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


Volume 30, MECW, p. 137-171

It says in An Inquiry into those Principles, Respecting the Nature of Demand and the Necessity of Consumption, Lately Advocated by Mr. Malthus etc., London, 1821, in reference to Say’s comments in his letters to Malthus, Paris — Londres, 1820 (p. 36):

“These affected ways of talking constitute, in great part, what M. Say calls his doctrine ..... ‘If all these propositions appear paradoxical to you, look at the things they express, and I venture to believe that they will then appear very, simple and very rational.’ Doubtless, and, at the same time, they will very probably appear, by the same process, not at all original or important. ‘Without this analysis 1 defy you to explain the whole of the facts; to explain for example how the same [II-72] capital is consumed twice: productively by, a manufacturer and unproductively by his worker.’ It seems to be agreed ‘in most parts of Europe’, to call a fantastical mode of expression a fact” (l.c., p. 110, Note XI).

The joke is that exchange, in the particular case, purchase, is called by Say consumption of money, which is sold.

If the capitalist buys labour for 100 thalers, Say thinks these 100 thalers have been consumed twice, productively by the capitalist, unproductively by the worker. If the capitalist exchanges 100 thalers for labour capacity, he has not consumed the 100 thalers, either productively or unproductively, although he has expended them for a “productive” purpose. He has done nothing but convert them from the money form to the commodity form, and it is this commodity — labour capacity — which he has bought with the money, that he productively consumes. He could also consume it unproductively if he employed the workers to provide him with use values for his own consumption, i.e. if he used them to perform services. The money first becomes capital precisely through this exchange with labour capacity: it is not consumed as capital but rather produced, preserved, confirmed.

The worker on the other hand does not consume capital; the money in his hand has just ceased to be capital, and for him it is only means of circulation. (And at the same time, of course, like every means of circulation for which a commodity is exchanged, it is the existence of his commodity in the form of exchange value, which here is and must be, however, only an evanescent form given up in exchange for the means of subsistence.) Labour capacity, in so far as it is consumed, is converted into capital; the capitalist’s money, in so far as it is consumed by the worker, is converted into means of subsistence for him and ceases to be capital or a component of capital (dynamei) once it is transferred from the hand of the capitalist to that of the worker.

But what actually underlies Say’s nonsense is this: He believes that the same value (with him capital is nothing but a sum of values[110]) is consumed twice, once by the capitalist, the second time by the worker. He forgets that here two commodities with the same value are being exchanged, not 1 value but 2 values are involved; money on the one hand, the commodity (labour capacity) on the other. What the worker consumes unproductively (i.e. without thereby creating wealth for himself) is his own labour capacity (not the money of the capitalist); what the capitalist consumes productively is not his money but the labour capacity of the worker. On both sides the consumption process is mediated through exchange.

In every purchase or sale where the purpose of the buyer is individual consumption of the commodity and the purpose of the seller is production, the same value would according to Say be consumed twice, productively by the seller, who converts his commodity into money (exchange value), and unproductively by the buyer, who dissolves his money into transient enjoyments. However, there are 2 commodities and 2 values involved here. Say’s phrase would have a meaning only in the sense in which he does not mean it. Namely that the capitalist productively consumes the same value twice: first by his productive consumption of labour capacity and second by the unproductive consumption of his money by the worker, the result of which is the reproduction of labour capacity, hence the reproduction of the relation on which the functioning of capital as capital depends. Hence Malthus rightly hits on the last point. //Malthus’s point is this: in so far as his consumption is, in general, a condition for his working, hence for his producing for the capitalist. //

* “He — (the workman) “is a productive consumer to the person who employs him and to the state but not strictly speaking to himself"* (Malthus, Definitions in Political Economy, ed. John Cazenove, London, 1853, p. 30).

Ramsay declares that the part of capital which is converted into the wage is not a necessary part of capital, but only forms part of it accidentally owing to the “deplorable” poverty of the workers. By fixed capital he understands namely the material and means of labour. By circulating capital the worker’s means of subsistence. He then says:

* “Circulating Capital consists only of subsistence and other necessaries advanced to the workmen, previous to the completion of the produce of their labour"* (George Ramsay, An Essay on the Distribution of Wealth, Edinburgh, 1836, [p.] 23),

* “Fixed capital alone, not circulating, is properly speaking a source of national wealth” * (l.c.).

* “Were we to suppose the labourers not to be paid until the completion of the product, there would be no occasion whatever [II-73] for circulating capital."*

(What does that mean except that an objective condition of labour — the means of subsistence — will not assume the form of capital? This already contains the admission that these objective conditions of production are, as such, not capital, but only become capital as the expression of a particular social relation of production.) (The means of subsistence will not cease to be means of subsistence; just as little would they cease to be a necessary condition of production; but they would cease to be — capital.)

Production would be just as great. This proves that * circulating capital[111] is not an immediate agent in production, not even essential to it at all, but merely a convenience rendered necessary by the deplorable poverty of the mass of the people"* (l.c., [p.] 24).

I.e., in other words: Wage labour is not an absolute, but rather a historical form of labour. It is not necessary for production that the worker’s means of subsistence should confront him in an alienated form as capital. But the same is true of the other elements of capital and of capital in general. Conversely. If this one part of capital did not assume the form of capital, the other would not either, for the whole relation whereby money becomes capital, or the conditions of labour confront labour as an independent power, would not come into existence. What constitutes the essential form of capital therefore appears to him as “merely a convenience rendered necessary by the deplorable poverty of the mass of the people” [p. 24]. The means of subsistence become capital by being “advanced to the workmen” [p. 23]. The wider sense of Ramsay’s remarks emerges still more clearly in the proposition:

*"The fixed capital — (material and means of labour)* “alone constitutes an element of cost of production in a national point of view"* (1.c., [p.] 26).

For the capitalist the wage, i.e. the price he pays for labour capacity, is a cost of production — money advanced, advanced to make more money, money that is a mere means to make money. If the worker were not a worker but a working proprietor, the means of subsistence he consumes before the product is finished would not appear to him as costs of production in this sense, since the whole production process would appear to him inversely only as a means to create his means of subsistence. Ramsay, on the other hand, thinks that the material and means of labour, products which must be employed, consumed, in order to create new products, are necessary conditions of the production process and must always enter into it, not only from the capitalist’s standpoint but from the nation’s — i.e., with him, from the point of view of production for society and not for particular classes of society. So here capital means nothing to him but the objective conditions of the labour process as such, and, expressing absolutely no social relation, is merely another name for the objects that are required in every production process, whatever social form it may have; capital is accordingly only a thing, technologically determined. The precise feature that makes it capital is thereby extinguished.[56] Ramsay might just as well have said: it is merely a “convenience” that the means of production appear as value in its own right, as independent powers over against labour. If they were the social property of the workers, there would be no opportunity there for “fixed capital”. And production would remain just the same as before.[112]

//The valorisation process is in reality nothing but the labour process in a particular social form — or a particular social form of the labour process. It is not, as it were, two distinct real processes, but the same process, viewed at one time in terms of its content, at the other time according to its form. Despite this, we have already seen that in the valorisation process the relation of the different factors of the labour process takes on new determinations. One further aspect should be brought out here (which will be important later on in dealing with circulation, the determination of fixed capital, etc.). The means of production, e.g. the tool, machinery, factory building, etc., is employed as a whole in the labour process; but, with the exception of the so-called matières instrumentales, it is only exceptionally consumed (all at once) in the same (single, unique) labour process. It serves in repeated processes of the same kind. But it only enters into the [II-74] valorisation process — or, what is the same thing, it only re-appears as an element in the value of the product — in so far as it is used up in the labour process.[113]//

Similar to Ramsay is Rossi. First, in leçon XXVII, he gives a general definition of capital .

“Capital is that portion of the wealth produced which is destined for reproduction” (p. 364).

However this only applies to capital in so far as it is use value — applies to its material content, not to its form. No wonder, then, that the same Rossi proclaims the component of capital explicable solely from its form — the approvisionnement [means of subsistence, provisions], the part that is exchanged for labour capacity — to be no necessary component of capital, in fact not to be part of capital’s concept at all. Thus he says, on the one hand, that capital is a necessary agent of production, and, on the other hand, that wage labour is not a necessary agent of production or relation of production. Actually he understands by capital only “instrument of production”. [105] According to him one could, it is true, distinguish between capital-instrument and capital-matière, but actually the political economists are wrong to call raw materials capital; for

“Is it” (the raw material) “really an instrument of production there? Is it not rather an object which is acted upon by the instrument of production?” (leçons. etc., p. 367).

