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Something I feel Marx left out of Das Kapital

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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Aug 2008, 18:12
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Post 28 Feb 2012, 01:31
Warning: this is largely a train of thought I have recently been having and not a lot else! It may be completely wrong or in there and I've just missed/forgotten it. It may also be in the bits that I've still yet to get to (still on vol II at the moment).


It's basically the idea of "semi-capital" (for want of a better word at the moment) that does not actually valorise despite being a necessary part of the production process. It includes both variable and constant elements. It essentially represents the labour and material objects which are necessary for valorisation to take place, but do not actually add any direct value themselves.

A chief example (in terms of the variable component) would be someone who works on the checkouts at a supermarket. Their labour of processing the transactions does not add any additional surplus-value to the use-values being sold. The use-values already have their suplus-values contained within their price and the checkout worker's job is merely to facilitate the transformation of use-values into the already agreed upon exchange values.

At the same time, this exists in the constant form in terms of (for example) the walls and roof of the factory in which production takes place. In the formula for the creation of surplus-value, the walls of the factory bear no part in the valorisation process and do not transfer any of their value to the products produced. However, they are needed to keep the machines and workers shielded from the elements so as to allow an ideal environment for production to take place.

This leads me to several questions:

1. How can these workers be exploited when they do not produce a surplus-value in the first place? Part of me wants to say that their wages are indeed factored into the prices of the commodities sold, but I'm not sure how (if at all) and how this is surplus-value.

2. We know that this constant and variable semi-capital is all necessary in order to facilitate the process of production. However, it does provide other benefits e.g. having the offices nicely decorated may subsonciously inspire the workers to work harder. A cheerful shop assistant might persuade customers to spend more, etc. Thus these semi-capitals, in addition to their mere facilitation of the production process, also provide an additional indirect value (is it a surplus-value?) for the capitalist in addition to the regular surplus-value.

3. How do we measure this indirect value? How does it fit in with the process of production and valorisation? I feel that it is a highly variable value that cannot be accurately measured to the extent of surplus-value.

4. Since Marx's theory does not appear to take this into account, is it wise that we continue to envisage his formula for production in its original abstract context with which he presents it? Marx implies production takes place in an apparent void and not within the confines of a factory which itself needed to be built and maintained. He also does not take into account the additional values that are provided by the variable semi-capital workers.


Or am I just talking crap?
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 14 Jul 2008, 20:01
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Post 28 Feb 2012, 02:11
I'm currently reading Capital vol. 2. I've just finished the first chapter, and I really have to say that vol. 2 takes the entire thing to a completely new level that is above 90% of the Marxist discourse that I was used to. Almost nobody seems to have read further than vol. 1, ever.

So, before I finish vol. 3., I really can't judge whether or not Marx "forgot" something. Have you read that far? You really should. Until I do, I really can't call myself competent in economic matters anymore. And since, as I said, nobody seems to have read further than vol. 1, ever, reading up for yourself should work a lot better than asking questions to an audience 90% of whom haven't read further than vol. 1, ever (there was a thread about this, can't find it though).

But here, stuff:

Quote:
1. How can these workers be exploited when they do not produce a surplus-value in the first place?


Exploitation is a facet of class warfare. They are exploited because they make their bosses richer - even though they're not directly producing value, they're still part of the process of producing value because without them, there would be no value. It's important to remember that value is not some physical property of a given commodity (i.e. it cannot be quantified in kcal of labor embodied, no matter what Cockshott seems to think) - it is a social relation, the law of value is a society's way of distributing things, exchanging them, in a word, moving them around* - a process for which "these workers" are absolutely indispensable (for they move them over scanners) - and they're just as alienated as their "productive" colleagues, they are a part of the class that is attacked by wage slavery.

*the commodity fetish is the illusion that they move by themselves.

Quote:
2. We know that this constant and variable semi-capital is all necessary in order to facilitate the process of production. However, it does provide other benefits e.g. having the offices nicely decorated may subsonciously inspire the workers to work harder. A cheerful shop assistant might persuade customers to spend more, etc. Thus these semi-capitals, in addition to their mere facilitation of the production process, also provide an additional indirect value (is it a surplus-value?) for the capitalist in addition to the regular surplus-value. 3. How do we measure this indirect value? How does it fit in with the process of production and valorisation? I feel that it is a highly variable value that cannot be accurately measured to the extent of surplus-value.


