Grundrisse: Notebook V – The Chapter on Capital
<But one more remark on the topic above: The exchange of equivalents, which seems to presuppose ownership of the products of one’s own labour – hence seems to posit as identical: appropriation through labour, the real economic process of making something one’s own [Zueigen-Machen], and ownership of objectified labour; what appeared previously as a real process is here recognized as a legal relation, i.e. as a general condition of production, and therefore recognized by law, posited as an expression of the general will – turns into, reveals itself through a necessary dialectic as absolute divorce of labour and property, and appropriation of alien labour without exchange, without equivalent. Production based on exchange value, on whose surface this free and equal exchange of equivalents proceeds, is at its base the exchange of objectified labour as exchange value for living labour as use value, or, to express this in another way, the relating of labour to its objective conditions – and hence to the objectivity created by itself – as alien property: alienation [Entäusserung] of labour. At the same time, the condition of exchange value is its measurement by labour time, and hence living labour – not its value – as measure of values. The notion that production and hence society depended in all states of production on the exchange of mere labour for labour is a delusion. In the various forms in which labour relates to the conditions of production as its own property, the reproduction of the worker is by no means posited through mere labour, for his property relation is not the result but the presupposition of his labour. In landed property this is clear; it must also become clear in the guild system that the particular kind of property which labour creates does not rest on labour alone or on the exchange of labour, but on an objective connection between the worker and a community and conditions which are there before him, which he takes as his basis. These too are products of labour, of the labour of world history; of the labour of the community – of its historic development, which does not proceed from the labour of individuals nor from the exchange of their labours. Therefore, mere labour is also not the presupposition of realization [Verwertung]. A situation in which labour is merely exchanged for labour – whether in the direct, living form, or in the form of the product – presupposes the separation of labour from its original intertwinement with its objective conditions, which is why it appears as mere labour on one side, while on the other side its product, as objectified labour, has an entirely independent existence as value opposite it. The exchange of labour for labour – seemingly the condition of the worker’s property – rests on the foundation of the worker’s propertylessness.>
(It will be shown later that the most extreme form of alienation, wherein labour appears in the relation of capital and wage labour, and labour, productive activity appears in relation to its own conditions and its own product, is a necessary point of transition – and therefore already contains in itself, in a still only inverted form, turned on its head, the dissolution of all limited presuppositions of production, and moreover creates and produces the unconditional presuppositions of production, and therewith the full material conditions for the total, universal development of the productive forces of the individual.)
The circulation of money began at an infinite number of points and returned to an infinite number of points. The point of return was in no way posited as the point of departure. In the circulation of capital, the point of departure is posited as the terminal point and the terminal point as the point of departure. The capitalist himself is the point of departure and of return. He exchanges money for the conditions of production, produces, realizes the product, i.e. transforms it into money, and then begins the process anew. The circulation of money, regarded for itself, necessarily becomes extinguished in money as a static thing. The circulation of capital constantly ignites itself anew, divides into its different moments, and is a perpetuum mobile. The positing of prices on the side of money circulation was purely formal, in so far as value is presupposed independently of money circulation. The circulation of capital posits prices, not only formally but really, in so far as it posits value. If value itself appears within it as presupposition, this can only be as value posited by another capital. The breadth of the path for money circulation has been measured in advance, and the circumstances which accelerate or retard it are external impulses. In its circulation, capital expands itself and its path, and the speed or slowness of its circulation itself forms one of its intrinsic moments. It becomes qualitatively altered in circulation and the totality of the moments of its circulation are themselves the moments of its production – its reproduction as well as its new production.
<We saw how at the end of the second cycle, i.e. the second cycle of surplus value which has been realized as surplus capital, the illusion disappears that the capitalist exchanges anything at all with the worker other than a part of the latter’s own objectified labour.  However, within the mode of production already founded on capital, the part of capital which represents raw materials and instrument appears to the individual capital as a value presupposed to it and likewise presupposed to the living labour which it buys. These two headings turn out to have been posited by alien capital, hence again by capital, but another one. One capitalist’s raw material is another’s product. One’s product is the other’s raw material. One capitalist’s instrument is another’s product, and may even serve as raw material for the production of another instrument. Thus, what we called the constant value which appeared as a presupposition in the case of the individual capital is nothing but the presupposition of capital by capital, i.e. the fact that the different capitals in the different branches of industry posit one another reciprocally as presupposition and condition. Each of them regarded for itself can be resolved into dead labour which, as value, has become independent vis-à-vis living labour. None of them in the last analysis contains anything other than labour – apart from the natural material from which value is absent. The introduction of many capitals must not interfere with the investigation here. The relation of the many will, rather, be explained after what they all have in common, the quality of being capital, has been examined.>
The circulation of capital is at the same time its becoming, its growth, its vital process. If anything needed to be compared with the circulation of the blood, it was not the formal circulation of money, but the content-filled circulation of capital.
Since circulation presupposes production at all points – and is the circulation of products, whether money or commodity, while the latter always arise from the production process, which is itself the process of capital – it follows that the circulation of money itself now appears as determined by the circulation of capital, whereas previously it seemed to run side by side with the production process. We shall return to this point.
If we now consider circulation, or the circulation of capital as a whole, then the great distinction within it appears to be that between the production process and circulation itself, both as moments of its circulation. How long capital remains within the sphere of the production process depends on the latter’s technological conditions, and the time it spends in this phase directly coincides – even though the duration is necessarily different depending on the type of production, its object etc. – with the development of the productive forces. The duration is here nothing but the labour time necessary for the making of the product (false!).  The smaller this labour time, the greater, as we have seen, the relative surplus value. If less labour time is required to make a given quantity of products, it is the same thing as if more finished products can be supplied in a given amount of labour time. The abbreviation of the time during which a given amount of capital remains within the production process and is withdrawn from circulation, ‘embarked’,  coincides with the abbreviation of the labour time required to make the product – [therefore coincides] with the development of the forces of production, the utilization of the forces of nature, of machinery, and of the natural powers of social labour – the agglomeration of the workers, the combination and division of labour. Thus no new moment seems to enter in from this side. However, when it is recalled that, as far as the individual capital is concerned, the part of it which constitutes raw material and instrument (means of labour) is itself the product of an alien capital, then it may be seen that the speed with which it can repeat the production process anew is at the same time determined by the development of the productive forces in all other branches of industry. This becomes quite clear if one supposes the same capital to produce its own raw materials, instruments and final products. The length of time during which capital remains in the phase of the production process becomes itself a moment of circulation, if we presuppose various capitals. But we are not yet concerned with many capitals here. This moment therefore does not belong here.
