Marx’s Economic Manuscripts of 1861-63
1) Transformation of Money into Capital

The Valorisation Process

The Valorisation Process

Volume 30, MECW, p. 66-92

In so far as the result of the labour process is still viewed in relation to the process itself, as the crystallised labour process, whose different factors have come together in a static object, a combination of subjective activity and its material content, this result is the product. But this product viewed for itself, in the independence in which it appears as a result of the labour process, is a particular use value. The material of labour has acquired the form, the particular qualities, whose manufacture was the purpose of the entire labour process and which as the driving objective determined the specific way the labour itself was carried on. This product is a use value in so far as it is now present as the result, with the labour process lying behind it as past, as the history of its origin. What money has acquired by its exchange with the labour capacity, or what the money owner has acquired by the consumption of the labour capacity he has bought — this consumption being however by the nature of the labour capacity an industrial, productive consumption or a labour process is a use value. This use value belongs to him; he has bought it by giving an equivalent for it, namely he has bought the material of labour and the means of labour. But the labour itself likewise belonged to him, for owing to his purchase of the labour capacity — hence before any actual work was done — the use value of this commodity belongs to him, and this is labour itself. The product belongs to him just as much as if he had consumed his own labour capacity, i.e. himself worked on the raw material. The whole labour process only takes place after he has provided himself with all its elements on the basis of commodity exchange and in accordance with its laws, namely by purchasing these elements at their price, which is their value expressed, estimated, in money. To the extent that his money has been converted into the elements of the labour process and the whole labour process itself appears merely as the consumption of the labour capacity bought by the money, the labour process itself appears as a transformation that money passes through by being exchanged not for an available use value but for a process which is its own process. The labour process is as it were incorporated in it, subsumed under it.

Yet, the purpose of the exchange of money for the labour capacity was by no means use value; it was the transformation of money into capital. Value, become independent in money, was to maintain, increase itself in this exchange, assume a self-sufficient character, and the money owner was to become a capitalist precisely by representing value dominant over circulation and asserting itself [I-35] as subject within it. What was at stake here was exchange value, not use value. Value asserts itself as exchange value only if the use value created in the labour process, the product of actual labour, is itself a repository of exchange value, i.e. a commodity. For the money that was being turned into capital, therefore, it was a matter of the production of a commodity, not a mere use value. The use value was important only in so far as it was a necessary condition, a material substratum of exchange value. What was involved, in fact, was the production of exchange value, its preservation and its increase. It will now be necessary, therefore, to calculate the exchange value obtained in the product, in the new use value. (It is a matter of the valorisation of value. Hence not only a labour process but a valorisation process.)

Just one more preliminary remark before we proceed to this calculation. All the prerequisites of the labour process, all the things that went into it, were not just use values but commodities, use values with a price expressing their exchange value. Commodities were present in advance as elements of this process, and must emerge from it again. Nothing of this is shown when we look at the simple labour process as material production. The labour process therefore constitutes only one side, the material side of the production process. As the commodity is itself from one aspect use value, from another exchange value, so naturally must the commodity in actu in the process of its origin, be a two-sided process: [on the one hand] its production as use value, as product of useful labour, on the other hand its production as exchange value, and these two processes must only appear as two different forms of the same process, exactly as the commodity is a unity of use value and exchange value. The commodity, from which we proceeded as something already given, is viewed here in the process of its becoming. The production process is not the process of the production of use value, but of the commodity, hence of the unity of use value and exchange value. Even so, this would not yet make the mode of production into a capitalist one. All that is required so far is that the product, the use value, be destined not for personal consumption but for alienation, for sale. Capitalist production, however, requires not only that the commodities thrown into the labour process should be valorised, should acquire a new value by the addition of labour — industrial consumption is nothing but the addition of new labour — but also that the values thrown into industrial consumption — for the use values thrown into it all had value to the extent that they were commodities — should valorise themselves as values, should produce new value owing to the fact that they were values. If it was just a matter of the first requirement we should not have passed beyond the simple commodity.

We assume that the elements of the labour process are not use values to be found in the possession of the money owner himself, but were originally acquired as commodities by purchase and that this forms the prerequisite of the entire labour process. We have seen that it is not necessary for every kind of industry that in addition to the means of labour the material of labour as well should be a commodity, i.e. a product already mediated by labour, that it should be exchange value — a commodity — as objectified labour. Here, however, we proceed from the presupposition that all elements of the process are bought, as is the case in manufacturing. We take the phenomenon in the form in which it appears most completely. This does not detract from the correctness of the analysis, since one only has to set one factor = 0 for other cases. Thus in fishing the material of labour is not itself a product, hence does not circulate beforehand like a commodity, and so one factor of the labour process, namely the material of labour, if considered as exchange value, as a commodity, can be set = 0.

It is however an essential presupposition that the money owner should buy more than just the labour capacity. In other words, not only must money be exchanged for the labour capacity, but equally for the other objective conditions of the labour process, material of labour and means of labour; and under these headings there may lie a great multiplicity of things, of commodities, depending on whether the labour process is of a simpler or a more complex nature. To begin with, this presupposition is methodologically necessary at the stage of development presently being considered. We have to see how money is transformed into capital. But every money owner who wants to transform his money into industrial capital goes through this process every day. He must buy the material and the means of labour in order to be able to consume alien labour. — Necessary for real insight into the nature of the capital-relation. The latter proceeds from the circulation of commodities as its basis.[20] It implies the supersession of the mode of production in which personal consumption is the main purpose of production, and in which only the surplus is sold as a commodity. It is the more completely developed the more the elements that concern it are themselves commodities, hence can only be appropriated through purchase. The more production itself acquires its elements from circulation — i.e. as commodities — so that they enter into it as exchange values already, the more is this production capitalist production. If we here theoretically presuppose the existence of circulation before the formation of capital, and therefore proceed from money, this is also the course followed by history.[59] [I-36] Capital develops out of monetary wealth, and the formation of capital presupposes that commercial relations, formed at a stage of production that precedes it, are already highly developed. Money and the commodity are the presuppositions from which we must proceed in considering the bourgeois economy. Further consideration of capital will demonstrate that it is in fact capitalist production alone whose surface presents the commodity as the elementary form of wealth.[60]

