General Law of Capitalists Forms of Accumulation
Chapter V of the book The End of the Corporations
"It is known that in real history conquest, enslavement, robbery and murder, violence, in a word, play a great role. But in sweet political economy idyll has always reigned ... In reality, the methods of original accumulation were anything but idyllic ... they resort to the power of the state, to the organized and concentrated violence of society ... "
Karl Marx, Capital, Vol I Chapter XXIV
Faced with the historical magnitude of the current crisis of capitalism, it is worth asking: Has capitalism gone through other crises of this importance in its history? How did you overcome them? What political and social phenomena produced the crises? And vice versa: the crises, what political and social phenomena did they produce?
To answer these questions, it is necessary to see the current crisis in a more historical perspective and analyze how the different crises developed since capitalism emerged, how they unfolded in its different stages and how capitalism tended to resolve the contradictions that were the product of of their own development. In this chapter we are going to present and develop the General Law of Forms of Capitalist Accumulation.
This law allows us to analyze, following the Marxist laws of capital accumulation, the different forms that, throughout the history of capitalism, emerged to accumulate capital and what are the Forms of Accumulation characteristic of each stage of capitalism
Along with this, we will analyze the dynamics of the Forms of Accumulation characterized by going through successive phases of emergence, development and exhaustion. And we will also analyze how these phases of emergence, development and exhaustion are linked to the periods of long expansion and stagnation that the capitalist economy has experienced throughout history. Finally, we will see the politico-social mechanisms that explain how the transition from a lower to a higher Form of Accumulation develops through the development of capitalism.
General Law of Forms of Capitalist Accumulation
a) Forms of Capital Accumulation and Predominant Forms. Definition
We define capital accumulation as the process by which capitalists accumulate means of production at one pole and salaried workers at the other pole, with the aim of accumulating more capital. As Karl Marx explains: "... reproduction on an enlarged scale, that is, accumulation, reproduces the capitalist relationship on an enlarged scale: more capitalists or larger capitalists at this pole, more wage earners at that pole ... Capital accumulation is , therefore, an increase in the proletariat ... All individual capital is a greater or lesser concentration of the means of production, with the corresponding command over a greater or lesser army of workers.All accumulation becomes a means at the service of a new accumulation. .." (1)
The fundamental goal of capitalism is for capitalists to accumulate capital and make a profit. To achieve this, the necessary precondition is that the means of production and exchange be privately owned, an objective that the capitalists achieved through a historical process that placed productive, commercial and financial companies under their ownership, to the extent that they expropriated the rest of social classes. We define then as Forms of Accumulation, these companies owned by the capitalist class to accumulate capital in a given historical period. The capitalists never used, throughout history, a single form of capital accumulation. There have always been different forms of accumulation, that is, different commercial, productive and financial companies that acted with the objective of accumulating capital and that in turn, reflect the different sectors of the capitalist class.
Capitalism finished imposing itself as the dominant mode of production between the 18th and 19th centuries, when the bourgeoisie seized power in the most important countries and liquidated the remnants of feudal rule in the state. Both for historical periods in which capitalism is still an embryonic element, and is not yet the dominant mode of production, and in those in which capitalism is already dominant as a mode of production, there have always been different Forms of Capitalist Accumulation.
These Forms of Accumulation developed unevenly and in combination around a predominant Form of Accumulation that was the driving force and structuring engine of the economy. That is, there are various Forms of Accumulation that act simultaneously and at different levels of development, they revolve around and interrelate with the predominant Form of Accumulation, which constitutes the axis on which the entire development of capitalism is ordered.
Together with the concept of Forms of Accumulation, the concepts of Regime of Accumulation, Pole of Accumulation and Axis of Accumulation are part of the General Law of Accumulation Forms, whose respective definitions we gave in chapter III. The predominant Forms of Capitalist Accumulation have been the following:
General Law of Capitalist Forms of Accumulation Box
We are then going to make a historical analysis of the different Predominant Forms of Accumulation in the different stages of capitalism.
b) The Forms of Accumulation typical of the Capitalist Original Accumulation stage
The first and embryonic Capitalist Forms of Accumulation began to emerge between the 10th and 14th centuries, even before the beginning of the capitalist mode of production, when the feudal mode of production was still dominant and coexisted with various barbarian, Asian modes of production and social formations. and even slave owners.The original or primitive accumulation stage of capitalism developed between the 10th and 18th centuries and is the stage in which the bases for the development of capitalist production relations were historically established.
At the beginning of this stage, feudal relations of production were established in Europe and the overwhelming majority of the population owned their own means of production and subsistence, be it small estates such as the peasants, or large estates such as the nobility.
In the stage of Original Accumulation, the capitalists were expropriating the nobles, peasants and even other capitalist sectors, and they were causing the split between the producers and the means of production of which they were owners.
This gave rise to 2 phenomena: on the one hand, the means of production became merchandise and capital whose prices were set in the market. And on the other hand, the working class emerged, that is, the dispossessed workers, whose labor power is also a commodity whose price is set in the market.
This is how Karl Marx explains it: "The process that creates the relationship of capital, then, cannot be other than the process of division between the worker and the ownership of his working conditions, a process that, on the one hand, transforms capital into capital. means of production and social subsistence, and on the other it converts direct producers into wage earners. The so-called original accumulation is, therefore, nothing more than the historical process of split between producer and means of production. It appears as "original" because configures the prehistory of capital and the mode of production corresponding to it " (3)
The primitive capitalist accumulation stage affected above all the great rural masses, who were expelled from the countryside, while their traditional forms and rights of access to the means of production, natural resources, communal rights, Compascuo rights, rights were destroyed. open field and others. In England, between the last third of the 15th century and the beginning of the 16th century, the feudal mesnadas were dissolved as a result of the violent expulsion of the peasants and the usurpation of communal lands by noble lords to transform them into pasture for cattle.
The second wave of expropriations was between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries when ecclesiastical assets were confiscated and distributed among the oligarchy and its peasant inhabitants were expelled. The process of capitalist Primitive Accumulation also had its development in the process of colonization of the rest of the nations and continents from the geographical discoveries of the 15th and 16th centuries.This process led to the brutal crushing of pre-capitalist civilizations and modes of production in America, Asia, Africa and Oceania, which allowed the expropriation of millions of indigenous people and peoples living in savagery, barbarism or Asian civilizations.
Between the 10th and 18th centuries, the following predominant Forms of Capital Accumulation developed:
1) The Trade Nations. Form of Accumulation of the commercial bourgeoisie
The commercial nations or maritime republics that emerged between the 10th and 13th centuries were Forms of Capitalist Accumulation whose objective was to accumulate capital by exercising trade on the basis of the dominance of one or more maritime routes. These trading nations constituted an embryonic accumulation regime, whose accumulation pole was the maritime industry. The Axis of Accumulation was the Mediterranean and was based on a set of cities located in what is today the territory of Italy: Amalfi, Pisa, Gaeta, Ancona, Trani, Ragusa, Noli, etc., and the powers of the time: Genoa and Venice.
Another accumulation regime of the Trading Nations was located in the Baltic Sea, with axis in the cities of northern Germany and of communities of German merchants in the Baltic Sea, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, England, Poland, Russia, part from Finland and Denmark, as well as regions now in Estonia and Latvia. This Federation of cities constituted a great Nation called the Hanseatic League or Hansa, in the second half of the twelfth century and the beginning of the thirteenth with numerous cities in northern Europe around the Baltic Sea: Lübeck in 1158, Rostock, Wismar, Stralsund, Greifswald, Stettin, Danzig, Elbing, etc.
The denomination of Commercial Nations has to do with the fact that they were nation-companies insofar as they counted with respect to the feudal authorities of a broad political independence and autonomous government. One or more families dominated the nation, which gave it its character as an oligarchic republic that had its own currency, its army, naval fleet, commercial colonies called fundagos and "consuls of the nations", who watched over the commercial interests of their respective cities in the Mediterranean ports.
