Capital, as a social and historical particular form of economic development, is the accumulation of money capital through its system of production, distribution, exchange, and consumption. In the three volumes of Capital, Marx examines the logical and historical evolution of this system from its emergence in its embryonic form in the commodity and its development through production, the circulation of capital, and, ultimately, the concentration and centralization of finance. Capital becomes, through all of these, a system of social administration. But capital has money as its own primary social connection and administrative tool. Capital is a system of investment as well as a system of accumulation. And reinvestment decisions are made in response to the highest rates of profit which emerge and contrast with those which have become socially average or below.
The processes of accumulation and reinvestment follow the path of the concentration and centralization of ownership and control of capital. Reinvestment as social development then reflects the movement of capital into its latest forms which produce the highest rates of profit and into the interconnections, nationally and internationally, which are associated with those forms. The process of accumulation is continually a process of disinvestment and movement of capital out of previous social forms and into new ones. And, with the centralization of finance and the development of capital to a national level, that movement of investment becomes, also, the export of capital. Lenin analyzes this development in Imperialism.
Capital is equally a system of social development. Marx defines the contradiction between private appropriation and socialization as the most fundamental within capitalism. Capital must be examined not only as a particular in relation to its own development of private appropriation, but in the ways in which it posits and is posited by social development. Capital reflects the social relations for which it is both subject for human subjective social reproduction of its own existence and development and object for the accumulation of capital. The forms