The second moment is the space of time running from the completed transformation of capital into the product until when it becomes transformed into money. The frequency with which capital can repeat the production process, self-realization, in a given amount of time, evidently depends on the speed with which this space of time is run through, or on its duration. If a capital – say originally a capital of 100 thalers – turns over 4 times in one year; let the gain be 5% of itself each time, if the new value is not capitalized; this is the same as if a capital 4 times as large, say 400, at the same percentage, were to turn over once in one year; each time 20%. The velocity of turnover therefore – the remaining conditions of production being held constant – substitutes for the volume of capital. Or, if a value 4 times smaller realizes itself as capital 4 times in the same period in which a 4 times greater value realizes itself as capital only once, then the smaller capital’s gain – production of surplus value – is at least as great as the larger’s. We say at least. It can be greater, because the surplus value can itself again be employed as surplus capital. For example, assume that a capital of 100 has a profit (here anticipating this form of surplus value for the calculation’s sake) of 10% each time, no matter how often it turns over. Then, at the end of the first 3 months, it would be 110, at the end of the second 121, at the end of the third 133 1/10, and at the end of the last turnover 146 41/100, while a capital of 400 with one annual turnover would be only 440. In the first case the gain = 46 41/100, in the second only = 40. (The fact that the presupposition is wrong, in as much as capital does not bring the same rate of profit with each increase in its size, is beside the point as far as the example is concerned, for the issue here is not how much more than 40 it brings, but the very fact that in the first case it does – and it does – bring in more than 40.) We have already encountered the law of the substitution of velocity for mass, and mass for velocity, in money circulation. It holds in production just as in mechanics. It is a circumstance to return to when we consider the equalization of the rate of profit, price etc. The question which interests us here is this: Does not a moment of value-determination enter in independently of labour, not arising directly from it, but originating in circulation itself? <The fact that credit equalizes the differences in capital turnover does not belong here yet. But the question itself belongs here, because it arises out of the simple concept of capital – regarded in general.> The more frequent turnover of capital in a given period of time resembles the more frequent harvests during the natural year in the southerly countries compared with the northerly. As already stated above, we here abstract entirely from the different amounts of time which capital must spend in the phase of production – in the productive realization process itself. Just as grain when it is put in the soil as seed loses its immediate use value, is devalued as immediate use value, so is capital devalued from the completion of the production process until its retransformation into money and from there into capital again. <This velocity with which it can transpose itself from the form of money back into the conditions of production – unlike in slavery, it is not the worker himself who appears among these conditions of production, but rather the exchange with him – depends on the production speed and continuity of the remaining capitals, which supply him with raw material and instrument, as well as on the availability of workers, and in this last respect a relative surplus population is the best condition for capital.> <Quite apart from capital A’s production process, the speed and continuity of production process B appears as a moment which conditions the retransformation of capital A from the form of money into the form of industrial capital. The duration of the production process of capital B thus appears as a moment in the velocity of the circulation process of capital A. The duration of one capital’s production phase determines the velocity of the other’s circulation phase. Their simultaneity is a condition required so that A’s circulation is not obstructed – the fact that its own elements, for which it has to exchange and be exchanged, are thrown into production and circulation simultaneously. For example. In the final third of the eighteenth century, the hand-spinning system was incapable of supplying the required amounts of raw material for weaving – or, what is the same – spinning could not put the flax or cotton through its production process with the required simultaneity – simultaneous velocity. The consequence was the invention of the spinning machine, which supplied a greater product in the same labour time, or, what is the same thing, required less labour time for the same product – less time delay in the spinning process. All moments of capital which appear involved in it when it is considered from the point of view of its general concept obtain an independent reality, and, further, only show themselves when it appears as real, as many capitals. The inner, living organization, which takes place in this way within and through competition, thus develops all the more extensively.>
If we examine the entire turnover of capital, then four moments appear, or, each of the two great moments of the production process and the circulation process appears again in a duality: we can take either circulation or production as the point of departure here. This much has now been said, that circulation is itself a moment of production, since capital becomes capital only through circulation; production is a moment of circulation only in so far as the latter is itself regarded as the totality of the production process. The moments are: (I) The real production process and its duration. (II) Transformation of the product into money. Duration of this operation. (III) Transformation of the money in the proper proportions into raw material, means of labour and labour, in short, into the elements of productive capital. (IV) The exchange of a part of the capital for living labour capacity can be regarded as a particular moment, and must be so regarded, since the labour market is ruled by other laws than the product market etc. Here population is the main thing, not in absolute but in relative terms. Moment I does not come into consideration here, as stated, since it coincides with the conditions of realization generally. Moment III can be considered only when the theme is not capital generally, but many capitals. Moment IV belongs in the section on wages etc.
We are concerned here only with Moment II. In money circulation there was a merely formal alternation of exchange value as money and as commodity. Here money, commodity, are conditions of production, ultimately of the production process. The moments here are different; they are filled with content. The differences in capital turnover as posited in II – since it depends neither on greater difficulty in the exchange with labour, nor on delays resulting from the fact that raw material [Rohstoff] and raw material [Rohmaterial]  are not present simultaneously in circulation, nor in the different durations of the production process – could therefore arise only from increased difficulties in realization. This is obviously not an immanent case arising from the relation itself, but rather coincides here, where we are examining capital in general, with what we have said about the way in which realization simultaneously results in devaluation.  No business will be founded on the principle that it can sell its products with greater difficulty than another. If this resulted from the smaller size of the market, then not a larger – as presupposed – but a smaller capital would be employed there than in the business with a larger market. It could be connected, however, with the greater distance of the market in space and hence the delayed return. The longer time required by capital A to realize itself would be due here to the greater spatial distance it has to travel after the production process in order to exchange as C for M. But cannot e.g. the product produced for China be regarded in such a way that the product is completed, its production process completed, only when it has reached the Chinese market? Its realization costs would rise by the costs of transport from England to China. (We cannot yet speak about the compensation for the longer fallow period of capital here, because the secondary and derived forms of surplus value – interest – would already have to have been presupposed.) The costs of production would resolve into the labour time objectified in the direct production process + the labour time contained in transport. Now the question is initially this: Given the basic principles we have so far asserted, can a surplus value be extracted from the transport costs? Let us deduct the constant part of the capital consumed in transport, ship, vehicle etc. and everything which falls under the heading of their application, since this element contributes nothing to the question, and it is irrelevant whether this is posited as = 0 or = x. Is it possible, then, that there is surplus labour in these transport costs, and that capital can therefore squeeze a surplus value out of them? The question is simple to answer if we ask a further question, where and which is the necessary labour or the value in which it objectifies itself? The product must pay (1) its own exchange value, the labour objectified in itself; (2) the surplus time, which the shipper, carter etc. employs on its transportation. Whether he can or cannot extract the surplus value depends on the wealth of the country into which he brings the product and on its needs etc., on the use value of the product for this land. In direct production, it is clear that all the surplus labour which the manufacturer makes the worker do is surplus value for him, in that it is labour objectified in new use values, which costs him nothing. But he can obviously not employ him during transport for a longer time than is required for the transporting. Otherwise he would throw labour time away instead of realizing it, i.e. he would not objectify it in a use value. If the sailor, the carter etc. require only half a year of labour time to live a full year (if this is generally the proportion of labour necessary for subsistence), then the capitalist employs him for a whole year and pays him a half. By adding a whole year’s labour time to the value of the transported products, but paying only 1/2, he gains a surplus value of 100% on necessary labour. The case is entirely the same as indirect production, and the original surplus value of the transported product can come about only because the workers are not paid for a part of the transportation time, because it is surplus time, time over and above the labour necessary for them to live. That an individual product might be made so much more expensive, owing to the transport costs, that it could not be sold – on account of the disproportion between the value of the product and its surplus value as a transported product, a quality which becomes extinguished in it as soon as it has arrived at its destination – does not affect the matter. If a manufacturer were to set his entire machinery into motion in order to spin 1 lb. of twist, then the value of this lb. would likewise rise so that it would hardly find a market. The rise in the prices of imported products, as well as the smaller consumption of them in the Middle Ages etc., stem precisely from this cause. Whether I extract metals from mines, or take commodities to the site of their consumption, both movements are equally spatial. The improvement of the means of transport and communication likewise falls into the category of the development of the productive forces generally. The fact that it can depend on the value of the products whether or not they are able to bear transport costs; that, further, commercial traffic in mass quantities is required to reduce transport costs – a ship with a loading capacity of 100 tons can carry 2 or 100 tons with the same transport costs etc. – and in order to make means of communication pay etc., all this does not belong here. (Nevertheless, it will be necessary to devote a special section to the means of communication, since they make up a form of fixed capital which has its own laws of realization.) If one imagines the same capital both producing and transporting, then both acts fall within direct production, and circulation as we have considered it so far, i.e. transformation into money as soon as the product has achieved its final form for consumption, would begin only when the product had been brought to its point of destination. This capitalist’s delayed return compared to that of another, who gets rid of his product on the spot, would resolve into another form of greater use of fixed capital, with which we are not yet concerned here. Whether A requires 100 thalers more for instrument, or whether he needs 100 thalers more in order to bring his product to its destination, to market, is the same thing. In both cases more fixed capital is used; more means of production, which is consumed in direct production. In this respect, then, no immanent case would be posited here; it would fall under the examination of the difference between fixed capital and circulating capital.
Still, an additional moment enters here: the costs of circulation, which are not contained in the simple concept of circulation and do not concern us yet. Only in connection with interest and particularly with credit can we speak of the costs of circulation arising from circulation as an economic act – as a relation of production, not as a direct moment of production, as was the case with the means of transport and communication. Circulation as we regard it here is a process of transformation, a qualitative process of value, as it appears in the different form of money, production (realization) process, product, retransformation into money and surplus capital. [We are concerned here] in so far as new aspects are created within this process of transformation as such – in this transition from one form to another. The costs of circulation are not necessarily included e.g. in the transition from product to money. They can be = 0.