This is how Federico Engels explains it: "The Venetians and Genoese in the port of Alexandria or Constantinople, each "nation" in its own fondaco residence, inn, warehouse, showroom and sales room, as well as central office constituted complete commercial associations". The Trading Nations began their emergence phase accompanying the expansion of the European economy, which was developing in the midst of the heyday of the feudal mode of production in the 10th century.
The great surpluses and wealth that the nobility of Normandy, Burgundy, Castile, Aragon, Genoa and Venice, etc., showed, allowed an important commercial circulation both in the Baltic Sea and in the Mediterranean and the emergence of fairs, the most important of the which was that of Champagne in the current territory of what is currently France, which acted as a land commercial bridge between the two seas. The Hansa sold its ships throughout Europe, even reaching the Mediterranean and Italy.The Trading Nations arose from the very bowels of the feudal system and from earlier social formations such as primitive communism.
This is how Frederick Engels explains it: "The merchant of the Middle Ages was by no means an individualist, but was essentially the member of some association, like all his contemporaries. In the countryside the brand association reigned, arising from primitive communism Each peasant had a plot originally of the same size ... and a participation, therefore of equal magnitude, in the rights of the common brand ... And the same is true in no less degree for the commercial associations, which gave rise to the Overseas trade ...
Here we come across a profit and a rate of profit for the first time ... In large commercial companies, it is discounted that the profit is distributed pro rata to the share of capital invested, in exactly the same way as the participation in the trademark rights is distributed pro rata of the justified participation of the parcel ... Consequently, the profit rate was the same for all " (3)
The Trading Nations also accumulated capital as they began to develop an incipient proletariat as explained by Frederick Engels: "Navigation on the scale in which the Italian and Hanseatic maritime republics developed was impossible without the assistance of sailors, that is to say, salaried workers (whose salary relationship could be hidden under profit-sharing corporate forms), as it was impossible for the galleys of that time to function without salaried rowers or slaves. The guilds of the mines, originally consisting of associate workers, had become already in almost all cases in joint-stock companies for the exploitation of the company by means of employees. And in the textile industry the merchant had begun to put the small master weavers directly at his service, supplying them with the yarn and having it transformed into fabric. , on your own, in exchange for a fixed salary ... We are here before us the incipient beginnings of the capitalist formation of surplus value. " (4)
Trading Nations developed as the predominant Form of Accumulation beginning in the 10th century and achieved extremely high rates of profit. To have a measure, let's compare the income of Genoa, which was one of the most important Commercial Nations with France, the richest important monarchy of the time according to Perry Anderson: "In the year 1293, only the maritime taxes of the port of Genoa produced 3 times and it means more than all the royal incomes of the French monarchy" (5)
The accumulated capitals were so great that they allowed the emergence and establishment of the gold standard for currencies, as Perry Anderson explains: "The maritime power of Genoa and Venice was what guaranteed in Western Europe a continuous trade surplus with Asia, a surplus that financed its return to gold ... The return of the gold coin in Europe in the middle of the 13th century, with the simultaneous minting in 1252 of the januarius and the florin in Genoa and Florence, was the resplendent symbol of the commercial vitality of the cities" (6)
The basis of the economic expansion was the high rate of profit achieved by the Trading Nations, as Frederick Engels explains. "This original rate of profit was necessarily very high ... the business was a monopoly trade with monopoly profit" (7) The Trading Nations began a heyday process that spanned the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, which developed an important economic expansion in the embryonic regimes of accumulation that were established in the Mediterranean and the North and Baltic Sea and were fed back with the apogee and economic expansion of the dominant feudal mode of production in Europe, with which they developed and combined.
The capitalists of the Commercial Nations made all kinds of agreements and associations of a corporate nature, with the aim of obtaining jurisdictional, fiscal and customs privileges from foreign governments, while at the same time they achieved the dominion of various personal lordships. In the boom phase of the Trading Nations, new foreign exchange, accounting, and new scientific discoveries and technologies emerged to secure trade routes and protect investments.
Maritime pilots were trained and lighthouses were erected, the compass, mathematics, astronomy, cartography and geography were developed, all in the service of the navigation industry. The cities, exposed to the incursions of pirates, independently organized their defense, equipping themselves with powerful war fleets to create bases, scales and commercial establishments that had great political influence.
Thus, the Trading Nations went on the offensive in the 11th century and waged major wars against Byzantine and Islamic maritime power, with which they competed for control of trade with Asia, Africa, and the Mediterranean routes. This is the scientific explanation of the Crusades that aimed to liquidate Islamic power in the Mediterranean so that trading nations could develop dominance on trade routes. At the same time, the Norman invasion of England put a stop to Viking incursions into the North Sea.
The emergence of the rate of profit of the Trading Nations, continued with the process of leveling the different rates of profit, a process that preceded the fall of the rate of profit as explained by Frederick Engels: "The leveling of these different rates of profit Corporate profit was established by the reverse procedure, by competition.In the beginning, the profit rates of the various markets for the same nation (leveled off) ... Then it was the turn of the gradual leveling of the rates of profit between the various nations that exported the same or similar goods to the same markets, with which very often this or that of these nations was crushed and disappeared from the scene" (8)
The over-accumulation of capital produced after the leveling of the profit rates, caused the fall of the profit rate of the Trading Nations, a process that was combined and fed back with the general crisis of the feudal mode of production, in the 14th century. The crisis of feudalism produced the collapse of consumption, ports were paralyzed, merchandise fell in price abruptly and bankruptcies became general. This produced a true political-economic-social cataclysm known as "the crisis of the 14th century", where almost 40% of the population of Europe died. The phase of exhaustion of the Trading Nations had begun and a violent process of capital centralization was unleashed that led them to wars among themselves for dominance of the maritime routes.
The exhaustion of the Commercial Nations, as the predominant Form of Accumulation, combined with the terminal crisis of the feudal mode of production, provoked a very violent process of destruction of productive forces and centralization of capital, the Hundred Years War. Along with famine and plagues, wars wiped out nations, cities, and entire regions. With millions of dead, the Hundred Years War was an immense process of destruction of productive forces with which capitalism was officially born.
The Hundred Years War was actually a set of wars between the nations that dominated the European economy at the time and acted as a hinge between the feudal mode of production and the capitalist mode of production that emerged and began its phase of Accumulation. Primitive. Along with it there were also huge peasant insurrections and the workers of the artisan guilds, such as the insurrections of the Ciompi in Florence or the weavers in Ghent.
The geographical discoveries of the 15th century accelerated the decline of the Trading Nations, as Frederick Engels explained: "But this process was continually interrupted by political events, just as all Levantine trade declined because of the Mongolian and Turkish invasions, and the great geographical-commercial discoveries made after 1492 did nothing but accelerate this decline and, later, make it definitive " (9)
The Trading Nations continued their decline after the geographical discoveries of the 15th and 16th centuries, which were made possible by the technological development and accumulation of capital that they had achieved in their heyday and allowed to finance them. But the geographical discoveries and the process of colonization of Africa, Asia, America and Oceania, already connected with the beginnings of the capitalist mode of production and its stage of primitive accumulation.
To the extent that these continents were colonized and that capitalist relations of production needed a long period to emerge and be consolidated, the capitalists implemented in many cases in the first centuries of colonization, Forms of Accumulation and capitalist regimes relying on relations of non-capitalist production.
2) The Goldsmith and the first Bankers. Form of Accumulation of the financial bourgeoisie
Along with the Trading Nations, another Form of Accumulation emerged, the financial industry based on the first bankers and usurers. The great accumulation of capital that the Trading Nations achieved, allowed the development of capitalists dedicated to the industry linked to the development and circulation of money, its transportation, storage, insurance and loans.
As a result of the danger of theft, the practice of placing precious ingots and coins in the custody of goldsmiths was born, accustomed to working with precious metals, receiving and saving gold and silver coins for capitalists who needed to store the profits obtained. Thus, medieval, monastic and secular goldsmiths worked in workshops owned by monasteries, in Abbeys with rooms especially suitable for goldsmiths and goldsmiths, attached to workshops with blacksmiths and polishers.