Later on he says:

Instrument of production, that is to say a material which operates on itself, which is at once object and subject, thing acted upon and agent” (l.c., p. 372).

He also calls capital simply “moyen de production [means of production] on p. 372. In reference to Rossi’s polemic against the idea that approvisionnement forms a part of capital, we must distinguish two things; or. he confuses two things.

Firstly he views wage labour in general — the capitalist’s advancing of the wage — as not a necessary form of production; or wage labour as not a necessary form of labour; thereby forgetting only that capital is not a necessary form (i.e. not an absolute, rather merely a particular historical form) of the conditions of labour or production. In other words: the labour process can take place without being subsumed under capital; this particular social form is not a necessary prerequisite for it; the production process as such is not a necessarily capitalist production process. But here he again makes the mistake of viewing the purchase of labour capacity by capital as not essential for wage labour but as something accidental. For production the conditions of production are required; but not capital, i.e. not the relation which emerges from the appropriation of the conditions of production by a specific class and the existence of labour capacity as a commodity. His stupidity consists in recognising wage labour (or also the independent form of capital) and seeking to argue out of existence the relation of wage labour to capital, which constitutes the former. To say that capital is not a necessary form of social production is merely to say that wage labour is only a transitory historical form of social labour.

Not only does the rise of capitalist production presuppose a historical process of the separation of the workers from the conditions of labour; capitalist production reproduces this relation on an ever increasing scale and gives it a sharper character.[100] This is already evident in considering the general concept of capital, and becomes still clearer later on in the context of competition, which essentially effects this separation (concentration, etc.).[114] In the actual production process the objects of which capital consists do not confront the worker as capital but as the material and means of labour. He is of course conscious that they are alien property, etc., capital. But the same thing is true of his sold labour, which belongs not to him but to the capitalist.

[II-75] Secondly, however, one further point creeps into the Rossian polemic. (The first point was: exchange of money for labour capacity. Rossi is right in so far as he declares that this operation is not necessary for production as such. He is wrong in so far as he views this relation, without which capitalist production would not exist at all, as an inessential, accidental moment of the latter.)

Namely this: we have seen: First the worker sells his labour capacity, i.e. temporary disposition over it. This includes his bartering it for the means of subsistence that are necessary to preserve him as a worker at all, and more specifically his possession of the means of subsistence “during the work of production” [p. 370]. This is a prerequisite for his entry as a worker into the production process, and for his activation, realisation, of his labour capacity during that process. As we have seen, Rossi understands by capital nothing but the means of production (matière, instrument) required for the manufacture of a new product. The question is: Do the worker’s means of subsistence belong there, like, e.g., the coal, oil, etc., consumed by the machine or the fodder eaten by the cattle? In short the matières instrumentales.[102] Do the worker’s means of subsistence belong to this category as well? With the slave there is no question but that his means of subsistence are to be counted among the matières instrumentales; he is a mere instrument of production, hence what he consumes is a mere matière instrumentale. (As we have already remarked, this confirms the point that the price of labour (the wage) does not enter into the labour process proper any more than the prices of the material and means of labour do; although all three, even if in different ways, enter into the valorisation process. ) To answer the question it is necessary to subdivide it into two questions:

Firstly: To consider the labour process as such, independently of capital; since the people who raise the question here call the moments of the labour process as such capital.[56] Secondly: To ask how far this is modified once the labour process is subsumed under capital.

Firstly, then: If we consider the labour process as such, its objective conditions are the material of labour and the means of labour, they are simply objective conditions of labour itself, as the purposeful activity of a human being directed at producing a use value. The worker relates to them as subject. To be sure, he is presupposed as worker, to allow his labour capacity to function, and the provisions necessary for his subsistence, for the development of labour capacity, are therefore also presupposed. But they do not enter as such into the labour process.

He enters the process as a working proprietor. However, if the different moments of the labour process are viewed with regard to its result, the product, the relation is altered. With regard to the product all 3 moments appear as moments of its mediation, hence as means of production. The material of production, the instrument of production, and productive activity itself, are all means for the manufacture of the product, hence means of production. Here the means of maintaining the machine (oil, coal, etc.), entirely leaving aside their price, form part of the means of production, but so equally do the means of maintaining the worker during the production process itself.[102] For all that, the working proprietor will continue to regard the product as such only as a means of subsistence, not his means of subsistence as prerequisites for the manufacture of the product. However, the way of looking at things does not alter the state of affairs one whit. The proportion of the means of subsistence he must consume as worker, without which his labour capacity cannot function as such at all, is just as indispensable for the production process as the coal and oil consumed by the machine. In that sense the consumption fund of society forms part of its means of production (this disappears again on further consideration, in so far as the whole production process itself appears as simply the reproduction process of society or of the social human being), and the worker’s consumption is not economically distinguished within these limits from the consumption of the working horse or the machine.

Thus the part of capital that pays labour capacity or forms the wage enters into the actual production process in so far as the means of subsistence the worker consumes are directly consumed, and have to be consumed, in the production process itself. But the part of the capital given out in this way which does not enter directly into the production process also forms a part of the capital before it is exchanged for labour capacity, and for the formation of the capital-relation this is a necessary prerequisite.

[II-76] The capitalist has paid for labour capacity. The major part of the means of subsistence the workers have thus obtained is expended during the labour process itself, and necessarily so. If the workers were slaves, the capitalist would have to advance this part to them as simple matières instrumentales. Here the worker does this for him. For him the worker is a mere agent of production, and the means of subsistence he consumes are the coal and oil necessary to keep this agent of production in motion. This is how the capitalist sees it, and he acts accordingly. If an ox or a machine is a cheaper agent of production, the worker is replaced by one or the other. The opinion is economically incorrect in so far as it is of the essence of wage labour that the 2 processes are distinguished, namely 1) the exchange of money for labour capacity; 2) the consumption process of this labour capacity — the labour process (production process).

Let us now look in some detail at Rossi’s criticisms, without coming back to the case considered last (under 2).

With regard to this Rossi makes the following statement:

“Those who only regard economic science from the point of view of the entrepreneur, and who only consider the net and exchangeable product that each entrepreneur can obtain, such people must in fact see no difference between a man, an ox and a steam-engine: in their eyes there is only one question worthy of serious attention, and that is the question of the cost price, the question of knowing how much it costs the entrepreneur to obtain what he requires from the steam, the ox, the worker” (Rossi, De la méthode en économie politique etc., in Économie politique. Recueil de monographies etc. Année 1844, Vol. I, Brussels, 1844, p. 83).

It does appear, then, that the point of view of the entrepreneur, i.e. of the capitalist, is in any case an essential moment in considering capitalist production. But that belongs to the relation of capital and labour.

Our essential concern, however, in considering Mr. Rossi is the way he on the one hand admits that wage labour, hence also capitalist production, is not a necessary (absolute) form of labour and production; but then repudiates this admission, being altogether miles away from any historical understanding.

Rossi’s first objection is this:

“If the worker lives from his income, if he lives from the remuneration of his labour, how can the same thing appear twice in the phenomenon of production, in the calculation of productive forces, once as the remuneration of labour and a second time as capital?” (leçons, p. 369).

Here one must remark at the outset: This means, expressed in general terms, that the wage appears twice, once as relation of production, once as relation of distribution. Rossi holds this to be incorrect, and he is right as against the political economists in so far as they view the two different forms in which the same thing appears as two mutually independent relations which have nothing to do with each other. We shall return to this subject and demonstrate in general that the relation of production is a relation of distribution and vice versa.[62] But, in addition to this, the wage can enter into the phenomenon of production, i.e. constitute a relation of production, without entering into the calculation of productive forces, namely if Mr. Rossi understands by productive force not the development of the productive forces in so far as it is conditioned by the relation of production, but nothing other than the moments that belong to the labour process in general or the production process in general, as such, disregarding all particular social forms.

On the other hand: The means of subsistence form a component of capital as long as they have not yet been exchanged for labour capacity. This exchange would not, however, take place unless they formed a component of capital before it happened. If they are exchanged, they cease to be capital and become income. Indeed it is not the wage but only labour capacity that enters into the direct production process itself. If I have produced grain, it forms a part of my capital until I have sold it. It forms the income of a consumer. (At least it can do so, if it is employed in individual consumption, not in production.) But in fact the means of subsistence [II-77] continue to be a productive force of capital even after the worker has received it as income and consumed it as income, for the reproduction of the worker is the reproduction of the principal productive force of capital.

