Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Capital III, Chapter 15 - Part 49

As stated earlier, the monopoly of private capital represented a fetter on its further development. But, the development of joint stock companies burst asunder that fetter. By mobilising the resources of millions of individual shareholders, it mobilised far more money-capital than even the wealthiest of private capitalists could muster. It meant that those providing the money-capital need know nothing about running the business in which they were investing, and that social function could be left to the professional manager. Whilst the share and bond capital provided the main strategic finance for the company, credit provided it with the day to day working capital, again mobilising the tiny savings of millions of people.

Marx then sets up the scene for his later exposition of how this background leads to the “expropriation of the expropriators” via the rise of the joint stock companies and workers co-operatives. Both these latter represent socialised capital and transitional forms of property on the way to the associated mode of production. Both represent the abolition of private capital within the capitalist system itself.

He sets out three cardinal facts about capitalist production.

  1. Capitalism brings about socialised production because it removes it from the hands of individual peasant and artisan producers. It concentrates the means of production in a few hands. But really, the capitalist in whose hands it rests is only its temporary guardian.

    “Even if initially they are the private property of capitalists. These are the trustees of bourgeois society, but they pocket all the proceeds of this trusteeship.” (p 266)
  2. Capitalist production, via the division of labour makes all labour co-operative, and, therefore, labour itself is turned into a social power. The productivity and the production of each worker is in reality dependent on the labour of every other worker in the global economy.

    “In these two senses, the capitalist mode of production abolishes private property and private labour, even though in contradictory forms.” (p 266)
  3. Capitalist production continues to expand at an increasing pace in terms of use values produced, if not value created. That comes into conflict with the ability of markets to absorb all these use values, which leads to crises. But, it also leads to the development of a world market, as they continually need to find new markets as this mass of use values continually increases.

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