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Capital's Pons Asinorum: the Rate of Turnover in Karl Marx's Analysis of Capitalist Valorisation

Passarella, Marco and Baron, Hervé (2013): Capital's Pons Asinorum: the Rate of Turnover in Karl Marx's Analysis of Capitalist Valorisation.

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Abstract

This article aims to shed light on the role played by the ‘rate of turnover’ of capital within the Marxian analysis of the working laws of capitalism. Oddly enough, that concept has been neglected by the most part of Karl Marx’s scholars and exegetes, as is demonstrated proved by the small number of scientific works dealing with it. Yet, the rate of turnover plays a crucial role in Marx’s economic thought, since it allows Marx to address the impact of the improvement in finance, transportation and means of communication on the capitalist process of creation (and realization) of surplus-value. As we are going to show, the new manuscripts from the MEGA2 philological edition of Marx’s writings may provide some useful insights. Against this background, the goal of the paper is twofold: first, to bridge the gap in the literature concerning the economic thought of Marx; second, to provide a rigorous (and general) definition of the notion of the ‘rate of turnover’ of capital. This will also allow us: to redefine the concept of the ‘annual rate of profit’; to define a new linked concept – that is, the ‘temporal composition of capital’; and to add a further element in the debate on the counter-tendencies to the law of the tendential fall in the general rate of profit.

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