[OPE-L:3862] Re: Is a repaired machine dearer than normal one?

Gerald Lev (glevy@pratt.edu)
Thu, 19 Dec 1996 08:31:38 -0800 (PST)

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Chai-on wrote in [OPE-L:3857]:

> Is a repaired machine (one year old) dearer than normal one of the same age?
> If the repaier's labor is productive, why is the one not more expensive than
> the other?

A repaired machine is dearer than if that machine was not repaired. All
machinery requires certain routine maintenance and repairs for it to
function properly. The labor expended on maintenance helps prevent
premature physical depreciation due to neglect. Without this maintenance
and repair of fixed capital, all production _in extremis_ can cease (e.g.
on an assembly line it can lead to a stoppage of the entire line). Thus,
these repairs can allow production to proceed with the average social
productivity of labor.

> Even supervisor's wage, too forms part of the variable capital. But this
> does not mean his labor is productive.

Why do the wages of superintendance represent a component part of variable
capital rather than a deduction from surplus value? [NB: we have discussed
this question before].

> You asked, "Yet, how can living labor *be* a raw material?" Since it does
> not add value in the same way as other living labors do, but simply adds its
> own cost to the value of output, it is like a raw material. If there is some
> saving in the waste of the material, it also increases the surplus value.

It may be _like_ a raw material but it is also _unlike_ a raw material.

Doesn't all labor expended on maintenance and repair on fixed capital save
on the premature depreciation and "waste" of the value of that fixed

In solidarity, Jerry