EconoFiction

Commodity, Money and Capital

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16 Sep , 2020  

Under the aspect of the juxtaposition of commodity and money, Marx speaks in the first three chapters of Kapital Bd.1 of the commodity as a commodity form. If the development of value itself is addressed here at the same time, he speaks of the value form. In this context, he is then concerned with “following the development of the expression of value contained in the value relationship of commodities from its simplest inconspicuous form to the dazzling form of money” (MEGA2, II/6, 81). The simple Marxian value expression “a quantity y of commodity A is worth a quantity x of commodity B” indicates the following. 1) Two quantities of a material utility value are related here. 2) These quantities are qualitatively different products. 3) At the same time it is presupposed that these products are considered equivalent within a specific relation, which Marx grasps as an equality relation or as a value relation, the latter being at the same time the expression of value (commodity A expresses its value in the utility value of commodity B), which, however, must not be understood as an equation. 4.) The value of commodity A is expressed in the value expression b(a) by the units of the utility value of commodity B. 5) Reversibility is possible here, so that a new function a(b) to be defined arises. (Cf. Quaas 2016: 07)
Concerning the last point, the axiom of symmetry, which allows the representation of the equivalence relation of classical goods, proves to be necessary. With this, however, the positional changes of the goods A and B in the expression of value are at least virtually given, whereby none of the goods A and B can, however, update itself simultaneously in both positions (relative value form and equivalent form).1 With this, Marx already addressed questions of measurement and size of value, which leads to the following distinctions with respect to the determinations of the goods: There is a) the concrete product (utility value), b) the concrete product, which is understood as the material carrier of a quantity (commodity), c) the abstract quantity state associated with the product (value quantity), d) the type of quantity under which the quantity state is subsumed (value), and e) the numerical expression of the abstract quantity state (price). (Schlaudt 2011: 260)
Now Marx, if one wants to follow the majority of Marxist theorists, has no problems whatsoever in finally arriving at the form of money within the analysis of the form of value over several transitions – from the simple form of value to the extended and general form of value. Still logically located before the money form, the general value form is characterized by a single general equivalent, in which all goods express their value (they are now always in the position of the relative value form). Money, as far as it represents the general equivalent, does not lead to money as value, but first to a very specific form of value, namely the form of money. However, the stringency of Marx’s representation of value forms, the form of money and money is quite controversial among Marxist authors. At least, according to the position of Michael Heinrich, which we share, no money commodity is necessary as a value mirror of all goods, because Marx shows that in the general form of value an exclusive value form must indeed confront the goods, but this representational form must by no means assume the real form of a commodity, because this would mean confusing the purely formal character of the secondary utility value (it serves purely for expression), in which the goods express their value, with the primary utility value characteristics of the commodity excluded as the general equivalent. (Henry 1999a: 233)2
The exclusion of a general equivalent, which functions as money, must be constantly repeated and at the same time consolidated in order to ensure stability in an economy, but that this must be done with the embodiment of money by gold can be safely denied. Rather, one must assume in principle that it is not gold that gives money its value, but conversely, it is money that gives gold its economic value. And this too points to the fact that money needs no reference whatsoever to a money commodity.3 According to Marx, the first function of money is precisely that money, as the general equivalent, is the (external) measure of goods. The measure function of money is here indicated in a medial and functional sense (and not represented by the full-value metal money or a money commodity), whereby the abstract measure of money is to be distinguished from the scale (price), which is applied to different entities and contains metric and ordinal differences, which are written down qua numbers. (Mau 2017: 57) The relation of money and number implies here the establishment of a connection between equality (measure) and difference (scale).
For the Greek economist John Milios, money only makes up the commensurability (of the goods among each other), but it does not invent it. (Milios 2004) At the same time, however, money possesses the (weak) potential to be immediately exchangeable into any form of utility value. And thus, even before the commodity enters circulation, it is already related to money and is at least potentially a price (but it must still be sold to realize the price). For Marx, the price is the expression of the value of the commodity in money, or, to put it another way, the price form updates the distributability of the product quantities in the monetary form. Marx, like Keynes, by the way, insists on the endogenous character of money, the importance of which is by no means merely to act as a universal medium of exchange that mediates between supply and demand and facilitates transactions on the markets ‘by lowering transaction costs.
