Time in Marx

Buy hardcover (Brill)
Published Nov 2016
ISBN: 9789004217263

The Categories of Time in Marx’s Capital

Stavros Tombazos, University of Cyprus

This book demonstrates that the basic concepts of the three volumes of Capital come under different categories of time: “time of production” in the first volume is linear, “time of circulation” in the second is circular, while in the third volume “organic time” is the unity of the two. Capitalist relations emerge as a definite organisation of social time that obeys its own intrinsic criteria and operates as an autonomous, social subject. Reading Capital from this perspective, it becomes possible to restore its dialectical (Hegelian) logic – not in order to reveal the “real” Marx, but as a means to contribute to the understanding of the real, capitalist world with its present-day fetishes, its explosive contradictions and its ever deeper crises.

Biographical note

Stavros Tombazos, Ph.D. (1991), Université Paris 8, is Assistant Professor of Political Economy at the University of Cyprus. He has published numerous books and articles on the thought of Hegel and Marx, on Globalisation, the European Integration and Capitalist Crises. His latest book, published in Greek, is titled: Centrifugal Times, The World Economic Crisis 2007, 2008, 2009… (Papazisis, 2010). He is a regular contributor to the French journals Contretemps and Lignes.


All interested in the economic and philosophical interpretation of Marx’s Capital and the relevance of Marxism today.


“With time as his starting point, Stavros Tombazos sheds light on the general intelligibility of Capital and the originality of its own logic… A frequent critique directed at Marx is that he remains tributary of the determinist epistemology of his time. This work draws our attention to an opposite tendency of his thought, ready to welcome the contemporary developments of fuzzy logic, chaos theory, the unity between chance and necessity.”
Daniel Bensaïd

“The title of this book could have been Reading Capital, had this title not already been used: reading the whole of Capital, with a scrupulous loyalty to the order of its reasons… ‘Time’ appears as the most adequate consideration with respect to this aim, to be precise the successive times intersecting and over-determining each other… The exposition of the theory of fetishism forms the core of Tombazos’s work. I believe that, of the entire literature dedicated to this issue, Tombazos’s elucidation is the best.”
George Labica

Table of contents

Introduction to the English Edition
The Missile’s Load, Georges Labica
Rearguard Seasonals
Postface to the French edition by Daniel Bensaïd
Translator’s Note



Section 1: The Commodity and Labour Time

1. Labour Time as a Transhistorical Economic Law
2. Abstract Labour Time: Form and Content
3. Socially Necessary Labour Time
4. The Hegelian Theory of Measure and Value as ‘Essence’

Section 2: From Simple Circulation to Capital

5. The Process of Exchange: Historical Time and Logical Time
5.1 Historical time
5.2 Logical time
6. Simple Circulation as a Moment of the Notion
6.1 The great triad of Hegelian logic
6.2 Simple circulation as a ‘chemical process’
7. The Hidden Time of the Commodity

Section 3: The Time of the Process of Production

8.The Time of Surplus-Labour or Absolute Surplus-Value
8.1 Constant and variable capital, mass and rate of surplus-value
8.2 The working day
9. The Time of Surplus Labour or Relative Surplus-Value
9.1 Simple co-operation and the saving of time
9.2 The manufacture and the saving of time
9.3 Large-scale industry as a clock-making system .



Section 1: The Organic Movement of Capital

10. The Three Cycles/Circuits of Capital
10.1 The circuit of money capital .
10.2 The circuit of productive capital
10.3 The circuit of commodity capital
11. Capital as Syllogism
12. Capital in Marx, or ‘Life’ in Hegel
12.1 The Hegelian ‘Idea’ (generalities)
12.2 Hegelian ‘Life’ and the circuits of capital
12.3 ‘The living individual’ or ‘Shape’ and the circuit of productive capital
12.4 The ‘life process’ or ‘Assimilation’ and the circuit of commodity capital
12.5 The ‘Genus-process’ and the circuit of money capital

Section 2: The Turnover Times of Capital

13. Value, Real Wealth and Circulation Time
14. Turnover Time and Fixed and Circulating Capital
15. The Labour, Production and Circulation Periods
15.1 Definition of the three periods
15.2 The turnover time and the quantitative relation between the different fractions of capital
16. The Annual Turnover of Social Capital (The Schemas of Reproduction)
16.1 Presentation of the schemas of reproduction
16.2 Interpretation of the schemas of reproduction



Section 1: Surplus Value, Profit and Time

17. Cost, Wages, Profit and Illusions of Time
18. Value and Prices of Production (A Logical Interpretation)
18.1 Marx and the transformation of values into prices of production
18.2 The transformation as a syllogism

Section 2: The Sub-Divisions of Profit or Fetishism Completely Realised

19. The Derived Forms of Industrial Capital
19.1 Merchant’s capital (Handelskapital)
19.2 Interest-bearing capital (Das zinstragende Kapital)
20. Ground Rent
21. The Trinity Formula

Section 3: The Contradictions of the Capitalist Organisation of Time

22. The Law of the Tendency of the Rate of Profit to Fall
23. The Periodical Crises
23.1 Periodical crises and the industrial cycle
23.2 The long-term tendency of the rate of profit
24. The Structural Crises
24.1 Appendix to Chapter 24