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By Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk, William Smart

Translated with a preface and research through William clever

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Extra info for Capital and Interest: A Critical History of Economical Theory

Sample text

The question whether the so-called undertaker's profit is a profit on capital or not I purposely leave open. Happily the circumstances are such that I can do so without prejudice to our investigation ; for at the worst it is just those phenomena which we all recognise as interest that constitute the great majority, and contain the characteristic substance of the general interest problem. Thus we can investigate with certainty into the nature and origin of the phenomenon of interest without requiring to decide beforehand on the exact boundary-line between the two profits.

It is quite intelligible why this should be so. What specially challenges attention about interest is that it has its source and spring, not in labour, but, as it were, in some bounteous mother-wealth. In loan interest, and specially in loan interest derived from sums of money that are by nature barren, this characteristic is so peculiarly noticeable that it must excite question even where no close attention has been given it. Natural interest, on the other hand, if not obtained 14 THE OPPOSITION TO INTEREST BOOK I through the labour, is certainly obtained under co-operation with the labour of the capitalist-undertaker; and to superficial consideration labour and co-operation with labour are too easily confounded, or, at any rate, not kept sufficiently distinct.

Most economists draw some such distinction. From the total profit obtained by the productive undertaking they regard one part as profit of capital, another as undertaker's profit. Of course it cannot be determined with mathematical exactitude, in each individual case, how much has been contributed to the making of the total profit by the objective factor, the cil'pital, and how much by the Nevertheless we personal factor, the undertaker's activity. borrow a scale from outside, and divide off the two shares arithmetically.

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Capital and Interest: A Critical History of Economical Theory by Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk, William Smart

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