Capital, the Communist Manifesto and Other Writings

By Karl Marx; Max Eastman | Go to book overview

tinually before him, and compares--and mast compare--his own cost prices with the market prices, not only at home, but in the whole world. In the former period, this comparison falls almost entirely upon the shoulders of the merchants and thereby secures for merchants capital the supremacy over industrial capital.


CHAPTER XXII
INTEREST AND THE PROFIT DERIVED FROM INDUSTRIAL UNDERTAKINGS

(Extracted from vol. III, part 1, ch. 21, 22, 23, German ed.)

MONEY--here taken as the independent expression of a sum of value, whether the latter exist, in fact, in the form of money, or in that of commodities--can, on the basis of capitalist production, be employed as capital, and is hereby transformed from a given value into an increasing one. It enables the capitalist to get out of the labourers a definite quantity of unpaid labour, which the capitalist appropriates. In this way it obtains a new use-value, i. e. the use-value of making profit. In this capacity it becomes a commodity, but a commodity of a special kind.

A man who has $25 at his disposal, is able--assuming the yearly average rate of profit to be 20 per cent--to make $30 out of the original sum. If this man hands over the $25 to another man for a year, and the other man really employs them as capital, the former gives the latter the means of producing $5 profit. If the latter man pays, at the end of the year, say $1.25 to the owner of the $25--i. e. a part of the profit yielded by this sum--he thereby pays the use-value of the $25, the use-value of their function as capital. That part of the profit paid by him is called interest, which is thus but a special name for designating a part of the profit.

It is clear that the property of the $25 gives their owner the power to appropriate a part of the profit produced by his capital, i. e. the interest. If he did not give the other man the $25, the latter could not make the profit.

-268-

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