Chapter Six. Results of the Direct Production Process
Chapter Six. Results of the Direct Production Process[edit source]
 Three points need to be considered in this chapter:
1) Commodities as the product of capital, of capitalist production;
2) Capitalist production is the production of surplus value;
3) Finally, it is the production and reproduction of the whole relation through which this direct production process is characterised as specifically capitalist.
Of these 3 headings, No. 1 should be placed last, not first, in the final revision before printing, since it forms the transition to the second book — the circulation process of capital. But for the sake of convenience we shall begin with it here.
AD 1) Commodities as the Product of Capital[edit source]
The commodity, as the elementary form of bourgeois wealth, was our starting point, the presupposition for the emergence of capital. On the other hand, commodities now appear as the product of capital.
This circular course taken by our presentation, on the one hand, corresponds to the historical development of capital, one of the conditions for the emergence of which is the exchange of commodities trade in commodities; but this condition itself is formed on the basis provided by a number of different stages of production which all have in common a situation in which capitalist production either does not as yet exist at all or exists only sporadically. On the other hand, the exchange of commodities in its full development and the form of the commodity as the universally necessary social form of the product first emerge as a result of the capitalist mode of production.
If, in contrast, we consider societies where capitalist production is fully developed, the commodity appears there as both the constant elementary presupposition of capital and, on the other hand, as the direct result of the capitalist production process.
Both commodities and money are the elementary presuppositions of capital, but they only develop into capital under certain conditions. Capital formation cannot occur except on the basis of the circulation of commodities (which includes the circulation of money), hence at an already given stage of development of trade in which the latter has achieved a certain extension. The production and circulation of commodities, however, do not conversely presuppose the capitalist mode of production for their existence; on the contrary, as I have already demonstrated, they also “exist in pre-bourgeois social formations”. They are the historical presupposition of the capitalist mode of production.  On the other hand, however, it is only on the basis of capitalist production that the commodity becomes the general form of the product, that every product must take on the commodity form, that sale and purchase seize control not only of the surplus of production but of its very substance, and that the various conditions of production themselves emerge in their totality as commodities which go into the production process from circulation. Hence if the commodity appears on the one hand as the presupposition for the formation of capital, the commodity also appears, on the other hand, as essentially the product and result of the capitalist production process, in so far as it is the universal elementary form of the product. At earlier stages of production, products assume the commodity form in part. Capital, in contrast, necessarily produces its product as a commodity. [Sismondi] Therefore, to the degree that capitalist production, i.e. capital, develops, the general laws developed with regard to the commodity — for example, the laws concerning value — are also realised in the different forms of money circulation.
Here, it is apparent how even economic categories which belong to earlier epochs of production take on a specifically different, historical, character on the basis of the capitalist mode of production.
The conversion of’ money, which is itself’ only a converted form of the commodity, into capital only takes place once labour capacity has been converted into a commodity for the worker himself; hence once the category of commodity trade has taken control of a sphere which was previously excluded from it, or only sporadically included in it. Only when the working population has ceased either to form part of the objective conditions of labour, or to enter the market as a producer of commodities, selling its labour itself — or more precisely its labour capacity — instead of the product of its labour, does production become the production of commodities to its complete extent, over the whole of its length and breadth. Only then are all products converted into commodities, and only then do the objective conditions of each individual sphere of production enter into production as commodities themselves. Only on the basis of capitalist production does the commodity in fact become the universal elementary form of wealth. If, e.g., capital has not yet taken control of agriculture, a large part of the product is still produced directly as means of subsistence, not as commodities; a large part of the working population will not yet have been converted into wage labourers, nor will a large part of the conditions of labour have been converted into capital. This implies that the developed division of labour, as it appears accidentally within society, and the capitalist division of labour within the workshop, condition and produce each other. For the commodity as the necessary form of the product, and therefore the alienation of the product as the necessary form of its appropriation, imply a fully developed division of social labour, while on the other hand it is only on the basis of capitalist production, hence also of the capitalist division of labour within the workshop, that. all products necessarily assume the commodity form, and all producers are therefore necessarily commodity producers. It is therefore only with the coming of capitalist production that use value is first generally mediated through exchange value.
1) Capitalist production is the first to make the commodity the universal form of all products.
2) Commodity production necessarily leads to capitalist production, once the worker has ceased to be a part of the conditions of production (slavery, serfdom) or the naturally evolved community no longer remains the basis [of production] (India). From the moment at which labour power itself in general becomes a commodity.
3) Capitalist production annihilates the [original] basis of commodity production, isolated, independent production and exchange between the owners of commodities, or the exchange of equivalents. The exchange between capital and labour power becomes formal: [...]
From this point of view the form in which the conditions of production themselves enter into the labour process is also entirely irrelevant. E.g. it is a matter of indifference whether they only give up their value to the product gradually, as in the case of a part of the constant capital, machinery, etc., or enter into it materially, as with the raw material; whether, as in the case of the seed in agriculture, a part  of the product is directly re-employed by the producer himself as a means of labour, or is first sold and then converted afresh into a means of labour. Whatever their role as use values in the production process, all the means of labour that have been produced now function at the same time as elements in the valorisation process. To the extent that they are not converted into real money, they are converted into money of account, they are treated as exchange values, and the value element they add to the product in one way or another is precisely calculated. In the same measure as e.g. agriculture becomes a branch of industry carried on in the capitalist fashion — as capitalist production settles itself down in the country — in the same measure as agriculture produces for the market, produces commodities articles for sale and not for its own direct consumption, in that measure does it calculate its expenditure, treat each item of it as a commodity (whether it buys from another or from itself, i.e. from production), and therefore — to the extent that the commodity is treated as independent exchange value — as money. Therefore since wheat, hay, cattle, seed of all kinds, etc., are sold as commodities — and without being sold they do not count as products at all — they enter into production as commodities, or, respectively, as money. The conditions of production, the elements of products, naturally become commodities in the same measure as the products do — for they are identical with the products — and in so far as the valorisation process comes into consideration they are calculated in the independent form of exchange value, as monetary magnitudes. The direct production process is here always and inseparably a labour process and a valorisation process just as the product is a unity of use value and exchange value, i.e. a commodity. Leaving aside this formal aspect, we can say that in the same measure as e.g. the farmer’s purchases of what he has to lay out expand, so also does the trade in seed, in manure, in breeding cattle, etc. — whereas he sells his income. Thus for the individual farmer these conditions of production also pass in actuality out of circulation and enter into his production process; circulation becomes in effect the presupposition of his production, since the conditions of production increasingly become commodities really bought (or purchasable). In any case, for him they are already commodities, as articles, means of labour, which form at the same time parts of the value of his capital. (Hence if he returns them in natura to production he reckons them as having been sold to him qua the producer.) And indeed this develops in the same proportion as the capitalist mode of production develops in agriculture; hence in proportion as it is carried on increasingly in a factory-like fashion.
The character of the commodity as the universally necessary form of the product, as the specific peculiarity of the capitalist mode of production, is palpably demonstrated in the large scale of production, the one-sidedness and the massive nature of the product brought about with the development of capitalist production. This mode of production imposes on the product a character which is social and is firmly bound up with the social context, while making its direct relation as use value to the satisfaction of the producer’s needs appear, in contrast, as something wholly accidental, irrelevant and inessential. This mass product must be realised as exchange value, it must pass through the metamorphosis of the commodity, not only as a necessity for the subsistence of the producer who produces as a capitalist, but also as a necessity for the renewal and continuity of the production process itself. And this is why it passes into the sphere of trade. Its buyer is not  the direct consumer but the merchant, who effects the metamorphosis of the commodity as a business in its own right. [Sismondi] The product finally develops its character as a commodity, and hence its character as exchange value, because under capitalist production the number of different spheres of production, hence the spheres of the product’s exchangeability, are constantly multiplied.
[We proceed from the commodity, this specific social form of the product, as the basis and the presupposition of capitalist production. We take the individual product into our hands and analyse the formal determinations it contains as a commodity, which mark it out as a commodity. Before capitalist production, a large part of the products was not produced as commodities, not to serve as commodities; while, conversely, a large part of the products which entered production did not do so as commodities, did not enter the production process as commodities. The conversion of products into commodities only occurs at individual points, is limited only to the surplus of production, or only to individual spheres of production (the products of manufacture), etc. The whole range of products neither enters into the process as articles of trade, nor does it emerge from it as such. [see the French work of about 1752 in which it is asserted that corn was never regarded as an article of trade in France before .] Nevertheless, commodity circulation, and money circulation within certain limits, hence a certain degree of development of trade, are the presupposition, the starting point of capital formation and the capitalist mode of production. It is as such a presupposition that we treat the commodity, since we proceed from it as the simplest element in capitalist production. On the other hand, the commodity is the product, the result of capitalist production. What appears first as its element is later revealed to be its own product. Only on the basis of capitalist production does the commodity become the universal form of the product, and the more this production develops, the more do all the ingredients of production enter into the production process as commodities.]
The commodity as it emerges from capitalist production is determined differently from the commodity as it was at the starting point, as the element, the presupposition, of capitalist production. We started with the individual commodity as an independent article in which a specific quantity of labour time was objectified, and which therefore had an exchange value of a given magnitude.
Henceforth the commodity appears in a dual determination:
1) What is objectified in it, apart from its use value, is a specific quantity of socially necessary labour, but whereas in the commodity as such it remains entirely undetermined (and is in fact a matter of indifference) from whom this objectified labour derives, etc., the commodity as the product of capital contains in part paid, and in part unpaid, labour. It has already been remarked that this expression is not correct in so far as the labour itself is not bought and sold directly. But a certain total amount of labour is objectified in the commodity. Part of this objectified labour (leaving aside constant capital, for which an equivalent has been paid) is received in exchange for the equivalent of the wage; another part is appropriated by the capitalist without any equivalent. Both parts are objectified, and are therefore present as parts of the value of the commodity. And to characterise the one as paid, the other as unpaid, labour, serves the purposes of abbreviation.
 2) The individual commodity not only appears materially as a part of the total product of the capital, as an aliquot part of the amount produced by it. Now we no longer have in front of us the individual, independent commodity, the individual product. It is not individual commodities which appear as the result of the process, but a mass of commodities in which the value of the capital advanced + the surplus value, the appropriated surplus labour, has been reproduced. Each of these individual commodities is a repository of the value of the capital and the surplus value produced by it. The labour applied to the individual commodity can no longer be calculated at all — if only because this would be a calculation of the average, hence a notional estimate, which covers the part of the constant capital which enters into the value of the total product merely as depreciation, and also the conditions production that are consumed communally, and finally because it of is the directly social labour, which is balanced out and estimated as the average labour of the many cooperating individuals. The labour applied to the individual commodity counts only as the aliquot part of the total labour which falls to this commodity and is estimated notionally. In the determination of the price of the individual commodity this labour appears as a merely notional part of the total product in which the capital is reproduced.
3) The commodity now reveals itself as such — as the repository of the total value of the capital + the surplus value, as opposed to the commodity which originally appeared to us as independent — as the product of capital in reality as the converted form of the capital which has now been valorised — in the scale and the dimensions of the sale which must take place in order that the old capital value may be realised, along with the surplus value it has created. To achieve this it is by no means enough for the individual commodities or part of the individual commodities to be sold at their value.
We saw earlier that the commodity must acquire a double mode of existence in order to be made fit for circulation. Not only must it confront the buyer as an article with particular useful qualities, as a particular use value which satisfies particular needs, whether of individual or of productive consumption. Its exchange value must have acquired a form different and distinct from its use value, independent of it, although only notionally. It must appear as the unity of use value and exchange value, but at the same time it must appear as this duality. Its exchange value acquires this independent form, a form entirely independent of its use value, as the pure existence of materialised social labour time, in its price, that expression in which exchange value is expressed as exchange value, i.e. as money; and indeed it is expressed in this way in money of account.
There are in fact individual commodities, as for example railways, large buildings, etc., which are on the one hand so continuous in their nature, and on the other hand so extensive, that the entire product of the capital advanced appears as one single commodity. In this field, therefore, the law demonstrated in relation to single commodities would apply, namely that their price is nothing but their value expressed in money. The total value of the capital + the surplus value would be contained in the single commodity, and could be expressed in money of account. The price determination of a commodity of this kind would not differ from that given earlier for the single commodity, because here the total product of the capital would really be present as a single commodity. It is therefore unnecessary to discuss this point any further.
The majority of commodities, however, are discrete in nature (and even the continuous ones can in most cases be treated notionally as discrete magnitudes), i.e., considered as amounts of a given article, they are divisible according to the measures customarily applied to them as specific use values,  e.g. a quarters of wheat, b centners of coffee, c yards of linen, x dozens of knives — in this case the individual commodity itself counts as the unit of measurement, etc.
We now have to look at the total product of the capital, which can always be considered as a single commodity, whatever its scale, and whether it is discrete or continuous; it can be considered as a single use value, and its exchange value therefore also appears in the total price as the expression of the total value of this total product.
When the valorisation process was examined, it was shown that a part of the constant capital advanced, such as buildings, machines, etc., gives up to the product only the specific quantities of value it loses in the labour process as means of labour, and that it never enters into the product materially, in the form of its own use value. It was also shown that it continues to serve in the labour process over a long period, and that the part of the value that it gives up over a particular period of time to the product produced during that period can be estimated according to the ratio between that particular period and the total period during which it is used up as a means of labour, thereby losing its total value and transferring its total value to the product. E.g. if it serves for 10 years, a calculation of the average will show that it gives up 1/10 of its value to the product in one year, and adds 1/10 of its value to the annual product of the capital. In so far as this part of the constant capital continues to serve as a means of labour, after disposing of a given quantity of products, and to represent a definite value, according to the average estimate indicated above, it does not enter into the formation of the value of the products that have been disposed of. In general, its total value is only a determinant of the value of the products disposed of, the products for the production of which it has already served, in so far as the value given up by it during a particular period of time is estimated as an aliquot part of its total value, determined by the ratio between the period of time during which it has served and given up a part of its value and the total period of time during which it serves and gives up its total value to the product. For the rest, the value it continues to have does not come into consideration when the value of the amount of commodities already disposed of is estimated. It can therefore be set at nothing in relation to this amount. Or, and this comes to the same thing, the matter can be regarded, for the sake of simplification, for the present purpose, as if the total capital, including the part of the constant capital which only enters completely into the product over long periods of production, were entirely contained, dissolved, in the product of the total capital which we are about to consider.
Let us assume that the total product = 1,200 yards of linen. Let the capital advanced be = £100, of which £80 represents constant capital, and £20 variable capital, and let the rate of surplus value be = 100%, so that the worker works half the working day for himself, and the other half for the capitalist, without receiving payment. In this case, the surplus value that has been produced = £20, and the total value of the 1,200 yards = £120, £80 of which represents value added by the constant capital, and £40 newly added labour. Half of the latter replaces the wage, the other half represents surplus labour  or forms surplus value.
Since the elements of capitalist production, only excepting the newly added labour, already enter into the production process as commodities, hence with specific prices, the value added by the constant capital is already given as a price, e.g. in the above example it is £80 for flax, machines, etc. But as regards the newly added labour, if the wage determined by the necessary means of subsistence = £20, and the surplus labour is of the same amount as the paid labour, it must be expressed in a price of £40, since the value in which the [newly] added labour is expressed depends on its quantity but not by any means on the situation in which it is paid. The total price of the 1,200 yards produced by the capital of £100 therefore = £120.
How in this case is the value of the individual commodity to be determined, here the value of a yard of linen? Evidently by dividing the total price of the total product by the number of individual products as they result from a division of the product into aliquot parts according to measurements which are given. The total price of the product must be divided by the number of products; there use value provides the yardstick, hence in this case it is £120/1,200 yards. This gives a price of 2s. for the individual yard of linen. If the yard which serves as the measure of the linen is now further developed as a yardstick, by subdividing it into smaller aliquot portions, this will make it possible to go further, and to determine the price of half a yard, and so on. Thus the price of the individual commodity is determined by calculating its use value as an aliquot part of the total product and its price as a corresponding aliquot part of the total value brought forth by the capital.
We have seen that in accordance with the different levels of productivity or productive power of labour the same labour time will be expressed in very diverse amounts of produce, or an exchange value of equal magnitude will be expressed in entirely different quantities of use value. In the case under consideration, assume that the productivity of linen weaving increases fourfold. The constant capital, flax, machines, etc., that was set in motion by the labour expressed in £40 was = £80. If the productivity of weaving labour were to increase fourfold, it would set in motion 4 times as much constant capital; thus £320’s worth of flax, etc. And the number of yards would increase fourfold, it would grow from 1,200 to 4,800. The newly added weaving labour, however, would continue to be expressed in £40, since the quantity of labour would have remained unchanged. The total price of the 4,800 yards therefore now = £360, and the price of a single yard = £360 /4,800 Yards = 1 1/2 s. The price of at single would have fallen by 1/4, from 2s., or 24d., to 1 1/2 s. or 18d., because the constant capital contained in the yard would have absorbed 1/4 less additional living labour during its conversion into linen, or the same quantity of weaving labour would have been distributed over a greater quantity of product. Even so, our present purpose is still better served if we take an example in which the total capital advanced remains the same, but the productive power of labour is expressed in very diverse quantities of the same  use value, e.g. wheat, merely as a result of natural conditions, e.g. seasonable or unseasonable weather. Let us assume that the quantity of labour spent upon an acre of land, e.g. in the production of wheat, is expressed in £7, of which £4 is newly added labour, and £3 represents labour already objectified in constant capital. Let £2 of the £4 be wages and £2 surplus labour, in line with the ratio already presupposed of surplus labour / necessary labour = 100/100. But let the crop vary according to the variations in the seasons.
|Total in qrs||one qr||Value or price of the
|“When he has 5||he can sell about 28s.||£7|
[J. Arbuthnot, An Inquiry into the Connection etc. By a Farmer, London, 1773, p. 108.]
The value or the price of the total product of the capital of £5 advanced for 1 acre always remains the same here, £7, since the amount of objectified and newly added living labour advanced remains constant. But this same labour is expressed in very different numbers of quarters, and the single quarter, the same aliquot part of the total product, therefore has very diverse prices. This variation in the prices of the individual commodities produced with the same capital does not however lead to any change at all in the rate of surplus value, in the ratio of surplus value to variable capital, or in the proportion in which the total working day is divided into paid and unpaid labour. The total value in which the newly added labour is expressed remains the same, because the same quantity of living labour as before is added to the constant capital, and the proportion between the surplus value and the wage, or between the paid and the unpaid labour, remains the same whether the yard, owing to differences in the productivity of labour, costs 2s. or 1 1/2 s. What has altered in regard to the individual yard is the total quantity of weaving labour added to it; but the proportion in which this total quantity is divided into paid and unpaid labour remains the same for each aliquot part — whether larger or smaller — of this total quantity which is contained in the individual yard. Similarly, under the given presupposition, in the second case — with a decline in the productivity of labour — a rise in the price of the quarter [of wheat], the fact that the newly added labour is distributed over fewer quarters, with a greater quantity of newly added labour therefore falling to the share of the individual quarter,  would make absolutely no difference to the proportion in which this larger or smaller quantity of labour absorbed by the individual quarter is divided between paid and unpaid labour. Nor does it make any difference, either to the total surplus value the capital has produced, or to the aliquot part of the surplus value contained in the value of the individual quarter, in relation to the value newly added to it. If under the given presuppositions more living labour is added to a specific quantity of the means of labour, more paid and more unpaid labour is added to it in identical proportions; if less living labour is added, less paid and less unpaid labour is added, again in identical proportions, but the ratio between these two components of the newly added labour remains unchanged.
Leaving aside a number of distorting influences, which it is not relevant to consider for the present purpose, it is the tendency and the result of the capitalist mode of production continuously to raise the productivity of labour, hence continuously to increase the amount of the means of production converted into products with the same additional labour, continuously to distribute the newly added labour over a greater quantity of products, so to speak, and therefore to reduce the price of the individual commodity, or to cheapen commodity prices in general. But in and for itself this cheapening of commodity prices involves absolutely no change, either in the amount of surplus value produced by the same variable capital, or in the proportional division of the newly added labour contained in the individual commodity into paid and unpaid, or in the rate of surplus value realised in the individual commodity. If the conversion of a specific quantity of flax, spindles, etc., into a yard of linen absorbs less of the weaver’s labour than before, this does not in the least alter the proportional division of this greater or lesser amount of labour into paid and unpaid. The absolute quantity of living labour added afresh to a given quantity of already objectified labour does not affect the proportion in which this amount, which can be larger or smaller according to the particular commodity, is divided into paid and unpaid labour. In spite of the variation in commodity prices arising out of a variation in the productive power of labour, i.e. a reduction in these commodity prices and a cheapening of the commodity, the proportion between paid and unpaid labour, and altogether the rate of surplus value realised by capital, may therefore remain constant. If a variation occurs, not in the productive power of the labour newly added to the means of labour, but in the productive power of the labour that creates the means of labour, the price of which will accordingly rise or fall, it is equally clear that the variation thus effected in the prices of the commodities would not alter the unchanging division of the additional living labour contained in them into. paid and unpaid labour.
Conversely. If variation in the prices of commodities does not exclude a constant rate of surplus value, an unchanging division of the additional labour into paid and unpaid, constancy in the prices of commodities does not exclude variation in the rate of surplus value, changes in the proportional division of the newly added labour into paid and unpaid. In order to simplify matters let us assume that, in the branch of labour under discussion, no variation takes place in the productive power of any of the labour contained in it hence in the above case, for example, there is no variation in the productivity of weaving labour or the labour that provides the flax, the spindles, etc. On the above assumption, £80 is laid out in constant capital, £20 in variable capital. This £20 is supposed to express the 20 days (e.g. weekdays) of 20 weavers. According to our presupposition, they produced £40, hence worked half a day for themselves and half a day for the capitalist. But it is further  posited that the working day was = 10 hours, and is now extended to 12, so that the surplus labour is increased by 2 hours per man. The total working day would have grown by 1/5, from 10 hours to 12. Since 10:12 = 16 2/3:20, no more than 16 2/3 weavers would now be necessary to set in motion the same constant capital of £80, hence to produce 1,200 yards of linen. (For 20 men working 10 hours account for a total of 200 hours, and 16 2/3 men working 12 hours also account for 200 hours.) Or, if we keep the 20 workers as before, they will now add 240 hours of labour instead of the previous 200 hours. And since the value of 200 hours per day per week is expressed in £40, the value of 240 hours per day per week would be expressed in £48. But since the productive power of labour, etc., has remained the same, and since there are £80 of constant capital for £40 [of variable], there would be £96 of constant capital for £48 [of variable]. The capital advanced would therefore amount to £116, and the commodity, value produced by it would = £144. But since £120 = 1,200 yards, £128 = 1,280 yards. A single yard would therefore cost £128 /£1,280 = £1/10 = 2s. The price of the single yard would be unchanged, because it would still cost the same total quantity of weaving labour newly added and labour objectified in the means of labour. The surplus value contained in each yard, however, would have grown. Previously there was £20 of surplus value for 1,200 yards, hence 4d. for one yard (£20 /1,200 = ( £2/120 = £1/60 = 1/3 s. = 4d.). Now there is £28 [of surplus value] for 1,280 yards, [and one yard] now [contains] 5 1/4d. [of surplus value], since 5 1/4d. x 1,280 = £28, which is the actual total of the surplus value contained in the 1,280 yards. Similarly, the additional £8 of surplus value are = 80 yards (at 2s. per yard), and in fact the number of yards has risen from 1,200 to 1,280.
Here, then, the price of the commodity remains the same; the productive power of labour remains the same. The amount of capital laid out in wages remains the same. Nevertheless, the total amount of surplus value rises from 20 to 28, or by 8, which is 2/5 of 20; since 8x 5/2 = 40/2 = 20, it has risen by 40%. This is the percentage by which the total surplus value has grown. But as far as the rate of surplus value is concerned, it was originally 100% and is now 140%.
These blasted figures can be corrected later. For the moment it is enough to say that surplus value grows where commodity prices remain constant  because the same amount of variable capital sets in motion more labour, and therefore produces not only more commodities of the same price, but more commodities containing more unpaid labour.
The correct calculation is shown in the following comparison. But first certain additional prefatory remarks need to be made:
If 20 v originally = 20 ten-hour days (which one can multiply by 6 to arrive at weeks, without changing matters) and if the working day = 10 hours, the total amount of labour = 200 hours.
If the day is prolonged from 10 to 12 hours (and surplus labour from 5 to 7) the total labour of the 20 = 240 hours.
If 200 hours of labour are represented in £40, 240 are represented in £48.
If 200 hours set a constant capital of £80 in motion, 240 will set in motion a capital of £96.
If 200 hours produce 1,200 yards, 240 hours, in contrast, will produce 1,440 yards.
And now the comparison follows:
weaving labourper yard
|I)||£80||£20||£20||£120||100%||20||1,200||2s.||8d.||4d.||4:4 = 100%|
|II)||96||£20||£28||£144||140%||28||1,440||2s.||8d.||4 2/3d.||4 2/3:3 1/3 = 140%|
|5:7 = the number of hours rose from 5 to 7.|
As a result of the increase in absolute surplus value, i.e. the prolongation of the working day, the ratio [between the paid and unpaid parts] in the total amount of labour applied has risen from 5:5 to 5:7, a rise from 100% to 140%; this ratio is equally reflected in the single yard. But the total amount of surplus value is determined by the number of workers employed at this higher rate. If the number of workers had fallen as a result of the longer working day — only the same quantity of labour being performed as before, but a smaller number of workers being employed owing to the longer working day — the rate of surplus value would increase to the same extent, but its absolute amount would not.
Let us now assume the opposite, that the working day remains the same, = 10 hours, but that as a result of an increase in the productivity of labour, an increase which takes place not in the constant capital that employs the weaving labour, nor in this labour itself, but rather in other branches of industry, the products of which enter into the wage, necessary labour is reduced from 5 to 4 hours. Then the workers would work 6 hours for the capitalist instead of 5 as before, and 4 for themselves instead of 5.  The ratio of surplus labour to necessary labour was 5:5 = 100/100, 100%; but now it is 6:4 = 150:100 = 150%.
