Ricardo’s Principles, Chapter 6: On Profits
Ed George's Reading Marx Blog
by Ed George
7M ago
Ricardo reminds us that we have seen that ‘[t]he profits of stock in different employments hav[e] been shown to bear a proportion to each other, and to have a tendency to vary all in the same degree and in the same direction.’ In this chapter, therefore, ‘it remains for us to consider what is the cause of the permanent variations in the rate of profit, and the consequent permanent alterations in the rate of interest.’ The price of corn is determined by the amount of labour necessary to produce it on the land that pays no rent. The price of the product that is produced on this land, likewise th ..read more
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Ricardo’s Principles, Chapter 5: On Wages
Ed George's Reading Marx Blog
by Ed George
7M ago
The natural price of labour is ‘that price which is necessary to enable the labourers, one with another, to subsist and to perpetuate their race, without either increase or diminution.’ Subsistence is of course a function of the real wage: ‘[t]he power of the labourer to support himself, and the family which may be necessary to keep up the number of labourers, does not depend on the quantity of money which he may receive for wages, but on the quantity of food, necessaries, and conveniences become essential to him from habit, which that money will purchase.’ Given the subsistence real wage, the ..read more
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Ricardo’s Principles, Chapter 4: On Natural and Market Price
Ed George's Reading Marx Blog
by Ed George
7M ago
Ricardo turns his attention to the effect of demand and supply. Although the ‘foundation of value’ of commodities is the quantity of labour necessary for their production, ‘[i]n the ordinary course of events, there is no commodity which continues for any length of time to be supplied precisely in that degree of abundance, which the wants and wishes of mankind require, and therefore there is none which is not subject to accidental and temporary variations of price. But these variations are self-correcting. ‘Whilst every man is free to employ his capital where he pleases, he will naturally seek ..read more
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Ricardo’s Principles, Chapter 3: On the Rent of Mines
Ed George's Reading Marx Blog
by Ed George
1y ago
Metals (for example) are produced by nature, but are extracted by labour. Like agricultural land, mines tend to pay a rent; as in the case of agricultural land, the rent of mines is the effect, and not the cause, of the price of the product. Again as in the case of agricultural land, were there an abundance of mines of the same degree of fertility, there would be no rent: the price of the product would depend on the amount of labour required for its extraction and bringing it to market. But, given that there exist mines of varying productivity, the poorest (least productive, highest cost) mine ..read more
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Ricardo’s Principles, Chapter 2: On Rent
Ed George's Reading Marx Blog
by Ed George
1y ago
Ricardo opens: ‘It remains […] to be considered whether the appropriation of land, and the consequent creation of rent, will occasion any variation in the relative value of commodities, independently of the quantity of labour necessary to production.’ The ultimate object of Ricardo’s enquiry is thus not rent as such, but the effect of rent on relative prices. But what is rent? ‘Rent is that portion of the produce of the earth, which is paid to the landlord for the use of the original and indestructible powers of the soil.’ However, ‘It is often[…] confounded with the interest and profit of cap ..read more
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Ricardo’s Principles, Chapter 1: On Value
Ed George's Reading Marx Blog
by Ed George
1y ago
I  ‘Value in use’ and ‘value in exchange’ Ricardo notes Adam Smith’s distinction between ‘value in use’ and ‘value in exchange’, and comments: Utility […] is not the measure of exchangeable value, although it is absolutely essential to it. If a commodity were in no way useful […] it would be destitute of exchangeable value, however scarce it might be, or whatever quantity of labour might be necessary to procure it. (Notice Ricardo’s use of the term ‘exchangeable value’; value, for Ricardo, is value in exchange, i.e. relative price: Marx’s ‘exchange value’.) II  The two sources of v ..read more
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Capital volume 3: An Interpretive Glossary
Ed George's Reading Marx Blog
by Ed George
1y ago
Like my glossaries for volumes 1 and 2, this glossary of volume 3 of Marx’s Capital has been produced principally for purposes of self-clarification. It is thus not exhaustive of the volume’s terms and concepts, but it does try to deal with some of the most important of them. It is ‘interpretative’ in the sense that the definitions given are my recapitulated interpretations of what I think the terms mean, rather than direct textual citations of what Marx says or implies they mean (even if, given that the glossary has been prepared from my own reading notes, I may in places more or less closely ..read more
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Capital volume 3: An Interpretive Glossary
Ed George's Reading Marx Blog
by Ed George
1y ago
Like my glossaries for volumes 1 and 2, this glossary of volume 3 of Marx’s Capital has been produced principally for purposes of self-clarification. It is thus not exhaustive of the volume’s terms and concepts, but it does try to deal with some of the most important of them. It is ‘interpretative’ in the sense that the definitions given are my recapitulated interpretations of what I think the terms mean, rather than direct textual citations of what Marx says or implies they mean (even if, given that the glossary has been prepared from my own reading notes, I may in places more or less closely ..read more
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Capital Volume 3, Chapter 52: Classes
Ed George's Reading Marx Blog
by Ed George
1y ago
‘The owners of mere labour-power, the owners of capital and the landowners, whose respective sources of income are wages, profit and ground-rent – in other words wage-labourers, capitalists and landowners – form the three great classes of modern society based on the capitalist mode of production.’ This social articulation is most developed in England; however, even here it does not exist in pure form: ‘middle and transitional levels always conceal the boundaries (although incomparably less so in the countryside than in the towns).’ Nevertheless, it is a constant feature of the development of c ..read more
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Capital Volume 3, Chapter 51: Relations of Production and Relations of Distribution
Ed George's Reading Marx Blog
by Ed George
1y ago
The relations of distribution account for the way that value newly created in production is divided up into the revenues of wages, profit and rent and passed on to the owner of labour power, the owner of capital and the owner of land. The appearance within capitalist society is that these relations are ‘natural relations […] arising from the nature of all social production, from the laws of human production pure and simple’; even when, in pre-capitalist society, relations of distribution take on other forms, this is explained away as underdevelopment. The truth in this conception is that once ..read more
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