It's an investment. It's economically the same thing as buying a machine that produces more stuff for cheaper. Now from vol. 1, we remember that buying a new machine, one that produces more stuff for cheaper, actually diminishes the amount of surplus value extracted. I can't quite remember the details of how the value of machinery enters the equation, but office decoration should work the same way.

Quote:
Marx implies production takes place in an apparent void


I really don't see where you are getting this from.

Quote:
and not within the confines of a factory which itself needed to be built and maintained.


One could also say that maintenance of a building is just money that leaves the circulation of the specific capital whence it came.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 20 Jul 2007, 06:59
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Post 28 Feb 2012, 05:22
The "void" he's mentioning might mean that Marx is working with an abstract model of capitalism, so as to differentiate it's basic characteristics. Marx worked from the most abstract (Capital in general) to the more concrete (competition of capitals, in general). He died before he could fully complete this movement, (it would have been the World Market, according to his work plan).

gRed, I don't know just how much Marx dealt with what you are talking about in Capital in specific, but I believe that he did talk about it, unfortunately, perhaps not clearly enough.

I think that, at least partly, what we are dealing with is the distinction between productive and unproductive labor.

Productive labor is undestood as that which adds new value to a commodity or service; while unproductive labor is that which is either outside the capitalist cycle of accumulation (for example hospital nurses, who carry out direct production paid by our taxes) or which have to do with circulation activities (activities that change the ownership or possession of a commodity or service, without altering said commodity or service).

I think that a lot of polemic can and has existed regarding these "circulation activities" (if they include the entire service sector, etc.). There are two interpretations we could take, I have no idea which is more "Marxian".

1.- The transportation industry, distribution chains, supermarket staff, etc., etc., are all "circulation activities" and therefore add no surplus value; they instead leach off it, something that has profound implications.

2.- Since value refers to a social, not a physical characteristic, transportation and distribution of things do add value to them, since a kiwi in a field is not the same as a kiwi in a supermarket; there would be value added to said kiwi, the same way repairing a house gives you a repaired house vs a dilapidated house (looking at it conceptually). Even presentation could be said to "add value" to things, since it is not the same to eat a steak on a kitchen counter than in a fancy restaurant, the experience that is "produced" costs value. Circulation activites become reduced to things like lawyers, stocks markets, etc.

I remember having a discussion with a MTW on productive vs unproductive labor and his insistence on it being something physical instead of social, worth a read:

viewtopic.php?f=108&t=48865&start=60
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Aug 2008, 18:12
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Post 28 Feb 2012, 16:16
Quote:
I'm currently reading Capital vol. 2. I've just finished the first chapter, and I really have to say that vol. 2 takes the entire thing to a completely new level that is above 90% of the Marxist discourse that I was used to. Almost nobody seems to have read further than vol. 1, ever.

So, before I finish vol. 3., I really can't judge whether or not Marx "forgot" something. Have you read that far? You really should. Until I do, I really can't call myself competent in economic matters anymore. And since, as I said, nobody seems to have read further than vol. 1, ever, reading up for yourself should work a lot better than asking questions to an audience 90% of whom haven't read further than vol. 1, ever (there was a thread about this, can't find it though).


Yeah I'm just about to start chapter 3, vol II. Been a while since I last read it so had to remind myself what he talked about in chapter 1. You're right, vol II is very different. Sometimes it's really insightful, other times it's like wading through treacle!

Personally, I'm still not sure if I should call myself a Marxist until I have read all of 'Capital.' It's his main work and it would be a bit ridiculous to say I subscribe to Marx's theories without having fully read and understood his main one.

Quote:
Exploitation is a facet of class warfare. They are exploited because they make their bosses richer - even though they're not directly producing value, they're still part of the process of producing value because without them, there would be no value. It's important to remember that value is not some physical property of a given commodity (i.e. it cannot be quantified in kcal of labor embodied, no matter what Cockshott seems to think) - it is a social relation, the law of value is a society's way of distributing things, exchanging them, in a word, moving them around* - a process for which "these workers" are absolutely indispensable (for they move them over scanners) - and they're just as alienated as their "productive" colleagues, they are a part of the class that is attacked by wage slavery.


Yeah the fact that the capitalist owns the labour once he hires it from these workers (determines how many hours they will work, etc) shows they are still subject to wage slavery.