One therefore sees the absurdity of the custom introduced by J. B. Say with his French schematism, but not followed by any of the classical economists. Because he was on the whole merely a vulgariser of Adam Smith, all he could do was provide a pretty or uniform arrangement for material he had by no means assimilated. He examines first production, then exchange, then distribution, and finally consumption, also sometimes distributing these four rubrics somewhat differently.61] The specific mode of production we are to consider presupposes from the outset as one of its forms a particular mode of exchange, and produces a particular mode of distribution and a particular mode of consumption, in so far as consideration of the latter falls within the sphere of political economy at all. (This must be returned to later.)[62]

So, Now ad rem. [to the matter at hand]

The exchange value of the product (of the use value) that emerged from the labour process consists of the total amount of labour time materialised in it, of the total quantity of labour worked up, objectified, in it. [Quesnay, etc., base their proof of the unproductiveness of all labour save agricultural labour on this addition.][64] It therefore consists firstly of the value of the raw material contained in the product, or the labour time required to produce this, the material of labour. Let us assume it to be 100 working days. This value is however already expressed in the price at which the material of labour was bought, say, e.g. a price of 100 thalers. The value of this part of the product enters into it already determined as price. Secondly, as regards the means of labour, tools, etc., the tool will not necessarily be completely worn out; it can continue to function as a means of labour in fresh labour processes. Hence only that part of the tool can enter into the calculation that has been used up, since it alone has entered into the product. Later on the method of calculating the wear and tear on the means of labour will be shown more precisely,[63] but at this point we shall assume that the whole of it is worn out in the one labour process. This assumption makes the less difference to the case in that actually the tool only enters the calculation in so far as it is consumed in the labour process, hence is transferred to the product; hence only the worn out means of labour enters the calculation. This is equally purchased. Hence the labour time contained in it, say of 16 working days, is expressed in its price of 16 thalers.

Before we now go further we ought to discuss here how the value of the material and means of labour is preserved in the labour process, so that it re-appears as a finished, presupposed constituent of the value of the product, or, what is the same thing, how the material and means of labour are consumed, altered in the labour process, either altered or completely destroyed (as with the means of labour), but their value is not destroyed, reappearing instead in the product as a constituent, a presupposed constituent of its value.

//Capital has been regarded from its material side as a simple production process, a labour process. But, from the side of its formal determination, this process is a process of self-valorisation. Self-valorisation includes preservation of the preposited value as well as its multiplication. Labour is purposeful activity and from the material side it is therefore presupposed that the labour has employed its means to the appropriate purpose in the production process so as to give the material of labour the intended new use value.//

//Since the labour process is a process of the consumption of labour capacity by the capitalist — for the labour belongs to the capitalist — he has, in the labour process, consumed his material and means of labour by labour, and has consumed the labour itself by his material, etc.// [65]

[I-37] For the labour process as such, or in the labour process as such, effective labour capacity, the real worker, is concerned with the material and means of labour only as the objective prerequisites of the creative unrest that is labour itself, in fact only as the objective means to the realisation of labour. They are this through their objective qualities alone, through the qualities they possess as material and means of this particular labour. Where they are themselves products of earlier labour, this fact is extinguished in their capacity as things. The table that serves me for writing upon has its own form and its own characteristics; these appeared previously in the form-giving quality or specificity of the joiner’s labour. In using the table as a means for further labour I have to do with it to the extent that it serves as a use value, has a particular useful application as a table. The fact that the material out of which it consists has acquired this form through earlier labour, the labour of the joiner, has disappeared, is extinguished in its existence as an object. It serves as a table in the labour process, quite regardless of the labour that turned it into a table.

In exchange value, in contrast, what matters is the quantity of labour materialised in this particular use value, or the quantity of labour time required to produce it. In this labour its own quality, the quality of being, for example, a joiner’s labour, is extinguished, for it is reduced to a definite quantity of equal, general, undifferentiated, social, abstract labour.[66] The material specificity of the labour, hence of the use value in which it has been fixed, is thereby extinguished, vanished, irrelevant. It is presupposed that it was useful labour, that is, labour which resulted in a use value. The nature of this use value, hence the particular nature of the labour’s usefulness, is extinguished in the existence of the commodity as exchange value, for as exchange value it is an equivalent, expressible in every other use value, hence in every other form of useful labour which constitutes a quantity of social labour of the same magnitude. In respect of value therefore — i.e. considered as quantities of objectified labour time — the material of labour and the worn out means of labour can always be regarded as if they were moments of the same labour process, so that what is required to manufacture the product, the new use value, is 1) the labour time objectified in the material of labour, and 2) the labour time materialised in the means of labour. The material of labour is admittedly different in its original form, although it also re-appears in substance in the new use value. The means of labour has disappeared entirely, although it re-appears in the form of the new use value as effect, result. The particular material specificity, usefulness, of the acts of labour that were present in the material and means of labour, is just as extinguished as the use values in which they resulted have themselves vanished or changed. But as exchange values, and even before they entered this new labour process, they were merely a materialisation of labour in general, they were nothing but a quantity of labour time as such, absorbed in an object. For this labour time the particular character of the actual work being done, as well as the particular nature of the use value in which it was realised, was a matter of indifference.

After the new labour process the relationship is exactly the same as it was before. The quantity of labour time necessary e.g. to produce the cotton and the spindle is a quantity of labour time necessary to manufacture the yarn, in so far as cotton and spindle are used up in the yarn. That this quantity of labour time now appears as yarn is entirely irrelevant, since it continues to appear in a use value for whose manufacture it is necessary. If I for example exchange cotton and spindle to the value of 100 thalers for a quantity of yarn which is equally worth 100 thalers, in this case too the labour time contained in the cotton and spindle exists as labour time contained in the yarn. The fact that in their actual material transformation into yarn the cotton and the spindle also undergo changes in their material, with the one acquiring another form and the other entirely perishing in its material form, makes no difference, because this concerns them only as use values, hence in a shape towards which they are, as exchange values, essentially indifferent. Since as exchange values they are only a particular quantity of materialised social labour time, hence equal magnitudes, equivalents, for every other use value which represents a quantity of materialised social labour time of the same magnitude, it makes no difference to them that they appear now as the factors of a new use value. The sole conditions are these, that they should 1) appear as labour time necessary for the creation of the new use value, and 2) really result in another use value — hence in use value [I-38] in general.

