Quota and annual mass of capital gain

Quota and annual mass of capital gain . The sum of the surplus value produced during a year with one or another advanced variable capital constitutes the annual mass of surplus value. The proportion of the mass of surplus value obtained during a year, the anticipated variable capital constitutes the annual quota of surplus value. The delimitation established by Karl Marx between the advanced variable capital and the variable capital actually used allows to unmask the bourgeois conceptions tending to the sphere of circulation as a source of surplus value .


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  • 1 Features of the circulation of variable capital
  • 2 Mass and annual capital gain fee
  • 3 Advance and actually used variable capital
  • 4 Sources

Features of the circulation of variable capital

Due to its form of circulation, variable capital is inserted into circulating capital, so the laws of circulation of circulating capital are extended to variable capital. But, on the other hand, variable capital has its specific characteristics as working capital. These specific features are that:
1) the value of variable capital is not transferred to new goods, but produces new value;
2) variable capital produces not only its own equivalent, but also surplus value . The value of variable capitalanticipated returns to the capitalist simultaneously with the new surplus value. The acceleration of the rotation of variable capital is at the same time the acceleration of the obtaining of surplus value by the capitalist. The faster variable capital rotates, the more often it provides surplus value and the greater the mass of surplus value appropriated by the capitalist. For example:

Suppose you have two capitals with the same variable part ($ 10,000); that the degree of exploitation of the workers is the same, 100%, but the speed of rotation of the variable capitals is different. Capital A makes 12 rotations a year (one rotation a month). Capital B only makes one rotation per year. The first capital rotates in one month, returns to the capitalist, and at the same time provides $ 10,000 of surplus value. The following month the same story repeats itself. During the year, variable capital A performs 12 rotations and provides $ 120,000 of capital gain (10,000 × 12). Second Capital B makes only one rotation a year, and accordingly provides only $ 10,000 of capital gain. Thus,

Mass and annual capital gain fee

The sum of the goodwill provided during the year by one or another advanced variable capital is called the annual mass of goodwill. As it has been said, as the speed of rotation of variable capitals is different, each unit of anticipated variable capital corresponds to a different mass of surplus value. This is inexorably manifested in the annual capital gain quota.

The annual capital gain quota is the ratio of the total mass of capital gain obtained during the year to the value of the anticipated variable capital. In the example above, the annual share of capital gain obtained by capitalist A is 1200% (120,000 / 10,000 × 100), and that obtained by capitalist B 100% (10,000 / 10,000 × 100). It follows that equal amounts of advanced variable capital, the degree of exploitation of the working class being equal, but the speed of its rotation different, provide different annual masses of surplus value and give different annual quotas of surplus value.

This phenomenon seems to indicate as if the share of surplus value did not depend solely on the mass and degree of exploitation of the labor force. mobilized by variable capital, but also on inexplicable factors from the circulation process …

Karl Marx, Capital [1]

The bourgeois economists, on the basis of these appearances of phenomena, conclude that the sphere of circulation is a force that creates, that produces surplus value. In this way they seek to cover up the true source of surplus value, which is the exploitation of wage labor by capital .

In order to unmask these apologetic claims, Marx delimited the anticipated variable capital and the actually used variable capital, as well as the annual share of surplus value and the actual share of surplus value.

Variable capital anticipated and actually used

Advance variable capital is called the variable capital that the capitalist uses to remunerate the workers hired during the year. In the previous example, the anticipated variable capitals were the same. However, the variable capital actually used was a different product of the differences in the speed of rotation. Each of them exploited different numbers of workers at the same time. The first capital purchased labor power monthly for $ 10,000. Assuming that there were 120 workers, and he exploited them in the production process, for a year 120 workers worked for him, and the sum of wagespaid was 10,000 × 12 = $ 120,000. This sum is what represents the variable capital actually used. However, in paying this sum, the capitalist did not have to advance $ 120,000, since each month, the anticipated $ 10,000 returned to the capitalist and was remunerated with that money . Consequently, the magnitude of the anticipated variable capital is in this case much less than the magnitude of the variable capital actually used.

The second capital , equal to 10,000 dollars, which was anticipated for the year, could not employ the same number of workers. Every month the workers had to be paid wages. The capitalist could only advance 1/12 of the total sum of capital, of the $ 10,000, monthly. That is to say, 833 dollars with which it is not possible to hire 120 workers every month and, therefore, the given capital could only hire 10 workers. In the production process, during the year, with this variable capital, 1/12 parts of workers were exploited and provided 1/12 part of surplus value. In this example, the anticipated variable capital and the employed variable capital coincide.

From this it follows that the cause by which one capitalist obtains the year with the same magnitude of anticipated variable capital plus surplus value as another does not lie in the sphere of circulation, but in the sphere of production. Increasing the speed of rotation of variable capital does not in itself create surplus value, but it makes it possible to employ a greater number of workers with a lower anticipated capital and, therefore, allows them to extract more surplus value from them.

The annual share of surplus value, calculated as the ratio of the annual mass of surplus value to the anticipated variable capital, shows an inaccurate idea about the actual share of surplus value, and may increase or decrease it considerably. Thus, in the example given, the annual share of surplus value of one of the capitalists is 1200% of 120,000 / 10,000 × 100). To calculate the real share of capital gain, it is necessary to take its annual mass in relation to the variable capital actually used and not to the anticipated variable capital. In this case, 1200% is not obtained, but 100% (120,000 / 120,000 × 100).

The delimitation established by Marx between the advanced variable capital and the actually employed variable capital allows to unmask the bourgeois conceptions tending to the sphere of circulation as a source of surplus value. In turn, the analysis of capital turnover as a whole allows an in-depth understanding of the role of the sphere of circulation and its reciprocal influence on the production process, as well as its own contradictions.


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