20 men continue to be employed for 10 hours, = 200 hours [altogether]; they continue to set in motion the same constant capital of £80. The value of the total product continues to be £120, the number of yards = 1,200, the price of the yard = 2s. The reason is that nothing at all has changed in the prices of production. The total product (in value) of 1 [worker] was £2, and of 20 was £40. But if at 5 hours a day the week = £20, 4 = £16, and he buys the same quantity of means of subsistence with the £16 as previously [with £20]. The 20 men, who now only perform 4 hours of necessary labour, are paid £16 instead of £20, as previously. Variable capital has fallen from 20 to 16, but continues to set in motion the same absolute quantity of labour. However, this quantity is now divided differently. Previously 1/2 was paid, 1/2 unpaid. Now 4 hours of the 10 are paid and 6 unpaid, hence 2/5 paid and 3/5 unpaid; in other words the ratio is now 6:4 instead of 5:5; thus the rate of surplus value is 150% instead of 100%. The rate of surplus value has risen by 50%. There would be 3 1/3 d. of paid and 4 4/5 d. of unpaid weaving labour in each yard; this is 24/5 : 16/5, or 24:16, as above. We should therefore have:
weaving labourper yard
|III)||80||16||24||£120||150%||24||1,200||2s.||8d.||4 4/5 d.||4 4/5 :3 1/5 =
24:16 = 150%
It will be noted here that the total amount of surplus value is only 24, not 28 as in II. But if in III the same amount of variable capital (20) were to be laid out, the total amount of labour employed would have risen, since it remains the same if a variable capital of 16 is laid out. In fact it would have risen by 1/4, since 20 is more than 16. There would have been a rise in the total quantity of labour employed, not just in the proportion of surplus labour to paid labour. Since 16 yields £40 at this new rate, 20 yields £50, £30 of which is surplus value. If £40 = 200 hours, £50 = 250 hours. And if 200 set in motion 80c, 250 hours set in motion 100c. Finally, if 200 hours produce 1,200 yards, 250 hours produce 1,500. The calculation would be as follows:
weaving labourper yard
It should in general be noted that if, as a result of a fall in wages (which is a result here of an increase in productive power), less variable capital is needed to employ the same amount of labour, this amount of labour is employed with a greater advantage for capital, in that the paid part of this amount falls in comparison with the unpaid part. Furthermore, if the capitalist continues to lay out the same amount of variable capital, he makes a twofold gain, because he not only achieves a higher rate of surplus value on the same total quantity, but exploits a greater quantity of labour at this higher rate of surplus value, *although his variable capital has not increased in magnitude.*
 We have therefore seen that:
1) the rate and quantity of surplus value may remain constant with changing commodity prices;
2) the rate and quantity of surplus value may vary with constant commodity prices.
As was developed in our examination of the production of surplus value, commodity prices as such only influence surplus value in so far as they enter into the reproduction costs of labour capacity, thereby affecting the latter’s own value; this effect may over short periods be cancelled out by countervailing influences.
It follows from 1) that the fall in commodity prices which arises from the development of the productive power of labour, the resultant cheapening of commodities — leaving aside the group of commodities which make labour capacity itself cheaper when they become cheaper (just as, inversely, their increased dearness makes labour capacity more expensive) — admittedly implies that less labour is materialised in the individual commodities, or that the same labour is represented by a greater quantity of commodities, for which reason a smaller aliquot part of the labour falls to the share of each individual commodity, but it does not in itself imply any change in the proportional division of the labour contained in each individual commodity into paid and unpaid. The two laws developed here are universally valid for all commodities, including therefore those that do not enter directly or indirectly into the reproduction of labour capacity, and the prices of which are therefore irrelevant to the determination of the value of labour capacity itself, whether they have risen or fallen.
It follows from 2) — see remarks ad III) and IIIa) — that although the commodity prices remain the same, and the productive power of the living labour employed directly in the branch of production which results in the commodity remains the same, the rate and the amount of surplus value may rise. [It would have been equally possible to demonstrate the obverse of this phenomenon, namely that prices may fall either if the total working day is reduced, or if the necessary labour time increases owing to an increase in the prices of other commodities, while the working day remains constant.] This is the case because a variable capital of a given magnitude may employ very unequal quantities of labour of a given productive power (and the prices of the commodities remain the same as long as the productive power of labour does not alter) or a variable capital of varying magnitude employs equal quantities of labour of a given productive power. In short, a variable capital of a given magnitude of value does not by any means always set in motion the same amount of living labour, and therefore, in so far as it is regarded as a mere symbol for the quantities of labour it sets in motion, it is a symbol of variable magnitude.
This last remark — ad 2) and law No. 2 — shows how the commodity as a product of capital, as an aliquot constituent of capital, and as a repository of capital which has valorised itself and therefore contains an aliquot part of the surplus value created by capital, must be considered differently from the way we viewed it previously, at the beginning of our examination of the individual, independent commodity.'
(When we speak of the prices of commodities, we always assume that the overall price of the mass of commodities produced by capital = the overall value of this mass of commodities, and therefore that the price of the aliquot part, of the individual commodity, = the aliquot part of that overall value. Price here is in general only the monetary expression of value. Prices as distinct from values are not as yet present at all in our treatment of the question.)
 (Transition from Section §2 and 3 of this chapter to 3)
which is first treated here as 1 (cf. p. 444)
We have seen that capitalist production is the production of surplus value, and as such (in accumulation) it is at the same time the production of capital and the production and reproduction of the whole capital-relation on an ever more extensive scale. Surplus value, however, is only produced as a part of the commodity’s value, just as it is then expressed in a specific quantity of a commodity or in surplus produce. Only as a producer of commodities does capital produce surplus value and reproduce itself. Therefore what we have again to concern ourselves with next is the commodity as its direct product. As we have seen, however, commodities are incomplete results from the point of view of their form (according to their format economic determination). They have to pass through certain changes of form — they must re-enter the process of exchange, in which they undergo these changes of form — before they can again function as wealth, whether in the form of money or as use values. We therefore have now to examine the commodity more closely as the immediate result of the capitalist production process, and following that the further processes it has to pass through.)]
(Commodities are the elements of capitalist production, and they are its product; they are the form in which capital reappears at the end of the production process.)
The individual commodity — as the product of capital, in fact as the elementary constituent of reproduced and valorised capital displays the difference between it and the individual commodity from which we started out as the presupposition of capital formation, the commodity considered in its independence. One point of difference — apart from the point considered previously, relating to the determination of the price — is that when the commodity is sold at its price the value of the capital advanced to produce it is not realised, still less the surplus value created by that capital. Indeed, considered merely as the repositories of capital, not only materially, as parts of the use value of which the capital consists, but also as repositories of the value of which the capital consists, commodities can be sold at the price which corresponds to their value and nevertheless be sold below their value as products of capital and as constituents of the overall product in which the capital that has been valorised exists initially.
In the example above, a capital of £100 was reproduced in 1,200 yards of linen, at a price of £120. In view of our earlier discussion, where we had c = 80, v = 20, s = 20., we can express matters like this: the £80 of constant capital is represented by 800 yards, or 2/3 of the overall product, the £20 of variable capital, or wages, is represented by 200 yards, or 1/6 of the overall product, and the £20 of surplus value is similarly represented by 200 yards, or a further 1/6 of the overall product. If now 800 yards, for example, rather than 1 yard, were sold at their price, = £80, and if the other 2 parts [of the product] could not be sold, the original capital value of 100 would only be reproduced to an extent of 4/5. The 800 yards, in their capacity as repositories of the total capital of 100, i.e. as the sole actual product of this total capital, would be sold below their value, in fact 1/3 below their value, since the value of the overall product = 120, and 80 = only 2/3 of the overall product. The missing value, £40, is equal to the remaining third of that product. The 800 yards mentioned above could also be sold above their value, if we look at them in isolation, and they would then nevertheless be sold at their value as repositories of the total capital, if, for example, they were themselves sold at 90, and the remaining 400 yards were sold at only £30. But here we shall disregard entirely the sale of separate portions of the overall quantity of commodities above or below their value, since according to our original presupposition commodities are lit general sold at their value.
 What is involved here is not only the sale of the commodity at its value, as in the case of the independent commodity, but its sale as repository of the capital advanced for its production and therefore its sale at its value (price) as an aliquot part of the capital’s overall product. If only 800 out of this overall product of 1,200 yards = £120 are sold, the 800 do not represent 2/3 aliquot parts of the total value, but the total value itself; they therefore represent a value of 120 and not one of 80, and the individual commodity is not = £80/800 = 8/80 = 4 /40 = 2/20 = 2s., but = 120/800 = 12/80 = 3/20 = 3s. According to this, the individual commodity would be sold 50% too dear, if it were sold at 3s. instead of two. The individual commodity, as an aliquot part of the total value produced, must be sold at its price, and therefore must be sold as an aliquot part of the overall product being sold. It must be sold, not as an independent commodity, but as e.g. 1/1,200 of the overall product, as the complement, therefore, of the other 1,199/1,200. What is important is that the individual commodity should be sold at its price x the number which is its denominator as an aliquot part [of the overall product].
[Needless to say, the result of this is that with the development of capitalist production and the cheapening of’ the commodity corresponding to that development the quantity of commodities grows, the number of commodities that have to be sold grows; hence a constant extension of the market is necessary, is a requirement of the capitalist mode of production. But this point belongs better to the subsequent book.]
[This also explains why the capitalist is unable to deliver 1,300 yards at 2s. apiece, whereas he could deliver 1,200 at that price. The reason is that the additional 100 yards might perhaps require an additional provision of constant capital, etc., which could provide an additional production of 1,200 yards at that price but not 100, etc.]
From this it can be seen how the commodity as product of capital is distinguished from the individual commodity, treated independently; this distinction will be more and more apparent, and will affect the real price determination of the commodity, etc., in ever increasing measure, the further we trace the course of the capitalist production and circulation process.
But the point I want to draw particular. attention to is this:
We saw in Chapter II, Section 3, of this First Book how the different value components of the product of capital — the value of constant capital, the value of variable capital and surplus value — on the one hand are represented, repeat themselves, in their proportional parts in each individual commodity, which itself represents an aliquot part of the total amount of use value that has been produced, as well as an aliquot part of the total amount of value that has been produced; and how on the other hand the overall product can be divided up into certain portions, quotients, of the use value, the article, that has been produced, one part of which represents the value of the constant capital alone, a second part the value of the variable capital alone, and finally the third part the surplus value alone. These two presentations, although they are identical in substance, as shown earlier, are contradictory in their mode of expression. For in the second one the individual commodities which belong to LOT 1, which merely reproduces the value of the constant capital, appear as if they represented labour objectified only before the production process. Hence e.g. the 800 yards = £80 = the value of the constant capital advanced only represent the value of the cotton yarn, oil, coal, machinery, etc., that has been consumed, but not one particle of the value of the newly added weaving labour; whereas viewed as use value every yard of linen contains in addition to the flax, etc., a definite quantity of weaving labour, which has indeed given it the form of linen, and the price of each yard, 2s., contains 16d. as reproduction of the constant capital consumed in it, 4d. for wages, and 4d. for unpaid labour materialised in it. This apparent contradiction — the failure to solve which has given rise to fundamental analytical blunders, as we shall see later — is at first view just as confusing for the person who only considers the price of the individual commodity as is perhaps the proposition put forward shortly before to the effect that the individual commodity, or a particular portion of the overall product, can be sold at its price below its price; above its price at its price; and even above its price below its price. Proudhon is an example of this confusion (verte).
(The price of the yard in the above example is not determined in isolation but as an aliquot part of the overall product.)
 (Earlier I gave a presentation of what had been developed previously concerning the determination of prices, as follows (certain elements of this should perhaps be inserted into the foregoing discussion):
Originally we considered the individual commodity independently, as the result and direct product of a particular quantity of labour. Now it is the result of capital, and the situation alters formally (later on it alters really, in the production prices) in this way: The amount of use values produced represents a quantity of labour which is = the value of the constant capital contained and consumed in the product (the value of the quantity of materialised labour transferred by it to the product) + the quantity of labour received in exchange for the variable capital, part of which replaces the value of the variable capital, the other part forming surplus value. If. the labour time contained in the capital, expressed in money, = £100, £40 of which is variable capital, and if the rate of surplus value = 50%, the total amount of labour contained in the product is represented by £120. Before the commodity can circulate, its exchange value must first be converted into price. Hence if the overall product is not a single continuous item, so that the whole of capital cannot be reproduced in an individual commodity, as e.g. a house, the capital must calculate the price of the individual commodity, i.e. it must express the exchange value of the individual commodity in money of account. The overall value of £120 will now be divided between a larger or smaller number of products according to the varying productivity of labour, and the price of the individual commodity will therefore be in an inverse proportion to the total number of commodities, will represent per piece a larger or smaller aliquot part of the £120. If the overall product = e.g. 60 tons of coal, the 60 tons = £120 = £2 per ton = £120/60; if the product = 75 tons, the ton will = 120/75 = £1 12s.; if the product = 240 tons, the ton will = 120/240 = 12/24 = £ 1/2, and so on. The price of the individual commodity therefore = the total price of the product / the total number of products, the total price divided by the total number of products, which are measured in the various units of measurement appropriate to the use value of the product.
Thus if the price of the individual commodity = the total price of the quantity of commodities (number of tons) produced by the capital of 100 divided by the total number of commodities (here tons), the total price of the overall product, on the other hand, = the price of the individual commodity multiplied by the total number of commodities produced. If the quantity of commodities has risen, owing to a rise in productivity, their number has too, while the price of the individual commodity has fallen. The inverse is the case if productivity has fallen: one factor, the price, will rise, while the other factor, the number, will fall. As long as the amount of labour laid out is the same, it will be expressed in the same total price of £120, whatever proportion of this falls to the account of the individual commodity, with its varying quantities, which vary in proportion to the productivity of labour.
If the part of the price which falls to the individual product the aliquot part of the overall value — is smaller, owing to the, larger [total] number of products, i.e. owing to the greater productivity of labour, the part of the surplus value that falls to it is also smaller, [i.e.] the aliquot part of the total price in which the surplus value of £20 is expressed, and which attaches to the product, is smaller. But this does not alter the ratio of the part of the price of the individual commodity that expresses surplus value to the part of the price of the commodity that represents wages or paid labour.
It was admittedly shown, when we considered the capitalist production process, that, if we disregard any lengthening of the working day, the cheapening of the commodities which determine the value of labour capacity, i.e. enter into the worker’s necessary consumption, has a tendency to cheapen labour capacity itself, and therefore simultaneously to reduce the paid part of the labour and to prolong the unpaid part, the overall length of the working day remaining the same.
So whereas on the previous presupposition the price of the individual commodity participates in the surplus value in the same proportion as it formed an aliquot part of the overall value, and in the same proportion as it participated in the total price, the part of this price which represents surplus value will now rise, in . spite of the falling price of the product. This is, however, only the case because the surplus value takes up a greater proportional place in the total price of the product, as a result of the increased productivity of labour. The same cause — the increased productivity of labour [the reverse would occur with declining productivity] — which leads the same quantity of labour, the same value of £120, to be expressed in a greater quantity of products, therefore reduces the price of the individual commodity, lessens the value of labour capacity. Although the price of the individual commodity therefore falls, although the total quantity of labour contained in it falls, and therefore also its value falls, the proportional component of this price which consists of surplus value rises, or, in other words. a greater quantity of unpaid labour is contained in the smaller total quantity of labour contained in the individual commodity, e.g. in a single ton, than previously, where the labour was less productive, the amount of product was smaller, and the price of the individual commodity was higher. Now more unpaid labour is contained in the total price of £120, and therefore in each aliquot part of that £120.
 It is puzzles of this kind which confuse Proudhon, because he looks only at the price of the individual, independent commodity, and does not view the commodity as the product of the total capital, hence does not consider the proportions in which the overall product with its respective prices is divided conceptually.
“It is impossible, with interest on capital” (this is only the name for one particular part of surplus value) “being added in commerce to the worker’s wages to make up the price of the commodity, for the worker to be able to buy back what he himself has produced. Living by working is a principle which, under the rule of interest, is implicitly self-contradictory” (Gratuité du crédit. Discussion entre M. Fr. Bastiat et M. Proudhon Paris, 1850, [p.] 105).
This is quite correct. In order to make matters clear, let us assume that the worker, “l'ouvrier” involved here, is the whole working class. The weekly money which the class receives, and with which it has now to buy the means of subsistence, etc., is expended on a mass of commodities of which the price, viewing them individually and all together, contains in addition to a part which = wages, another part, which = surplus value, of which the interest referred to by Proudhon only forms a single part, and perhaps a small proportional part relatively speaking. How then is it possible for the working class, with its weekly income, which only = wages, to buy a quantity of commodities which = wages + surplus value. Since the weekly wage, seen from the point of view of the class as a whole, only = the weekly amount of the means of subsistence, it follows, as night follows day, that the worker is unable to buy the necessary means of subsistence with the sum of money he has received. For the sum of money he has received = the weekly wage, the weekly price of his labour which has been paid to him, while the price of the weekly necessary means of subsistence = the weekly price of the labour contained in them + the price in which the unpaid surplus labour is expressed. Ergo: “it is impossible for the worker to be able to buy back what he himself has produced. To live by working”, given these presuppositions, is, therefore, implicitly “self-contradictory”. Proudhon is entirely right, as far as appearances are concerned. But if he were to view the commodity as the product of capital, instead of independently, he would find that the weekly product can be divided into one part, the price of which, = the wage, = the variable capital laid out during the week, contains no surplus value, etc., and another part, the price of which only = the surplus value, etc.; although the price of the commodity includes all these elements, etc. But it is precisely, and only, the first part, which the worker buys back. (Whereby it is irrelevant for the present purpose that he may be, and is, swindled by the épicier, [grocer] etc., when buying back.)
This is the usual position with Proudhon’s apparently deep and inextricable economic paradoxes. They consist in the fact that he expresses the confusion created in his brain by economic phenomena as the law governing these phenomena.
(Proudhon’s argument is in fact even worse, because implicit in it is the presupposition that the true price of the commodity = the wage contained in it = the quantity of paid labour contained in it, and the surplus value, interest, etc., is only a supplementary charge, arbitrarily made, over and above. the true price of the commodity.)
But worse still is the criticism made of him by the vulgar economists. Mr. Forcade for example (the passage should be quoted here not only points out that Proudhon’s argument, on the one hand, proves too much, in that the working class would not be able to survive at all on this argument, but also, on the other hand, that he does not go far enough in expressing the paradox, in that the price of the commodities the worker buys includes, in addition to wages + interest, etc., raw material, etc. (in short, it includes the elements of the price of constant capital). Quite correct, Forcade. But what next? He shows that the problem is in fact still more difficult than it is in Proudhon’s formulation; and this is a reason for him not to solve it, not even to the extent of Proudhon’s presentation, sliding over it instead with a hollow phrase (see No. 1).
 In fact the good thing about Proudhon’s approach is that he frankly expresses the confusion inherent in the economic phenomena, with sophistical self-satisfaction, unlike the vulgar economists, who endeavour to conceal it but are incapable of grasping these questions, laying bare the poverty of their theoretical understanding. Thus Mr. W. Thucydides Roscher describes Proudhon’s Qu'est-ce que la propriété? as “confused and confusing”.’ The word “confusing” expresses the feeling of powerlessness experienced by vulgar political economy when faced with this confusion. It is incapable of solving the contradictions of capitalist production, even in the confused, superficial and sophistical form in which Proudhon formulates and thrusts them upon it. There is nothing left for it to do except appeal from [Proudhon’s] sophistry, which it is unable to overcome theoretically, to “ordinary” common sense, and to point out that things still work out despite all this. A fine consolation for self-styled “theorists"!
[N.B. The whole of this passage on Proudhon would be better placed in Chapter III of Book II, or even later]
With this, the problem presented in Chapter 1 is solved at the same time. If the commodities which form the product of capital are sold at prices determined by their values, hence if the whole capitalist class sells the commodities at their value, each capitalist will realise a surplus value, i.e. he will sell a part of the value of the commodity which has cost him nothing, which he has not paid for. The gain the capitalists make in dealing with each other is thus not attained by reciprocal fraud — this can only relate to the case where one snaps up a piece of the surplus value which was destined for another — nor is it attained by their selling each other their commodities above their value. It is attained instead by their selling them to each other at their value. This presupposition, that commodities are sold at prices which correspond to their values, also forms the basis of the investigations contained in the next book.
The immediate result of the direct capitalist production process, its product, is the commodity. Not only does its price replace the value of the capital advanced, and consumed during the commodity’s production, it also, and at the same time, materialises as surplus value, objectifies, the surplus labour consumed during that production. As a commodity, the product of capital must enter into the process of the exchange of commodities, thereby not only entering into the real metabolic process but also at the same time passing through those changes of form we have presented as the metamorphosis of the commodities. In so far as this is merely a matter of formal changes — the conversion of these commodities into money, and their reconversion into commodities — the process has already been presented in what we called “simple circulation” — the circulation of commodities as such. But these commodities are now at the same time the repositories of capital; they are capital itself, valorised, pregnant with surplus value. And in this connection their circulation, which is now at the same time the reproduction process of capital, implies further determinations, which were alien to commodity circulation when it was considered in abstraction. We have now to consider, therefore, the circulation of commodities as the circulation process of capital. This will be done in the next book.
AD 2) Capitalist Production as the Production of Surplus Value[edit source]
In so far as capital only steps forth in its elementary forms, as commodity or money, the capitalist steps forth in the character, already known to us, of commodity owner or money owner. But the commodity owner and money owner are no more capitalists for this reason than commodity and money are in themselves capital. just as the latter may be converted into capital only under definite conditions, so the owners of commodities and money are only converted into capitalists under the same conditions.
Originally capital stepped forth as money, which needed to be converted into capital, or was only capital dunamei. [potentially]
Just as on the one hand the political economists commit the blunder of identifying these elementary forms of. capital — commodity and money — as such with capital, so on the other hand do they commit the blunder of asserting that capital’s mode of existence as a use value — the means of labour — is as such capital.
In its first provisional (so to speak) form as money (as the point of departure for the formation of capital), capital still exists as money alone, hence as a quantity of exchange values in the independent form of exchange value, its monetary expression. But this money has to be valorised. Exchange value has to serve for the creation of more exchange value. The magnitude of value has to grow, i.e. the existing value has not only to maintain itself but to posit an increment, D value, a surplus value, with the result that the given value — the given sum of money — represents a fluens and the increment a fluxion. We shall return to this independent monetary expression of capital when we consider its circulation process. Here, where we are still only concerned with money as the point of departure of the direct production process, one remark will be sufficient: Capital still exists here only as a given quantity of value, = M (money), in which all use value has been extinguished, hence in the form of money. The magnitude of this quantity of value is limited by the level or quantity of the sum of money which is to be converted into capital. This quantity of value therefore becomes capital through increasing its magnitude, through its conversion into a variable magnitude, through its being, from the outset, a fluens, which has to produce a fluxion. In itself, i.e. according to its determination this sum of money is only capital because it is to be employed, expended, in a way which has as its purpose the magnification of this sum, because it is expended for the purpose of its own magnification. If this appears, with regard to the existing sum of value or money, as its determination its inner driving force, its tendency, so also, with regard to the capitalist i.e. the owner of this sum of money, in whose hands it is to perform this function, it appears as his intention, his purpose. In this originally simple money or value expression of capital (or what is to become capital), an expression in which abstraction is made from any relation to use value, in which this falls aside, all the disturbing interposition and potentially confusing indications of the real production process (commodity production, etc.) fall away, and the characteristic, specific nature of the capitalist production process appears in just as abstract and simple a form. If the original capital is a, quantity of value = x, the purpose is for this x — and this is what makes it into capital — to become converted into x + Dx, i.e. into a sum of money or a quantity of value = the original quantity of value + an excess amount over and above the original quantity of value, into the given magnitude of money + additional money, into the given value + surplus value. The production of surplus value — which implies the preservation of the value originally advanced — thus appears as the determining purpose, the driving concern, and the final result of the capitalist production process, as the means whereby the original value is converted into capital. How this is achieved, the real procedure followed in converting x into x + Dx, does not change in any way the purpose and result of the process. x can of course also be converted into x + Dx without the capitalist production process, but [firstly] not under the condition and the presupposition which has been given, namely that the competing members of the society should confront each other as persons who stand vis-à-vis each other as commodity owners alone and only enter into contact with each other as such (this excludes slavery, etc.); and, secondly, not under the other condition, namely that the social product is produced as a commodity. (This excludes all forms in which use value is the primary purpose for the direct producers, and in which at most the excess product, etc., is converted into a commodity.)
 This purpose of the process, the conversion of x into x + Dx, further shows the course the investigation has to take. The expression must be the function of a variable magnitude, or be converted into such during the process. As a given sum of money, x is at the outset a constant magnitude, the increment of which is therefore = 0. It must therefore be converted in the process into another magnitude, which contains a variable element. And what is needed is to discover this component, and at the same time to demonstrate the kind of mediations through which an originally constant magnitude becomes variable. Since a part of x is in turn reconverted into a constant magnitude (this emerges from further consideration of the real production process) — namely into the means of labour, because a part of the value of x exists only in the form of particular use values, instead of in its monetary form, a change which does not alter in any way the constant nature of the value magnitude, and indeed does not alter this part in any way, in so far as it is exchange value — x is expressed in the process as c (constant magnitude)+v (variable magnitude) = c + v. But the difference, D (c + v) = c + (v + Dv), and, since the difference of c = 0, .it = (v + Dv). What originally appears as Dx is therefore really Dv. And the ratio of this increment of the original magnitude x to the part of x of which it is really the increment must be (Dv = Dx (since Dx = Dv)), Dx/v = Dv/v, which is in fact the formula for the rate of surplus value.
Since the total capital C = c + v, of which c is constant and v variable, C can be regarded as a function of v. If v grows by Dv, C becomes = C’.
One therefore has:
1) C = c + v.
2) C' = c + (v + Dv).
If one subtracts equation 1) from equation 2), one obtains the difference C' - C, the increment of C = DC.
3) C' - C = c + v + Dv -c - v = Dv.
Hence 4) DC = Dv.
