[OPE-L:4254] Re: variable capital and time

Paul Cockshot (wpc@cs.strath.ac.uk)
Wed, 26 Feb 1997 04:07:21 -0800 (PST)

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A Ramos:
> I am not sure to understand you. Are you suggesting that, for
> instance, we should consider that workers are paid on a "per second"
> basis? That is, the worker works one second and *instantly* his/her
> bank account increases in the corresponding amount of money?
To a first order of approximation yes, one should assume that there
is continuous consumption of labour power 24 hours a day accross the
world economy. This consumption has a dimension of x million person powers.
It is important to recognise that labour is not a flow, it is a stock.
Labour time is measured in person hours. Expressed continuously this
would be person hours per hour, which is simply persons.

Statements about labour values are thus statements about the instantaneous
static allocation of numbers of people to different productive activities.

The payment for labour power is also continuous, but does not take place
at a constant rate, the payment rate rises towards the end of the week and
towards the end of the month. The payment has a dimension in terms of
millions of dollars per second.

> Or, regarding constant capital, the capitalist *instantly* purchases
> and consumes means of production?
The capitalist class as a whole is continuously purchasing means of
which are continously being productively consumed.

>A world without stocks?
This is not implied. One simply has to realise that there are both stocks
and flows. This reality is much more apparent in contiuous time than in
the artificial 'production' period approach, which is a physiocratic
hangover. Flows are the rate of change of stocks with respect to time.