Of all the laws of modern political economy, this is, in every respect, the most important and the most essential for the understanding of the most difficult problems. From the historical point of view, also, it is the most important law, one which, in spite of its simplicity, has never yet been understood and still less been consciously enunciated. This fall in the rate of profit is bound up with (1) the already existing forces of production and the material foundation that it creates for a new production which in turn presupposes an enormous development of scientific powers; (2) the diminution of that part of capital already produced that has to be exchanged for direct labour, in other words, a diminution in the direct labour which is necessary to reproduce an enormous quantity of values, which is expressed in a greater mass of products at low prices, since the sum total of prices equals the capital reproduced plus the profit; (3) the dimension of capital in general, including the portion of it that is not fixed capital. This implies great development in commerce, in exchange operations and the market; the universality of simultaneous labour; means of communication; the presence of the necessary consumer funds to undertake this gigantic process (food, lodging for the workers, etc.).
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