[OPE-L] Centralization of capital

From: Jurriaan Bendien (adsl675281@TISCALI.NL)
Date: Fri Feb 17 2006 - 08:50:18 EST


I don't have that literature at my fingertips and just getting over the
'flu, however
you could try having a look at:

Naomi R. Lamoreaux, "Entrepreneurship, business organization, and economic
concentration" in The Cambridge Economic History of the United States Volume
2: The Long Nineteenth Century. lamoreaux@econ.ucla.edu

Or contact:

Richard B. Du Boff and Edward S. Herman,("Mergers, Concentration, and the
Erosion of Democracy". http://www.monthlyreview.org/0501duboff2.htm )

As Makoto Itoh notes in "The Basic Theory of Capitalism", p. 278, Marx
planned to write another book on joint-stock companies, but he never did.
Itoh provides a short sketch of how that lacuna might be filled. He also
refers to Hilferding's study. The joint-stock principle dates back to the
16th century, and ought to be included as part of the definition of

From my own experience with New Zealand data, measuring centralization (in
contrast to concentration) is a problem-fraught process. Essentially what I
did, was to take a cohort of the largest corporations there were at the
time, and trace out how they acquired more and more subsidiaries and
associated companies before that time, as well as interlocking directorships
etc. One can then compute various statistics on numbers of companies owned
or controlled, asset size, directorships etc. An alternative method is to
take a "snapshot" view of the degree/structure of centralization in given

I am not sure what Shaikh means by valorization (for my interpretation, see
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valorisation#Definition ). Centralization and
concentration can promote valorization, but I'm not sure that the
centralization/concentration distinction easily maps onto the
valorization/labor process distinction. The reason is that the last
mentioned pair of categories refer specifically to production, the former to
asset holdings. Marx's own argument is that capital "valorizes" (verwertet)
itself only in production, i.e. in a value-creation process combining the
use-value and exchange-value aspects. But concentration and centralization
might refer only to the realisation of value in exchange.


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