Thursday, 24 December 2015

Capital III, Chapter 21 - Part 4

Although it is B who advances the £100 of capital, either as productive-capital or as merchant's capital, they can only do so because that capital is provided to them by A, for that purpose.

“Therefore, it is really A who originally expends the £100 as capital, albeit his function as capitalist is limited to this outlay of £100 as capital. In respect to these £100, B acts as capitalist only because A lends him the £100, thus expending them as capital.” (p 340)

The actual circuit of this money-capital is then M-M-C-M'-M'. A lends the money to B, M-M; B uses this money as capital, either as merchant capital or productive-capital, M-C; the value of the capital having expanded, C-M', B then repays the capital sum, plus interest to A, M'-M'.

The only issue here is the extent to which M has expanded, so that when A is repaid M', B is left with some profit of their own, as a result of this process. We should remember the point, made at the beginning, that in speaking of “money-capital” here, what is really meant is a sum of value expressed in money terms. A could just as easily have lent a machine with a value of £100 to B, rather than £100 in money. In that case, at the end of this process, A would require back the machine (plus compensation for any wear and tear) plus the £5 of interest.

For merchant's capital, the same commodity changes hands twice. First it moves from the hands of the seller to those of the merchant. Second, it moves from the hands of the merchant to those of the buyer. If the buyer is another merchant, then the process is repeated.

“But in interest-bearing capital the first time M changes hands is by no means a phase either of the commodity metamorphosis, or of reproduction of capital. It first becomes one when it is expended a second time, in the hands of the active capitalist who carries on trade with it, or transforms it into productive capital. M's first change of hands does not express anything here, beyond its transfer from A to B — a transfer which usually takes place under certain legal forms and stipulations.

This double outlay of money as capital, of which the first is merely a transfer from A to B, is matched by its double reflux.” (p 341)

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