Accumulation (economy)

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Accumulation (from the Latin accumulare , “to accumulate” ) is in classical economics the expansion of capital driven by reinvestment of the surplus value realized on the market .

According to Karl Marx , accumulation has two sides: on the one hand, more and more capital in the hands of the capitalists, on the other hand, more and more misery for the workers . But it is precisely this that keeps capitalism going, since wage workers are always economically compelled to have to sell their labor to the capitalists on their terms.

Accumulation can relate to the means of production , that is, to constant capital , but also to employment, in that part of the surplus value is used to employ more workers . In this case, variable capital is accumulated, that is, part of the surplus value is used to increase the wage bill in order to employ more workers. As a rule, however, the entire surplus value is not reinvested, but part of the surplus value is spent unproductively as personal income (“revenue”) of the capitalists, for example for luxury or prestige consumption .

While macroeconomic capital accumulation is limited by the value that the individual capital can accumulate more quickly, by combining with other capitals together closes , merges , other capitals takes over or buys. So there is a centralization of capital, since in the competitive struggle the big companies defeat the smaller ones through the advantages of mass production and so not only their average size grows constantly, but also the number of companies decreases again and again. The credit is an important tool in the purchase of companies. The mere enlargement of companies, when more and more capital is concentrated in the hands of the individual capitalist, is called capital concentration , in contrast to capital centralization, in which this growth is accelerated through the takeover of foreign capital.

The decisive element from Marx's point of view: There is only one commodity whose use value consists in producing surplus value: that is labor. Because: Only labor is a good whose (re-) production is cheaper than the value it produces - in other words: the exchange value of the commodity labor (wages / salaries) is less than the sum of its value that generates its use value ( surplus product ) ; the difference is the surplus value.

Production, distribution, crisis

When the effective demand changes, the production system can be adjusted in several ways:

  1. By changing the use or utilization intensity of the means of production,
  2. due to the medium-term flexibility of the factor input proportions,
  3. through long-term adjustment of production capacity through accumulation or de-accumulation processes.

The neoclassical theory relies on Say's theorem and the flexibility of stake proportions. In connection with the introduction of mechanical engineering, Marx ascertained an elasticity, a sudden step-by-step ability to adapt that was only limited by the raw material and the sales market, and based his theory of the industrial cycle on this, according to which industry was a “sequence of periods of medium vitality, prosperity , Overproduction , crisis and stagnation ”. Like Marx, John Maynard Keynes breaks with Say's theorem ; investment decisions are accepted by him independently of saving. Roy F. Harrod and Nicholas Kaldor then undertook to extend Keynes' analysis to the long-term dynamic view. The intentions and problems of Karl Marx's accumulation theory are thus taken up again by the more recent growth theory .

Original accumulation

"Original accumulation" describes the process in which capitalism as a social formation has emerged. A prerequisite for this was that agriculture passed from natural economy to production for the market; here the farmers who were active in agriculture were “set free”. In addition, trade capital has always existed due to trade relations which, under favorable conditions, could be used for commercial and industrial production.

See also


Web links

  • Karl Marx:

Das Kapital , Volume I, MEW 23: The general law of capitalist accumulation .

Individual evidence

  1. Heinz D. Kurz: Accumulation, Income Distribution and Effective Demand. In: Harald Hagemann, Heinz D. Kurz: Employment, distribution and business cycle. On the political economy of modern society. Commemorative publication for Adolph Lowe. Bremen 1984, ISBN 3-926570-09-1 , p. 161 ff.
  2. Jürgen Kromphardt : Growth- theoretical relationships in the accumulation theory of Karl Marx . Jahrbuch für Nationalökonomie und Statistik, 174, 1962, pp. 258–261.
  3. Chapter 20: The Original Accumulation and the Accumulation of Capitals. In: Roman Rosdolsky: On the history of the origins of Marx's 'capital'. The rough draft of the capital 1857–1858. Vol. I. 4th edition. European Publishing House, Frankfurt am Main 1974, ISBN 3-434-45003-3 , p. 315 ff.