However, in so far as circulation itself creates costs, itself requires surplus labour, it appears as itself included within the production process. In this respect circulation appears as a moment of the direct production process. Where production is directly oriented towards use, and only the excess product is exchanged, the costs of circulation appear only for the excess product, not for the main product.  The more production comes to rest on exchange value, hence on exchange, the more important do the physical conditions of exchange – the means of communication and transport – become for the costs of circulation. Capital by its nature drives beyond every spatial barrier. Thus the creation of the physical conditions of exchange – of the means of communication and transport – the annihilation of space by time – becomes an extraordinary necessity for it. Only in so far as the direct product can be realized in distant markets in mass quantities in proportion to reductions in the transport costs, and only in so far as at the same time the means of communication and transport themselves can yield spheres of realization for labour, driven by capital; only in so far as commercial traffic takes place in massive volume – in which more than necessary labour is replaced – only to that extent is the production of cheap means of communication and transport a condition for production based on capital, and promoted by it for that reason. All labour required in order to throw the finished product into circulation – it is in economic circulation only when it is present on the market – is from capital’s viewpoint a barrier to be overcome – as is all labour required as a condition for the production process (thus e.g. expenses for the security of exchange etc.). The sea route, as the route which moves and is transformed under its own impetus, is that of trading peoples ϰατ᾽ ἐξοχήν.  On the other side, highways originally fall to the community, later for a long period to the governments, as pure deductions from production, deducted from the common surplus product of the country, but do not constitute a source of its wealth, i.e. do not cover their production costs. In the original, self-sustaining communes of Asia, on one side no need for roads; on the other side the lack of them locks them into their closed-off isolation and thus forms an essential moment of their survival without alteration (as in India). Road construction by means of the corvée, or through taxes, which is another form, is a forced transformation of a part of a country’s surplus labour or surplus product into roads. If an individual capital is to undertake this – i.e. if it is to create the conditions of the production process which are not included in the production process directly – then the work must provide a profit.
Presupposing a certain road between A and B (let land cost nothing), then this contains no more than a definite quantity of labour, hence value. Whether the capitalist or the state has it built is the same thing. Does the capitalist make a gain here, then, by creating surplus labour and hence surplus value? First, strip off what is puzzling about the road, which arises from its nature as fixed capital. Imagine that the road could be sold at once, like a coat or a ton of iron. If the production of the road cost say 12 months, then its value = 12 months. If the general standard of labour is such that a worker can live from say 6 months of objectified labour, then, if he built the entire road, he would create surplus value for himself to the amount of 6 months labour; or if the commune built the road, and the worker wanted to work only the necessary time, then another worker would have to be drawn in to work 6 months. The capitalist, however, forces the one worker to work 12 months, and pays him 6. The part of the value of the road which contains his surplus labour forms the capitalist’s profit. The material form in which the product appears must absolutely not interfere in laying the foundations of the theory of value through objectified labour time. But the question is precisely: can the capitalist realize the road [den Weg verwerten], can he realize [realisieren] its value through exchange? This question naturally arises with every product, but it takes a special form with the general conditions of production. Suppose the value of the road is not realized. But it is built anyway, because it is a necessary use value. How does the matter stand then? It has to be built and has to be paid for – in so far as its cost of production must be exchanged for it. It comes into existence only through a certain consumption of labour, means of labour, raw materials etc. Whether it is built by corvée or through taxes is the same. But it is built only because it is a necessary use value for the commune, because the commune requires it at any price. This is certainly a surplus labour which the individual must perform, whether in the form of forced labour, or in the indirect form of taxes, over and above the direct labour necessary for his subsistence. But to the extent that it is necessary for the commune, and for each individual as its member, what he performs is not surplus labour, but a part of his necessary labour, the labour necessary for him to reproduce himself as commune member and hence to reproduce the community, which is itself a general condition of his productive activity. If the labour time were entirely consumed in direct production (or, expressed indirectly, if it were impossible to raise surplus tax revenue for this specific purpose), then the road would have to remain unbuilt. If the whole society is regarded as one individual, then necessary labour would consist of the sum of all the particular labour functions which the division of labour separates off. This one individual would have to spend e.g. so much time for agriculture, so much for industry, so much for trade, so much for making instruments, so much, to return to our subject, for road building and means of communication. All these necessities resolve into so much labour time which must be directed towards different aims and expended in particular activities. How much labour time could be employed would depend on the amount of labour capacity (= the mass of individuals capable of labour who constitute the society) and on the development of the productive force of labour (the mass of products (use values) which it can create in a given span of time). Exchange value, which presupposes a more or less developed division of labour, depending on the level of exchange itself, presupposes that, instead of one individual (the society) doing different kinds of labour and employing his labour time in different forms, each and every individual’s labour time is devoted exclusively to the necessary particular functions. If we speak of necessary labour time, then the particular separate branches of labour appear as necessary. Where exchange value is the basis, this reciprocal necessity is mediated through exchange, and shows itself precisely in the fact that every particular [piece of] objectified labour, every particularly specified and materialized [piece of] labour time exchanges for the product and symbol of labour time in general, of objectified labour time pure and simple, for money, and can thus be exchanged again for every particular labour. This necessity is itself subject to changes, because needs are produced just as are products and the different kinds of work skills. Increases and decreases do take place within the limits set by these needs and necessary labours. The greater the extent to which historic needs – needs created by production itself, social needs – needs which are themselves the offspring of social production and intercourse, are posited as necessary, the higher the level to which real wealth has become developed. Regarded materially, wealth consists only in the manifold variety of needs. The crafts themselves do not appear necessary ALONGSIDE self-sustaining agriculture, where spinning, weaving etc. are done as a secondary domestic occupation. But e.g. if agriculture itself rests on scientific activities – if it requires machinery, chemical fertilizer acquired through exchange, seeds from distant countries etc., and if rural, patriarchal manufacture has already vanished – which is already implied in the presupposition – then the machine-making factory, external trade, crafts etc. appear as needs for agriculture. Perhaps guano can be procured for it only through the export of silk goods. Then the manufacture of silk no longer appears as a luxury industry, but as a necessary industry for agriculture. It is therefore chiefly and essentially because, in this case, agriculture no longer finds the natural conditions of its own production within itself, naturally, arisen, spontaneous, and ready to hand, but these exist as an independent industry separate from it – and, with this separateness the whole complex set of interconnections in which this industry exists is drawn into the sphere of the conditions of agricultural production – it is because of this, that what previously appeared as a luxury is now necessary, and that so-called luxury needs appear e.g. as a necessity for the most naturally necessary and down-to-earth industry of all. This pulling-away of the natural ground from the foundations of every industry, and this transfer of its conditions of production outside itself, into a general context – hence the transformation of what was previously superfluous into what is necessary, as a historically created necessity – is the tendency of capital. The general foundation of all industries comes to be general exchange itself, the world market, and hence the totality of the activities, intercourse, needs etc. of which it is made up. Luxury is the opposite of the naturally necessary. Necessary needs are those of the individual himself reduced to a natural subject. The development of industry suspends this natural necessity as well as this former luxury – in bourgeois society, it is true, it does so only in antithetical form, in that it itself only posits another specific social standard as necessary, opposite luxury. These questions about the system of needs and system of labours – at what point is this to be dealt with? Will be seen in due course.
Now back to our road. If it can be built at all, it proves that the society possesses the labour time (living labour and objectified labour) required for its construction. * Why, then, as soon as production based on exchange value and division of labour appears does road building not become the business of individuals? (And it does not so become where it is conducted through taxes by the state.) First of all: the society, the united individuals, may possess the surplus time to build the road, but only in concentration. Concentration is always the addition of the part of labour capacity which each individual can employ on road building, apart from his particular work; but it is not only addition. The unification of their forces increases their force of production; but this is by no means the same as saying that all of them added together numerically would possess the same labour capacity if they did not work together, hence if to the sum of their labour capacities were not added the surplus existing only in and through their united, combined labour. Hence the violent rounding-up of the people in Egypt, Etruria, India etc. for forced construction and compulsory public works. Capital effects the same concentration in another way, through the manner of its exchange with free labour. † Secondly: On one side, the population may be developed far enough, and the support which it finds in the employment of machinery etc. may be far enough advanced on the other side, so that the power arising only from the material, massive concentration of labour – and in antiquity it is always this massive effect of forcibly concentrated labour – may be superfluous, and a relatively smaller mass of living labour may be required. ‡ A special class of road-workers may form, employed by the state, § or a part of the occasionally unemployed population is used for it, together with a number of superintendents etc., who do not work as capitalists, however, but as more highly educated menials. (About the relation of this skilled labour etc. later.) The workers are then wage workers, but the state employs them not as such, but as menial servants.
* It is here presupposed of course that it follows a correct instinct. It could eat up the seed grain, let the field lie fallow, and build roads. But it would thereby not have accomplished the necessary labour, because it would not reproduce itself, not maintain itself as living labour capacity through this labour. Alternatively the living labour capacities may be directly murdered, as e.g. by Peter I, to build Petersburg. This sort of thing does not belong here.
† That capital has to do not with isolated, individual labour but with combined labour, just as it is in and for itself already a social, combined force, is a point which should perhaps be treated already in the general history of the rise of capital.
‡ The greater the extent to which production still rests on mere manual labour, on use of muscle power etc., in short on physical exertion by individual labourers, the more does the increase of the productive force consist in their collaboration on a mass scale. The opposite features, particularization and individualization, are displayed by the semi-artistic crafts; the skilfulness of individual, but uncombined labour. Capital, in its true development, combines mass labour with skill, but in such a way that the former loses its physical power, and the skill resides not in the worker but in the machine and in the scientific combination of both as a whole in the factory. The social spirit of labour obtains an objective existence separate from the individual workers.
