# [OPE-L:3544] Re: Productive and Unproductive Labour

Paul Cockshott (wpc@cs.strath.ac.uk)
Mon, 28 Oct 1996 06:09:37 -0800 (PST)

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Paul C wrote in [OPE-L:3523]:

> I have always followed Gillman and used at least 4 categories c,v,s,and u
> for unproductive wages.
> When dealing with real figures one has to introduce K for the capital
> stock as well.
> The rate of profit is then well approximated by
> s - u
> -----
> k
> since, given the fact that workers are paid either weekly or monthly, the
> outstanding
> stock of variable capital is at any one momement small v can be ignored.

A. Huh? You say that u = unproductive wages. Yet, presumably,
unproductive workers are also being paid on either a weekly or monthly
basis. So, if the "stock" of v is so small that it can be ignored,
then the "stock" of u should also be very small. So, to be more
consistent, you should write:

s - u s
----- or ---
k + v k

B. What is the stock of v?

Paul replies
the point is that s is a flow quantity as are v and u, whereas K is a stock quantity.
In expressing a rate per unit time one has to divide a flow per unit time by a stock.
One has to subtract u from s because it is a very significant flow, even if a weeks
wages to unproductive workers is a very insignificant capital stock.

C. Unless one is attempting a *very* short-run calculation of r (e.g. what
the individual r on Thursday, 10/24 but not Friday, 10/25 when many
workers get paid and there is then a sharp decrease in *daily*
profit), then v would enter into the determination of r. Yet, why
would you be concerned with the daily or hourly r since you
are trying to calculate r? BTW, and very importantly, wage costs
don't simply drop-off of the capitalists' books because wages may not
be paid today or tomorrow. They know that those wages are a cost which
can not be forgotten even when making very short-run cost or pricing
decisions -- and so should we.

In Solidarity,

Jerry

Of course one can not forget wage costs as a flow but they are small as a stock

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