Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Capital III, Chapter 48 - Part 14

Similarly, the relation capital-profit is also wrong. Capital exists in its relation to wage labour. This is the only means of capital extracting surplus value, by exploiting labour-power. But, the profit that arises as a consequence of this relation between between capital and wage labour does not constitute the whole of the surplus value. A portion of the surplus value produced by this relation is obtained by the landlord, as rent, and by the money-lending capitalist as interest, yet neither of these classes play any part in this relation, neither participate in the extraction of surplus value from the worker.

The notion of capital – interest is then even more irrational, because interest is paid only to the money-lending capitalist, the owner of fictitious rather than productive-capital, which neither has any relation to the worker, nor the production of value nor surplus value.

Each of the supposed sources of these revenues – capital, land, wage labour – are use values, and yet the revenues themselves profit, interest, rent and wages are values.

“However, this is compensated for (this relation not only between incommensurable magnitudes, but also between wholly unlike, mutually unrelated, and non-comparable things) in that capital, like land and labour, is simply considered as a material substance, that is, simply as a produced means of production, and thus is abstracted both as a relation to the labourer and as value.” (p 823-4)

In other words, the concept of capital, as a social relation between capital and wage labour, an historically specific form, is hidden so that capital becomes the ahistoric means of production, which are used in the production process, in all modes of production, from primitive communism through to the future communist society. Rather than capital being something that can only exist under specific historical conditions, whereby the majority of society are dispossessed of the means of production, which became the property of a few, and who will only allow the producers access to these means of production if they undertake unpaid labour, a condition that requires that labour-power itself is sold as a commodity, capital becomes nothing more than the means of production, in the form of buildings, machinery and materials, whose value is itself determined by the labour-time required for its production.

This becomes even more irrational when capital comes to be considered not even as this productive-capital but only as the money used to buy it, as the fictitious capital in the hands of the money-lending capitalists, lent out to the productive-capitalists, in return for shares, bonds etc.

“Thirdly, if understood in this way, the formula, capital — interest (profit), land — rent, labour — wages, presents a uniform and symmetrical incongruity. In fact, since wage-labour does not appear as a socially determined form of labour, but rather all labour appears by its nature as wage-labour (thus appearing to those in the grip of capitalist production relations), the definite specific social forms assumed by the material conditions of labour — the produced means of production and the land — with respect to wage-labour (just as they, in turn, conversely presuppose wage-labour), directly coincide with the material existence of these conditions of labour or with the form possessed by them generally in the actual labour-process, independent of its concrete historically determined social form, or indeed independent of any social form.” (p 824)

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