting paid less than this.Marx himself didn't develop a clear-cut definition but sketched two, one of which leads to the paradox already mentioned (though not as a paradox) that a teacher working in a private school is "productive" (of surplus value for their profit-seeking employer) whereas one in a state school isn't (since they are paid out of the state's revenue). That is difficult to justify. The other definition that only those producing material things (including designing, etc them) are productive would make more sense, i.e that neither teacher is productive.But I wonder, given the interrelated nature of production and that labour power itself is a social product involving education, health care and indeed other services, whether, rather than trying to distinguish between "productive" and "non-productive" workers, a better approach will be to see the whole of the working class, whatever job they do, being exploited by the whole of the capitalist class?

    #120551
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    I emphasise the interrelationship of all workers as an exploited class. Especially repugnant are the estimated 168 million children aged 5–17 worldwide who were involved in child labour in 2013.From the shoes on our feet to the phones in our pockets, our laptops  and the food on our tables, capitalism is just as great now as when Marx said  British industries, "could but live by sucking blood, and children’s blood too," and that U.S. capital was financed by the "capitalized blood of children".

    #120552
    Sympo
    Participant
    DJP wrote:

    "The employer will be extracting surplus value from the worker, but the origin of this value will be in the productive sphere of the economy."Did you mean to write "the employer will NOT be extracting surplus value"?"Make sense?"Nah, sorry, I still don't get it.

    #120553
    ALB
    Keymaster

    Marx explains in Chapter 17 of Volume 3 of Capital on "Commercial Profit" how "commercial workers" acquire surplus value for their employer (but do not produce it):https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1894-c3/ch17.htm

    Quote:
    It is only through its function of realising values that merchant's capital acts as capital in the process of reproduction, and hence draws on the surplus-value produced by the total capital. The mass of the individual merchant's profits depends on the mass of capital that he can apply in this process, and he can apply so much more of it in buying and selling, the more the unpaid labour of his clerks. The very function, by virtue of which the merchant's money becomes capital, is largely done through his employees. The unpaid labour of these clerks, while it does not create surplus-value, enables him to appropriate surplus-value, which, in effect, amounts to the same thing with respect to his capital. It is, therefore, a source of profit for him. Otherwise commerce could never be conducted on a large scale, capitalistically.Just as the labourer's unpaid labour directly creates surplus-value for productive capital, so the unpaid labour of the commercial wage-worker secures a share of this surplus-value for merchant's capital.
    Quote:
    The commercial worker produces no surplus-value directly. But the price of his labour is determined by the value of his labour-power, hence by its costs of production, while the application of this labour-power, its exertion, expenditure of energy, and wear and tear, is as in the case of every other wage-labourer by no means limited by its value. His wage, therefore, is not necessarily proportionate to the mass of profit which he helps the capitalist to realise. What he costs the capitalist and what he brings in for him, are two different things. He creates no direct surplus-value, but adds to the capitalist's income by helping him to reduce the cost of realising surplus-value, inasmuch as he performs partly unpaid labour.

    Ernest Untermann in his Marxian Economics (ch. XVI) summarises Marx's argument here as:

    Quote:
    The merchant has invested a certain amount of money-capital in a store, equipment, and wage laborers (clerks, salesmen, etc.). These wage laborers are unproductive like the merchant himself although they work for him a longer time than he pays for. But their surplus-labor is as unproductive as the capital of the merchant. They merely realize the surplus-value for the merchant, which was produced in the sphere of production, and make profits for him so much quicker, the more their unproductive surplus-labor is extended and their necessary labor shortened.

    Eduard Bernstein puts it this way in his Evolutionary Socialism:

    Quote:
    By the simple fact that Marx applies the formula for the value of the whole of the commodities, to single commodities, it is already indicated that he makes the formation of surplus value fall exclusively in the sphere of production, where it is the industrial wage earner who produces it. All other active elements in modern economic life are auxiliary agents to production and indirectly help to raise the surplus value when they, for example, as merchants, bankers, etc., or their staff, undertake services for industry which would otherwise fall upon it, and so they lessen its cost. The wholesale dealers, etc., with their employees, are only transformed and differentiated clerks, etc., of the industrial entrepreneurs, and their profits are the transformed and concentrated charges of the latter. The employees for wages of these merchants certainly create surplus value for them, but no social surplus value. For the profit of their employers, together with their own wages, form a portion of the surplus value which is produced in the industry.

     

    #120554
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    Sympo wrote:
    DJP wrote:

    "The employer will be extracting surplus value from the worker, but the origin of this value will be in the productive sphere of the economy."Did you mean to write "the employer will NOT be extracting surplus value"?"Make sense?"Nah, sorry, I still don't get it.

     I do not see anything wrong with DJP explanation, it is accordance with the analysis made by Marx on volume 3 of Das Capital. We must see the capitalist economic as a whole, and all workers productive or un productive are being exploited by the whole  capitalist class. Without profits capitalism can not exist. 

    #120555
    DJP
    Participant
    Sympo wrote:
    Did you mean to write "the employer will NOT be extracting surplus value"?

    Nope.Employed workers in the non-productive sphere will still be being exploited by the employer in the same way as workers in the productive sphere. i.e surplus labour will be being extracted from them. It's just that all the "value" that is handled in the non-productive sphere is not newly made value, but value that has come from the productive sphere. So the surplus the capitalist takes is not newly created "surplus value", but value that has been pulled from other areas of the economy.We are only talking about capitalist relations here, and the distinction has no bearing on the social usefulness of the labour.Does putting it that way help?

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