Marx's 1st argument that the common element of commodities for exchange is being products of labour - Page 2 - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#15165877
Rich wrote:It was the continuing fall in birth rates that allowed wages to increase, that allowed the advances in science, technology and productive technique, as well as societies accumulation of capital to increase living standards after the 1830s.


That completely confuses cause and effect. UK birth rates didn't fall until after 1880. Economic growth took off long before that.
#15167007
The Young Wizard wrote:"If then we disregard the use-value of commodities, only one property remains, that of being products of labour."

But more intuitively, we might think other properties fit the bill. The amount of labour used in producing a product (on average - but that's a complication I'm leaving aside just now) does seem intuitively connected to the value of something. If your firm, say, as put a certain amount of work into producing something, and someone comes along and proposes exchanging the goods for goods their firm produced, which they spent half the time on, you would naturally say, other things equal "Well, can't I have an amount of your goods which you used a comparative amount of human-hours to produce." If you end up having to accept the proposed deal, it's intuitive to say "I swapped those much below their value."

There are different factors that go into production of commodities. Labor, natural resources, capital, organization.
#15167009
Rugoz wrote:That completely confuses cause and effect. UK birth rates didn't fall until after 1880. Economic growth took off long before that.

It does get a bit complicated.
Lower birth rates can lead to higher wages, but higher wages can have various effects in different situations, sometimes increasing birth rates and sometimes decreasing them (a complicated subject which we can discuss in a different thread).

If we assume that higher wages increase wages, then we would expect an equilibrium to likely be reached as some point, where wages are constrained by population growing too fast.
#15167087
Puffer Fish wrote:There are different factors that go into production of commodities. Labor, natural resources, capital, organization.

According to Marx's labor theory of value, labor is unique among factors of production and the sole source of capitalist profit. The key is surplus value. Natural resources and capital (machinery and what not) are also products of labor (natural resources through the process of extraction). These are purchased at cost, and don't contribute therefore to profit. Workers are paid a 'subsistence wage' (which is variable, based on societal conditions). The surplus value is that portion of labor power which is not remunerated.

Again, this is under pure capitalism (which doesn't genuinely exist anywhere, but which provides a proxy for analysis and for illuminating genuine extant conditions, through artful application of the theory.)
#15168828
Puffer Fish wrote:It does get a bit complicated.
Lower birth rates can lead to higher wages, but higher wages can have various effects in different situations, sometimes increasing birth rates and sometimes decreasing them (a complicated subject which we can discuss in a different thread).

If we assume that higher wages increase wages, then we would expect an equilibrium to likely be reached as some point, where wages are constrained by population growing too fast.


I would say there's consensus that higher per capita income and associated technological and sociological changes led to the lower birth rates in the industralized world. The birth rate's impact on population growth also depends on life expectancy by the way. The latter increased dramatically.

As for the impact of population growth on per capita income, it's not as big of a deal as some people seem to think. Basically, you have to maintain the per capita capital stock. The annual capital depreciation rate is maybe 10%. Better technology makes to capital stock obsolete to some degree, let's say by 2% per year. Add to that a population growth rate of 1% and that means you must invest 13% of your per capita capital stock to maintain it. If population growth changes from 1% to 2%, which is substantial, that means you must invest 14% instead of 13%, hence your gross savings must be ~8% higher, and consumption correspondingly lower. For example if your gross saving rate was 20%, it must now be 21.6%.

That's not so say it couldn't matter for a society living from hand to mouth, barely capable of saving enough to maintain the capital stock with a stagnant population. But I bet that didn't apply to 19th century Britain with its ample supply of hard-nosed capitalists who would reinvest their income instead of giving it away to the hungry masses.
#15170367
Rugoz wrote:I would say there's consensus that higher per capita income and associated technological and sociological changes led to the lower birth rates in the industralized world.

Yes, there is a "consensus", but it doesn't mean this consensus is right or can be accurately expressed with simple sweeping generalisation.

started a separate thread to discuss the specifics of that here:
"factors that affect fertility rates"
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=180229

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