# [OPE-L:4247] Re: variable capital and time

Gerald Lev (glevy@pratt.edu)
Thu, 20 Feb 1997 18:42:43 -0800 (PST)

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I'll let the TSSers deal with the TSS questions posed by Alejandro R in
[4242] and [4245]. On the question of "v and time", Alejandro wrote in
[4245]:

> > For example, if we follow the usual convention of thinking of a period as
> > 1 year, reproduction of the wage-earners would be impossible to conceive
> > even abstractly for those workers who are hired at the beginning of a year
> > but are not paid until the end of a year! What do they survive on _during_
> > the year?
> Well, in order to simplify the math you could imagine that workers are
> paid at the end of period t when, immediatly, they purchase all the
> means of consumption which will be consumed in period t+1. They
> survive during t+1 consuming their big stocks of "wheat". The only
> thing you are doing is abstracting a lot of little payments by
> concentrating them in only one big purchase. Of course this is
> irrealistic. Actually, these "big stocks" are managed by merchant
> capital...

No, that is not the _only_ thing one is abstracting from. One would also
have to assume that the size of the working population is constant from
period t through period t + 1. If, however, the size of the industrial
reserve army is greater than 0, then as new workers enter into the
production process during period t + 1 (who weren't employed during period
t), then the wage payments for these workers could not wait until the end
of period t + 1. This is so for both "natural" reasons and social reasons.
The "natural" reason is that workers could not, in general, subsist for an
entire year (period) without money for means of consumption. The social
reason is, primarily, that workers would, in general, not agree to work
for a year (period) before they would be paid and would resist capital's
attempts to delay wage payments to the end of the year (period).

> In any case, I find difficult to think
> that someone can disagree with the fact that "time matters". Do you?

I don't think that time really matters within the Walrasian (as distinct
from the Austrian) tradition. But, I don't think there would be any
Marxists who would deny that "time matters."

In solidarity, Jerry