Re: [OPE-L] centralization of capital

From: Paul Adler (padler@USC.EDU)
Date: Thu Feb 16 2006 - 11:09:21 EST

Thx Jurriaan. Your understanding is, I think, close to my own. Jerry
poses some interesting alternatives though: I wonder what you make of
Regarding the empirical data: (a) even on your/my construal, it's not
entirel obvious what indicators fit the concept of centralization
most adequately, and (b) I have had difficulty going back much
further than mid-century. I'm trying to dig up corresponding figures
for 1900 for the US.

At 4:56 PM +0100 2/16/06, Jurriaan Bendien wrote:
>Marx's interpretation seems to be that "centralization" refers to the
>effective ownership of productive assets in fewer hands (legal structure),
>principally through the joint-stock system, while "concentration" refers to
>the scale of production (physical plant size, or the amount of capital set
>in motion in production).
>So, if more and more enterprises are owned/controlled by the same
>institutional entity or people, that would be "centralisation". If a few
>large-scale enterprises substitute for many small-size enterprises, that
>would be "concentration". Marx discusses in many passages how the one might
>influence the other, but admittedly he sometimes uses "concentration" also
>to refer to "centralisation" which is somewhat confusing.
>There are many studies of the pattern of ownership and control of companies,
>and, in official statistics, establishments are often ranked by the number
>of workers employed. Rankings of the largest corporations globally are
>provided by Forbes Magazine, Fortune Magazine and Business Review Weekly,
>among others.
>As regards the Fortune Global 500 largest corporations in 2003 (I don't have
>the most recent data handy), they were
>said to have issued share-capital worth about US$6.8 trillion and together
>owned assets worth US$60.8 trillion. (Source: Fortune Vol. 150, No. 2,
>Europe edition 13, July-August 2004, p. F-10). Banks, finance and insurance
>companies are strongly represented in the list, and a number of them have
>assets close to or larger than $1 trillion (e.g. Citigroup, ING, Deutsche
>Bank, Mizuho, Mitsubishi). One trillion dollars is approximately equal to
>the GDP of Mexico, Spain or Canada (world GDP is currently valued at about
>40 trillion dollars).
>According to the Merrill-Lynch report on "high net worth individuals", those
>owning US$1 million or more in 2004 owned $30.8 trillion worth of assets.
>Here in Holland, a country of 16.3 million people and a workforce of 7
>million, there are about 102,600 people owning a million dollars or more,
>and together they own about $310 billion of assets. Out of about 717,000
>Dutch enterprises, about half are one-person enterprises, and about 1,300
>enterprises have a workforce of 500 employees or more (6,595 enterprises
>have more than 100 employees each). The top 10 Dutch corporations employ
>about 1.5 million people worldwide; the top 40 corporations in Holland have
>a number of employees equal to about 1/3 of the total Dutch workforce.

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