“One says the remuneration of the worker is capital, because the capitalist advances it to him. if only there were families of workers who had sufficient to subsist for a year, wages would not exist. The worker could say to the capitalist: you advance the capital for the common project, I will bring the labour to it; the product will be shared among us in certain proportions. As soon as the product has been realised, each of us will take his share. Then there would be no advance for the workers. Even if work were at a standstill, they would still consume. What they would consume belongs to the consumption fund, not to capital. Therefore: the advances for the workers are not necessary. Therefore wages are not a constituent element of production. They are only of an accidental nature, a form arising from our social condition. Capital, land, labour, on the other hand, are necessary for production. Secondly: The word wages is employed in a double sense. One says that wages are a capital, but what do they represent? Labour. He who says wages says labour and vice versa. Hence, if the wages advanced constituted a part of capital, one would have to speak only of 2 instruments of production: capital and land” (l.c., p[p. 369-]370).[115]

In the same way as Rossi says: if the worker possessed the means of subsistence for a year, the capitalist would not need to advance them to him, he could just as well continue: if the worker possessed the material and means of labour for a year, he would not need the interposition of the capitalist for these conditions of labour. Thus the circumstance that “material of labour and means of labour” appear as capital is “nota constituent element of production”. “They are only of an accidental nature, a form arising from our social condition”, which makes them into this. They would still belong to the “production fund”, by no means to capital. Capital would not exist at all. If the particular form which makes labour into wage labour is a social accident, a particular historico-social form of labour, the same can be said of the form which makes the objective conditions of labour into capital or the conditions of production into capital. And it is the same social accident that makes labour into wage labour and the conditions of production into capital. Indeed, if the workers had in their possession even this one condition of production — a year’s means of subsistence — their labour would not be wage labour, and they would have possession of all the conditions of production. They would only need to sell a part of these surplus means of subsistence in order to buy in return the means of production (material and instrument) and produce commodities themselves. What Mr. Rossi is trying to get clear about here, without entirely succeeding, is that a particular social form of production, although it may be a historical necessity, is not on that account an absolute necessity, and therefore cannot be described as an eternal, unalterable condition of production. The admission we shall accept, but not its incorrect application.

So, in order to produce it is not absolutely necessary for labour to be wage labour and therefore, among other things, for the means of subsistence to have confronted the worker originally as a component of capital. But Rossi continues: “Capital, land, labour by contrast are necessary for production.” If he had said: “Land (material of labour, working space and in the first instance means of subsistence); means of labour (instruments, etc.); and labour by contrast are necessary for production”, but “rent, capital and wage labour” are not necessarily required, the proposition would have been correct. But his way of speaking strips away from labour and land the particular social form in which they may appear in the bourgeois economy — their forms as wage labour and landed property, and allows the means of labour in contrast to retain their economic character as capital. He [II-78] conceives them not only as material conditions of production but in their particular social form of capital and therefore arrives at the absurd conclusion that capital is possible without the appropriation of the soil and without wage labour.

Further: If the wage advanced forms part of capital, says Rossi, there are only 2 instruments of production, land and capital, and not 3, as the political economists all assume, land, capital and labour. In reality, here it is a question of the simple moments of the labour process as such, and in this there figure only the material of labour (land), the means of labour (which Rossi incorrectly calls capital) and labour. But definitely not capital. Yet in so far as the whole labour process is subsumed under capital, and the 3 elements which appear in it are appropriated by the capitalist, all 3 elements, material, means, labour, appear as material elements of capital; they have been subsumed under a particular social relation, which has absolutely nothing to do with the labour process considered abstractly — i.e. in so far as it is equally common to all social forms of the labour process. It remains characteristic of Rossi that he regards the relation between the personified product of labour and living labour capacity, a relation which forms the quintessence of the relation of capital and wage labour, as an inessential form, a mere accident of capitalist production itself. (See the wretched Bastiat.[97] With Rossi there is at least an inkling that capital and wage labour are not eternal social forms of production.)

We have now already had the argument twice from Rossi that if the wage forms a part of capital (originally), the same thing appears twice. First as a relation of production and second as a relation of distribution. Secondly: that in that case one should not enumerate 3 factors of production (material, means, labour) in the labour process, but only 2, namely material (which he calls here land) and means of labour, which he calls here capital.

“What occurs between the entrepreneur and the worker? If all products were started in the morning and finished in the evening, and if there were always buyers present on the market, ready to buy the commodities offered, there would be properly speaking no wage. It is not so. Months, years are required to realise a product.... The worker, who possesses only his arm cannot wait for the completion (the end) of the project. He says to the entrepreneur, capitalist, farmer, manufacturer what he could say to a third party, a bystander. He could propose to him (the third party) that he buy his claim on the product. He could say to him: I contribute to the production of so-and-so many lengths of cloth, will you buy the remuneration to which I am entitled? Assuming that the third person, the bystander, accepts the proposal and pays the agreed price, can one say that the money expended by the bystander forms a part of the capital of the entrepreneur? That his contract with the worker is one of the phenomena of production? No, he has made a good or bad speculation, which adds nothing to public wealth and takes nothing away from it. That is wages. The worker proposes to the manufacturer what he could have proposed to a third party. The entrepreneur goes along with this arrangement in so far as it may facilitate production. But this is nothing but a second operation, an operation of a quite different nature grafted on to a productive operation. It is not a fact indispensable to production. It could disappear if labour were organised differently. Even today there are spheres of production in which it has no place. Wages are therefore a form of the distribution of wealth, not an element of production. The part of the fund which the entrepreneur devotes to the payment of wages does not constitute a part of capital, any more than the sums of money a manufacturer might employ to discount bills of exchange, or to speculate on the stock-exchange. It is a distinct operation, which undoubtedly may promote the course of production but which cannot be called a direct instrument of production” (I.e., p. 370).

[II-79] Here the point emerges clearly. A relation of production (however the social relation between individuals within production as a whole is viewed) is “not a direct instrument of production”. The relation of capital and wage labour, whereby the exchange of labour capacity for money is conditioned, is not a “direct instrument of production”. Thus the value of the commodity is not a “direct instrument of production”, although the essence of the production process changes according to whether it is only a question of the production of products as such or of the production of commodities. The “value” of the machine, its existence as fixed capital, etc., is not a “direct instrument of production”. A machine would also be productive in a society where there were no commodities at all, no exchange value. The question is by no means whether this “relation of production could disappear in another organisation of labour”; it is rather to investigate the significance of this relation in the capitalist organisation of labour. Rossi concedes that there would be “properly speaking no wage” under such conditions (p. 370). And he will permit me to cease describing as a wage what is “not properly a wage”. He only forgets that there would then be no longer any “capital proper” either.

“Since everyone could wait for the products of one’s labour, the present form of the wage could disappear. There would be partnership between the workers and the capitalists, just as today there is partnership between the capitalists properly so called and the capitalists who are simultaneously workers” (p. 371).

Rossi is not clear about what would become of the present form of production in these circumstances. To be sure, he may treat this as completely irrelevant if he views production as a purely technological process, disregarding the social forms of production, and if, on the other hand, he understands by capital nothing but a product used for the fabrication of new products. He has at least in his favour his pronouncement that the form of the wage is not a “fact indispensable to production”.

“To conceive the power of labour, while ignoring the workers’ means of subsistence during the work of production, is to conceive an imagined being. He who says labour or the power of labour says worker and means of subsistence, worker and wage ... The same element re-appears under the name of capital; as if the same thing could simultaneously form part of two distinct instruments of production” (l.c., pp. 370, 371).

Pure labour capacity is indeed “a phantom”. But this phantom exists. Hence when the worker ceases to be able to sell his labour capacity, he starves. And capitalist production is based on the reduction of the labour capacity to such a phantom.

Sismondi is therefore correct to say:

Labour capacity ... is nothing if it is not sold” (Sismondi, Nouveaux principes etc., Vol. 1, p. 114).

What is stupid about Rossi is his attempt to present “wage labour” as “inessential” for capitalist production.

He could also say of the machine: It is the machine that constitutes part of capital, not its value. The value of the machine, he could say, is paid to the machine manufacturer, and perhaps consumed by him as income. The value of the machine, therefore, ought not to figure twice in the production process, the first time as the takings of the machine manufacturer, the other time as capital or a constituent of the capital of the cotton spinner, etc.

Incidentally, it is characteristic that Rossi says wages, i.e. wage labour, would be superfluous if the workers were rich, while Mr. John Stuart Mill says they would be superfluous if labour were to be had for nothing:

Wages have no productive power; they are the price of a productive power. Wages do not contribute, apart from labour, to the production of commodities //should be: to the production of products, use values//, no more than the price of machines contributes along with the machines themselves. If labour could be had without purchase, wages might be dispensed with” (John Stuart Mill, Essays on Some Unsettled Questions of Political Economy, London, 1844, p[p. 90-]91).

