Monday, 27 July 2015

Capital III, Chapter 10 - Part 20

Under simple commodity exchange, the purpose of each producer is to exchange their commodity for some other commodity of equal value, whether that is some other use value or money. But, under capitalism this is not the purpose of production or exchange. The purpose is to obtain at least the average rate of profit for the capital advanced. As such, the capital is not concerned about what it produces, so long as it produces this average profit, and if it doesn't, it looks to some other avenue for investment.

Marx says,

“In this form capital becomes conscious of itself as a social power in which every capitalist participates proportionally to his share in the total social capital.” (p 195) 

But, as I said before, I'm not sure this is correct. Its not clear that every capitalist does see there being some general pool of surplus value out of which each is ladled their proportionate share. Rather, competition between capitals, and the individualist ideology, engendered by that competition surely suggests to each capitalist that their particular profit is a consequence of their individual endeavour. The capitalists do not get together and share out the surplus value consciously on the basis of the capital each contributes. On the contrary, the share of each is snatched from their fellow capitalists via competition. And that very competition, which creates a tendency towards an average rate of profit, at the same time, is an indication of the fact that this average does not exist, as a general rate, enjoyed by all capitals, but that, in fact, a wide variation of profit rates continues to exist both between and within the various spheres of production.

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