They are labour time necessary for the creation of the new use value because the use values in which they were originally crystallised were factors necessary for the new labour process. Secondly, however, according to our condition, the use values, as they existed before the labour process — as cotton and spindle — have in fact resulted through the new labour process in a new use value, the product, the yarn.

(That only such quantities of the material and means of labour should enter into the new product as are necessary for its creation, hence that no more labour time should be used than is necessary in these definite quantities; in other words that neither material nor means of production should be squandered, is a condition which has to do not with the material and means of labour as such but with the suitability and productivity of the new labour which uses them up in the labour process as its material and means; it is therefore a point that has to be considered in dealing with this labour itself. Here, however, the assumption is that the means and the material of labour only enter into the new process in quantities in which they are really required as such for the realisation of the new labour, are really objective conditions of the new labour process.)

Two results therefore.

Firstly: The labour time required for the manufacture of the material and means of labour used up in the product is labour time required for the manufacture of the product. In so far as exchange value is considered, the labour time materialised in the material and means of labour can be regarded as if the latter were moments of the same labour process. All the labour time contained in the product belongs to the past; hence it is materialised labour. The labour time which perished in the material and means of labour passed away earlier; it belongs to an earlier period than the labour time functioning directly in the last labour process. But this changes nothing. They merely constitute earlier periods during which [part of] the labour time contained in the product was worked up, as against the part which represents the labour entering into it directly. The values of the material and means of labour therefore appear again in the product as constituents of its value. This value is presupposed, since the labour time contained in the material and means of labour was expressed in their prices in its general form, as social labour; these are the prices at which the money owner bought them as commodities before he began the labour process. The use values in which they consisted have perished but they themselves have remained unaltered and remain unaltered in the new use value. The only change that has taken place is that they appear as mere constituents, factors of his value, as factors of a new value. To the extent that the commodity is exchange value at all, the particular use value, the particular material determinateness in which it exists is after all only a particular mode of its manifestation; it is in fact a universal equivalent and can therefore exchange this incarnation for any other. Through circulation and first of all through being transformed into money it is indeed capable of giving itself the substance of every other use value.

Secondly: The values of the means of labour and the material of labour are therefore preserved in the value of the product, enter as factors into the value of the product. But they only re-appear in it because the real alteration the use values have received in them did not affect their substance at all, but only the forms of use value in which they existed before, as after, the process; and the particular form of use value in which the value of the product exists, or indeed the specific usefulness of the labour, which is reduced in that value to abstract labour, does not, in the nature of things, affect the essential character of value at all.

However, it is a conditio sine qua non for the re-appearance of the value of the material and means of labour in the product that the labour process really proceed to its end, to the product, that it really result in the product. If, therefore, it is a matter of use values whose production extends over a long period, one sees what an essential moment the continuity of the labour process is for the valorisation process in general, even so far as merely the preservation of existing use values is concerned. //This however implies, according to our presupposition, that the labour process proceeds on the basis of the appropriation of labour capacity by purchase on the part of money, by the continuous transformation of money into capital. The assumption is therefore that the working class is constantly in existence. This constancy is itself first created by capital. At earlier stages of production too an earlier working class may be present sporadically, not however as [I-39] a universal prerequisite of production. The case of colonies (see Wakefield,[61] come back to this later) shows how this relation is itself a product of capitalist production.//

As far as the preservation of the values of the material and means of labour is concerned — assuming therefore that the labour process eventuates in a product — this is simply attained by the fact that these use values are consumed as such by living labour in the labour process, that they figure as actual moments of the labour process, but only by their contact with, and incorporation into, living labour as the conditions of its purposeful activity. Living labour only adds value in the labour process to the value preposited in the material and means of labour to the extent that it is itself a new quantity of labour as such; it does not do so as actual, useful labour, not as viewed from the angle of its material determinateness. The yarn only has greater value than the sum of the values of the cotton and the spindle consumed in it because a new quantity of labour has been added in the labour process, in order to convert those use values into the new use value, yarn; the reason, therefore, is that the yarn now contains an extra, newly added quantity of labour over and above the quantity contained in the cotton and the spindle. But the exchange values of the cotton and the spindle are preserved simply by the fact that the actual labour, spinning, converts them into the new use value, yarn, hence consumes them to the purpose, makes them vital factors of its own process. The values entering the labour process are therefore preserved simply by the quality of the living labour, the nature of its expression. Those dead objects, in which the preposited values are present as their use values, are now really seized upon as use values by this new useful labour, spinning, and made into moments of new labour. They are preserved as values by entering as use values into the labour process, i.e. by playing their conceptually determined roles of material and means of labour towards actual useful labour.

Let us stay with our example. Cotton and spindle are used up as use values because they enter as material and means into the particular labour of spinning; because they are placed in the actual spinning process, one as the object, the other as the organ of this living purposeful activity. They are therefore preserved as values by being preserved as use values for labour. In general, they are preserved as exchange values because they are consumed as use values by labour. But the labour which consumes them in this way as use values is actual labour, labour considered in its material determinateness, this particular useful labour which is related exclusively to these specific use values as material and means of labour, related to them as such in its living manifestation. It is this particular useful labour, spinning, which preserves the use values cotton and spindle as exchange values, and therefore lets them re-appear as an exchange-value component in the product, in the use value yarn, because in the actual process it relates to them as its material and its means, as the organs of its realisation, because it breathes life into them as its own organs and makes them function as such. And thus the values of all commodities which in line with the nature of their use values do not enter into direct individual consumption, but are destined for new production, are only preserved in this way, that as material and means of labour, which they are only potentially, they become really the material and means of labour, and are utilised as such by the particular labour they are as such able to serve. They are only preserved as exchange values by being consumed as use values by living labour in accordance with their conceptual determination. They are, however only use values of this kind — material and means of labour — for actual, definite and specific labour. I can only use up cotton and spindle as use values in the act of spinning, not in the acts of milling or boot-making. — In general, all commodities are only use values potentially. They only become real use values by being actually used, consumed, and their consumption in this case is the specifically determined labour itself, the specific labour process.