One therefore has 3); and therefore 4) DC = Dv. But C' - C = the magnitude by which C has changed, = the increment of C or DC ( = DC), hence 4). Or the increment of the total capital = the increment of the variable part of the capital, so that DC or the change in the constant part of the capital = 0. In this investigation of DC or Dv, therefore, the constant capital must be set = 0, i.e. it must be left out of consideration.
The proportion by which v has grown = Dv/v — (the rate of surplus value). The proportion by which C has grown = Dv / C = Dv/(c + v) (the rate of profit).
The actual, specific function of capital as capital is therefore the production of surplus value, which, it later appears, is nothing but the production of surplus labour, the appropriation of unpaid labour in the real production process, which expresses itself as, is objectified as, surplus value.
A further result is that it is necessary for the conversion of x into capital, into x + Dx, that the value or sum of money x should be converted into the factors of the production process, above all into the factors of the real labour process. It is possible in particular branches of industry for a part of the means of production — the object of labour — to have no value, not to be a commodity, despite being a use value. In this case a part of x is converted solely into means of production, and, in so far as the conversion of x comes into consideration, i.e. the purchase by x of commodities which enter into the labour process, the object of labour [does not figure at all, the operation] is restricted to the purchase of means of production. One factor of the labour process, the object of labour, is here = 0, in so far as its value comes into consideration. But we are considering the matter in its complete form, in which the object of labour too = a commodity. For the cases in which this is not so, this factor, as far as value is concerned, should be set = 0, in order to rectify the calculation.
The commodity is a direct unity of use value and exchange value; in the same way, the production process, which is a process of the production of commodities is a direct unity of the labour and valorisation processes. Commodities, i.e. use value and exchange value directly united, emerge from the process as result, as product; similarly, they enter into it as constituent elements. But nothing at all can ever emerge from a production process without first entering into it in the form of the conditions of production.
The conversion of the sum of money advanced, the sum of money which is to be valorised and converted into capital, into the factors of the production process is an act of commodity circulation, of the process of exchange, and is reducible to a series of purchases. This act therefore still falls outside the direct production process. It only introduces it, but it is its necessary presupposition, and if we consider, instead of the direct production process, capitalist production in its totality and continuity, this conversion of money into the factors of the production process, the purchase of means of production and labour capacity, itself forms an immanent moment of the process as a whole.
 If we look now at the shape of capital within the direct production process, capital has, like the simple commodity, the dual shape of use value and exchange value. But further determinations enter in both forms, and these determinations are different from those of the simple commodity viewed independently, they have undergone further development.
As far as use value is concerned, first of all, its specific content, its further determination, was completely irrelevant to determining the concept of the commodity. The article which was to be a commodity, and therefore a repository of exchange value, had to satisfy some social need; it therefore had to possess some useful qualities. Voilà tout. It is different with the use value of the commodities which perform a function in the production process. The nature of the labour process first dirempts the means of production into object of labour and means of labour, or, determined more precisely, raw material on the one hand, instruments accessory material, etc., on the other. These are determinations of the form of the use value which arise from the very nature of the labour process, and thus use value is determined further — in relation to the means of production. The determination of the form of the use value is itself essential here for the development of the economic relation, the economic category.
But the use values which enter into the labour process are further divided into two moments and contraries, strictly separated conceptually (in the same way as the objective means of production are divided, as we have just said) — on the one hand there are the objective means of production, the objective conditions of production, on the other hand there are the working labour capacities, labour power exerting itself to a given purpose, the subjective condition of production. This is a further determination of the form of capital, in so far as it appears sub specie of use value within the direct production process. In the simple commodity, particular kinds of purposeful labour, spinning, weaving, etc., are incorporated, objectified, in the spun yarn, the woven cloth. The form of the product, appropriate to its purpose, is the sole trace left behind by the purposeful labour which made it, and this trace can itself be extinguished, if the product has a natural form, as do cattle, wheat, etc. Use value appears in the commodity as what is present, what is available; whereas in the labour process it appears only as product. The single commodity is in fact a finished product, the result of the process by which it arose; this process, through which a particular kind of useful labour has been embodied, objectified, in the product, is in fact contained within, and superseded by, the latter. The commodity comes into existence in the production process. It is constantly ejected from the process as product, in such a way that the product itself appears as only a moment of the process. One part of the use value in which capital appears within the production process is living labour capacity itself, but this is labour capacity of a particular specificity corresponding to the particular use value of the means of production, and it is self-activating labour capacity, labour power which expresses itself purposefully, makes the means of production the objective moments of its activity and therefore converts them from the original form of their use value into the new form of the product. Therefore in the labour processes the use values themselves undergo a real conversion process, either of a mechanical, chemical or physical nature. Whereas in the commodity the use value is a given thing with particular qualities, now the use values, things which function as raw material and means of labour, are converted by means of living labour which is active in and through them, living labour which is precisely labour capacity actu, into a use value of a changed shape — the product. Thus the shape capital assumes in the labour process, the shape of use value, is now divided into firstly the means of production, conceptually dirempted and related to each other; and secondly  the conceptual diremption, which springs from the nature of the labour process, between the objective conditions of labour (the means of production) and the subjective condition of labour, labour capacity acting for a purpose, i.e. labour itself. Thirdly, however, considering the process as a whole, the use value of capital appears here as a process of the production of use value, in which the means of production, according to this specific determination, function as means of production of the purposefully active specific labour capacity corresponding to their particular nature. Or, the whole of the labour process as such appears in the living interaction of its objective and subjective moments as the overall shape of the use value, i.e. the real shape of capital in the production process.
The production process of capital, seen from the point of view of reality — or seen as a process which by applying useful labour to use values constitutes new use values — is above all a real labour process. As such, its moments, its conceptually determined components, are those of the labour process in general, of any labour process, whatever the level of economic development and whatever mode of production forms the basis of this process. Hence, since the real shape of capital, or the shape of the objective use values of which capital consists, its material substratum, is necessarily the shape of the means of production — means of labour and object of labour — which serve to produce new products; and since, further, these use values are already available (on the market) in the circulation process, in the form of commodities, hence in the possession of the capitalist as a commodity owner, before they begin to function in the labour process in accordance with their specific purpose; hence because capital — in so far as it is expressed in objective conditions of labour — consists from the point of view of use value of means of production, raw materials, accessory materials and means of labour, tools, buildings, machines, etc., the conclusion is drawn from this that all the means of production are dunamei [potentially] and, in so far as they function as means of production, actu capital. Capital is therefore regarded as a necessary moment of the human labour process in general, irrespective of any historical form this process may assume, and is therefore seen as something eternal, something conditioned by the nature of human labour. Similarly, it is assumed that because the production process of capital in general is a labour process, the labour process as such, the labour process in all social forms, is necessarily a labour process of capital. Capital is thus regarded as a thing, which plays a certain thing-like role, a role appertaining to it as a thing, in the production process. This is the same logic which concludes that because money is gold, gold is in and for itself money, that because wage labour is labour, all labour is necessarily wage labour. An identity is thus proved by concentrating on what is identical in all production processes, as opposed to the specific differences between production processes. Identity is proved by abstracting from difference. We shall return in more detail in the course of this section to this point, which is of decisive importance. For the present, we shall only say this:
Firstly: The commodities the capitalist has bought in order to consume them in the production process or labour process as means of production are his property. They are in fact only his money converted into commodities, and his capital exists just as much in them as it did in the money; indeed it exists more intensely, to the extent that they are available in the shape in which they really function as capital, i.e. as means for the creation of value, for the valorisation of value, i.e. for its increase. These means of production are therefore capital. On the other hand, the capitalist has bought labour capacity with the other part of the sum of money he has advanced; he has bought workers, or, as was developed in Chapter IV, it appears that he has bought living labour. This therefore belongs to him just as much as do the objective conditions of the labour process. There is, however, the following specific distinction to be pointed out here: Real labour is what the worker really gives to the capitalist as equivalent for the part of the capital that has been converted into wages, for the  purchasing price of labour. It is the expenditure of his life force, the realisation of his productive capacities, his movement, not the capitalist’s. Viewed as a personal function, in its reality, labour is the function of the worker and not of the capitalist. Viewed from the point of view of exchange, the worker is what the capitalist receives from him in the labour process, not what the capitalist represents towards him in the same process. This therefore stands in contrast to the way the objective conditions of labour, as capital, and to that extent as the existence of the capitalist, confront the subjective condition of labour, labour itself, or rather the worker who works, within the labour process itself. Thus it comes about that both from the standpoint of the capitalist and from that of the worker the means of production, as existence of capital, as eminently capital, confront labour, hence confront the other element into which the capital advanced has been converted, and therefore appear dunamei as the specific mode of existence of capital outside the production process as well. This development proceeds further, as will be shown, partly through the general nature of the capitalist valorisation process (the role played in this by the means of production as devourers of living labour) and partly through the development of the specifically capitalist mode of production (in which machinery, etc., becomes the real ruler over living labour). Hence where the capitalist production process is the basis the use values in which capital exists in the form of means of production are inseparably welded to the function of those means of production, the character of these things as capital, which is a particular social relation of production; just as to those caught up in this mode of production the product counts as in and for itself a commodity. This is the basis for the fetishism of the political economists.
Secondly: The means of production proceed from circulation into the labour process as particular commodities, e.g. as cotton, coal, spindles, etc. They enter in the shape of the use value they possessed as long as they were still circulating as commodities. Having entered the process, they then function with the characteristics appropriate to their use values, with the qualities which belong to them materially as things, e.g. cotton as cotton, etc. But it is different with the part of capital which we call variable, but which is only really converted into the variable part of capital by its exchange for labour capacity. Viewed from the point of view of its real shape, money — that part of capital which the capitalist expends for the purchase of labour capacity — represents nothing but the means of subsistence available on the market (or thrown onto the market over certain periods) which enter into the worker’s individual consumption. Money is only the converted form of these means of subsistence, and the worker converts the money back into means of subsistence as soon as he has received it. Both this conversion and then the consumption of these commodities as use values is a process which has no direct connection with the direct production process, more precisely the labour process; it rather falls outside the latter. One part of the capital, and thereby the capital as a whole, becomes converted into a variable magnitude precisely because what is obtained in the exchange is not money, a constant magnitude of value, nor means of subsistence, similarly constant magnitudes of value, in which the money can be expressed, but rather living labour capacity, an element which creates value and, as a value-creating element, may be larger or smaller, may be expressed as a variable magnitude, and in all circumstances, as a factor in the production process, is a fluid magnitude, in the process of becoming — and therefore contained within different limits — instead of having become. Now it is true that in reality the consumption of the means of subsistence by the workers may itself be as much implied by the labour process (included by it) as the consumption of matières instrumentales by machines is e.g. included in the machines, with the result that the worker appears as only an instrument bought by capital, which needs to consume, needs the addition of a certain portion of means of subsistence as its matières instrumentales so that it may perform its function in the labour process. This occurs to a greater or lesser degree according to the extent and brutality of the exploitation of the worker. However, this phenomenon is not contained conceptually in the capital-relation, not in this narrow sense (we shall examine this matter further in Section 3, on the reproduction of the whole relation). The usual situation is more that the worker consumes his means of subsistence during pauses n the direct labour process, whereas the machine consumes what it requires while functioning. (Animals?) But then again, from the point of view of the whole working class, part of these means of subsistence are consumed by family members who are not yet, or no longer, working. In practice, the difference between a worker and a machine can be reduced to the difference between an animal and a machine, quoad matières instrumentales and their consumption. But this is not necessarily so, and therefore does not belong among the conceptual determinants of capital. In any case, the part of the capital laid out in wages appears formally as no longer belonging to the capitalist, but rather to the worker, once it has assumed its real shape, the shape of the means of subsistence which enter into the worker’s consumption. The use value shape this part of the capital has as a commodity before its entry into the production process — as means of subsistence — is therefore entirely different from the shape it assumes within that process, which is that of labour power expressing itself in working activity, hence of living labour itself. This part of the capital is therefore specifically distinguished by this from the  part available in the shape of means of production, and this is one more reason why under the capitalist mode of production the means of production appear in an eminent sense, in distinction from, and in opposition to, the means of subsistence, as capital in and for themselves. If we disregard points to be developed later, this appearance is dispelled simply by the fact that the form of the use value in which the capital exists at the end of the production process is that of the product, and this product exists in the form of both means of production and means of subsistence; both are therefore equally present as capital, and are therefore also present in opposition to living labour capacity.
Let us now proceed to the valorisation process.
With regard to exchange value there is once more a distinction between the commodity and the capital involved in the valorisation process.
The exchange value of the capital that enters into the production process is smaller than the exchange value of the capital that was thrown onto the market or advanced. For it is only the value of the commodities which enter into the process as means of production — i.e. the value of the constant part of the capital — that enters into the production process as value. We now have, instead of the value of the variable part of capital, valorisation as a process, with the labour involved constantly realising itself as value, but also flowing beyond the already posited values, proceeding to the creation of new values.
As far as the preservation of the old value is concerned, the preservation of the value portion of the constant part [of the capital], this depends on the following: that the value of the means of production which enter into the process should not be greater than is necessary, hence that the commodities of which they consist should only contain, objectified, the labour time socially necessary for the purpose of production. This should be the case e.g. with the buildings, the machinery, etc., and it is the capitalist’s business to make sure of this when purchasing these means of production; to make sure that they have the appropriate average quality as use values needed for the formation of the product, whether as raw material or as machinery, etc., hence that they function averagely well, and do not oppose any unusual obstacles to labour, the living factor, e.g. through the quality of the raw material; and, also to be included here, the machinery, etc., employed should not pass on more than the average depreciation to the commodities, etc. All this is the capitalist’s affair. But the preservation of the value of the constant capital also depends on its being consumed as far as possible only productively, on its not being squandered, because otherwise, a greater portion of objectified labour would be contained in the product than is socially necessary. This depends in part on the workers themselves, and there the supervision of the capitalist begins. (He can make sure of this by introducing task work, by deductions from wages.) It is necessary, further, that the work should be performed properly, should serve its purpose, that the conversion of the means of production into product should proceed in a methodical fashion, that the use value envisaged as the aim of the process should really emerge in the right form as its result. The capitalist’s functions of supervision and [maintaining] discipline enter the picture once again here. It is necessary, finally, that the production process should not be disturbed, or interrupted, and that it really proceed to produce the. product within the time limit imposed by the nature of the labour process and its objective conditions. (Time period.) This depends in part on the continuity of labour, which is a feature of capitalist production. But it also depends in part on external and uncontrollable accidents. To that extent, every production process involves a risk for the values which enter into it; but 1) the values are subject to risk outside the production process as well, and 2) risk is a feature of every production process; it is not peculiar to capital’s production process alone. (Capital protects itself against risks by association. The direct producer working with his own means of production is subject to the same risks. This is not peculiar to the capitalist production process. If, in capitalist production, the risks fall upon the capitalist, that is only because he has usurped possession of the means of production.)
But now, as far as the living factor of the valorisation process is concerned, 1) the value of the variable capital must be preserved by being replaced, reproduced, i.e. by the addition to the means of production of as large a quantity of labour as the value of the variable capital or of wages amounted to; 2) an increment of its value, a surplus value, must be created, by the objectification in the product of a surplus quantity of labour over and above that contained in the wage, of an additional quantity of labour.
Accordingly, the distinction between the use value of the capital advanced, or of the commodities in which it existed, and the use value shape of the capital in the  labour process corresponds to the distinction between the exchange value of the capital advanced and the appearance of the exchange value of the capital in the valorisation process. In the former case the means of production, the constant capital, enters into the process in the same use value form as was previously possessed by the commodities of which it consists, whereas the finished use values of which the variable capital consisted are replaced by the living factor of labour power, real labour, valorising itself in new use values. In the latter case, the value of the means of production, the constant capital, enters as such into the valorisation process, whereas the value of the variable capital does not enter into it at all, but is replaced by the value-creating activity of the living factor, an activity which exists as the valorisation process.
For the worker’s labour time to posit value in proportion to its duration, it must be socially necessary labour time. I.e. the worker must perform the socially normal quantity of purposeful labour within a given time, and the capitalist therefore forces him to ensure that his labour possesses at least the socially normal average degree of intensity. He will try to raise it as much as possible above this minimum, and extract from him over a given period as much labour as possible, for every [increase in the] intensity of labour over the average degree creates surplus value for him. He will also try to prolong the labour process as much as possible beyond the boundary of what has to be worked in order to replace the value of variable capital, of wages. If the intensity of the labour process is given, he will try to increase its duration as much as possible; if the duration is given, he will try to increase its intensity as much as possible. The capitalist compels the worker to give his labour the normal degree of intensity, and where possible a higher degree, and he compels him to prolong his labour process as much as possible beyond the period of time needed to replace his wages.
This peculiar character of the capitalist valorisation process gives rise to a further modification of the real shape of capital in the production process, its shape as a use value. Firstly the means of production must be available in a quantity sufficient not only for the absorption of necessary labour, but also for that of surplus labour. Secondly there are changes in the intensity and extension of the real labour process.
To be sure, the means of production the worker employs in the real labour process are the property of the capitalist, and, as previously explained, they confront the worker’s labour, which is the expression of his own life, as capital. But on the other hand it is the worker who employs the means of production in his labour. In the real labour process, he utilises the means of labour as the conductor of his labour, and the object of labour as the material in which his labour is expressed. It is precisely through this that he converts the means of production into a form of the product appropriate to the purpose. The matter assumes a different aspect if considered from the angle of the valorisation process. It is not the worker who employs the means of production, but the means of production that employ the worker. It is not a matter of living labour being realised in objective labour as its objective organ, but of objective labour being preserved and increased by the absorption of living labour, thereby becoming self-valorising value, capital, and functioning as such. The means of production now appear only as absorbers of the largest possible quantity of living labour. Living labour now appears only as a means for the valorisation and therefore capitalisation of existing values. And, leaving aside our previous analysis, the means of production again appear, precisely for that reason, as éminemment the presence of capital vis-à-vis living labour, and indeed they now appear as the rule of past, dead labour over living labour. Living labour, precisely in its value-creating function, is constantly incorporated into the valorisation process of objectified labour. Labour, as the exertion, the expenditure of vital forces, is the personal activity of the worker. But as value-creating, as engaged in its own objectification process, the labour of the worker itself becomes a mode of existence of the value of the capital, incorporated into the value of the capital, once he enters into the production process. This power of preserving value and creating new value is therefore capital’s power, and the process appears as one of capital’s self-valorisation, while the worker who creates the value — value alien to him — is on the contrary impoverished.
 This ability of objectified labour to convert itself into capital, i.e. to convert the means of production into means of command over, and exploitation of, living labour, appears under capitalist production as an inherent characteristic of the means of production (and it is indeed dunamei bound up with them on this basis); it appears as inseparable from them, hence as a quality which falls to them as things, as use values, as means of production. They therefore appear to be in and for themselves capital, and capital, which expresses a particular relation of production, a particular social relation, in which the owners of the conditions of production confront living labour capacities within production, therefore appears as a thing, just as value appeared as the quality of a thing and the economic determination of the thing as a commodity appeared as its quality as a thing; and just as the social form assumed by labour in money expressed itself as the qualities of a thing. In fact the rule of the capitalists over the workers is only the rule over the workers themselves of the conditions of labour it, their independence, in the independent position they have taken on vis-à-vis the workers (apart from the objective conditions of the production process — the means of production — the conditions of labour include the objective conditions for the preservation and effective functioning of labour power, i.e. the means of subsistence), although this relation only comes to realisation in the real production process, which, as we have seen, is essentially a process of the production of surplus value, which includes the preservation of the old value; it is a process of the self-valorisation of the capital advanced. In circulation, capitalist and worker only stand vis-à-vis each other as sellers of commodities, but owing to the specific polarity of the kinds of commodity they sell to each other, the worker necessarily enters into the production process as a constituent in the use value, the real existence and the value existence of capital, although this relation is first brought to realisation within the production process, and the capitalist, who as a buyer of labour only exists dunamei, first becomes a real capitalist when the worker, who is eventua1iter [ultimately] converted into a wage labourer through the sale of his labour capacity, first really falls under the command of capital in that process. The functions performed by the capitalist are only the functions of capital itself performed with consciousness and will — the functions of value valorising itself through the absorption of living labour. The capitalist functions only as capital personified, capital as a person, just as the worker only functions as the personification of labour, which belongs to him as torment, as exertion, while it belongs to the capitalist as the substance that creates and increases wealth; and in fact it appears as such an element incorporated into capital in the production process, as its living, variable, factor. The rule of the capitalist over the worker is therefore the rule of the object over the human, of dead labour over living, of the product over the producer, since in fact the commodities which become means of domination over the worker (but purely as means of the rule of capital itself) are mere results of the production process, the products of the production process. This is exactly the same relation in the sphere of material production, in the real social life process — for this is the production process — as is represented by religion in the ideological sphere: the inversion of the subject into the object and vice versa. Looked at historically this inversion appears as the point of entry necessary in order to enforce, at the expense of the majority, the creation of wealth as such, i.e. the ruthless productive powers of social labour, which alone can form the material basis for a free human society. It is necessary to pass through this antagonistic form, just as man had first to shape his spiritual forces in a religious form, as powers independent of him. It is the alienation process of his own labour. To that extent, the worker here stands higher than the capitalist from the outset, in that the latter is rooted in that alienation process and finds in it his absolute satisfaction, whereas the worker, as its victim, stands from the outset in a relation of rebellion towards it and perceives it as a process of enslavement. To the extent that the production process is at the same time a real labour process, and the capitalist has to perform the function of supervision and direction in actual production, his activity  in fact obtains thereby a specific, manifold content. But the labour process itself only appears as a means to the valorisation process, just as the use value of the product only appears as the vehicle of its exchange value. The self-valorisation of capital — the creation of surplus value — is therefore the determining, dominating, and overmastering purpose of the capitalist, the absolute driving force and content of his action, in fact only the rationalised drive and purpose of the hoarder. This is an utterly miserable and abstract content, which makes the capitalist appear as just as much under the yoke of the capital-relation as is the worker at the opposite extreme, even if from a different angle.
The original relation in which the would-be capitalist buys labour (after Chapter IV we can say this instead of saying “labour capacity”) from the worker, in order to capitalise a monetary value, and the worker sells disposition over his labour capacity, sells his labour, in order to eke out his life, is the necessary introduction to and condition of — it contains it within itself — the relation now developed in the real production process, in which the commodity owner becomes a capitalist, becomes capital personified, and the worker becomes a mere personification of labour for capital. The first relation, in which the two sides appear to confront each other as owners of commodities, is the presupposition for the capitalist production process; similarly, it is also, as we shall see later on, its result and product. But the two acts must accordingly be kept separate from each other. The first belongs to circulation. The second only develops on the basis of the first, in the real production process.
The production process is the direct unity of the labour process and the valorisation process, just as its direct result, the commodity, is the direct unity of use value and exchange value. But the labour process is only a means to the valorisation process, and the valorisation process as such is essentially the production of surplus value, i.e. the process of the objectification of unpaid labour. The overall character of the production process is thereby specifically determined.
Although we view the production process from two distinct points of view, 1) as a labour process, and 2) as a valorisation process, it is already implied that it is in fact only one single, indivisible labour process. Work is not done twice, once to produce a useful product, a use value, to convert the means of production into products, and the second time to produce value and surplus value, to valorise value. Labour is only added in the particular, concrete, specific form, mode, mode of existence in which it is activity directed towards a purpose, activity which converts the means of production into a particular product, converting, e.g., spindles and cotton into yarn. Only spinning labour, etc., is added, and as it continues it produces more and more yarn. This real labour only posits value in so far as it possesses a normal, definite level of intensity (or, it only counts to the extent that it possesses this), and in so far as this real labour of given intensity is materialised in the product in definite quantities measured by time. If the labour process ceased at the point where the quantity of labour added in the form of spinning, etc., was = the quantity of labour contained in the wage, no surplus value would be produced. Surplus value is therefore also expressed in a surplus product, here as the quantity of yarn which exceeds the quantity the value of which = the value of the wage. The labour process therefore appears as a valorisation process through the fact that the concrete labour added in its course is a quantity of socially necessary labour (by virtue of its intensity), that it is posited as equal to a certain quantity of average social labour; and through the fact that this quantity represents a quantity additional to the amount contained in the wage. It is the quantitative calculation of the particular concrete labour as necessary average social labour, a calculation which corresponds, however, to the real moment, firstly, of the normal intensity of labour (the fact that only the socially necessary amount of labour time is employed for the production of a given quantity of the product) and [secondly,] of the prolongation of the labour process beyond the length of time necessary for the replacement of the value of the variable capital.
 It follows from our previous discussion that the expression “objectified labour”, and the antithesis between capital as objectified labour and living labour, are capable of severe misinterpretation.
I have already shown previously that the analysis of the commodity in terms of “labour” by all previous political economists is ambiguous and incomplete. [Without this confusion it would have been altogether impossible for any dispute to arise as to whether nature does not also contribute to the product, in addition to labour. This point concerns concrete labour alone.] It is not sufficient to reduce it to “labour”; labour has to be considered in the dual form in which it is on the one hand represented as concrete labour, in the use value of the commodities; and on the other hand calculated as socially necessary labour, in exchange value. From the first point of view, everything depends on its particular use value, its specific character, which impresses on the use value it has created a specific kind of stamp and makes it into one concrete use value in distinction from others, into this specific article. But its particular utility, its specific nature and the kind of thing it is are completely abstracted from when labour enters into calculations as a value-forming element or the commodity is viewed as its objectification. In this case it is undifferentiated, socially necessary, general labour, entirely indifferent towards any particular content, for which reason it receives an expression common to all commodities and only distinguishable in terms of quantity. This is its independent expression as money, the expression of the commodity as price. From the one aspect the thing is expressed in the particular use value of the commodity, in its particular existence as an object, from the other aspect it is expressed in money, whether this exists as actual money, or, in the price of the commodity, as mere money of account. From the one aspect it is exclusively quality that is involved; from the other aspect it is merely the quantity of labour. From the one aspect the distinction between different kinds of concrete labour is expressed in the division of labour; from the other aspect in its monetary expression, which is undifferentiated. Within the production process this distinction confronts us actively. It is no longer made by us, but is a feature of the production process itself.
