CAPITAL E INTERES EUGEN VON BOHM-BAWERK PDF
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This discussion forms the subject of an independent problem of no little difficulty—the problem of Undertaker’s Profit. The intentionally limited task to which I intend to devote myself in the following pages is that of writing a critical history of the theoretical problem of interest. Nevertheless the book made its way, was read, repeated, and published again and again, and so scattered a seed destined to bear fruit in the end.
When the actual facts of the relation between interest and capital, with all its essential characteristics, are described and fully explained, that problem will be solved.
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In view of the unsatisfactoriness of the answers hitherto given to our problem it is easy to see how another answer would arise. Ritter was a title beforebut now is regarded capiyal part of the surname. On one or other of these grounds, the capitalist is said to deserve a remuneration, and this remuneration is obtained by him in the shape of interest.
To put it in terms of Bastiat’s classical illustration: Finally, he is as little impressed by the passages in Holy Writ which have been interpreted as forbidding interest p. But the plausibility of the Productivity theory is the parallelism it assumes between labour and capital—the suggestion that interest is wage for capital’s work.
It is all the more important that we profit in the future by such experiences of the past. In compass, inasmuch as all forms and varieties of interest must be explained. However, as they were guided in their conduct not by principles, but altogether by motives of expediency, their views have no deeper importance in the history of theory, and we need not pursue them farther.
He points out very well that the height of loan interest must at all times correspond with the height of natural interest, the latter indeed being the ground and source of the former; and he maintains that, where, owing to the use of money, the current rate of profit is higher, a higher limit of loan interest should be allowed p.
We have seen that the previous theories were founded on some positive work supposed to be done by capital. Almost all loans are loans for consumption, and are, as a rule, loans to people in distress. Next, a distinction must be drawn between Natural interest and Contract or Loan interest.
But further on the reasoning is much fuller than that of Calvin.
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But the explanation must be complete both in compass and in depth. And this remarkable phenomenon appears in economic life with such perfect regularity that the very conception of capital has not infrequently been based on it. Naturally these various methods of employing the corn are not equal in importance The nation as a whole cannot pay interest on its capita unless the citizens as individuals produce the wealth wherewith this interest is paid, otherwise the nation will be paying away its capital.
The essential features here, as regards our problem, are that, over a year’s time, the products manufactured are sold at a price which not only covers the value of raw materials, reimburses the various wages of manual and intellectual labour, and replaces the fixed capital as worn out, but leaves over that amount of value which is divided out among the capitalist shareholders as interest.
Roscher capital e interes eugen von bohm-bawerk well remarked that on the lower stages of economical development there regularly appears a lively dislike to the taking of interest. To lose as consumer what one gains as producer is a game of Beggar my Neighbour which would scarcely commend itself to business men.
And while the theoretical problem is only concerned bhom-bawerk the true, the social and political problem devotes its attention first and foremost to the practical and the expedient.
Thus it was inevitable that its collisions with the economical world should become much more numerous and much more serious. When a manufacturer engages his capital in production he, as it were, throws it into solution, and risks it all on the chance of the consuming public paying a certain price for the products into which his capital is transformed. Rodbertus’s picture bohm-baweerk the working man as the lineal descendant of the slave—”hunger a good substitute for the lash”; Lassalle’s mockery of the Rothschilds as gon chief “abstainers” in Europe; Marx’s bitter dialectic on the degradation of labour, are all based on generous sympathy with the helpless condition of the working classes under capitalist industry, and many shut their eyes to the weakness of Socialist economics in view of the strength of Socialist ethics.
Its theologising and moralising do little more than simply express abhorrence of the taking of interest and appeal to authorities. Thus he gets his convictions more from impressions he receives than from logical argument.
His doctrine therefore deserves a thorough consideration. It seems natural to say that one part of the product pays wage and another pays interest, as compensation for the respective sacrifices. Meanwhile we may note one significant circumstance in euven these transactions,—that the emergence of interest is dependent on a certain lapse of time between the borrowing and the paying.
Just as little did interres affect the natural profit acquired by personal exertions. In this answer two statements are involved: As to opinions whether interest is just, useful, and commendable, I shall only include them in my statement so far as that is indispensable for getting at the theoretical substance that they contain.
The usurers who receive more, by the amount of their interest, than they have given, seek a pretext to make the prohibited business appear a fair eugem. These circumstances have left their stamp on the interest literature of England during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. I shall therefore not waste many words in describing these earliest phases in the development of our problem, and this all the more readily that there are already several treatises, and some of them excellent ones, relating to that period.
If, further, it be maintained that, along with the money itself, its use also has passed over into the legal property of the borrower, and that he therefore interres paying in interest interrs his own property, Molinaeus answers No.
It has arisen in too exclusively studying the loan under the form properly called Hire—that is, where a durable good is lent and is returned at the year’s end, deteriorated indeed but. Credit has still little place in production. Much more frequently is it the case that attention is first attracted by some particularly striking instance, and it is only gradually that the less striking phenomena come to be recognised as belonging to the same group, and are included in the compass of the growing problem.
Its level is usually determined by the market price of the national security. It’s not only economics being addressed here.
Eugen Böhm von Bawerk
He contends that there are certain things the use of which consists in the consumption of the articles themselves, such as grain and wine. But the ordinary life of many a peasant proprietor who lives by continual toil, and never “gets out of the bit,”—that is, never does more than reproduce his bare living—might show that the assumption is not universally valid, and that labour by no means always produces more value than it consumes.
Its most natural ally, public opinion, which had originally given it the fullest support, began to withdraw from it. Half a century before the first German lawyer, in the person of Besold, had given his approval to it, the taking of interest, or at least the claim to a fixed interesse arranged in advance which practically came to the same thingwas allowed in much of the German local law; 61 and when in the German imperial legislation followed this example, 62 few theorists sided with Besold and Salmasius.
The great economist and finance minister of the Austro-Hungarian Empire is a pillar of the Austrian School. But each of them omitted considerations enough to prevent its being accepted as a completely satisfactory theory.
The more complete development of the conception of capital I reserve for a future occasion.