can therefore never reach the limit 100/100, still less rise to 100+x/100. But not so the rate of surplus- value, the real degree of exploitation of labor. Take, e.g., the estimate of L. de Lavergne, according to which the English agricultural laborer gets only 1/4, the capitalist (farmer) on the other hand 3/4 of the product2 or its value, apart from the question of how the booty is subsequently divided between the capitalist, the landlord, and others. According to this, this surplus-labor of the English agricultural laborer is to his necessary labor as 3:1, which gives a rate of exploitation of 300%.
The favorite method of treating the working-day as constant in magnitude became, through the use of formulae II., a fixed usage, because in them surplus-labor is always compared with a working-day of given length. The same holds good when the repartition of the value produced is exclusively kept insight. The working-day that has already been realized in given value, must necessarily be a day of given length.
The habit of representing surplus-value and value of labor-power as fractions of the value created a habit that originates in the capitalist mode of production itself, and whose import will hereafter be disclosed conceals the very transaction that characterizes capital, namely the exchange of variable capital for living labor-power, and the consequent exclusion of the laborer from the product. Instead of the real fact, we have false semblance of an association, in which laborer and capitalist divide the product in proportion to the different elements which they respectively contribute towards its formation.3
Moreover, the formulae II. can at any time be reconverted into formulae I. If, for instance, we have
Surplus- labor of 6 hours , Working-day of 12 hours
then the necessary labor-time being 12 hours less the surplus-labor of 6 hours, we get the following result,
Surplus-labor of 6 hours 100 == -. Necessary labor of 6 hours 100
There is a third formula which I have occassionally already anticipated; it is
Surplus-value Surplus-labor Unpaid labor III. == - == . Value of labor-power Necessary labor Paid labor
After the investigations we have given above, it is no longer possible to be misled, by the formula
Unpaid labor , Paid labor
into concluding, that the capitalist pays for labor and not for labor-power. This formula is only a popular expression for
Surplus-labor -. Necessary labor
The capitalist pays the value, so far as price coincides with value, of the labor-power, and receives in exchange the disposal of the living labor-power itself. His usufruct is spread over two periods. During one the laborer produces a value that is only equal to the value of his labor-power; he produces its equivalent. This the capitalist receives in return for his advance of the price of the labor-power, a product ready made in the market. During the other period, the period of surplus-labor, the usufruct of the labor-power creates a value for the capitalist, that costs him no equivalent.4 This expenditure of labor-power comes to him gratis. In this sense it is that surplus-labor can be called unpaid labor.
Capital, therefore, it not only, as Adam Smith says, the command over labor. It is essentially the command over unpaid labor. All surplus-value, whatever particular form (profit, interest, or rent), it may subsequently crystallize into, is in substance the materialization of unpaid labor. The secret of the self-expansion of capital resolves itself into having the disposal of a definite quantity of other people's unpaid labor.
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