Codrin PO Humanity today is regressing.
There are many footnote references, in most cases referring both to particular pages in one edition of Capital and also to the location of a reference within a chapter. This is to assist the reader in finding references in other editions and via internet resources especially the excellent Marxists Internet Archive.
Methodological distinctions A concise formulation of the relationship between the volumes of Capital is found on the first page of Chapter One in Volume 3. However competition is the relationship of one capital to another, so an analysis that begins at the level of competition will already presuppose the existence of capital.
It will tell us nothing essential about capital as a social relation, only about how this relation appears in a modified form, from the standpoint of the individual capitalist.
Analysing the essential features of capitalism as a particular form of social production, including the wage-labour and capital relation and the role of surplus value as the driving force of production, can be done without reference to the competition between individual capitalists.
This approach can account for the changing forms of competition, including the tendency towards monopoly. The analysis of Volumes 1 and 2 shows that the essential relationships of capital are themselves contradictory.
It is not only a question of the more complex forms eg interest bearing capital that develop alongside capital accumulation deceiving agents of production.
The fundamental contradiction between the development of the forces of production under capitalism and the social relations within which this takes place is evident at every stage. With this in mind, it is even more important not to be misled by differences at the level of competition, where we see antagonism between rival groups of capitalists and states.
Instead, a clear grasp of what is necessary for capital as a social relation is the foundation for building an opposition to it in all its forms. Marx takes the simplest concepts, eg the commodity, and develops these into more complex forms, eg labour-power and capital.
Within this general procedure, there is a methodological division between Volumes 1 and 2 on the one hand and Volume 3 on the other. As a result, modifications of the relationships discovered in Volumes 1 and 2 that arise from competition are not dealt with.
This is the case, for example, with the assumption in the first two volumes that commodities exchange on average at their values. There is no reason to assume otherwise at this stage. Only in Volume 3 does Marx examine how and why prices deviate from values, in the context of forming an average rate of profit among the different individual capitals.
The previous assumptions were not meant as a full description of concrete reality, but were methodologically necessary to examine the pure, fundamental forms. Volume 2 and Volume 1 of Capital An examination of the circuit of capital clarifies the relationship and distinction between Volumes 1 and 2.
The circuit consists of three stages: Industrial capital is, then, the most general and most important form of capital: To the extent that it seizes control of social production, the technique and social organisation of the labour-process are revolutionised and with them the economico-historical type of society.
The other kinds of capital, which appeared before industrial capital amid conditions of social production that have receded into the past or are now succumbing, are not only subordinated to it and the mechanism of their functions altered in conformity with it, but move solely with it as their basis, hence live and die, stand and fall with this basis.
In Volume 1, which deals with the immediate process of production, the second stage in the circuit is the object of analysis. The first and third steps, in the sphere of circulation, are only discussed in so far as this is necessary for an understanding of the second.
The connection between the two volumes can further be traced by examining how those concepts and categories introduced in Volume 1 are modified when the circulation process of capital is accounted for explicitly. In doing this, I will follow the order of presentation in Volume 2. But we can see from the circuit of capital that time is also spent in the sphere of circulation, in buying and selling.
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