Monday, 2 November 2015

Capital III, Chapter 16 - Part 5

What gives merchant capital the character of an independent capital, as opposed to the commodity-capital of the industrial capitalist? It is not that it becomes a specialised function. As capital develops, the productive-capitalists themselves have to devote more resources to developing their own specialised sales and marketing; they employ sales representatives etc., as specialists travelling the globe, promoting sales of the firm's commodities. Yet, these specialised workers and departments remain still an integral aspect of the industrial capital. What makes the merchant capitalist different is that they advance their own independent capital, for the performance of this function, and only this function.

Whether the merchant is simply buying from some other merchant, whether they are selling to a productive or unproductive consumer, their role remains effectively the same.

“This activity of effecting the circulation process of industrial capital is the exclusive function of the money-capital with which the merchant operates. By means of this function he converts his money into money-capital, moulds his M into M — C — M', and by the same process converts commodity-capital into commercial capital.

So long and so far as commercial capital exists in the form of commodity-capital, it is obviously nothing else — from the standpoint of the reproduction process of the total social capital — but a portion of industrial capital in the market in process of metamorphosis, which exists and functions as commodity-capital.” (p 273-4)

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