Quote:
It's an investment. It's economically the same thing as buying a machine that produces more stuff for cheaper. Now from vol. 1, we remember that buying a new machine, one that produces more stuff for cheaper, actually diminishes the amount of surplus value extracted. I can't quite remember the details of how the value of machinery enters the equation, but office decoration should work the same way.


I don't know if you can call it an investment (at least, not directly). An investment implies a return of some kind.

The value of the machinery enters the equation by imparting a given quantity of its value depending on how long it takes before it needs repairing/replacing (i.e. reinvestment in the machinery). e.g. say a needlemaking machine costs £100 and can produce 10,000,000 needles before it wears out and needs to be replaced. Therefore, it transfers one ten millionth of its value (£0.00001) to each needle produced.

The problem between this and factory walls/office decorations is that the dialectic occurring on the needlemaking machine is part of the production process. The needlemaking machine is only going to wear out by being used in production. The factory walls will wear out, but not as a result of the production process. They instead wear out by a dialectic largely independent of man (wind, rain, damp, etc). Thus the factory walls cannot impart any of their value onto the commodities produced because they do not participate in the production process; they only provide an environment within which that process can occur.

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I really don't see where you are getting this from.


Quote:
The "void" he's mentioning might mean that Marx is working with an abstract model of capitalism, so as to differentiate it's basic characteristics. Marx worked from the most abstract (Capital in general) to the more concrete (competition of capitals, in general). He died before he could fully complete this movement, (it would have been the World Market, according to his work plan).


Yeah, basically that in 'Capital' (as far as I've read) Marx only talks about production in terms of labour+means of production (i.e. the direct tools and machinery necessary for the production process to take place). Where this union of labour and means of production occurs is apparently irrelevant. Thus you could argue that, taking into account Marx's abstractions, production could quite easily take place in an empty field as in a factory. However, production obviously does not take place in an empty field, it takes place in factories which have walls, roofs, windows, central heating, etc. These things are all paid for by the capitalist but do not directly contribute to the production process.

Quote:
1.- The transportation industry, distribution chains, supermarket staff, etc., etc., are all "circulation activities" and therefore add no surplus value; they instead leach off it, something that has profound implications.

2.- Since value refers to a social, not a physical characteristic, transportation and distribution of things do add value to them, since a kiwi in a field is not the same as a kiwi in a supermarket; there would be value added to said kiwi, the same way repairing a house gives you a repaired house vs a dilapidated house (looking at it conceptually). Even presentation could be said to "add value" to things, since it is not the same to eat a steak on a kitchen counter than in a fancy restaurant, the experience that is "produced" costs value. Circulation activites become reduced to things like lawyers, stocks markets, etc.


Yeah I kind of see what you're saying. The thing I have with 2. though is that these perspectives appear to be from the purchaser with intent to consume rather than to valorise. A kiwi in supermarket costs more than a kiwi in a field because someone has gone into the field and used their labour to transfer the kiwi to the supermarket. The same goes with the presentation in a restaurant: someone has presented the food in an aesthetically pleasing way so that you (the consumer) don't have to.

Yet for the capitalist to employ someone to clean his factory isn't because he wants the factory to look nicer purely for his own aesthetics (i.e. consumption). It is because he wants to maintain a better environment for his workers to work in thus maintaining/increasing their levels of productivity. He is purchasing this unproductive labour not for his own consumption, but because he knows that it will transfer some level of value from it. I just want to know how we measure this value and where (if anywhere) does it affect Marx's theories for capital valorisation.

Also, you mention unproductive labour, but what about unproductive means of production (factory walls, etc)? Are these not just the constant components of unproductive capital and thus just as relevant as unproductive labour?
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Post 28 Feb 2012, 23:11
I don't know. I think that these too form part of production costs. Regardless of their material reality, the fact is that capital considers them necessary for the production process and if they get reflected in the final cost, then that means that they do get transferred as part of the final value, and that this value IS recognized socially (assuming that this merchandise or services are sold, and we are assuming this).

An extreme example would be, say, being in the business of selling ice. Obviously the ice itself as a commodity is fairly cheap, but the conditions necessary for keeping it as ice (refrigeration) are not, and these costs are most of what people end up paying. I wouldn't say that the machines necessary to maintain sub-zero temperature are unproductive means of production. Extending the analogy, I wouldn't call cleaning processes in glass factories or computer chip factories unproductive, and so I would not call walls and roof unproductive, since they also maintain a stable production environment.