[II-80] Where the purely general form of capital as self-preserving and self-valorising value is being considered, it is declared to be something immaterial, and therefore, from the point of view of the political economist, a mere idea; for he knows of nothing but either tangible objects or ideas — relations do not exist for him. As value, capital is indifferent towards its particular material forms of existence, the use values of which it consists. These material elements do not make capital into capital.

Capital is always immaterial by nature, since it is not matter which makes capital, but the value of that matter, value which has nothing corporeal about it — (Say, Traité d'économie politique, 3rd ed., Vol. 2, Paris, 1817, p. 429).

Or, Sismondi:

“Capital is a commercial idea” (Sismondi, LX, Études etc., Vol. 2, p. 273).[116]

While all capitals are values, the values as such are still not capital. And so the political economists take flight once again back to the material shape of capital within the labour process. In so far as the labour process itself appears as the production process of capital and is subsumed under capital, and according to whether some specific aspect of the labour process is fixed upon (as we have seen, the labour process as such by no means presupposes capital but is a feature of all modes of production), it can be said that capital becomes a product, or is a means of production, a raw material, an instrument of labour.[56] Thus Ramsay says that raw material and means of labour form capital a Rossi says that only the instrument is actually capital. The elements of the labour process are viewed here outside any specific economic determinateness. (It will become evident later that also within the labour process this 7 extinction of the determinateness of form is only a semblance.” ) The labour process (production process of capital), reduced to its simple form, does not appear as production process of capital, but as production process in the absolute sense, and capital appears here in distinction from labour solely in its material determinateness of raw material and instrument of labour. (But here too labour is in fact capital’s own existence, is embodied in it.) The political economists fix on this side, which is not only an arbitrary abstraction, but one which itself vanishes in the process, in order to present capital as a necessary element of all production.[118] Of course, they only do this by arbitrarily fixing on a single aspect.

* “Labour and capital ... the one, immediate labour ... the other, hoarded labour, that which has been the result of former labour” (James Mill, Elements of Political Economy, London, 1821, [p.] 75).

Accumulated labour ... immediate labour” (R. Torrens, An Essay on the Production of Wealth etc., London, 1821, Ch. 1).[119]

Ricardo, Principles, p. 89: “Capital is that part of the wealth of a country which is employed in production, and consists of food, clothing, tools, raw materials machinery, etc., necessary to give effect to labour.”

Capital... is but a particular species of wealth, namely that which is destined, not to the immediate supplying of our wants, but to the obtaining of other articles of utility” (Torrens, l.c., p. 5).

“In the first stone which the savage flings at the wild animal he pursues, in the first stick that he seizes to strike down the fruit which hangs above his reach, we see the appropriation of one article for the purpose of aiding in the acquisition of another, and this discover the origin of capital” (Torrens, 1.c., pp. 70-71).

Capital “All articles possessing exchangeable value”. The accumulated results of past labour (H. C. Carey, Principles of Political Economy, Part I, Philadelphia, 1837, p. 294).

“When a fund is devoted to material production, it takes the name of capital(H. Storch, Cours d'économie politique, ed. Say, Vol. I, Paris, 1823, [p.] 207).

“Wealth is only capital in so far as it serves for production” (l.c., p. 219).

“The elements of the national capital are: 1) improvements of the soil; 2) buildings; 3) tools or instruments of the trade; 4) means of subsistence; 5) materials; 6) completed work” (l.c., pp. 229 sq.).

[II-81] “Every productive force which is neither land nor labour is capital. It comprises all the forces, either completely or partially produced, that are applied to reproduction” (Rossi, l.c., p. 271).

“There is no difference between capital and any other part of wealth: a thing only becomes capital by the use that is made of it, that is to say, when it is employed in a productive operation, as raw material, as instrument, or as means of subsistence” (Cherbuliez, Richesse ou pauvreté 1841, p. 18).

But in capitalist production it is by no means just a matter of producing a product or even a commodity; what is aimed at is a greater value than was thrown into production. Hence these definitions:

Capital is the part of wealth which is employed in production and generally for the purpose of obtaining profit (Th. Chalmers, On Political Economy etc., London, 1832, 2nd ed., [p.] 75).

It is above all Malthus who has introduced this element into the definition of capital. (Sismondi’s definition is more precise; since profit is already a more developed form of surplus value.')

* “Capital. That portion of the stock” (i.e. accumulated wealth) “of a country which is kept or employed with a view to profit in the production and distribution of wealth"* (T. R. Malthus, Definitions in Political Economy, New Ed. etc. by John Cazenove, London, 1853, [p.] 10).

* “Antecedent labour (capital) ... present labour” * (E. G. Wakefield’s commentary to A. Smith, Wealth of Nations, Vol. 1, London, 1835, note to p[p. 230-]31).

Thus we have 1) capital is money; capital is commodity; if the first form in which it emerges is being considered; 2) accumulated (antecedent) labour as opposed to immediate, present labour, where it is being considered in contrast to living labour, and value simultaneously as its substance; 3) means of labour, material of labour, in general products used to form new products, where the labour process, the material production process, is being considered . Means of subsistence, where the component of capital which is exchanged for labour capacity is being considered, according to its use value.

In so far as the whole labour process (direct production process) comes together in the product as its result, capital now exists as product. This is, however, simply its presence as use value, except that now the latter is available as the result of the labour process or production process — the process capital has passed through. If this is taken as fixed, and it is forgotten that the labour process is at the same time a process of valorisation, hence its result is not only use value (product) but at the same time exchange value, a unity of use value and exchange value ( = the commodity), the absurd notion may arise that capital has been transformed into a simple product, and will only become capital again by being sold, by becoming a commodity. The same absurd notion can be put forward from another point of view. In the labour process itself it is irrelevant (the fact disappears) that the material and means of labour are already products, hence commodities (since on our assumption every product is a commodity). Hence the commodity, and the product itself, only counts here to the extent that it is a use value, e.g. raw material. It can therefore be said that what was previously capital has now been converted into raw material; this is a form of expressing the fact that what was the result of one production process is the raw material (the prerequisite) of the other (or the instrument of labour). Proudhon, for example, argues in this manner:

“What causes the sudden transformation of the notion of product into that of capital? it is the idea of value. This means that the product, in order to become capital, must have passed through an authentic valuation, must have been bought or sold, its price discussed and fixed by a kind of legal convention.” E.g. “hides, coming from the butcher’s shop, are the product of the butcher. Have these hides been bought by a tanner? At once he adds either them or their value to his working capital. By the work of the tanner this capital becomes a product again” (Gratuité du crédit [pp. 178-80]) (see XVI, 29 etc.).[120]

[II-82] Mr. Proudhon altogether has a penchant for appropriating elementary notions, combining them with an incorrect metaphysical apparatus and reproducing this for the public. Does he perhaps believe that the leather does not figure as a value in the butcher’s ledger before leaving the butcher’s shop? In reality all he is saying is that the commodity = capital, which is wrong, since though every capital exists as commodity or money, this does not yet make commodity or money as such into capital. What is needed is precisely to develop how the “notion” of capital develops out of the “notion” of money and commodity. He sees the labour process, but not the valorisation process; it is a result of the latter that the product of the overall production process is not only a use value, but a use value with a definite exchange value, i.e. a commodity. Whether this commodity is sold above or below its value, its passage through a legal convention gives it no new determination of form, it does not make the product into a commodity, still less does it make the commodity into capital. The production process of capital is here fixed upon one-sidedly as a labour process, with its result use value. Capital is viewed as a thing; a thing pure and simple.

Equally stupidly — and this is characteristic of the way in which declamatory socialism regards society in relation to economic determinations — Proudhon says:

For society, the difference between capital and product does not exist. This difference is entirely subjective, and related to individuals” [p. 250].

He calls the specific social form subjective and he calls the subjective abstraction society. The product as such is a feature of every mode of labour, whatever its specific social form may be. The product only becomes capital to the extent that it expresses a particular, historically determined, social relation of production. Mr. Proudhon’s contemplation from the standpoint of society means overlooking, abstracting from, precisely the differences which express the particular social relation or the determinateness of the economic form. As if someone were to say: Looking from the point of view of society there are no slaves and citizens, both are human beings. They are much rather this outside society. To be a slave, to be a citizen, are particular modes of the social existence of human beings a and b. Human being a is as such not a slave. He is a slave in and through the society he belongs to. To be a slave, to be a citizen, are social determinations, relations between human beings a and b. What Proudhon says here about capital and product means for him that from the point of view of society there is no difference between capitalists and workers; a difference which exists precisely from the social standpoint alone."’ It is characteristic of him to conceal his inability to proceed from the category (notion) commodity to the category capital beneath a high-sounding phrase.

