Marx’s Economic Manuscripts of 1861-63
1) Transformation of Money into Capital

a) M—C—M. The Most General Form of Capital

Volume 30, MECW, p. 20


Marx indicated that the section below was to be an addition to a)

[I-14] In order to develop the concept of capital we must begin to not with labour but with value, or, more precisely, with the exchange value already developed in the movement of circulation. It is just as impossible to pass directly from labour to capital from the different races of men directly to the banker, or from nature to the steam-engine.

As soon as money is posited as exchange value which not merely makes itself independent of circulation (as in hoarding) but maintains itself inside it, it is no longer money, for money as such does not extend beyond the negative determination; it is capital. Hence money is also the first form in which exchange value proceeds to the character of capital, and historically it is the first form in which capital appears, being as a result historically confused with capital itself. For capital, circulation appears not only, as with money, as a movement in which exchange value vanishes, but also as a movement in which it is preserved and is itself the alternation of the two determinations of money and commodity. In simple circulation, in contrast, exchange value is not realised as such. It is always realised only in the moment of its disappearance. If the commodity becomes money and the money again becomes commodity, the exchange value determination of the commodity disappears, for it only served to obtain a quantity of the second commodity corresponding to the first commodity, the second commodity to the corresponding amount, whereupon the latter commodity as a use value is swallowed up in consumption. The commodity becomes indifferent towards this form and ceases to be more than the direct object of need. If the commodity is exchanged for money, the form of exchange value, money, persists only as long as it stays outside exchange, puts itself in a negative relation to circulation. The imperishability money strove for by taking up a negative stance towards circulation is achieved by capital, in that the latter preserves itself precisely by self-abandonment to circulation. [I-14]