However, the problem around the forms of value is somewhat more difficult to solve: In order to demonstrate the lack of stability of economic form-constitution, when it takes place purely on the level of the value form, Marx introduces a fourth value form in the first edition of Capital to represent this problem. He writes: “The general equivalent form always comes to one pair as opposed to all other pairs; but it comes to each pair as opposed to all others. But if each pair of goods contrasts its own natural form with all other goods as a general equivalent form, then all goods exclude all from the general equivalent form and therefore exclude themselves from the socially valid representation of their values” (MEGA II/5: 43). The fourth value form, which Marx introduced in the first edition of capital and deleted again in the second edition, indicates that the derivation of money from premonetary value forms must fail. In the fourth value form, namely, the commodity that takes the place of the general equivalent excludes all other commodities from the equivalent form, whereby the place of the general equivalent can be taken by any commodity, so that all commodities exclude all from the general equivalent form. Thus the fourth value form remains conceptually un- or under-determined like all other value forms. This means that there is neither a valid numéraire1 nor a general validity of money or the economic stability of an economic context, which takes place purely through the development of value forms.
Money is to be understood as something fundamentally non-contentual (it is non-material; it is therefore more of an un-thing than a thing, and it always exists as a form also qua representations), whereby all goods as all contents are opposed to it; and thus the goods are not money and money is not goods. (Cf. Bockelmann 2004: 180f.) The indifference of money towards the goods does not mean indifference here, but aims further at the fact that the qualitative variety of goods is reduced by their relation to money to purely quantitative relations among themselves, i.e. that the goods are without exception related to money as economic quantities (price) and are then considered equal among themselves exclusively in this relation. The fact that money has no content points to the fact that money is not to be understood as an embodiment of abstract wealth (for example as a money thing or as a money commodity), rather it remains in all its materializations a disembodied body, i.e. the object (in itself) or an abstract media form. Thus gold, coins, paper bills, numbers and bits and bytes can easily represent money, and this also means that no gram of value is stored in money.
Thus, as a social mediator, money has no content, while all content is opposed to it as a quantity of goods, whereby all content here means that the goods are elements of a quotient set whose property is characterized by equivalence (symmetry, reflexivity, transitivity),2 a property that is empty to a certain extent, which in turn refers to the special purely quantitative reference to money. Despite their separation, money and commodity are always abstract, i.e. without referring to concrete performances, related to each other, so that the commodity is also defined by its relation to money as well as the latter also by its relation to the commodity (the relation is external to its relation); commodity and money are related to each other in so far as on the one hand the one forms existence for the other (but commodity and money must first be separated in order to transform themselves in buying and selling, namely from commodity into money and from money into commodity) and on the other hand commodity and money are parts of the reproduction process of capital. (MEW 25: 335) But at the same time commodity and money are the negation of the respective other, i. e. money is by its reference to the good just non-goods as the good is in its reference to money just non-money.
In relation to capital, commodity and money are always already latent capital, whereby the integration of commodity and money is produced via the virtual value, which really exists in the components commodity and money. The virtual structure (value) is immanent in its effects, according to Althusser’s definition of structural causality. Here, the reason is not absent, but is repeated by the effects in a non-representative and non-similar way. Commodity and money cannot exist autonomously, but neither is the relationship to each other primary; rather, they are dependent on the special relation of capital and value. Thus, the transformation of values into prices is not a quantitative but a conceptual matter. Values as such cannot be measured quantitatively; rather, values are measured by the form of their appearance, that is, expressed in prices; their expression is always mediated by money.
Capitalist money (in its first two functions as a measure and a means of circulation) acquires its validity as a marker referring to purchasing power, inasmuch as money is already “socially” recognized as a writing system and as a social fact as a result of a-thematic rules that are followed quasi automatically by the economic actors, and is so desired that it includes the expectation of the desire of others. Money is thus linked to the promise, if not the certainty (in view of an open future), that one will get something, whatever, in return. It is precisely the lack of content or the indeterminacy of money, not to refer to concrete services or goods, that makes up the functionality and potency of money here. And thus money itself has a weak active power. In a certain sense, it is also characterized as symbolic money (the name alone is enough to indicate its social effectiveness) and for this reason, in history, a not quite arbitrary material, gold, is used to embody it (rarity, necessary divisibility and durability of the material, etc.). Today, however, money exists to a large extent as a promise of payment written or digitized in the balance sheets of commercial banks, as a promise to accept money to pay debts (credit). Giral money, too, is then of course not to be understood as a commodity, but as a specific social relation (Sahr 2017: Kindle-Edition: 500), whereby it must be taken into account, however, that money does not merge with the function of credit, as some credit theorists such as Aaron Sahr assume. We will come back to this later.