Incidentally, one finds other political economists talking the same nonsense about the transformation of the product into capital — in fact this is only a special application of the general narrow-minded conception of capital as a thing — but there it is presented less pretentiously.[56] E.g. Francis Wayland, The Elements of Political Economy, Tenth Thousand, Boston, 1843, p. 25.

*"The material which ... we obtain for the purpose of combining it with our own industry, and forming it into a product, is called capital; and, after the labour has been exerted, and the value created, it is called a product. Thus, the same article may be product to one, and capital to another. Leather is the product of the currier, and the capital of the shoemaker.” *

[II-83] With Mr. J. B. Say nothing would surprise us. He tells us for example:

“Work on the land, that of animals and machines, is also a value, because a price is set upon it and it is bought."[122]

He does so after he has told us that “value” is “what a thing is worth — , and “price” is the “value of a thing expressed [in money]. Then he declares the wage to be “le loyer d'une faculté industrielle” — the rent of labour capacity — and continues, as a sign that he does not understand his own expression, “or, strictly speaking, the purchasing price of a productive labour service'’.[123]

Here labour is taken merely as it appears in the labour process: as an activity aimed at producing a use value. In this sense services productifs are also performed in the labour process by raw material, by the land, using this expression in a general way, and by the means of production (capital). The labour process is precisely the activity of their use value. Once all the elements of production have been reduced in this way to mere factors of the use values involved in the labour process, profit and rent then appear as the prices of the services productifs of land and products, just as the wage appears as the price of the services productifs of labour. The specific forms of exchange value are always explained here by reference to use value, although they are entirely independent of it.

//The whole of the Mercantile System is based on the notion that surplus value arises simply from circulation, i.e. from the altered distribution of already existing values.//

//The extent to which the concept of capital implies not only the preservation and reproduction of value but its valorisation, i.e. the multiplication of value, the positing of surplus value, can be seen from, among other examples (as we shall see later, this is most strikingly evident in the case of the Physiocrats), the earlier Italian political economists, who applied the term reproduction of value only to this production of surplus value. For example Verri:

The value reproduced is that part of the price of an agricultural or industrial product which exceeds the original value of the material and the outlay on consumption incurred while it is being produced. In agriculture the seed and the consumption of the peasant must be deducted: equally in manufacture one must deduct the raw material and the worker’s consumption; and so every year a reproduced value is created, to the amount of the part that remains” (P. Verri, Meditazioni sulla economia politica, Custodi, Parte Moderna, Vol. XV, [pp.] 26-27). [124] //

// The same P. Verri (although a Mercantilist) admits that if commodities are sold at their value or their average price (prezzo comune) it is unimportant who is the buyer and who the seller; or, in other words, that the surplus value cannot originate from the difference between buyer and seller. He says: We must regard it as irrelevant whether someone is buyer or seller in the act of exchange.

“The average price is that in which the buyer can become seller and the seller buyer without perceptible loss or gain. If for example the average price of silk is a gigliato per pound, 1 say that a person who possesses 100 pounds of silk is just as rich as he who possesses 100 gigliati, since the first can easily have 100 gigliati by handing over the silk, and similarly the second can have 100 pounds of silk by handing over 100 gigliati.... The average price is that at which none of the contracting parties becomes poorer” (l.c., [pp.] 34, 35).a//

[II-84] Only that which preserves and increases capital has use value for capital as such. Labour, therefore, or labour capacity. (Labour is after all only a function, realisation, activity of labour capacity.) //The conditions for the realisation of labour are eo ipso included, since capital cannot employ, consume labour capacity without them. // Labour is therefore not a use value for capital. It is the use value of the latter.

* “The immediate market for capital, or field for capital, may be said to be labour” * (An Inquiry into those Principles, Respecting the Nature of Demand and the Necessity of Consumption, Lately Advocated by Mr. Malthus, London, 1821, [p.] 20).

// On the exchange of capital with labour capacity:

Wages are nothing more than the market price of labour, and when the labourer has received them, he has received the full value of the commodity he has disposed of. Beyond this he can have no claim” (John Wade, History of the Middle and Working Classes, 3rd ed., London, 1835, p. 177).//

// Productive consumption.

* “Productive consumption, where the consumption of a commodity is a part of the process of production.... In these instances there is no consumption of value, the same value existing in a new form” * (S. P. Newman, Elements of Political Economy, Andover and New York, 1835, [p.] 296).//

(“Capital is consumed just as much as the consumption fund; but in being consumed it is reproduced. A capital is a quantity of wealth destined for industrial consumption, that is for reproduction” (H. Storch, Cours d'économie politique, ed. Say, Vol. 1, Paris, 1823, p. 209)).c

It is labour capacity, not labour, which is exchanged for capital in the buying process:

* “If you call labour a commodity, it is not like a commodity which is first produced in order to exchange, and then brought to market where it must exchange with other commodities according to the respective quantities of each which there may be in the market at the time; labour is created at the moment it is brought to market; nay it is brought to market before it is created” * (Observations on Certain Verbal Disputes in Political Economy etc., London, 1821, [pp.] 75-76).

Viewed as a whole, the production process of capital is divided into 2 sections:

1) exchange of capital for labour capacity, which includes as a corollary the exchange of certain components of capital existing as money (value) for the objective conditions of labour, in so far as they themselves are commodities (hence also products of previous labour). This first act includes the conversion of a part of the existing capital into the worker’s means of subsistence, hence simultaneously into the means of the preservation and reproduction of labour capacity. // In that a part of these means of subsistence has been consumed during the labour process itself, in order to produce labour, the means of subsistence the worker consumes can be counted (as maintenance costs) among the objective conditions of labour into which capital is divided in the production process just as much as can the raw material and the means of production. Or they can be regarded as a moment in reproductive consumption. Or, finally, they can be regarded just as much as means of production of the product, rather like the coal and oil the machine consumes during the production process. 102 // 2) In the actual labour process labour is converted into capital. I.e. it becomes objectified labour (objective labour) — and indeed objectified labour which confronts living labour capacity independently, as the property of the capitalist, the economic existence of the capitalist. On this conversion of labour into capital:

They” (the workers) “exchange their labour for grain” //i.e means of subsistence in general//. “This becomes income for them” //consumption fund// “...while their labour has become capital for their master” (Sismondi, Nouveaux principes, Vol. 1, p. 90).

“He” (the worker) “required the means of subsistence to live, the boss required labour to make a profit” (Sismondi, l.c., p. 91).a

The workers who, giving their labour for the exchange, convert it into capital” (Sismondi, l.c., p. 105).

“Whatever advantages a rapid growth of wealth may provide for the wage workers, it does not heal the causes of their misery.... They remain deprived of any right to capital, consequently obliged. to sell their labour and to renounce any pretensions to the products of that labour” (Cherbuliez, Richesse ou pauvreté, p. 68).

// “In the social order, wealth has acquired the characteristic of reproducing itself by means of alien labour, without any assistance from its owner. Wealth, like labour and through labour, yields an annual fruit, which can be destroyed every year without making the rich man poorer thereby. The fruit is the income which arises from capital” (Sismondi, Nouveaux principes, Vol. 1, p. 82).//

[II-85] //The different forms of income (leaving aside wages), such as profit, interest, rent, etc. (taxes too), are only the different elements into which surplus value divides, is distributed among different classes. For the moment we shall simply examine them in their general form, surplus value. Of course, whatever subdivision it may subsequently undergo changes nothing, either in its quantity or its quality. Moreover, it is also well known that the industrial capitalist is the person in the middle, who pays interest, rent, etc.

“Labour is the source of wealth; wealth is its product; income, as a part of wealth, must emerge from this common origin; it is customary to derive 3 kinds of income, rent, profit, wages, from 3 different sources, land, accumulated capital and labour. These 3 subdivisions of income are only 3 different ways of participating in the fruits of human labour” (Sismondi, Nouveaux principes, Vol. 1, p. 85).//

//"The products are appropriated before they are converted into capital; this conversion does not release them from appropriation” (Cherbuliez, [Richesse ou pauvreté,] p. 54).//

//"In selling his labour for a definite amount of approvisionnement the worker completely renounces any right to the other parts of capital. The allocation of these products remains the same as before; it is in no way modified by the above-mentioned contract” (l.c., p. 58).//

In this conversion of labour into capital lies, in fact, the whole secret of the capital-relation.

