[OPE-L:6494] Re: Variable Capital

C. J. Arthur (cjarthur@pavilion.co.uk)
Thu, 23 Apr 1998 12:32:33 +0100

A response to Eduardo's 18/4/98 reply to Jurriaan

>A response to Jurriaan (re: 04/15/98)
>> Eduardo writes:
>> Thus, from
>> > the standpoint of the results of the production process, the variable
>> > capital is measured by the amount of new value which is incorporated
>>> into the commodity capital produced.
>> This seems a little confusing. The amount of new value created and
>> incorporated into output over a given period is the equivalent of the
>> wage-payments (variable capital) outlaid PLUS the surplus-value (gross
>> profits). The "new value added", or the new value product, is V+S, not
>> just V.
>Right. This is what I was trying to say. ...
>Variable capital is measured by the money advanced to buy labor

In my view Eduardo has not grasped the force of Jurrian's complaint about
the way he measures variable capital. We have at the end of the message an
interpretatoin of this measure as v but at the beginning it is defined as
v+s. From a formal logical point of view it is completely inconsistent to
offer two different measures of variable capital especially when the result
is that something (v) is defined as part of itself (v+s)!
>From a dialectical point of view it might be possible to get away with it
by arguing that something which remains the same thing while growing is
bound to appear as a part of itself. However what is the same thing in th
circuit is capital not variable capital and v+s is part of the measure of
commodity capital not variable capital.
But the thing which is key is that variable capital cannot be borne by
living labour (only labour power) for as Jerry has shown in an important
passage from the Grundrisse living labour is defined as non-capital. I hope
to comment on that passage shortly.


Chris Arthur