Value Theory (re Jim Devine)

Philip Ferguson plf13 at
Tue Feb 27 20:34:53 MST 2001

In the Jim Devine piece posted by Louis, Jim said:

> In volume III, he not only brings up
>the differences among capitals but looks at how they interact with each
>other. At this point what was obvious all along to Marx comes out: prices
>_don't_ equal value, while individual profits don't equal the surplus-value
>that each individual capitalist organized the production of (since in
>reality, organic compositions aren't equal between industries). In fact,
>someone can earn revenues and profits without actually contributing to
>total value or total surplus-value, as with those unproductive folks in the
>FIRE (Finance, Insurance, Real Estate) sector who simply redistribute
>surplus-value. They receive revenues and profits because people within the
>system find that they have little choice but to deal with financiers,
>insurance companies, and real estate agents. "Supply and demand"
>redistribute surplus-value to that sector.

It's not just that 'productive' capitalists have to deal with
'unproductive' ones.  It is also the case that surplus-value is divvied up
in proportion to the share of total capital held by individual capitalists.
That is, a capitalist who possesses five percent of the total capital of
society is able to claim five percent of the total surplus-value, not just
what he or she exploits from their own workers.

The mechanism for this is the formation of an average rate of profit as
capital flows in and out of different sectors.

Philip Ferguson

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