§ Among the Romans, the army constituted a mass – but already divorced from the whole people – which was disciplined to labour, whose surplus time also belonged to the state; who sold their entire labour time for pay to the state, exchanged their entire labour capacity for a wage necessary for the maintenance of their life, just as does the worker with the capitalist. This holds for the period when the Roman army was no longer a citizen’s army but a mercenary army. This is here likewise a free sale of labour on the part of the soldier. But the state does not buy it with the production of values as aim. And thus, although the wage form may seem to occur originally in armies, this pay system is nevertheless essentially different from wage labour. There is some similarity in the fact that the state uses up the army in order to gain an increase in power and wealth.
Now, for the capitalist to undertake road building as a business, at his expense, * various conditions are required, which all amount to this, that the mode of production based on capital is already developed to its highest stage. Firstly: Large capital is itself presupposed, a large capital concentrated in his hands, in order that he may be able to undertake work of such dimensions and of such slow turnover, [and hence] realization. Hence mostly share-capital, the form in which capital has worked itself up to its final form, in which it is posited, not only in itself, in its substance, but is posited also in its form, as social power and product. Secondly: It must bring interest, but not necessarily profit (it may bring more than interest, but this is not required). We do not yet need to examine this point any further here. Thirdly: As presupposition, such a volume of traffic – commercial, above all – that the road pays for itself, i.e. that the price demanded for the use of the road is worth that much exchange value for the producers, or supplies a productive force for which they can pay that much. Fourthly: A portion of idle wealth which can lay out its revenue for these articles of locomotion. But these two presuppositions are what remains essential: (1) Capital in the required mass, employable for this object, at attractive interest; (2) it has to be worth it for the productive capitals, for industrial capital, to pay the price of passage. Thus e.g. the first railway between Liverpool and Manchester had become a necessity of production for the Liverpool cotton brokers and even more for the Manchester manufacturers. † Capital as such – its being posited with the necessary scope – will produce roads only when the production of roads has become a necessity for the producers, especially for productive capital itself; a condition for the capitalist’s profit-making. Then the road will pay for itself. But in this case, a large volume of traffic is already presupposed. It is the same presupposition doubly: On one side, the wealth of the country sufficiently concentrated and transformed into the form of capital, to allow it to undertake such works as realization processes for capital; on the other side the volume of traffic sufficient, and the barrier formed by the lack of means of communication sufficiently felt as such, to allow the capitalist to realize the value of the road (in instalments over time) as road (i.e. its use). All general conditions of production, such as roads, canals, etc., whether they facilitate circulation or even make it possible at all, or whether they increase the force of production (such as irrigation works etc. as in Asia and, incidentally, as still built by governments in Europe), presuppose, in order to be undertaken by capital instead of by the government which represents the community as such, the highest development of production founded on capital. The separation of public works from the state, and their migration into the domain of the works undertaken by capital itself, indicates the degree to which the real community has constituted itself in the form of capital. A country, e.g. the United States, may feel the need for railways in connection with production; nevertheless the direct advantage arising from them for production may be too small for the investment to appear as anything but sunk capital. Then capital shifts the burden on to the shoulders of the state; or, where the state traditionally still takes up a position superior to capital, it still possesses the authority and the will to force the society of capitalists to put a part of their revenue, not of their capital, into such generally useful works, which appear at the same time as general conditions of production, and hence not as particular conditions for one capitalist or another – and, so long as capital does not adopt the form of the joint-stock company, it always looks out only for its particular conditions of realization, and shifts the communal conditions off on to the whole country as national requirements. Capital undertakes only advantageous undertakings, advantageous in its sense. True, it also speculates unsoundly, and, as we shall see, must do so. It then undertakes investments which do not pay, and which pay only as soon as they have become to a certain degree devalued. Hence the many undertakings where the first investment is sunk and lost, the first entrepreneurs go bankrupt – and begin to realize themselves only at second or third hand, where the invested capital has become smaller owing to devaluation. Incidentally, the state itself and everything connected with it belongs with these deductions from revenue, belongs so to speak to the consumption costs for the individual, the production costs for society. A road itself may so increase the force of production that it creates new traffic which then makes the road profitable. There are works and investments which may be necessary without being productive in the capitalist sense, i.e. without the realization of the surplus labour contained in them through circulation, through exchange, as surplus value. If a worker works e.g. 12 hours per day for a year building a road, and if the generally necessary labour time is = 6 hours on the average, then he works a surplus time of 6 hours. But if the road cannot be sold for 12 hours, perhaps only for 6, then this road construction is not an undertaking for capital, and road building is not productive labour for it. Capital must be able to sell the road (the timing and mode of the sale are beside the point here) in such a way that both the necessary and the surplus labour are realized, or in such a way that it obtains out of the general fund of profits – of surplus values – a sufficiently large share to make it the same as if it had created surplus value. This relation is to be examined later in connection with profit and necessary labour. The highest development of capital exists when the general conditions of the process of social production are not paid out of deductions from the social revenue, the state’s taxes – where revenue and not capital appears as the labour fund, and where the worker, although he is a free wage worker like any other, nevertheless stands economically in a different relation – but rather out of capital as capital. This shows the degree to which capital has subjugated all conditions of social production to itself, on one side; and, on the other side, hence, the extent to which social reproductive wealth has been capitalized, and all needs are satisfied through the exchange form; as well as the extent to which the socially posited needs of the individual, i.e. those which he consumes and feels not as a single individual in society, but communally with others – whose mode of consumption is social by the nature of the thing – are likewise not only consumed but also produced through exchange, individual exchange. In the case of the above road, road building must be so advantageous that the transformation of a given amount of labour time into the road must reproduce the worker’s labour capacity to the same degree as if he transformed it into cultivated fields. Value is determined by objectified labour time, whatever form it may take. But it does depend now on the use value in which it is realized, whether this value is realizable. It is presupposed here that the road is a requirement for the commune, hence the use value is presupposed. For capital, on the other side, if it is to undertake the building of the road, it must be presupposed that not only the necessary labour time but also the surplus labour time worked by the worker can be paid for – this is where his profit comes from. (The capitalist often compels this payment by means of protective tariffs, monopoly, state coercion; while the individuals engaged in exchange, under conditions of free exchange, would at most pay the necessary labour.) It is very possible that surplus labour time is present but not paid for (which can after all happen to every capitalist). Where capital rules (just as where there is slavery and bondage or serfdom of any sort), the worker’s absolute labour time is posited for him as condition of being allowed to work the necessary labour time, i.e. of being allowed to realize the labour time necessary for the maintenance of his labour capacity in use values for himself. Competition then has the result, in every kind of work, that he must work the full time – i.e. surplus labour time. But it may be the case that this surplus labour time, although present in the product, is not exchangeable. For the worker himself – compared with the other wage workers – it is surplus labour. For the employer, it is labour which, while it has a use value for him, like e.g. his cook, has no exchange value, hence the entire distinction between necessary and surplus labour time does not exist. Labour may be necessary without being productive. All general, communal conditions of production – so long as their production cannot yet be accomplished by capital as such and under its conditions – are therefore paid for out of a part of the country’s revenue – out of the government’s treasury – and the workers do not appear as productive workers, even though they increase the productive force of capital.
* If the state lets this sort of matter be conducted through state-contractors, then this still always takes place indirectly through the corvée or taxes.
† Competition is better suited to create the necessity of e.g. the railway in a country where the previous development of its forces of production would not yet push so far. The effect of competition among nations belongs in the section on international intercourse. The civilizing influences of capital particularly show themselves here.
The result of our digression is, incidentally, that the production of the means of communication, of the physical conditions of circulation, is put into the category of the production of fixed capital, and hence does not constitute a special case. Meanwhile, and incidentally, there opened up for us the prospect, which cannot be sharply defined yet at this point, of a specific relation of capital to the communal, general conditions of social production, as distinct from the conditions of a particular capital and its particular production process.
