“It is said that the law of the average rate of profit is the basic economic law of modern capitalism. That is not true. Modern capitalism, monopoly capitalism, cannot content it-self with the average profit, which moreover has a tendency to decline, in view of the increasing organic composition of capital. It is not the average profit, but the maximum profit that modern monopoly capitalism demands, which it needs for more or less regular extended reproduction.
Most appropriate to the concept of a basic economic law of capitalism is the law of surplus value, the law of the origin and growth of capitalist profit. It really does determine the basic features of capitalist production. But the law of surplus value is too general a law; it does not cover the problem of the highest rate of profit, the securing of which is a condition for the development of monopoly capitalism. In order to fill this hiatus, the law of surplus value must be made more concrete and developed further in adaptation to the conditions of monopoly capitalism, at the same time bearing in mind that monopoly capitalism demands not any sort of profit, but precisely the maximum profit. That will be the basic economic law of modern capitalism.
The main features and requirements of the basic economic law of modern capitalism might be formulated roughly, in this way: the securing of the maximum capitalist profit through the exploitation, ruin and impoverishment of the majority of the population of the given country, through the enslavement and systematic robbery of the peoples of other countries, especially backward countries, and, lastly, through wars and militarization of the national economy, which are utilized for the obtaining of the highest profits.
It is said that the average profit might nevertheless be regarded as quite sufficient for capitalist development under modern conditions. That is not true. The average profit is the lowest point of profitableness, below which capitalist production becomes impossible. But it would be absurd to think that, in seizing colonies, subjugating peoples and engineering wars, the magnates of modern monopoly capital-ism are striving to secure only the average profit. No, it is not the average profit, nor yet super-profit – which, as a rule, represents only a slight addition to the average profit – but precisely the maximum profit that is the motor of monopoly capitalism. It is precisely the necessity of securing the maximum profits that drives monopoly capital-ism to such risky undertakings as the enslavement and systematic plunder of colonies and other backward countries, the conversion of a number of independent countries into dependent countries, the organization of new wars – which to the magnates of modern capitalism is the “business” best adapted to the extraction of the maximum profit – and, lastly, attempts to win world economic supremacy.
The importance of the basic economic law of capitalism consists, among other things, in the circumstance that, since it determines all the major phenomena in the development of the capitalist mode of production, its booms and crises, its victories and defeats, its merits and demerits – the whole process of its contradictory development – it enables us to understand and explain them.”