[Marxism] Fwd: Ed George's Question

Ed George edgeorge1963 at gmail.com
Wed Feb 6 04:47:50 MST 2013

To answer S.Artesian.

SA: ‘Yes, it is competition—remember the law of value is mediated 
through the markets.’

Me: In a regime of production of commodities the market brings private 
labours into relation with each other, which means that, as value is 
determined by labour-time, value finds a necessary extrinsic form on the 
market as exchange-value (i.e. price). But competition itself doesn’t 
explain accumulation: ‘Competition executes the inner laws of capital; 
makes them into compulsory laws towards the individual capital, but it 
does not invent them. It realizes them.’ (Grundrisse)

SA: ‘The capitalist thinks he or she is obtaining the “profit” 
engendered in his or her individual production. In reality, the 
capitalist claims a portion of the total social profit, the total 
surplus value thrown into the markets for realization and reproduction.

‘The commodities exchange at their values, only be exchanging at their 
prices of production. Thus increases in the productivity lower the value 
of the product, increase the surplus value pushed into the markets, but 
reduce the rate of profit for both the individual producers, deploying 
more technically valuable, expensive means of production. By producing 
at less than the socially necessary labor time, or the time of current 
reproduction, the capitalist can claim a portion of the total surplus 
value that can offset that reduced rate of profit and allow him or her 
to approach, achieve an average rate of profit.’

Me: Capitalists introduce technical change because it allows them (the 
innovators) to realise an above average rate of profit (at least for a 
period of time). Other capitalists are forced to adopt new techniques 
(through competition) to avoid being priced out of the market. My 
question is: why are capitalists *necessarily* driven to pursue 
surplus-profits? That they are is an observable fact; but why are they?

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