[I-40] The material and means of labour are therefore only preserved as exchange values by being consumed in the labour process as use values, i.e. when living labour relates to them actu as to its use values, lets them play the role of its material and means, in its living unrest both posits and supersedes them as means and material. But in so far as it does that, labour is actual labour, a specific purposeful activity, labour as it appears in the labour process, materially determined, as a specific kind of useful labour. It is, however, not labour in this specific determinateness which adds — or it is not in this specific determinateness that labour adds — new exchange value to the product, or to the objects — use values — which enter into the labour process.

Spinning, for example. Spinning preserves in yarn the values of the cotton and spindle consumed in it, because this process really uses up cotton and spindle in spinning, consumes them as material and means for the production of a new use value, the yarn, or lets cotton and spindle really function in the spinning process as material and means of this specific living labour, spinning. If, however, the spinning raises the value of the product, yarn, or adds new value to the values already present beforehand in the yarn, which simply re-appear, the values of the spindle and the cotton, this only occurs to the extent that new labour time is added to the labour time contained in the cotton and the spindle by spinning.

Firstly, in accordance with its substance, spinning creates value, not as this concrete, specific, materially determined labour of spinning, but as labour in general, abstract, equal, social labour. Therefore, it does not create value to the extent that it is objectified as spun yarn, but to the extent that it is a materialisation of social labour in general, i.e. is objectified in a universal equivalent.

Secondly, the magnitude of the value added depends exclusively on the quantity of labour added, on the labour time that is added. If, as a result of some invention, the spinner were able to convert into yarn a particular quantity of cotton, using a given number of spindles, in half a day’s labour instead of a whole day, only half the value would have been added to the yarn compared with the first case. But the entire value of the cotton and the spindles would have been preserved in the product, yarn, in one case as much as the other, whether a day or half a day or an hour of labour time Is required to convert the cotton into yarn. These values are preserved by the very fact that cotton is converted into yarn, that cotton and spindles have become the material and means of spinning, have entered into the spinning process. The labour time required by this process is here entirely irrelevant.

Let us assume that the spinner adds to the cotton only as much labour time as is necessary to produce his own wages, hence as much labour time as the capitalist expended in the price of the spinner’s labour. In this case the value of the product would be exactly equal to the value of the capital advanced; namely equal to the price of the material + the price of the means of labour + the price of labour. No more labour time would be contained in the product than was present in the sum of money, before it was transformed into the elements of the production process. No new value would have been added, but after as before the value of the cotton and spindle would be contained in the yarn. Spinning adds value to cotton in so far as it is reduced to equal social labour in general, reduced to this abstract form of labour, and the amount of value it adds depends not on its content as spinning but on its duration. The spinner therefore does not need two periods of labour, one to preserve the value of cotton and spindle, the other to add new value to them It is rather that while he spins the cotton, makes it into an objectification of new labour time, adds new value to it, he is at the same time preserving the value cotton and the worn out spindle had before they entered the labour process. Merely by adding new value, new labour time, he preserves the old values, the labour time that was already contained in the material and means of labour. It is as spinning, however, that spinning preserves them; not as labour in general and not as labour time, but in its material determinateness, through its quality as this specific, living, actual labour, which in the labour process, as living activity with a definite purpose, snatches the use values cotton and spindle out of their indifferent objectivity, not abandoning them as indifferent objects to nature’s metabolism, but making them into real moments of the labour process.

But whatever the specific character of particular, actual labour may be, what every variety of this labour has in common with every other is that by its process — through the contact, the living interaction it enters into with its objective conditions — it makes them play the roles of means and material of labour appropriate to their nature and purpose, transforms them into conceptually determined moments of the labour process itself and thus preserves them as exchange values by using them up as real use values. [I-41] It is therefore through its quality as living labour, which converts the products available in the labour process into the material and means of its own activity, its own realisation, that it preserves the exchange values of these products and use values in the new product and use values. It preserves their value because it consumes them as use values. But it only consumes them as use values because, as this specific labour, it awakens them from the dead and makes them into its material and means of labour. In so far as it creates exchange value labour is only a definite social form of labour, actual labour reduced to a definite social formula, and in this form labour time is the sole measure of the magnitude of value.

Because the preservation of the values of the material and means of labour is so to speak the natural gift of living, actual labour, and hence the old values are preserved in the same process as increases value — since new value cannot be added without the preservation of the old values, because this effect stems from the essential nature of labour as use value, as useful activity, originates from the use value of labour itself — so the preservation of these values costs nothing either to the worker or to the capitalist. The latter therefore receives the preservation of the preposited values in the new product gratis.

Although his purpose is not the preservation but the increase of the preposited value, this free gift by labour shows its decisive importance e.g. in industrial crises, during which the actual labour process is interrupted. The machine becomes rusty, the material spoils. They lose their exchange values: these are not preserved, because they are not entering as use values into the labour process, they are not coming into contact with living labour; their values are not being preserved because they are not being increased. They can only be increased, new labour time can only be added to the old, to the extent that a start is made again with the actual labour process.

Hence values are preserved in the labour process by labour as actual living labour, whereas new value is added to the values by labour only as abstract social labour, labour time.

The actual labour process appears as productive consumption. The latter can now be defined more closely in the sense that the preposited values of the products are preserved in the labour process by these products being used up, consumed, as use values — material and means of labour — and converted into real use values for the formation of a new use value.

