Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Capital II, Chapter 6 - Part 7

The Commodity Supply Proper 

Under capitalism, products increasingly take the form of commodities. Because few commodities are immediately consumed, - productively or individually – a growing volume of commodities take the form of commodity-capital, as capitalist production expands. There are two aspects to this. On the one hand, as previously described, this represents a change of form of supply. Under capitalism, compared to direct production, supply in the form of commodity-capital simply replaces what was supply in the form of means of subsistence and production held by the peasant producer for their own requirements. On the other hand, the absolute increase in total supply resulting from the much larger total production of capitalism is reflected in this volume of commodity-capital.

“With the development of capitalist production, the scale of production is determined less and less by the direct demand for the product and more and more by the amount of capital available in the hands of the individual capitalist, by the urge of self-expansion inherent in his capital and by the need of continuity and expansion of the process of production. Thus in each particular branch of production there is a necessary increase in the mass of products available in the market in the shape of commodities, i.e., in search of buyers. The amount of capital fixed for a shorter or longer period in the form of commodity-capital grows. Hence the commodity-supply also grows.” (p 147)

The peasant producer, who produces to directly meet their own requirements, has food in the ground, or small stores, to use when required. They can spin and weave as required to meet their needs. But, the true wage worker has none of these things. They have to buy all their requirements in the market. They must eat daily, and so must be able to go to a shop daily to buy their requirements. But, the shop must have these requirements already to hand as a stock. It must keep a large portion of its capital as commodity-capital. There is no point the shop sending out to the producer for supplies only when the worker comes in to ask for them!

“Although the separate elements of this supply may be in continuous flow, a part of them must always stagnate in order that the supply as a whole may remain in a state of flux.” (p 147)

Back To Part 6

Forward To Part 8

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