The distinction between objectified labour and living labour is manifested in the real labour process. The means of production, such as cotton and spindles, etc., are products, use values, in which definite useful, concrete kinds of labour, machine-making, cotton growing, etc., are embodied whereas the labour of spinning appears in the process as a kind of labour not only specifically distinct from the kinds of labour contained in the means of production, but also as living labour, labour which is still in process of being realised and which constantly ejects its product from itself, in contrast to the kinds of labour which have already been objectified in their own characteristic products. From this standpoint too, an antithesis emerges between one side, which is the immediate presence of capital, and the other, which is living labour, the direct expenditure of the worker’s life. Furthermore, objectified labour steps forth in the labour process as the objective moment, element, in the realisation of living labour.
The situation looks entirely different once one considers the valorisation process, the formation and creation of new value.
The labour contained here in the means of production is particular quantity of general social labour, and it is therefore expressed in a certain magnitude of value or sum of money, in fact in the price of these means of production. The labour which is added is a particular additional quantity of general social labour, and is expressed as an additional amount of value and sum of money. The labour already contained in the means of production is the same as the newly added labour. The only difference between the two is that the one is objectified in use values, and the other is in the process of carrying out this objectification, the one is past, the other present, the one dead, the other living, the one objectified, in the perfect tense, the other objectifying itself, in the present tense. To the extent that past labour sets living labour to work, it itself becomes a process, it valorises itself, it becomes a fluens that creates a fluxion. This absorption of additional living labour is past labour’s process of self-valorisation, its real conversion into capital,  into self-valorising value, its conversion from a constant magnitude of value into a variable magnitude of value, value in process. This additional labour can admittedly only be added in the shape of concrete labour, and therefore it can only be added to the means of production in their specific shape as particular use values; moreover, the value contained in these means of production is only preserved by their consumption as means of labour by concrete labour. This is not, however, to deny that the available value, the labour objectified in the means of production, increases above its own quantity, and indeed above the quantity of labour objectified in the variable capital, solely because, and to the degree that, it absorbs living labour, and to the degree that the latter is itself objectified as money, as general social labour. It is therefore eminently in this sense — which relates to the valorisation process — the actual purpose of capitalist production — that capital, as objectified labour — (accumulated labour, pre-existent labour and so forth), confronts living labour (immediate labour, etc.) and is counterposed to it by the political economists. Yet they constantly fall into contradiction and ambiguity here — even Ricardo — because they have not clearly worked out the analysis of the commodity in terms of labour in its dual form.
It results from the original process of exchange between capitalist and worker — as owners of commodities — that only the living factor, labour capacity, enters into the production process as a moment of capital in its real shape. But it is only in the production process itself that objectified labour is converted into capital through the absorption of living labour, and that labour is therefore converted into capital.
[Note: The passage entered in pages 96 to 107 under the heading “The Direct Production Process” belongs here. It should be blended with the foregoing, and each passage should be rectified by reference to the other. Pages 262-64 of this book belong here as well.]
[469a] This belongs to P. 469.
6) The Direct Production Process[edit source]
The capitalist production process is a unity of the labour process and the valorisation process. In order to convert money into capital, it is converted into commodities, which form the factors of the labour process. First, labour capacity must be bought with the money. Then objects must be bought, for without these the labour capacity cannot be consumed, i.e. it cannot work. These objects have no meaning within the labour process except to serve as means of subsistence for labour, use values for labour. In relation to living labour itself they are its material and means; in relation to the product of labour they are the means of its production, with regard to the fact that these means of production are themselves already products, products as means of production of a new product. But these objects do not play this role in the labour process because the capitalist buys them, because they are the converted form of his money, rather the reverse: he buys them because they play this role in the labour process. For the spinning process as such, for example, it is a matter of indifference that the cotton and the spindles represent the money of the capitalist, hence — capital, that the money expended is determined as capital. Cotton and spindles become the material and means of labour in the hands of the working spinner alone, and they become these things because he spins, not because he turns cotton belonging to another person into yarn for the same person by spinning with a spindle belonging to the same person. The utilisation or productive consumption of commodities in the labour process does not make them capital, it makes them rather elements in the labour process. In so far as these objective elements of the labour process are bought by the capitalist, they represent his capital. But this is also true of labour. It also represents his capital, for labour belongs to the buyer of labour capacity just as much as do the objective conditions of labour that he has bought. And it is not just the individual elements of the labour process that belong to him; the whole labour process does. Capital, which previously existed in the form of money, now exists in the form of the labour process. Because capital has taken control of the labour process, and the worker therefore works for the capitalist instead of working for himself, the labour process does not for all that change its general nature. Just because money, when converted into capital, is converted into the factors of the labour process, hence necessarily takes on the shape of the material of labour and the means of labour, the material of labour and the means of labour do not by nature become capital, any more than gold and silver by nature become money because money is represented among other things by gold and silver. But the same modern political economists who laugh over the naïveté of the Monetary System which, when asked “What is money?” replies “Gold and silver”, are not ashamed, when asked “What is capital?” to reply “Capital is cotton”. This is precisely what they are saying when they declare that the material and means of labour, the means of production or the products which are employed in further production, in short the objective conditions of labour, are by nature capital, in so far as, and because, they serve through their material characteristics as use values in the labour process. It is in order for other people to add: capital is meat and bread, for although the capitalist buys labour capacity with money, this money in fact only represents the bread, [469b] the meat, in short the means of subsistence of the worker.
["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"* (Ricardo, 1.c. [On the Principles of Political Economy, and Taxation, p.] 89). *"Capital is a portion of the national wealth, employed or meant to be employed, in favouring reproduction"* (G. Ramsay, 1.c. [An Essay on the Distribution of Wealth, p.] 21). * “Capital ... a particular species of wealth ... destined ... to the obtaining of other articles of utility” * (Torrens, 1.c. [An Essay on the Production of Wealth, p.] 5). “Capital ... produces ... as the means of a new production” (Senior, 1.c. [Principes fondamentaux de l'économie politique..., Paris, 1836], p. 318).a “When a fund is devoted to material production, it takes the name of capital” (Storch, Cours d'économie politique, Vol. 1, Paris edition of 1823, [p.] 207).a “Capital is that portion of the wealth produced which is destined for reproduction” (Rossi, Cours d'économie Politique. [Annie] 1836-1837, Brussels edition, 1843, p. 364).a Rossi torments himself over the “difficult question” of whether the “raw material” can be counted as part of the capital too. One can admittedly make a distinction between “capital as material” and “capital as instrument”, but “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?” (p. 367).a He does not see that once he has confused capital with its material form of appearance and therefore called the objective conditions of labour simply capital it does not matter that they can be divided as regards labour itself into material and means of labour, for as regards the product they are equally means of production. And he does, in fact, call capital simply “means of production” a (p. 372). “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, Riche[sse] ou pauvre[té], Paris, 1841, p. 18).]
A chair with four legs and a velvet cover represents a throne in certain situations; but this chair, a thing that is there for people to sit upon, is not a throne by the nature of its use value. The most essential factor of the labour process is the worker himself, and in the ancient production process this worker was a slave. It does not follow from this that the worker is by nature a slave (although Aristotle is not very far removed from holding this opinion), any more than it follows that spindles and cotton are by their nature capital because they are at present consumed in the labour process by wage labourers. The stupidity of this procedure, whereby a definite social relation of production, which is expressed in things, is taken as the material and natural quality of these things, strikes us forcibly when we open the nearest textbook of political economy, and read on the very first page that the elements of the production process, reduced to their most general form, are land, capital and labour. [See e.g. John St. Mill, Principles of Political Economy, Vol. 1, Book 1] It might just as well be said that they are landed property, knives, scissors, spindles, cotton, corn, in short the material of labour and the means of labour, and — wage labour. On one side we name the elements of the labour process enmeshed with the specific social characteristics they possess at a particular historical stage of development; and on the other side we add an element which is attributable to the labour process, independently of all specific social formations, as an eternal process between man and nature in general.
[We shall see further on that this illusion of the political economists, by which the appropriation of the labour process by capital is confused with the labour process itself, and the objective elements of the labour process are therefore simply converted into capital, because capital is converted among other things into the objective elements of the labour process — that this illusion, which among the classical political economists lasts only as long as they view the capitalist production process exclusively from the point of view of the labour process, and is therefore corrected in their later analysis, arises from the nature of the capitalist production process itself. But it can be stated immediately that this is a very convenient method of demonstrating the eternal character of the capitalist mode of production, or of showing that capital is a permanent natural element of human production in general. Labour is the eternal natural condition for human existence. The labour process is nothing but labour itself, viewed at the instant of its creative functioning. The general moments of the labour process are therefore independent of all particular social developments. The means of labour and the material of labour, a part of which are already the products of previous labour, play their role in every labour process in all epochs and under all circumstances. If 1 therefore attach to them the name of capital in the conviction that “semper aliquid haeret”, I have proved that the existence of capital is an eternal natural law of human production, and that the Kirghiz who cuts down rushes with a knife he has stolen from a Russian and weaves these rushes together to make a boat is just as much a capitalist as Herr von Rothschild. I might just as well prove that the Greeks and Romans took communion because they drank wine and ate bread, or that the Turks sprinkled themselves every day with Roman Catholic holy water because they washed every day. One finds impertinent and shallow phrase-making of this kind spewed forth with self-satisfied self-importance not only by such people as F. Bastiat, or in the wretched economic tracts of the Society for the Advancement of Useful Knowledge, or in the nursery stories of Mother Martineau, but even [469c] by genuine authorities. Their intention is to prove in this manner the eternal natural necessity for capital; but instead of this, it is rather the opposite that is proved. Capital’s necessity even for a particular historical stage of development of the social production process is thereby negated, for the assertion that capital is nothing but the material and means of labour, or that the objective elements of the labour process are by their nature capital, rightly meets with the reply that this proves a need for capital but not for capitalists, or that capital is nothing but a name invented to defraud the masses.]
["We are told that labour cannot move one step without capital — that the shovel is just as necessary to a man who digs as is his labour — that capital is just as necessary to production as labour itself is. The working man knows all this, for its truth is daily brought home to him; but this mutual dependency between capital and labour has nothing to do with the relative position of the capitalist and the working man; nor does it show that the former should be maintained by the latter. Capital is but so much unconsumed produce; and that which is at this moment in being, exists now independent of, and is in no way identified with, any particular individual or class. And were every capitalist and every rich man in the United Kingdom to be annihilated in one moment, not a single particle of wealth or capital would disappear with them; nor would the nation itself be less wealthy, even to the amount of the farthing. It is the capital, and not the capitalist, that is essential to the operations of the producer; and there is as much difference between the two, as there is between the actual cargo and the bill of lading” (J. F. Bray, Labour’s Wrongs and Labour’s Remedy etc., Leeds, 1839, p. 59).
[*"Capital is a sort of cabalistic word like church or state, or any other of those general terms which are invented by those who fleece the rest of mankind to conceal the hand that shears them” * (Labour Defended against the Claims of Capital etc., London, 1825, p. 17). The author of this anonymous pamphlet is Th. Hodgskin, one of the most significant modern English political economists. The pamphlet we have cited, the importance of which is still recognised (see e.g. John Lalor, Money and Morals etc., London, 1852), called forth an anonymous reply from Lord Brougham some years after it first appeared, a reply which is as superficial as all the other economic achievements of that notorious windbag.]
This inability to grasp the labour process as independent and yet at the same time as one side of the capitalist production process is still more strikingly evident when Mr. F. Wayland for example informs us that raw material is capital, and that it becomes a product by being treated. Thus leather is the product of the currier and the capital of the shoemaker. To be raw material and to be product are both determinations which a thing possesses in relation to the labour process, and they both have nothing to do with its determination of being capital, although both of them, raw material and product, constitute capital once the labour process has been appropriated by the capitalist.
[*"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” * (F. Wayland, 1.c. [The Elements of Political Economy, Boston, 1843], p. 25). (There now follows the above-quoted shit from Proudhon, the citations coming from Gratuité du crédit. Discussion entre M. Fr. Bastiat et M. Proudhon, Paris, 1850, pp. 179, 180 and 182.)]
[Mr. Proudhon has exploited this with his customary “depth”.
“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. Hides, for instance, coming from the butcher’s shop, are the product of the butcher. Have these hides been bought by a currier? At once he adds either them or their value to his working capital. By the work of the currier this capital becomes a product again” [Gratuité du crédit. Discussion entre M. Fr. Bastiat et M. Proudhon. pp. 178-80].
Mr. Proudhon stands out by the apparatus of incorrect metaphysics with which he first enters the most conventional and elementary notions into his “exploitation fund” as capital, subsequently selling them to the public as a high-flown “product”. The question of how the product is converted into capital is in and for itself nonsense, but the answer is on a level with the question. Mr. Proudhon in fact only informs us of two fairly well-known facts, firstly that products are sometimes worked up as raw material, and secondly that products are at the same time commodities; i.e. possess a value, which before being realised must pass the acid test of the debate between buyer and seller. The same “philosopher” remarks:
“For society, the difference between capital and product does not exist. This difference is an entirely subjective one, according to the individual” [ibid., p. 182].
He calls the abstract social form “subjective”, and his subjective abstraction “society”.]
If the political economist, as long as he is looking at the capitalist production process purely from the point of view of the labour process, declares capital to be a mere thing, raw material, instrument, etc., it then again occurs to him that the production process is after all also a valorisation process, and in relation to the valorisation process those things only come into consideration as value.
“The same capital exists now in the form of a sum of money, now in the form of raw material, an instrument, a finished commodity. These things are not actually capital; that resides in the value they have.” [J, B. Say, 1.c. [Traité d'économie politique.... 3rd ed., Paris, 1817], Vol. II, p. 429, note. When Carey says *"Capital ... all articles possessing exchangeable value” * (H. C. Carey, Principles of Political Economy, PART I, Philadelphia, 1837, p. 294), this is to fall back into the explanation of capital already mentioned in Chapter 1 a: *"Capital — is commodities”,* b an explanation which refers only to the way capital appears in the circulation process.]
In so far as this value
maintains itself, continues to exist, multiplies itself, tears itself away from the commodity [469d] that created it, always remains in the possession of the same producer (i.e. the capitalist) like a metaphysical and insubstantial quality”. [Sismondi, Nouveaux principes etc., Vol. 1, p. 89.]
what was immediately beforehand proclaimed a thing is now declared to be a “ commercial idea”. ["Capital is a commercial idea”, (Sismondi, Études etc., Vol. 2, p. 273).]
The product of the capitalist production process is neither a mere product (a use value) nor is it a mere commodity, i.e. a product that has an exchange value. The specific product of this process is rather surplus value. The product is commodities which possess more exchange value, i.e. represent more labour, than was advanced to produce them, in the form of money or commodities. The labour process appears in the capitalist production process merely as a means; while the valorisation process, or the production of surplus value, appears as the goal. As soon as the political economist becomes aware of this, capital starts to be defined as wealth which is employed in production in order to make a profit”. [*"Capital. That portion of the stock 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 Edition etc. BY John Cazenove, London, 1853, p. 10). “Capital is that part of wealth which is employed in production and generally for the purpose of obtaining profit” * (Th. Chalmers, On Political Economy etc., 2nd ed., Glasgow, 1832]
We have seen that the conversion of money into capital can be divided into two independent processes, which belong to quite distinct spheres and exist in isolation from each other. The first process belongs to the sphere of the circulation of commodities and therefore takes place on the commodity market. It is the sale and purchase of labour capacity. The second process is the consumption of the labour capacity that has been purchased, or the production process itself. In the first process, the capitalist and the worker confront each other only as money and commodity owners, and their transaction, like all transactions between buyers and sellers, is an exchange of equivalents. In the second process, the worker appears pro tempore as a living component of capital itself, and the category of exchange is entirely excluded here, since the capitalist has appropriated for himself by purchase all the factors of the production process, material as well as personal, before the start of that process. But although the two processes exist alongside each other independently, they condition each other. The first introduces the second, and the second implements the first.
The first process, the sale and purchase of labour capacity, shows us the worker and the capitalist solely as seller and buyer of the commodity. What distinguishes the worker from other sellers of commodities is only the specific nature, the specific use value of the commodity he sells. But the particular use value of the commodities alters absolutely nothing in the determination of the economic form of the transaction, it does not alter the fact that the buyer represents money, and the seller a commodity. Hence in order to prove that the relation between the capitalist and the worker is nothing but a relation between commodity owners who exchange money and commodities with each other for their mutual advantage and by virtue of a free contract, it is sufficient to isolate the first process and keep holding onto its formal character. This simple conjuring trick is hardly witchcraft, but it forms the whole of vulgar political economy’s stock of wisdom.
We have seen that the capitalist must convert his money not just into labour capacity but into the objective factors of the labour process, the means of production. But if we look at capital as a whole, on one side, i.e. the totality of buyers of labour capacity, on one side, and the totality of sellers of labour capacity, the totality of workers, on the other, we see that the worker is compelled to sell, instead of a commodity, his own labour capacity as a commodity, because he is confronted on the other side by the whole of the means of production, by the whole of the objective conditions of labour, as well as by the whole of the means of subsistence, money, means of production and [469e] means of subsistence as alien property, hence because the worker is confronted by all the objective wealth as the property of the owners of commodities. It is presupposed that he works as a non-owner and that the conditions of his labour confront him as alien property. The fact that capitalist No. I, is a money owner, and buys means of production from capitalist No. II, who owns means of production, while the worker buys means of subsistence from capitalist No. III with money received from capitalist No. I, makes absolutely no change in the circumstance that capitalists Nos. I, II and III are, taken together, in exclusive possession of money, means of production, and means of subsistence. Human beings can only live in so far as they produce their means of subsistence, and they can only produce means of subsistence, in so far as they find themselves in possession of means of production, in possession of the objective conditions of labour. It is therefore apparent from the outset that the worker, who is denuded of the means of production, is denuded of the means of subsistence, just as, conversely, a person who is denuded of means of subsistence will be unable to create any means of production. Hence what stamps money or commodities with the character of capital from the outset, even in the first process before they have actually been converted into capital, is neither their nature as money nor their nature as commodities, nor is it the material use value these commodities have of serving as means of subsistence and means of production, but the circumstance that this money and these commodities, these means of production and subsistence, confront labour capacity which has been denuded of all objective wealth as independent powers, personified in those who own them. The material conditions necessary for the realisation of labour are therefore themselves alienated from the worker, and appear rather as fetishes endowed with a will and a soul of their own, and commodities figure as the buyers of persons. The buyer of labour capacity is only the personification of objectified labour, which gives up part of itself to the worker, in the form of means of subsistence, in order to incorporate living labour capacity into its other part, and through this incorporation to preserve itself as a whole and grow beyond its original measure. It is not a case of the worker buying means of subsistence and means of production, but of the means of subsistence buying the worker, in order to incorporate him into the means of production.
The means of subsistence are a particular material form of existence in which capital confronts the worker before he appropriates them through the sale of his labour capacity. But when the production process begins, labour capacity has already been sold, and the means of subsistence have therefore been transferred, at least de jure, into the worker’s consumption fund. These means of subsistence do not form an element in the labour process, for apart from working labour capacity the labour process presupposes nothing more than the material and means of labour. The worker must in reality preserve his labour capacity through his means of subsistence, but this private consumption of his, which is at the same time the reproduction of his labour capacity, falls outside the commodity’s production process. It is possible in capitalist production for the whole of the worker’s disposable time to be in fact absorbed by capital, and hence for the consumption of the means of subsistence in fact to appear as a mere incident of the labour process itself, just as does the consumption of coal by a steam engine, of oil by a wheel or of hay by a horse; or the whole private consumption of a working slave. It is in this sense that e.g. Ricardo (see above, note 127 ) enumerates “food and clothing” alongside raw materials, tools, etc., as things which give “effect to labour” and therefore serve as “capital” in the labour process. But [469f] however things may turn out in fact, when the free worker consumes the means of subsistence they are commodities he has bought. As soon as they pass into his hands, and therefore all the more so as soon as they have been consumed by him, they cease to be capital. They therefore do not constitute any part of the material elements in which capital appears in the direct production process, although they do constitute the material form of existence of the variable capital which figures on the market, within the sphere of circulation, as the buyer of labour capacity. [ This is the correct point which lies at the basis of Rossi’s polemic against including the means of subsistence among the components of productive capital. But we shall see in a later chapter how incorrectly he conceives the matter, and the degree of confusion he argues himself into in consequence of this. P. Rossi, Cours d'économie politique. Annie 1836-1837. In: Cours d'économie politique, Brussels, 1843]
When a capitalist converts 400 thalers out of 500 into means of production and lays out 100 for the purchase of labour capacity, those 100 thalers form his variable capital. With them the workers buy means of subsistence, either from the same capitalist or from others. The 100 thalers are only the monetary form of these means of subsistence, which therefore in fact form the material content of the variable capital. The variable capital no longer exists within the direct production process in the monetary form or the commodity form; it exists in the form of the living labour which it has appropriated by buying labour capacity. And it is only through this conversion bf variable capital into labour that the quantity of value advanced in money or commodities is converted at all into capital. Hence although the sale and purchase of labour capacity, by which the conversion of a part of the capital into variable capital is conditioned, is a process which precedes the direct production process, and is separate from and independent of it, it forms the absolute foundation for the capitalist production process and it forms a moment of this production process itself, when we consider the latter as a whole and not only at the moment of the direct production of commodities. Objective wealth is converted into capital solely because the worker sells his labour capacity in order to live. The objects which are the objective conditions of labour, hence the means of production and the objects which are the objective conditions for the preservation of the worker himself, hence the means of subsistence, only become capital when faced with wage labour. Capital is no more a thing than money is. In capital, as in money, definite social relations of production between persons are expressed as the relations of things to persons, or definite social connections appear as social characteristics belonging naturally to things. As soon as the individuals confront each other as free persons, there is no production of surplus value without a wage system. Without the production of surplus value there is no capitalist production, hence no capital and no capitalist! Capital and wage labour (this is what we call the labour of the worker who sells his own labour capacity) merely express two factors in the same relation. Money cannot become capital without being exchanged for labour capacity as a commodity sold by the worker himself. Labour, on the other hand, can only appear as wage labour when its own objective conditions meet it as egoistical powers, as alien property, value existing for itself and holding fast to itself, in short as capital. So if capital can only consist from the material point of view — or from the point of view of the use values in which it exists — of the objective conditions of labour itself, these objective conditions must from the formal point of view confront labour as alien, independent powers, as value — objectified labour — to which living labour is the mere means of its own preservation and expansion. Wage labour, or the wage system, is therefore a necessary social form of labour for capitalist production, just as capital, potentiated value, is a necessary social form which the objective conditions of labour must assume for the labour to be wage labour. Wage labour is therefore a necessary condition for the formation of capital, and it remains the constantly necessary presupposition for capitalist production. So although the first process, the exchange of money for labour capacity, or the sale of labour capacity, does not enter as such into the direct production process, it does in contrast enter into the production of the relation as a whole.
[ One can therefore conclude from this what an F. Bastiat understands of the essence of capitalist production when he declares the wage system to be a formality, external to capitalist production and irrelevant to it, and makes the discovery “that it is not the form of the remuneration which creates this dependence for him” (for the worker) (Harmonies économiques, Paris, 1851, p. 378). This is a discovery — as well as being a misunderstood piece of plagiarism from genuine political economists — worthy of the eloquent ignoramus who also discovered, in the same work, hence in 1851, that “what is still more decisive and unmistakable is the disappearance of the great industrial crises in England” (p. 396).a Although F. Bastiat had decreed the removal of great crises from England in 1851, that country again enjoyed a great crisis in 1857, and only avoided another industrial crisis of previously unimagined extent in 1861 because of the outbreak of the American Civil War; one can read this even in the official reports of the English Chambers of Commerce.]
The first process, the sale and purchase of labour capacity, presupposes that the means of production and the means of subsistence have achieved independence vis-à-vis the real worker, and therefore presupposes personified means of production and subsistence, which conclude contracts as buyers with the workers as sellers. If we now pass from this process, which occurs in the sphere of circulation, on the commodity market, to the direct production process itself, we find that the latter is above all a labour process. In the labour process the worker enters as worker into a normal, active relation to the means of production, determined by the nature and purpose of the labour itself. He appropriates the means of production and treats them merely as the means and material of his labour. The independent existence of these means of production, to which [469g] they held fast, and their self-willed character, their separation from labour, are now in fact superseded. The objective conditions of labour step forth in their normal unity with labour, as the mere material for, and the organs of, labour’s creative functioning. The worker treats the hide he is tanning as merely the object on which his creative activity is exerted, not as capital. He does not tan the capitalist’s hide.
[ “We see further from the explanations of the economist himself that, in the process of production, capital, the result of labour, is immediately transformed again into the substratum, into the material of labour; and that therefore the momentarily postulated separation of capital from labour is immediately superseded by the unity of both” (F. Engels, Outlines of a Critique of Political Economy, 1844)]
To the extent that the production process is simply a labour process, the worker consumes the means of production in this process simply as means of subsistence of labour. But to the extent that the production process is at the same time a valorisation process, the capitalist consumes the worker’s labour capacity in it, or appropriates living labour as the life-blood of capital. The raw material, the object of labour in general, serves only to soak up alien labour, and the instrument of labour serves only as a duct, a conduit, for this process of absorption. Through the incorporation of living labour capacity into the objective components of capital, the latter becomes a monster endowed with life, and begins to function “as though it had love in its bosom”. [Goethe, Faust, Part I] Since labour creates value solely in a particular useful form, and since every specific useful kind of labour requires material and means of labour which possess a specific use value, [e.g.] spindles and cotton, etc., for the labour of spinning, anvil, hammer and iron for the labour of the smith, and so on, the labour can only be absorbed in so far as capital takes on the shape of the specific means of production required for particular labour processes, and only in this shape can capital absorb living labour. Here, therefore, one sees why the material elements of the labour process are seen as capital on account of their material characteristics by the capitalist, the worker and the political economist, the last-mentioned being capable of thinking of the labour process only as a labour process appropriated by capital. One also sees why the political economist is incapable of separating their material existence, as simply factors of the labour process, from the social quality attaching to them, which makes them into capital. He cannot do this because in reality the same identical labour process which the means of production serve through their material characteristics as mere means of subsistence of labour, converts those means of production into mere means for the absorption of labour. The worker makes use of the means of production in the labour process, considered in isolation. But in the labour process which is at the same time a capitalist production process the means of production make use of the worker, with the result that labour appears only as a means whereby a certain amount of value, hence a certain amount of objectified labour, absorbs living labour in order to preserve and increase itself. Thus the labour process appears as a process of the self-valorisation of objectified labour by means of living labour. [*"Labour is the agency by which capital is made productive of ... profit"* (John Wade, 1.c. [History of the Middle and Working Classes...], p. 161). “In bourgeois society, living labour is but a means to increase accumulated labour”, Manifest der Kommunistischen Partei, 1848]
Capital employs the worker, not the worker capital, and it is only things which employ the worker and therefore, in the shape of the capitalist, possess selfhood, and a consciousness and will of their own, which are capital.
