[OPE-L:3853] Re: productive and unproductive labour

Chai-on Le (conlee@chonnam.chonnam.ac.kr)
Tue, 17 Dec 1996 19:53:28 -0800 (PST)

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In [3847], Jerry wrote:

>The key part of the above passage is the clear statement by Marx (said
>twice) that the capital spent on labor for the maintenance of fixed
>capital is *fluid capital*. Fluid capital, by definition, is *not* fixed
>capital (this distinction is discussed in Section 1 of Ch. 8).

Yes, it is a fluid capital. But this is not saying it is a productive,
variable capital. And, as I said in the previous reply, the repairing cost
is also classed as fixed capital (as quoted from vol II, p 255)

>is distributed in a certain line of business. This *average* expenditure
>over its average life and *added* in corresponding aliquot parts to the
>*price* of the product, and this is how it is replaced by the product's
>sale" (emphasis added, JL).

It is added in the same way as the (costant) fluid capital is transferred to
the value of outputs. Or in the same way as the armotization fund is

>"The extra capital that is replaced in this way is part of the *fluid
>capital*, *even though its expenditure is of an irregular kind*. Since it
>is of the utmost importance to treat every ailment of the machinery
>immediately, every large factory has, in addition to the factory workers
>proper, a staff of engineer, carpenter, mechanic, fitter, etc. *Their
>wages form part of the variable capital, and the value of their labour is
>distributed over the product* (emphasis added. JL).

Yes, it is a fluid capital. And their labor is a part of a collective
laborer and so it forms a aprt of variable capital, just as the wage of the
overseers does. It formed a variable capital irrespectively of whether
actual repairs occurred or not. Why not note the passage "it is not an agent
of production but rather raw material" which I quoted in the previous post?

>This does not alter the fact, though, that money-capital allocated for the
>repair of fixed capital by wage-earners working for the capitalist is
>fluid capital (not fixed) and that the wages for the above cited type of
>skilled workers (engineer, carpenter ...) form part of variable capital.

Yes, it is a fluid capital, but, in the way of its turnover, it is fixed
capital as Marx said. "This capital spent on repairs in the strict sense
forms in many respects a capital of a peculiar kind; it cannot be properly
classed either as fluid or as fixed capital, but, since it is part of the
running expenses, it tends more towards the first of the two forms." (p 255)
and in the same page below, he explained the capitalists were readjusting
the life span of the fixed capital to compensate for the repair costs.

In solidarity, Chai-on