Capital, Volume III

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Karl Marx
Even a whole society, a nation, or even all simultaneously existing societies taken together, are not the owners of the globe.
Chapter XLVI, p. 776

Capital, Volume III is the third volume of an extensive treatise on political economy written by Karl Marx. The third volume of Capital was edited by Friedrich Engels and published in 1894, eleven years after the death of Karl Marx.

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  • The capitalist does not produce a commodity for its own sake, nor for the sake of its use value, or his personal consumption.The product in which the capitalist is really interested is not the palpable product itself, but the excess value of the product over the value of the capital consumed by it.
    • Chapter II, The Rate of Profit, p. 41
  • The capitalist's profit is derived from the fact that he has something to sell for which he has paid nothing.
    • Chapter II, The Rate of Profit, p. 42
  • One is conscious that capital generates this new value by its movement in the processes of production and circulation. But the way which this occurs is cloaked in mystery and appears to originate from hidden qualities inherent in capital itself.
    • Chapter II, Rate of Profit, p. 48
  • The rate of profit, therefore, depends on two main factors - the rate of surplus-value and the value-composition of capital.
    • Chapter III, Relation of Rate of Profit to Rate of Surplus Value, p. 69
  • The shorter the period of turnover, the smaller the idle portion of capital as compared with the whole, and the larger, therefore, the appropriated surplus-value, provided other conditions remain the same.
    • Chapter IV, Effect of Turnover on the Rate of Profit, p. 70
  • The chief means of reducing the time of production is higher labour productivity, which is commonly called industrial progress.
    • Chapter IV, Effect of Turnover on the Rate of Profit, p. 70
  • The chief means of reducing the time of circulation is improved communications.
    • Chapter IV, Effect of Turnover on the Rate of Profit, p. 71
  • The amount of variable capital invested in his business is something the capitalist himself does not know in most cases.
    • Chapter IV, Effect of Turnover on the Rate of Profit, p. 74
  • Indeed, it is only by dint of the most extravagant waste of individual development that the development of the human race is at all safeguarded and maintained in the epoch of history immediately preceding the conscious reorganisation of society.
    • Chapter V, Economy in Employment of Constant Capital, p. 88
  • Excretions of consumption are the natural waste matter discharged by the human body, remains of clothing in the form of rags, etc. Excretions of consumption are of the greatest importance for agriculture. So far as their utilisation is concerned, there is an enormous waste of them in the capitalist economy. In London, for instance, they find no better use for the excretion of four million human beings than to contaminate the Thames with it at heavy expense.
    • Chapter V, Economy in Employment of Constant Capital, p. 101
  • Universal labour is all scientific labour, all discovery and all invention.
    • Chapter V, Economy in Employment of Constant Capital, p. 104
  • It follows furthermore that foreign trade influences the rate of profit, regardless of its influence on wages through the cheapening of the necessities of life.
    • Chapter VI, Effect of Price Fluctuations, p.107
  • Violent price fluctuations therefore cause interruptions, great collisions, even catastrophes, in the process of reproduction.
    • Chapter VI, Effect of Price Fluctuations, p. 117
  • Taking equal amounts of capital, the rates of profit differ because, owing to the different masses of living labour set in motion, the masses of surplus-value, and thus of profit, differ, although the rates of surplus value are the same.
    • Chapter VIII, Different Compositions of Capital, p. 148
  • So far as profits are concerned, the various capitalists are just so many stockholders in a stock company in which the shares of profit are uniformly divided per 100, so that profits differ in the case of the individual individual capitalists only on accordance with the amount of capital invested by each in the aggregate enterprise, i.e., according to his investment in social production as a whole, according to the number of his shares.
    • Chapter IX, Formation of General Rate of Profit, p. 158
  • Disguised as profit, surplus value actually denies its origin, losses its character, and becomes unrecognisable.
    • Chapter IX, Formation of General Rate of Profit, p. 167
  • The transformation of values into prices of production serves to obscure the basis for determining value itself.
    • Chapter IX, Formation of General Rate of Profit, p. 168
  • To what extent this profit is due to the aggregate exploitation of labour on the par of the total social capital, i.e., by all his capitalist colleagues-this interrelation is a complete mystery to the individual capitalist; all the more so, since no bourgeois theorists, the political economists, have so far revealed it.
