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tions of wages (except passing fluctuations) are usually general, and have no considerable effect on value.
§ 4. Thus far of labour, or wages, as an element in cost of production. But in our analysis, in the First Book, of the requisites of production, we found that there is another necessary element in it besides labour. There is also capital; and this being the result of abstinence, the produce, or its value, must be sufficient to remunerate, not only all the labour required, but the abstinence of all the persons by whom the remuneration of the different classes of labourers was advanced. The return for abstinence is Profit. And profit, we have also seen, is not exclusively the surplus remaining to the capitalist after he has been compensated for his outlay, but forms, in most cases, no unimportant part of the outlay itself. The flax-spinner, part of whose expenses consists of the purchase of flax and of machinery, has had to pay, in their price, not only the wages of the labour by which the flax was grown and the machinery made, but the profits of the grower, the flax-dresser, the miner, the ironfounder, and the machine-maker. All these profits, together with those of the spinner himself, were again advanced by the weaver, in the price of his material, linen yarn; and along with them the profits of a fresh set of machine-makers, and of the miners and iron-workers who supplied them with their metallic material. All these advances form part of the cost of production of linen. Profits, therefore, as well as wages, enter into the cost of production which determines the value of the produce.
Value, however, being purely relative, cannot depend upon absolute profits, no more than upon absolute wages, but upon relative profits only. High general profits cannot, any more than high general wages, be a cause of high values, because high general values are an absurdity and a contradiction. In so far as profits enter into the cost of production of all things, they cannot affect the value of any. It is only by entering in a greater degree into the cost of production of some things than of others, that they can have any influence on value. For example, we have seen that there are causes which necessitate a permanently higher rate of profit in certain employments than in others. There must be a compensation for superior risk, trouble, and disagreeableness. This can only be obtained by selling the commodity at a value above that which is due to the quantity of labour necessary for its production. If gunpowder exchanged for other things in no higher ratio than that of the labour required from first to last for producing it, no one would set up a powder-mill. Butchers are certainly a more prosperous class than bakers, and do not seem to be exposed to greater risks, since it is not remarked that they are oftener bankrupts. They seem, therefore, to obtain higher profits, which can only arise from the more limited competition caused by the unpleasantness, and to a certain degree, the unpopularity of their trade. But this higher profit implies that they sell their commodity at a higher value than that due to their labour and outlay. All inequalities of profit which are necessary and permanent, are represented in the relative values of the commo
§ 5. Profits, however, may enter more largely into the conditions of production of one commodity than of another, even though there be no difference in the rate of profit between the two employments. The one commodity may be called upon to yield profit during a longer period of time than the other. The example by which this case is usually illustrated is that of wine. Suppose a quantity of wine, and a quantity of cloth, made by equal amounts of labour, and that labour paid at the same rate. The cloth does not improve by keeping; the wine does. Suppose that, to attain the desired quality, the wine requires to be kept five years. The producer or dealer will not keep it, unless at the end of
five years he can sell it for as much more than the cloth, as amounts to five years profit, accumulated at compound interest. The wine and the cloth were made by the same original outlay. Here then is a case in which the natural values, relatively to one another, of two commodities, do not conform to their cost of production alone, but to their cost of production plus something else. Unless, indeed, for the sake of generality in the expression, we include the profit which the wine-merchant foregoes during the five years, in the cost of production of the wine : looking upon it as a kind of additional outlay, over and above his other advances, for which outlay he must be indemnified at last. All commodities made by machinery are assimilated, at least approximately, to the wine in the preceding example. In comparison with things made wholly by immediate labour, profits enter more largely into their cost of production. Suppose two commodities, A and B, each requiring a year for its production, by means of a capital which we will on this occasion denote by money, and suppose to be 