[OPE-L:2555] Re: Repairing labor

From: Gerald Levy (glevy@PRATT.EDU)
Date: Sat Mar 18 2000 - 23:21:48 EST

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Re Chai-on's [OPE-L:2554]:

> Do you remember we had once discussed on how the repairing labor was
> related to the structure of capital? You argued that it belonged to
> variable capital, but I did it to constant capital.

Yes, I remember although I can't quite remember when (perhaps March-May,

> The follwoing is an excerpt from Capital volume II, which seems to
> support my point. It is from Chapter 8. I want your opinion.

I agree that it seems to support your point. But, it is important to
recall the distinction that Marx makes between fixed and "fluid" capital
in this chapter. "Fluid capital" in this section is said to be the same
as "circulating capital", but my reading of this section is that he is
using both "fluid" and "circulating" capital to describe "not fixed
capital". Hence, "fluid capital"/"circulating capital" would include both
constant circulating capital and variable capital.

However, when Marx writes:

> The capital expended for
> this labour must be classed as circulating capital, although it does
> not enter into the labour-process proper to which the product owes its
> existence. This labour must be continually expended in production, hence
> e product. The capital invested in it belongs in that part of
> circulating capital which has to cover the unproductive costs and is to
> be distributed over the produced values accornding to an annual average
> calculation."

he seems to be classing repair labor as part of the *faux frais* of
production. Since he evidently doesn't view repair labour as productive
of surplus value (and it therefore represents "unproductive costs" to the
capitalist), he doesn't want to include it under variable capital so
instead he places it for accounting purposes under the heading
of "circulating capital" where that term is in _this_ context synonymous
with "fluid capital".

I still maintain, though, that repair labor can not be understood as a
part of constant capital unless we get rid of the distinction between
"dead" and "living" labour -- which I am not repaired to do.

In solidarity, Jerry

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