If one looks at capitalist production as a whole, the conclusion is: We should not regard the commodity alone (still less the mere use value of the commodity, the product) as the actual product of this process; not just the surplus value either, although it is a result that is kept in view as the purpose of the whole process, and characterises it. It is not just this single thing that is produced the commodity, a commodity greater in value than the capital originally advanced — but also capital and wage labour; or, the relation is reproduced and perpetuated. This will in any case be shown in more detail after the production process has been further discussed.[125]

Both the surplus value and the wage appear here in a form we have not yet met, namely the form of income, hence a distribution form, on the one hand, and therefore a particular mode of the consumption fund, on the other. But since this determination is still superfluous (although it will become necessary once we get to I,4, primitive accumulation [126]), we shall only investigate the characteristics of this form when we have examined the production process of capital more closely. Here the wage appears to us as a production form because it is as wage system the prerequisite for capitalist production; just as we have included surplus value and its creation in the concept of capital as a relation of production. Only in the second instance must it be demonstrated how these relations of production appear simultaneously as relations of distribution[62] (in this context we must also throw more light on the stupidity of considering labour capacity to he the capital of the worker[92]) . This is necessitated in part by the need to show what nonsense it is to regard bourgeois relations of production and of distribution as different in kind. Thus J. St. Mill and many other political economists conceive the relations of production as natural, eternal laws, but regard relations of distribution as artificial, of historical origin, and subject to the control, etc., of human society.’ On the other hand, the description of surplus value e.g. as income (hence the category of income in general) is a formula for simplification, as e.g. in examining the accumulation of capital.[127]

The questions of what labour is productive, whether wages or capital are productive, and the use of the formulation “income” for wages and surplus value, are to be dealt with at the end of the examination of relative surplus value (or also in part in the relation of wage labour and capital?). (Similarly the worker as C — M — C, the capitalist as M — C — M, saving and hoarding by the former, etc.[128])

// Additions from my Notebook. [129] As use value, labour exists only for capital, and is the use value of capital itself, i.e. the mediating activity through which it valorises itself. Therefore labour does not exist as a use value for the worker, it is not a force productive of wealth for him, in the sense of a means or activity of enrichment. A use value for [II-86] capital, labour is a mere exchange value for the worker, an available exchange value. It is posited as such in the act of exchange with capital, through its sale for money. The use value of a thing does not concern the seller as such, only its buyer. The labour (capacity) which the worker sells as a use value to capital is for the worker his exchange value, which he wishes to realise, but which is already determined (like the prices of commodities in general) before this act of exchange, and presupposed to it as a condition. The exchange value of labour capacity, the realisation of which occurs in the process of the exchange with capital, is therefore presupposed, determined in advance, and only undergoes formal modification (through conversion into money). It is not determined by the use value of labour. For the worker himself labour only has use value in so far as it is exchange value, not in so far as it produces exchange value. For capital it only has exchange value in so far as it is use value. It is a use value, as distinct from its exchange value, not for the worker himself, but only for capital. The worker therefore exchanges labour as a simple, previously determined exchange value, determined by a past process — he exchanges labour as itself objectified labour, only in so far as this is a definite quantity of labour; hence only in so far as its equivalent is already measured, given. Capital obtains it through exchange as living labour, as the general productive force of wealth; activity which increases wealth. It is clear, therefore, that the worker cannot enrich himself through this exchange, since in exchange for the available value magnitude of his labour capacity he surrenders its creative power like Esau his birthright for a mess of pottage. Rather, he has to impoverish himself, because the creative power of his labour becomes established as the power of capital, as an alien power confronting him. He divests himself of labour as the force productive of wealth; capital appropriates it, as such. The separation of labour from property in the product of labour, of labour from wealth, is thus posited in this very act of exchange. What appears paradoxical as result is already implied by the presupposition itself. Thus the productivity of the worker’s labour comes to confront him as an alien power; as indeed does his labour in general, in so far as it is actual labour, not a capacity but motion. Capital, inversely, valorises itself through the appropriation of alien labour. At least, the possibility of valorisation is thereby posited, as a result of the exchange between capital and labour. The relation is first realised in the act of production itself (where capital really consumes the alien labour). Just as labour capacity, as a presupposed exchange value, is exchanged for an equivalent in money, so the latter is again exchanged for an equivalent in commodities, which are consumed. In this process of exchange, labour is not productive; it becomes so only for capital. It can take out of circulation only what it has thrown in, a predetermined quantity of commodities, which are as little its own product as they are its own value. //Thus all advances of civilisation, in other words every increase in the productive forces of society — the productive forces of labour itself — enrich not the worker, but the capitalist. Hence they only magnify the power ruling over labour, only increase the productive power of capital — the objective power over labour.// The transformation of labour into capital is in itself the result of the act of exchange between capital and labour. This transformation is posited only in the production process itself. //

//With Say and his associates the instrument, etc., has a claim to remuneration owing to the service productif it performs, and this remuneration is handed over to the owner of the instrument. The independence of the instrument of labour, its social determination, i.e. its determination as capital, is presupposed in this way so as to substantiate the claims of the capitalist. //

// *"Profit is not made by exchanging. Had it not existed before, neither could it after that transaction"* (Ramsay, Le., p. 184).//

//"Every space of land is the raw material of agriculture” (P. Verri, l.c., [p.] 218).//

[II-87] //Engels gave me this example [130]: 10,000 spindles at 1 lb. per week = 10,000 lbs = £550 of yarn = 1 lb. of yarn for 1 1/10s.

Raw material = 10,000 lbs of yarn. 
Waste 15% = 1,500 =11,500. 
at 7d. a lb. = 11,500    £336.Profit 60.
10,000 spindles at £1 per spindle cost£10,000 
Annual wear and tear 12 1/2% =£1,250 
Hence per week24 
Coal, oil, etc4084 (5 5/6 of 490)
Wear and tear on the steam engine20 
Wages 70; price of lb. of yarn 11/10s.; hence price of the 10,000 lbs £550 
  £ 60
 490. (Wages are 1/7 of 490.)

Therefore raw material 490/336 = 68 4/7%. Wages. 14 2/7%.

Machinery, etc., 17 1/7%. Therefore raw material and machinery = 85 5/7; wages 14 2/7. Wages 1/7 (70), raw material and machinery 6/7 (420). Hence 1/7 wages , 6/7 machinery and raw material. Out of this 6/7, 4/7 comes under raw material +4 /5 of 1/7. 1/7 and 1/5 of 1/7 come under machinery. Thus raw material accounts for somewhat less than 5/7, machinery for somewhat over 1/7, and workers for 1/7.//

This comment from The Manchester Guardian, September 18, 1861, Money article [131]:

* “In reference to coarse spinning we have received the following statement from a gentleman of high standing:

Sept. 17, 1860Per lbMarginCost of Spinning per lb.
His cotton cost6 1/4d.4d3d.
His 16’s warps sold for10 1/4d.   
 Profit 1d.per lb. 
Sept. 17, 1861   
His cotton costs9d.2d3 1/2d.
For his 16’s warps to ask11d.  
 Loss 1 1/2d.per lb.” * 

From the first example it follows that the value of lb. warps is 10 1/4d. (1860), of which 1d. is profit. His outlay is 9 1/4d. 1d. on this comes to 10 30/37%. But if we subtract the raw material (6 1/4) there remain 4d.; of which 3d. must be deducted for cost of spinning. Even if we assume that wages here amount to one half of this, which is wrong, we arrive at a surplus value of 1d. on 1 1/2d. Hence 3:2, or 66 2 /3%. 66 2 /3% is exactly = 2 /3 of the unit. [II-88] Expressing this in hours, the worker works 2 hours for his master for every 3 hours he works for himself. Thus for each hour ... 2 /3 of an hour. Hence if he works for 10 hours altogether, 6 hours belong to him, and 4 (12/3) to his master. (3:2 = 6:4) If he gives 4 hours out of 10 to his master, he gives 4/10 of an hour out of 1 hour = 24 minutes. In 1 hour he works 36 minutes for himself (36:24 = 3:2) // for 36 × 2 = 72 and 24 × 3 = 72//.