The monasteries always had a great demand from the goldsmiths to provide objects of gold and silver the Sumptuary Arts, sometimes called "minor arts". In this way, the Catholic Church under the domination of the Benedictine orders such as Cluny, and the Cistercian, were fundamental for the impulse of Western capitalism. The Cluniac monastery, and later the Cistercian one, developed as a mini-city, and a company, in which the Abbot exploits the work of the monks who work from sunrise to sunset only in exchange for bed and food. At the same time that the Church is taking over the neighboring lands as a result of the donations and inheritances of knights, lords and peasants who leave the lands in the hands of the abbey, through which the Benedictine church controls agriculture, and is transformed into the Europe's largest landowner and real estate company.
In this way, the monasteries become a municipal company that centralizes the administrative, economic, cultural, and political control of the regions. The development of Cluny and Cistercian turned the Catholic Church into an entrepreneur that controls branches of industry, agriculture, tax collector, through a high rate of exploitation of the monks, which allows them to have an enormous over-accumulation of wealth and capital to the extent in which they are controlling the businesses of all Europe. This explains the spectacular development and expansion of the chain of Benedictine monasteries in Europe between the 9th and 13th centuries, that many historians consider as the first multinational enterprise in history.
In this way, the Benedictine orders also became bankers to the extent that the goldsmith began to charge commissions for keeping all the coins and precious material deposited in their vaults. The abbeys boosted the circulation of capital by issuing deposit receipts to capitalists who deposited their coins and metals. The depositing capitalists in turn began to use the depository receipts of the goldsmiths to make their payments, and orders like that of the Knights Templar came to issue receipts and orders in exchange for the deposits.
The transition from Trading Nations to Factories
The first predominant form of capitalist accumulation, the trading nations, began to emerge from the 10th century, and their development was made possible when the allied trading powers launched multiple armed expeditions against the Muslims, Eastern Christians, Russians and Byzantines, the movement of the Cathars in southern France and the Jews. It is estimated that the various massacres and wars carried out by the Crusaders resulted in five million deaths over around three and a half centuries.
The process of destruction of productive forces that unleashed the fight against the Byzantines and the Muslims, allowed them to go on to dominate the Mediterranean and reach the zenith of the boom phase, dominating commercial exchanges in the Mediterranean and with the East. During the Fourth Crusade (1202-1204) Venice and Genoa seized the islands and the commercially most important maritime towns of the Byzantine Empire and had become the richest states in Europe.
When the phase of exhaustion of the Trading Nations began, a violent process of destruction of productive forces broke out, with the wars between Pisa and Genoa in 1284, the wars of San Saba in 1255 between Genoa and Venice, the war of Chioggia in 1372, the wars with the Kingdom of Hungary in 1352, in addition to the wars against the Germanic Empire and the wars against the papacy, among others, while in northern Europe the Hansa wars broke out in 1362 against Denmark.
But the most important process of destruction of productive forces took place during the Hundred Years War, between the middle of the 14th century and the middle of the 15th century, which was the hinge between the feudal to the capitalist mode of production. The brutal destruction of productive forces that constituted the crisis of the fourteenth century made it possible to advance in these forms of accumulation and the process of centralization of capitals produced the transition of the Commercial Nations to a higher Form of Accumulation that were the Factories.
The destruction of the productive forces of the War of the 100 years was geographically centered in France, which was the most important economy of the time and bastion of feudalism. The devastated villages, the millions of deaths, the development of technology and the industry at the service of wars, caused serious alterations in the market prices of products, subjected to never-seen supply and demand tensions. In turn, millions of peasants waged wars for their freedom, which allowed the advance, albeit incipient, of the first salaried workers.
While feudal lords had to give in to pressure from their serfs to free themselves from servitude, in some cases, or insurrections were crushed in another, the 100 Years War involved the struggle between sectors of the ruling classes for the control of the areas of emergence of the first industrial zones and of greater economic importance such as Guyena or Gascony.
In the same sense, the civil war in Normandy, the War of the 2 Roses in England, the War between England-France, the War between France and Burgundy, the fight for control of Flanders and the Netherlands, the Civil War were developed. in Brittany and the Civil Wars in Aragon and Castile. In all the nations at that time, the duchies and kingdoms, in which the wars took place, the alliances changed permanently and also the sectors of the noble and capitalist classes, were aligned in different ways. With the development of the war industry, also arose the great fortunes of the bankers and capitalists who financed the war industry and military technology.
After the War of the 100 years, an important part of the nobility disappeared, there was an important centralization of capital and the bourgeoisie continued its rise, as a result of which a world of cities based on trade emerged and the centers of power began to move. towards the new boroughs or cities, where the new Forms of Accumulation, the Factories, were established.
In the decline of the Trading Nations, Portugal and the Kingdoms of Aragon and Castile, which had been colonized by both the Normans and Genoa at the height of Mediterranean capitalism, developed enormous commercial activity with the geographical discoveries of the 15th century, which It turned them into powers, although already as the last glow of the decadent Mediterranean capitalism.
3- The Factories. Form of Accumulation of merchants-contractor entrepreneurs
The Factories are a Form of Accumulation that from the fourteenth century began to be predominant. In them the merchant capitalists began to hire and group salaried workers both in the city and in the country. The merchants developed these companies and became contractors to the extent that they found it cheaper to manufacture the goods in port than to transport them from one port to another, which allowed them to obtain significant savings and profits, much higher than those achieved with the activity simple commercial.
For Engels: "... The profit rate of commercial capital already existed. What could then impel the merchant to take over the cumulative function of the contractor? Only one thing: The prospect of a higher profit ..." (11) Factories were based on manual labor, and simple cooperation where each worker fulfilled a job without the set of workers who act on the merchandise being grouped in the same workshop.
It is the same capitalist who is taking the merchandise from one place to another, to give it different touches by different workers. In these techniques of the industrial branches such as textiles, goldsmithing or metallurgy, labor productivity was achieved from simple cooperation and manual work, following the tradition of the handicraft working methods.These Forms of Accumulation had as a pole of accumulation the textile and mining industry; and they formed a Regime of Accumulation in which the new industries that emerged as Factories, combined their production and distribution with the Commercial Nations.
The Axis of Accumulation was the tripod that formed Normandy, England and the Netherlands in the English Channel and the North Sea. Precisely that geographical area was, together with France, the epicenter of the violent process of destruction of productive forces that implied the Hundred Years War, in which the ruling classes disputed control of these incipient new industries.
Hundred Years War expressed the emergence of a dynamic accumulation
regime, an alternative to the decline of the capitalist accumulation
regime established in the Mediterranean. This is how Nahuel Moreno
explains it: "There is an extraordinary development of Mediterranean
capitalism that has already begun its decline when it discovers
America. Its discovery will only accelerate its decline and the
development of the new northwestern capitalism, which had already
emerged and was displacing the Mediterranean before the discovery of our
continent. Mediterranean capitalism impregnated with aristocratism and
feudal forms, has a commercial, usurious, local and international
character in opposition to that of northwestern Europe, which has it
manufacturing and national " (12)
Factories are Forms of Accumulation in which salaried labor was exploited to manufacture products, which allowed merchants-entrepreneurs to lower the prices of merchandise to better compete with other merchants, who tend to adopt this form of production. , so as not to lose in the competition for the markets. Factories and the grouping of salaried workers is a process that developed in 3 ways that give rise to different types of companies: a) Privatized craft unions, b) Rural domiciled work and c) Privatized mining concessions. We are going to analyze these three business variants.
a) The privatization of the craft unions
One of the aspects that gave rise to the Factories was the process of privatization of the artisan guilds, the industries existing in feudalism that produced on a small scale for small communities, following strict production standards that set common goals. Starting in the 14th century, these artisan corporations began to be owned by capitalists. The craft guilds had a fairly rigid internal organization of 3 levels: masters, officers, and apprentice servants.
The teachers were the only ones who could vote the statutes by which the union is governed and elect the attorneys and chiefs of the same, the officers had the right to receive accommodation, food and a salary, on the other hand, the apprentice servants, with low salaries, remained for life in that state.
