Capital, the Communist Manifesto and Other Writings

By Karl Marx; Max Eastman | Go to book overview

notably to the small retail tradesman, as one which he must follow on principle.

It is evident that this law holds good only for the average of the rotations made by the total commercial capital invested in a given branch. The capital belonging to A, who is in the same branch as B, may make more or less rotations than the average number. In this case, the others make less or more. This fact alters nothing in the rotation of the totality of commercial capital invested in the branch. But it has decisive importance for the individual tradesman. In this case he makes surplus profit. If competition compel him to do so, he can sell cheaper than his competitors, without his profit sinking below the average. If the conditions, which enable him to accelerate rotation, be themselves purchasable--e. g. the position of the building where the sales take place--he can pay an extra rent for this, i. e. part of his surplus profit is converted into ground-rent.


CHAPTER XXI
THE HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF COMMERCIAL CAPITAL

(Extracted from vol. III, part 1, ch. 20, German ed.)

WHEN examining the question from a strictly scientific point of view, the formation of the general rate of profit appears as having its starting point in productive capital, and in the competition between the various productive capitals; and as having been, at a later period, "corrected," completed, modified by the intervention of commercial capital. But, viewed from a historical point of view, just the contrary is the case.

From what we have already said, it is evident that nothing could be more erroneous than to regard commercial capital as a species of productive capital, like mining, agriculture, cattle-breeding, manufacture, transport, etc. The simple observation that every productive capital performs exactly the same functions as commercial capital when selling its products and buying its raw materials, should alone suffice to render

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