//But the values of the material and means of labour only re-appear in the product of the labour process to the extent that they were preposited to the latter as values, i.e. were values before they entered into the process. Their value is equal to the social labour time materialised in them; it is equal to the labour time necessary to produce them under given general social conditions of production. If later on more or less labour time were to be required to manufacture these particular use values, owing to some alteration in the productivity of the labour of which they are the products, their value would have risen in the first case and fallen in the second; for the labour time contained in their value only determines it to the extent that it is general, social, and necessary labour time. Hence although they entered the labour process with a definite value, they may come out of it with a value that is larger or smaller, because the labour time society needs for their production has undergone a general change, a revolution has occurred in their production costs, i.e. in the magnitude of the labour time necessary for their — manufacture. In this case more or less labour time than previously would be required to reproduce them, to manufacture a new sample of the same kind. But this change in the value of the material and means of labour involves absolutely no alteration in the circumstance that in the labour process into which they enter as material and means they are always preposited as given values, values of a given magnitude. For in this process itself they only emerge as values in so far as they entered as values. A change in their value never results from this labour process itself but rather from the conditions of the labour process of which they are or were the products and to which they therefore are not preposited as products. If their general conditions of production have changed, this reacts back upon them. They are an objectification of more or less labour time, of more or less value than they were originally; but only because a greater or smaller amount of labour time is now required than originally for their production. The reaction is due to the fact that as values they are a materialisation of social labour time but the labour time contained in them only counts to the extent that it is reduced to general [I-42] social labour time, raised to the power of equal social labour time. These changes in their value, however, always arise from changes in the productivity of the labour of which they are the products, and have nothing to do with the labour processes into which they enter as finished products with a given value. If this value changes before the new product of which they are the elements is finished they nevertheless relate to it as independent, given values preposited to it. Their change of value stems from alterations in their own conditions of production, which occur outside and independently of the labour process into which they enter as material and means; not as a result of an operation occurring within the labour process. For it they are always values of a given, preposited magnitude, even though owing to external agencies, acting outside the labour process, they are now preposited as of greater or smaller magnitude than was originally the case.//

We saw that just as the product is the result of the labour process so are its products prerequisites for the same process'; but now it must equally be said that if the commodity, i.e. a unity of use value and exchange value, is the result of the labour process, commodities are just as much its prerequisites. The products only emerge from the valorisation process as commodities because they have entered it as commodities, products with a definite exchange value. The difference is this: the products are changed as use values so that a new use value can be formed. Their exchange values are not affected by this change in the material, and they therefore re-appear unchanged in the new product. If use value is the product of the labour process, exchange value must be regarded as the product of the valorisation process, and thus the commodity, the unity of exchange value and use value, must be regarded as the product of both processes, which are merely two forms of the same process. If one wished to disregard the fact that commodities are preposited to production as its elements, the only matter of concern in the production process would be the use of products for the formation of new products; and this can, indeed, occur in states of society in which the product has not developed into the commodity, still less the commodity into capital.[68]

We now know two components of the value of the product: 1) the value of the material consumed in it; 2) the value of the means of production consumed in it. If these are equal respectively to A and B, the value of the product will initially consist of the sum of the values of A and B, or P (the product). P = A + B + x With x we denote the as yet undetermined portion of value that has been added to the material A by labour in the labour process. Therefore, we now come to consider this third component.

We know what price or value the money owner has paid for disposition over labour capacity or the temporary purchase of labour capacity, but we do not yet know what equivalent he receives in return for this. — We proceed, furthermore, from the assumption that the labour performed by the worker is ordinary average labour, labour of the quality or rather the qualitylessness in which it forms the substance of exchange value.[69] We shall see in the course of our investigation that the power of the labour, the question whether it is more or less potentiated simple labour, is a matter of complete indifference for the relation to be developed here. We proceed therefore from the assumption that whatever the particular material determinateness of the labour, whatever specific branch of labour it belongs to, whatever particular use value it produces, it is only the expression, the activity of average labour capacity, so that whether this manifests itself in spinning or weaving, etc., or farming, concerns only its use value, the manner of its application. It does not concern what it cost to produce the labour capacity itself, hence not its own exchange value. It will also be seen that differences in the wage paid for different working days, higher or lower, the unequal distribution of wages between the different branches of labour, do not affect the general relation between capital and wage labour.[32]

What the money owner gets back from the purchase of labour capacity can only become manifest in the actual labour process. The value added by labour in the labour process to the already existing value of the material is exactly equal to its duration. It is naturally presupposed that over a definite period of time, e.g. one day, precisely as much labour is employed on the product of this day as is necessary to produce it at the given general productive level of labour (under the given general conditions of production).[70] That is, it is presupposed that the labour time employed for the manufacture of the product is necessary labour time, the labour time required to give a certain quantity of material the form of the new use value. If, under the general conditions of production we have presupposed, 6 lbs of cotton can be converted into twist in the course of 1 day of 12 hours, only a day in which 6 lbs of cotton is converted into twist is regarded as a working day of 12 hours. On the one hand, therefore, necessary labour time is presupposed; on the other hand, it is presupposed that the particular labour performed in the labour process is ordinary average labour, whatever specific form it may have as spinning, weaving, digging, etc. (and the same is true of the labour employed in the production of the precious metals[71]). It follows, accordingly, that the quantity of value or the quantity of objectified general [I-43] labour time which this labour adds to the existing value is exactly equal to its own duration. This, under the given assumptions, simply means that precisely as much labour is objectified as the time taken for the process during which the labour is objectifying itself.

Let us say that 6 lbs of cotton can be spun into twist, say 5 lbs of twist, in a day of 12 hours. During the labour process the labour is continuously passing from the form of unrest and motion into the objective form. 2 (5 lbs = 80 ounces.) (Over 12 hours this would make exactly 6 2/3 ounces an hour.) The spinning constantly results in yarn. If one hour is required to turn 8 ounces of cotton into yarn, say 6 2/3 ounces of yarn, 12 hours would be required to turn 6 lbs of cotton into 5 lbs of yarn. What interests us here, however, is not that one hour of spinning turns 8 ounces of cotton into yarn and 12 hours 6 lbs, but that in the first case 1 hour of labour is added to the value of the cotton, and in the second 12 hours. In other words, we are only interested in the product from this point of view to the extent that it is the materialisation of new labour time and this naturally depends on the labour time itself. We are interested only in the quantity of labour absorbed in the product. Here we do not look at spinning as spinning, we do not look at it in so far as it gives the cotton a definite form, a new use value, but only in so far as it is labour in general, labour time and its materialisation, which is present in the yarn, the materialisation of general labour time as such. It is entirely irrelevant whether the same labour time is employed in the form of any other particular labour or to produce any other particular exchange value.