At first, the guilds had as a characteristic equality and solidarity among their members. The hiring and working conditions varied from one union to another and over time the merchant or merchant capitalist acted as an intermediary in the activities of the exchange of merchandise. Later he began to regularly buy the goods of the small producers, to provide them with raw materials and to lend them money, with which, the small producers fell under the economic force of the merchant.
Along with this, a process of social differentiation was developed within the workshops that were being dominated by the teachers who began to become their owners. This accelerated the process of social separation between teachers and apprentices and the teachers began the process of appropriation of the unions as companies under their ownership. In turn, societies arose between commercial capitalists and artisan masters, or the masters were directly expropriated through usury.
Whatever the route, the unions were transformed into factories to the extent that they became companies that began to have one or more capitalists as owners. The power of the privatized unions was extended in several cases until the control of the municipal governments and in the industries linked to the export, the teacher more quickly became a capitalist and owner of the company. In this way the artisan workshops of the Middle Ages were gradually disappearing, gradually replaced by the new privatized workshops, from which the new capitalists or entrepreneurs emerged.
This is how Reyna Pastor de Togneri explains: "The artisan corporations enter a period of stagnation that will persist until the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, in which they disappear because they cannot cope with the developing capitalist forms. Organized in such a way that they benefit each more and more teachers will emerge from them many times the new entrepreneurs " (13)
b) Rural home work
domiciled labor is the company that arises as a result of the merchant
capitalists hiring peasant labor for the production of merchandise. The
merchant takes merchandise and raw materials to the houses of the
peasant families who are doing different jobs, whether it be weaving,
yarn, dyeing, etc. Peasant families combine jobs for the capitalist with
jobs for themselves in the fields, until one after one falls under the
control of the capitalist, either out of necessity or because of the
debts they incur with him.
This is how Reyna Pastor de Togneri explains it: "A merchant or Verleger distributed the premium among the peasants and thereby acquired part of their workforce ... The entrepreneurs controlled the various production processes and carried the yarns from one place to another. and the textiles to the bataneros mills, the dry cleaners, etc. Through this system the peasant gradually becomes an industrial worker at home who produces for the market and who sells part of his workforce to the employer " (14)
This type of factories arose as a result of the changes that occurred in the textile industry. For centuries the industry was based on the luxury drapery consumed by the oligarchies of Burgundy, Florence, Venice, the papacy or Genoa, etc. But from the crisis of the fourteenth century, this luxury drapery entered into crisis due to the paralysis of trade, the fall in living standards and the decline of the nobility. Luxury drapery included the complex technique of making silk brought from China via Islam, and stolen by the Crusades.
The textile industry based on luxury drapery was relegated to the background, surpassed by the cheaper woolen drapery consumed by the popular classes and the bourgeoisie, supplied by the wool of sheep raised in England and Castile, which which was combined with the use of windmills in Flanders and Castile and watermills in England that took advantage of the huge waterfalls in those regions and gave a great boost to the textile industry.
For Reyna Pastor de Togneri, domiciled rural work was the most important company that made up the Factories: "domiciled rural industries will be a form of transition that increases in importance as time goes by: due to the number of workers they occupy. Due to the amount of production and the geographic area it occupies, this activity is going to accelerate the original accumulation of capital in the hands of merchants and bankers and the one that is going to initiate transformations in the peasantry ... that take him away from the land, deprive him of his means of production, force him to do routine work carried out over long hours, and turn him into a wage earner " (15)
The epicenter of rural domiciled work was England, the place where the nobility after the Hundred Years War weakened, the textile industry had a great development both due to sheep farming and due to the climatic conditions with the large waterfalls that allowed build mills more suitable for milling. There the companies flourished that began to proletarianize masses of peasants and both merchants and commercial capitalists more quickly appropriated the artisan workshops.
c) The privatization of mining concessions
Following a process similar to that suffered by the artisan unions, the mining concessions were appropriated by the capitalists, masters turned into entrepreneurs, metal and coin dealers, and tin buyers. The mining concessions were communities that signed contracts with the feudal authorities, collected a reward in exchange for the exploitation of mines and the exploitation of metals, and like the craftsmen's guilds, they maintained norms that imposed the equality of their members.
But mining suffered a serious crisis in the 14th century, as Perry Anderson explains: "The extraction of silver to which the entire urban and monetary sector of the feudal economy was connected, ceased to be practicable or profitable in the main mining areas. of Central Europe, because there was no way to drill deeper wells or to refine the most impure minerals ... the scarcity of metals caused repeated debasements of the currency in one country after another and, consequently, rampant inflation" (16)
mining crisis, coupled with the need for trade to establish currencies,
led to a growing search by capitalist merchants to take possession of
the mining industries and even expand them to newly discovered and
colonized territories, as in the case of America, where the
establishment of the mitas system implied companies based on the
enslavement of the primitive communist tribes that lived in the region.
The appropriation of mining concessions, as well as the appropriation of artisan workshops by the capitalists, or the process of privatizing them, was part of the primitive capitalist accumulation stage to the extent that it was part of the expropriation process that the capitalists were doing the other social classes. In this way, it established the development of several industrial branches and allowed a process of incipient development of the working class to the extent that workshops and mining establishments flourished in which salaried labor began to be hired.
Conclusions about the Factories
The Factories had their emergence phase in the second half of the 14th century. In the second half of the 15th century they had their boom phase, which allowed in the areas where it developed, the expansion of the economy until the beginning of the 16th century. Both the privatized artisan guilds, as well as rural domiciled labor and privatized mining concessions, were combined during that period of time with the nascent Forms of Accumulation such as Commercial Nations, banking and usury, in addition to the decaying feudal forms of production.
The Factories were an advance in the centralization and accumulation of capital, which was expressed in the importance of cities like Flanders and Ghent in the textile and mining industry. But at the beginning of the 16th century the factories began to enter the phase of exhaustion, the economy stagnated again and a new violent process of destruction of productive forces began, whose most important points were the 80 years war, with its epicenter in Flanders. and the Dutch states in the mid-16th century.
However, the exhaustion of the Factories did not only express the contradictions originating from capitalist development, such as the leveling and fall of the Profit Rate, which occurred with the Trading Nations. The depletion of the Factories combined economic elements with political factors to the extent that their development was seriously limited by the existence of the nobility in power, unlike the Commercial Nations that developed in cities where the bourgeoisie had power.
Factories are companies whose development questioned the social structure of feudalism, crashed and drowned in it. The bourgeoisie needed to attack the institutions that supported the feudal order and the Catholic Church in order to move to a higher Form of Accumulation. The wars combined the fight for the centralization of capital and the fight for the power of the nations that the nobility controlled, which gave the Factories an unstable and transitional character.
Factories were not a solid Form of Accumulation like the Trading Nations, but rather a transitional Form between the artisanal industries of the Middle Ages that entered into crisis in the middle of the 14th century and the capitalist Manufactures that emerged in the middle of the 16th century. For Alberto J. Plá: "The qualitative leap from craftsmanship to manufacturing is not simple and recognizes an intermediate stage: home work. But the process is slow and actually takes place in successive stages. Over very long periods of time. long periods of time, old and new forms of production coexist " (17)
The Factories, as industrial companies that began to have bourgeois owners under their command, were a fundamental component of the European economy for almost 2 centuries, and although they were transitional companies, they were vital for the development of the capitalist mode of production in its stage. of primitive accumulation.
The transition from factories to manufacturing In the Hundred Years Wars there were changes in the military industry, the feudal knights were overcome, the first professional armies appeared composed of soldiers not united by a pact of vassalage with their lord, but the pay of kings and bankers, and the development of new military technology.
The army and the king were the pillar of a new regime in the feudal state, the absolute monarchies and the challenge to the economic, social, political power of the nobility, slowly allowed advances for the benefit of the bourgeoisie, which the kings encouraged. Although most of the population was still peasant, the economic impulse and the novelties no longer came from the castle or the monastery, but from the cities, the epicenter of the development of the Factories.
these entered their phase of exhaustion, a violent process of
destruction of productive forces was unleashed, which allowed a new
centralization of capital, and the development of Manufacturing.