Money does not only passively claim the function of the general equivalent or measure (of commodity values), but it also incorporates the weak and underdetermined power of a validity (underdetermined, in so far as it is capital in the last instance that causes the power of money; weak, because it represents the capital relation with its validity), which also characterizes its function, as if it had ever already attained the function of validity. It can do this because its first two functions – measure (it measures the productivity of capital and labor) and means of circulation – are themselves results of capital as a self-referential movement. Money functions as a reliable social fact within a socio-economic context (capital as a total complex) that has the potential to integrate any monetary transaction and promise of payment. As such, money realizes a kind of objectified social relationship.3
By virtue of its objective validity, money is potentially “to have everything” (just as all obligations can be settled), precisely because it remains independent of the concrete means of satisfying needs and desires and at the same time is freed from the immediate power of disposal over products and services, and this corresponds on the one hand to its validity as capitalist money and on the other hand to its peculiar positioning vis-à-vis (capitalist) goods. With regard to the former, it is a matter of a representation function, because validity is not effective in itself, but always for something else, i.e. the validity of money explicates the structure of the representation of an “absent”, namely of capital and value. (Strauß 2013: 129f.) Money is regarded as the representation of capital/value, insofar as this in turn appears as causality in the effect (commodity and money) alone. As part of economic reality capitalist money realizes quite explicitly validity, which is indicated by its convertibility or potential purchasing power (the exchangeability of money for goods), and this is not a substantial property of money, but arises precisely from its specifically weak power and its relation to goods, which in turn bring money itself to bear as a price. This relational aspect between money and commodities, which implies a socio-economic construction that is completely independent of the material properties of money, is not quantifiable.
The theoretical position of conceiving of money purely as a medium of exchange does not take into account that in complex capital relations other forms and functions of money always come into play. When Marx speaks of money as a “social relationship”, this means that money has already achieved a supporting stability, a high degree of trust and a high degree of distribution within the capitalist economy, i.e. that it is generally accepted, desired and acknowledged, or, to put it another way, that it has an inherent deep network quality that refers to comprehensive and yet fragile and at the same time interdependent socio-economic relations and for this very reason plays an important role in the reproduction of the capital economy. In order to be considered capitalist money, which is much “more” than just a numéraire, i.e., to which the excess of capital is already inscribed and which is thus related to deep money and capital markets, a highly developed and densely networked payment and credit system must also be available so that all money transactions, credits and promises of payment can be efficiently processed and, in particular, instructions for future payments and promises of payment (capitalization) can be realized. Capitalist money does not have to have a 100% stable value standard as a measure (value standard is not equal to value), but the value standard must not be too volatile either, otherwise its asset protection quality or its function for credit becomes problematic (inflation/deflation). A capital system, which is characterized by the differentiation into credit-financed capital investments, fictitious and speculative capital, needs a relatively stable valuation standard (function of fictitious money), which is related to the general equivalent as measure and to the transmissibility of money (means of circulation, in which the measure is practically realized), whereby a number of further monetary functions have not yet appeared here at all – value storage means, means of payment or repayment of the credit, withdrawal of the money supply as treasure, money as capital etc. (Cf. Bahr 1983: 406)4 What financial theory adds to the money functions is that in the capital markets money serves as a measure of the gap between the liquidity or price of an asset and its liquidation value (monetization of the asset), a gap that is measured by money. In general, the financial markets have the property of being liquid in so far as the pricing of assets takes place on them, which are not immediately converted into money. In the event of a financial collapse, there is simply not enough money to realize or liquidate all assets, or, to put it another way, not all debts can be repaid. Approximately 97% of the “money” in the UK economy today circulates exclusively in the financial sector, while only 3% is paper money and fiat money (the latter is lent as capital to companies and individuals operating in the so-called real sector). The capital economy could not be kept sufficiently efficient without ensuring sufficient and at the same time flexible operationality of all these monetary functions briefly mentioned here.
