Front Page Titles (by Subject) Free and Invested Capital. - The Theory of Political Economy
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Free and Invested Capital. - William Stanley Jevons, The Theory of Political Economy 
The Theory of Political Economy (London: Macmillan, 1888) 3rd ed.
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Free and Invested Capital.
I believe that the clear explanation of the doctrine of capital requires the use of a term free capital, which has not been hitherto recognised by economists. By free capital I mean the wages of labour, either in its transitory form of money, or its real form of food and other necessaries of life. The ordinary sustenance requisite to support labourers of all ranks when engaged upon their work is really the true form of capital. It is quite in agreement with the ordinary language of commercial men to say, not that a factory, or dock, or railway, or ship, is capital, but that it represents so much capital sunk in the enterprise. To invest capital is to spend money, or the food and maintenance which money purchases, upon the completion of some work. The capital remains invested or sunk until the work has returned profit, equivalent to the first cost, with interest.
Much clearness would result from making the language of Economics more nearly coincident with that of commerce. Accordingly, I would not say that a railway is fixed capital, but that capital is fixed in the railway. The capital is not the railway, but the food of those who made the railway. Abundance of free capital in a country means that there are copious stocks of food, clothing, and every article which people insist upon having—that, in short, everything is so arranged that abundant subsistence and conveniences of every kind are forth-coming without the labour of the country being much taxed to provide them. In such circumstances it is possible that a part of the labourers of the country can be employed on works of which the utility is distant, and yet no one will feel scarcity in the present.