This violent development of the productive forces had as its epicenter the 80 Years War, a complex of wars centered on the struggle of the Protestant princes of Germany and the Netherlands that reflected the rising bourgeoisie, against the nobility of France and the nobility of Spain that was the major power in Europe, by then dominated by the nobility of the Hausburgs.
The Lutheran Reform movement spearheaded a process of land confiscations from the Church, vital to the development of the textile industry. The entire development of the Eighty Years' War was a set of 8 different wars that occurred between 1562 and 1648, which included the wars between Catholics and Calvinist Protestants where the Seventeen Provinces of the Netherlands fought against their sovereign, the King of Spain. Carlos V.
The 17 provinces, or United Provinces, sought to achieve independence from Carlos V and Spain. The rebellion against the Protestant monarch was led by Martin Luther and Calvin, but the process of destroying the productive forces was very violent. The high nobility brutally repressed the Protestants who were persecuted and executed with extreme cruelty; among those executed were the most important leader of this radical reform, Thomas Müntzer and the Spaniard Miguel Servet.
After 80 years of brutal fighting, destruction of cities, villages, and millions of deaths, the War ended with the triumph of the Netherlands and they achieved a process of centralization of capital from which the United Provinces emerged, which obtained their independence and the bourgeoisie. he began his rise to power by imposing a modern state for the time, which had a Parliament with elected deputies in all provinces.
The United Provinces, part of what we now call the Netherlands and Belgium, emerged triumphant and imposed themselves as a world power in the seventeenth century, which made them one of the world centers for the development of the manufacturing industry, added to their powerful navy. and merchant fleet.
This area of Europe experienced an important economic and cultural boom as a result of the development and expansion of Manufacturing, Forms of Accumulation that were the result of the vigorous industrial development that Flanders and the geographical areas included in the Netherlands had been experiencing since the Middle Ages, but they were able to break through and develop as a result of the violent process of destruction of productive forces that implied the Wars of the 80 years.
Another process of destruction of productive forces that allowed the passage from factories to manufacturing as the predominant form of accumulation, was the crushing of popular insurrections that developed between the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries as a result of the generalized economic crisis and the policy of governments that launched brutal measures against the masses.
The most terrible measures were the Labor Statutes that were sanctioned in almost all of Europe limiting wage increases to workers and generalized tax increases that triggered riots such as the maritime (1323-1327) and urban (1338-1350) Flanders revolts, the french "Jacquerie" (1358), the Ciompi revolution in Florence (1378), the English Tylerists (1381), the Ghent insurrection (1372-1382), the Hussite insurrection in the Kingdom of Hungary-Bohemia (1408 -1415), the Calabrian insurrection (1469 -1475), and the Remensa movement in Spain (1462 -1484), among others.
Only the beginning of the revolutionary process that allowed the development of the Helvetic Confederation (1290 -1351) escaped this general logic of defeat. All this enormous process of destruction of productive forces occurred simultaneously with the beginning of the expropriation and genocide of millions of indigenous peoples of the primitive communist tribes and Asian societies of America, Asia, Oceania and Africa.
3) The Manufacture. Form of accumulation of the manufacturing bourgeoisie
Manufacture arises in the sixteenth century and is the predominant Form of Accumulation in which the capitalist groups the workers in the workshop or establishment and manual work is based on the division of labor among wage earners, which goes beyond the technique of cooperation. simple, typical of factories.
Each one of the workers specializes in one or more certain operations, which increases the productivity of the work, the exploitation of the workers and obtains cheaper goods, which allows a greater accumulation of capital and profits. In manufacturing, the division of labor makes the worker reach a specialization but is no longer the producer of a finished merchandise, thus his dependence on the capitalist acquires a new and firmer character.
For Marx: "it consists in bringing together in a workshop, under the command of the capitalist himself, workers belonging to diverse and independent craft trades, through whose hands a product must pass until its final completion ... As a characteristic form ... it predominates during the manufacturing period proper, which lasts, in very general lines, from the middle of the sixteenth century to the last third of the eighteenth" (18)
There are 2 types of manufacturing: heterogeneous and organic. The heterogeneous is when it deals with a merchandise composed of a set of partial products that can be made independently, and even in different workshops, and then they are brought together in a workshop in the hands of operators who assemble and combine them, as is the case of the watch factories, for example.
On the other hand, in organic manufacturing, workers of different specialties were concentrated in the workshop, who carried out the entire production process on the merchandise until the end, to create a certain merchandise. Organic manufacturing allows articles to go through a whole series of processes passing through a series of specialized workers, and that the various phases of the production process that were previously successive, are now transformed into simultaneous.
This made it possible to achieve more finished goods in the same time and created the premises for large industrial production, contributed to the further division of labor, greatly simplified many labor operations, perfected the instruments of work and prepared the conditions for moving to production. machined.
Manufacture favored the concentration of the means of production in the hands of the capitalists and meant ruin for most of the artisans. But although the division of labor in manufacturing caused capitalist commodity production to increase and the output of social labor to rise appreciably, Manufacturing did not encompass all social production. On the contrary, the existence of an immense number of small industrial enterprises continued and constituted a characteristic feature of the manufacturing period of capitalism that many Manufactures combined their production with factories such as rural domiciled labor and residual medieval artisan workshops.
The role of the State in the development of Manufacturing
In the whole process of development of the Manufacture, the state played a great role, as the case of France shows, where it was the policy of Minister Colbert and Louis XIV in France, the internal market and the export of merchandise for the markets, which it was called mercantilism. This responded to the fact that the emergence of larger domestic markets and a colossal growth of the foreign market as a result of geographical discoveries, caused a huge demand for merchandise, which the development of production at the time could not satisfy.
The Manufacture went hand in hand with the development of the development of the absolutist regimes in the feudal state, increasingly based on the machinery of the state bureaucracy, the army and the set of officials around the centralized and increasingly absolute power of the king.
The development of the new Forms of Accumulation required these more antidemocratic regimes, brutally repressive, not only of the conquered civilizations, but also of the small feudal production and property, of the dispossessed and the newly exploited of Europe.
Brutally repressive institutions coexisted with absolutism such as the Inquisition, the witch hunt, the liquidation and persecution of opponents, the accusation of heretic to any scientist or person who rejects the idea of God or the divine authority of the King, although those absolutist regimes came into conflict with the bourgeoisie that needed to impose its own state and institutions that would allow the development of its economic interests.
The European countries with the highest manufacturing development were England, France, the Netherlands and Switzerland. In the colonized continents, the states established industrial and mining manufactures, as in the case of mitas, missions and encomiendas in America, based on the salaried and slave labor of the Indians. Large estates were also established for textile production based on the slave labor of captured primitive communist tribes in Africa and Manufactures were developed in India.
From this time, the process of destruction of productive forces that led to the Manufacture consisted of a true genocide, without there being any agreement among researchers about the number of Indians killed in America, which ranges between 50 and 90 million between centuries. XVI and XVIII. The system of companies called Encomienda in Spain, in which the Indian had to receive a salary for his work, consisted of a brutal process of exploitation, which ended with the enslavement of most of the Indians who worked there.
By the seventeenth century, in the phase of exhaustion of the Manufactures, researchers also did not finish agreeing on the horrifying figures of men and women kidnapped to be sold as slaves, but the calculations oscillate between some 60 million Indians enslaved and distributed in 24 million in America, 12 million in Asia and 7 million in Europe, while 17 million died on the crossings.
This was the fate of the primitive communist tribes crushed, by the armies and fleets of the European states and monarchs. In Europe, the consolidation of the absolutist states was based on the development of mercenary armies, of great performance in the 80-year war between Spain and the Netherlands, made up of impoverished and displaced nobles, added to the dispossessed artisans and peasants who found occupation in the army.