The validity of money always marks a separation of money from commodities, which means that money is open to a development that aims at multiplication in primary potency. This potency for multiplication is not given with the exchange or circulation of money, but it presupposes the capital relation. How can this be justified provisionally? Money, as a general equivalent and as a means of circulation, intrinsically possesses no value, it cannot store any value; rather, the “value” of money consists in nothing other than the presence of the capital relation, which, according to Marx, can be written down with the formula G-W-G`. (The value of money as capital consists, as far as its optionality is concerned, precisely in the fact that capital offers the possibility of either holding money as cash or using it as security, or of using it for relatively safe investments or finally for speculation). The “substance” of capital, which Marx developed in capital conceptually as the processual utilization of capital, is formed by the equality and at the same time the purely quantitative difference (G differs from G in purely quantitative terms). The value is now to be understood as virtuality related to the capital relation.5 Capital as capital (as an end in itself) can function as a spiral-circulatory movement only if it dominates the capitalist sphere of production and integrates it into the monetary circulation G-W-G, if it functions as monetary capital implemented in the capital relation itself. The exploitation of labor or the extraction of surplus value in production constitutes a necessary condition for this movement.6 Capital is set as a quasi tautological relation to itself (equality), so that only the quantitative difference G-G, i.e. the multiplication (of money), counts: Because within this relationship capital has the unconditional capacity to set itself as an end in itself in the process of multiplication, it is at first immoderate.7 (With the concept of total capital, however, the immoderateness of (individual) capital is again put on the leash, inasmuch as limits are set to it by the movement of competition). The famous formula G-W-Gmeans that the surplus is injected as quantity into the tautological chain G-G. The hyphens of the formula G-W-G refer to a special kind of mediation, which for Marx is given with the purchase and application of a specific commodity by capital in production, namely the labor force, which updates in production as labor the difference between its exchange value (its reproduction costs) and its utility value, which consists in producing an added value reified in commodities that goes beyond its reproduction costs, whereby with the realization of the produced goods in circulation, as inscribed in the formula G-W-G, there is more money than at the beginning.8 The process in which money realizes more money thus requires production, in which capital extracts added value from labor (it creates more value than is necessary for its reproduction). Capital is thus to be understood as a specific social relation, which is expressed in the spiral movement of an increase of money,9 its only sense as a moving relation leading from money to surplus money being in differential quantity, or, to put it differently, this relation is a unilateration capable of quantitative addition.10 Capital must satisfy the determination of the purely quantitative surplus, which, however, always remains scarce, or, to put it another way, scarcity is here purely motivated by the surplus, and this precondition generally distinguishes Marxist theory from all economic definitions of scarcity (infinite needs versus limited goods) and even from the more experienced system-theoretical definitions in the wake of Luhmann, in which scarcity is presented as an economic artifact, with which access to something makes further access to something less likely. Instead, accesses make further accesses possible. To put it another way: capital is axiom/law, which defines that the meaning of the relation G-W-G first of all contains a more, which is lacking. (Schwengel 1973: 294f.) The presupposed signifier (money), to express it in the words of linguistics, without, however, proposing a linguistic capital theory here, points to an invisible signifier (surplus), which is indicated in further surplus-containing signifiers (money’ ). The signifier of the surplus, which is contained in the chain of signifiers of (advanced and realized) money and yet remains invisible, is indicated in more and more signifiers representing the signifier of the surplus, i.e. we are dealing with a non-equivalent sliding figure, which can be attributed as follows:
G G’.G’ G” etc. etc., whereby one should think of G’ in the lower left corner as an arrow to G’ in the upper right corner – above the chain of money signifiers, below the driving forces of money signifiers.
A strange kind of un-equation, which takes place here beyond a mere bourgeois distribution of the surplus product. Not the exchange of equivalents, but the abstract surplus (value, exchange value, surplus) is to be understood as the constitutive functioning of capital. The concept of “monetary surplus” conditions here sui generis the (bourgeois) concept of surplus value, insofar as the latter has completely emancipated itself from content, and this state of affairs implies, as a purely formal sliding process, the systemic “lack”, the “lack” of surplus or the famous immoderateness of capital.