We have seen in the labour process that all its factors can be characterised with reference to the result — the product — as means of production. If, in contrast to this, one looks at the value of the different factors required for the manufacture of the product — the values advanced for its manufacture (values expended) — they are called the production costs of the product. The production costs therefore come down to the sum of labour time required for the manufacture of the product (whether this is the labour time contained in the material and means of labour, or the labour time newly added in the labour process) — the total labour time objectified, worked up, in the product. The formula production costs is for us a mere name initially; it adds nothing new to the definitions already arrived at. The value of the product = the sum of the values of the material, the means [of labour] and the labour added to the material through the agency of the means of labour. The proposition is purely analytic. It is in reality only another way of saying that the value of the commodity is determined by the quantity of the labour time objectified in it. Only later on in this investigation shall we find an opportunity to discuss the formula of the production costs. (Namely in dealing with capital and profit; there an antinomy enters because on the one hand the value of the product = the production costs, i.e. the value advanced for the manufacture of the product, while on the other hand (this is of the nature of profit) the value of the product, in that it includes the surplus value, is greater than the value of the production costs. This results from the fact that the production costs for the capitalist are only the sum of the values he has advanced; hence the value of the product = the value of the capital advanced. On the other hand, the real production cost of the product = the sum of the labour time contained in that product. But the sum of the labour time contained in it is greater than the sum of the labour time advanced or paid for by the capitalist. And this surplus value of the product over and above the value paid for or advanced by the capitalist forms, precisely, the surplus value; in our definition the absolute magnitude of which the profit consists. [132])

[II-89] [133] On the Division of Labour.

Thomas Hodgskin, Popular Political Economy etc., London, 1827.

“Invention and knowledge necessarily precedes the division of labour. Savages learned to make Bows and Arrows, to catch animals and fish, to cultivate the ground and weave cloth, before some of them dedicated themselves exclusively to making these instruments, to hunting, fishing, agriculture and weaving the art of working in metals, leather or wood, was unquestionably known to a certain extent, before there were smiths, shoemakers and carpenters. In very modern times, steam engines and spinning mules were invented, before some men made it their chief or only business to manufacture mules and steam engines” ([pp.] 79-80).

“Important inventions are the result of the necessity to labour and of the natural increase of population. If for example the spontaneous fruits are exhausted, man becomes a fisherman, etc.” ([p.] 85).

“Necessity is the mother of invention; and the continual existence of necessity can only be explained by the continual increase of people. E.g. the rise in the price of cattle is caused by an increase of people and by an increase in their manufacturing or other produce. The rise in the price of cattle leads to cultivating food for them, augmenting manure and occasioning that increased quantity of produce, which in this country amounts to nearly 1/3 of the whole” ([pp.] 86-87).

“No one doubts that rapid communication between the different parts of the country contributed both to the increase of knowledge and wealth.... numbers of minds are instantly set to work even by a hint; and every discovery is instantly appreciated, and almost as instantaneously improved. The chances of improvement are great in proportion as the persons are multiplied whose attention is devoted to any particular subject. An increase in the number of persons produces the same effect as communication; for the latter only operates by bringing numbers to think on the same subject” ([pp.] 93-94).

Causes of the division of labour.

“D'abord division of labour between the sexes in the family. Then differences of age. Then peculiarities of constitution. The difference of sex, of age, of bodily and mental power, or difference of organisation, is the chief source of division of labour, and it is continually extended in the progress of society by the different tastes, dispositions, and talents of individuals, and their different aptitudes for different employments” ([pp.] 111 et seq.).

“Apart from the different aptitudes in those who work there are different aptitudes and capacities in the natural instruments they work with. Diversities of soil, climate, and situation, and peculiarities in the spontaneous productions of the earth, and of the minerals contained in its bowels, adapt certain spots to certain arts ... territorial division of labour” ([pp.] 127 et seq.).

Limits to the division of labour.

1) “Extent of market... The commodity produced by one labourer ... constitutes in reality and ultimately the market for the commodities produced by other labourers, and they and their productions are mutually the market for one another ... the extent of the market must mean the number of labourers and their productive power; and rather the former than the latter.... as the number of labourers increases, the productive power of society augments in the compound ratio of that increase, multiplied by the effects of the division of labour and the increase of knowledge.... improved methods of conveyance, like rail-roads, steam-vessels, canals, all means of facilitating intercourse between distant countries, have, as far as division of labour is concerned, the same effects as an actual increase in the number of people, they being more labourers into communication with each other, and more produce to be exchanged” ([pp.] 115 et seq.).

Second limit. The nature of different employments.

As science advances, this apparent limit disappears. In particular, machinery moves it farther away. The application of steam engines to working powerlooms enables one man to perform the operations of several; or to weave as much cloth as 3 or 4 persons can weave by the handloom. This is a complication of employments ... but then there follows in turn a subsequent simplification ... hence a perpetual renewal of occasions for the farther division of labour” ([pp.] 127 et seq.).

[II-90] Surplus Labour.

Owing to the cupidity of the capitalists, etc., there is a constant tendency to extend the numbers of working hours, and thus by augmenting the supply of labour, to lessen its remuneration.... the increase of fixed capital tends to the same result. For where so great a value is lodged in machinery, buildings, etc., the manufacturer is strongly tempted not to let so much stock lie idle and, therefore, will employ no workmen who will not engage to remain for many hours during the day. Hence also the horrors of night labour practised in some establishments, one set of men arriving as others depart” (G. Ramsay, An Essay on the Distribution of Wealth, Edinburgh, [London,] 1836, [p.] 102).

In the case of absolute surplus value, the capital laid out in labour, the variable capital, retains the same magnitude of value while the value of the total product grows; but it grows on account of the increase in the portion of the value of the product which represents the reproduction of the variable capital. In this case (this relates not to the surplus value as such but to it as profit) there is, apart from this, a necessary growth in the part of the constant capital which constitutes raw materials and matières instrumentales. It should not be assumed, except to a very slight degree, that the outlay (the real wastage, even if it is written off in advance) on machinery, buildings, etc., increases thereby.

In the case of relative surplus value the portion of the value of the product in which the variable capital is reproduced remains the same; but its distribution changes. A larger part represents surplus labour and a smaller necessary labour. In this case the given variable capital is diminished by the amount of the reduction in wages. The constant capital remains the same, except as far as raw material and matières instrumentales are concerned. A part of the capital, previously laid out in wages, is set free, and can be converted into machinery, etc. We have investigated the changes in constant capital elsewhere (in dealing with profit).[134] This can therefore be left out here, and our consideration confined to the changes in variable capital. Let the old capital be = c (constant capital) +£1,000. Let this £1,000 represent the variable capital. Say the weekly wages of 1,000 men. Now two situations can be distinguished. The variable capital falls because of falls in the necessaries produced in other branches of industry (e.g. corn, meat, boots, etc.). In this case c remains unchanged, and the number of workers employed, the total amount of labour, remains the same. No change has occurred in the conditions of production. Let us assume that owing to falls in the necessaries the variable capital is reduced (i.e. its value is reduced) by 1/10; it therefore falls from 1,000 to 900. Assume the surplus value was £500, hence = half the variable capital. Then £1,500 would represent the total value of the labour of 1,000 men (since their working day remains the same on our assumption, its magnitude is not altered) no matter how these £1,500 may be divided between capital and labour.

In this case the old capital was:

1) c+ 1,000 (v)+500 (surplus value). Hence surplus labour = 1/3 of the working day.

The new capital would be: 2) c + 900 [v] + 600. Hence surplus labour = 2/5 of the working day. The surplus labour would have risen from 5/15 to 6/15; the working day = 12 hours, thus 1/3 = 4 hours and 2/5 = 4 4/5 hours of labour. Assume that after an interval the variable capital (wages) again fell by 1/10 as a result of the cheapening of means of subsistence which were not produced in this sphere. 1/10 of 900 = 90. The variable capital would fall to 810. We should therefore have:

New capital: 3) c + 810 (v) + 690 (surplus). Therefore the surplus labour = 21/50 of the working day, or 3/50 more than previously. A capital of 100 is set free in the first case, of 90 in the second; together = £190. This release of capital is also a form of accumulation; it is at once the release of money capital, in the form in which we shall find it again when we consider profit.

c + v + s is the product. v + s is a constant magnitude. If now under the given circumstances wages fall, the formula will be c + (v — x) + (s + x).

[II-91] If, in contrast, the relative surplus labour is a result of the cheapening of the article itself, therefore of a change in the productive conditions of the article, e.g. the introduction of machinery, let us assume that 1/2 of the variable capital of 1,000 is converted into machinery. There remains a variable capital of 500, or the labour of 500 men instead of 1,000. The value of their labour = 750, since the value of the 1,000 was £1,500. According to this, then, we should have:

Old capital. c + 1,000 (v) + 500 (s).

New capital. (c + 500), or c + v/2, which we shall call c’,

c'+500 (v)+250.

