Understanding Capital Volume II, John Fox, 1985
The following glossary compiles brief definitions of the central terms employed by Marx in Volume II of Capital.
aggregate social capital: the sum of individual capitals and the interrelations among them.
annual rate of surplus-value: the ratio of surplus-value produced in a year to variable capital advanced for that year; the product of the (real) rate of surplus-value .and the annual number of turnovers.
capital advanced: the amount of money that a capitalist must layout for labor-power and means of production prior to selling the commodity product and thereby recovering money capital.
capital employed: the amount of productive capital actually used in the process of production during a particular period of time.
circuit of capital: the process by which industrial capital-value successively takes on the forms of money capital, productive capital, and commodity capital, moving from the sphere of circulation to the sphere of production and returning to the sphere of circulation.
circulating capital: productive capital whose whole value is incorporated in and circulates with individual commodity products; capital invested in raw materials, auxiliary materials, and labor-power.
circulation time: that portion of the circuit of industrial capital during which it resides in the sphere of circulation as money capital and as commodity capital.
commodity: a product of human labor that is produced, in order to be exchanged.
commodity capital: industrial capital in the form of produced commodities awaiting sale.
constant capital: the part of capital that purchases material means of production (raw materials, auxiliary materials, and instruments of labor); the part of advanced capital that does not expand its value in production.
Department I: the sector of the economy that produces commodities that are purchased by capitalists to be used as means of production.
Department. II: the sector of the economy that produces articles of individual consumption purchased by workers and capitalists; subsistence goods are produced in Department IIa, luxury goods in Department IIb.
exchange value: the relative proportions in which commodities exchange for each other on the market; an expression of their value; the form in which value is manifested.
extended reproduction (capital accumulation): the reinvestment (or capitalization) of a portion of surplus-value in new elements of constant and variable capital, thereby increasing the scale of production.
fixed capital: productive capital whose value does not circulate completely with an individual commodity product, but that rather spreads its value over many products; capital invested in instruments of labor.
hoard: money withdrawn from circulation.
industrial capital: capital-value that participates in the capitalist process of production and therefore produces surplus-value; money capital, productive capital, and commodity capital are the forms of industrial capital that are successively assumed as industrial capital performs its circuit.
instruments of labor: industrial buildings, machinery, etc.
labor-power: literally, the capacity for work; the commodity that the laborer sells to the capitalist in exchange for wages; the use-value of labor-power is labor; its value is the value of the commodities comprising the worker's subsistence.
labor process: the process of creating use-values; its factors include the activity of the worker, the industrial buildings, machinery, etc., and the subject of labor (i.e., the object upon which labor is performed).
latent money capital: a hoard that will eventually be used to purchase new elements of productive capital; also called potential money capital.
means of production: the material factors of the labor process, including raw materials, auxiliary materials, and instruments of labor (broadly construed to include, e.g., buildings).
money capital: industrial capital in the form of money, realized upon sale of commodity capital, and used to purchase new elements of productive capital.
necessary labor: that part of the working day during which the laborer produces value equal to the value of labor-power, value that the laborer realizes in the wage.
production time: that portion of the circuit of industrial capital during which it resides in the sphere of production as productive capital.
productive capital: industrial capital in the sphere of production in the form of material means of production and labor-power.
labor that produces surplus-value
for a capitalist; a productive worker must
(1) sell his or her labor-power to a capitalist,
(2) participate in the production of a use-value, and
(3) be exploited.
rate of profit: the ratio of surplus-value to the sum of constant and variable capital.
rate of surplus-value: the ratio of surplus-value produced (in a period of time) to variable capital employed in production (during the same period); sometimes called the 'real rate of surplus-value' in contradistinction to the 'annual rate of surplus-value'; the rate of surplus-value expresses the degree of exploitation of labor by capital.
realization: the conversion into money form, through the sale of a commodity-product, of the value incorporated in the commodity.
reserve fund: a hoard formed by the capitalist for emergency purposes, to be used to insure the continuity of production when the normal course of the circuit of capital is interrupted.
revenue: that portion of surplus-value spent by capitalists for personal consumption; sometimes used as well to denote workers' wages, which are also spent for personal consumption.
surplus labor: that part of the working day extending beyond necessary labor; the time during which the worker produces surplus-value for the capitalist.
surplus-value: value accruing to the capitalist as a consequence of the working day extending beyond necessary labor time.
technical composition of capital: the relation between the mass of the means of production employed, and the mass of labour necessary for their employment.
turnover time: the duration of the circuit of industrial capital.
use-value: the use(s) to which a commodity may be put; its utility based on its concrete properties as an object; sometimes used to refer to the object itself ("a use value").
value: the amount of socially necessary labor time for the production of a commodity incorporated in that commodity.
value composition of capital: 'the proportion in which it [i.e. capital] is divided into constant capital or value of the means of production, and variable capital or value of labour power, the sum total of wages'
value-product: newly-created commodity value, i.e., the sum of variable capital and surplus-value; to be distinguished from the value of the product, which contains in addition a constant-capital component.
variable capital: that portion of capital expended (in wages) for the purchase of labor-power; the part of advanced capital that expands its value, in production.
virtually additional productive capital: commodities produced in Department I that, when sold, will be employed as new elements of constant capital to expand the scale of production.
wage: the value of labor-power in money, expressed on the surface of society as the price of labor; in real terms, the sum of commodities comprising the laborer's subsistence.
working period: that part of production time during which productive capital participates in the labor process, where value is created.