Friday, 22 January 2016

Capital III, Chapter 23 - Part 11

There are then two separate but intertwined functions carried out by the functioning capitalist. That which arises simply from the need in large, co-operative labour processes to undertake co-ordination and direction.

“The capitalist mode of production has brought matters to a point where the work of supervision, entirely divorced from the ownership of capital, is always readily obtainable. It has, therefore, come to be useless for the capitalist to perform it himself. An orchestra conductor need not own the instruments of his orchestra, nor is it within the scope of his duties as conductor to have anything to do with the "wages" of the other musicians. Co-operative factories furnish proof that the capitalist has become no less redundant as a functionary in production as he himself, looking down from his high perch, finds the big landowner redundant.” (p 386-7)

Those functions carried out by the industrial capitalist that are of this nature, are necessary, productive-labour.

“The industrial capitalist is a worker, compared to the money-capitalist, but a worker in the sense of capitalist, i.e., an exploiter of the labour of others. The wage which he claims and pockets for this labour is exactly equal to the appropriated quantity of another's labour and depends directly upon the rate of exploitation of this labour, in so far as he undertakes the effort required for exploitation; it does not, however, depend on the degree of exertion that such exploitation demands, and which he can shift to a manager for moderate pay.” (p 387)

And, to illustrate the point, Engels adds that he knows personally of a former owner, who became a paid manager, employed by his former workers, when they took over his factory as a co-operative. To emphasise Marx's point, about the two aspects of the functions of these functioning capitalists, in all such cases, the wages paid to these managers, were always much less than they had paid to themselves as owners.

“The wages of management both for the commercial and industrial manager are completely isolated from the profits of enterprise in the co-operative factories of labourers, as well as in capitalist stock companies. The separation of wages of management from profits of enterprise, purely accidental at other times, is here constant. In a co-operative factory the antagonistic nature of the labour of supervision disappears, because the manager is paid by the labourers instead of representing capital counterposed to them. Stock companies in general — developed with the credit system — have an increasing tendency to separate this work of management as a function from the ownership of capital, be it self-owned or borrowed.” (p 387-8)

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