But since it is presumed that the surplus value grows in consequence of the introduction of machinery, the variable capital declines, by say 1/10. We can now either assume that the 500 work up as much (raw material) as before or that they are working up more. For the sake of simplification we shall assume that they work up only as much. 1/10 of 500 = 400. Therefore:

Old capital. c + 1,000 (v) + 500 (s) = (c + 1,000 (v) +v/2).

New capital. (c + 500), = c'+ 400 (v) + 350 (S) = (c'(c + 1/2 v) + 400 (v) + 7/8v).

£100 would be set free thereby. But this would only occur if no addition of at least that proportion were needed to the supply of raw materials and matières instrumentales. Only in this case can money capital which was previously expended in the form of wages be released by the introduction of machinery.

In the case of absolute surplus value the matières brutes [raw materials] and matières instrumentales must grow in the same proportion as the absolute amount of labour grows.

Old capital. c+1,000 (v)+500 (s). s here = 1/3 of the working day of 1,000 working days. If the working day = 12 hours, s = 4 hours. Assume now that s grows from 500 to 600, hence by 1/5. Since here the value of 12 hours X 1,000 = £1,500, a value of £100 represents 800 hours of labour for the 1,000 men, or 4/5 of an hour of surplus labour for 4 each man. The amount of material, etc., 1 man can work up in 4/5 of an hour depends on how much he can work up in 1 hour, since the working conditions remain the same. We shall denote this by x Thus:

New capital: (c + x, or c') + 1,000 (v) + 500 (s) + 100 (s'). Here there is an increase in the capital laid out and a double increase in the product: due to the increase in the capital laid out and due to the increase in the surplus value.

The determination of value itself remains the essential matter — the foundation — hence the basis is that the value is determined, regardless of the level of the productivity of labour, by the necessary labour time 10; hence it is, for example, always expressed in the same sum of money, if money is assumed to be of constant value.

By the Urbarium [land survey] of Maria Theresia, [135] which abolished serfdom proper in Hungary, the peasants owed the landlords, in return for the sessions they received // lands on each estate, allotted to the maintenance of the serfs, 35-40 English acres each//, unpaid labour of 104 days per annum, not to mention a series of lesser obligations, [the handing over of] fowls, eggs, etc., [II-92] the spinning of 6 lbs of wool or hemp, provided by the landlord, and besides all this a further 1/10 of all their products to be paid to the church, and 1/2 (??) to the landlord. In the year 1771 the landlords still constituted 1/2, of a population of 8 millions in Hungary, and there were only 30,921 artisans: these are the kind of facts which give the doctrine of the Physiocrats its historical backing. [64]

15 men are killed every week in the English coal mines on an average.[136] In the course of the 10 years concluding with 1861 about 10,000 people were killed. Mostly by the sordid avarice of the owners of the coal mines. This * generally to be remarked. The capitalistic production is — to a certain degree, when we abstract from the whole process of circulation and the immense complications of commercial and monetary transactions resulting from the basis, the value in exchange — most economical of realised labour, labour realised in commodities. It is a greater spendthrift than any other mode of production of man, of living labour, spendthrift not only of flesh and blood and muscles, but of brains and nerves. It is, in fact, only at the greatest waste of individual development that the development of general men is secured in those epochs of history which prelude to a socialist constitution of mankind.*

“Should this torture then torment us
Since it brings us greater pleasure?
Were not through the rule of Timur
Souls devoured without measure? “

We have to distinguish between more parts in the value of the product than in the value of the capital advanced. The latter = c + v. The former = c + a. (The part of the product which expresses the newly added labour.,) But a = v + s, = the = the value of the variable capital + the surplus value.

If concentration of the means of production in the hands of relatively few people — as compared to the mass of the labouring multitude — is in general the condition and prerequisite of capitalist production, because, without it, the means of production would not separate themselves from the producers, and the latter would, therefore, not be converted into wages labourers — this concentration is also a technological condition for the development of the capitalist mode of production and, with it, of the productive power of society. It is in short a material condition for production on a large scale. [II-93] Labour in common is developed through concentration — association, division of labour, the employment of machinery, science and the forces of nature. But there is still another point connected with it, Which must be considered under the rate of profit,[137] but not yet in the analysis of surplus value The concentration of workers and of the means of labour in a small area, etc., involves economy of power, the common use by many people of means such as buildings, etc., heating, etc., the cost of which does not increase in proportion to the numbers they serve; lastly labour too, economy on the overhead costs of production. This is particularly, clear in the case of agriculture.

“With the progress of civilisation all, and perhaps more than all the capital and labour which once loosely occupied 500 acres, are now concentrated for the more complete tillage of 100” (R. Jones, An Essay on the Distribution of Wealth etc., Part 1. On Rent, London, 1831, p[p. 190-] 91).

“The cost of getting 24 bushels from 1 acre is less than was the cost of getting 24 from 2; the concentrated space

//this concentration of space is also important in manufacture. Yet the employment of a shared motor, etc., is still more important here. In agriculture, although space, is concentrated relatively to the amount of capital and labour employed, it is an enlarged sphere of production, as compared to the sphere of production formerly occupied or worked upon by one single, independent agent of production. The sphere is absolutely greater. Hence the possibility of employing horses, etc. //

“in which the operations of husbandry are carried on, must give some advantages and save some expense, the fencing, draining, seed, harvest work, etc., less when confined to one acre, etc.” (l.c., [p.] 199).

Ten Hours’ Bill and overworking.

* “Though the health of a population is so important a part of the national capital, we are afraid it must be said that the class of employers of labour have not been the most forward to guard and cherish this treasure. ‘The men of the West Riding — * (quotes The Times from the Report of the Registrar General for October 186 1 a) * — became the clothiers of mankind, and so intent Were they on this work, that the health of the workpeople was sacrificed, and the race in a few generations must have degenerated. But a reaction set in. Lord Shaftesbury’s Bill limited the hours of children’s labour, etc.’ The consideration of the health of the operatives"* (adds The Times) * “was forced upon the millowners by society.”*

In the larger tailoring shops in London a given piece of work, e.g. on trousers, a coat, etc., is called “an hour'’, “a half hour”. (The “hour” = 6d.) How much the average product of an hour comes to is naturally determined by practice. If new fashions or particular improvements and methods of mending emerge, a contest arises between employer and workmen over whether a particular piece of work = l hour, etc., until here too experience has decided the question. Similarly in many London furniture workshops, etc.

(It goes without saying that, apart from certain arrangements for apprenticeship, etc., only those workers are taken on who possess the average skill and can deliver during the day the average amount of product. At times when business is bad, where there is no continuity of labour, this latter circumstance is naturally a matter of indifference to the employer.)

[III-95a/A] As one of the main advantages of the Factory Acts:

* “A still greater boon is the distinction at last made clear between the worker’s own time and his master’s. The worker knows now when that which he sells is ended, and when his own begins; and, by possessing sure foreknowledge of this, is enabled to pre-arrange his own minutes for his own purposes” * (Reports of the Inspectors of Factories for the Half Year Ending 31st October 1859. Report of Mr. Robert Baker, p. 52).[138]

For the worker himself, labour capacity only has use value in so far as it produces exchange value, not in so far as it produces exchange values.[139] As use value labour exists only for capital, and it is the use value of capital itself, i.e. it is the mediating activity through which capital is increased. Capital is autonomous exchange value as process, as valorisation process.

The separation of property from labour appears as a necessary law of the exchange between capital and labour. As not-capital, not-objectified labour labour capacity appears: 1) Negatively. Not-raw material, not-instrument of labour, not-product, not-means of subsistence, not-money: labour separated from all the means of labour and life, from the whole of its objectivity, as a mere possibility. This complete denudation, this possibility of labour devoid of all objectivity. Labour capacity as absolute poverty, i.e. the complete exclusion of objective wealth. The objectivity possessed by labour capacity is only the bodily existence of the worker himself, his own objectivity.

2) Positively. Not-objectified labour, the unobjective, subjective existence of labour itself. Labour not as object but as activity, as living source of value. In contrast to capital, which is the reality of general wealth, it is the general possibility of the same, asserting itself in action. As object, on the one hand, labour is absolute poverty; as subject and activity, [on the other,] it is the general possibility of wealth. This is labour, such as it is presupposed by capital as antithesis, as the objective existence of capital, and such as for its part it in turn presupposes capital.

What the capitalist pays the worker, as with the buyer of any other commodity, is the exchange value of his commodity, which is therefore determined in advance of this exchange process; what the capitalist receives is the use value of the labour capacity — labour itself, the enriching activity of which therefore belongs to him and not to the worker. Hence the worker is not enriched by this process; he rather creates wealth as a power alien to him and ruling over him.