    • Chapter IX, Formation of General Rate of Profit, p. 170
  • The real difficulty in formulating the general definition of supply and demand is that it seems to take on the appearance of a tautology.
    • Chapter X, Equalisation of General Rate of Profit, p. 186
  • In reality, supply and demand never coincide, or, if they do, it is by mere accident, hence scientifically = 0, and to be regarded as not having occurred.
    • Chapter X, Equalisation of General Rate of Profit, p. 189
  • Three individuals are enough for the complete metamorphosis of a commodity, and therefore for the process of sale and purchase taken as a whole.
    • Chapter X, Equalisation of General Rate of Profit, p. 192-193
  • Here, then, we have a mathematically precise proof why capitalists form a veritable freemason society vis-à-vis the whole working class, while there is little love lost between them in competition among themselves.
    • Chapter X, Equalisation of General Rate of Profit, p. 198
  • A general increase of wages, all else remaining the same, is tantamount to a reduction in the rate of surplus value.
    • Chapter XI, Wage Fluctuations and Prices of Production, p. 200
  • As the process of production and accumulation advances therefore, the mass of available and appropriated surplus-labour, and hence the absolute mass of profit appropriated by the social capital must grow.
    • Chapter XIII, The Law as Such, p. 219
  • Crude as these ideas are, they arise necessarily out of the inverted aspect which the immanent laws of capitalist production represent in competition.
    • Chapter XIII, The Law as Such, p. 225
  • In commercial practice, the turnover is generally calculated inaccurately.
    • Chapter XIII, The Law as Such, p. 228
  • The rate of profit does not fall because labour becomes less productive, but because it becomes more productive.
    • Chapter XIV, Counteracting Influences, p. 239
  • The real barrier of capitalist production is capital itself.
    • Chapter XV, Internal Contradictions of the Law, p. 250
  • Not too much wealth is produced. But at times too much wealth is produced in its capitalistic, self-contradictory forms.
    • Chapter XV, Internal Contradictions of the Law, p. 258
  • No capitalist ever voluntarily introduces a new method of production, no matter how much more productive it may be, and how much it may increase the rate of surplus-value, so long as it reduces the rate of profit.
    • Chapter XV, Internal Contradictions of the Law, p. 264
  • It does not take more time to deal with large figures than with small ones.
    • Chapter XVII, Commercial Profit, p. 295
  • The conceptions of the merchant, stockbroker, and banker, are necessarily quite distorted.
    • Chapter XVIII, The Turnover of Merchants Capital, p. 313
  • Small profits and quick returns appear to the shopkeeper to be the principal which he follows out of sheer principle.
    • Chapter XVIII, The Turnover of Merchants Capital, p. 314
  • It is in the circulation process that money develops into capital.
    • Chapter XX, Facts About Merchants Capital, p. 328
  • Slavery on the basis of capitalist production is unjust; likewise fraud in the quality of commodities.
    • Chapter XXI, Interest-Bearing Capital, p. 340
  • Capital exists as capital in actual movement, not in the process of circulation, but only in the process of production, in the process by which labour power is exploited.
    • Chapter XXI, Interest-Bearing Capital, p. 343
  • If all capital were in the hands of the industrial capitalists there would be no such thing as interest and rate of interest.
    • Chapter XXIII, Interest and Profit of Enterprise, p. 377
  • The labour of exploiting is just as much labour as exploited labour.
    • Chapter XXIII, Interest and Profit of Enterprise, p. 383
  • Stock companies in general - developed with the credit system - have an increasing tendency to separate this work of management as a function from the ownership of capital, be it self owned or borrowed.
    • Chapter XXIII, Interest and Profit of Enterprise, p. 387-388
  • On the basis of capitalist production a new swindle develops in stock enterprises with respect to wages of management, in that boards of numerous managers or directors are placed above the actual director, for whom supervision and management serve only as a pretext to plunder the stockholders and amass wealth.
    • Chapter XXIII, Interest and Profit of Enterprise, p. 389
  • Capital is now a thing, but as a thing it is capital. Money is now pregnant.
