Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Capital II, Chapter 12 - Part 1

The Working Period 

Different products require different amounts of time to produce. Some products require essentially one labour process for their completion whereas others require several labour processes undertaken over a long period to form one continued process.

For example, a cotton spinner produces yarn every day, using the same process. Every day, the productive-capital is converted into commodity-capital that can be sold and reconverted into productive-capital. On the other hand, a locomotive manufacturer might require several months to complete a single engine. Every day, the workers come into work and may work for the same length of time as the cotton spinners. They may even be paid on a similar basis, and consume the same means of subsistence. But, every day, the locomotive workers perform a different labour process than that of the previous day, as they complete a different part of the engine.

As a consequence, it takes several months before the productive-capital is transformed into commodity-capital, and so before it can be sold and transformed again into productive-capital.

The distinction between fixed and circulating capital is irrelevant here. That is short labour processes require large amounts of fixed capital that gives up only a small part of its use value and value during the process, and relatively small amounts of circulating capital. But, long labour processes may require relatively little in the way of fixed capital, but large amounts of circulating capital.  For example, cotton spinning might require a large amount of spinning machines, but yarn streams from them by the hour. But, a house might take several weeks to complete, yet the workers only require hand tools.

Moreover, even in the same line of production, different amounts of time will be required. It will take longer to build a factory than a house, for instance.

Back To Chapter 11

Forward To Part 2

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