Archive for February, 2010

Capital I. Chapter 10: The Working Day. Sections 1-5

Capital notes-The Working Day

Hi all,  this is quite rushed-hope it’s useful in some way. Tim

I’ve tried to draw out some ideas that could considered in the context of contemporary struggle-this seemed to be a particularly appropriate chapter to try and do this.

David Harvey describes The Working Day as Continue reading ‘Capital I. Chapter 10: The Working Day. Sections 1-5’

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Capital I. Chapter 9: The Rate of Surplus Value

In Chapter 9 Marx formalises the valorisation process. He introduces the categories: a. rate of surplus-value (324), b. necessary labour (325), c. surplus-labour (325), d. surplus product (338), e. the working day (339). He also makes an early reference to the rate of profit (323, 327). His focus is on the “creation of value” and he puts use-values and nature to one side, emphasising that the latter contributes nothing to value (which is of course purely social). However use-values continue to play a role as the objects that soak-up labour. It seems that a significant aim in this chapter is to show that the use-values of commodities only stand in for values transferred from dead labour and created by living labour; or that the things are inseparable from the relations: that relations appear in things. This might be focus of our discussion, hiding behind the overt formalism of the chapter. Continue reading ‘Capital I. Chapter 9: The Rate of Surplus Value’

Capital I. Chapter 7: The Labour Process and the Valorisation Process

In Chapter 7 Marx answers the question he set up in Chapter 4: how does the capitalist turn a profit if equal values exchange (301-2)? He begins by analysing labour on a very general terrain, outside any determinate social form, giving a broad sketch of what he means when say ‘labour’. This can be seen as a general abstaction. He then makes an obscure reference to real subsumption (291), and the transformatio into the capitalist mode of production, before moving into the second and final section of the chapter. The process of value-creation and its extension into valorisation can be seen as the determinate abstraction: this is what is particular to the capitalist mode of production. In this second section Marx also insists on distinguishing between use-values and values, as well as useful labour and value creating labour. Continue reading ‘Capital I. Chapter 7: The Labour Process and the Valorisation Process’

Capital I. Chapter 8: Constant and Variable Capital

In Chapter 8 Marx emhasises that means of production only transfer a value that exists independently of the production process, whereas labour produces a new value under the condition of that process. He introduces the categories constant capital and variable capital to clarify this distinction as a distinction within a capital value advanced (317). He concludes with a discussion of the impact of the social determination of value on the constant part of capital. The presentation of this argument draws on gothic imagery. Dead labour is “risen from the dead” (308), corpses are left behind the production process (311) and then value becomes a soul transmigrating from one use-value to another (314). We could discuss the significance of this imagery to the content of Marx’s argument. Continue reading ‘Capital I. Chapter 8: Constant and Variable Capital’

Capital I. Chapter 6: The Sale and Purchase of Labour-Power

This chapter considers the emergence of labour-power in the commodified form in capitalism. The expression of the relationship between labour-power and value that we see develop in this chapter is LP-M-C(MS), this presents a class perspective on exchange-value. The point of Chapter 6 is to explain how value is generated through the exploitation of labour by the money owner, this takes shape in the chapter through first defining the concept of labour power, further developing the notion of surplus-value and discussing the measures of LP’s value. Continue reading ‘Capital I. Chapter 6: The Sale and Purchase of Labour-Power’

Capital I. Chapter 5: Contradictions in the General Formula

Chapter 5 is an extended discussion of M-C-M, deciphering the contradictions in this inverted order of succession that give rise to the activity of the capitalist. The function of this chapter is to solve a problem: where does M’ come from? Marx concludes the expanded value (M’) cannot originate in exchange, so we must look elsewhere (to labour-power, which is the subject of Chapter 6).

“The inversion of the order of succession does not take us outside the sphere of the simple circulation of commodities, and we must rather look to see whether this simple circulation, by its nature, might permit the valorization of the values entering into it and consequently the formation of surplus-value.” (259) Continue reading ‘Capital I. Chapter 5: Contradictions in the General Formula’

Capital I. Chapter 4: The General Formula For Capital

Chapter 4: The General Formula for Capital.

The purpose of this chapter is to provide a preliminary explanation of how capital is accumulated, Marx does this through introducing a new equation: M-C-M (another sequential motion of commodity exchange). The chapter opens with a series of basic claims about the nature of trade and commodity circulation. The focus is such because commodity circulation is the primary form in which capital appears. Capital, as Marx describes it, takes its appearance first and foremost from processes of commodity exchange. Marx specifies that the principle determining purpose of the M-C-M form of circulation is exchange-value. In this chapter, we see the introduction of the significant concepts of surplus value (251), valorization (252) and self-valorisation (255). Continue reading ‘Capital I. Chapter 4: The General Formula For Capital’