1000l. A is made wholly by immediate labour, the whole 1000l. being expended directly in wages. B is made by means of labour which cost 500l. and a machine which cost 500l., and the machine is worn out by one year's use. The two commodities will be exactly of the same value; which, if computed in money, and if profits are 20 per cent per annum, will be 1200l. But of this 1200l., in the case of A, only 200l., or one-sixth, is profit; while in the case of B there is not only the 200l., but as much of 500l. (the price of the machine) as consisted of the profits of the machine-maker; which, if we suppose the machine also to have taken a year for its production, is again one-sixth. So that in the case of A only one-sixth of the entire return is profit, whilst in B the element of profit comprises not only a sixth of the whole, but an additional sixth of a large part. The greater the proportion of the whole capital which consists of machinery, or buildings, or material, or anything else which must be provided before the immediate labour can commence, the more largely will profits enter into the cost of production. It is equally true, though not so obvious at first sight, that greater durability in the portion of capital which consists of machinery or buildings, has precisely the same effect as a greater amount of it. As we just supposed one extreme case, of a machine entirely worn out by a year's use, let us now suppose the opposite and still more extreme case of a machine which lasts for ever, and requires no repairs. In this case, which is as well suited for the purpose of illustration as if it were a possible one, it will be unnecessary that the manufacturer should ever be repaid the 500l. which he gave for the machine, since he has always the machine itself, worth 500l. ; but he must be paid, as before, a profit on it. The commodity B, therefore, which in the case previously supposed was sold for 1200l. of which sum 1000l. were to replace the capital and 200l. were profit, can now be sold for 700l., being 500/. to replace wages, and 200l. profit on the entire capital. Profit, therefore, enters into the value of B in the ratio of 2007, out of 700/., being twosevenths of the whole, or 28} per cent, while in the case of A, as before, it enters only in the ratio of one-sixth, or 163 per cent. The case is of course purely ideal, since no machinery or other fixed capital lasts for ever; but the more durable it is, the nearer it approaches to this ideal case, and the more largely does profit enter into the return. If, for instance, a machine worth 500/. loses one-fifth of its value by each year's use, 100/. must be added to the return to make up this loss, and the price of the commodity will be 800/. Profit therefore will enter into it in the ratio of 200l. to 800i, or one fourth, which is still a much higher proportion than one-sixth, or 200/. in 1200/, as in case A. From the unequal proportion in which, in different employments, profits enter into the advances of the capitalist, and therefore into the returns required by him, two conse
do not exchange in the ratio simply of the quantities of labour required to produce them; not even if we allow for the unequal rates at which different kinds of labour are permanently remunerated. We have already illustrated this by the example of wine : we shall now further exemplify it by the case of commodities made by machinery. Suppose, as before, an article A made by a thousand pounds' worth of immediate labour. But instead of B, made by 500/. worth of immediate labour and a machine worth 500/., let us suppose C, made by 500/. worth of immediate labour with the aid of a machine which has been produced by another 500/. worth of immediate labour: the machine requiring a year for making, and worn out by a year's use; profits being as before 20 per cent. A and C are made by equal quantities of labour, paid at the same rate : A costs 1000/. worth of direct labour; C, only 500/. worth, which however is made up to 1000l. by the labour expended in the construction of the machine. If labour, or its remuneration, were the sole ingredient of cost of production, these two things would exchange for one another. But will they do so : Certainly not. The machine having been made in a year by an outlay of 500/., and profits being 20 per cent, the natural price of the machine is 6007. : making an additional 100/. which must be advanced, over and above his other expenses, by the manufacturer of C, and repaid to him with a profit of 20 per cent. While, therefore, the commodity A is sold for 1200/., C cannot be permanently sold for less than 1320/. A second consequence is, that every rise or fall of general profits will have an effect on values. Not indeed by raising or lowering them generally, (which, as we have so often said, is a contradiction and an impossibility): but by altering the proportion in which the values of things are affected by the unequal lengths of time for which profit is due. When two things, though made by equal labour, are of unequal value because the one is called upon to yield profit for a greater num