Let's keep in mind that the "utility" of something, when discussing value, is always utility subsummed by the capitalist mode of production, that is, utility from the perspective of capitalist production. It is that which seems useful from the capitalist perspective, and that which is recognized socially in the market.

EDIT: Maybe you won't get to make Marxist theory, but I'm sure you can call yourself a Marxist without reading the whole of Capital. I mean, if we start like that, then we might next say that you also need to read Hegel's Logic (cf. Lenin) and so on and so forth. The basics, in terms of exploitation, classes and the need for a revolution are explained in simpler terms elsewhere. Anyone involved in a role of leadership would indeed need to read Capital, among other things, as well as to familiarize himself with all of the current circumstances of their struggle.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Aug 2008, 18:12
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Post 01 Mar 2012, 00:34
Quote:
I don't know. I think that these too form part of production costs. Regardless of their material reality, the fact is that capital considers them necessary for the production process and if they get reflected in the final cost, then that means that they do get transferred as part of the final value, and that this value IS recognized socially (assuming that this merchandise or services are sold, and we are assuming this).


But if their value is transferred, how do we measure the extent to of the value transferred to each commodity produced? Say a capitalist spends £100,000 on building a factory in which to house his machinery (means of production) and labour. The £100,000 is therefore simply spent on the walls, roof, heating, toilets, etc. Whilst the machinery can be directly calcuated as to how much of its value it transfers to each product it produces, the factory components cannot. How do we measure how much of the £100,000 is transferred to each product produced within the confines of the factory?

Quote:
An extreme example would be, say, being in the business of selling ice. Obviously the ice itself as a commodity is fairly cheap, but the conditions necessary for keeping it as ice (refrigeration) are not, and these costs are most of what people end up paying. I wouldn't say that the machines necessary to maintain sub-zero temperature are unproductive means of production. Extending the analogy, I wouldn't call cleaning processes in glass factories or computer chip factories unproductive, and so I would not call walls and roof unproductive, since they also maintain a stable production environment.


The refrigeration machinery is productive capital because it is necessary for the production of ice (the production process). The refrigeration machinery transfers its value to the ice depending on how much ice it can produce before it wears out and needs to be repaired or replaced. The ice is cheap because the machinery can produce a huge amount of it before it wears out, thus it transfers only a tiny percentage of its total value to each block of ice it produces. The unproductive capital in this instance would be the factory in which the refrigeration machinery is housed. We know it is necessary for production to take place but it is not part of the production process itself. Therefore, how do we measure what percentage of its value is transferred to each block of ice?
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Aug 2008, 18:12
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Post 01 Mar 2012, 22:42
I've just come across what appears to be the answer to my question in vol II, chapter 5.

"The other part of the latent capital, such as the buildings, machines, etc, i.e. the means of labour whose function is interrupted only by the regular pauses in the production process...adds value, without entering into the formation of the product. The total value that the means of labour add to the product is determined by the average length of their life; they lose value because they lose use-value, not only in the time during which they are functioning, but also in the time during which they are not."


Although I'm not sure how you would go about measuring the average life expectancy of a factory roof. Still, I'm happy with this answer.
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Post 02 Mar 2012, 00:04
gRed Britain wrote:
I've just come across what appears to be the answer to my question in vol II, chapter 5.

"The other part of the latent capital, such as the buildings, machines, etc, i.e. the means of labour whose function is interrupted only by the regular pauses in the production process...adds value, without entering into the formation of the product. The total value that the means of labour add to the product is determined by the average length of their life; they lose value because they lose use-value, not only in the time during which they are functioning, but also in the time during which they are not."


Although I'm not sure how you would go about measuring the average life expectancy of a factory roof. Still, I'm happy with this answer.


Pretty cool observation on the fact that they are static and wasting away whether production is going on or not. Besides that, I don't see how this is that much different from what I said. The ice example wasn't about the production, but the maintenance of the ice, which has a cost also. What I meant was that just like homeostasis has an energy cost on living things, so does maitaining stable conditions for production have a cost, and this usually is taken into account by capitalists, which means that it is transferred to the product.

