[Marxism] Stock Capital and the rate of profit

brendan cooney callmecooney at gmail.com
Sun Oct 11 11:24:10 MDT 2009


I have been puzzling over a paragraph in Volume 3 of Capital. I was 
hoping some kind and wise soul on the list might be able to help me 
understand it better. In the chapter on counteracting influences on the 
falling rate of profit Marx ends with a paragraph about the way in which 
Stock Capital enters, or doesn't enter into the rate of profit. I can't 
seem to wrap my head around Marx's argument. I understand that the 
division of surplus value into rent, interest, industrial profit, etc. 
is secondary to calculating the rate of profit. But then he says that 
interest payments don't go into the leveling of the general rate or 
profit, giving the example of railroads. Is he saying that joint-stock 
companies don't enter in the equalization of profit rates b/c dividend 
payments are lower than the real profit rate? Or is he saying that 
joint-stock companies do enter into the equalization of the rate of 
profit but must calculated in terms of total mass of profit in these 
industries and not just interest payments? How is this a counteracting 
influence?

Lawrence Harris' entry on "forms of capital and revenues" in the 
Dictionary of Marxist thought says that joint-stock companies 
represented a unique historic stage in capitalism and act as a 
counteracting influence on the FRP because of their willingness to 
accept a lower yield as a result of the dominance of interest. But I 
don't see how a lower yield halts a falling rate of profit. I suppose 
that I may have to wait until I get to Part 5 of Volume 3, but that may 
take some time at the rate I'm going.




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