Capital social relation

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Karl Marx, engaging in a ground-up critique of capitalism, always situated the functioning of capital within an economic, political and philosophical discourse, and thus addressed his critique not to capitalism as a monolithic thing, but to capital as a social relation.

“Capital as social relation is given when the means of production are separated from the producers, when they are owned by some people, while others own only their labour-power. In a capitalist mode of production, this separation is overcome by bringing together the means of production and the producers in an exchange of seeming equality, i.e. when workers accept to sell their labour-power to the employers for a defined period of time. However, in this mode of production, the apparent equality between workers and employers is broken once the worker accepts a contract. From that moment onwards, his/her capacities will be directed towards working under the command of the employer in order to increase the wealth of the latter.”

See Ingrao, Bruna, and Fabio Ranchetti. Il Mercato Nel Pensiero Economico. Milano: Hoepli, 1996, p.171.