Saturday, 16 April 2016

Capital III, Chapter 31 - Part 7

The money-capital that is loaned out and derived from the surplus value created in production, is the money equivalent of a proportion of the commodity-capital. In other words, the surplus value is the money equivalent of the surplus product, represented by a given quantity of commodities. A proportion of the surplus value is used by the capitalist to buy commodities for their own consumption. As was seen in Capital II, these commodities themselves form part of the surplus product of other capitals.

A further portion of that surplus value is used for accumulation. Once again, as seen in Capital II, the commodities required as means of production for that accumulation, and as means of consumption required by the additional workers, taken on as part of that accumulation, also form part of the surplus product of other capitals.

But, a portion of the surplus value not used immediately for these purposes, must then be held in money form, until it is required. Again, as was shown in Capital II, there is no reason that all of the surplus value could not simply assume the form of such money hoards, as the money itself represents a portion of the surplus product – most easily seen where that money is in the form of gold.

It is the portion of the surplus value not used for either productive or unproductive purposes, which is then held in money form, which forms the additional money-capital available to be loaned.

“This amount increases with the amount of capital itself, even when the rate of profit declines. That portion which is to be spent as revenue is gradually consumed, but, in the meantime, as deposits, it constitutes loan capital with the banker. Thus, even the growth of that portion of profit which is spent as revenue expresses itself as a gradual and continually repeated accumulation of loan capital.” (p 503)

In other words, besides the above portion of surplus-value that sits as a money deposit, even that portion of surplus-value destined to be consumed, as well as that to be accumulated, is first converted into money, and these deposits are only drawn down gradually. The same is true with other forms of revenue. If I'm paid wages monthly, those wages sit in the bank account and are only drawn down over the month to pay bills. The recipient of rent, pensions, interest payments and so on will also receive their revenue in lumps that sit in bank deposits to be drawn down. The firm, which has allocated a portion of surplus value for expansion will have the money required for additional materials etc. sitting in the bank account until such time as payments are due.

The banks aggregate all of these individual additional amounts, of deposits, which must increase, as real accumulation proceeds. More workers are employed, wages rise, rents increase, interest payments rise, the money allocated for expansion rises and so on, and all of these form the basis of these increased deposits.

“All of them assume for a certain time the form of money revenue and are, therefore, convertible into deposits and thus into loan capital. All revenue — whether it be intended for consumption or accumulation — as long as it exists in some form of money, is a part of the value of commodity-capital transformed into money, and is, for this reason, an expression and result of actual accumulation, but is not productive capital itself. When a spinner has exchanged his yarn for cotton — that portion which constitutes revenue however for money, the real existence of his industrial capital is the yarn, which has passed into the hands of the weaver or, perhaps, of some private consumer, and the yarn is, in fact, the existence — whether it is for reproduction or consumption — of the capital-value as well as the surplus-value contained in it. The magnitude of the surplus-value transformed into money depends upon the magnitude of the surplus-value contained in the yarn. But as soon as it has been transformed into money, this money is only the value existence of this surplus-value. And as such it becomes a moment of loan capital. For this purpose, nothing more is required than that it be transformed into a deposit, if it has not already been loaned out by its owner. But in order to be re-transformed into productive capital, it must, on the other hand, already have reached a certain minimum limit.” (p 503-4)

What this is saying is that the spinner takes a certain quantity of productive-capital. Say it has a value of £100. They produce yarn, with a value of £120, thereby creating £20 of surplus value. This value and surplus value exists in the yarn. Unless the yarn was produced, neither the capital value, nor the surplus value would exist. As far as the £100 of capital value is concerned, it is reproduced in the purchase of cotton and labour-power. But, when the yarn is sold, both its capital value and the surplus value assume money form. The money form is the universal equivalent form of the value of the capital and the surplus value.

This amount of equivalent value now exists in the hands of the spinner, because the capital value and the surplus value actually existing in the yarn no longer does.

But, in fact, the money does not exist in the hands of the spinner either. The capital value exists as a bank deposit, until such time as it is required to pay for the replacement cotton, labour-power etc. and the surplus value exists as available loan capital.

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