Capital, the Communist Manifesto and Other Writings

By Karl Marx; Max Eastman | Go to book overview
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(circulating capital). Or in other words: everything that I (the capitalist) invest in the production in the shape of raw materials and wages returns to me again through a single process of production; the sum invested in the instruments of labour remains longer within the process and only returns little by little; it must therefore be accumulated again little by little, in order that, once the machines etc. are completely worn-out, the equivalent for replacing them be available. The difference between fixed and circulating capital is thus, so to speak, hammered into the head of the capitalist. But in this sense wages are also regarded, without further ado, as circulating capital. Just like the expenses for raw materials, must wages be recouped from out of the single process of production, and be available for the purchase of fresh labour power. In this way wages (i. e. variable capital) are confounded, owing to appearances, with raw materials (i. e. a part of the constant capital) and both are set up in common contradistinction to the instruments of labour (i. e. the other part of the constant capital). For the superficial observer, the buildings, machines, etc., stand on the one side as fixed capital; whereas on the other side there are the raw and auxiliary materials and the wages of circulating capital. In this way, the essential differences between wages, on the one hand, and the other parts of the circulating capital, on the other, are entirely obscured.


CHAPTER VII
HOW UNIFORM PROFIT IS OBTAINED

(Extracted from vol. III, part 1, ch. 9, German ed.)

LET us now return to the question as to the influence exerted by the difference between fixed and circulating capital on the rate of profit. In our schedule (p. 49) we assumed that the whole of the constant capital reappears immediately in the value of the product (i. e. that is entirely circulating capital). This may occasionally be the case, but it is not the rule. We must therefore take into consideration the fact that,

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