The Acceleration of Capital

  • Geoffrey Kay


As capital accumulates it increases not only the rate of exploitation but also its rate of turnover. While the former is obscured by rising real wages the effects of the latter are plainly visible and directly experienced by all sections of the society. Their impact on the sphere of consumption has always evoked traditional conservative complaints about a ‘decline in the quality of life’ which in recent years have swollen into a fashionable torrent of radical criticism. Capital is intoxicated with speed just as much as with quantity: the question how much? always implies another, how quickly? The ‘increase in the pace of life’ which so many commentators bemoan and explain in terms of the means by which it is achieved — i.e. in terms of modern technology or some other facile euphemism — is the visible result of increases in the rate of turnover of capital for the sole purpose of increasing surplus value and accumulation.


Real Wage Hourly Wage Fixed Capital Organic Composition Superficial Change 
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  1. 2.
    Huw Benyon, Working for Ford (London: Penguin Books, 1973), p. 19.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    See Sergio Bologna, ‘Class Composition and the Theory of the Party at the Origin of the Workers-Council Movement’, Telos, No. 13 (Fall, 1972), pp. 3–27, and Guido Baldi, ‘Theses on Mass Worker and Social Capital’, Radical America, vol. 6, No. 3 (May–June, 1972), pp. 3–21.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Geoffrey Kay 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • Geoffrey Kay
    • 1
  1. 1.The City UniversityLondonUK

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