Thursday, 12 September 2013

Capital II, Chapter 6 - Part 10

3) Costs Of Transportation

“The general law is that all costs of circulation, which arise only from changes in the forms of commodities do not add to their value. They are merely expenses incurred in the realisation of the value or in its conversion from one form into another. The capital spent to meet those costs (including the labour done under its control) belongs among the faux frais of capitalist production. They must be replaced from the surplus-product and constitute, as far as the entire capitalist class is concerned, a deduction from the surplus-value or surplus-product, just as the time a labourer needs for the purchase of his means of subsistence is lost time.” (p 152)

The circulation of commodities as much as the production of commodities involves a transformation of matter. In production, matter is physically transformed as a result of chemical and mechanical processes. In circulation, matter in the form of one commodity is metamorphosed into matter in the form of some other commodity via the process of exchange.

This process of exchange can mean that matter in the form of one commodity is moved physically to the location of the other and vice versa. But, it need not.

“Within the circuit of capital and the metamorphosis of commodities, which forms a part of the circuit, an interchange of matter takes place in social labour. This interchange of matter may necessitate a change of location of products, their real motion from one place to another. Still, circulation of commodities can take place without physical motion by them, and there can be transportation of products without circulation of commodities, and even without a direct exchange of products. A house sold by A to B does not wander from one place to another, although it circulates as a commodity. Movable commodity-values, such as cotton or pig iron, may lie in the same storage dump at a time when they are passing through dozens of circulation processes, are bought and resold by speculators. What really does move here is the title of ownership in goods, not the goods themselves. On the other hand, transportation played a prominent role in the land of the Incas, although the social product neither circulated as a commodity nor was distributed by means of barter.” (p 152)

Forward To Part 11

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