This means that a definition of scarcity based on Lacan or a representation of the economy oriented on the explication of scarcity, whether conceived as contingent or non-contingent, is excluded from the outset. The immoderateness (as anticipation of the more) of capital, or more precisely the more, dominates the lack and not the lack the more. In this procedure capital as an absolute process not only sets itself to itself, yes, as an autoreferential system it sets itself to its environment and therefore only attains its peculiar ultra-stability, which cannot be separated from its cyclically moving susceptibility to crisis. (Schwengel 1973: 201) Contrary to the exclusive foundation of surplus value in the exploitation of the living labor force, we also assume the possibility of a mechanical, an algorithmic, and generally a surplus value that arises through the exploitation of differences that result in the pure addition of the more.
The surplus value of money implies on the one hand the differential repetition of the production of surplus value as a quantitative variation, on the other hand the self-referential setting (determination) of capital, which, however, does not lead to a fixed result and can only have a definite effect by permanently pushing the multiplication forward. (Ibid.) Marx speaks at this point of the “restless movement of profit” (MEW 23: 168). The circulation of money as capital is an end in itself; it is not aimed at individual profit, but at the mode of the restless movement of profit. As a settlement, the money surplus sui generis is compatible with the quantified repetition, which must be expansive for capital, which means nothing other than that the capitalists do not simply want to realize more money than they have invested in the production process, but they must do it again and again, driven by competition on a spirally growing scale, and collide with other competitors who do the same. Thus, added value is a kind of (invisible) instance that “decides” at once on the instruction for future multiplication, and this takes place via the strategies of profit-driven, price-setting and cost-reducing companies that always try to penetrate the most profitable areas and sectors of the economy, thus forcing them to push productivity and technological change.11 To summarize it briefly Capital involves settlement and repetition in the context of quantitative multiplication. Settlement implies the destruction of any fixed result qua a potentially circulating structure (virtualization) and repetition implies the binding qua a potentially fixable circulation (actualization). And both the setting and the repetition are per se bound to the goal of achieving more.
In the analysis of capital, a virtual simultaneity or superposition of commodity, money, capital (and monetary capital) must be assumed from the outset, and this in relation to the a priori of total capital. Commodity and money, if they are understood as integrative functions of the capital process, in which the starting point of money is at the same time the point of its return increased by a surplus, are to be understood as commodity capital and as monetary capital. (MEW25: 335) If money, in its function as a means of payment, mediates the process of capital (credit), it is capital. (ibid.: 459) The superposition is also already present in the primary functions of money – they overlap and are intertwined with the increase of capital. Frank Engster writes: “Monetary functions are developed linearly in capital, but the first monetary function (measure) enters through its second as a medium of exchange, and both are, as it were, overlapped by the capital movement G-W-G’ and are included in it. (Closest 2016: 159) To consider the restriction that Marx, like any other writer, must make – if one disregards the poetics that make non-linear writing possible – is to always think along with him during the linear process of representing the concept of capital, simultaneity and superimposition, or, to put it even more pointedly, to read the three volumes of capital quasi from the back, and thus not starting from the commodity form or the money form, both of which are often enough understood as germ forms (the ascent from the abstract to the concrete), but from total capital, the quasi-transcendental total process of the reproduction of capital. In this process, the individual capitals must necessarily comprehend what is objectively12 given from the outset – they must, in fact, replicate the a priori of value-added production that is given by total capital, and at the same time, they must also understand their interdependence and, by and comprehensive networking in and through the competition, and this under the exclusive condition of having to achieve at least an average profit rate. 13
If capital has the capacity to set itself as an end in itself in an excessive, growth-oriented and spiral-shaped movement (the circle is a special case of the logarithmic spiral, namely a spiral whose growth is equal to zero) – the starting point here is in a certain sense the end point and vice versa – then, as a sui generis monetary process, it dominates the sphere of production comprehensively in order to integrate it into the primary “monetary circulation and distribution” G-W-G’. (Cf. Sotiropoulos//Milios/Lapatsioras 2013a: 43) At this point we would like to point out that we do not at all understand capital as a subject or as an automatic subject (it does nothing), but this subjectivity is inscribed in the grammar of language, and it is difficult to overcome it. Production, allocation, distribution (the distribution of profits), circulation and productive consumption, in terms of their integration (both structural and temporary), must therefore necessarily be considered as functions of the monetary economy of capital (and its metamorphoses), as its phases, aspects and moments. In this context, economic growth is a necessary process, but it is subordinate to the exploitation of capital.
