Capital II. Chapter 4: The Three Figures of the Circuit (ongoing)

Tc = total circulation process, depicting the three figures:

(I) M – C … P … C’ – M’
(II) P … Tc … P
(III) Tc … P(C’)

Each figure demonstrates the point of the circuits to be valorisation: in (I) this is expressed in the form itself, in (II) we begin with the valorisation process itself, P, and in (III) the beginning is valorised value, closing with the newly valorised value.

The formal aspects of these forms demonstrate the metamorphoses of commodities into money, and so on. But Marx encourages us to look further, at the connection “between the circuits of individual capitals, as the partial movements of the reproduction process of the total social capital” (p180), if we do so then the process cannot be explained in formal terms of changes between money and commodities.

Interesting points concerning the temporality of the life of an individual capital in connection to the total social capital. The constantly rotating orbit, the point of return, the new beginning, the succession of phases, the shedding of form throughout succession, the conditioning of form through the preceding one, circulation and interruption. Each circuit has a particular form of the circuit as its starting point and point of return, whilst total process is the unity of all three.

Is it possible to see a further opening of politics in this volume – looking beyond the formality is looking into the social relations in motion behind the circuits? A particular dimension of contingency underlies the formal aspects of the circuits, whereby the conditions for fulfilling the circuit are presupposed, but not guaranteed. The temporality, “in a constantly rotating orbit”, of “point of return” – “new beginning”, is not controllable. The possibility of this seems to return throughout the chapter… more notes to follow


1 Response to “Capital II. Chapter 4: The Three Figures of the Circuit (ongoing)”

  1. 1 markcyst 16 November 2012 at 6:58 am

    I just want to link this here, as it is an interesting post on value and reproduction, specifically in relation to the work of Fortunati and Federici. This question and these theorists came up quite a bit throughout our discussions of each volume, but I think vol II was very useful for thinking through the question of value creation beyond what is often called the ‘immediate point of production’… the author of the link also draw a little from vol II.

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