Let us now consider the formula c + v + s as the expression of the social

product as a whole. Is it only a theoretical abstraction, or does it convey

any real meaning when applied to social life-has the formula any

objective existence in relation to society as a whole? It was left to Marx

to establish the fundamental importance of c, the constant capital, in

economic theory. Yet Adam Smith before him, working exclusively

with the categories of fixed and circulating capital, in effect trans-

formed this fixed capital into constant capital, though he was not aware

of having achieved this result. This constant capital comprises not only

those means of production which wear out in the course of years, but

also those which are completely absorbed by production in any one

year. His very dogma that the total value is resolved into v + s and his

arguments on this point lead Smith to distinguish between the two

categories of production-living labour and inanimate means of

production. On the other hand, when he tries to construe the social

process of reproduction on the basis of the capitals and incomes of

individuals, the fixed capital he conceives of as existing apart from

these, is, in fact, constant capital.