Capital par excellence: on money as an obscure thing


  • Werner Bonefeld University of York



capital, money, financialisation, debt, labour economy, surplus value, crisis


Against the background of the contemporary debate about financialisation, the paper conceptualises the capitalist labour economy as fundamentally a monetary system. It argues that money is not a capitalist means of organising its labour economy but that it is rather a capitalist end. The argument examines and finds wanting conceptions of money in political economy, including Keynesianism and neoliberalism, and argues that the debate about financialisation is fundamentally based on the propositions of political economy. It holds that Marx’s critique of political economy conceives of money as the form of value and expounds money-making as the purpose of the capital labour economy. Thus, the labour theory of value is fundamentally a monetary theory of value, labour is the means of valorisation, and that is, of money in process, and as such capital. Making money out of money is capital as its most rational. In the form of credit, money posits wealth as a claim on future surplus value.

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Author Biography

Werner Bonefeld, University of York

Werner Bonefeld studied at the University of Marburg, the Free University of Berlin and the University of Edinburgh where he received his doctorate. Before coming to York, he taught at the Universities of Frankfurt and Edinburgh. His work contributed to the development of the internationally recognized Open Marxism school. Werner Bonefeld was a Leverhulme Research Fellow in 2016/17 and he is the principal investigator of research into the humanist Marxist tradition.


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How to Cite

Bonefeld, W. (2020). Capital par excellence: on money as an obscure thing. Estudios De Filosofía, (62), 33–56.



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