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Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Economic Schools and Ideologies

Frontmatter

1. The Birth of the Theoretical System of Capitalism

Abstract
The first major school of economic theories was mercantilism. It grew for two and a half centuries following the explosive expansion of world trade with the discovery of the new continent and worldwide sea routes up until the middle of the eighteenth century. It was also a period of the formation of rival modern nation states in Western Europe through a continuous process of civil and international wars. In order to strengthen the fiscal basis of nation states by various custom duties and levies on monopoly traders, mercantilist policies were called for. The systematic development of such policies had been unnecessary in the preceding feudal period. Mercantilist theoretical observations more or less expressed the interests of an expanding merchant class and the state protection necessary for them.
Makoto Itoh

2. The Dissolution of the Classical School and the Diversification of Schools

Abstract
Various anti-classical theories had already sprung up from critiques of the limitations and weaknesses of the classical school, even in Ricardo’s lifetime. In particular the ideological belief in a prescribed harmony in a capitalist economy and the resultant theoretical inconsistencies in the value theory of the classical school were a source of critiques and deviations.
Makoto Itoh

3. The Marxian Theory of Capitalism

Abstract
The Marxian school which was founded by K. Marx (1818–1883) also arose out of the theoretical limits and deadlocks of the classical school. Marx’s renovation of economics was, however, quite different from the directions of other contemporary economic schools. Unlike the historical school or the neo-classical school, Marx did not discard the essential theoretical contents and achievements of the classical school which was based on the labour theory of value, but fully attempted to inherit them by criticising and solving the deadlocks in the classical theories from within. In such an attempt Marx consciously and systematically clarified the historical character of a capitalist economy.
Makoto Itoh

Value, Labour and Capital

Frontmatter

4. The Forms of Value — Commodity, Money and Capital

Abstract
Although Marx titles the first volume of Capital ‘The Process of Production of Capital’, he does not immediately investigate the substantital content of a capitalist mode of production. In the first two Parts of the volume, beginning from the analysis of the commodity as the elementary form, he elucidates the systematic relations between commodities, money and capital as the development of the forms of value. Both historically and spatially these forms appear as the basic components of commodity economy in general in much wider periods and the places than capitalist production. On the basis of the development of commodity economy, the free worker ‘in the double sense that as a free individual he can dispose of his labour-power as his own commodity, and that … he is free of all the objects needed for the realisation [Verwirklichung] of his labour-power’ (I, pp. 272–3) must be given for the birth and maintenance of capitalist production in a social scale.
Makoto Itoh

5. Capitalist Production and the Law of Value

Abstract
It is always impressive to read how sharply Marx distinguishes three different historical characters, as presented in the forms of a commodity economy, the labour process and the capitalist economy, in just a small number of pages of chs. 6 and 7 of the first volume of Capital. In ch. 6 Marx has defined free workers in the double sense as an essential precondition for capitalist production in his theory of the transformation of money into capital. In ch. 7, after that definition however, he does not immediately analyse the capitalist process of production. In the first section of ch. 7, Marx investigates the labour process as the universal condition common to all forms of society. This is noteworthy, since the substantial content of capitalist production is designed to be studied from this ch. 7. The distinction between the labour process in general and the capitalist process of production is unique to Marxian economics, and important for Marxian socialism as well as for the economic theory.
Makoto Itoh

6. The Extension of the Theory of the Substance of Value

Abstract
In treating the law of value and the capitalist production of surplus-value, we have assumed that each industry each produces a single product with simple labour. However, there have been fervent controversies over how to deal with skilled or complex labour, and with joint production, when defining the labour-substance of value. These problems have been focal issues in the debate on the feasibility of Marx’s labour theory of value between neo-classists, neo-Ricardians and Marxians, in addition to the related issue of the transformation problem discussed in Chapter 7. In my view these problems still need clarification, especially from the point of view of our discussion of the distinction between and relation between the forms and the substance of value. Reconsideration of these problems from such an angle would strengthen our understanding of the law of value and the working of the capitalist economy, and thus would also serve to make sounder our frame of reference for a possible socialist economy.
Makoto Itoh

The Motion of Capitals as a Concrete Mechanism

Frontmatter

7. Competition among Capitals

Abstract
Upon the theories of the processes of production, circulation and reproduction of capital in the first and the second volumes of Capital, the third volume ‘The Process of Capitalist Production as a Whole’ is designed ‘to discover and present the concrete forms which grow out of the process of capital’s movement considered as a whole’ examining step by step the forms ‘in the action of different capitals on one another, i.e. in competition’ (III, p. 117). Its first two parts investigate ‘the law that govern the general rate of profit and the so-called prices of production determined by it’, as ‘the basic law of capitalist competition’ (III, pp. 127–8). The forms of distribution of surplus-value, such as commercial profit, interest and ground-rent, which are presented in the following parts, elucidate the concrete mechanisms by which the law of capitalist competition is carried out basically gravitating around the prices of production. A controversial problem is the logical consistency between the law of value and the law that governs the prices of production. Marx clearly intended to show that the forms and the mechanisms of capitalist competition are not merely consistent with, but also essential for, the social working of the law of value. For instance, reviewing his whole analyses in the very last part of Capital, Marx has this to say;
Makoto Itoh

8. The Mobilisation of Capitals

Abstract
Competition among capitals which forms a general rate of profit and the market prices of production across industrial spheres, through the process of fluctuating market prices, demonstrates the concretely developed forms of the law of value as the law of motion of a capitalist economy. An anarchical capitalist market economy must incessantly misallocate dead and living labour in various spheres, bringing about either an excessive or short supply of commodities. Such misallocation of labour is not generally insolvable. It is usually repeatedly readjusted in the process of the expansion of capitalist production, guided by the movement of market prices. A short supply of commodity products in relation to social demand is indicated when extra profit is obtained by some spheres by selling their products at market prices higher than the market prices of production. Then the expansion of production in such spheres is speeded up basically by reinvesting the extra in addition to the average profit. An excessive supply of commodity products would cause the reverse effects. The shortening of the selling-time of commodity products reflecting favourable market conditions would usually go along with the rise in market prices, having similar effects, and the prolongation of selling-time would have the opposite effects.1
Makoto Itoh

9. Business Cycles and Crises

Abstract
Capitalism as a historically specific social formation contains inner contradictions which appear most obviously in those periodical self-destructive crises, in the process of business cycles. The classical school and the neo-classical school treated capitalism one-sidedly as a harmonious economic order and disregarded both its historical character and its inner contradictions. A natural result was a lack of crisis theories in these schools. A great advantage of Marx’s Capital as compared to these schools is its comprehensive attempt to clarify the logical inevitability of periodic business cycles and crises from the basic contradictions in capitalism. However, Capital was left incomplete, especially in this field, and theoretical positions among Marxians have been diverse here. In my opinion, there are initially three major sources of confusion to be established and then cleared up as far as possible.
Makoto Itoh

Socialism — an Addendum

Frontmatter

10. On Socialism

Abstract
It is often believed among Marxians that Marx proved the logical inevitability of socialism. It is undeniable that Marx intended to show such an inevitability. The formula of historical materialism, which was presented prior to writing Capital as we saw in Chapter 3, Section 3.1 already contained a sort of consistent logic of the historical transformation of various societies which finally reach a classless socialist society driven by the growth of productive power. The dialectical conflict between the growth of productive power and the existing relations of production would inevitably cause a period of revolution, changing the existing social formation into another new form of society. This basic view of historical materialism is incorporated continuously in some parts of Capital. The problem is whether those parts are theoretically well founded and valid or central to the main theoretical contents of Capital.
Makoto Itoh

Backmatter

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