Friday, 4 December 2015

Capital III, Chapter 19 - Part 6

Even prior to capitalist production, commerce required the existence of money hoards. The merchant must hold reserves of money, as means of purchase and payment. Even the peasant producer must hold money hoards, because not all of their consumption is met by direct production, and as rent is transformed from being payment in labour service, or in produce, to money rent, as well as tithes and taxes, money is required to meet these obligations.

“This is the first form of a hoard, as it reappears under the capitalist mode of production, and as it appears generally with the development of merchant's capital, at least for the purposes of this capital. Both remarks apply to national, as well as international, circulation. The hoard is in continuous flux, pours ceaselessly into circulation, and returns ceaselessly from it. The second form of a hoard is that of idle, temporarily unemployed capital in the shape of money, including newly accumulated and not yet invested money-capital. The functions entailed by this formation of a hoard are primarily those of safekeeping, bookkeeping, etc.” (p 319)

These latter functions become the basis of interest bearing capital and the development of credit under capitalism, as it seeks to minimise the quantity and time of money lying fallow in this way.

But, the very process of commerce, in all modes of production requires in addition to the above functions people who physically make and receive the payments, i.e. cashiers. These are both employed by the individual businesses, and arise as a separate social function.

Marx quotes Vissering.

Simon Vissering
“Its functions coincide in part with those of the old Amsterdam Bank of Exchange. The cashier receives from the merchants, who employ his services, a certain amount of money, for which he opens a 'credit' for them in his books. Later, they send him their claims, which he collects for them and credits to their account. At the same time, he makes payments on their drafts (kassiers briefes) and charges the amounts to their account. He makes a small charge for these receipts and payments, which yields him a remuneration for his labours only corresponding to the size of the turnover accomplished between the two parties. If payments are to be balanced between two merchants, who both deal with the same cashier, such payments are settled very simply by mutual entries in the books, for the cashiers balance their mutual claims from day to day. The cashier's actual business thus consists basically of this mediation in payments. Therefore, it excludes industrial enterprises, speculation, and opening of unlimited credits; for it must be the rule in this business that the cashier makes no payment over and above the credit of any one keeping an account with him.” (Note 44, p 319)

But, its a fairly simple step forward from here, especially as more money hoards are developed, for these functions of the cashier to be extended into the provision of credit.

“The money trade becomes fully developed, even in its first stages, as soon as its ordinary functions are supplemented by lending and borrowing and by credit.” (p 320)

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