Originally, it is true, we were able to measure labour capacity with money, because it was itself already objectified labour, and the capitalist could therefore buy it; but were unable to measure labour itself directly, for as bare activity it escaped our standard of measurement. Now, however, in the measure to which, in the labour process, labour capacity proceeds to its real manifestation, to labour, the latter is realised, appears itself in the product as objectified labour time. The possibility is now available for comparing what the capitalist gives in wages with what he gets back in exchange for wages through the consumption of labour capacity. At the end of a certain measure of labour time, e.g. hours, a certain quantity of labour time has been objectified in a use value, say twist, and now exists as the latter’s exchange value.

Let us assume that the labour time realised in the spinner’s labour capacity amounts to 10 hours. We are speaking here only of the labour time realised daily in his labour capacity. In the price the money owner has paid the labour time required to produce or reproduce the labour capacity of the spinner every day is already expressed in average labour. We assume on the other hand that his own labour is the same quality of labour, i.e. the same average labour, as forms the substance of value, and in which his own labour capacity is evaluated.

Let us therefore assume initially that the spinner works 10 hours for the money owner or gives him, has sold him, 10 hours’ disposition over his labour capacity. This 10-hour disposition over the spinner’s labour capacity is consumed by the money owner in the labour process. This means, in other words, simply that he has the spinner spin for 10 hours, has him work in general, since here the particular form in which he has him do this is irrelevant. The spinner has therefore added to the value of the cotton through the agency of the means of labour 10 hours of labour in the shape of the spun thread, the yarn. If, therefore, the value of the product, the spun thread, the yarn, disregarding the newly added labour, was equal to A + B, it now = A + B + 10 hours of labour. The capitalist pays for these 10 hours of labour with 10d. Let us call these 10d. C. The product of the yarn now = A + B + C, i.e. it equals the labour time contained in the cotton, in the spindles (to the extent that they have been consumed) and finally in the newly added labour time.

Let the sum of A + B + C be = D. D is then equal to the sum of money the money owner laid out in material of labour, means of labour, and labour capacity before he began the labour process. That is to say, the value of the product — the yarn — is equal to the value of the elements of which the yarn consists, i.e. = the value of the material of labour and the means of labour (which is entirely consumed in the product on our assumption)+the value of the newly added labour, which has combined with the other two in the labour process to form yarn. Therefore 100 thalers of cotton, 16 thalers of instrument, and 16 thalers of labour capacity = 132 thalers. In this case the values advanced would admittedly have been preserved, but not increased. The only alteration that would have taken place before the money was transformed into capital [I-44] would have been a purely formal one. This value was originally = 132 thalers, a definite quantity of objectified labour time. The same unity re-appears in the product, as 132 thalers. The magnitude of value is the same, but this is now the sum of the value components 100, 16 and 16, i.e. the values of the factors into which the money originally advanced is divided in the labour process, and each of which has been purchased separately by that money.

In itself this result is not in the least absurd. If I buy yarn for 132 thalers, merely by converting money into yarn — i.e. by way of simple circulation — I pay for the material, means and labour contained in the yarn in order to acquire this particular use value and consume it in one way or the other. If the money owner has a house built in order to live in it, he pays an equivalent for the house. In short, when he goes through the circulation C — M — C, he in fact does nothing other than this. The money with which he buys is equal to the value of the commodity originally in his possession. The new commodity he buys is equal to the money in which the value of the commodity originally possessed by him has acquired an independent shape as exchange value.

Yet the purpose of the capitalist in transforming money into the commodity is not the commodity’s use value but the increase of the money or value laid out in the commodity — the self-valorisation of value. He does not buy for his own consumption but in order to draw out of circulation a higher exchange value than he originally threw into it.

If he were to re-sell the yarn, which is worth A + B + C, at, say, A + B + C + x, we should come back to the same contradiction. He would not sell his commodity as an equivalent, but above its equivalent. In circulation, however, no surplus value, no value over and above the equivalent, can arise unless one of the parties to the exchange receives a value below its equivalent.

The transformation of money into the elements of the labour process — or the actual consumption of the labour capacity that has been purchased, which is the same thing — would therefore be completely purposeless under the assumption that the money owner sets the worker to work for the same period of labour time as that he has paid him as an equivalent for his labour capacity. Whether he buys yarn for 132 thalers, so as to re-sell the yarn at 132 thalers, or converts the 132 thalers into 100 thalers of cotton, 16 thalers of spindles, etc., and 16 thalers of objectified labour, i.e. the consumption of labour capacity for the period of labour time contained in 16 thalers, so as to sell the 132 thalers’ worth of yarn thus produced at 132 thalers once again, the process is entirely the same from the point of view of its result, except that the tautological outcome of the process would have been arrived at by a more roundabout route in one case than in the other.

A surplus value, i.e. a value which forms an excess over the values that originally entered the labour process, can evidently only originate in that process if the money owner has bought disposition over the employment of labour capacity during a longer period than the amount of labour time required by the labour capacity for its own reproduction, i.e. than the labour time which is incorporated in the labour capacity itself, forms its own value and as such is expressed in its price. Let us apply this to the case mentioned above. If the cotton and the spindle belonged to the spinner himself, he would have to add 10 hours of labour to them in order to live, i.e. in order to reproduce himself as a spinner for the next day. If he were now to set a worker to work for 11 hours instead of 10, a surplus value of 1 hour would be produced, because the labour objectified in the labour process would contain an hour more of labour time than is necessary to reproduce the labour capacity itself, i.e. to keep alive the worker as worker, the spinner day in day out as spinner. Every portion of time worked by the spinner in the labour process over and above the 10 hours, [I-45] all surplus labour in excess of the quantity of labour incorporated in his own labour capacity, would form a surplus value, because it would be surplus labour,’ hence more spun thread, more labour objectified as yarn.

