In these three chapters, Marx deals with the cost of production (c + v, or k), the commodity value produced (c + v + s, or C) and the way this distinction hides how value is valorised. In dicussing this dissembling he deals with the appearance of capitalism to the agents of production, particularly the capitalists. This is interesting for the tendency of Marxists to focus on the subjectivity of workers, whereas here Marx insists on looking at the subjectivity of capitalists.
Chapter 1: Cost Price & Profit
- The value of any commodity is: C = c + v + s. If we subtract s we get the actual capital-value invested: C – s = c + v. A given commodity is made up of 400 constant and 100 variable capital with a rate of exploitation of 100 per cent. The value of its product C = c + v + s = 400 + 100 + 100 = 600. If we subtract the surplus-value from the commodity value produced we’re left with the sum of the constant and variable capital: C – s = c + v or 600 – 100 = 400 + 100 = 500.
- This is the value advanced by the capitalist, the sum of variable and constant capital, c + v. It is the cost price of the commodity. Marx denotes this k, so c + v = k. The commodity value is C = k + s and the cost price is k = C – s This value simply replaces the capital advanced. The cost price is always smaller than the commodity value produced, which represents the labour that was spent producing it. k < C; or c + v < (c + v) + s.
- Marx’s point here is that k is at a lower level of abstraction than c + v. The cost price appears more readily than the division of cost price into constant and variable capital. As far as capital is concerned surplus-value is returned on the capital they advance to produce a set of comodities, or their cost price: k. In CAPITAL II Marx introduced fixed and fluid capital to talk about the movement of value. Along with a small sum representing the depreciation of the total fixed capital, the fluid capital collapses together constant and variable capital into the cost price, thus dissembling the source of valorisation, v.