Capital as a Social Process: A Marxian Perspective
This paper analyzes the very important notion of capital from a Marxian perspective as opposed to a neoclassical one. It is argued that when capital is viewed as a historically determined social process (relation), rather than as a thing or a collection of things, it tends to assume certain specific forms more often than others depending on the particular stage of economic history. Capital thus refers simultaneously to social relations and to things. Given this frame of reference, notions such as money and property capital are more easily accommodated and consequently are not written off as financial or fictitious capital—not real capital—because they “produce nothing.” The paper also focuses on Marx’s important analysis of the time of production and the turnover of capital in terms of the production of surplus-value (profit). It then examines Marx’s equally important and prescient analysis of how the turnover speed of capital is affected by the time of circulation of commodities (the realization of surplus-value) and the growing use of credit (in its various forms) in the capitalist system. Finally, the paper turns its attention to the economic role of time as it relates to interest-bearing (loan) capital and Adam Smith’s important distinction between productive and unproductive labor—one whose clear comprehension rests on viewing capital as a social construct.
|Date of creation:||Oct 2017|
|Date of revision:||Oct 2017|
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Web page: http://www.trincoll.edu/Academics/MajorsAndMinors/Economics/Pages/default.aspx
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- Brewer,Anthony, 1984. "A Guide to Marx's 'Capital'," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521276764.
- Aldo Barba & Giancarlo de Vivo, 2012. "An 'unproductive labour' view of finance," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 36(6), pages 1479-1496.
- Miguel D. Ramírez, 2014.
"Credit, The Turnover of Capital, and the Law of the Falling Rate of Profit: A Critical Note,"
Contributions to Political Economy,
Oxford University Press, vol. 33(1), pages 61-68.
- Miguel Ramirez, 2013. "Credit, the Turnover of Capital, and the Law of the Falling Rate of Profit: A Critical Note," Working Papers 1319, Trinity College, Department of Economics, revised Jan 2014.
- Miguel D. Ramirez, 2007. "Marx, Wages, and Cyclical Crises: A Critical Interpretation," Contributions to Political Economy, Oxford University Press, vol. 26(1), pages 27-41.
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