The land enclosures were accelerating the expropriation of the peasants and dramatically increased the number of poor and homeless. The great capitalist magnates invested large sums in financing wars, invasions and the development of military technology, to expand markets. In turn, the development of Manufacturing allowed a colossal process of extraction of metals from America.
program of the manufacturing bourgeoisie brings together several
important points that synthesize the defense of their interests, among
them: The fight against monarchies and absolutist states, the imposition
of parliamentary republics with a federal or federative structure,
where the different manufacturing sectors have the control of different
states, which in turn federate among themselves through economic and
political agreements. From these agreements comes the establishment of
internal customs between the states, the creation of banks for each
state or province, free trade in foreign trade, the permanent
colonization of markets and lands for the development of manufacturing
establishments, in the form of plantations, haciendas or ranches;
creation of new states, or colonies, tolerance or promotion of slavery
and establishment of pre-capitalist relations for the exploitation of
human labor from nations or primitive communist tribes for exploitation
in the Manufactures.
Phases of emergence, boom and exhaustion of Manufacture
The emergence phase of Las Manufacturas allowed the application of intensive labor in mines in America, which allowed a constant flow of precious metals and an increase in money reserves in Europe that quadrupled between the 16th and 17th centuries. Silver extracted from America between 1530 and 1650 amounted to 11,600 tons, that is, an annual average of 96,600 kg per year, and as for gold, the amount extracted throughout the sixteenth century was 153,561 kg quantities that were very important in the 16th century.
caused an increase in the amount of money in circulation, to the extent
that the bankers used these reserves to develop the issuance of titles,
papers and all kinds of fictitious capital. With the manufacturing boom
phase, the economy began to expand and the European population to grow,
overcoming the serious population crisis that had occurred after the
Hundred Years Wars, when after the end of the war the population of
Europe had suffered such a decline that the cost of labor and wages had
risen sharply because there were no workers available.
But this inequality between the strong accumulation of capital based on the extraction of precious metals and the weakness of industrial development also caused the emergence of speculative bubbles in capitalism, predecessors of the speculative bubbles that we see today. In turn, this over-accumulation of fictitious capital was the basis for inflation. The states had to borrow heavily to boost the armies and companies destined to consolidate Manufacture.
This need of the states and companies to contract loans, led the bankers to issue titles and debt papers that financed the commercial expansion plans. This impulse of papers, titles and loans of all kinds was a great impulse to inflation from the state or "Inflation of Benefits", as Hamilton called it. Speculative bubbles such as the one of 1557 in Spain, the one of 1634 of the Tulips in Holland are from this time.
The "inflation of benefits" allowed to lower wages, which were very high due to the scarcity of population after the Hundred Years War, at the same time that wages did not increase because there was an abundance of labor, due to the increase in population. In this way, guaranteeing the general lowering of wages, the capitalists were able to exploit human labor with the development of Manufacturing.
That is to say, the great inflation of the sixteenth century is very similar to the great inflation of globalization between the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, only in two diametrically opposed stages of capitalism. If the "great inflation of the 16th century" is part of that of the stage of the birth of capitalism that expressed the first steps on the path of valuing capital by developing production, the "great inflation of the 16th century" expresses its decline and growing inability of capitalism to value capital by developing production.
5) Commercial Companies - Form of Accumulation of the colonizing bourgeoisie
Commercial Companies are a Form of Accumulation constituted by companies of investors that obtain profits based on the dominance of commerce and the exploitation of labor in the discovered colonies. In a sense they are a more developed version of the Trading Nations, but in this case, the Trading Companies act in the service of dominating vast colonial territories in which these companies acted as a true state and government, made investments, developed manufacturing and exploited local labor, which allowed them to make huge profits.
These companies were the British East India Company, founded in 1600, the Dutch East India Company of 1602, the Danish East India Company of 1616, the Dutch West India Company of 1621. Also the Company French East India Company founded in 1664, the Swedish East India Company founded 1731 and the Ostend Company. They were founded by influential businessmen who obtained the royal charter and exclusive permits to trade with the colonies for long periods.
Trading Companies and Manufacturing developed jointly and in combination between the 16th and 17th centuries, as did the Trading Nations and Factories between the 14th and 15th centuries. As soon as they arrived in the colonies, the Companies built the first manufactures, for example the British East India Company had 23 factories in India and their profits were so great that they had to bribe kings and officials to prevent other companies from landing and power thus exercise the monopoly of economic activity in the area.
Large profits caused such an over-accumulation of capital that they produced the speculative bubble of the South Sea Company in England in 1720. The Companies were commercial enterprises, but they also had the right to mint money, legislate, elect rulers, and form armies of their own. For example, in 1670, King Charles II granted the right to the British East India Company to command armies and form alliances, declare war or establish peace, and exercise both civil and military jurisdiction in areas where operated.
In 1689, the Company was almost a state within India independently administering the Bombay, Madras and Bengal areas and possessing a very powerful military force. The British East India Company consolidated, after the triumph over France, the monopoly of trade in India and came to have a fifth of the world's population under its authority, while the Dutch East India Company came to include everything the Indonesian archipelago.
The value of the Dutch company of the Indies is equivalent to 20 large companies of today. Source: Visual Capitalist
These forms of accumulation began in the first half of the seventeenth century, they had their peak in the first half of the eighteenth century and at the end of the century the Commercial Companies had begun their phase of exhaustion, caused not only by the fall in the rate of profit, but also fundamentally due to the process of rebellion of the peoples against the imperial and colonialist oppression that put limits on the exploitation of the Companies.
In India there was a massive uprising and popular revolution called the Sepoy Rebellion in 1857, which led to the dissolution of the most important of all: the East India Company.
The Transition from Manufacturing to Industry With the exhaustion of Manufactures, a violent process of destruction of productive forces developed, through a complex of wars that included the Thirty Years' War that took place between 1618 and 1648, the Franco-Spanish war developed between 1635 and 1659, the Wars between England and the Netherlands between 1649 and 1660 and the Civil War in England.
The latter, in reality, a profound revolutionary process in which the bourgeoisie took power in England and imposed a parliamentary political regime, following the model of the Netherlands.
The center of these conflagrations was the battle for control of the manufacturing industry in Europe, whose epicenter was the Holland-England axis and the control of the Manufactures established in the colonies. But also the Wars carried out by the Commercial Companies and the Anglo-Dutch Wars, as well as the Civil Wars in England were also the final part of the process of expropriation of the pre-capitalist social classes that characterized the process of Primitive Accumulation of capitalism.
The expropriation process included the primitive communist tribes and Asian societies in the colonies, in addition to the expropriation of the peasantry, sectors of the nobility and even other bourgeois sectors in other countries of continental Europe and in Wales, Scotland and Ireland.
Dutch East India Company, Mississippi Company, South Sea Company were the most valuable capitalist enterprieses in history
The Thirty Years' War was a war fought mainly in the Holy Roman Empire, which is today the territory of Germany, between the years 1618 and 1648, in which most of the great European powers of the time intervened with the objective of to seize the German and Italian companies developed by the Hansa and Italy and the flourishing industries in both regions, in addition to a serious clash between the nobility and the rising bourgeoisie, who continued the struggle for power.
In this war, mercenaries were used in a generalized way, the devastation of entire territories that were depleted by the armies in need of supplies was enormous, the continuous episodes of famine and disease decimated the civil population of the German states, and to a lesser extent, that of the Netherlands and Italy and bankrupted many of the powers involved.
During the course of it, the population of the Holy Empire was reduced by 30%. In Brandenburg it was reduced by 50%, and in other regions even by two thirds. The male population in Germany was cut in half. In the Czech countries the population fell by a third because of the war, as a result of hunger, disease and the massive expulsion of Protestant Czechoslovaks. The Swedish armies alone destroyed 2,000 castles, 18,000 villas, and 1,500 towns in Germany during the war.
The wars between England and the Netherlands, between 1652 and 1666 involved all the economic powers of the time such as France, Sweden, Spain, etc. and ended with the defeat and decline of the dominance of the Netherlands. The development of these wars allowed a superior centralization of capital and the world supremacy of England that carried forward the most important Industrial development. Both England and the Netherlands were trading powers with huge fleets that dominated world trade.
