Front Page Titles (by Subject) II. Price of Production of Commodities of Average Composition. - Capital: A Critique of Political Economy. Volume III: The Process of Capitalist Production as a Whole
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II. Price of Production of Commodities of Average Composition. - Karl Marx, Capital: A Critique of Political Economy. Volume III: The Process of Capitalist Production as a Whole 
Capital: A Critique of Political Economy. Volume III: The Process of Capitalist Production as a Whole, by Karl Marx. Ed. Federick Engels. Trans. from the 1st German edition by Ernest Untermann (Chicago: Charles H. Kerr and Co. Cooperative, 1909).
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II. Price of Production of Commodities of Average Composition.
We have seen that a deviation of the prices of production from the values may be brought about by the following means:
1) By adding to the cost-price of a commodity, not the surplus-value contained in it, but the average profit.
It is therefore possible that the cost-price may differ from the sum of the values of those elements which make up this portion of the price of production, even in the case of commodities produced by capitals of average composition. Take it that the average composition is 80 c + 20 v. Now it is possible that in the actual capitals of this composition 80 c may be greater or smaller than the value of c, the constant capital, because this c may be made up of commodities whose price of production differs from their value. In the same way 20 v might differ from its value, if the laborer consumes commodities whose price of production differs from their value, in which case the laborer would work a longer or shorter time for their reproduction, and would thus perform more or less necessary labor, then would be required, if the price of production of the necessities of life coincided with their value.
However, this possibility does not alter the correctness of the rules laid down for commodities of average composition. The quantity of profit falling to the share of these commodities is equal to the quantity of surplus-value contained in them. For instance, the most important point in a capital of the above composition, 80 c + 20 v, so far as the determination of surplus-value is concerned, is not whether these figures are expressions of actual values, but whether this represents their actual proportion to one another, in other words, whether v is one-fifth, and c four-fifths, of the total capital, Whenever this is actually the case, as was assumed above, then the surplus-value produced by v is equal to the average profit. On the other hand, seeing that this surplus-value is equal to average profit, the price of production, or cost-price plus profit, k +p, is equal to k + s, that is, practically equal to the value of these commodities. This implies that a rise or a fall in wages would not change the price of production, k + p, any more than it would change the value of these commodities. It would merely effect a corresponding opposite movement on the side of profit, a fall or a rise. For if a rise or a fall of wages were to bring about a change in the price of commodities of average composition, then the rate of profit in these spheres of average composition would rise above, or fall below, the level it holds in other spheres. The sphere of average composition maintains the same level of profit as the other spheres only so long as the price remains unchanged. The practical result in the case of this sphere of average composition is the same as though its products were sold at their value. For if commodities are sold at their actual values, it is evident that, other circumstances remaining equal, a rise or a fall in wages will cause a corresponding fall or rise in profits, but no change in the value of commodities, and that under all circumstances a rise or a fall in wages can never affect the value of commodities, but only the magnitude of the surplus-value.