As to how it is exactly calculated, I guess that's up to the beancounters. I know that in management courses they talk about cost calculations, which include the life expectancy of machines, vehicles, rent, etc, etc. Building maintenance might be another factor.

An important thing that we must keep in mind is that these details should not lead us to miopic visions on us trying to prove or calculate value as though it were pure mathematics. There is a great deal of abstraction carried out by Marx as you said yourself, and even here, we must consider that value is a social category and thus relates more to averages for commodities than to a commodity itself, even though value is "embodied" by a single commodity because production relations are cristalized, because what is made by us appears to us as a "thing."

I. I. Rubin explains this:

Rubin wrote:
Every social form related to the products of labor in capitalist society (money, capital, profit, rent, etc.), appeared as the result of a long historical and social process, through constant repetition and sedimentation of productive relations of the same type. When the given type of production relations among people is still rare and exceptional in a given society, it cannot impose a different and permanent social character on the products of labor which exist in it. "The momentary social contact" among people gives the products of their labor only a momentary social form which appears together with the social contacts which are created, and disappears as soon as the social contacts end (C., I, p. 88). In undeveloped exchange, the product of labor determines value only during the act of exchange, and is not a value either before or after that act. When the participants in the act of exchange compare the products of their labor with a third product, the third product performs the function of money in embryonic form, not being money either before or after the act of exchange.

As productive forces develop, they bring about a determined type of production relations among people. These relations are frequently repeated, become common and spread in a given social environment. This "crystallization" of production relations among people leads to the "crystallization" of the corresponding social forms among things. The given social form is "fastened," fixed to a thing, preserved within it even when the production relations among people are interrupted. Only from that moment can one date the appearance of the given material category as detached from the production relations among people from which it arose and which it, in turn, affects. "Value" seems to become a property of the thing with which it enters into the process of exchange and which the thing preserves when it leaves. The same is true of money, capital and other social forms of things. Being consequences of the process of production, they become its prerequisites. From this point on, the given social form of the product of labor serves not only as an "expression" of a determined type of production relations among people, but as their "bearer." The presence of a thing with a determined social form in the hands of a given person induces him to enter determined production relations, and informs him of its particular social character.


In feudalism, when mercantile exchange took place only with surplusses. The "value" of any thing only appeared on the act of exchange itself, only for the merchant did it become a commodity, afterwards, it vanished. It is only in capitalism, when things are produced for the market, with the market already in mind, that we can talk of things having a value that persists before and after exchange, and in this sense we can talk of this social category as being embodied in things. But also, this is a product of fetishism and seen through the logic of fetishism (which then is not an "illusion" or "appearance", but the objective force on capitalist relations). Value is still socially necessary labor time, and thus always relates to social conditions, to a plurality of exchanges, which are affected by all production, just like temperature is the average kinetic energy and is affected by each molecule's individual kinetic energy.

We can even see this in the typical examples of the impact of technology on production. If the value for a given commodity is 100, but a new producer can gets it down to 50, what happens is that the commodities he produces are recognized socially as having a value of 100, and so he can reap record profits, but in doing so he affects all of the production and [i]eventually[/b], affect the value of the commodity so that what is socially recognized is 50, as others are forced to catch up. We can say that his commodity originally had a value of 50, but this is for the sake of calculation and discussion, value is what is socially recognized.

Another abstraction that is carried out by Marx is spacial relations, so that you have just the "here" with a single value, but what is socially recognized can vary depending on location, and here there are some considerations, such as when commodities from the metropolis (which have a high organic composition) are taken to the periphery, they "devalue" all commodities, in that they influence what is socially recognized.

I don't mean to throw a blanket of indeterminateness on the whole thing, because that's not the point, we can still calculate successfully values produced, even by countries. We simply must keep in mind the abstractions we carry out when dealing with social phenomena (even if they appear as if they were things). There's a reason why value becomes price, why the social and approximate becomes individual and concrete.

In the path between value and price are said to be market factors, such as supply and demand, market share, government intervention, etc. But among them are included commodity differentiation (identifying your commodity as better than the rest and getting a higher price because of it) and here the line between what is a perceived asset gained in the market, and what is a real asset product of production (and here we might include marketing as a component of production), is a very blurry one. At what point does my commodity get differentiated enough to constitute a different type of commodity?

