[OPE-L] Theoretical/empirical error in Marx in converting surplus value into additional capital?

From: Jurriaan Bendien (adsl675281@TISCALI.NL)
Date: Sat Jul 28 2007 - 07:46:52 EDT


Fixed capital is normally defined as tangible physical assets which are held for more than one accounting period, usually one year, and not used up during that period. This implies that there is no necessity or necessary intention to replace a fixed asset after one accounting period. Reproduction could be simple, or expanded. Even if additional workers are hired, there need not be any fixed relationship between Cf and V. Extra spinners could be recruited to work the same machine both day and night (more throughput, in the same interval). But I agree Marx himself could have thought better through his example, among other things because he does not explicitly itemise the components of the constant capital outlay.

Here is another quote from Marx from Cap. 1 chapter 24 on the subject (emphasis added):

Employing surplus-value as capital, reconverting it into capital, is called accumulation of capital. First let us consider this transaction from the standpoint of the individual capitalist. Suppose a spinner to have advanced a capital of 10,000, of which four-fifths (8,000) are laid out in cotton, machinery, &c., and one-fifth (2,000) in wages. Let him produce 240,000 lbs. of yam annually, having a value of 2,000. The rate of surplus-value being 100%, the surplus-value lies in the surplus or net product of 40,000 lbs. of yarn, one-sixth of the gross product, with a value of 2,000 which will be realised by a sale. (...) In order to convert this additional sum of 2,000 into capital, the master-spinner will, ALL CIRCUMSTANCES REMAINING AS BEFORE, advance four-fifths of it (1,600) in the purchase of cotton, &c., and one-fifth (400) in the purchase of additional spinners, who will find in the market the necessaries of life whose value the master has advanced to them. (...) The annual production, must in the first place furnish all those objects (use-values) from which the material components of capital, USED UP IN THE COURSE OF A YEAR, have to be replaced. (...) Now in order to allow of these elements actually functioning as capital, the capitalist class requires additional labour. If the exploitation of the labourers already employed do not increase, either extensively or intensively, then additional labour-power must be found. (...) We here leave out of consideration the portion of the surplus-value consumed by the capitalist. Just as little does it concern us, for the moment, whether the additional capital is joined on to the original capital, or is separated from it to function independently; whether the same capitalist, who accumulated it, employs it, or whether he hands it over to another. http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/ch24.htm


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