Circulation proceeds in space and time. Economically considered, the spatial condition, the bringing of the product to the market, belongs to the production process itself. The product is really finished only when it is on the market. The movement through which it gets there belongs still with the cost of making it. It does not form a necessary moment of circulation, regarded as a particular value-process, since a product may be bought and even consumed at the point of its production. But this spatial moment is important in so far as the expansion of the market and the exchangeability of the product are connected with it. The reduction of the costs of this real circulation (in space) belongs to the development of the forces of production by capital, the reduction of the costs of its realization. In certain respects, as an external condition for the existence of the economic process of circulation, this moment may also be reckoned as part of the production costs of circulation, so that, with respect to this moment, circulation itself appears as a moment not only of the production process in general, but also of the direct production process. In any case, what appears here is the determination of this moment by the general degree of development of the productive forces, and of production based on capital generally. This locational moment – the bringing of the product to market, which is a necessary condition of its circulation, except when the point of production is itself a market – could more precisely be regarded as the transformation of the product into a commodity. Only on the market is it a commodity. (Whether or not this forms a particular moment is a matter of chance. If capital produces to order, then neither this moment nor the transformation into money exists as a particular moment for it. Work done to order, i.e. supply corresponding to a prior demand, as a general or predominant situation, is not characteristic of large industry and in no way arises from the nature of capital as a condition.)
Secondly, the temporal moment. This is an essential part of the concept of circulation. Suppose the act of making the transition from commodity to money is fixed by contract, then this still requires time – calculating, weighing, measuring. The abbreviation of this moment is likewise development of productive force. However, this is time still conceived only as an external condition for the transition from the state of money into that of commodity; the transition itself is presupposed; the question is the time which elapses during this presupposed act. This belongs to the cost of production. Quite different is the time which generally passes before the commodity makes its transition into money; or the time during which it remains a commodity, only a potential but not a real value. This is pure loss.
It is clear from everything said above that circulation appears as an essential process of capital. The production process cannot be begun anew before the transformation of the commodity into money. The constant continuity of the process, the unobstructed and fluid transition of value from one form into the other, or from one phase of the process into the next, appears as a fundamental condition for production based on capital to a much greater degree than for all earlier forms of production. On another side, while the necessity of this continuity is given, its phases are separate in time and space, and appear as particular, mutually indifferent processes. It thus appears as a matter of chance for production based on capital whether or not its essential condition, the continuity of the different processes which constitute its process as a whole, is actually brought about. The suspension of this chance element by capital itself is credit. (It has other aspects as well; but this aspect arises out of the direct nature of the production process and is hence the foundation of the necessity of credit.) Which is why credit in any developed form appears in no earlier mode of production. There was borrowing and lending in earlier situations as well, and usury is even the oldest of the antediluvian forms of capital. But borrowing and lending no more constitute credit than working constitutes industrial labour or free wage labour. And credit as an essential, developed relation of production appears historically only in circulation based on capital or on wage labour. (Money itself is a form for suspending the unevenness of the times required in different branches of production, to the extent that this obstructs exchange.) Although usury is itself a form of credit in its bourgeoisified form, the form adapted to capital, in its pre-bourgeois form it is rather the expression of lack of credit.
(The retransformation of money into objective moments or conditions of production presupposes the latters’ availability. It constitutes the various markets where the producer encounters them as commodity – in the hands of a merchant – markets which (alongside the labour market) are essentially distinct from the markets for direct, individual, final consumption.)
Money became transformed into commodity through circulation, and in the exchange of M–C, consumption completed the process; or, the commodity was exchanged for money – and in the exchange C–M, M was either a vanishing moment itself to be exchanged for C again, in which case the process ended with consumption again, or the money withdrew from circulation and transformed itself into dead treasure, merely symbolic wealth. At no point did the process ignite from within, but rather the presuppositions of money circulation lay outside it, and it constantly required a new push from the outside. In so far as both moments were exchanged, their change of form within circulation was merely formal. But in so far as content entered in, it dropped out of the economic process; content did not form a part of it. The commodity did not sustain itself as money, nor the money as commodity; each was either one or the other. Value as such did not sustain itself in and through circulation as predominant over the process of its transformation, its metamorphosis; nor was the use value itself (as is the case in the capital production process) produced by the exchange value. With capital the consumption of the commodity is itself not final; it falls within the production process; it itself appears as a moment of production, i.e. of value-positing [Wertsetzen].
Capital is now posited, however, as not merely sustaining itself formally, but as realizing itself as value, as value relating to itself as value in every one of the moments of its metamorphosis, in which it appears at one time as money, at another time as commodity, then again as exchange value, then again as use value. The passage from one moment to the other appears as a particular process, but each of these processes is the transition to the other. Capital is thus posited as value-in-process, which is capital in every moment.  It is thus posited as circulating capital; in every moment capital, and circulating from one form into the next. The point of return is at the same time the point of departure and vice versa – namely the capitalist. All capital is originally circulating capital, product of circulation, as well as producing circulation, tracing in this way its own course. From the present standpoint, money circulation now appears as itself merely a moment of the circulation of capital, and its independence is posited as a mere semblance. It appears as determined on all sides by the circulation of capital, to which we shall return. In so far as it forms an independent motion alongside that of capital, this independence is posited only by the continuity of the circulation of capital, so that this one moment may be held constant and regarded for itself.
<‘Capital a permanent, self-multiplying value which never decays. This value tears itself loose from the commodity which created it; remains, like a metaphysical, insubstantial quality, always in the possession of the same farmer,’ (e.g.), ‘for whom it cloaks itself in different forms.’ (Sism. VI.)  ‘In the exchange of labour for capital, the worker demands subsistence in order to live; the capitalist demands work in order to make a profit.’ (Sism. loc. cit.) ‘The master of the workshop gains, makes a profit from every increase in the powers of production which the division of labour brings about.’ (loc. cit.)  ‘Sale of labour = renunciation of all fruits of labour.’ (Cherbuliez, ch. XXVIII.)  ‘The three component parts of capital do not grow evenly’ (i.e. matière première, instrument, approvisionnement),  ‘nor are they in the same relation in the different stages of society. The approvisionnement remains the same for a certain period, regardless of how quickly the speed of production and consequently the quantity of products may increase. Thus an increase of productive capital does not necessarily entail an increase of the approvisionnement which is destined to form the price of labour; it can be accompanied by a reduction of it.’ (loc. cit.) >
<In as much as the renewal of production depends on the sale of the finished products; transformation of the commodity into money and retransformation of money into the conditions of production – raw material, instrument, wages; in as much as the circuits which capital travels in order to go from one of these forms into the other constitute sections of circulation, and these sections are travelled in specific amounts of time (even spatial distance reduces itself to time; the important thing e.g. is not the market’s distance in space, but the speed – the amount of time – with which it can be reached), by that much the velocity of circulation, the time in which it is accomplished, is a determinant of how many products can be produced in a given period of time; how often capital can be realized in a given period of time, how often it can reproduce and multiply its value. Thus a moment enters into value-determination which indeed does not come out of the direct relation of labour to capital. The frequency with which the same capital can repeat the production process (creation of new value) in a given period of time is evidently a condition not posited directly by the production process itself. Thus, while circulation does not itself produce a moment of value-determination, for that lies exclusively in labour, its speed does determine the speed with which the production process is repeated, values are created – thus, if not values, at least to a certain extent the mass of values. Namely, the values and surplus values posited by the production process, multiplied by the number of repetitions of the production process in a given period of time. When we speak of the velocity of the circulation of capital, we postulate that delays in the transition from one phase to the next arise only from external barriers, not such as arise from the production process and circulation itself (such as crises, overproduction etc.). Thus, in addition to the labour time realized in production, the circulation time of capital enters in as a moment of value creation – of productive labour time itself. While labour time appears as value-positing activity, this circulation time of capital appears as the time of devaluation. The difference shows itself simply in this: if the totality of the labour time commanded by capital is set at its maximum, say infinity, ∞, so that necessary labour time forms an infinitely small part and surplus labour time an infinitely large part of this [infinity], then this would be the maximum realization of capital, and this is the tendency towards which it strives. On the other side, if the circulation time of capital were = 0, if the various stages of its transformation proceeded as rapidly in reality as in the mind, then that  would likewise be the maximum of the factor by which the production process could be repeated, i.e. the number of capital realization processes in a given period of time. The repetition of the production process would be restricted only by the amount of time which it lasts, the amount of time which elapses during the transformation of raw material into product. Circulation time is therefore not a positive value-creating element; if it were = to 0, then value-creation would be at its maximum. But if either surplus labour time or necessary labour time = 0, i.e. if necessary labour time absorbed all time, or if production could proceed altogether without labour, then neither value, nor capital, nor value-creation would exist. Circulation time therefore determines value only in so far as it appears as a natural barrier to the realization of labour time. It is therefore in fact a deduction from surplus labour time, i.e. an increase of necessary labour time. It is clear that necessary labour time has to be paid for, whether the circulation process proceeds slowly or quickly. E.g. in trades where specific workers are required, who can, however, only be employed for a part of the year because the products are, say, saleable only in a given season, [in those trades] the workers would have to be paid for the entire year, i.e. surplus labour time is decreased in exact proportion to the reduction in their possibilities of employment during a given period of time, but still they must be paid in one way or another. (For example in the form that their wages for 4 months suffice to maintain them for a year.) If capital could utilize them for 12 months, it would pay them no higher, and would have gained that much surplus labour. Circulation time thus appears as a barrier to the productivity of labour = an increase in necessary labour time = a decrease in surplus labour time = a decrease in surplus value = an obstruction, a barrier to the self-realization process [Selbstverwertungsprozess] of capital. Thus, while capital must on one side strive to tear down every spatial barrier to intercourse, i.e. to exchange, and conquer the whole earth for its market, it strives on the other side to annihilate this space with time, i.e. to reduce to a minimum the time spent in motion from one place to another. The more developed the capital, therefore, the more extensive the market over which it circulates, which forms the spatial orbit of its circulation, the more does it strive simultaneously for an even greater extension of the market and for greater annihilation of space by time. (If labour time is regarded not as the working day of the individual worker, but as the indefinite working day of an indefinite number of workers, then all relations of population come in here; the basic doctrines of population are therefore just as much contained in this first chapter on capital as are those of profit, price, credit etc.) There appears