Appropriating Value in Exchange, Jack Rasmus, Physical vs. Value Productivity, profit, SNLT, SNLT and Market Socialism, SNLT and the Labor Process, Super-profit, the centralization and concentration of capital, the law of value, the Zeitgeist Movement
You read some. You talk some. You think some. And as a result, sometimes, you learn some . . .
. . . why just the other day, I screwed up my courage, and jumped into a comment thread in which heavies and lightweights (like me) were throwing shit around. I was wanting to get a sense of where I was at with what little I understand about the purports of Marxists, and wouldn’t you know it, I’m still way behind the curve, but I’m coming along, I think, certainly having gained a better grasp of the Marxist buzz than I had a year or so ago.
Anyway, I was reading and venturing a comment here and there, and then something in what Jack Rasmus had written caught my attention, and I thought to wrestle with it for a bit to see what I might be getting and not getting.
An insight, I think, did come to me in the aftermath of that exchange, and it’s still on its way toward me, but already I’m discerning enough of it that I think I will make the effort to cobble an essay around it in the near future. For the moment, so as not to lose sight of it, I’ve formulated the two-part thesis of what I think is hatching for me just so:
A) Under capital, “the law of value” really is operative despite the fact that “labour power” is not exchanged, as all other commodities are, on the basis of its actual “value.”
And (now for the part that Rasmus is partly responsible for):
B) The proportionality between market prices and “labour-time,” the latter being the magnitude of “value,” is maintained by the fact that demand is proportional to the aggregate remuneration to the working class as a whole.
The trigger for me for all of what may be coming in an another post was this:
April 9, 2018 at 6:18 pm
The fact that it is admitted that SNLT is a market based concept avoids my question. Indeed, if it is, then issue is whether a fluctuating market price can be used to determine a non-market, non-supply and demand,variable like value. (Also, arguing that SNL existed before Marx is in no way an answer to my point).
I am of the opinion that “a fluctuating market price” cannot be used to determine a non-market, non-supply-and-demand, variable like value. If that was your original point and contention, I have to agree with you.
At the moment I can’t see how that ‘gap’ can be breached.
I understand, I think (or to some degree of certainty), how it is that “the law of value” really does regulate ‘market exchange’ and how it is that the exploitation implicit in wage labour ultimately is the cause of a falling rate of profit, with all that entails in terms of the inevitability of eventual and recurrent crises, but you certainly have put your finger on an issue for which, at the moment, I see no solution, not even in principle.
So there is that.
But there is also this: did you catch that bit about SNLT? Do you know what “that” is? I had a clue, but thought I should check with other expositions of it to compare notes, and I found what I consider to be a gem of an exposition of the issue, especially for anyone only just getting acquainted with the Marxist thing, someone just like me. And that’s what this post is all about. So without further ado, what the f**k is SNLT, anyway? Because this is important to “get,” I think:
Now if ACME sold their new TV at half the old price they wouldn’t make any more money than before and there would have been no point in investing in all that new stuff. Rather than sell them at their individual value (30 minutes) they continue to sell them at the SNLT (1 hour), or perhaps just under the SNLT in order to out-sell their rivals. Because the price of TVs hasn’t changed significantly there is still the same demand from consumers for TVs, but now there is a giant surplus of TVs on the market because ACME has been making twice as many TVs. ACME’s rivals won’t be able to sell all of their TVs. Part of their product will go unsold. Meanwhile ACME will sell most of their TVs at the SNLT, making not just their normal profit, but an additional “super-profit” because they sold their TVs above their individual values by selling at or near the SNLT.