[The particular economic character of the means of subsistence, that they buy workers, or the character of the means of production, such as leather and lasts, that they employ journeymen cobblers, this inverted relation between thing and person, hence their capitalist character, is so inseparably bound up with the material character of the elements of production in the system of capitalist production, and therefore in the imagination of the political economists, that Ricardo, for example, despite regarding it as necessary to give a more precise characterisation of the material elements of capital, employs without further reservations or further remarks, as self-evident, the economically correct expressions “Capital, or the means of employing labour” (hence not “means employed by labour” but “means of employing labour”) (I.C. [On the Principles of Political Economy, and Taxation], p. 92), “Quantity of Labour employed by a capital” (ibid., p. 419), and “The fund which is to employ them” (The labourers) (p. 252), etc. How could one have explained to an ancient Greek or Roman such expressions as “Though the existing mass of commodities should command less labour than before, etc.” (An Inquiry into those Principles, respecting the Nature of Demand etc., p. 60), where the commodity’s command over labour is directly referred to? In the present-day German language, too, the capitalist, the personification of the things which take labour, is called “the giver of labour” [Arbeitsgeber] and the actual worker, who gives labour, is called “the taker of labour” [Arbeitsnehmer]. “In bourgeois society capital is independent and has individuality, while the living person is dependent and has no individuality” (Manifest der Kommunistischen Partei, l.c).]
In so far as the labour process is merely the means and the real form of the valorisation process, hence in so far as it is a process which consists in the objectification in commodities of a surplus of unpaid labour, surplus value, over and above the labour which was objectified in wages, hence in the production of surplus value, the essential point of this whole process is the exchange of objectified labour with living labour, the exchange of less objectified labour for more living labour. In the process of exchange itself, a quantity of labour objectified in money as a commodity is exchanged for a quantity of labour of equal magnitude, objectified in living labour capacity. [469h] In line with the law of value governing the exchange of commodities, equivalents are exchanged, equal quantities of objectified labour, although one quantity is objectified in a thing, the other in a living person. However, this exchange only introduces the production process, by means of which more labour is in fact obtained in living form than was expended in objectified form.
The great merit of classical political economy is therefore that it presented the whole production process as a process of this kind between objectified labour and living labour, and hence it presented capital, as opposed to living labour, solely as objectified labour, i.e. as value which valorises itself by means of living labour. Classical political economy’s deficiencies here are firstly that it was incapable of demonstrating how this exchange of more living labour for less objectified labour fits in with the law of the exchange of commodities the determination of the values of commodities by labour time, and secondly, therefore, that it directly lumped together the exchange of a definite quantity of objectified labour for labour capacity in the circulation process with the absorption of living labour in the production process by the objectified labour which is present in the shape of means of production. It lumps together the process of exchange between variable capital and labour capacity with the process of the absorption of living labour by constant capital. This deficiency too arises from classical political economy’s “capitalist” prejudices, because the capitalist himself, who only pays for labour after it has been performed, regards the exchange of a small quantity of objectified labour for a large quantity of living labour as one single unmediated process. Hence if the modern political economist counterposes capital, as objectified labour, to living labour, he understands by objectified labour not the products of labour in the sense in which they possess a use value and are the embodiment of particular useful acts of labour, but in the sense in which they are the material expression of a particular quantity of general social labour, hence are value, money, which valorises itself by appropriating alien living labour. This appropriation is mediated by the exchange . between variable capital and labour capacity, which takes place on the commodity market, but is only completed in the real production process.
[Direct labour and objectified labour, present and past labour, living and hoarded labour, etc., are therefore forms in which the political economists express the relation between capital and labour.
- "Labour and Capital ... the one immediate labour, ... the other hoarded labour"* (James Mill, Elements of Political Economy, London, 1821, p. 75).
- "Antecedent labour (capital) ... present labour"* (E. G. Wakefield, in his edition of Adam Smith [An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations], Vol. 1, London, 1835, p. 231, note). *"Accumulated labour (capital) ... immediate labour” (Torrens, 1.c. [An Essay on the Production of Wealth..., London, 1821], Ch. I p. 31).
- "Labour and Capital, that is, accumulated labour"* (Ricardo, 1.c. [On the Principles of Political Economy, and Taxation], p. 499).
- “The specific advances of the capitalists do not consist of cloth” * (or of any use values at all), * “but of labour” * (Malthus, The Measure of Value etc., London, 1823, p. 17).
“Just as everyone is forced to consume before he produces, the poor worker finds himself dependent upon the rich man, and can neither live nor work without obtaining from him existing produce and commodities, in exchange for those he promises to produce by his own labour... To make him” [i.e. the rich man] “consent to this, it was necessary to agree that whenever labour already performed was exchanged for labour yet to be done, the latter would have a higher value than the former” (Sismondi, De la richesse commercials, Vol. 1, Geneva, 1803, pp. 36, 37).a
Mr. W. Roscher, who evidently has no idea of what the English political economists are saying, and apart from this inopportunely recalls that Senior has baptised capital “abstinence”, makes the following grammatically “acute” professorial observation: “The school of Ricardo is also accustomed to subsume capital under the concept of labour, as ‘hoarded labour’. This is clumsy, because after all (!) the owner of capital has even so (!) done more (!) than merely (!) produce (!) and preserve it (!); namely he has abstained from enjoying it himself, in return for which he demands e.g. interest” (W. Roscher, 1.c. [Die Grundlagen der Nationalökonomie..., 1858, p. 82]).]
The subordination of the labour process to capital does not at first change the real mode of production in any way, and its only practical effect is as follows: the worker comes under the command, the direction, and the overall supervision of the capitalist, only in relation to his labour which belongs to capital, of course. The capitalist takes care that the worker wastes no time, and e.g. produces every hour the product of an hour’s labour, employing only the average amount of labour time necessary to produce the product. To the extent that the capital-relation dominates production, and the worker therefore constantly appears on the market as a seller and the capitalist as a buyer, the labour process is itself by and large continuous and not interrupted, as it would be if the worker, as an independent producer of commodities, depended on the sale [469i] of his commodities to individual customers, since the minimum amount of capital must be large enough to employ the worker continuously and wait for the sale of the commodities."')
[ * “If in the progress of time a change takes place in their economical position"* (i.e. the *workmen’s), “if they become the workmen of a capitalist who advances their wages beforehand, two things take place. First, they can now labour continuously; and, secondly, an agent is provided, whose office and whose interest it will be, to see that they do labour continuously... Here, then, is an increased continuity in the labour of all this class of persons. They labour daily from morning to night, and are not interrupted by waiting for or seeking the customer... But the continuity of labour, thus made possible, is secured and improved by the superintendence of the capitalist. He has advanced their wages; he is to receive the products of their labour. It is his interest and his privilege to see that they do not labour interruptedly or dilatorily"* (R. Jones, 1.c. [Text-book of Lectures on the Political Economy of Nations.... Hertford, 1852], p. 38 sqq. passim).]
Finally, the capitalist compels the worker to prolong the duration of the labour process as far as possible beyond the limits of the labour time necessary for the reproduction of the wage, for this surplus of labour is precisely what provides the capitalist with surplus value.
["An axiom generally admitted by economists is that all labour must leave a surplus. In my opinion this proposition is universally and absolutely true: it is the corollary of the law of proportion” (!), “which may be regarded as the summary of the whole of economic science. But, if the economists will permit me to say so, the principle that all labour must leave a surplus is meaningless according to their theory, and is not susceptible of any demonstration” (Proudhon, [Système des contradictions économiques, ou] Philosophie de la misère [Vol. I, Paris, 1846, p. 73]). I have shown in my work Misère de la philosophie. Réponse a la philosophie de la misère de M. Proudhon, Paris, 1847, pp. 76-9l, that Mr. Proudhon does not have the slightest idea of the nature of this “surplus of labour”, which is in fact the surplus product in which the surplus labour or unpaid labour of the worker is expressed. Since he finds that all labour in fact produces a “surplus” of this kind in capitalist production, he endeavours to explain this fact by calling upon some sort of mysterious natural quality in labour, and to escape from his embarrassment by using such sesquepedalia verba [Bombastic, meaningless and long-winded expression] as “corollary of the law of proportion”, etc.]
Just as the owner of commodities is only interested in the use value of the commodity as the vehicle of its exchange value, so the capitalist is only interested in the labour process as the vehicle and instrument of the valorisation process. Within the production process too — in so far as it is a valorisation process — the means of production continue to be simply monetary values, for which the particular material shape, the particular use value, in which this exchange value is expressed is a matter of indifference, just as labour itself does not count within the production process as productive activity of a particular useful character, but as the substance that creates value, as social labour in general which is being objectified, and of which the only interesting aspect is its quantity. For capital, therefore, every particular sphere of production counts only as a particular sphere in which money is invested in order to make more money, in order to preserve and increase existing value or to appropriate surplus labour. The labour process is different, and therefore the factors of the labour process are different, in every individual sphere of production. One cannot make any boots with spindles, cotton, and spinners. But the investment of capital in one or the other sphere of production, the division of the total capital of society between the various spheres of production, and finally the degree to which capital migrates from one sphere of production to another, are all determined by the changing proportions in which society requires the products of these particular spheres of production, i.e. the use value of the commodities they produce; for although only the exchange value of a commodity is paid, it is never bought for any other reason than its use value.
But capital is in and for itself indifferent towards the specificity of every sphere of production, and where it is invested, how it is invested, and to what extent it passes from one sphere of production into another, or its distribution between the various spheres of production alters, is determined solely by the greater or lesser difficulty experienced in selling the commodities produced by one or the other sphere of production. In reality, this fluidity of capital is slowed down by frictions, which we do not need to consider here any further. But on the one hand, as we shall see later, it creates means of overcoming these frictions, in so far as they arise solely from the nature of the relation of production itself, and on the other hand the development of the mode of production peculiar to capital removes all legal and extra-economic obstacles to its free movement in the various spheres of production. Above all it overturns all the legal or traditional barriers preventing it from buying whatever kind of labour capacity it thinks fit, or appropriating any kind of labour at all at its good pleasure. Furthermore, although labour capacity possesses a particular shape in every particular sphere of production, as the capacity for spinning, shoemaking, blacksmithing, etc., although, in short, every particular sphere of production requires a labour capacity which has developed in a particular direction, a specialised labour capacity, that fluidity of capital, its indifference towards the particular character of the labour [469k] process it is appropriating, presupposes the same fluidity or versatility in labour, hence in the ability of the worker to employ his labour capacity. We shall see that the capitalist mode of production itself creates these economic obstacles to its own tendency, but it removes all legal and extra-economic obstacles to the versatility we are discussing.
[* “Every man, if not restrained by law, would pass from one employment to another, as the various turns in trade should require"* (Considerations Concerning Taking Off the Bounty on Corn Exported etc., London, 1753, p. 4).]
Just as capital, as self-valorising value, is indifferent to the particular material shape in which it appears in the labour process, whether as steam engine, manure heap or silk, so the worker is indifferent to the particular content of his labour. His labour belongs to capital, it is merely the use value of the commodity he has sold, and he has only sold it in order to appropriate to himself money, and, with that money, the means of subsistence. He is only interested. in changes in the kind of labour [needed] because every particular kind of labour demands a different development of labour capacity. While his indifference towards the particular content of his labour does not provide him with the ability to change his labour capacity to order, he shows this indifference by throwing his replacements, the succeeding generation, from one branch of labour to the other according to the requirements of the market. The higher the development of capitalist production in a country, the greater the demand for versatility in labour capacity, the more indifferent the worker is towards the particular content of his labour, and the greater the fluidity of capital’s movement from one sphere of production to another. Classical political economy presupposes as axioms the versatility of labour capacity and the fluidity of capital, and justifiably so to the extent that this is the tendency of the capitalist mode of production, which asserts itself ruthlessly despite all obstacles, which are for the most part created by capitalist production itself. In order to present the laws of political economy in their purity, abstraction is made from these frictions, just as in pure mechanics abstraction is made from particular frictions which have to be overcome in each particular case of its application. 144)
[Nowhere is the fluidity of capital, the versatility of labour and the indifference of the worker towards the content of his labour more clearly apparent than in the United States of North America. In Europe, and even in England, capitalist production continues to be haunted and falsified by feudal reminiscences. The fact that e.g. baking, shoemaking, etc., are only now starting to be carried on in the capitalist fashion in England, is entirely due to the circumstance that English capital had feudal prejudices about “respectability”. It was “respectable” to sell Negroes into slavery, but it wasn’t “respectable” to make sausages, boots or bread. All the machinery which subordinates the “disreputable” European branches of business to the capitalist mode of production therefore originates from the United States. On the other hand, people are nowhere as indifferent to the kind of labour they perform as in the United States; nowhere else are people so aware that their labour always delivers the same product, money, and nowhere else do people pass with the same nonchalance through the most disparate branches of labour. This ‘Versatility” of labour capacity therefore appears here as a completely distinct quality of the free worker in contrast to the working slave, whose labour capacity is fixed, and can only be employed in the locally traditional manner. * “Slave labour is eminently defective in point of versatility... if tobacco be cultivated, tobacco becomes the sole staple, and tobacco is produced whatever be the state of the market, and whatever be the condition of the soil” * (Cairnes, 1.c., The Slave Power: its Character, Career, and Probable Designs..., London, 1862, pp. 46, 47).]
Although the capitalist and the worker only confront each other on the market as buyer, money, and seller, commodity, this relation has from the outset a characteristic coloration owing to the peculiar content of the transaction; the more so, in that the capitalist mode of production presupposes that the presence of both sides on the market in the same antithetical determination is constantly repeated, or is a constant one. If we consider the relation of commodity owners as such on the market, we see the same commodity owner appear alternately as seller and buyer of commodities. The fact that two commodity owners are distinguished from each other as buyers and sellers is only a constantly disappearing difference, in that all alternately play the same roles towards each other in the sphere of circulation. Admittedly, the worker too becomes a buyer, after he has sold his labour capacity, converted it into money, and he is now confronted by the capitalists as mere sellers of commodities. But in his hands the money is only a means of circulation. On the actual commodity market the worker is in fact only distinguished as a buyer from the commodity owner as a seller, just like everyone else who possesses money. But on the labour market it is different: here money always confronts him as the money form of capital, and therefore the money owner confronts him as capital personified, a capitalist, just as for his part the worker confronts the money owner as [469l] merely the personification of labour capacity, and therefore of labour, as a worker.
“The relation of the manufacturer to his operatives is ... purely economic. The manufacturer is ‘Capital’, the operative ‘Labour’.” [Engels, Lage der arbeitenden Klasse etc.,]
It is not a mere buyer and a mere seller who face each other, it is a capitalist and a worker, who face each other in the sphere of circulation, on the market, as buyer and seller. Their relation as capitalist and worker is the presupposition for their relation as buyer and seller. This is not, as with other sellers of commodities, a relation that arises absolutely from the nature of the commodity itself, such as that no one directly produces products for his own needs, but rather that everyone produces a particular product as a commodity, and then through selling it appropriates the products of others. What we are dealing with here is not the social division of labour and independent position of the different branches of labour vis-à-vis each other which makes e.g. the shoemaker into a seller of boots and a buyer of leather or bread. It is rather the division of the associated elements of the production process themselves, and their achievement of an independent position vis-à-vis each other, which proceeds as far as their reciprocal personification. This is what makes money, as the general form of objectified labour, into a buyer of labour capacity, of the living source of exchange value and therefore of wealth. Real wealth, which is money, if seen from the point of view of exchange value, and the means of subsistence and the means of production, if seen from the point of view of use value, confronts the worker, the potentiality of wealth, i.e. labour capacity, as one person confronting another person.
[469m] Since surplus value is the specific product of the production process, its product is not only the commodity but capital. Labour is converted into capital within the production process. The functioning of labour capacity, i.e. labour, objectifies itself in the production process, and thus becomes value, but since the labour ceases to belong to the worker even before it starts, what is objectified for the worker is the objectification of alien labour, and therefore value independently confronting labour capacity, capital. The product belongs to the capitalist, and it represents capital vis-à-vis the worker just as much as the elements of production do. On the other hand, existing value — or money — only genuinely becomes capital, firstly, by presenting itself as self-valorising value, value in process (and it does present itself as such in that the functioning of labour capacity, labour, takes effect within the production process as energy incorporated into it, and belonging to it), and, secondly, by distinguishing itself as surplus value from itself as value originally pre-posited, which is in turn a result of the objectification of surplus labour.
In the production process, labour becomes objectified labour as opposed to living labour capacity, i.e. it becomes capital; a second result of this absorption and appropriation of labour in the production process is that the value pre-posited becomes value in process, and therefore value which creates a surplus value distinct from itself. Only through the conversion of labour into capital during the production process is the pre-posited quantity of value, which was only dunamei capital, realised as actual capital.
["They” (the workers) “exchange their labour” (this should read “their labour capacity”) “for corn” [i.e. the means of subsistence] “This becomes their income” [i.e. fails to their share as individual consumption] “..,whereas their labour has become capital for their master” (Sismondi, Nouveaux principes d'économie politique ..., Vol. I, p. 90). “The workers, giving their labour in exchange, convert it [the product] into capital” (1.c., p. 105).]
 There is one further remark to be made about value or money as objectification of general average social labour: the labour of spinning, for example, may in itself stand above or below the level of average social labour. I.e. a given quantity of spinning labour may be equal to, greater than, or less than, the same quantity of average social labour, e.g. labour time of the same magnitude (length), objectified in a given quantity of money. But if the labour of spinning is performed with the degree of intensity normal in its sphere, hence if the amount of labour employed in yarn manufactured in the course of an hour = the normal quantity of yarn an hour of spinning labour provides on an average under the given social conditions, the labour objectified in the yarn will be socially necessary labour. As such it has a quantitatively determined relation to the average social labour in general which serves as a yardstick, representing accordingly a quantity of the latter, which can be the same, greater or smaller. It therefore itself expresses a definite quantity of average social labour.
Formal Subsumption of Labour under Capital[edit source]
The labour process becomes the instrument of the valorisation process, of the process of capital’s self-valorisation — the process of the creation of surplus value. The labour process is subsumed under capital (it is capital’s own process) and the capitalist enters the process as its conductor, its director; for him it is at the same time directly a process of the exploitation of alien labour. I call this the formal subsumption of labour under capital. It is the general form of any capitalist production process; but at the same time it is a particular form alongside the developed mode of production which is specifically capitalist because the second involves the first, but the first by no means necessarily involves the second.
 The production process has become the process of capital itself. It is a process which proceeds with the factors of the labour process into which the capitalist’s money has been converted, and which proceeds under his direction, and with the purpose of using money to make more money.
When the peasant who previously produced independently for himself becomes a day labourer working for a farmer; when the hierarchical structure valid for the mode of production of the guild type disappears, to be replaced by the simple antithesis between the capitalist and the handicraftsman who is set to work for him as a wage labourer; when the man who was previously a slaveholder employs his former slaves as wage labourers, etc., production processes with a different social determination are thereby converted into the production process of capital. With this, there occur the changes discussed earlier. The previously independent peasant becomes, as a factor in the production process, dependent on the capitalist, who directs that process; his very employment depends on a contract he has concluded in advance as a commodity owner (an owner of labour power) with the capitalist as a money owner. The slave ceases to be an instrument of production belonging to the employer of that instrument. The relation between master and journeyman vanishes. The master stood towards the journeyman in the relation of master of the craft. Now he relates to him merely as the owner of capital, just as the journeyman now only confronts the master as a seller of labour. Before the production process they all confront each other as owners of commodities, having only a monetary relation in common; within the production process, as personified agents of the factors of that process. The capitalist functions as “capital”, the direct producer as “labour”, and their relation is determined by labour, as a mere factor in self-valorising capital.
Furthermore, the capitalist takes care that the labour possesses the normal level of quality and intensity, and he prolongs the labour process as much as possible, since the amount of surplus value produced by it thereby increases. There is a growth in the continuity of labour when the producers, instead of being dependent as previously on individual customers, no longer have any commodities to sell, but possess a permanent paymaster in the shape of the capitalist.
The mystification inherent in the capital-relation also enters the picture. Labour’s power of preserving value appears as capital’s power of self-preservation, labour’s power of creating value appears as capital’s power of self-valorisation, and altogether, in line with the concept, objectified labour appears as the employer of living labour.
Despite all this, the change indicated does not mean that an essential change takes place from the outset in the real way in which the labour process is carried on, in the real production process. On the contrary, it is in the nature of the matter that where a subsumption of the labour process under capital takes place it occurs on the basis of an existing labour process, which was there before its subsumption under capital, and was formed on the basis of various earlier processes of production and other conditions of production. Capital thus subsumes under itself a given, existing labour process, such as handicraft labour, the mode of agriculture corresponding to small-scale independent peasant farming. If changes take place in these traditional labour processes which have been brought under the command of capital, these modifications can only be the gradual consequences of the subsumption of given, traditional labour processes under capital, which has already occurred. The fact that the labour becomes more intensive, or the duration of the labour process is prolonged, that the labour becomes more continuous and more systematic under the eyes of the interested capitalist, etc., none of these things changes the character of the real labour process itself, the real mode of labour. This therefore forms a great contrast to the specifically capitalist mode of production (labour on a large scale, etc.) which, as has been shown, takes shape as capitalist production progresses, and which revolutionises the kind of labour done and the real mode of the entire labour process, simultaneously with the relations between the various agents of production. It is in order to mark the contrast with the latter mode of the labour process that we call the subsumption of the labour process under capital examined so far — which is the subsumption under capital of a mode of labour already developed before the emergence of the capital-relation — the formal subsumption of labour under capital. The capital-relation is a relation of compulsion, the aim of which is to extract surplus labour by prolonging labour time — it is a relation of compulsion which does not rest on any personal relations of domination and dependence, but simply arises out of the difference in economic functions. This capital-relation as a relation of compulsion is common to both modes of production, but the specifically capitalist mode of production also possesses other ways of extracting surplus value. If, in contrast to this, the basis is an existing mode of labour, hence a given level of development of the productive power of labour and a mode of labour which corresponds to this productive power, surplus value can only be created by prolonging labour time, hence in the manner of absolute surplus value. Therefore, where this is the sole form of production of surplus value, we have the formal subsumption of labour under capital.
 The general moments of the labour process, as presented in Chapter II thus e.g. the diremption placing the objective conditions of labour — the material and means of labour — on one side, and the living activity of the worker himself, etc., on the other, are determinations independent of whatever is the historical and specifically the social character of the production process, and they remain equally true for all possible forms of development of the latter; they are in fact the unalterable natural conditions of human labour. This is strikingly demonstrated straight away by the fact that they are valid for human beings working independently, producing, not in an exchange with society, but only in an exchange with nature, such as Robinson. Crusoe, etc. They are therefore in fact absolute determinants of human labour altogether, once human beings have worked their way out of their purely animal character.
What from the outset distinguishes the labour process subsumed under capital, even when it is only formally subsumed, and what distinguishes it more and more, even on the basis of the old, traditional mode of labour, is the scale on which it is carried on, hence on the one hand the extent of the means of production advanced, and on the other hand the number of workers under the control of the same employer. What appears as a maximum on the basis of e.g. the handicraft mode of production (e.g. with regard to the number of journeymen) hardly even forms a minimum for the capital-relation. For in fact the latter can hardly enter the picture more than nominally unless the capitalist employs at least enough workers for the surplus value produced by them to be sufficient to serve as income for his own private consumption, and as a fund for accumulation, so that he himself is exempted from direct labour and only works now as a capitalist as the overseer and director of the process, performing as it were the function of capital engaged in its valorisation process and virtually endowed with will and consciousness. And this expansion of the scale of production forms the real basis on which the specifically capitalist mode of production emerges, under otherwise favourable historical circumstances, such as those of the 16th century, although it of course may appear sporadically at isolated points, not as dominating over society, within earlier forms of society.
The distinguishing character of the formal subsumption of labour under capital can be made most plain by comparison with situations in which capital already exists in particular subordinate functions, but not yet in its ruling function, the function in which it determines the general form of society, as directly buying labour and directly appropriating the production process. Usurers’ capital, for example, in so far as it advances raw material, instrument of labour or even both, in the form of money, to the direct producer, as e.g. in India. The immense interest it charges, the interest payments in general it thus extorts from the direct producer, irrespective of their size, are only another name for surplus value.
In fact it converts its money into capital by extorting unpaid labour, surplus labour, from the direct producer. But it does not become involved in the production process itself; this continues alongside it in its traditional manner. Usurers’ capital springs up in part because of the stunted development of this mode of production, and in part it is a means of keeping it stunted, and making it continue to vegetate in the most unfavourable conditions. Here the formal subsumption of labour under capital does not yet take place. Another example is merchants’ capital, in so far as it gives out orders to a number of direct producers, then collects and sells their products, in which connection it may also advance raw material, etc., or also make monetary advances, etc. This is the form out of which the modern capital-relation in part developed, and it still forms here and there the transition to the capital-relation proper. Here too no formal subsumption of labour under capital has yet taken place. The direct producer continues to be both a seller of commodities and an employer of his own labour. But the transition is already present here to a greater extent than in the relation of usurers’ capital. Both of these forms, to which we shall return at some later point, are reproduced as parallel and transitional forms within the capitalist mode of production.
The Real Subsumption of Labour under Capital or the Specifically Capitalist Mode of Production[edit source]
In Chapter III we exhaustively analysed how the whole real shape of the mode of production changes with the production of relative surplus value [in the case of the individual capitalist, in so far as he seizes the initiative, it is spurred on by the fact that value = the socially necessary labour time objectified in the product, and therefore surplus value begins to be created for him once the individual value of his product stands below its social value, and can as a result be sold above its individual value] and how a specifically capitalist mode of production arises (technologically as well), on the basis of which, and with which, there also begins a simultaneous development of the relations of production corresponding to the capitalist production process — relations between the different agents of production, in particular between the capitalist and the wage labourer.