But even when capitalism was going through the final stage of the primitive accumulation stage and commercial capital was still dominant, it was its territories that were at the forefront of the development of manufacturing and later industry, Forms of Accumulation that inaugurated the stage industrial and heyday of capitalism. Based on the fabulous capital obtained by the colonial exploitation and the dominion of the seas, both Holland and especially England were able to promote and finance scientific discoveries to incorporate technologies and new machines that gradually displaced Manufacturing and started Industry.
The vigorous development of the industry will lead to England displacing the Netherlands as a world power, but at the cost of a brutal confrontation between both powers, which meant a huge development of destructive forces. The first Anglo-Dutch war took place between 1652 and 1654; the Second Anglo-Dutch War between 1665 and 1667 with the Dutch victories at the Battle of the Four Days and Medway and the Third Anglo-Dutch War between 1672 and 1674 between a front where England joined France against Holland.
The Civil War in England took place between the years 1642 and 1689. In the first English civil war of the years 1642-1645 parliamentary power and royal power faced each other with the triumph of Parliament that eliminated the Court of the Star Chamber, and He executed William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Earl of Strafford, a great ally of the King.
In the Second English Civil War between 1648-1649 Cromwell suppressed the rebellion in Wales and defeated the Scots at Preston, defeated the monarchists, executed King Charles I and proclaimed the English Republic. With the Third English Civil War, between 1649 and 1651 Cromwell crushed royalist supporters in Ireland and Scotland and controlled England.
In turn, in the colonies the wars between the Companies developed, for example the English with the Dutch and Portuguese in the area of the Indian Ocean. The war between the English and the Portuguese at the Battle of Swally in 1612, or the Seven Years' War between France and England that eliminated the French colonial presence in India, after which the British East India Company consolidated the monopoly of trade in the zone.
c) Forms of Accumulation typical of the Peak Stage of Capitalism
To the extent that the capitalist mode of production became dominant, and definitively displaced the feudal mode of production; and to the extent that the bourgeoisie was also conquering the power of the state, we entered the apogee stage of the capitalist mode of production that spans the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries.
This stage began after the triumph of 3 great revolutions, the English Revolution led by Oliver Cromwell in 1648, the North American Revolution of 1776, the French Revolution of 1789. Capitalism promoted production, commerce and finance, sweeping away all previous social formations and pre-capitalist modes of production, and reached the zenith of its development as an economic, political and social system. In this heyday of capitalism, the predominant Forms of Accumulation are Industry in the field of production, and Banks and Credit in the field of finance, which we are going to analyze below.
1) Industry- Form of Accumulation of the industrial bourgeoisie
Industry as a predominant Form of Accumulation began to develop from the 18th century. In industry the capitalist incorporates the machines in the factory where he groups the workers. The division of labor combined with machines, which replaced manual labor, allowed mass production, increased labor productivity and worker exploitation, so that the industry implied a leap in the process of accumulation of capital and profits.
In industry the modern wage-earning proletariat arose and the capitalist mode of production was consolidated with its two fundamental social classes, the working class and the bourgeoisie. This process began after John Wyatt announced in 1735 his spinning machine, which revolutionized the textile industry. But the introduction of machines also allowed a revolution in production and commerce because it revolutionized transportation and communications.
At the beginning of the industry, the most important technological innovations were the steam engine and the so-called Spinning Jenny, related to the textile industry, but after them, new machines and technologies emerged and were a permanent improvement of the production process. We include in industry, all agricultural and field production, as well as all production in the sea such as fishing and raw materials.
Although they move under different conditions, such as the product of the rent from the land in the case of the countryside, as industry develops, the process of expropriation of small owners accelerates and machinery is introduced into the field, revolutionizing all production, They ended up being absorbed by the industry and becoming one more variant of the Industrial Accumulation Forms.
This is how the rural proletariat was consolidated After the wars of the 17th century, the Treaty of Utrecht of 1713, consolidated the dominion of England, which became the axis of accumulation. The textile, cotton and metallurgical industries were the accumulation pole and new industries such as chemical, electrical or automobile emerged along with the development of new forms of energy such as gas or oil.
The Industry spread to new countries such as Germany, Russia, the United States, Japan, the Netherlands and a scientific revolution unprecedented up to that time developed. The emergence phase of Industry coincided with the apogee of the capitalist mode of production, which allowed a sustained expansion of the economy.
But the revolutionary character in production that Industry signified developed, in turn, with greater intensity all the contradictions of capitalism, as we will analyze in Chapter VI. The drop in the rate of profit began to take place in a chronic and permanent way, precipitating the economy to suffer permanent crises and falls, even when as a whole there was a stage of expansion.
In the boom of the industry the leveling of the profit rate developed more quickly, only now this process developed more quickly. This is how Engels explained it: "... industry, which thanks to its incessant revolutions of production reduces more and more the costs of manufacturing goods ... On the other hand it levels the profit rates of the different branches of business. by reducing them to a single general rate of profit and, thanks to this leveling, assures industry the position of strength that corresponds to it, by eliminating all the obstacles that until then prevented the transfer of capital from one branch to another." (21)
program of the industrial bourgeoisie brings together several important
points that synthesize the defense of their interests, among them: The
fight against monarchies and absolutist states, the imposition of
unitary parliamentary republics with autonomy of their territorial
entities, the elimination of customs interiors, and the imposition of a
central customs, the creation of the Central Bank, and the creation of a
single currency, free trade in foreign trade, land reform,
expropriation, and land enclosure. The establishment of capitalist
production relations based on measures for the development of the
emergence of the proletariat such as the elimination of pre-capitalist
production relations, the abolition of slavery, the development of
public education, the promotion of immigration, among others.
At the beginning of the 19th century, industries began to enter their phase of exhaustion, which unleashed a new and violent wave of wars and revolutions. The industry produced a rapid development that collided with the internal customs and the social formations inherited from feudalism, for which the revolutions and civil wars that brought the bourgeoisie to power, were followed by new revolutions and civil wars in which the bourgeoisie, it eliminated internal customs, expanded the internal market, imposed national borders, and modern states emerged.
With the revolutions of 1848, the modern capitalist nation states arose, the modern countries. These revolutions and wars were those of 1848 in France, Italy, Germany, the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the North American civil war of 1862. All this process of destruction of productive forces gave way to a higher Form of Accumulation, monopolies, product of that the wars and revolutions of 1848, as well as the North American civil war, allowed the development of the countries, the national unity and their internal market.
the emergence of countries and the internal market, the Form of
Accumulation emerged in the capitalist powers with greater economic
development, which allows the domination of a branch of production at
the level of a country, monopolies, trusts and cartels, which gave
beginning of the entry of capitalism into its highest and final stage of
decadence, the imperialist stage.
2) Banks and Credit - Form of Accumulation of the Financial Bourgeoisie
the heyday of capitalism, both the Bank and Credit were developed as a
form of accumulation of financial capital, institutions that make up the
modern banking system. Both, although they had antecedents with the
first Banks in Genoa and Venice, are the true expression of the
capitalist mode of production, which made the old claims of the
bourgeoisie against usury and merchants who monopolized finance capital
throughout the entire stage a reality of primitive accumulation.
Credit was born as a rejection of usury, a Form of Accumulation that together with the banks expressed the beginning of the consolidation of the capitalist mode of production. For Marx: "The development of credit is effected by reaction against usury ... It means neither more nor less than the subordination of interest-producing capital to the conditions and needs of the capitalist mode of production ... it is the starting point of the system. credit associations, which were established in Venice and Genoa in the twelfth and fourteenth centuries, were born out of the need for maritime trade and wholesale trade based on it, to free itself from the dominance of methods. of aging usury and monopolists of the money trade" (22)
Precisely the ruling class of financial magnates, act by founding the banks that issue debt papers and distribute credit, at the same time that they are part of the state that arises and drives the operation of the Banks. This class is born indissolubly united to the State and the State to this sector of capitalists.