If the worker must work for 10 hours in order to live for the whole day, which consists of 24 hours (in which are naturally included the hours during which he must as an organism rest from labour, sleep, etc., is unable to work), he can work over the whole day for 12, 14 hours, although he only needs 10 out of these 12, 14 hours for the reproduction of himself as a worker, as living labour capacity.

If we now assume that this process corresponds to the general law of commodity exchange, that equal quantities of labour time are alone being exchanged, i.e. that the exchange value of the commodity is equal to the quantity of any other use value that expresses the same exchange value, i.e. the same quantity of objectified labour, the general form of capital — M — C — Mwill have lost its absurdity and acquired content. Since the commodity, here the yarn, for whose elements the money owner exchanged his money before the labour process, would have received an addition to the original quantity of objectified labour, in the shape of the product of the labour process, the new use value, the yarn, the product would possess a greater value than the sum of the values preposited in its elements. If it was originally = 132 thalers, it would now be = 143, if instead of 16 thalers (1 thaler = 1 day of labour) x more days of labour were contained in it. The value would now be = 100+16+16+11, and if the capitalist re-sold the product of the labour process, the yarn, at its value, he would gain 11 thalers from the 132 thalers. The original value would have been not only preserved but increased.

One must ask whether this process does not contradict the law originally presupposed, that commodities are exchanged as equivalents, i.e. at their exchange values; the law, therefore, that governs the exchange of commodities ?

It does not, for two reasons. Firstly, because money finds this specific object, living labour capacity, on the market, in circulation, as a commodity. Secondly, owing to the specific nature of this commodity. Its peculiar character consists namely in the fact that, whereas its exchange value, like that of all other commodities = the labour time incorporated in its own actual existence, in its existence as labour capacity, i.e. = the labour time necessary to keep alive this living labour capacity as such, or, what is the same thing, to keep the worker alive as a worker, — its use value is labour itself, i.e. precisely the substance which posits exchange value, the particular fluid activity which fixes itself as exchange value and creates it.[72] With commodities, however, only their exchange value is paid for. One does not pay for oil’s quality of being oil on top of paying for the labour contained in it, any more than one pays for the drinking of wine in addition to the labour contained in it, or for the enjoyment when paying for the drinking. Similarly therefore with labour capacity: what is paid for is its own exchange value, the labour time contained in it itself. But since its use value is in turn labour itself, the substance that creates exchange value, it in no way contradicts the law of the exchange of commodities that the actual consumption of labour capacity, its actual use as a use value, posits more labour, manifests itself in more objectified labour, than is present within it itself as exchange value.

The sole condition required for this relationship to come into existence is that [I-46] labour capacity itself should step forth as a commodity to meet money, or value in general. But this confrontation is conditioned by a definite historical process which narrows down the worker to pure labour capacity; this is the same as saying that this process confronts labour capacity with the conditions of its realisation, hence confronts actual labour with its objective elements, as alien powers, separated from it, as commodities in the possession of other keepers of commodities.[21] Under this historical presupposition labour capacity is a commodity, and under the presupposition that it is a commodity it by no means contradicts the law of the exchange of commodities, it much rather corresponds to it, that the labour time objectified in labour capacity or its exchange value does not determine its use value. The latter, however, is in turn itself labour. Hence in the actual consumption of this use value, i.e. in and through the labour process, the money owner can receive back more objectified labour time than he paid out for the exchange value of the labour capacity. So that although he has paid an equivalent for this specific commodity he receives back as a consequence of its specific nature — that its use value itself posits exchange value, is the creative substance of exchange value — a greater value by its use than he had advanced by its purchase, in which he paid for its exchange value alone, in line with the law of the exchange of commodities.

Therefore, presupposing a relationship in which labour capacity exists as mere labour capacity, hence as a commodity, and in which it is accordingly confronted by money as the form of all objective wealth, the money owner, being only concerned with value as such, will only purchase labour capacity on condition that he acquires disposition over it for a longer period, or that the worker binds himself to work for him during the labour process for a longer period, than the labour time the worker would have to put in in order to keep himself alive as a worker, as living labour capacity, if he himself owned the material and means of labour. This difference between the labour time which measures the exchange value of labour capacity itself and the labour time during which it is used as use value, is the labour time worked by labour capacity beyond the labour time contained in its own exchange value, hence beyond the value it cost originally. As such it is surplus labour — surplus value.

If the money owner makes this exchange of money with living labour capacity and with the objective conditions for the consumption of this labour capacity — i.e. with the material and means of labour corresponding to its particular material determinateness — he thereby transforms money into capital, i.e. into self-preserving and self-augmenting, self-valorising value. At no time does he contravene the law of simple circulation, of the exchange of commodities, whereby equivalents are exchanged or the commodities — on the average — are sold at their exchange values, i.e. exchange values of equal magnitude, whatever use values they may exist in, replace each other as equal magnitudes. At the same time he fulfils the formula M — C — M, i.e. the exchange of money for the commodity so as to exchange the commodity for more money, and accordingly does not contravene the law of equivalence, acting instead entirely in line with it.

Firstly: Say, a normal working day = 1 thaler, is expressed in the quantity of silver denominated by a thaler. The money owner expends 100 thalers for raw material; 16 thalers for instrument; and 16 thalers for the 16 labour capacities which he employs and whose exchange value = 16 thalers. Thus he advances 132 thalers, which re-appear in the product (result) of the labour process, [I-47] i.e. in the consumption of the labour capacity he has bought, the labour process, productive consumption. But the commodity he has bought at its exchange value of 15 days of labour provides as a use value, say, 30 days of labour, a day of 6 hours provides 12 hours, objectifies itself in 12 hours of labour; i.e. it posits as a use value twice as great a value as it possesses as exchange value. But the use value of a commodity is independent of its exchange value and has nothing to do with the price at which it is sold — this is determined by the amount of labour time objectified in it. The product therefore = A + B + C + 15 hours of labour time. It is thus greater by 15 hours of labour time than the value preposited to the labour process. If A was = 100, B = 16, C = 16, the product = 143, i.e. 11 thalers’ more value than the capital advanced. If he re-sells this commodity at its value, he gains 11 thalers, although the law of the exchange of commodities was not infringed at any moment of the whole operation, the commodities having on the contrary been exchanged at every moment at their exchange values and therefore as equivalents.