The social productive powers of labour, or the productive powers of directly social, socialised (common) labour, are developed through cooperation, through the division of labour within the workshop, the employment of machinery, and in general through the transformation of the production process into a conscious application of the natural sciences, mechanics, chemistry, etc., for particular purposes, technology, etc., as well as by working on a large scale, which corresponds to all these advances, etc. [This socialised labour alone is capable of applying the general products of human development, such as mathematics, etc., to the direct production process, just as, conversely, the development of the sciences presupposes that the material production process has attained a certain level.] This development of the productive power of socialised labour, as opposed to the more or less isolated labour of the individual, etc., and, alongside it, the application of science, that general product of social development, to the direct production process, has the appearance of a productive power of capital, not of labour, or it only appears as a productive power of labour in so far as the latter is identical with capital, and in any case it does not appear as the productive power either of the individual worker or of the workers combined together in the production process. The mystification which lies in the capital-relation in general is now much more developed than it was, or could be, in the case of the merely formal subsumption of labour under capital. On the other hand, the historical significance of capitalist production first emerges here in striking fashion (and specifically), precisely through the transformation of the direct production process itself, and the development of the social productive powers of labour.
It was demonstrated in Chapter III that the “social character”, etc., of the worker’s labour confronts him, both “notionally” and “in fact”, as not only alien, but hostile and antagonistic, and as objectified and personified in capital.
Just as the production of absolute surplus value can be regarded as the material expression of the formal subsumption of labour under capital, so the production of relative surplus value can be regarded as that of the real subsumption of labour under capital.
In any case, if each of the two forms of surplus value — absolute and relative — is considered for itself, in its separate existence and absolute surplus value always precedes relative — we can say that two separate forms of the subsumption of labour under capital, or two separate forms of capitalist production, correspond to the two forms of surplus value. The first form of production always constitutes the predecessor of the second, although the second, which is the further developed form, can in turn form the basis for the introduction of the first in new branches of production.
[Supplementary Remarks on the Formal Subsumption of Labour under Capital][edit source]
Before we proceed any further in considering the real subsumption of labour under capital, the following supplementary remarks are taken from my notebooks.
I call the form which rests on absolute surplus value the formal subsumption of labour under capital because it is distinguished only formally from the earlier modes of production on the basis of which it directly originates (is introduced), modes in which either the producers are self-employing, or the direct producers have to provide surplus labour for others. The compulsion exerted there, i.e. the method of extracting surplus labour, is of a different kind. The essential features of formal subsumption are these:
1) the purely money relation between the person who is appropriating the surplus labour and the person who provides it; to the extent that subordination arises, it arises from the particular content of the sale, not from a subordination pre-posited to the sale, which might have placed the producer in a relation other than the money relation (the relation of one commodity owner to another) towards the exploiter of his labour, as a consequence of political conditions, etc. It is only as owner of the conditions of labour that the buyer brings the seller into a condition of economic dependency; it is not any kind of political and socially fixed relation of domination and subordination.
2) Something implied by the first relation — for otherwise the worker would not have to sell his labour capacity — namely the fact that the objective conditions of his labour (the means of production) and the subjective conditions of his labour (the means of subsistence) confront him as capital, as monopolised by the buyer of his labour capacity. The more completely these conditions of labour confront him as alien. property, the more completely does the relation of capital and wage labour occur formally, hence the formal subsumption of labour under capital, which is the condition and presupposition of its real subsumption.
As yet there is no difference in the mode of production itself. The labour process, seen from the technological point of view, continues exactly as it did before, except that now it is a labour process subordinated to capital. Nevertheless, there develops within the production process itself, as previously demonstrated, 1) an economic relation of domination and subordination, in that the consumption of labour capacity is done by the capitalist, and is therefore supervised and directed by him; and 2) a great
continuity and intensity of labour and a greater economy in the employment of the conditions of labour, in that every effort is made to ensure that the product only represents socially necessary labour time (or rather, less than. that). This applies both with regard to the living labour employed to produce the product, and with regard to the objectified labour which, as the value of the means of production employed, enters as a constituent element into the value of the product.
With the formal subsumption of labour under capital, the compulsion to do surplus labour — and therewith on the one hand to create needs and the means to satisfy those needs, and on the other hand to produce in quantities which go beyond the measure of the worker’s traditional needs — and the creation of free time for development, independently of material production, merely take on a different form from that of earlier modes of production, but it is a form which heightens the continuity and intensity of labour, increases production, is more favourable to the development of variations in labour capacity and accordingly to the differentiation of modes of labour and gaining a living, and finally dissolves the very relation between the owner of the conditions of labour and the worker into a pure relation of purchase and sale, or a money relation, and eliminates from the relation of exploitation all patriarchal, political or even religious admixtures. To be sure, the relation of production itself creates a new relation of domination and subordination (and this also produces political, etc., expressions of itself). The less capitalist production goes beyond the formal relation, the less is the formal relation itself developed, since it presupposes small capitalists alone, who are only marginally distinct from the workers themselves in their training and mode of employment.
 The difference in the kind of relation of domination and subordination when the mode of production is not yet affected, is most apparent where rural and domestic subsidiary occupations, carried on just for the needs of the family, are transformed into independent capitalist branches of labour.
The difference between labour formally subsumed by capital and the previous way of employing labour emerges to the same extent as the growth in the magnitude of the capital employed by the individual capitalist, hence in the number of workers simultaneously employed by him. The capitalist requires a certain minimum amount of capital to be able to stop being a worker himself and to confine himself entirely to the direction of the labour , process and the conduct of trade with the commodities that have been produced.
The real subsumption of labour under capital, the capitalist mode of production proper, only takes place when capitalists of a certain importance have directly taken control of production, whether because the merchant becomes an industrial capitalist or because large-scale industrial capitalists have come into existence on the basis of the formal subsumption.
[474a] [This note is not related to the last passage but to the preceding one.
“A free labourer has generally the liberty of changing his master: this liberty distinguishes a slave from a free labourer, as much as an English man-of-war sailor is distinguished from a merchant sailor... The condition of a labourer is superior to that of a slave, because a labourer thinks himself free; and this conviction, however erroneous, has no small influence on the character of a population” * (Th. R. Edmonds, Practical Moral and Political Economy, London, 1828, pp. 56-57). “The motive which impels a free man to labour is much more violent than the motive impelling a slave: *a free man has to choose between hard labour and starvation “ * [check this passage], *"a slave between ... and a good whipping” (1.c., p. 56). “The difference between the conditions of a slave and a labourer under the money system is very inconsiderable; ... the master of the slave understands too well his own interest to weaken his slaves by stinting them in their food; but the master of a free man gives him as little food as possible, because the injury done to the labourer does not fall on himself alone, but on the whole class of masters” * (1.c.).
“In the old world, * to make mankind laborious beyond their wants, to make one part of a state work, to maintain the other part gratuitously,* could only be brought about by slavery, and slavery was therefore introduced universally. *Slavery was then as necessary towards multiplication, as it would now be destructive of it. The reason is plain. If mankind be not forced to labour, they will only labour for themselves; and if they have few wants, there will be few [who] labour. But when states come to be formed and have occasion for idle hands to defend them against the violence of their enemies, food at any rate must be procured for those who don not labour; and as by the supposition, the wants of the labourers are small, a method must be found to increase their labour above the proportion of their wants. For this purpose slavery was calculated... The slaves were forced to labour the soil which fed both them and the idle freemen, as was the case in Sparta; or they filled all the servile places which freemen fill now, and they were likewise employed, as in Greece and in Rome, in supplying with manufactures those whose service was necessary for the state. Here then was a violent method of making mankind laborious in raising food... Men were then forced to labour, because they were slaves to others; men are now forced to labour because they are slaves of their own wants” * (J. Steuart, [An Inquiry into the Principles of Political Oeconómy .... ] Vol. I, Dublin edition, 1770, pp. 38-40).
“In the 16th century,” says the same Steuart, “while on the one hand the lords were dismissing their retainers, the farmers”, who were turning themselves into industrial capitalists, “were dismissing the idle mouths. Agriculture was converted from a means of subsistence into a trade.” The consequence was this: * “The withdrawing ... [of] a number of hands from a trifling agriculture forces, in a manner, the husbandmen to work harder; and by hard labour upon a small spot, the same effect is produced as with slight labour upon a great extent” * (1.c., p. 105).]
If the relation of domination and subordination replaces those of slavery, serfdom, vassalage, patriarchal, etc., relations of subordination, there takes place only a change in their form. The form becomes freer, because the subordination is now only of an objective nature; it is formally speaking voluntary, purely economic. Verte.)
 Or the relation of domination and subordination in the production process replaces an earlier independence in the production process, as e.g. with all self-sustaining peasants, farmers who only had to pay a rent in kind, whether to the state or to the landlord, with rural-domestic subsidiary industry, or independent handicrafts. Here, therefore, the loss of a previous independence in the production process is the situation, and the relation of domination or subordination is itself the product of the introduction of the capitalist mode of production.
Finally, the relation of capitalist and wage labourer can replace the master of the guild type and his journeymen and apprentices, a transition accomplished in part by urban manufacture at its very beginnings. The medieval guild relation, which developed in analogous form in narrow circles in Athens and Rome as well, and was of such decisive importance in Europe for the formation of capitalists on the one hand, and of a free estate of workers on the other, is a limited, not yet adequate, form of the relation of capital and wage labour. There exists here on the one hand the relation of buyer and seller. Wages are paid, and master, journeyman, and apprentice confront each other as free persons. The technological basis of this relation is the handicraft workshop, in which the more or less skilled manipulation of the instrument of labour is the decisive factor of production. Here independent personal labour and therefore its professional development, which requires a longer or shorter period of apprenticeship, determines the result of the labour. The master is admittedly in possession of the conditions of production, the tools of the trade, the material of labour [although the tools may also belong to the journeyman], and the product belongs to him. To that extent he is a capitalist. But as a capitalist he is not a master. He is first and foremost a craftsman himself, and is supposed to be a master of his craft. Within the production process itself he figures as a craftsman as much as do his journeymen, and he is the first to initiate his apprentices into the mysteries of the craft. He has exactly the same relation to his apprentices as a teacher has to his pupils. His relation to apprentices and journeymen is therefore not that of the capitalist as such, but that of the master of a craft, who holds as such a hierarchical position in the corporation, and therefore towards them, which is supposed to rest on his own mastery in the craft. His capital is therefore restricted both in its material form and in the extent of its value; it has not by any means yet attained the free form of capital. It is not a definite quantity of objectified labour, value in general, which can take on this or that form of the conditions of labour, and takes on whatever form it chooses, according to whether it decides to be exchanged for this or that form of living labour, in order to appropriate surplus labour. Only after he has passed through the prescribed stages of apprentice and journeyman, etc., himself produced his masterpiece, can he put money to work in this particular branch of labour, in his own craft, partly by turning it into the objective conditions of the craft, partly by buying journeymen and keeping apprentices. Only in his own craft can he convert his money into capital, i.e. use it not only as the means of his own labour but also as a means of exploiting alien labour. His capital is tied to a particular form of use value, and therefore does not confront his workers as capital. The methods of work he employs are not only acquired by experience but prescribed by guild regulations — they count as the necessary methods, and thus from this angle too it is not exchange value but the use value of the labour which appears as the ultimate purpose. The delivery of work of this or that quality does not depend on his own discretion; the whole guild system is rather directed towards the delivery of work of a specific quality. The price of labour is just as little subject to his arbitrary will as the method of work. The restricted form, which prevents his wealth from functioning as capital, is further shown by the fact that. a maximum is in fact prescribed for the extent of the value of his capital. He is not allowed to keep more than a certain number of journeymen, since the guild is supposed to ensure for all masters a proportional share in the receipts of their craft. Finally there is the relation of the master to other masters as a member of the same guild; as such he belongs to a corporation, which has certain communal conditions of production (guild order, etc.), political rights, participation in the city administration, etc. He works to order — with the exception of his work for merchants — for immediate use value, and so the number of masters is regulated accordingly. He does not confront his workers as a mere merchant. Still less can the merchant convert his money into productive capital; he can only “transfer” the commodities, he cannot produce them himself. An existence of the estate type — the purpose and result of the exploitation of alien labour is here not exchange value as such, not enrichment as such. What is decisive here is the instrument. The raw material is in many branches of labour (e.g. tailoring) delivered to the master himself by his customers. The barrier to production within the whole range of the available consumption is here a law. It is therefore by no means regulated by the barriers of capital itself. In the capitalist relation the barriers disappear along with the politico-social bonds in which capital still moves here, hence not yet appearing as capital.
 The merely formal conversion of the handicraft trade into a capitalist enterprise, in which case the technological process therefore initially remains the same as before, consists in the removal of all these barriers — whereby the relation of domination and subordination also alters. The master is now no longer a capitalist because he is a master, but a master because he is a capitalist. The barrier of his production is no longer conditioned by the barrier of his capital. Capital (money) can be exchanged for any kind of labour at will, and therefore for any conditions of labour too. The capitalist can cease to be a handicraftsman himself. With the sudden expansion of trade, and the resultant demand for commodities from the merchant estate, the guild-type enterprise was driven to go beyond its own barriers, and to turn itself formally into a capitalist enterprise.
In comparison with the independent craftsman, who works for stray customers, the continuity [of labour] of the worker, who works for the capitalist, is naturally greater, for his work is not limited by the accidental needs of individual customers, but only by the exploitation requirements of the capital that employs him. In comparison with that of the slave, this work is more productive, because more intensive, for the slave only works under the impulse of external fear, but not for his own existence, which does not belong to him, and yet it is guaranteed. The free worker, in contrast, is driven by his wants. The consciousness (or rather the notion) of free self-determination, of freedom, makes the one a much better worker than the other, as well as the feeling (consciousness) of responsibility bound up with this; for, like every seller of a commodity, he is responsible for the commodity he provides, and he must provide it at a certain quality, if he is not to be swept from the field by other sellers of commodities of the same species. The continuity of the relation between slave and slave holder is preserved by the direct compulsion exerted upon the slave. The free worker, on the other hand, must preserve it himself, since his existence and that of his family depend upon his constantly renewing the sale of his labour capacity to the capitalist.
In the case of the slave the minimum wage appears as a constant magnitude, independent of his own labour. In the case of the free worker, the value of his labour capacity, and the average wage corresponding to it, does not present itself as confined within this predestined limit, independent of his own labour and determined by his purely physical needs. The average for the class is more or less constant here, as is the value of all commodities; but it does not exist in this immediate reality for the individual worker, whose wage may stand either above or below this minimum. The price of labour sometimes falls below the value of labour capacity, and sometimes rises above it. Furthermore, there is room for manoeuvre (within narrow limits) for the worker’s individuality, as a result of which there are differences in wages, partly between different branches of labour, and partly in the same branch of labour, according to the industriousness, skill, strength, etc., of the worker, and indeed these differences are in part determined by the measure of his own personal performance. Thus the level of the wage appears to vary according to the worker’s own labour and its individual quality. This is particularly strongly developed where a piece wage is paid. Although the latter, as we have shown, does not change in any way the general relation between capital and labour, surplus labour and necessary labour, it nevertheless expresses the relation for each individual worker differently, according to the measure of his own personal performance. Great strength or special skills may increase the purchase value of the slave as a person, but this is of no concern to the slave himself. It is different with the free worker, who is himself the proprietor of his labour capacity.
 The higher value of this labour capacity must be paid to the worker himself, and it is expressed in a higher wage. Great differences in wages are therefore found, according to whether the specific kind of labour requires a more highly developed labour capacity, necessitating greater production costs, or not, and this on the one hand opens up an area of free movement for individual differences, while on the other hand it provides a spur to the development of the individual’s own labour capacity. Certain as it is that the mass of labour must consist of more or less unskilled labour, and therefore that the mass of wages must be determined by the value of simple labour capacity, it remains possible for isolated individuals to make their way upwards into higher spheres of labour by particular energy, talent, etc., just as there remains the abstract possibility that this or that worker could himself become a capitalist and an exploiter of alien labour. The slave belongs to a particular master; it is true that the worker must sell himself to capital, but not to a particular capitalist, and thus he has a choice, within a particular sphere, as to who he sells himself to, and can change masters. All these differences in the relation make the activity of the free worker more intensive, more continuous, more agile, and more dexterous than that of the slave, quite apart from the fact that they fit the worker himself to undertake historical actions of an entirely different nature. The slave receives the means of subsistence necessary for his maintenance in a natural form, which is as fixed in kind as in extent — in use values. The free worker receives them in the form of money, of exchange value, of the abstract social form of wealth. However much the wage is now in fact nothing but the silver or gold or copper or paper form of the necessary means of subsistence, into which it must constantly be resolved — money functioning here as the merely transitory form of exchange value, as mere means of circulation — abstract wealth, exchange value, and not a specific traditionally and locally limited use value, still remains for the worker the purpose and result of his labour. It is the worker himself who turns the money into whatever use values he wants, buys the commodities he wants with it, and as an owner of money, as a buyer of commodities, he stands in exactly the same relation to the sellers of commodities as any other buyer. The conditions of his existence — and also the limited extent of the value of the money he has acquired — naturally compel him to spend it on a rather restricted range of means of subsistence. Nevertheless, some degree of variation is possible here, such as e.g. newspapers, which form part of the necessary means of subsistence of the English urban worker. He can save something, form a hoard. He can also waste his wages on spirits, etc. But in acting this way he acts as a free agent, he must pay his own way; he is himself responsible for the way in which he spends his wages. He learns to master himself, in contrast to the slave, who needs a master. To be sure, this only applies when one considers the transformation of a serf or slave into a free wage labourer. The capitalist relation appears here as a step up the social scale. It is the opposite when an independent peasant or craftsman is transformed into a wage labourer. What a difference there is between the proud yeomanry of England, of whom Shakespeare speaks, and the English agricultural day labourers! Since the purpose of labour is for the wage labourer wages alone, money, a definite quantity of exchange value, in which any specific characteristics of use value have been extinguished, he is completely indifferent to the content of his labour, and therefore to the specific character of his activity. In the guild or caste system, on the other hand, this activity was regarded as the exercise of a vocation, whereas with the slave, as with the beast of burden, it is only a particular kind of activity, of exertion of his labour capacity, imposed on him and handed down from the past. Hence in so far as the division of labour has not made his labour capacity entirely one-sided, the free worker is in principle receptive to, and ready for, any variation in his labour capacity and his working activity which promises better wages (as is indeed demonstrated in the case of the surplus population of the countryside, which constantly transfers to the towns). If the developed worker is more or less incapable of this variation, he still regards it as always open to the next generation, and the emerging generation of workers can always be distributed among, and is constantly at the disposal of, new branches of labour or particularly prosperous branches of labour. In North America, where the development of wage labour has least of all been affected by reminiscences of the old guild system, etc., this variability, this complete indifference to the specific content of labour, this ability to transfer from one branch to another, is shown particularly strongly. Hence the contrast between this variability and the uniform, traditional character of slave labour, which does not vary according to the requirements of production, but rather the reverse, requiring that production should itself be adapted to the mode of labour introduced originally and handed down by tradition, is emphasised by all United States writers as the grand characteristic of the free wage labour of the North as against the slave labour of the South. (See Cairnes.) The constant creation of new kinds of labour, this continuous variation — which results in a multiplicity of use values and therefore is also a real development of exchange value — this continuing division of labour in the whole of th society — first becomes possible with the capitalist mode of production. It begins with the free handicraft guild system, where it does not meet with a barrier in the ossification of each particular branch of the craft itself.]
 After these supplementary remarks on the formal subsumption of labour under capital we come now to:
The Real Subsumption of Labour under Capital[edit source]
What is generally characteristic of formal subsumption remains valid in this case too, i.e. the direct subordination to capital of the labour process, in whatever way the latter may be conducted technologically. But on this basis there arises a mode of production — the capitalist mode of production — which is specific technologically and in other ways, and transforms the real nature of the labour process and its real conditions. Only when this enters the picture does the real subsumption of labour under capital take place.
- “Agriculture for subsistence... changed for agriculture for trade... the improvement of the national territory ... proportioned to this change"* (A. Young, Political Arithmetic, London, 1774, p. 49, note).
The real subsumption of labour under capital is developed in all the forms which develop relative, as distinct from absolute, surplus value.
With the real subsumption of labour under capital there takes place a complete [and a constant, continuous, and repeated a] revolution in the mode of production itself, in the productivity of labour and in the relation between capitalist and worker.
In the case of the real subsumption of labour under capital, all the changes in the labour process itself, analysed by us previously, actually take effect. Labour’s social powers of production are developed, and with labour on a large scale the application of science and machinery to direct production takes place. On the one hand, the capitalist mode of production, which now takes shape as a mode of production sui generis [in its own right]; changes the shape of material production. On the other hand, this alteration of production’s material shape forms the basis for the development of the capital-relation, which in its adequate shape therefore corresponds to a specific level of development of the productive powers of labour.
We have already seen that a definite and constantly growing minimum of capital in the hands of the individual capitalist is on the one hand a necessary presupposition, and on the other hand a constant result, of the specifically capitalist mode of production. The capitalist has to be the proprietor or possessor of means of production on a social scale, of an amount of value which has lost any relation to the possible production of the individual or his family. This minimum amount of capital is the greater in any branch of business the more capitalistically it is conducted, the higher the development of the social productivity of labour in it. To the same degree, the capital must increase in value and assume social dimensions; hence it must shed any individual character. The capitalist mode of production develops the productivity of labour, the amount of production, the size of the population, and the size of the surplus population. With tile capital and labour thus released, new branches of business are constantly called into existence, and in these capital can again work on a small scale and again pass through the different developments outlined until these new branches of business are also conducted on a social scale. This is a constant process. At the same time capitalist production tends to conquer all branches of industry it has not yet  taken control of, where there is as yet only formal subsumption. Once it has taken control of agriculture, the mining industry, the manufacture of the main materials for clothing, etc., it seizes on the other spheres, where the subsumption is as yet only formal or there are still even independent handicraftsmen. We already noted when considering machinery how its introduction into one branch brings about its introduction into others, and at the same time into other varieties of the same branch. Mechanical spinning, for example, leads to mechanical weaving; mechanical spinning in the cotton industry leads to mechanical spinning in wool, linen., silk, etc. The wider employment of machinery in coal mines, cotton manufactures, etc., made necessary the introduction of the large-scale method of production into machine manufacture itself. Leaving aside the growth in the means of transport required by this mode of production on a large scale, it is on the other hand only the introduction of machinery into machine manufacture itself — particularly the cyclical prime motor — which has made possible the introduction of steamships and railways, and revolutionised the whole of shipbuilding. Large-scale industry throws as large a mass of human beings into the branches not yet subjected to it, or creates in these branches as large a relative surplus population, as is required for the conversion of handicrafts or of the small, formally capitalist business into a large-scale industry. See in this context the following Tory jeremiad:
- “In the good old times, when ‘Live and let live’ was the general motto, every man was contented with one avocation. In the cotton trade, there were weavers cotton spinners, blanchers, dyers, and several other independent branches, all living upon the profits of their respective trades, and all, as might be expected, contented and happy. By and by, however, when the downward course of trade had proceeded to some extent, first one branch was adopted by the capitalist, and then another, till in time the whole of the people were ousted, and thrown upon the market of labour, to find out a livelihood in the best manner they could. Thus, although no charter secures to these men the right to be cotton-spinners, manufacturers, printers, etc., yet the course of events has invested them with a monopoly of all. They have become Jack-of-all trades, and as far as the country is concerned in the business, it is to be feared, they are masters of none” * (Public Economy Concentrated etc., Carlisle, 1833, [p.] 56).a
The material result of capitalist production, apart from the development of the social productive powers of labour, is to raise the quantity of production and to increase and multiply the spheres of production and their subdivisions. Only when this has occurred is the exchange value of the products developed correspondingly — the sphere in which they function, or are realised, as exchange value.
Admittedly, “production for production’s sake” — production as an end in itself — already enters the picture with the formal subsumption of labour under capital; it does this as soon as it generally becomes the direct purpose of production to produce as much surplus value, and as large a surplus value, as possible, as soon as, in general, the exchange value of the product becomes the decisive purpose. And yet this tendency, which is immanent in the capital-relation, is first realised in an adequate manner — and itself becomes a necessary condition, even technologically — when the specifically capitalist mode of production has developed, and with it the real subsumption of labour under capital.
 We have already analysed the essence of this latter mode of production so exhaustively that we can be very brief here. It is production which is not limited by any predetermining or predetermined barriers set by needs. (Its antagonistic character implies barriers to production, which it constantly wants to go beyond. Hence crises, overproduction, etc.) This is one side, one distinction from the earlier mode of production; the positive side, if you like. The other side is the negative, or antagonistic one: production in opposition to, and without concerning itself about, the producer. The real producer as mere means of production, objective wealth as an end in itself. And therefore the development of this objective wealth in opposition to, and at the cost of, the human individual. The productivity of labour in general = the maximum of product with the minimum of labour, hence the greatest possible cheapening of the commodities. This becomes a law in the capitalist mode of production, independently of the will of the individual capitalist. And this law is only realised because it implies another one, namely that the scale of production is not determined according to given needs but rather the reverse: the number of products is determined by the constantly increasing scale of production, which is prescribed by the mode of production itself. Its purpose is that the individual product, etc., should contain as much unpaid labour as possible, and this is only attained by engaging in production for production’s sake. On the one hand this appears as a law, to the extent that the capitalist who produces on too small a scale would embody in his products more than the quantity of labour socially necessary. It therefore appears as the adequate implementation of the law of value, which first develops completely on the basis of the capitalist mode of production. On the other hand, however, it appears as the drive of the individual capitalist, who endeavours to reduce the individual value of his commodity below its socially determined value in order to break through this law, or to cheat it to gain an advantage for himself.
What all these forms of production (of relative surplus value) have in common, apart from the increase in the minimum amount of capital required for production, is that the common conditions for the labour of many directly cooperating workers as such permit economies in contrast to the fragmentation of these conditions which occurs with production on a small scale, in that the operation of these common conditions of production does not condition a proportionally equal increase in their mass and their value. Their common, simultaneous use allows their relative value to fall (in relation to the product), however much their absolute value grows.