here the universalizing tendency of capital, which distinguishes it from all previous stages of production. Although limited by its very nature, it strives towards the universal development of the forces of production, and thus becomes the presupposition of a new mode of production, which is founded not on the development of the forces of production for the purpose of reproducing or at most expanding a given condition, but where the free, unobstructed, progressive and universal development of the forces of production is itself the presupposition of society and hence of its reproduction; where advance beyond the point of departure is the only presupposition. This tendency – which capital possesses, but which at the same time, since capital is a limited form of production, contradicts it and hence drives it towards dissolution – distinguishes capital from all earlier modes of production, and at the same time contains this element, that capital is posited as a mere point of transition. All previous forms of society – or, what is the same, of the forces of social production – foundered on the development of wealth. Those thinkers of antiquity who were possessed of consciousness therefore directly denounced wealth as the dissolution of the community. The feudal system, for its part, foundered on urban industry, trade, modern agriculture (even as a result of individual inventions like gunpowder and the printing press). With the development of wealth – and hence also new powers and expanded intercourse on the part of individuals – the economic conditions on which the community rested were dissolved, along with the political relations of the various constituents of the community which corresponded to those conditions: religion, in which it was viewed in idealized form (and both [religion and political relations] rested in turn on a given relation to nature, into which all productive force resolves itself); the character, outlook etc. of the individuals. The development of science alone – i.e. the most solid form of wealth, both its product and its producer – was sufficient to dissolve these communities. But the development of science, this ideal and at the same time practical wealth, is only one aspect, one form in which the development of the human productive forces, i.e. of wealth, appears. Considered ideally, the dissolution of a given form of consciousness sufficed to kill a whole epoch. In reality, this barrier to consciousness corresponds to a definite degree of development of the forces of material production and hence of wealth. True, there was not only a development on the old basis, but also a development of this basis itself. The highest development of this basis itself (the flower into which it transforms itself; but it is always this basis, this plant as flower; hence wilting after the flowering and as consequence of the flowering) is the point at which it is itself worked out, developed, into the form in which it is compatible with the highest development of the forces of production, hence also the richest development of the individuals. As soon as this point is reached, the further development appears as decay, and the new development begins from a new basis. We saw earlier that property in the conditions of production was posited as identical with a limited, definite form of the community; hence of the individual with the characteristics – limited characteristics and limited development of his productive forces – required to form such a community. This presupposition was itself in turn the result of a limited historic stage of the development of the productive forces; of wealth as well as of the mode of creating it. The purpose of the community, of the individual – as well as the condition of production – [is] the reproduction of these specific conditions of production and of the individuals, both singly and in their social groupings and relations – as living carriers of these conditions. Capital posits the production of wealth itself and hence the universal development of the productive forces, the constant overthrow of its prevailing presuppositions, as the presupposition of its reproduction. Value excludes no use value; i.e. includes no particular kind of consumption etc., of intercourse etc. as absolute condition; and likewise every degree of the development of the social forces of production, of intercourse, of knowledge etc. appears to it only as a barrier which it strives to overpower. Its own presupposition – value – is posited as product, not as a loftier presupposition hovering over production. The barrier to capital is that this entire development proceeds in a contradictory way, and that the working-out of the productive forces, of general wealth etc., knowledge etc., appears in such a way that the working individual alienates himself [sich entäussert]; relates to the conditions brought out of him by his labour as those not of his own but of an alien wealth and of his own poverty. But this antithetical form is itself fleeting, and produces the real conditions of its own suspension. The result is: the tendentially and potentially general development of the forces of production – of wealth as such – as a basis; likewise, the universality of intercourse, hence the world market as a basis. The basis as the possibility of the universal development of the individual, and the real development of the individuals from this basis as a constant suspension of its barrier, which is recognized as a barrier, not taken for a sacred limit. Not an ideal or imagined universality of the individual, but the universality of his real and ideal relations. Hence also the grasping of his own history as a process, and the recognition of nature (equally present as practical power over nature) as his real body. The process of development itself posited and known as the presupposition of the same.  For this, however, necessary above all that the full development of the forces of production has become the condition of production; and not that specific conditions of production are posited as a limit to the development of the productive forces. –
If we now return to the circulation time of capital, then its abbreviation (except for development of the means of communication and transport required to bring the product to market) [means] in part the creation of a continuous and hence an ever more extensive market; and in part the development of economic relations, development of forms of capital, by means of which it artificially abbreviates the circulation time. (All forms of credit.) <It may be further remarked at this point that, since capital alone possesses the conditions of the production of capital, hence satisfies and strives to realize [them], [it is] a general tendency of capital at all points which are presuppositions of circulation, which form its productive centres, to assimilate these points into itself, i.e. to transform them into capitalizing production or production of capital. This propagandistic (civilizing) tendency a property exclusively of capital – as distinct from the earlier conditions of production.> The modes of production where circulation does not form the immanent, dominant condition of production, naturally [do] not [meet] the specific circulation requirements of capital and hence also do not [provide for] the working-out of the economic forms as well as of the real forces of production corresponding to them. – Production based on capital originally came out of circulation; we now see that it posits circulation as its own condition, and likewise the production process in its immediacy as moment of the circulation process, as well as the circulation process as one phase of the production process in its totality. – In so far as different capitals have different circulation times (e.g. one a more distant market, the other a near one; one a guaranteed transformation into money, the other a risky one; one more fixed capital, the other more circulating capital), this makes for differences among them in realization. But this happens only in the secondary realization process. Circulation time in itself is a barrier to realization (necessary labour time is of course also a barrier; but at the same time an element, since value and capital would vanish without it); [it is a] deduction from surplus labour time or an increase in necessary labour time in relation to surplus labour time. The circulation of capital realizes value, while living labour creates value. Circulation time is only a barrier to this realization of value, and, to that extent, to value creation; a barrier arising not from production generally but specific to production of capital, the suspension of which – or the struggle against which – hence also belongs to the specific economic development of capital and gives the impulse for the development of its forms in credit etc. <Capital itself is the contradiction [, in] that, while it constantly tries to suspend necessary labour time (and this is at the same time the reduction of the worker to a minimum, i.e. his existence as mere living labour capacity), surplus labour time exists only in antithesis with necessary labour time, so that capital posits necessary labour time as a necessary condition of its reproduction and realization. At a certain point, a development of the forces of material production – which is at the same time a development of the forces of the working class – suspends capital itself.>
<‘The entrepreneur can resume production only after he has sold the completed product, and has employed the price for the purchase of new materials and wages: thus, the more prompt circulation is in bringing about these two effects, the more is he capable of beginning his production anew, and the more products does the capital supply in a given period of time.’ (Storch, 34.) > <‘The specific advances of the capitalist do not consist of cloth etc., but of labour.’ (Malthus, IX, 26.) > <‘The accumulation of the general capital of the community in other hands [than] those of the operative labourers, necessarily retards the progress of all industry save that of the usual remuneration of capital, which the time and circumstances afford to the holders of the capital … In the previous systems, the force of production regarded in reference to and subordinate to actual accumulations, and to the perpetuating of the existing modes of distribution. Actual accumulation and distribution are subordinate to the power of producing.’ (Thompson, 3.) >
It follows from the relation of circulation time to the production process that the sum of values produced, or the total realization of capital in a given epoch, is determined not simply by the new value which it creates in the production process, or by the surplus time realized in the production process, but rather by this surplus time (surplus value) multiplied by the number which expresses how often the production process of capital can be repeated within a given period of time. The number which expresses this frequency of repetition may be regarded as the coefficient of the production process or of the surplus value created through it. However, this coefficient is not positively but negatively determined by the velocity of circulation. I.e. if the velocity of circulation were absolute, i.e. if no interruption in production resulting from circulation occurred at all, then this coefficient would be at its maximum. If the real conditions of e.g. wheat production in a given country permit only one harvest, then no velocity of circulation can make two harvests out of it. But if an obstruction in the circulation occurred, if the farmer could not sell his wheat soon enough e.g. to hire workers again, then production would be delayed. The maximum of the coefficient of the production process or the realization process in a given period of time is determined by the absolute time taken up by the production phase itself. With circulation completed, capital is able to begin its production process anew. Thus if circulation caused no delay at all, if its velocity were absolute and its duration = 0, i.e. if it were accomplished in no time, then this would only be the same as if capital had been able to begin its production process anew directly it was finished; i.e. circulation would not have existed as a limiting barrier for production, and the repetition of the production process in a given period of time would be absolutely dependent on, identical with, the duration of the production process. Thus if the development of industry allowed x lb. of twist to be produced in 4 months with a capital of 100, then with that capital the production process could be repeated only 3 times per year, and only 3x lb. of twist could be produced. No velocity of circulation could increase the reproduction of capital, or rather the repetition of its realization process, beyond that point. That could occur only in consequence of an increase in the forces of production. Circulation time in itself is not a productive force of capital, but a barrier to its productive force arising from its nature as exchange value. The passage through the various phases of circulation here appears as a barrier to production, a barrier posited by the specific nature of capital itself. All that can happen through the acceleration and abbreviation of circulation time – of the circulation process – is the reduction of the barrier posited by the nature of capital. The natural barriers to the repetition of the production process e.g. in agriculture coincide with the duration of one cycle of the production phase. The barrier posited by capital is the lag not between seeding and harvest, but between harvest and the transformation of the harvest into money, and retransformation of the money into say e.g. purchase of labour. The circulation-artists who imagine that they can do something with the velocity of circulation other than lessen the obstacles to reproduction posited by capital itself are on the wrong track. (Even madder, of course, are those circulation-artists who imagine that credit institutes and inventions which abolish the lag of circulation time will not only do away with the delays and interruptions in production caused by the transformation of the finished product into capital, but will also make the capital, with which productive capital exchanges, itself superfluous; i.e. they want to produce on the basis of exchange value but to remove at the same time, by some witchcraft, the necessary conditions of production on this basis.) The most that credit can do in this respect – as regards mere circulation – is maintain the continuity of the production process, if all other conditions of this continuity are present, i.e. if the capital to be exchanged with actually exists etc.
