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Capital  A Critique of Political Economy   Volume II

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a question of a change of form, and Lalor
and others have overlooked this. And from the standpoint
of social capital, the same quantity of products still remains
in the form of a supply. The quantity of the supply re-
quired for, say, a whole nation during the _)eriod of one
year decreases to the extent that the means of transporta-
tion are developed. If a large number of sailing vessels
trade between America and England, the opportunities of
England for the renewal of its supply of cotton are in-
creased and the quantity of the cotton supply .to be held in
storage on an average decreases. The same effect is pro-
duced by the development of the world-market and thus of
the multiplication of the sources of supply of the same arti-
cles. Various quantities of this supply are carried to the
market from different countries and at different intervals.
2. The Commodlty-Supply i_ Particular.
We have already seen that the product assumes the gen-
eral form of commodities on the basis of capitalist ])roduc-
tion, and to the extent that the scale and scope of this pro-
The Expenses of Circulation. 163
duction increase, this character becomes prevalent. Even if
production retains the same scale, there will still be a far
greater proportion of the product in the form of commodi-
ties, compared to other modes of production. And all com-
modities, and therefore all commodity-capital, which is but
another expression for commodities in the form of capital-
value, constitute an element of tile commodity-supply, unless
they puss immediately from the sphere of production into
productive or individual consumption, instead of remain-
ing on the market in the interval between production and
consumption. If the scale of production remains the same,
the commodity-supply, that is to say, the individualization
and fixation of the commodity-form of the product, grows
therefore with the development of capitalist production. We
have seen, furthermore, that this is merely a change of
form on the part of the supply, that is to say the supply in
the form of commodities increases on one side, while on the
other the supply in the form of direct means of production
for consumption decreases. It is merely a question of a
clmnged form of the social supply. The fact that it is
not only the relative size of the commodity-supply com-
pared to the aggregate social product which increases, but
also its absolute size, is due to the growth of the aggregate
product with the advance of capitalist production.
With the development of capitalist production, the scale
of production becomes less and less dependent on the im-
mediate demand for the product and falls more and more
under the determining influence of the amount of capital
available in the hands of the individual .capitalist, of the
instinct for the creation of more value inherent in capital,
of the need for the continuity and expansion of its processes
of production. This necessarily increases the mass of prod-
ucts required in each branch of production in the shape of
commodities. The amount of capital fixed for a 'lunger or
shorter period in the form of commodity-capital grows pro-
portionately. In short, the commodity-supply increases.
Finally, the majority of the members of human society
are transformed into wage workers, into people who live
from hand to mouth, who receive their wages weekly and
spend them daily, who therefore must find a supply of the
1{_4 Capital.
necessities of life ready at hand. Although the individual
elements of this supply may be in continuous flow, a part of
them must always suffer delay in order that the supply may
be ever renewed.
All these characteristics are due to the form of capitalist
production and to the metamorphoses _ncidental to it,
which the product must undergo in the process of circula-
Whatever may be the social form of the supply of prod-
ucts, its preservation requires an outlay for buildings, stor-
age facilities, etc., which protect the product; furthermore
for means of production and labor, more or less of which
must be expended, according to the nature of the product, in
order to preserve it against injurious influences. The more
the supply is socially concentrated, the smaller are the rela-
tive expenses. These expenses always consume a part of
the social labor, either in a materialized or in a subjective
form ; they require an outlay of capital which does not enter
into the productive process itself and thus diminish the
product. They constitute the cost of preserving the social
wealth, and are, therefore, necessary expenses, without re-
gard to the fact whether the existence of the social product
in the form of a commodity-supply is due merely to the so-
cial form of production, to the commodity-form and its
metamorphoses, or whether we regard the commodity-sup-
ply merely as a special form of the supply of products, a
supply common to all societies, though not always in the
form of a commodity-supply, which is a form of the sup-
ply of products belonging to the process of circulation.
The questionisnow, towhat extenttheseexpensesenter
If the capitalisthas convertedthe capitaladvancedby
him formeans ofproductionand labor-powerintoa prod-
uct,intoa mass of commoditiesreadyforsa]e,and these
creationof valuesby means of hiscapitalwhich isinter-
rupted. The expensesrequiredforthe conservationand
storageof thissupplyin buildings,etc.,and foradditional
labor,signifya positivelossforhim. The finalbuyerwould
laugh in his face, if he were to say to him: "My articles
The Expenseso[ Circulation. 16l_
were unsalable for six months, and their preservation dur-
ing that period did not only make so and so much of my
capital unproductive, but also cost me so much extra-ex-
penses." "So much the worse for you," would the buyer
say. "Here is another seller, whose articles were complctcd
the day before yesterday. Your articles are old and proba-
bly more or less injured by the ravages of time. Therefore
you will have to sell cheaper than your rival."
It does not alter the life-processes of a commodity, wheth-
er its producer is a direct producer or a capitalist producer,
who is merely a representative of the actual producer. The
product must be converted into money. The expenses
caused by the fixation of the product in the form of com-
modities are a part of the individual adventures of the seller,
and the buyer does not concern himself about them. The
buyer does not pay for the time of circulation of the com-
modities. Even if the capitalist holds his goods back inten-
tionally, in times of an actual or expected revolution of
values, it depends on the materialization of this revolution
of values, on the correctness or incorrectness of the seller's
speculation, whether he will recover his outlay or not. In-
asmuch, therefore, as the formation of a supply involves a
delay in the circulation, the expenses caused thereby do not
add anything to the value of the commodities. On the
other hand, there cannot be any supply without a sojourn
of the commodities in circulation, without the stay of capi-
tal for a longer or shorter time in the form of a commod-
ity; hence there cannot be any supply without a delay of
the circulation. It is the same with money, which cannot
circulate without the formation of a money-reserve. Hence
there cannot be any circulation of commodities without a
supply of commodities. If this necessity does not confront
the capitalist in C'--M', it will do so in M---C; not so far
as his own commodity-capital is concerned, but that of
other capitalists, who produce means of production for him
and necessities of life for his laborers.
It appears that the nature of the case is not altered,
whether the formation of a supply is voluntary or involun-
tary, thatistosaywhethertheproduceraccumulatesa