In Capital Vol. 2, Marx starts out from three cycles of industrial capital, namely monetary capital, productive capital (constant and variable capital) and commodity capital, summarizing the entire cycle of capital in the process formula G – W (PM, AK) … P … W’ – G’. In addition to the production time (P), this cycle comprises two phases of circulation, namely the preparation time (G-W) and the realization time (W-G). Marx thus uses the term circulation not only for the two phases of the sale and purchase of goods, but also for the entire duration of the capital turnover, which thus also integrates production. Marx then speaks of the total circulation time of a given capital. (MEW 24: 154) The entire circulation of capital is the circulation of monetary capital, in so far as it structures, represents and integrates the circulatory movements, more precisely the spiral movements of capital, more comprehensively, just as it implies disturbances within the circulations, in so far as it itself functions as a center that is ever shifting.14 (MEW 24: 31ff.) This formula of monetary circulation of capital is the primary mechanism of the capital economy, which constantly accompanies and includes the production of goods as production-for-profit and production-for-circulation. Although, as Marx notes (MEW 25: 406), monetary capital is also a moment of passage of the entire process of the reproduction of capital, once capitalization is set as the formation of fictitious capital, i.e. for Marx the most developed form of capital, then all qualitative differences of the industrial and commercial individual capitals, their production processes and their goods are erased in relation to it. Marx writes: “…And all capital is, according to its expression of value, monetary capital. (Ibid.: 406) Foreign or own monetary capital is the motor for industrial enterprises, which buy goods (means of production, buildings, energy, raw materials, software etc.) and rent workers, so that products enriched with added value can be produced and also realized, so that it comes to the new formation of monetary capital. Machinery, energy, products or production processes are not capital in themselves.15 Marx showed that the above formula is the decisive expression of all economic relations that are proportional to capital, and this of course includes production, which functions as a purely functional process, a process of producing profit. Capital ever already binds the production process to its monetary metamorphoses or to the (monetary) total circulation, i.e. production is to be understood as a function and phase of the circulation of capital (in the second comprehensive sense), the general form of which can be described by the following formula G-W-P-W’-G’.
Accordingly, the logic of capital applies a priori to each individual capital. And thus every capitalist enterprise has to be considered equal to every other one, and this equivalence refers to the enterprise as a structural-functional “place” of capital, where every capitalist acts, on the one hand, structurally as a kind of trader who buys goods with borrowed money or as the owner of money (input of the enterprise) in order to sell a produced output with profit, and, on the other hand, as a manager who balances the production processes and coordinated to make them more effective. And the prices are determined in a company not only to achieve a monetary output higher than the monetary input of a given period, but to realize at least an average profit rate on the markets.
If we now extract the most important cycle from the permanently running capital metamorphoses of money, goods and productive capital, namely the movement of money capital itself, then at least two capital subjects are present in it. The place of capital is doubly occupied, namely by the money capitalist and the functioning capitalist, so that in the analysis of capital one cannot abstract from the existence of the interest-bearing capital or credit from the outset. Marxist economists from Greece have developed the following diagram (Sotiropoulos/Milios/Lapatsioras : 8):

The money capitalist (A) is the owner of money capital and/or creates credits, i.e. moves promises of payment, securities and debts (shares, bonds, securities etc.). If specific transactions and/or the transfer of promises of payment to the acting capitalist (B) take place, these include his contingent promise (contingent, despite the provision of securities) that he will make payments in the future, while at the same time transferring to him the right to use the money capital (G) of the money capitalist (A) under specific conditions (e.g. payment of interest and repayment of the loan) for a certain period. If the company is listed on the stock exchange, then the acting capitalists (B) correspond to the managers of the company and the money capitalists (A) correspond to the legal owners (besides the lending banks). The functioning capitalist (B) uses the money (G) as money capital to buy the necessary means of production and raw materials, to rent labor and to organize the production process with the aim of generating profit.
