<Cartels are fundamentally nothing else than a means resorted to by the capitalist mode of production for the purpose of holding back the fatal fall of the rate of profit in certain branches of production
Well that's only half the story, this was a critique of Bernstein who said that this was a method of adaptation of capital to prevent the fall in the rate of profit indefinitely.
>Cartels are fundamentally nothing else than a means resorted to by the capitalist mode of production for the purpose of holding back the fatal fall of the rate of profit in certain branches of production. What method do cartels employ for this end? That of keeping inactive a part of the accumulated capital.
The accumulated capital is the highly
important part here. Capitalism is a victim of its own success. It has developed technologies so good that it has gone beyond scarcity. However, too high supply lowers prices which lowers profits. That's why they have to inactivate capital. A good example of this is the US agriculture industry. To maintain profitability the US government buys up unsold food, poisons it, and destroys it. This inactivation of capital is necessary since it prevents the fall in the rate of profit, at least for a time since as Rosa Luxembourg writes:
>When the outlets of disposal begin to shrink, and the world market has been extended to its limit and has become exhausted through the competition of the capitalist countries – and sooner or later that is bound to come – then the forced partial idleness of capital will reach such dimensions that the remedy will become transformed into a malady, and capital, already pretty much “socialised” through regulation, will tend to revert again to the form of individual capital. In the face of the increased difficulties of finding markets, each individual portion of capital will prefer to take its chances alone. At that time, the large regulating organisations will burst like soap bubbles and give way to aggravated competition.
This is what is meant that monopoly super-profits are at the expense of capitalists. All that held back capital is preventing competition and thus further concentration of capital into fewer hands. Take the example of Russia and OPEC. Just like in the case of US agriculture, oil companies have to limit production in order to be profitable. OPEC has tried to do this as much as possible, but this cannot go on forever. The US has been able to expand its shale oil production, effectively releasing more capital into the market. That's why countries like Russian and Saudi Arabia now have to break off any production limiting deals since the holding back of capital now harms them individually.
Please correct me if I'm wrong about any of this.