By Geoffrey Kay (auth.)
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It is possible in some cases for M' to equal M; in others for M' to be less than M; but it is not possible to find the reason for the circuit in these terms, since the first result is a waste of time and the second a waste of money. The only rational explanation is that M' regularly exceeds M. As money is the form of existence of value, this positive difference between the second and the first sums of money amounts to a difference in value. In other words M' equals M plus an excess of value, or what is called surplus value.
The depreciation of the means of production equals the value they contribute to the new product so this item nets out. We are left with the contribution made by living labour and where surplus production occurs this amount is more than sufficient to meet the necessary consumption of the workers. In other words, the living workers produce each year a value in excess of what is needed to maintain them: they produce a value in excess of the value of their labour-power. 5 million hours to produce. The figure is arbitrary and chosen only for arithmetic convenience.
Third, the use of the qualification social indicates that the value of a commodity is determined not only by the average level of productivity in the industry that produces it, but also by conditions in other branches of the economy. Thus, for example, improved efficiency in the steel industry which reduces the amount of labour needed to make a ton of steel has general repercussions and reduces the value of all commodities that use steel. To sum up: commodities have value because they are produced by labour; and the magnitude of their value is determined by the amount of labour socially necessary for their production.