All of these problems are not meant to demolish the LTV. I don't think there's anything "wrong" with it, or in need of adjustment or modernizing. What we instead see is the economic tunnel vision of trying to see Marx's theory as that which explains how prices are determined, which was never his intention. In pursuing this line of thinking we risk: 1- becoming the target of bourgeois criticism about innacuracies in the LTV and the need to scrap it (!). 2- Losing sight of the precise social/historical conditions that allow the LTV to work (the capitalist mode of production, commodity fetishism), and to extend value ahistorically as though it really were a thing, a magnitude, and not a social relation.
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Post 02 Mar 2012, 02:27
gRed Britain wrote:
The unproductive capital in this instance would be the factory in which the refrigeration machinery is housed. We know it is necessary for production to take place but it is not part of the production process itself. Therefore, how do we measure what percentage of its value is transferred to each block of ice?


How can you say the factory roof and walls aren't the same part of the production process as the machinery itself? Without them, the machinery will be quickly destroyed by the rain, and the workers will catch cold in the wind, etc. and the production process will stop. Moreover, the producers (and inventors) of machinery take it for granted that the machinery will be protected from the elements by the factory walls, otherwise they would have to make it so that it was be able to withstand the elements, adding cost.

Think of a fishing boat: is the engine productive capital, and the hull unproductive?

Measurement seems pretty obvious: same as the machinery. Divide the costs of building and maintaining the factory structure by the overall revenue made on the total amount of produce that left its walls, and you get the part of value transferred into that produce from the capital in the form of the factory structure.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Aug 2008, 18:12
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Post 02 Mar 2012, 11:31
Quote:
How can you say the factory roof and walls aren't the same part of the production process as the machinery itself?


Because they don't figure directly in the production process. All the production process requires (in theory) is labour + the means of production (machinery). Whether it happens under a roof or not is technically irrelevant according to Das Kapital (hence I mentioned Marx's abstractions).

Quote:
Without them, the machinery will be quickly destroyed by the rain, and the workers will catch cold in the wind, etc. and the production process will stop.


Exactly, but these are not part of the production process, they only facilitate the production process.

Quote:
Measurement seems pretty obvious: same as the machinery. Divide the costs of building and maintaining the factory structure by the overall revenue made on the total amount of produce that left its walls, and you get the part of value transferred into that produce from the capital in the form of the factory structure.


You would also need to factor time into this. How long before the structure wears out. The thing is, in the dialectic of machinery, it wears out at a rate corresponding to the extent that it is used. Yet with a structure (means of labour as Marx calls it), this wears out at a rate corresponding to average weather conditions, etc (things largely beyond human control) as it is this which supplies the energy to enact the dialectic upon the structure. Production time is irrelevant here as a building wears out regardless of whether production takes place under its roof or not.
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Post 03 Mar 2012, 15:48
gRed Britain wrote:

Exactly, but these are not part of the production process, they only facilitate the production process.


Try to think of factories as huge machines, with treadmills, lathes, presses, etc. - as spare parts. Workers go in and operate the factories as a whole.

Of course, the factory structures may have very long cycles and be refitted with machinery of new generations several times over. But nevertheless they are of the same nature as the machines proper - means of production.


gRed Britain wrote:

You would also need to factor time into this. How long before the structure wears out.

Ideally you have take into account the entire amount of produce that leaves the factory walls between its commission and decommission.

But the capitalists, of course, don't do that. Instead, they set a reasonable period of time for the funds they've invested in the construction of the building to pay back, and that directly affects the price of the products. The day the investment is paid back, the capitalist begins receiving clean profit on that capital, although technically nothing changes at all in the way the capital from the factory structure is transfered into the produce.

That's why, by the way, capitalists can so easily close factories, and raze structures, once they've made some profit of them, to build, say, a private golf course, if they expect it to be more profitable in the near future, although it constitutes a waste of capital, if the razed structures were in good shape yet and could continue to be used.

As for the "unproductive labor", most of what you seem to think to fit the definition (judging by your example) can't really count as such, because it's still labor necessary for the product to reach the end user (just as the factory structure is equally indispensable to the production process as the machinery). The real unproductive labor is that which doesn't partake in creation of anything, like razing an old factory structure, or digging a dike then filling it up with dirt the next day, or warfare.

But indeed, Marx's abstractions could use more variety in exemplification, than he cared to provide.
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