Sunday, 17 January 2016

Capital III, Chapter 23 - Part 6

As soon as the fetters of the monopoly of private capital are burst asunder, by the development of the joint stock companies, on a large scale, a large proportion of the capital is accounted for by money-capital, in the form of share capital, as individual capitalists could not mobilise the huge sums these mammoth capitals required. At this point, as Marx sets out later, the category of profit effectively disappears, because the shareholders are essentially money-capitalists who make available money-capital, in return for shares, and receive interest on this money-capital, in the shape of dividends. The functioning capitalist becomes merely a professional manager paid wages.

Qualitatively speaking, interest is surplus-value yielded by the mere ownership of capital; it is yielded by capital as such, even though its owner remains outside the reproduction process. Hence it is surplus-value realised by capital outside of its process.

speaking, that portion of profit which forms interest does not seem to be related to industrial or commercial capital as such, but to money-capital, and the rate of this portion of surplus-value, the rate of interest, reinforces this relation.” (p 377)

Interest appears to be simply a return on capital, because although the rate of interest actually depends on the rate of profit, it is determined by quite different and separate laws relating to the demand and supply of money-capital, which appear to fix the rate of interest as a price of money, just as the price of any other commodity is fixed in the market by competition.

If industrial capitalists owned all of the capital, there would be no category of interest. It is only because money-capital exists, in the hands of money-capitalists, that the surplus value is divided into interest and profit of enterprise, and this division appears to be based on the fact that interest is a price for money-capital alone, which is reinforced by the fact that this interest is paid whether the money-capital is loaned out for productive purposes or not. It seems then that interest and profit of enterprise, although they are only a quantitative division of the surplus value, are qualitatively different and derive from qualitatively different sources.

The money-capitalist does not confront the worker that produces the surplus-value, but the industrial capitalist who is its initial recipient. Whereas the industrial capitalist immediately confronts the worker as the representative of a qualitatively different category – Labour – in relation to the division of the newly produced value, the industrial capitalist now also confronts the money-capitalist as the representative of what becomes a qualitatively different category – Interest-bearing Capital – over the division of the realised surplus value.

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