This has the following consequences: 1) The places of capital are occupied in parallel by the financial and by the functioning capitalists, rejecting Keynes’ morally inspired distinction between a good and productive class of capitalists, located within the enterprises and directing the production processes, and an externally and parasitically acting class of reindeers, which seeks exclusively monetary profits.16 2) Fictitious capital and speculative capital are forms of capital. Prices here are to be understood as the result of the capitalization of promises of payment. 3) The financial mode of capitalization – promises and demands for the appropriation of a future surplus – opens up a terrain in which any flow of income and returns tends to be related to fictitious and speculative capital and can be multiplied within its flows. 4) There is an increase in credits not created by the banks. Risk management, which can be diversified into solvency, interest rate, liquidity and credit risks, is at the heart of the financial system and its decision-making problems. (ibid.)
The industrial system and the financial system, although they are in some respects separate from each other on an economic-logical level, possess a whole series of important mutual interdependencies; in fact, with regard to speculation, there is initially no fundamental difference between productive investment and financial speculation, insofar as not only the purchase of shares or securities, but every investment in the capitalist production process involves a speculative moment. A distinction must then be made here not so much in terms of the concepts of financial speculation and industrial production, but rather in terms of the instruments, time periods and risks of speculation itself. The speculative surplus value is sui generis a value without value, it is the zero point of the value that rises or falls, + and – , with both symptoms oscillating around zero again and again.
Moreover, it can be assumed that today all great capitalists tend to become money capitalists. These are not only bankers who lend to companies, but also rich individuals who buy stocks and bonds, the directors of large companies, the managers of large investment funds and other financial companies. The money capitalists also include the new oligarchs from Eastern Europe, China and other emerging markets, the owners of large software and technology companies and the nouveau riche who have simply moved up without leaving any significant traces in the history books of their class. (See Norfield 2016: Kindle Edition: 1498)


(For a further explanation of the concept of capital, we refer to the French philosopher François Laruelle, who, in his conception of non-philosophy, when he speaks of “unilateral duality”, generally first assumes that two or more terms and their relations are always determined by the one term. This is the principle of idempotency: 1+1=1. The second term and the relation between the first and the second term are immanent to the one term, or, to put it differently, the second term is the clone of the first term, but at the same time the second term keeps its contingency, as far as the first term does not postulate the second term absolutely, but just radically (and therefore can not be determined by the second term). Notice, that this kind of causality always rather points to a relation between two or more events or relations and not between two or more things.For a conceptual determination of capital, this could now mean analyzing it in the context of a unilateral “logic”, i.e. analogous to the figure of “unilateral duality”: two terms – the first term stands for the capital relation and the second term encompasses the events and relations derived from it – are not synthesized by a third term – as is often assumed in Marxism, by abstract labor or value – but the first term (capital as logic and as relation) uni-laterally determines the second term (the third term etc.). ) and the resulting relations, divisions and constellations between the terms. Both the second term (it stands for commodity, money, production, labor, circulation, credit, forms of capital etc.) and the relation between the first term and the second term (relation as capital circulation: money – money capital and functioning capital – commodity-production-ware ‘money’) are immanent to the first term (capital). This determination is the immanent mode or ‘logic’ of capital, where capital is to think as a logical construction and as a relation at the same time as virtual total capital or as the transcendentality of capital. With respect to the total capital, here the connecting effects between the effect entities have to be examined without referring to an organizistic or to a Hegelian conception of totality (we refer here to Latour’s rejection of the relation part and whole, cf. Latour 2017: 168, without, however, fully sharing his theoretical approach); rather, the effects have to be related to the concept of quasi-transcendental total capital. Total capital is not to be thought of as a unifying system, but as a determining and at the same time virtual potentiality, without following a plan, not even in the sense of the Invisible Hand of Adam Smith. A mathematical approach to this conception is the vectorial notation, where the single subsets are written as coordination of a vector x in a n-dimensional mathematical space G`. (cf. Quaas 2016: 215) The mathematical notation, however, ultimately remains an approximation, inasmuch as the virtual capacity of capital sui generis transforms the mathematical space. It is a derivative of time. )

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