Productive and Unproductive Labour[edit source]
Here we should like briefly to anticipate our results, before we consider any further the changed shape of capital which emerges as a result of the capitalist mode of production.
Since the direct purpose and the actual product of capitalist production is surplus value, only such labour is productive, and only such an exerter of labour capacity is a productive worker, as directly produces surplus value. Hence only such labour is productive as is consumed directly in the production process for the purpose of valorising capital.
From the simple standpoint of the labour process in general, such labour appeared to us to be productive as was realised in a product, or more precisely in a commodity. But from the standpoint of the capitalist production process, this element has to be added to the definition: such labour is productive as directly valorises capital, or produces surplus value, hence is realised, without any equivalent for the worker, for the performer of the labour, in a surplus value, expressed in a surplus produce, hence in an excess increment of commodities for the monopoliser of the means of labour, for the capitalist; only such labour is productive as posits the variable capital, and therefore the total capital, as C + DC = C + Dv. It is therefore labour which directly serves capital as the agency of its self-valorisation, as a means to the production of surplus value.
The capitalist labour process does not abolish the general determinations of the labour process. It produces products and commodities. To that extent, such labour remains productive as is objectified in commodities as a unity of use value and exchange value. But the labour process is only a means to capital’s valorisation process. Hence such labour is productive as is represented in commodities. But if we consider the individual commodity, such labour is productive as represents unpaid labour in an aliquot part of the commodity, or, if we consider the total product, such labour is productive as represents nothing but unpaid labour in an aliquot part of the total quantity of commodities hence represents a product which costs the capitalist nothing.
That worker is productive who performs productive labour, and that labour is productive which directly creates surplus value, i.e. valorises capital.
 Only the narrow-minded bourgeois, who regards the capitalist form of production as its absolute form, hence as the sole natural form of production, can confuse the question of what are productive labour and productive workers from the standpoint of capital with the question of what productive labour is in general, and can therefore be satisfied with the tautological answer that all that labour is productive which produces, which results in a product, or any kind of use value, which has any result at all.
That worker alone is productive whose labour process = the process of the productive consumption of labour capacity — the vehicle of the labour — by capital or the capitalist.
Two things immediately follow from this:
Firstly: Since with the development of the real subsumption of labour under capital or the specifically capitalist mode of production it is not the individual worker but rather a socially combined labour capacity that is more and more the real executor of the labour process as a whole, and since the different labour capacities which cooperate together to form the productive machine as a whole contribute in very different ways to the direct process by which the commodity, or, more appropriate here, the product, is formed, one working more with his hands, another more with his brain, one as a manager, engineer. or technician, etc., another as an overlooker, the third directly as a manual worker, or even a mere assistant, more and more of the functions of labour capacity are included under the direct concept of productive labour, and their repositories under the concept of productive workers, workers directly exploited by capital and altogether subordinated to its valorisation and production process. If one considers the total worker constituting the workshop, his combined activity is directly realised materialiter in a total product which is at the same time a total quantity of commodities and in this connection it is a matter of complete indifference whether the function of the individual worker, who is only a constituent element of this total worker, stands close to direct manual labour or is far away from it. But then: The activity of this total labour capacity is its direct productive consumption by capital, i.e. it is capital’s process of self-valorisation, the direct production of surplus value, and therefore — a point we shall develop further later on — the direct conversion of surplus value into capital.
Secondly: The more detailed determinations of productive labour follow automatically from the given characteristic features of the capitalist production process. Firstly, in confronting capital or the capitalist, the owner of labour capacity figures as its seller — irrationally expressed, as we have seen, as the direct seller of living labour, not of a commodity. He is a wage labourer. This is the first presupposition. Secondly, however, this preliminary process, which belongs to circulation, introduces a stage by which the worker’s labour capacity and his labour are directly incorporated into capital’s production process as a living factor. Labour capacity itself becomes one of capital’s components, its . variable component in fact, which not only preserves in part and reproduces in part the capital values that have been advanced, but at the same time increases them, and therefore converts them into self-valorising value, into capital, for the first time, through the creation of surplus value. This labour directly objectifies itself during the production process as a quantity of value in flux.
The first condition may occur without the second. A worker may be a wage labourer, a day labourer, etc. This always takes place, [even] if the second moment is absent. Every productive worker is a wage labourer; but this does not mean that every wage labourer is a productive worker. In all cases where labour is bought in order to be consumed as use value, as a service, and not in order to replace the value of the variable capital as a living factor and to be incorporated into the capitalist production process, this labour is not productive labour, and the wage labourer is not a productive worker. His labour is then consumed on account of its use value, not as positing exchange value, it is consumed unproductively, not productively. The capitalist therefore does not confront labour as a capitalist, as the representative of capital. He exchanges his money for labour as income, not as capital. The consumption of the labour does not constitute M-C-M’, but C-M-C (the last symbol represents the labour, or the service itself). Money functions here only as means of circulation, not as capital.
 The commodities the capitalist buys for his private consumption are not consumed productively, they do not become factors of capital; just as little do the services he buys for his consumption, voluntarily or through compulsion (from the state, etc.), for the sake of their use value. They do not become a factor of capital. They are therefore not productive kinds of labour, and those who perform them are not productive workers.
The more production in general develops into the production of commodities, the more does everyone have to become, and want to become, a dealer in commodities a maker of money, whether out of his product, or his services, if the product only exists in the form of services, owing to the way it is naturally constituted. This money making appears as the ultimate purpose of every kind of activity. (See Aristotle [De republica. Libri VIII]) In capitalist production, the production of products as commodities, on the one hand, and the form of labour as wage labour, on the other, become absolute. A large number of functions and activities which were surrounded with a halo, regarded as ends in themselves, and done for nothing or paid for in an indirect way (so that professionals, such as physicians and barristers in England, could not or cannot sue for payment), are on the one hand converted directly into wage labour, however their content or their mode of payment may differ. On the other hand, they become subject — that is, the estimation of their value, the price of these various activities, from the prostitute’s to the king’s, becomes subject — to the laws that regulate the price of wage labour. The analysis of this latter point belongs to a special discussion of wage labour and wages, rather than to this section.
This phenomenon, that with the development of capitalist production all services are converted into wage labour, and all those who perform these services are converted into wage labourers hence that they have this characteristic in common with productive workers, gives even more grounds for confusing the two in that it is a phenomenon which characterises, and is created by, capitalist production itself. On the other hand, it gives the apologists [of capitalism] an opportunity to convert the productive worker, because he is a wage labourer, into a worker who merely exchanges his services (i.e. his labour as a use value) for money. This makes it easy to pass over in silence the differentia specifica of this “productive worker”, and of capitalist production — as the production of surplus value, as the process of the self-valorisation of capital, which incorporates living labour as merely its AGENCY. A soldier is a wage labourer, a mercenary, but he is not for that reason a productive worker.
A further error has two sources.
Firstly: Some of the labour which produces commodities in capitalist production is performed in a manner which belongs to earlier modes of production, where the relation of capital and wage labour does not yet exist in practice, and therefore the category of productive and unproductive labour, which corresponds to the capitalist standpoint, is entirely inapplicable., But in accordance with the ruling mode of production even those relations which have not yet been subsumed under it in fact are subsumed under it notionally. The self-employed labourer, for example, is his own wage labourer, and his own means of production confront him in his own mind as capital. As his own capitalist, he employs himself as a wage labourer. Anomalies of this type then offer a favourable field for outpourings of drivel about productive and unproductive labour.
 Secondly: Certain unproductive kinds of labour may incidentaliter be connected with the production process, and their price may even enter into the price of the commodity, hence the money laid out for them may so far form a part of the capital advanced, and their labour may therefore appear as labour which is exchanged not for income but directly for capital.
Let us straight away take the last case, taxes; the price of government services, etc. But this belongs to the faux frais de production, [overhead costs of production] and is a form accidental to the capitalist production process in and for itself, and in no way conditioned by it, or necessary to or immanent in it. If for example all indirect taxes were converted into direct ones, taxes would continue to be paid, but would no longer form a capital advance, rather an expenditure of income. The possibility of this change in the form shows its external character, its indifference to, and contingency for, the capitalist production process. With a change in the form of productive labour, in contrast, the income of capital would dry up and capital itself would cease to exist.
Further examples are legal proceedings, contracts, etc. All these relate only to conditions made between the owners of commodities as buyers and sellers of commodities; they have nothing to do with the relation of capital and labour. Those who perform these functions may thereby become the wage labourers of capital; this does not make them productive workers.
Productive labour is only an abbreviated expression for the whole relation, and the manner in which labour capacity and labour figure in the capitalist production process. Hence if we speak of productive labour, we speak of socially determined labour, labour which implies a very definite relation between its buyer and its seller. Productive labour is exchanged directly for money as capital, i.e. for money which is in itself capital, has the quality of functioning as capital, and confronts labour capacity as capital. Productive labour is therefore labour which for the worker only reproduces the previously posited value of his labour capacity; but as value-creating activity it valorises capital, and counterposes the values created by labour to the worker himself as capital. The specific relation between objectified and living labour, which makes the former capital, makes the latter productive labour.
The specific product of the capitalist production process, surplus value, is only created through exchange with productive labour. What forms its specific use value for capital is not its particular useful character, any more than it is the particular useful qualities of the product in which it is objectified, but its character as the element that creates exchange value (surplus value).
The capitalist production process is not merely a process of the production of commodities. It is a process which absorbs unpaid labour, making the means of production into means for the absorption of unpaid labour.
It emerges from what has been said so far that to be productive labour is a quality of labour which in and for itself has absolutely nothing to do with the particular content of the labour, its particular usefulness or the specific use value in which it is expressed.
 Labour with the same content can therefore be both productive and unproductive.
Milton, for example, who did Paradise Lost, was an unproductive worker. In contrast to this, the writer who delivers hackwork for his publisher is a productive worker. Milton produced Paradise Lost in the way that a silkworm produces silk, as the expression of his own nature. Later on he sold the product for £5 and to that extent became a dealer in a commodity. But the Leipzig literary proletarian who produces books, e.g. compendia on political economy, at the instructions of his publisher is roughly speaking a productive worker, in so far as his production is subsumed under capital and only takes place for the purpose of the latter’s valorisation. A singer who sings like a bird is an unproductive worker. If she sells her singing for money, she is to that extent a wage labourer or a commodity dealer. But the same singer, when engaged by an entrepreneur who has her sing in order to make money, is a productive worker, for she directly produces capital. A schoolmaster who educates others is not a productive worker. But a schoolmaster who is engaged as a wage labourer in an institution along with others, in order through his labour to valorise the money of the entrepreneur of the knowledge-mongering institution, is a productive worker. Yet most of these kinds of work, from the formal point of view, are hardly subsumed formally under capital. They belong rather among the transitional forms.
On the whole, the kinds of work which are only enjoyed as services, and yet are capable of being exploited directly in the capitalist way, even though they cannot be converted into products separable from the workers themselves and therefore existing outside them as independent commodities, only constitute infinitesimal magnitudes in comparison with the mass of products under capitalist production. They should therefore be left out of account entirely, and treated only under wage labour, under the category of wage labour which is not at the same time productive labour.
The same kind of labour (e.g. gardening, tailoring, etc.) can be performed by the same working man in the service of an industrial capitalist, or of the immediate consumer. In both cases the worker is a wage labourer or a day labourer, but in the first case he is a productive worker, in the second an unproductive one, because in the first case he produces capital, in the second case he does not; because in the first case his labour forms a moment in capital’s process of self-valorisation, in the second case it does not.
A large part of the annual product, the part consumed as income and no longer re-entering production afresh as a means of production, consists of extremely paltry products (use values), serving to satisfy the most miserable appetites, fancies, etc. But content is entirely irrelevant to whether the labour is determined to be productive or not [although the development of wealth would of course be checked if a disproportionate part were reproduced in this way, instead of being reconverted into means of production and means of subsistence, which enter anew into reproduction, whether that of the commodities or that of the labour capacities themselves — which are, in short, consumed productively]. This kind of productive labour produces use values, is objectified in products, which are only destined for unproductive consumption. These products have in reality, as articles, no use value for the reproduction process. [They can only obtain this through an interchange of matter, through an exchange with reproductive use values; but that is only a change of place. Somewhere they must be consumed as unreproductive. Other articles of the same kind which fall into the unproductive consumption process might also in case of necessity again function as capital. A more detailed discussion of this belongs to CHAPTER III of Book II, on the reproduction process. Only one anticipatory remark needs to be made here: It is impossible for conventional political economy to say anything sensible about the barriers to luxury production, from the standpoint of capitalist production itself. But the matter is quite simple if the moments of the reproduction process are properly analysed. If the reproduction process is hindered, or if its progress, in so far as it is already conditioned by the natural increase of the population, is prevented by the disproportionate employment of the kind of productive labour which is expressed in unreproductive articles, with the result that too few necessary means of subsistence, or too few means of production, etc., are reproduced, luxury must be condemned from the standpoint of capitalist production. Apart from that, luxury is an absolute necessity for a mode of production which produces wealth for the non-producers, hence must give wealth the necessary forms in which it can be appropriated by the wealthy simply for their enjoyment.] For the worker himself, this productive labour, like all other labour, is merely a means to the reproduction of his necessary means of subsistence; for the capitalist, to whom the nature of the use value and the character of the concrete labour employed are in themselves matters of complete indifference, it is merely a moyen de battre monnaie, de produire la survalue. [means of coining money, of producing surplus value]
 The obsession with defining productive and unproductive labour in terms of its material content derives from 3 sources:
1) the fetishistic notion, peculiar to the capitalist mode of production and arising from its essence, that the formal economic determinations, such as that of being a commodity, or being productive labour, etc., are qualities belonging to the material repositories of these formal determinations or categories in and for themselves;
2) the idea that, considering the labour process as such, only such labour is productive as results in a product (a material product, since here it is only a question of material wealth);
3) the fact that in the real reproduction process — considered from the point of view of its real moments — there is a great difference, with regard to the formation, etc., of wealth, between labour which is expressed in reproductive articles and labour which is expressed in mere luxuries.
(An example: Whether I buy trousers, or I buy cloth and invite a journeyman tailor into my house, paying him for his service (i.e. his tailoring labour), is to me a matter of complete indifference. I buy the trousers from the merchant tailor because they are cheaper that way. In both cases I convert the money I expend into a use value which is to fall to the share of my individual consumption, to satisfy my individual requirements; I do not convert it into capital. The journeyman tailor performs the same service for me, whether he works for me in my house, or under the merchant tailor. But the service rendered by the same journeyman tailor, when employed by a merchant tailor, to that capitalist, consists in the fact that he works for 12 hours and only receives payment for 6, etc. The service he performs for the capitalist therefore consists in his working 6 hours for nothing. The fact that this occurs in the form of the making of trousers only hides the real transaction. As soon as the merchant tailor is able to do so, he endeavours to reconvert the trousers into money, i.e. into a form in which the particular character of the labour of tailoring has disappeared completely, and the service performed is expressed in the fact that one thaler has become two.
Service is in general only an expression for the particular use value of labour, in so far as this is useful not as a material object but as an activity. Do ut facias, facio ut facias, facio ut des, do ut desaahere ["I give that you may make”, “I make that you may make”, “I make that you may give”, “I give that you may give” — contractual formulas in Roman law (Corpus iuris civilis, Digesta XIX, 5.5] — these are all entirely indifferent forms of the same relation, whereas in capitalist production the do ut facias expresses a very specific relation between objective wealth and living labour. Hence because the specific relation of labour and capital is not contained at all in this buying of services, being either completely extinguished or not present at all, it is naturally the favourite way for Say, Bastiat and their associates to express the relation of capital and labour.)
The worker too buys services with his money, which is a kind of expenditure, but no way to convert money into capital.
No one buys medical or legal “services” as a means of converting the money expended in this way into capital.
Many of the services belong to the consumption costs of commodities, as in the case of cooks, etc.
The difference between productive and unproductive labour consists merely in whether labour is exchanged for money as money or for money as capital. Where I buy the commodity, as e.g. in the case of the self-employed labourer, artisan, etc., the category does not come into consideration at all, because there is no direct exchange between money and labour of any kind at all, but rather between money and a commodity.
 (With non-material production, even if it is conducted purely for the purpose of exchange, purely produces commodities, two things are possible:
1) it results in commodities which exist separately from the producer, hence can circulate in the interval between production and consumption as commodities; this applies to books, paintings, and all the products of artistic creation which are distinct from the actual performance of the executant artist. Here capitalist production is applicable on a very restricted scale. In so far as these people do not employ assistants, etc., in the manner of sculptors, they mostly work (if they are not independent) for merchant etc., capital, e.g. for booksellers; this is a relation which itself constitutes merely a form transitional to a mode of production capitalist only in form. The fact that it is precisely in these transitional forms that the exploitation of labour reaches its highest level does not alter the situation at all;
2) the product is inseparable from the act of producing it. Here too there is only a restricted field for the capitalist mode of production, and it can in the nature of things only take place in a few spheres. (I need the doctor, not his errand boy.) In educational institutions, for example, teachers may well be merely wage labourers for the entrepreneur who owns the teaching factory. But similar cases do not need to be considered when dealing with capitalist production as a whole.)
“The productive labourer he that directly increases his master’s wealth” (Malthus, Principles of Political Economy, 2nd ed., London, 1836).
The difference between productive and unproductive labour is important as regards accumulation, since one of the conditions for the reconversion of surplus value into capital is that the exchange should be with productive labour alone.
The capitalist, as representative of capital engaged in its valorisation process — productive capital — performs a productive function, which consists precisely in directing and exploiting productive labour. The capitalist class, in contrast to the other consumers of surplus value, who do not stand in a direct and active relation to its production, is the productive class par excellence. [See Ricardo] (As director of the labour process the capitalist can perform productive labour in the sense that his labour is included in the overall labour process which is embodied in the product.) As yet, we are only acquainted with capital within the direct production process. The situation with the other functions of capital — and with the agents used by capital to perform these functions — can only be examined later.
The productive (and therefore also its opposite, the unproductive) character of labour therefore depends on this, that the production of capital is the production of surplus value, and the labour employed by capital is labour that produces surplus value.
Gross and Net Product[edit source]
(This is perhaps better placed in Chapter III of Book III.)
Since the purpose of capitalist production (and therefore of productive labour) is not the existence of the producer but the production of surplus value, all necessary labour which produces no surplus labour is superfluous and worthless to capitalist production. The same is true for a nation of capitalists. All gross product which only reproduces the worker, i.e. produces no net product (surplus produce), is just as superfluous as that worker himself [who produces no surplus value]. Or, if certain workers were necessary for the production of net product at a given stage of the development of production, they become superfluous at a more advanced stage of production, which no longer requires them. Or, in other words, only the number of people profitable to capital is necessary. The same is true for a nation of capitalists.
“Is not the real interest of a nation similar” to that of a private capitalist, for whom it would be a matter quite indifferent whether his capital would “employ 100 or 1,000 men” provided his profits on a capital of 20,000 “were not diminished in all cases below 2,000? Provided its net real income, its rents and profits be the same, it is of no importance whether the nation consists of 10 or of 12 millions of inhabitants... If 5 millions of men could produce as much food and clothing as was necessary for 10 millions, food and clothing for 5 millions would be the net revenue. Would it be of any advantage to the country, that to produce this same net revenue, 7 millions of men should be required, that is to say, that 7 millions should be employed to produce food and clothing sufficient for 12 millions? The food and clothing of 5 millions would be still the net revenue” [D. Ricardo, De principes de l'économie politique et de l'impôt, Paris, 1819]
Even the philanthropists can have no objection to bring forward against this statement by Ricardo. For it is always better that out of 10 million people only 50% should vegetate as pure production machines for 5 million, than that out of 12 million 7 million, or 58 1/3%, should do so.
- “Of what use in a modern kingdom would be a whole province thus divided” [between *self-sustaining little farmers* as in the *first times of ancient Rome], “however well cultivated, except for the mere purpose of breeding men, which, singly taken, is a most useless purpose” * (Arthur Young, Political Arithmetic etc., London, 1774, p. 47).
The circumstance that the purpose of capitalist production is net produce, which in fact merely takes the form of the surplus produce, in which surplus value is expressed, implies that capitalist production is essentially the production of surplus value.
This runs counter to e.g. the antiquated point of view, corresponding to earlier modes of production in accordance with which the urban authorities, etc., for example, prohibited the use of inventions in order not to deprive workers of their subsistence, since the worker as such counted as an end in himself, and the livelihood he earned in his station counted as his privilege, which the whole of the old order was concerned to maintain. It also runs counter to the point of view, still tinged with nationalism, of the protectionist system (as opposed to free trade, that industries, etc., should be protected nationally against foreign competition, etc., as being the sources for the existence of a large number of human beings. But it also runs counter to Adam Smith’s view that e.g. the investment of capital in agriculture is “more productive” because the same amount of capital sets more hands to work. For the developed capitalist mode of production, these are all outdated, and untrue, false, notions. A large gross product (as far as the variable part of capital is concerned) in proportion to a small net product is = a small productive power of labour, and therefore of capital.
 There is nevertheless a whole range of confused conceptions traditionally associated with this distinction between gross and net product. These derive in part from the Physiocrats (see Book IV) and in part from Adam Smith, who continues on occasion to confuse capitalist production with production for the direct producers.
If an individual capitalist sends money abroad, where he gets interest at 10%, whereas at home he might be able to employ a large number of surplus people, from the capitalist standpoint he deserves an award for good citizenship, for this virtuous burgher is putting into effect the law that distributes capital within the world market, as also within the confines of a given society, according to the rate of profit provided by each particular sphere of production, and precisely in this way brings the various spheres of production into equilibrium and proportion. (Whether the money is delivered e.g. to the Emperor of Russia for wars against Turkey, etc., is irrelevant.) In acting in this way, the individual capitalist is only following the immanent law and therefore the morality of capital to produce as much surplus value as possible. But these issues have nothing to do with the examination of the direct production process.
Furthermore, capitalist production often has non-capitalist production counterposed to it, e.g. agriculture for subsistence, in which hands are employed, is counterposed to agriculture for trade, which provides a much bigger product for the market, and therefore permits a net produce to be extracted in manufacturing from people previously employed in agriculture. This contrast, however, is not a subdivision within the capitalist mode of production itself.
On the whole, as we have seen, the law of capitalist production is to increase constant capital as against variable capital and surplus value, the net produce; and secondly to increase the net produce in proportion to the part of the product which replaces variable capital, i.e. wages. At present these 2 things are confused. If the total product is called tide gross product, it increases in capitalist production as against the net product; if the part of the product which can be reduced to wages + net produce is called the gross product, the net product increases as against the gross product. Only in agriculture (through the conversion of tilled fields into pastureland, etc.) does the net product often grow at the expense of the gross product (the total amount of product) as a result of certain characteristics peculiar to rent, which do not belong here.
Otherwise, the doctrine that the net product is the final and highest goal of production is only a brutal, but correct expression of the fact that the valorisation of capital, and therefore the creation of surplus value, without any concern for the worker, is the driving force and the essence of capitalist production.
The highest ideal of capitalist production — corresponding to the relative growth of the net product — is the greatest possible reduction in the number of people living on wages, and the greatest possible in crease in the number of people living off the net product.
Mystification of Capital, etc.[edit source]
Since living labour is already — within the production process — incorporated into capital, the social productive powers of labour all present themselves as productive forces; as properties inherent in capital, just as in money the general character of labour, in so far as it functioned to create value, appeared as the property of a thing. This is even more true for the following reasons.
1) Although labour is objectified in the product as something that belongs to the capitalist, it belongs to the individual worker as the expression of labour capacity, as exertion (it is what the worker really pays the capitalist, what he gives him). However the social combination of the individual labour capacities, in which the latter only function as particular organs of the total labour capacity constituting the workshop as a whole, does not belong to the workers, but rather confronts them as a capitalist arrangement; it is inflicted upon them.
2) These social productive powers of labour, or productive powers of social labour, first develop historically with the specifically capitalist mode of production, hence appear as something immanent in the capital-relation and inseparable from it.
3) The objective conditions of labour assume a changed shape with the development of the capitalist mode of production, through the dimensions in which, and the economy with which, they are employed (even leaving aside the form of machinery, etc.). They undergo further development as concentrated means of production, representing social wealth, and their extent and their effect is that of the conditions of production of socially combined labour, this last expression in fact summarising the whole development. Even if we leave aside the combination of labour, the social character of the conditions of labour — which includes among other things their form as machinery, and fixed capital in all its forms — appears as something entirely autonomous, which exists independently of the worker as a mode of capital’s existence, and therefore also as something arranged by the capitalists independently of the workers. Like the social character of their own labour, only even more so, the social character the conditions of production acquire as communal conditions of production of combined labour appears as capitalist as a character possessed by those conditions of production as such, independently of the workers.
Ad 3) we should like to add here the following remarks, which in part anticipate what comes later:
(Profit, as distinct from surplus value, may rise owing to the economical utilisation of communal conditions of labour. Savings may be made e.g. on building costs, heating, lighting, etc., the value of the prime motor may not grow in the same proportion as its power increases, there may be economies in the prices of raw materials, re-use of waste products, reductions in administration costs, reductions in the cost of storage with production on a larger scale, etc. All this relative cheapening of constant capital combined with an absolute increase in its value rests on the fact that these means of production, means of labour as also material of labour, are employed communally, and this communal utilisation has as its absolute presupposition the communal cooperation of the conglomerated workers; it is itself therefore only the objective expression of the social character of labour, and of the resultant social productive power, just as the particular shape those conditions take, e.g. as machinery, usually rules out their employment except by combined labour. But towards the worker who moves within them they appear as given conditions independent of him, as the shape of capital. The economical use of those conditions (and the resultant increase in profit and cheapening of commodities) therefore also appears as something quite different from the surplus labour of the worker; it appears as the direct deed and accomplishment of the capitalist who functions here altogether as the personification of the social character of labour, of the total workshop as such. Science, the general intellectual product of social development, equally appears here as directly incorporated into capital (the application of science as science, separated from the knowledge and skill of the individual worker, to the material process of production), and the general development of society, because it is exploited by capital against labour, because it acts as a productive power of capital over against labour, appears as the development of capital, and the more so because for the great majority [of workers] the emptying of labour capacity [of all content] proceeds at the same pace.)
