Accumulation of capital

Visualization of narrower problems
Saving of wealth
Uninvested wealth
Misinvestment of surplus capital
The accumulation of capital is the result of saving. This does not necessarily imply abstinence, privation or sacrifice. Saving on the part of the capitalist involves no personal abstinence from immediate consumption, no sacrifice of present gratifications. His immediate expenditure is limited only by his tastes. Often the pleasure of accumulation is greater than that of careless extravagance, and at times the dominant idea is the increase of wealth for the sake of power. In the case of smaller incomes, the subordination of present to future utility often involves real sacrifice, forbearance, prudence and forethought. But even here, there is often the real opportunity to either consume less or produce more. There is also the real possibility that the means are mistaken for the end, and that the mere accumulation of wealth become the reason for life, or that the habit of accumulating, acquired in a time of need, maintains its sway when the need has passed. The process of accumulating money can become addictive. People caught up in this process use it to avoid dealing with being human and confronting human feelings. Often they do not care about money in and of itself; what drives them is the series of actions and interactions involved in accumulating it. The power to save and the will to save may be used by those who have the ability to create inequitable distribution of wealth in which, at its most sordid, the living capital (people's work and conditions and the earth's natural resources) is sacrificed to the dead (in the form of impermanent structures and inherited accumulated wealth).
1. The growth of capital is similar in many respects to the growth of population. Each is kept in existence, and increases from age to age, not by preservation but by perpetual consumption and reproduction. It is only the value of the capital that remains and grows; the things themselves are ever changing. The capital of a country should be as well invested in the physical, mental, and moral training of its inhabitants as in the accumulation of dead material wealth in the shape of machinery, buildings and the like.

2. Property, that is, "capital," has undoubtedly long been able to appropriate too much to itself. Whatever was produced, whatever returns accrued, capital claimed for itself, hardly leaving to the worker enough to restore and renew his strength. For the doctrine was preached that all accumulation of capital falls by an absolutely insuperable economic law to the rich, and that by the same law the workers are given over and bound to perpetual want, to the scantiest of livelihoods. (Papal Encyclical, Quadragesimo Anno, 15 May 1931).

1. To say that capital is the result of accumulation does not mean that it is not consumed. Saving is not necessarily hoarding. All capital is eventually consumed. It fulfils its primary function -- the satisfaction of future needs -- only in being consumed; but it may not be immediately consumed by the person who saves it. In general, saving is done through the banking system, which increases national industry, hence the productive power and the consuming power of the society.
(C) Cross-sectoral problems