Capital

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For the book written by Karl Marx, see Das Kapital.

Capital is the equipment and funds used in the production and marketing of goods and services. A capitalist enterprise is owned and managed by capitalists who use their capital to acquire the use of other necessary inputs such as labor and raw materials. In a capitalist society capitalists effectively control the government of the state and structure its institutions to facilitate and maintain their control.

Theory

In Marxist theory, the essential feature of capital is that it is self-expanding value or "self-valorizing value". This obviously refers to its function of producing output greater than costs; but according to Robert Albritton, the terms also signify other expansive features of capital: the tendency of capitals to aggrandize through the processes of concentration and centralization, and the tendency of capital to push non value-dominated forms of social relation out of existence (eg., by commodification) so that the proportionate influence of capital within society expands, considerations of value (eg., profitability) increasingly predominating over considerations of use-value (a.k.a. utility or human welfare). This self-expansion is also manifested temporally as speed-up.[1]

Notes

  1. Robert Albritton, Economics Transformed. London, England; 2007. Pp 72-3. See also Marx, Capital, vol 1, chap xxv: ". . . the sphere of capital's exploitation and rule merely extends with its own dimensions and the number of its subjects . . . etc." (pp 617-18 in Progress Publishers, Moscow, USSR edition).