It is posited in the circulation process that the transformation of the capital into money is posited as a condition for the realization of capital through production, for the exploitation of labour by capital; or, the exchange of capital for capital * is posited as barrier to the exchange of capital for labour and vice versa.
* For from the present standpoint we still only have labour or capital at all points of circulation.
Capital exists as capital only in so far as it passes through the phases of circulation, the various moments of its transformation, in order to be able to begin the production process anew, and these phases are themselves phases of its realization – but at the same time, as we saw, of its devaluation. As long as capital remains frozen in the form of the finished product, it cannot be active as capital, it is negated capital. Its realization process is delayed in the same degree, and its value-in-process [prozessierender Wert] negated. This thus appears as a loss for capital, as a relative loss of its value, for its value consists precisely in its realization process. This loss of capital means in other words nothing else but that time passes it by unseized, time during which it could have been appropriating alien labour, surplus labour time through exchange with living labour, if the deadlock had not occurred. Now let us imagine many capitals in particular branches of business, all of which are necessary (which would become evident if, in the eventuality of a massive flight of capital from a given branch, supply falling below demand, the market price would therefore rise above the natural price in that branch), and let a single branch of business require e.g. that capital A remain longer in the form of devaluation, i.e. that the time in which it passes through the various phases of circulation is longer than in all other branches of business, in which case this capital A would regard the smaller new value which it could produce as a positive loss, just as if it had so many more outlays to make in order to produce the same value. It would thus charge relatively more exchange value for its products than the other capitals, in order to share the same rate of gain. But this could take place in fact only if the loss were distributed among the other capitals. If A demands more exchange value for the product than there is labour objectified in it, then it can obtain this more only if the others obtain less than the real value of their products. That is, the less favourable conditions under which A has produced would be borne in proportional shares by all the capitalists who exchange with it, and in this way an equal average level would come out. But the sum of the surplus value created by all these capitals together would be lessened exactly by the amount of capital A’s lesser realization in relation to the other capitals; only, instead of this reduction falling exclusively on capital A, it is borne as a general loss, as a loss shared proportionally by all the capitals. Nothing can therefore be more ridiculous than the notion (see e.g. Ramsay)  that, apart from the exploitation of labour, capital forms an original source, separately from labour, of value-creation, because the distribution of surplus labour among the capitals takes place not in proportion to the surplus labour time achieved by the individual capital, but in proportion to the total surplus labour which the totality of capitals achieved, and hence a higher value-creation can be attributed to the individual capital than is directly explicable from its particular exploitation of labour power. But this more on one side has to be compensated by a less on the other. This is what average means, if it means anything at all. The question how the relation of capital to alien capital, i.e. the competition of capitals, distributes the surplus value among them obviously has nothing to do with the absolute amount of this surplus value. Nothing more absurd, then, than to conclude that, because one capital obtains a compensation for its exceptional circulation time, i.e. puts its relatively lesser realization to account as positively greater realization, now all capitals combined, capital can make something out of nothing, make a plus out of a minus, make a plus-surplus value out of a minus-surplus value or out of minus-surplus labour time, and that it possesses, therefore, a mystical wellspring of value independent of the appropriation of alien labour. The manner in which the capitals among other things compute their proportional share of the surplus value – not only according to the surplus labour time which they set in motion, but also in accordance with the time which their capital has worked as such, i.e. lain fallow, found itself in the phase of devaluation – does of course not alter in the least the total sum of the surplus value which they have to distribute among themselves. This sum itself cannot grow by being smaller than it would have been if capital A, instead of lying fallow, had created surplus value; i.e. by having created less surplus value in the same time as the other capitalists. And this lying-fallow is made good for capital A only in so far as it arises necessarily out of the conditions of the particular branch of production, and hence appears in respect to capital as such as a burden on realization, as a necessary barrier to its realization generally. The division of labour leaves this barrier as a barrier only as regards the production process of this particular capital. If the production process is regarded as conducted by capital as such, this lying-fallow is a general barrier to capital’s realization. If one imagines all production carried out by labour alone, then all the larger advances which it requires during its realization appear as what they are – deductions from surplus value.
Circulation can create value only in so far as it requires fresh employment – of alien labour – in addition to that directly consumed in the production process. This is then the same as if more necessary labour were used in the direct production process. Only the actual circulation costs increase the value of the product, but decrease the surplus value.
To the extent that the circulation of capital (the product etc.) does not merely express the phases necessary to begin the production process anew, this circulation (see Storch’s example) does not form a moment of production in its totality – is hence not circulation posited by production, and, in so far as it creates expenses, these are faux frais de production.  The costs of circulation generally, in so far as their merely economic moments, circulation proper, are concerned (bringing the product to market gives it a new use value), are to be regarded as deduction from surplus value, i.e. as an increase of necessary labour in relation to surplus labour.
The continuity of production presupposes that circulation time has been suspended. If it has not been suspended, then time must pass between the different metamorphoses through which capital must travel; its circulation time must appear as deduction from its production time. On the other hand, the nature of capital presupposes that it travels through the different phases of circulation not as it does in the mind, where one concept turns into the next at the speed of thought, in no time, but rather as situations which are separate in time. It must spend some time as a cocoon before it can take off as a butterfly. Thus the conditions of production arising out of the nature of capital itself contradict each other. The contradiction can be suspended and overcome only * in two ways:
Firstly, credit: A pseudo-buyer B – i.e. someone who really pays but does not really buy – mediates the transformation of capitalist A’s product into money. But B himself is paid only after capitalist C has bought A’s product. Whether the money which this credit-man, B, gives to A is used by A to buy labour or to buy raw material and instrument, before A can replace either of them from the sale of his product, does not alter the case. Given our presupposition, he must basically give him both – i.e. all the conditions of production (these represent, however, a greater value than the original ones with which A began the production process). In this case capital B replaces capital A; but they are not realized at the same time. Now B takes the place of A; i.e. his capital lies fallow, until it is exchanged with capital C. It is frozen in the product of A, who has made his product liquid in capital B.
* Except if one imagines that all capitals produce to order for each other, and that the product is therefore always immediately money, a notion which contradicts the nature of capital and hence also the practice of large-scale industry.