    • Chapter XXIV, Externalisation of Relations of Capital, p. 393
  • A bank-note is nothing but a draft upon a banker, payable at any time to the bearer, and given by the banker in place of private drafts.
    • Chapter XXV, Credit and Fictitious Capital, p. 403
  • All great fluctuations of interest, great either in their duration or in the extent of the fluctuation, may be distinctly traced to alterations in the value of capital.
    • Chapter XXVI, Accumulation of Money Capital, p. 420
  • The idiocy of the present-day bourgeois world cannot be better described than by the respect, which the "logic" of the millionaire-the dunghill aristocrat-inspired in all England.
    • Chapter XXVI, Accumulation of Money Capital, p. 422
  • "credit accelerates the velocity of the metamorphoses of commodities and thereby the velocity of money circulation."
    • Chapter XXVII, The Role of Credit, p. 436
  • It is the historical mission of the capitalist system of production to raise these material foundations of the new mode of production to a certain degree of perfection. At the same time credit accelerates the violent eruptions of this contradiction - crises - and thereby the elements of the old mode of production.
    • Chapter XXVII, The Role of Credit, p. 441
  • The maximum of credit is here identical with the fullest employment of industrial capital, that is, the utmost exertion of its reproductive power without regard to the limits of consumption.
    • Chapter XXX, Money Capital and Real Capital. I , p. 482
  • Business is always thoroughly sound and the campaign is in full swing, until suddenly the debacle takes place.
    • Chapter XXX, Money-Capital and Real Capital. I, p. 485
  • Ignorant and mistaken bank legislation, such as that of 1844-45, can intensify this money crisis. But no kind of bank legislation can eliminate a crisis.
    • Chapter XXX, Money-Capital and Real Capital. I, p. 490
  • It is after all much better that the corn producers and speculators lose a portion of their profit for the good of their own country than their capital for the good of England.
    • Chapter XXX, Money-Capital and Real Capital. I, p. 493
  • The rural depositor fancies that he deposits only with his banker, and fancies furthermore that when his banker lends to others, it is done to private persons whom he knows. He has not the slightest suspicion that his banker places his deposit at the disposal of some London bill broker, over whose operations neither of them have the slightest control.
    • Chapter XXXI, Money-Capital and Real Capital. II, p. 498-499
  • " the banker, who receives the money as a loan from one group of the reproductive capitalists, lends it to another group of reproductive capitalists, so that the banker appears in the role of supreme benefactor; and at the same time, the control over this capital falls completely into the hands of the banker in his capacity as middleman."
    • Chapter XXXII, Money-Capital and Real Capital. III, p. 506
  • Furthermore, in regard to Asia, all capitalist nations are usually simultaneously - directly or indirectly - its debtors.
    • Chapter XXXII, Money-Capital and Real Capital. III, p.517
  • Talk about centralisation! The credit system, which has its focus in the so-called national banks and the big money-lenders and users surrounding them, constitutes enormous centralisation, which gives to the class of parasites the fabulous power, not only to periodically despoil industrail capitalists, but also to interfere in actual production in a most dangerous manner-and this gang knows nothing about production and has nothing to do with it. The Acts of 1844 and 1845 are proof of the growing power of these bandits, who are augmented by financiers and stock-jobbers.
    • Chapter XXXIII, Medium of Circulation in Credit, p. 544-545
  • Low money-prices for commodities and a low interest rate do not necessarily go together. Otherwise, the interest rate would be lowest in the poorest countries, where money-prices for produce are lowest, and highest in the richest countries, where money-prices for agricultural products are highest.
    • Chapter XXXV, Precious Metal and Rate of Exchange, p. 588
  • Most of the banks in Australia, the West Indies, and Canada, have been founded with English capital, and the dividends are payable in England.
    • Chapter XXXV, Precious Metal and Rate of Exchange, p. 590
  • The monetary system is essentially a Catholic institution, the credit system essentially Protestant. "The Scotch hate gold." In the form of paper the monetary existence of commodities is only a social one. It is Faith that brings salvation. Faith in money-value as the immanent spirit of commodities, faith in the mode of production and its predestined order, faith in the individual agents of production as mere personifications of self expanding capital. But the credit system does not emancipate itself from the basis of the monetary system any more than Protestantism has emancipated itself from the foundations of Catholicism.
