[OPE-L:6536] [CHRIS] Non-Capital and Variable Capital

Gerald Levy (glevy@pratt.edu)
Sat, 2 May 1998 18:37:19 -0400 (EDT)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sat, 2 May 1998 20:54:53 +0100
From: "C. J. Arthur" <cjarthur@pavilion.co.uk>

Jerry wrote
>I began this interesting thread with some questions about the following
> "*Use-value* confronting capital as posited exchange-value is
> *labour*. Capital exchanges itself, or exists in this specific
> form only in relation to *non-capital*, the negation of
> capital, in respect to which alone it is capital; the real
> non-capital is *labour*" (_CW'_, Vol. 28, p. 204, emphasis in
> original).
> *******************

>Chris writes:
>> So living labour as not-capital i.e. as use value is the source of new
>> value and the condition of capital's increase. But labour power does not
>> generate such a flow of service automatically for the workers are
>> recalcitrant to their exploitation; living labour is forced labour because
>> it is not an expression of the purposes of the labourer but of capital.
>> Thus living labour is not merely non-capital in some formal sense, it stands
>> opposed to capital; it has to be 'pumped out' as Marx graphically puts it.
>> Capital cannot simply invest itself in this commodity which is other than
>> it. It can only produce value in negating this its negation, ie. through
>> [winning] the class struggle at the point of production. Dialectically,
>> here the opposition of use value and value is heightened into an actual
>> contradiction. New value is the successful reification of living labour.
>I agree. Thus when capital advances money capital in the form of variable
>capital [*] for labour-power, there is the recognition that this
>represents *only* the _potential_, or abstract formal possibility, of
>new value creation (and surplus-value and profit). This is because, as you
>say, living labour must be "pumped out". Towards that end, capital must
>confront labour as non-capital and labour comes to confront capital as
Wow. I thought I was something of a dialectician but you have lost me there
Jerry. Can you explain this last sentence. I could understand a different
one in which variable capital confronts capital as non-capital and where
labour confronts itself in the shape of non-labour (i.e. as capital =
stored up labour).
Chris Arthur