Re: costs of unproductive labor

jurriaan bendien (
Thu, 22 Jan 1998 20:05:28 +0100

In response to Paul:

Variable capital is "capital". But where is it gone now in Paul's account

If the total capital stock consists as you say of

> Plant and equipment
> Stocks of raw materials in the hands of manufacturers
> Stocks of work in progress
> Stocks of finished goods in the wholesale and retail sector.

Then what's happened to the money capital that is used to pay wages, the
money that functions as variable capital ? When I talked about the "stock"
of variable capital, I was referring to the average money capital that must
be kept on hand to pay wages during the year, a sum typically very much
less than the annual expenditure I would imagine, and which might well be
related (in the case of manufacturing) to the number of production cycles
during the year, since at some point the capital outlaid on wages is
recouped from current income.
Presumably Paul is arguing that (1) the employer gets wage-labour "on
credit", and/or (2) variable capital is "by nature" a flow and cannot be
considered as a stock. I am suggesting that at any point in time capital
is tied up to pay wages with, and that is the "stock" or "wages fund", part
of the total capital advanced to obtain a given mass of surplus-value.