Social Scientist. v 12, no. 128 (Jan 1984) p. 14.


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ASIM CHAUDHURI*

Monopoly Capitalism in a Dependent Economy:

The Indian Case

KARL MARX, in one of his early writings, defines capital as "the governing power over labour and his products. The capitalist possesses this power, not on account of his personal or human qualities, but in as much as he is the owner of capital. His power is the purchasing power of capital. ...5?l Marx also points out: "Every individual capital is a larger or smaller concentration of means of production, with a corresponding command over a larger or smaller labour army...with the increasing mass of wealth which functions as capital, accumulation increases the concentration of that wealth in the hands of individual capitalists. The growth of social capital is effected by the growth of many individual capitals. All other circumstances remaining the same, individual capitals, and with them the concentration of the means of production increase in such proportion as they form aliquot parts of the total social capital.992 In other words, concentration of capital is dependent upon the extent of capital accumulation in an economy. For example, concentration of capital would generally be higher in the Japanese economy than in, say, the Indian economy because of the higher overall capital accumulation in the former. Thus concentration simply means here growth in the size of productive units which will normally increase with economic growth.

According to Marx, "Two points characterise this kind of concentration which grows directly out of, or rather is identical witli, accumulation. First, the increasing concentration of the social means of production in the hands of individual capitalists is, other things remaining equal, limited by the degree of increase in social wealtli. Second: the part of social capital domiciled in each particular sphere of production is divided among many capitalists who face one another as independent commodity producers competing with each other. ... Besides other causes, the division of property among capitalist families plays a great part in this.'^3

Marx then goes on to make a distinction between concentration and centralisation of capital. Centralisation of capital, which really refers to the distribution of the means of production in an economy, is,

^Department of Economics. North Bengal University, West Bengal



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