Capital Accumulation and the Composition of Capital
71[The] relation between generalised commodity production [GCP] ... wage labor andcapitalist production is one of reciprocal implication. First... when labor becomes wagelabor ... commodity production is generalised. On the one hand wage labor implies GCP
On the other hand, GCP implies wage labor•.. Marx shows.., that capitalist productionis commodity production as the general form of production while, at the same time,emphasizing that it is only on the basis of the capitalist mode of production that all or eventhe majority of products of labor assume commodity form... Finally, the relation of wagelabor and capital is also one of reciprocal implication for Marx. Capital is a productionrelation between the immediate producers and their conditions of production which, separatedfrom them and passing under the control of non (immediate) producers, dominate them ascapital... [T]he rest of the features of capitalism could be seen as the necessary resultantsfollowing from any one of these essentially equivalent central categories (Chattopadhyay,1994, pp. 17-18).As a totality engaged in self-expansion through the employment of wage labour,capital is primarily
capital in general.
This is the general form of capital. 5Capital in general can be represented by the circuit of industrial capital,M-C-M', where M and M' are sums of money-capital and C represents theinputs, including labour power and means of production; the difference betweenM' and M is the surplus value.The circuit of industrial capital represents the essence of capital, valorisationthrough the production of commodities by wage labour. However, capitalproduces not only surplus value; at the social level, the outcome of the circuitis the
of capital or, following from the concept of capital,the renewal of the separation between capitalists and wage workers. For thisreason, Marx claimed that 'Accumulation of capital is... multiplication of theproletariat'
1, p. 764). In other words,The capitalist process of production.., seen as a total, connected process, i.e. a process ofreproduction, produces not only commodities, not only surplus-value, but it also producesand reproduces the capital-relation itself; on the one hand the capitalist, on the other thewage-labourer
1, p. 724)•
The capital relation implies that the means of production have been monopo-lised by a relatively small number of people. In contrast, the majority is forcedto sell their labour power in order to purchase commodities that, as a class,they have produced previously (see
Theories of Surplus Value, 3,
pp. 490--491).Therefore, capital is a
class relation of exploitation,
which allows capitalists tolive off the surplus value extracted from the working class:Capitalism, and hence capital, requires a lot more by way of the social than private propertyand the market ... What it does depend upon is wage labour, able and willing to produce