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Chapter 8: Constant capital and variable Capital

David Harvey: 'Simple enough in content'

'The worker adds fresh value to the material of his labout by expending on it a given amount of additional labour, no matter what the specific content, purpose and technical character of that labour may be' (307)

Twofold character of labour: 1: adding fresh value and 2: transferring the value of the means of production to the product

'if a use-value is effectively consumed in the production of a new use-value, the quantity of labour expended to produce the article which has been consumed forms a part of the quantity of labour necessary to produce the new use-value' (308)

'Hence the worker preserves the values of the already consumed means of production or transfers them to the product as portions of its labour, not by virtue of his additional labour as such, but by virtue of the particular useful character of that labour, by virtue of its specific form' (308)

'the addition of new value takes place (...) because it is labour in general, abstract social labour; and we also see that the value added is of a certain definite amount, not because his labour has a particular useful content, but because it lasts for a definite length of time (308)

'By the simple addition of a certain quantity of labour, new value is added, and by the quality of this added labour, the original values of the means of production are preserved in the product.' (309)


If a machine works faster, labour adds less value but more value is form for example the cotton is preserved by being transferred to the product

'the value preserved in the product is directly proportional to the new value added to the product' (310)

'value exists only in use-values, in things, if we leave aside its purely symbolic representation in tokens' (310)

'Hence it follows that in the labour-process the means of production transfer their value to the product only in so far as they lose they lose their exchange value along with their independent use-value. They only give pu to the product the value they themselves lose as a means of production' (311)

Why? Because 'means of production never transfer more value to the product they themselves lose during the labour process' (312)

'If an instrument of production has no value to lose, i.e. If it is not the product of human labour, it transfers no value to the product. It helps to create use-value without contributing to the formation of exchange-value' (312)

'the means of production can never add more value to the product than they themselves posses independently of the process in which they assist' (314)

It is the use-value of the means of production that is consumed, their value is preserved by being transferred into the product

'While labour, because it is directed to a specific purpose, preserves and transfers to the product the vlaue of the means of production, at the same time, throughout every instant it is in motion, it is creating an additional value, a new value' (316)

This is the only orginal value formed during the proces.

Definitions: constant capital: that part of capital which is turned into means of production. This capital does not change in value inside the production process but is transferred. Value is immaterial but objective

variabel capital: that part of capital which is turned into labour-power and both reproduces the equivalent of its own value and produces an excess.

'The same elements of capital which, from the point of view of the labour process, can be distinguished respectively as the objective and subjective factors, as means of production and labour-power, can be distinguished, form the point of view of the valorization process, as constant and variable capital' (317)

'The value of a commidity is certainly determined by the quantity of labour contained in it, but this quantity is itself socially determined' (318)

Chapter 9: The rate of Surplus-Value

The capital C is made up of from 'c' laid out on means of production and 'v', the money expended on labour power (c is contstant capital, v is variable capital) The surplus is the amount by which the product exceeds s and v in value (320)

surplus value, like all value, must come from v

'In order to enable one portion of capital to realize its value by being converted into labour-power, it is necessary that another portion be converted into means of production' (323)

Where does surplus value come from? The parts of working time: - the part in which workers reproduce the value of their labour power: necessary labour-time. The labour expended during this time is necessary labour - the part in which their labour in no longer necessary labour and workers create value for the capitalist: surplus labour-time. Labour: surplus labour (325)

'Since, on the one hand, the variable capital and the labour-power purchased by that capital are equal in value, and the value of this labour-power determines the necessary part of the working day; and since, on the other hand, the surplus-value is determined by the surplus value part of the working day, it follows that surplus-value is in the same ratio to variable capital as surplus labour is to necessary labour.' (326)

'The rate of surplus value is therefore an exact expression for the degree of exploitation of labour-power by capital, or of the worker by the capitalist' (326)

Method for calculating the rate of surplus-value: take total value of the product and posit the constant capital – which merely re-appears – as zero. What remains is the value produced in the production process. 'If the amonut of surplus-value is given, we have only to deduct from this remainder to find the variable capital. And vice versa if the latter is given and we need to find the surplus-value. If both are given, we have only to perform the concluding operation, namely calculate s (surplus value) divided by v (variable capital), the ratio of the surplus value to the variable capital' (327)

The three parts of the product: - one part represents the labour previously spent on the means of production (constant capital) - one part represents the necessary labour spent during the production proces (variable capital) - one part the surplus labour expended during the production process, the surplus value (331)

Senior's last hour: error is in thinking that workers must first reproduce the entire means of production before starting to reproduce their own labour-power and create surplus-value.

It is possible to calculate the total lenght of the working day?

The rate of surplus value only gives the ratio between necessary and labour time, not the amoureus Under capitalism, the working day can never be shorter than the necessary labour time but there also exist moral and physical limits to the working day (341)

Limits to the working day: phsysical limits (a worker dead from exhaustion is not avery productive worker)

Moral obstacles: 'conditioned by the general level of civilization' (341)

'Capital has one sole driving force, the drive to valorize itself, to create surplus-value, to make its constant part, the means of production, absorb the greatest possible amount of surplus labour. Capital is dead labour which, vampire-like, lives only by sucking labour, and lives the more, the more labour it sucks' (342)

conflicting rights of the worker and the capitalist: the capitalist has the right to exploit his purchase as much as possible, the workers have the right of sellers to demand the reduction of the working day to a particular length (344)

right against right: 'between equal rights, force decides' (344)

working day is decide by social conditions and struggle

Capital did not invent surplus labour (344)

'in any economic formation of society where the use-value rather than the exchange value of the product predominates, surplus labour will be restricted by a more or less confined set of needs and that no boundless thirst for surplus labour will arise from the character of production itself' (345)

Example of corvée, where the two parts of the working day are separated.

English Factory Laws: put limits to working hours but 'by a state ruled by capitalist and landlord'

Examples of factory work and bakers

'The aduleration of bread, and the formation of a class of bakers who sell their bread for less than its full price, are developments which have taken place in England since the beginning of the eighteenth century, i.e as soon as the corporate character of the trade was lost, and the capitalist stepped behind the nominal master baker in the shape of a miller or a flour factor' (361)

Chapter 10: The working day