Abstract and Keywords
This chapter studies Marx’s theory of class, with particular reference to Volume III, often misunderstood as a narrowly “economic” work, where the full power of Marx’s theory of value becomes apparent as he applies it to merchants, money owners, and landowners. A class, for Marx, is defined by a type of property, in contrast to modern social theory which defines classes by income or status. Each special type of property generates a type of revenue such as interest or rent. In contrast to neoclassical economics this revenue is not the price of a “factor of production” but an entitlement, conferred on a property owner by the rights which society grants, and drawn from the general pool of surplus-value created by labor. These classes, notably finance, are thus neither distortions of capitalism nor pre-capitalist survivals; they are the product of capitalism itself, and the site therefore of its most explosive contradictions.
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