As Marx explains: "Although the banks themselves, founded in those republics, appear at the same time as public credit institutions that advanced money to the State on the taxes to be collected, it must not be forgotten that the merchants who constituted these associations were themselves the notables of those states and had as much interest in freeing their government from usury as in freeing themselves, and at the same time affirming and reinforcing with this the submission in which they maintained the State" (23)
This is how Karl Marx explains it: "This violent attack against usury, this demand of subjugation of the producing capital of interest to industrial capital, is nothing more than the precursor sign of the organic creations that in the modern banking system establish the conditions of production capitalist: banks, on the one hand, deprive usurious capital of its monopoly, by concentrating and launching into the financial market all inactive and dead money reserves, and on the other hand, limiting the monopoly of precious metals by creating money of credit" (24)
The first officially recognized Bank was founded by the Bank of England in 1694, six years after the triumph of the Revolution led by Oliver Cromwell. Like the Bank of France, the Bank of England did not start as a state bank, nor as a crown company, but as a private bank, controlled by the Rotschild clan, the European banking dynasty that handled finances in England, France, Germany. , Austria and Italy, together with their associates Khun, Loeb, Lehman, Warburg, etc.
The Bank of England was nationalized in 1946 after the end of World War II with the beginning of the Keynesian regime, as was the Bank of France. If industrial production revolutionized all aspects of production and achieved a mass of goods such as has never been seen in the history of humanity, in the same way credit achieved an accumulation and the constitution of a capital mass of money rarely seen. But along with this, credit rapidly developed the tendencies towards the concentration and centralization of capital, leaving thousands of small capitals in ruin, to allow the large capitals to expropriate the smaller capitalists, allowing the centralization of capitals.
This is how Karl Marx explains the role of credit: "It not only becomes a new and powerful weapon in the competitive struggle. By means of invisible threads, it attracts to the hands of individual or associated capitalists the money means that, in larger or smaller masses, are scattered over the surface of society. It is the specific machine for the concentration of capital ... credit ... it becomes a new and terrible weapon in the competitive struggle, finally transforming itself into an immense social mechanism for the centralization of capital ... As capitalist production and accumulation develop, competition and credit also develop, the two most powerful levers of centralization" (25)
c) Forms of Accumulation typical of the Stage of Decline of Capitalism
The Merger of the Forms of Productive and Financial Accumulation. The forms of Accumulation that correspond to the imperialist stage or the decadence of capitalism are Monopolies, Multinationals, and finally Multinational Corporations. The corresponding analysis of these Forms of Accumulation has been done in chapters III and IV, together with the analysis of the political-social mechanisms that allowed the passage from one Form of Accumulation to another.
The mechanism by which the passage from a predominant form of accumulation to a higher one occurs is through a violent process of destruction of productive forces. Marx developed the laws of capital accumulation that explain how this process unfolds from the economic point of view, it was necessary to know how it did it in combination with the political and social factor.
The process of destruction of productive forces required for the centralization and accumulation of capital, implied the permanent destruction and liquidation of social classes and sectors of classes, through wars and revolutions.
In this way, the laws that explain the passage from one Form of Accumulation to a higher one link the laws of Marxist economics with historical materialism. The mechanism of annihilation and burning of capital that capitalism developed to solve its crises and advance in the forms of accumulation and centralization of capital, is fundamentally explained by the role of private property and social classes.
The ownership of the means of production and exchange gives rise to the bourgeoisie as the ruling class, and in it to the different sectors of the bourgeois class that permanently dispute capital and profits. Behind the commercial nations, factories, industries, manufactures, monopolies and multinationals is the social class that owns these different means of production and the different sectors of that ruling class. It is the fight for the defense of private property, interests and profits that explains why capitalism is evolving in different Forms of Accumulation.
The different Forms of Accumulation are overcome and are transformed, for example, the monopolies continue to exist, but are overcome and contained in turn by the multinationals. The entire process of evolution of the forms of accumulation was deposited one on the other, like the different geological layers.
In the development of this mechanism, we observe that after each violent process of destruction of productive forces, there was a new centralization of capital that allowed a superior Form of Accumulation, and began a period of long expansion of the capitalist economy.
With the exhaustion of the predominant Forms of Accumulation, the period of expansion ends and a long period of stagnation of the economy begins, inevitably leading to a new process of destruction of productive forces.
Periods of long expansion or long stagnation have had different durations, sometimes as little as a decade or sometimes as long as 60 or 70 years and even longer. But these periods are explained by the phenomenon of the emergence of a new predominant Form of Accumulation and its rise, it is this that explains the long periods of expansion of the capitalist economy.
On the contrary, the exhaustion of the Forms of Accumulation is what explains the long periods of stagnation. Two types of crisis are permanently and dialectically conjugated, the small, chronic, systematic crises, part of the regular development of capitalism, with the longer crises, as we will see in the next chapter. This happens because regular crises always occur either in the framework of a period of stagnation, or in the framework of a period of expansion.
periods are in turn determined by the rise or exhaustion of the
predominant Forms of Accumulation. The General Law of the Forms of
Accumulation allows us to understand more fully the development of the
crises of capitalism and allows us to overcome old schemes such as the
old view that capitalism in its heyday had essentially developed the
productive and productive forces for a long period. then in its stage of
decline it had developed only the destructive forces. With the General
Law of the Forms of Accumulation, this scheme is definitively
Old theories such as the Long Wave Theory that explain the crisis by the inevitability of economic cycles, with consecutive ascending and descending periods linked to the emergence of new technologies and branches of production, are also surpassed. It is clear that capitalism has alternated in all its stages and phases the development of productive forces and destructive forces. And that the engine of evolution of the economy and the overcoming of one Form of Accumulation by another is the development of destructive forces and war.
Nahuel Moreno anticipated some of these conclusions in his last economics courses and showed doubts about the progressive character of capitalism, about whether through its history, capitalism evolved in a contradictory way with the development of the productive forces.
This is how he expressed it: "I have doubts ... if capitalism was not always a contradictory phenomenon, which developed technique and exploded nature and man. And if it is not a permanent law of capitalism. I have great doubts, myself, personal ... I am very scared of the numbers of the Indians, and the numbers of the African blacks that capitalism blew up in the 16th-17th century. I mean, there are horrifying calculations. Almost 90% of the indigenous people were liquidated in 50 years ... So I do not know if capitalism does not permanently have a fatal face against the development of the productive forces ... It was very progressive with respect to technique, it is the stage of great technical development, but objectively, from its beginning ... It leads to barbarism. That is to say, what we are seeing now is not a consequence that it was a wonder and change, and it became bad, but that before it was sinister as it is now, and more and more sinister, more sinister, more sinister ... "
"The question is whether it started with imperialism ... or when capitalism began ... which is the first production system that does not work for consumption, which is already such an irrational thing ... which is something From the outset, it is irrational, it is against the development of the productive forces from the start, then it is a highly contradictory phenomenon from the beginning. Technically it is the one that develops the most, precisely because it does not produce for consumption ... But at the same time it is the one that most destroys nature, but bursts everything from the beginning. And today it is the monstrosity of a law that was permanent " (27)
(1) & (2) Karl Marx: Capital, Book One, ch. XXIII, The General Law of Capitalist Accumulation
(3), (4) Federico Engels: Supplement and Complement to Book III of Capital
(5) & (6) Perry Anderson. Transitions from Antiquity to Feudalism. Second Part 4. The Feudal Dynamics
(7), (8), (9), (10) & (11) Federico Engels: Supplement and Supplement to Book III of Capital
(12) Nahuel Moreno. Four Theses on the Spanish and Portuguese Colonization.
(13), (14), (15) Reyna Pastor de Togneri History of the Labor Movement. Chapter I Artisans and Peasants in crisis
(16) Perry Anderson. Transitions from Antiquity to Feudalism. Second Part 4. The Feudal Dynamics
(17) Alberto J. Plá History of the Labor Movement. Introduction
(18) Karl Marx: Capital, Book One, ch. 12, Division of Labor and Manufacturing
(19) Federico Engels: Supplement and Supplement to Book III of Capital
(20) Nahuel Moreno. School of Economics 1984
(21) Federico Engels: Supplement and Supplement to Book III of Capital
(22), (23) & (24) Karl Marx: Capital, Third Book, ch. 36, Notes on the Pre-Capitalist Period