Simple as this process is, it has so far been very little understood. The economists have never been able to reconcile surplus value with the law of equivalence they themselves have postulated. The socialists have always held onto this contradiction and harped on it, instead of understanding the specific nature of this commodity, labour capacity, whose use value is itself the activity which creates exchange value.[73]

Through this process, therefore, the exchange of money with labour capacity and the subsequent consumption of the latter, money is transformed into capital. The economists call this the transformation of money into productive capital, on the one hand in reference to other forms of capital, in which this basic process admittedly exists as a prerequisite but is extinguished in the form; and on the other hand in reference to the fact that money, in so far as it is confronted with labour capacity as a commodity, is the possibility of this transformation into capital, therefore is in itself capital, even if it is only through this process itself that it is transformed into actual capital. It has however the possibility of being transformed into capital.

It is clear that if surplus labour is to be realised, more of the material of labour is needed; more of the instrument of labour only in exceptional cases. If in 10 hours 10a pounds of cotton can be converted into twist, 10a + 2a will be converted in 12 hours. In this case, therefore, more cotton is needed or it must be assumed from the outset that the capitalist buys an adequate quantity of cotton to absorb the surplus labour. But it is also possible, for example, that the same material can only be worked up into a half-finished state in half a day and completely finished in a whole day. Even so, in this case too, more labour has been consumed in the material and if the process as to continue from day to day, to be a continuous production process, more of the material of labour would still be required than if the worker only replaced by his work in the labour process the labour time objectified in his own wages. Whether more of the means of labour is required and to what extent — and the means of labour is not limited to what are actually tools — depends on the technological nature of the particular labour, hence on the nature of the means consumed by it.

In every case more new labour must have been absorbed into the material of labour at the end of the labour process, and therefore objectified, than the amount of labour time objectified in the worker’s wage. Let us simply stick to the example of the manufacturer. This surplus absorption of labour manifests itself as the working up of more material or the working up of the same material to a higher level than could be attained with less labour time.

[I-48] If we compare the valorisation process with the labour process, the distinction is strikingly apparent between actual labour, which produces use value, and the form of this labour which appears as the element of exchange value, as the activity that creates exchange value.

It is apparent that the particular kind of labour being performed, its material determinateness, does not affect its relation to capital, which is the only issue here. But we started out from the assumption that the labour of the worker was common average labour. Yet the casus is not altered if it is assumed that his labour has a higher specific gravity, is potentiated average labour.[60] Simple labour or average labour, the labour of the spinner, the miller, the tiller or the engineer, what the capitalist acquires objectified in the labour process, appropriates for himself through it, is the particular labour of the worker, spinning, milling, tilling the fields, building machines. The surplus value he produces always consists in the surplus quantity of labour, of labour time, during which the worker spins, mills, tills the fields, builds machines for longer than is necessary to produce his own wage. It therefore always consists in a surplus quantity of his own labour, which the capitalist receives for nothing, whatever the character of that labour may be, whether simple or potentiated. The relation, for example, in which potentiated labour stands to average social labour alters nothing in the relation of this potentiated labour to itself, it does not change the fact that an hour of it creates only half as much value as two hours, or that it is realised in proportion to its duration. Hence so far as the relation between labour and surplus labour — or labour which creates surplus value — comes into consideration, it is always a matter of the same kind of labour, and here the following is correct, although it would not be correct in reference to exchange value positing labour as such:

* “When reference is made to labour as a measure of value, it necessarily implies labour of one particular kind and a given duration; the proportion which the other kinds bear to it being easily ascertained by the respective remuneration given to each"* ([J. Cazenove,] Outlines of Political Economy, London, 1832, [pp.] 22-23).

The product obtained by the capitalist in this way is a particular use value, whose value is equal to the value of the material, the means of labour, and the quantity of labour added ( = the quantity of labour contained in the wage + the surplus labour, which is not paid for) = A+B+S+S". Hence, if he sells the commodity at its value, he gains exactly as much as the amount of surplus labour. He does not gain through selling the new commodity at over its value but because he sells it at its value, converts the whole of its value into money. He thereby receives payment of a part of the value, a part of the labour contained in the product, which he has not bought and which has cost him nothing. The part of the value of his product which he has not paid for and sells constitutes his gain. In circulation, therefore, he merely realises the surplus value he has received in the labour process. This does not arise from circulation itself, it does not spring from his selling his commodity at more than its value.

//The value of the material and means of labour consumed in the labour process — the labour time objectified in them — reappears in the product, the new use value. It is preserved, but it cannot be said in the proper sense of the word that it is reproduced; for it is not affected by the change of form that has taken place in the use value, the fact that it now exists in a different use value from previously. If a day’s labour is objectified in a use value, this objectification, the quantity of labour fixed in the use value, is not altered by the fact that e.g. the 12th hour of labour only enters into its composition 11 hours after the first hour of labour. Thus the labour time contained in the material and means of labour can be regarded as if it had only entered into the product at an earlier stage of the production process necessary for the manufacture of the whole product, hence of all its elements.

As against this, the situation is otherwise with labour capacity, in so far as it enters the valorisation process. It replaces the value contained in itself and therefore paid for itself or the objectified labour time paid for in its price, in the wage, by adding an equal quantity of new living labour to the material of labour. It therefore reproduces the value present in itself in advance of the labour process, quite apart from the fact that it also adds a surplus, surplus labour, over and above this quantity. The value of the material and means of labour only re-appears in the product because the material and means of labour possess this value before the labour process and independently [I-49] of it. But the value, and more than the value, of the labour capacity re-appears in the product because it is replaced, hence reproduced, by a greater quantity of new living labour in the labour process (even so, in this distinction the surplus quantity is at first irrelevant).//