Re: Do machines add value?

Michael Meeropol

I was going to keep mum but GIl's last post I think gave us a way through the argument with Kitching ---

Over time, competition will compete the price of any commodity down to its cost of production --- This is the kernel of the LTV that Marx took from the classics.  The rationale for this is that the "modern" demand and supply analysis of price formation does not reckon with the idea that ANY price above cost of production will be subject to this kind of competition.   (Luigi Passinetti in his lectures at Cambridge called these goods "reproduction" goods --- and noted that only goods with a kind of permanent scarcity [old Masters' paintings for example] had their prices stuck at the one created by supply and demand).  Thus, the exchange value of the means of production settles at its value --- THE SAME is true for the product ultimately produced.

NOW --- why is living labor different?   Answer:   the competition among workers for jobs forces the wage down to the SNLT necessary to "sustain" the working class (by the way, the reason for all that information from factory inspectors in Vol I of Capital was to show that capitalists left to their own devices might force wages too low leading to LACK of sustenance for the working class --- killing the goose that lays the capitalists' "eggs".   

Why doesn't the competition among capitalists for workers force the wage up to the "cost of production" of the product?  Because of the permanent surplus of labor in a well functioning capitalist economy --- the wage will definitely be above biological subsistence (hence the "historical and moral element" line) but below the cost of production except at extraordinary times which often heralds a "crisis" at the top of the business cycle.

(sorry for repetitiveness --- I need to do this for myself)

It is that "imbalance" at the point where the "price" of labor power is determined that is the source of surplus value.'

There is no permanent imbalance in the market for means of production --- when there is, it signals an interruption in the accumulation process --- the reason is that unlike human beings who reproduce themselves it is the CAPITALIST who DECIDES to create means of production 

Thanks, Gil, for the quote from Kitching

On Fri, Oct 8, 2021 at 12:26 AM <gilschaeffer82@...> wrote:

Kitching answers: "But this reply is no reply at all, because it is not true. Machines can do this too. Indeed, if a capitalist could not run machines productively (i.e. at average or above average levels of productivity) for a time well exceeding the labor time embodied in them, it is doubtful whether he or she would want to install such machines at all."

I said in a reply to Tom Walker that a stick in Marx's tensegrity model was broken. This is that stick. Either neither machines or labor add value or both do. I think both do, but not value in Marx's sense; only value in the use value sense.
ME:  and yes they both add USE VALUE _-- but only labor adds EXCHANGE VALUE ...which is the source of surplus value 

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