a representative of merchant’s capital who buys raw materials, semifinished goods, and finished products from small-scale agricultural producers and artisans and resells them at higher prices.
The buyer-up was typical of the period of the development of the capitalist mode of production, when the need to expand the market led to the decline of small-scale, fractionated sales. The buyer-up purchased goods from small-scale producers and resold them in large quantities on the market. Cut off from the market, the small-scale producers became economically dependent on merchant’s capital. The process began with the granting of credit on usurious terms to producers, who repaid the loans in goods. Manufactured articles were paid for with goods and commodities, often raw materials and auxiliary materials, the very supplies needed by the artisan for the production of certain items. Thus, the buyer-up was transformed into a merchant-distributor.
With the transition to the direct distribution of supplies by the buyer-up to the artisan, for processing for a fixed payment, the artisan was, in fact, transformed into a wage laborer working at home for a capitalist, and the buyer-up became an industrial capitalist. Capitalist domestic industry was widespread during the manufactory stage of capitalist development. The buying-up system survives in developed capitalist societies, where it is characterized by especially onerous forms of exploitation. Various forms of the dependency of small-scale producers on buyers-up during the postreform period in Russia were studied by V. I. Lenin in The Development of Capitalism in Russia.