    • Chapter XXXV, Precious Metal and Rate of Exchange, p. 592
  • "the wage slave, it is true, can become a creditor's slave in his capacity as consumer."
    • Chapter XXXVI, Pre-Capitalist Relationships, p. 595 ("whats in your wallet?")
  • " the tool becomes a machine."
    • Chapter XXXV, Precious Metal and Rate of Exchange, p. 596
  • Usury lives in the pores of production, as it were, just as the gods of Epicurus lived in the space between the worlds.
    • Chapter XXXVI, Pre-Capitalist Relationships, p. 598
  • The more a ruling class is able to assimilate the foremost minds of a ruled class, the more stable and dangerous becomes its rule.
    • Chapter XXXVI, Pre-Capitalist Relationships, p. 601
  • By means of the banking system the distribution of capital as a special business, a social function, is taken out of the hands of the private capitalists and usurers. But at the same time, banking and credit thus become the most potent means of driving capitalist production beyond its own limits, and one of the most effective vehicles of crises and swindle.
  • Without the ban on interest churches and cloisters would never have become so affluent.
    • Chapter XXXVI, Pre-Capitalist Relationships, p. 613
  • But a waterfall cannot be created by capital out of itself.
    • Chapter XXXVIII, Differential Rent: General Remarks, p. 646
  • The landlord is always ready to draw a rent,i.e., to receive something for nothing. But capital requires certain conditions to fulfil his wish.
    • Chapter XLV, Absolute Ground-Rent, p.771
  • From the standpoint of a higher economic form of society, private ownership of the globe by single individuals will appear quite as absurd as private ownership of one man by another. Even a whole society, a nation, or even all simultaneously existing societies taken together, are not the owners of the globe. They are only its possessors, its usufructuaries, and, like boni patres familias, they must hand it down to succeeding generations in an improved condition.
    • Chapter XLVI, Building Site and Mining Rent, Price of Land, p. 776
  • Value is labour.
    • Chapter XLVIII, Trinity Formula, Section III, p. 815
  • Vulgar economy actually does no more than interpret, systematise and defend in doctrinaire fashion the conceptions of the agents of bourgeois production who are entrapped in bourgeois production relations.
    • Chapter XLVIII, Trinity Formula, Section III, p. 817
  • " the profit made in selling depends on cheating, deceit, inside knowledge, skill and a thousand favorable market opportunities;"
    • Chapter XLVIII, Trinity Formula, Section III, p. 827
  • The conversion of surplus-value into profit, as we have seen, is determined as much by the process of circulation as by the process of production.
    • Chapter XLVIII, Trinity Formula, Section III, p. 828
  • It is an enchanted, perverted, topsy-turvy world, in which Monsieur le Capital and Madame la Terre do their ghost walking as social characters and at the same time directly as mere things.
    • Chapter XLVIII, Trinity Formula, Section III, p. 830
Karl Marx
[Here the manuscript breaks off.]
Chapter LII, p. 886
  • Nevertheless even the best spokesman of classical economy remain more or less in the grip of the world of illusion which their criticism had dissolved,as cannot be otherwise from a bourgeois standpoint, and thus they all fall more or less into inconsistencies, half-truths and unsolved contradictions.
    • Chapter XLVIII, Trinity Formula, Section III, p. 830
  • It is therefore just as natural that vulgar economy, which is no more than a didactic, more or less dogmatic, translation of everyday conceptions of the actual agents of production, and which arranges them in a certain rational order, should see precisely in this trinity, which is devoid of all inner connection, the natural and indubitable lofty basis for its shallow pompousness.
    • Chapter XLVIII, Trinity Formula, Section III, p. 830
  • But what is money? Money is not a thing, but a definite form of value, hence, value is again presupposed.
    • Chapter L, Illusions Created by Competition, p. 863
  • [Here the manuscript breaks off.]
    • Chapter LII, Classes, p. 886 (Last text line...)

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