Front Page Titles (by Subject) I. Confounding the Definite Distinctions. - Capital: A Critique of Political Economy. Volume III: The Process of Capitalist Production as a Whole
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I. Confounding the Definite Distinctions. - Karl Marx, Capital: A Critique of Political Economy. Volume III: The Process of Capitalist Production as a Whole 
Capital: A Critique of Political Economy. Volume III: The Process of Capitalist Production as a Whole, by Karl Marx. Ed. Federick Engels. Trans. from the 1st German edition by Ernest Untermann (Chicago: Charles H. Kerr and Co. Cooperative, 1909).
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I. Confounding the Definite Distinctions.
Money is said to be currency in the one form, and capital in the other. To the extent that money serves in the one or the other function, be it for the realisation of revenue or the transfer of capital, it performs its duty in buying and selling or in paying, as a means of purchase or payment, and in the wider meaning of the word as currency. The further purposes, to which it is devoted in the accounts of its spender or recipient, who may use it as capital or revenue, do not alter anything in this matter, and this is demonstrated by two facts. Although the kinds of money circulating in the two spheres are different, yet the same price of money, for instance a five pound note, passes from one sphere to the other and performs alternately both functions; this is inevitable for the simple reason, that the retail merchant can give to his capital the form of money which he receives from customers. It may be assumed, that the small change has its center of gravitation in the domain of retail trade; the retail dealer needs it continually to give change and receives it back continually in the payments of his customers. But he also receives money, that is, coin in that metal, which serves as a standard of value, for instance, in England one pound coins, or even bank notes, particularly notes of small denominations, such as five and ten pound notes. These gold coins and notes, with whatever small change he has to spare, are deposited by the retail dealer every day, or every week, in his bank, and he pays for his purchases by drawing checks on his deposits. But the same gold coins and bank notes are continually withdrawn from the bank, indirectly or directly (for instance, small change by manufacturers for the payment of wages), by the entire public in its capacity as consumer, and flow continually back to the retail dealers, for whom they realise in this way a portion of their capital, and at the same time their revenue, again and again. This last circumstance is important, and it is wholly overlooked by Tooke. Only where money is expended as money-capital, in the beginning of the process of reproduction (Book II, Part I), does capital-value exist purely as such. For in the produced commodities there is contained not merely capital, but also surplus-value; they are not capital alone, but also newly produced capital, capital pregnant with the source of revenue. What the retail dealer gives away for the money returning to him, his commodities, constitutes for him capital plus profit, capital plus revenue.
Furthermore, the circulating small change, when returning to the retail dealer, rehabilitates for him the money-form of his capital.
The difference between circulation as a circulation of revenue and a circulation of capital cannot, therefore, be presented as a difference between currency and capital without creating confusion. This mode of expression is due in the case of Tooke to the fact, that he simply places himself in the position of a banker issuing his own bank notes. The amount of his notes, which is continually in the hands of the public and serves as currency (even if consisting of ever different notes) costs him nothing but paper and printing. They are circulating certificates of indebtedness made out in his own name (bills of exchange), but they bring him money and thus serve as a means of expanding his capital. But they differ from his capital, whether this be his own or borrowed capital. This implies for him a specific distinction between currency and capital, which, however, has nothing to do with the definite definition of terms as such, least of all with those made by Tooke in this case.
The different terms denoting specific functions—whether it be the money form of revenue or of capital—do not change anything in the primal character of money as a medium of circulation; it retains this character, no matter whether it performs the one function or the other. It is true, that money serves more as a medium of circulation in the strict meaning of the term (coin, means of purchase) in its character as the money-form of revenue, on account of the incoherency of the purchases and sales, and because the majority of the spenders of revenue, the laborers, can buy relatively little on credit, while in the transactions of the business world, where the medium of circulation constitutes the money-form of capital, money serves mainly as a means of payment, partly on account of the concentration, partly on account of the prevailing credit system. But the distinction between money as a means of payment and a means of purchase (currency) refers to money itself; it is not a distinction between money and capital. The distinction is not one between currency and capital, merely because more copper and silver circulates in the retail business, and more gold in wholesale business, so that there is a difference between copper and silver on one side, and gold on the other.