The economists’ absolute confusion in respect of Ricardo‘s determination of value through labour time – something which is founded on a basic defect of his own development – emerges very clearly with Mr Ramsay. He says (after having previously drawn, from the influence of the circulation time of capitals on their relative realization, i.e. their relative share of the general surplus value, the nonsensical conclusion that: ‘This shows how capital may regulate value independently of labour’ (IX, 84. R, 43)  or ‘that capital is a source of value independent of labour’ ) – he says, literally: ‘A circulating capital (approvisionnement) will always maintain more labour than that formerly bestowed upon itself. Because, could it employ no more than had been previously bestowed upon itself, what advantage could arise to the owner from the use of it as such?’ (loc. cit. 49.) ‘Given two capitals of equal value, each produced through the labour of 100 men operating for a given time, of which the one is entirely circulating, the other entirely fixed, and may perhaps consist of wine kept to improve. Now, this circulating capital, raised by the labour of 100 men, will set 150 men in motion. Therefore the product at the end of the coming year will in this case be the result of the labour of 150 men. But still it will be of no more value than the wine at the termination of the same period, although only 100 men employed upon the latter.’ (50.) ‘Or is it asserted that the quantity of labour which every circulating capital will employ is no more than equal to the [quantity] previously bestowed upon it? That would mean, that the value of the capital expended = that of the product.’ (52.) Great confusion between the labour bestowed upon capital and that which it will employ. The capital which is exchanged for labour capacity, the approvisionnement – and this he here calls circulating capital – can never employ more labour than has been bestowed upon it. (The reaction of a development of the productive forces on present capital is beside the point here.) But there has been more labour bestowed upon it than it has paid for – surplus labour, which is converted into surplus value and surplus produce, enabling the capital to renew this profitable bargain, where the mutuality is all on one side, on a more enlarged scale. It is enabled to employ more new living labour, because during the process of production a portion of fresh labour has been bestowed upon it beyond the accumulated labour of which it consisted before entering that process.
Mr Ramsay seems to imagine that, if a capital is the product of 20 working days (necessary and surplus together), this product of 20 working days can employ 30 working days. But this is by no means the case. Say that 10 days of necessary labour and 10 surplus days were employed on the product. Then the surplus value = 10 surplus days. If the capitalist then exchanges these again for raw material, instrument and labour, then he can set new necessary labour into motion with the surplus product. The point is not that he employed more labour time than is present in the product, but that he exchanges the surplus labour time, which costs him nothing, for new necessary labour time – in other words, precisely, that he employs the entire labour time bestowed upon the product, while he has paid only part of that labour. Mr Ramsay’s conclusion, that if the quantity of labour which every circulating capital will employ was no more than equal to that previously bestowed upon it, the value of the capital expended would be equal to that of the produce, i.e. no surplus value would be left, would be correct only if the quantity of labour bestowed upon the capital were wholly paid for, i.e. if capital did not appropriate a part of the labour without equivalent. These misunderstandings on Ricardo’s part  obviously arise from the fact that he himself was not clear about the process, nor, as a bourgeois, could he be. Insight into this process is = to the statement that capital is not only, as A. Smith thinks,  command over alien labour, in the sense that every exchange value is that, since it gives its possessor buying power, but that it is the power to appropriate alien labour without exchange, without equivalent, but with the semblance of exchange. Ricardo knows no argument to refute those, like A. Smith and others, who fall into the same error regarding value as determined by labour, and value as determined by the price of labour (wages), other than to say: with the product of the same quantity of labour one can set sometimes more and sometimes less living labour into motion, i.e. he regards the product of labour in respect of the worker only as use value – only the part of the product which he needs to be able to live as worker. But how it comes about that the worker suddenly only represents use value in the exchange, or only draws use value from the exchange, is by no means clear to him, as is already proved by his arguments against A. Smith, which are never in general terms, but always about particular examples. But why is it, then, that the share of the worker in the value of the product is determined not by the value, but rather by the use value of the product, thus not by the labour time employed on it, but by its quality of maintaining living labour capacity? If he tries to explain this with, say, competition among the workers, then the answer which would have to be given is the same as that which he gives A. Smith about competition among capitalists, i.e. that competition may well even out, equalize the level of profit, but in no way creates the measure of this level.  Likewise, competition among the workers could press down a higher wages level etc., but the general standard of wages, or as Ricardo puts it the natural price of wages, could not be explained by the competition between worker and worker, but only by the original relation between capital and labour. Competition generally, this essential locomotive force of the bourgeois economy, does not establish its laws, but is rather their executor. Unlimited competition is therefore not the presupposition for the truth of the economic laws, but rather the consequence – the form of appearance in which their necessity realizes itself. For the economists to presuppose, as does Ricardo, that unlimited competition exists  is to presuppose the full reality and realization of the bourgeois relations of production in their specific and distinct character. Competition therefore does not explain these laws; rather, it lets them be seen, but does not produce them. Then Ricardo says, too: the production costs of living labour depend on the production costs of making the values required to reproduce it.  While he previously regarded the product in relation to the worker only as a use value, he now regards the worker only as an exchange value in relation to the product. The historic process through which product and living labour come into this mutual relation is none of his concern. He is just as vague about the way in which this relation is perpetuated. Capital, with him, is the result of saving; this already shows that he misunderstands the process of its origins and reproduction. He therefore also imagines that production is impossible without capital, although he can very well imagine capital possible without ground rent. The distinction between profit and surplus value does not exist for him, proof that he is clear about the nature of neither one. His procedure already shows this from the very beginning. Originally, he makes workers exchange with workers – and their exchange is then determined by the equivalent, by the labour time reciprocally expended in production. Then comes the real problem of his economics, to demonstrate that this determination of value is not altered by the accumulation of capitals – i.e. by the presence [Dasein] of capital. Firstly, he has no inkling that his first spontaneous relation is itself only a relation abstracted from the mode of production resting on capital. Secondly, what he has available is a definite amount of objective labour time, which may of course increase, and he asks himself, how is it distributed? The question is rather how is it created, and there it is precisely the specific nature of the relation of capital and labour, or the specific and distinct character of capital, which explains this. As Quincey (X, 5) puts it, modern economics (the economics of Ricardo) is in fact concerned only with the dividends, while the total product is regarded as fixed, determined by the quantity of labour employed on it – its value appraised in accordance with that.  Accordingly, Ricardo has rightly been accused of not understanding surplus value, although his opponents understand it even less. Capital is represented as appropriating a certain part of the ready and available value of labour (of the product); the creation of this value, which it appropriates above and beyond the reproduced capital, is not presented as the source of the surplus value. This creation is identical with the appropriation of alien labour without exchange, and for that reason the bourgeois economists are never permitted to understand it clearly. Ramsay accuses Ricardo of forgetting that the fixed capital (which consists of capital not included in approvisionnement, with Ramsay the raw material at the same time along with the instrument) is a deduction from the sum total available for distribution among capitalist and worker. ‘Ricardo forgets that the whole product is divided not only between wages and profits, but that another part is necessary for replacing fixed capital.’ (IX, p. 88. R. 174, note.) Indeed, since Ricardo does not grasp the relation between objectified and living labour in its living movement – [a relation] not to be deduced from the dividends of a given quantity of labour, but from the positing of surplus labour – and does not, therefore, grasp the relation among the different component parts of capital, it therefore seems with him as if the entire product were divided into wages and profits, so that the reproduction of capital is itself counted as part of profit. Quincey (loc. cit. Notebook X, 5) gives this exposition of the Ricardian doctrine: ‘If the price is 10s. then wages and profit as a whole cannot exceed 10s. But do not the wages and profits as a whole, themselves, on the contrary, predetermine the price? No, that is the old superannuated doctrine.’ (p. 204). ‘The new economics has shown that all price is governed by proportional quantity of the producing labour, and by that only. Being itself once settled, then ipso facto, price settles the fund out of which both wages and profits must derive their separate dividends.’ (loc. cit. 204.)  Capital here appears not as positing surplus value, i.e. surplus labour, but only as making deductions from a given quantity of labour. The fact that instrument and raw material appropriate these dividends then has to be explained by their use value in production, which then presupposes the absurdity that raw material and instrument create use value through their separation from labour. For this separation makes them into capital. Considered for themselves, they are themselves labour, accumulated labour. Besides, this clashes with sound common sense, because the capitalist knows very well that he counts wages and profit among the production costs and regulates the necessary price accordingly. This contradiction in the determination of the product by relative labour time, and the limitation of the sum of profit and wages by the sum of this labour time, and the real determination of prices in practice, comes about only because profit is not grasped as itself a derivative, secondary form of surplus value; the same is true of what the capitalist justly regards as his production costs. His profit arises simply from the fact that a part of the cost of production costs him nothing, hence does not enter into his outlays, his production costs.