Marx’s Economic Manuscripts of 1861-63
Capital and Profit
Since profit is nothing but the ratio of the surplus value to the total amount of capital advanced, the rate of profit, or its proportional magnitude, evidently depends on two circumstances, firstly the total amount of capital advanced, and secondly the ratio of the variable part of the capital advanced to its constant part. This is when the surplus value is presupposed as given. Otherwise, it depends on 1) the ratio of the surplus value to the variable part of the capital; secondly the ratio of the variable part to the total quantity of capital, or also, and this is the same thing, its ratio to the constant part of the capital. E.g. 50 is 1/2 of 100, but it is, at the same time, 1/(2 x 6) = 1/12 of 600. If 50 = S (surplus value), 100= V, the variable capital, then 50/l00 is the rate of surplus value, which = 1/2 or 50% = s/v. If the total capital is 600=C(500) + V, then 50/600 = 1/12 = 8 1/3% is the profit, which = S/(V+C). (S/V):(S/(V+C) = (V+C):V. or also S/(v+c) (the rate of profit): S/V (is related to the rate of surplus value)= V (as the variable capital): V+ C (is related to the total capital). Thus S/(v+c): S/V = V:(V+C).
Profit is related to surplus value as variable [should read: total] capital is related to total [should read: variable] capital (we do not need the categories of fixed and circulating capital here, because variable capital is circulating capital, but a part of constant capital is also circulating capital, so this antithesis does not belong here) and this evidently depends on the proportion in which constant and variable capital form components of the total capital [C], since V=C-c and c = C-v. If C were = 0, variable capital would have reached its maximum; i.e. the whole amount of the capital advanced would be variable capital, i.e. capital laid out directly in wages. In this case profit would be = s/(c+v) = s/v , i.e. [XVI-979] it would be equal to the surplus value. This would be the expression of its maximum. It declines in the same measure as c grows, and therefore as the total amount of capital advanced, c+v, or C, diverges from the variable capital v. If one considers the expression s/(v+c) , one sees that its magnitude evidently stands in a direct ratio to the absolute magnitude of s, which is however conditioned by the ratio it stands in an inverse ratio to the magnitude of v+ c, i.e. the total amount of capital advanced. With Cherbuliez (see Notebook) the determination of profit would be correct, if he did not confuse product and value of the product, use value and exchange value of the commodity.