Marx and the Labor Theory of Value, part 3

Even if the capitalist’s labor does NOT account entirely for surplus value, it is unclear how Marx’s equation could be constituted conceptually, C = V + L1 + L2, where L1 is worker labor and L2 is capitalist labor.  For, if capitalist labor enters the labor process in a way entirely different in kind from worker labor, then then it is not clear whether capitalist labor could be said to produce value in the same sense that worker labor does.  According to Marx’s entire ontology of value (derived ultimately from Aristotle’s ontology of change and of work), built up in the first few chapters, which concludes with the concept that labor=value=commodity, the raw materials are transformed via the vital energy of the worker.  But it is unclear how L2 would be the working up (valorizing) of anything in this sense, while it is clear that V has value, and L1 is the working up of V in the sense just mentioned.

Second, while the equation C = V is possible, when the value of the commodity equals the value of the labor in the raw material (when the commodity is the raw material), and the equation C = V + L is possible, when the value of the commodity equals the value of the labor in the raw material plus the value of the labor, the equation C = V + L1 is impossible (where L2 is explicitly excluded) except in abstraction, since as we have said, L2 is a crucial ingredient in the possibility of L1.  For what does L1 actually describe in capitalism, if one takes for granted the non-existence of L2, besides something that does not exist in capitalism except in the abstract?  L1 and L2 ARE connected to each other, but that connection cannot be reflected in an equation that represents an ontology alien to L2.  Marx’s value equation represents a cross-section of an iceberg, but that cross-section only includes L1.  L2 will have to be represented through a slice of the iceberg that goes lower, or higher (wherever it is).

Therefore, I rescind my statement that, “the capitalist input of labor time would be such an inconsequential quantity compared to the quantity that workers put in that its influence on the movement of capitalism would be entirely superfluous.”  I maintain that capitalist-labor-as-value is incoherent to Marx’s system; if it can be accounted for in the way those might otherwise suggest, it must be accounted for by an entirely different labor theory of value.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s