 The capitalist himself only holds power as the personification of capital. (This is why in double-entry book-keeping he constantly figures twice, e.g. as debtor to his own capital.)
The productivity of capital consists first of all, when formal subsumption is considered, merely in the compulsion to perform surplus labour; a compulsion that the capitalist mode of production shares with previous modes of production, but exerts in a form more favourable to production.
Even from the point of view of the merely formal relation — the general form of capitalist production, which has its less developed mode in common with the more developed — the means of production, the objective conditions of labour, do not appear as subsumed under the worker; rather, he appears as subsumed under them. Capital employs labour. Even this relation in its simplicity is a personification of things and a reification of persons.
But the relation becomes still more complex — and apparently more mysterious — in that, with the development of the specifically capitalist mode of production, not only do these things — these products of labour, both as use values and as exchange values — stand on their hind legs vis-à-vis the worker and confront him as “capital” — but also the social forms of labour appear as forms of the development of capital, and therefore the productive powers of social labour, thus developed, appear as productive powers of capital. As such social forces they are “capitalised” vis-à-vis labour. In fact, communal unity in cooperation, combination in the division of labour, the application of the forces of nature and science, as well as the products of labour in the shape of machinery, are all things which confront the individual workers as alien, objective, and present in advance, without their assistance, and often against them, independent of them, as mere forms of existence of the means of labour which are independent of them and rule over them, in so far as they are objective; while the intelligence and volition of the total workshop, incarnated in the capitalist or his understrappers (representatives), in so far as the workshop is formed by the combination of the means of labour, confront the workers as functions of capital, which lives in the person of the capitalist. The social forms of their own labour — the subjective as well as the objective forms — or the form of their own social labour, are relations constituted quite independently of the individual workers; the workers as subsumed under capital become elements of these social constructions, but these social constructions do not belong to them. They therefore confront the workers as shapes of capital itself, as combinations which, unlike their isolated labour capacities, belong to capital, originate from it and are incorporated within it. And this assumes a form which is the more real the more, on the one hand, their labour capacity is itself modified by these forms, so that it becomes powerless when it stands alone, i.e. outside this context of capitalism, and its capacity for independent production is destroyed, while on the other hand the development of machinery causes the conditions of labour to appear as ruling labour technologically too, and at the same time to replace it, suppress it, and render it superfluous in its independent forms. In this process, in which the social characteristics of their labour confront them as capitalised, to a certain extent — in the way that e.g. in machinery the visible products of labour appear as ruling over labour — the same thing of course takes place for the forces of nature and science, the product of general historical development in its abstract quintessence: they confront the workers as powers of capital. They become in fact separated from the skill and knowledge of the individual worker, and although — if we look at them from the point of view of their source — they are in turn the product of labour, they appear as incorporated into capital wherever they enter the labour process. The capitalist who employs a machine does not need to understand it (see Ure). But vis-à-vis the workers, realised science appears in the machine as capital. And in fact all these applications of science, of the forces of nature and of large masses of products of labour — applications based on social labour — appear only as means of exploitation of labour, means of appropriating surplus labour, hence, vis-à-vis labour, as forces belonging to capital. Capital naturally employs all these means only to exploit labour, but in order to exploit labour, it must employ them in production. And thus the development of the social productive powers of labour and the conditions for this development appear as the work of capital, and not only does the individual worker relate passively to this work, it also takes place in antagonism to him.
Capital itself is dual, since it consists of commodities.
Exchange value (money), but self-valorising value, value which creates value, grows as value, obtains an increment, through the fact that it is value. This can be reduced to the exchange of a given quantity of objectified labour for a greater quantity of living labour.
Use value, and here capital appears according to its particular situation in the labour process. But precisely here it does not just remain material of labour, means of labour to which labour belongs, and which have incorporated labour, but involves also, along with labour, its social combinations and the development of the means of labour which corresponds to these social combinations. Capitalist production first develops the conditions of the labour process on a large scale — first develops them separately from the single independent worker — developing both its objective and its subjective conditions, but developing them as powers which dominate the individual worker and are alien to him.
Thus capital becomes a very mysterious being.
 The conditions of labour are heaped up vis-à-vis the worker as social powers; and in this form they become capitalised.
Capital is therefore productive:
1) as the compulsion to do surplus labour. Labour is productive precisely as the performer of this surplus labour, through the difference between the value of labour capacity and its valorisation;
2) as the personification and representative, the reified shape of the “social productive powers of labour” or the productive powers of social labour. The way in which the law of capitalist production — the creation of surplus value, etc. — enforces this has already been discussed. It appears as inflicted by the capitalists upon each other and upon the workers — hence it in fact appears as a law of capital operating against both capital and labour. The natural social powers of labour do not develop in the valorisation process as such but in the real labour process. They therefore appear as properties which belong to capital as a thing, they appear as its use value. Productive labour — as value producing — always confronts capital as the labour of isolated workers, whatever social combinations those workers may enter into in the production process. Thus whereas capital represents the social productive power of labour towards the workers, productive labour always represents towards capital only the labour of the isolated workers.
We saw in dealing with the accumulation process how past labour, in the form of the forces and conditions of production that have already been produced, raises reproduction, in terms of both use value and exchange value — both the amount of value a particular quantity of living labour preserves and the quantity of use values it produces anew — and how the moment through which it does this appears as a force immanent in capital, because objectified labour always functions vis-à-vis the-worker in capitalised form.
“Capital is the democratic, philanthropic and egalitarian power par excellence” (Fr. Bastiat, Gratuité du crédit etc.., Paris, 1850, p. 29).
- “Stock cultivates land; stock employs labour” (A. Smith, 1.c. [An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Book V, Ch. 11, Buchanan Edition. Vol. III, Edinburgh, London, 1814, p. 309).
“Capital is ... collective force” * (John Wade, History of the Middle and Working Classes etc., 3rd ED., London, 1835, p. 162). “Capital is only another name for civilisation” (1.c., p. 164).
“The class of capitalists, considered as a whole, finds itself in a normal situation when its well-being keeps pace with the march of social progress” (Cherbuliez, Richesse ou pauvreté, p. 75). “The capitalist is social man par excellence: he represents civilisation” (1.c., p. 76).
“The productive power of capital can only mean the quantity of real productive power which the capitalist, by means of his capital, can command"
(J. St. Mill, Essays on Some Unsettled Questions of Political Economy, London, 1844, p. 91).
- "The accumulation of capital, or the means of employing labour ... must in all cases depend on the productive powers of labour “ * (Ricardo, On the Principles of Political Economy, and Taxation, 3rd Ed., London, 1821, p. 92).
A commentator on Ricardo remarks as follows on this:
* “If the productive powers of labour mean the smallness of that aliquot part of any produce that goes to those whose manual labour produced it, the sentence is nearly identical"* (Observations on Certain Verbal Disputes in Political Economy, London, 1821, p. 71).
The constant transposition of labour into capital is well expressed in the following naive statements by Destutt de Tracy:
“They who live on profits” (the industrial capitalists) “maintain all the others and alone augment the public fortune and create all our means of enjoyment. That must be so, because labour is the source of all wealth and because they alone give a useful direction to current labour, by making a useful application of accumulated labour” (Destutt de Tracy, 1.c. Elémens l'idéologie, Paris, 1826, p. 242).
Because labour is the source of all wealth, capital serves to increase all wealth.
“Our faculties are our only original wealth; our labour produces all other wealth, and all labour properly directed is productive” (lc., p. 243).
Our faculties are our only original wealth. Therefore labour capacity is not wealth. Labour produces all other wealth, that means: it produces wealth for all others except for itself, and it itself is not wealth, but only its product is wealth. All labour properly directed is productive; that means: all productive labour, all labour which yields profit to the capitalist, is properly directed.
The transposition of the social productive powers of labour into material attributes of capital is so strongly rooted in people’s minds that the advantages of machinery, of the application of science, inventions, etc., in this alienated form are conceived of as the necessary form, and therefore all these things are regarded as attributes of capital. What serves here as the basis is 1) the form in which the matter appears on the basis of capitalist production, and therefore also in the consciousness of those whose ideas are confined within that mode of production; 2) the historical fact that this development first took place in the capitalist mode of production, as distinct from earlier modes of production, and that the antagonistic character of this development therefore appears to be immanent in it.
AD 3) The Product of Capitalist Production is not only Surplus Value, it is Capital[edit source]
As we have seen, capital is M-C-M’, self-valorising value, value that gives birth to value.
Initially, the sum of money or of value advanced is only capital dunamei,[potentially] only capital in itself, even after it has been converted into the factors of the labour process — means of production, constant capital — and into labour capacity, into which the variable capital has been converted. This mere potentiality was even more the case before its conversion into the factors of the real production process. Only within the latter, through the real incorporation of living labour into the objective forms of existence of capital, only through the real absorption of additional labour, is this labour converted into capital; and not only this labour is converted, but the sum of value advanced is converted from possible capital, value earmarked as capital, into effective and actual capital. What took place during the process as a whole? The worker sold the right to dispose of his labour capacity in order to secure the necessary means of subsistence, for a given value, determined by the value of his labour capacity. What, therefore, is the result from his point of view? Simplement and purement [simply and purely] the reproduction of his labour capacity. So what did he give away? He gave value-preserving, value-creating and value-increasing activity, his labour. He therefore comes out of the process as he entered it, if we leave aside the wearing down of his labour power. He emerges as merely subjective labour power, which must pass through the same process again, in order to preserve itself.
Capital, in contrast, does not come out of the process as it entered it. It is in the process that it is first converted into actual capital, into self-valorising value. The total product is now the form in which capital exists as realised capital, and as such it again confronts labour as the property of the capitalist, as a power which is independent and has been created by labour itself. Hence the production process was not only its reproduction process, but its process of production as capital. Previously the conditions of production confronted the worker as capital in so far as he found them to be present over against him in independence. Now it is the product of his own labour that he finds confronting him as conditions of production that have been converted into capital. What started as a presupposition is now the result of the production process.
Saying that the production process creates capital is only another way of saying that it has created surplus value.
But the matter does not rest here. The surplus value is reconverted into additional capital, is manifested in the formation of new capital or capital of greater size. Thus capital has created capital; it has not just realised itself as capital. The accumulation process is itself an immanent moment of the capitalist production process. It includes the creation of new wage labourers who are means to the realisation and augmentation of the existing capital, whether because sections of the population not previously seized on by capitalist production, such as women and children, are now subsumed under it, or because a greater number of workers, resulting from the natural increase of the population, are subjected to it. It emerges from a closer examination that capital itself regulates this production of labour power, the production of the mass of human beings it intends to exploit, in accordance with its requirements for this exploitation. Capital therefore does not just produce capital, it produces a growing mass of workers, the material which alone enables it to function as additional capital. Hence not only does labour produce the conditions of labour on an ever increasing scale as capital, in opposition to itself; capital, for its part, produces on an ever increasing scale the productive wage labourers it requires. Labour produces its conditions of production as capital, and capital produces labour as the means of its realisation as capital, as wage labour. Capitalist production is not only the reproduction of the relation, it is its reproduction on an ever growing scale; and in the same proportion as the social productive power of labour develops, along with the capitalist mode of production, the pile of wealth confronting the worker grows, as wealth ruling over him, as capital, and the world of wealth expands vis-à-vis the worker as an alien and dominating world. At the opposite pole, and in the same proportion, the worker’s subjective poverty, neediness and dependency develop. The deprivation of the worker and the abundance of capital correspond with each other, they keep in step. At the same time the numbers of the working proletarian these living means for the production of capital, increase.
 The growth of capital and the increase of the proletariat therefore appear as associated products of the same process, even if they are polar opposites.
The relation is not only reproduced, not only produced on an ever more massive scale, it not only creates more workers for itself and constantly seizes upon branches of production previously not subjected to it, it is also reproduced under circumstances which are more and more favourable to one side, the capitalists, and more and more unfavourable to the other, the wage labourers.
This was demonstrated in our presentation of the specifically capitalist mode of production.
From the point of view of the continuity of the production process, the wage is only the part of the product constantly produced by the worker which is converted into means of subsistence for him, and therefore into the means of preserving and increasing the labour capacities capital requires for its own self-valorisation, for its vital process. This preservation and increase of labour capacities, as the result of the process, therefore itself appears as nothing but the reproduction and extension of capital’s own conditions of reproduction and accumulation. (See the Yankee. )
With this there also disappears the superficial appearance the relation originally possessed, that commodity owners with equal rights met each other in circulation, on the commodity market, distinguished from each other, like all other commodity owners only by the material content of their commodities, the particular use value of the commodities they had to sell to each other. Or, this original form of the relation only remains behind as the superficial appearance of the capitalist relation that underlies it.
Two aspects need to be distinguished here, through which the reproduction of the relation itself on an ever increasing scale as a result of the capitalist production process is distinguished from the first form, as it on the one hand emerges historically and on the other hand constantly presents itself anew on the surface of developed capitalist society.
1) Firstly, with regard to the initial process which occurs within circulation, the sale and purchase of labour capacity.
The capitalist production process is not only the conversion into capital of the value or the commodities the capitalist in part brings to market and in part retains for himself within the labour process; these products converted into capital are not the capitalist’s products, they are the worker’s. The former repeatedly sells the latter a part of his product — the necessary means of subsistence — for labour, in order to preserve and increase labour capacity, the buyer himself, and he repeatedly lends him another part of his product, the objective conditions of labour, as a means for the self-valorisation of capital, as capital. While the worker thus reproduces his products as capital, the capitalist reproduces the worker as a wage labourer, and therefore as a seller of his own labour. The relation between mere commodity sellers implies that they exchange their own labour, as incorporated in different use values. The sale and purchase of labour capacity, as the constant result of the capitalist production process, implies that the worker must constantly buy back a part of his own product by selling his living, labour. With this, the superficial appearance of a simple relation between commodity owners fades away. This constant sale and purchase of labour capacity, and the constant confrontation between the worker and the commodity produced by the worker himself, as buyer of his labour capacity and as constant capital, appears only as the form mediating his subjugation to capital, the subjugation of living labour as a mere means to the preservation and increase of the objective labour which has achieved an independent position vis-à-vis it. This perpetuation of the relation of capital as buyer and the worker as seller of labour is a form of mediation which is immanent in this mode of production; but it is a form which is only distinct in a formal sense from other, more direct, forms of the enslavement of labour and property in labour on the part of the owner of the conditions of production. It glosses over as a mere money relation the real transaction and the perpetual dependence, which is constantly renewed through this mediation of sale and purchase. Not only are the conditions of this commerce constantly reproduced; in addition to this, what one buys with, and what the other is obliged to sell, is the result  of the process. The constant renewal of this relation of sale and purchase only mediates the permanence of the specific relation of dependence, giving it the deceptive semblance of a transaction, a contract, between commodity owners who have equal rights and confront each other equally freely. This initial relation now appears as itself an immanent moment of the domination, produced in capitalist production, of objective labour over living labour.
Hence both these groups are mistaken:
those who regard wage labour, the sale of labour to capital, and therefore the form of the wage system, as external to capitalist production; it is an essential form of mediation of the capitalist production relation, constantly produced anew by this relation itself; and those who find the essence of the capital-relation in this superficial relation, in this essential formality, this semblance of the capital-relation, and therefore pretend to characterise the relation by subsuming workers and capitalists together under the general relation of commodity owners, thereby engaging in apologetics and extinguishing the differentia specifica of the capital-relation.
2) For the capital-relation to occur at all, a definite historical stage and form of social production is presupposed. Means of communication and production, and needs, have first to develop within an earlier mode of production which go beyond the old relations of production and enforce their transformation into the capital-relation. But they only need to be sufficiently developed to allow the formal subsumption of labour under capital to take place. On the basis of this altered relation, however, specific changes in the mode of production develop, creating new material forces of production, on the basis of which the new mode of production first develops and therewith in fact creates new real conditions for itself. A complete economic revolution thus takes place. On the one hand it creates, for the first time, the real conditions for the domination of capital over labour, completing them, giving them an appropriate form, and on the other hand, in the productive powers of labour developed by it in opposition to the worker, in the conditions of production and relations of communication, it creates the real conditions for a new mode of production, superseding the antagonistic form of the capitalist mode of production, and thus lays the material basis for a newly shaped social life process and therewith a new social formation.
This is an essentially different conception from that of the bourgeois political economists, themselves imprisoned in capitalist preconceptions, who are admittedly able to see how production is carried on within the capital-relation, but not how this relation is itself produced, and how at the same time the material conditions for its dissolution are produced within it, thereby removing its historical justification as a necessary form of economic development, of the production of social wealth.
In contrast to this, we have seen not only how capital produces, but how it is itself produced, and how it emerges from the production process in a form essentially different from that in which it entered the process. On the one hand it transforms the mode of production; on the other hand this altered shape of the mode of production and this particular stage of the development of the material forces of production is the basis and the condition — the presupposition — of its own formation.
The following is another draft of the beginning of Chapter Six.
Result of the Direct Production Process[edit source]
Not only do the objective conditions of the production process appear as its result; their specific social character also appears in this way. The social relations, and therefore the social position, of the agents of production towards each other — the relations of production themselves — are produced, and are the constantly renewed result of the process .
|Here the manuscript of the third and last section of the chapter breaks off.|
- A reference to A. Goudar, Les intirêts de la France mal entendus, dons les branches de 1'agriculture, du commerce, de la population, des finances, de la marine, et de l'industrie: Par un citoyen. Vol. 1, Amsterdam, 1757. This work is mentioned in Ch. Smith’s book Three Tracts on the Corn-Trade and Corn-Laws, Second edition, London, 1766, of which Marx made a synopsis in Supplementary Notebook B.
- The price of one yard fell by 1/4 because the aggregate value of the product had trebled (from £120 to £360), while the quantity of the product had increased fourfold (from 1,200 to 4,800 yards).
- The figure £120 is incorrect, since originally the calculation was 96c + 20v + 28s, which, if calculated per 100 units of advanced capital, gives 83c + 17v + 24s = £124.
- This refers to the missing part of the Manuscript of 1863-64 and to sections that Marx planned to write for this chapter.
- A reference to the missing part of the manuscript (cf. Capital, Vol. I, Part III, Chapter IX).
- A reference to the missing part of the manuscript (cf. Capital, Vol. I, Part IV, Chapter XII).
- In the preface to the first edition of his book Die erundlagen der Nationalökonomie, Wilhelm Roscher described himself as the Thucydides of political economy.
- A reference to the missing part of the manuscript (cf. Capital, Vol. 1, Part If, Chapter V).
- Marx reproduced the last three sentences in the first edition of Vol. 1 of Capital as a transition to the questions he deals with in Vol. If (see K. Marx, Das Kapital, Erster Band, Hamburg, 1867), but did not include them in any of the subsequent editions.
- 213 Fluxion and fluens are concepts of the calculus of fluxions, the earliest form of differential and integral calculus, developed by Newton. He used the term fluens to denote the values of a system which change simultaneously and constantly, depending on time, and the term fluxion to denote the velocity with which the fluens changes. Thus, fluxions are time derivatives of fluenses.
- Marx discussed this in Book Two of Capital, the first manuscript of which he wrote in 1865.
- Marx apparently means that A (c+v) = Dc + Dv and, since the increment of c is constant, the difference is equal to Dv.
- The manuscript does not contain Note 1). It was probably to refer the reader to Marx’s determination of use value given in A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy. Part One.
- A reference to the missing part of the manuscript (cf. also Capital, Vol. I, Part VI, Chapter XIX).
- A reference to the missing part of the manuscript (cf. MECW, Vol. 30, pp. 40-41, and Capital, Vol. 1, Part Ill, Chapter XI).
- Note 2) is missing from the text of the manuscript. Marx apparently left its number by mistake when he decided to transfer the note to another place.
- The manuscript does not contain the text of Note 2).
- A reference to the missing part of the manuscript (cf. also Capital, Vol. I, Part VI, Chapter XIX).
- A reference to the missing part of the manuscript (cf. MECW, Vol. 28, p. 188; Vol. 32, pp. 35-37, 408-09; Vol. 33, pp. 256-57, 285-86 and Capital, Vol. I, Part II).
- Fluxion and fluens are concepts of the calculus of fluxions, the earliest form of differential and integral calculus, developed by Newton. He used the term fluens to denote the values of a system which change simultaneously and constantly, depending on time, and the term fluxion to denote the velocity with which the fluens changes. Thus, fluxions are time derivatives of fluenses.
- Page 262 has not reached us. For pp. 263-64 see this volume, pp. 348-50.
- The text that follows, originally belonging to the missing part of the manuscript, was later incorporated by Marx into Chapter Six, which affected the pagination, pp. 96-107 becoming 469a-469m.
A comparison of the text of this section (pp. 469a-469m) with the third chapter of the Manuscript of 1861-63 shows that Marx used the latter as a basis for the text given here.
- “Semper aliquid haeret”, part of the saying “Audacter calumniare, semper aliquid haeret” (“If you slander somebody long enough, some of it is bound to stick”).
- Marx apparently means the Society for Promoting the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, founded by Henry Broom in Britain in 1827. It sought to achieve its aim by publishing popular and inexpensive books.
- This work is also mentioned by Thomas Hodgskin himself in his pamphlet The Natural and Artificial Right of Property Contrasted.... London, 1832, pp. 165-66. Marx noted this in his synopsis of Hodgskin’s pamphlet (see Supplementary Notebook A, p. 12).
- This refers to the missing part of the 1863-64 Manuscript (cf. Capital, Vol. I, Part II).
- This refers to the missing part of the 1863-64 Manuscript (cf. Capital, Vol. I, Part III, Chapter VII).
- The Civil War in the United States between the economically and socially progressive states of the North and the states of the South, dominated by slave-owners, which lasted from April 1861 to April 1865.
The effect the US Civil War had on the economic situation in Britain was analysed in a number of reports issued by the British chambers of commerce and in articles published in The Economist, such as “The Board of Trade Return. The Trade with the United States”, No. 922, May 4, 1861, pp. 480-81, and, “The Difficult Position of English Commerce with Reference to the American Civil War”, No. 925, May 18, 1861, pp. 534-35. The Morning Post of May 16, 1864, suggested that the American Civil War had helped Britain to avoid a crisis. Marx examined the problem in the articles “The Crisis in England”, written on about November 1, 1861, (Die Presse, No. 305, November 6, 1861), and “British Commerce”, written on November 2, 1861 and published in The New York Daily Tribune, No. 6440, November 23, 1861.
- Marx criticises Proudhon’s “axiom” in The Poverty of Philosophy, in the Economic Manuscripts of 1857-58, and in Capital, Vol. I, Part V, Chapter XVI.
- A reference to the missing part of the manuscript (cf. Capital, Vol. I, Part V, Chapter XVI).
- A reference to the missing part of the manuscript (cf. MECW, Vol. 30, pp 54-60; Capital, Vol. 1, Part II).
- A reference to the missing part of the manuscript (cf. Capital, Vol. I, Part IV, Chapter XIII).
- This is the beginning of Notebook XXI, on the cover of which Marx wrote: “May 1863”. In working on the manuscript of Chapter Six, “Results of the Direct Production Process”, Marx drew extensively on his Manuscript of 1861-63, in particular Notebook XXI. He cut out several pages of this notebook and pasted them onto pages of the manuscript of Chapter Six. Thus, he attached p. XXI-1303 to p. 475, p. XXI-1305 and the top part of p. XXI-1306 to p. 477 (this volume, pp. 100-03 and 436-38), and p. XXI-1318 to p. 490. Here these pages are given in the text of both Notebook XXI and Chapter Six.
The text of some other pages of Notebook XXI was fully or partly incorporated by Marx into the following sections of Chapter Six: “Supplementary Remarks on the Formal Subsumption of Labour under Capital”, “The Real Subsumption of Labour under Capital”, “Gross and Net Product”, and “Mystification of Capital”.
- The quotation that follows was written by Marx on an unnumbered separate sheet.
- These words are rather indistinct in the manuscript and can also be read as “the process of labour” (“Prozess der Arbeit”).
- Marx means the system aimed at precluding competition among guild members. It involved discussion of production matters, equal conditions for all members of the guild, and joint decisions on prices, raw materials, and quality.
- A reference to the missing part of the manuscript (cf. Capital, Vol. I, Part VI, Chapter XXI).
- The yeomen were a stratum of English freeholders which disappeared approximately by the mid-18th century, superseded by small tenant farmers. This was the result of the process of the primitive accumulation of capital, in particular, of what was known as the enclosure of common lands and their usurpation by landlords. Skilful archers, the yeomen formed the core of the English army before firearms came into wide use; they were known for their staunchness and bravery in battle. Marx wrote that during the English revolution of the 17th century the yeomen were the main fighting force of Oliver Cromwell, the leader of the bourgeoisie and the burgeoisified nobility. English novelists and historians paid tribute to the yeomen’s courage and military skill, and their role as defenders of the independence of the English nation.
The expression “proud yeomanry of England” is probably a paraphrase of Shakespeare’s expressions “good yeomen”, “fight gentlemen of England”, and “fight boldly yeomen”. See Henry V, etc., Act III, Scene 1, and Richard III, Act V, Scene III.
- A reference to the missing, part of the manuscript (cf. Capital, Vol. I, Part IV, Chapter XV).
- A reference to the missing part of the manuscript (cf. Capital, Vol. I, Part VII, Chapter XXIV).
- Marx dealt with the subject at greater length in the Economic Manuscript of 1861-63, first in Theories of Surplus Value as part of his analysis of bourgeois political economy and then in the part of the manuscript devoted to relative surplus value. The conclusions formulated here are largely based on those studies.
- A reference to the missing part of the manuscript (cf. Capital, Vol. I, Part V, Chapter XVIII).
- Marx means Wage Labour, a work he intended to write in accordance with his “plan of six books”.
- Marx discussed this in Book Two of Capital, the first manuscript of which he wrote in 1865.
- The quoted passage is not from Malthus, but from William Pickering, editor of the second (posthumous) edition of Malthus’ book.
- Marx probably means Part III “The Law of the Tendency of the Rate of profit to Fall”, of Vol. III of Capital.
- This is, in all probability, Marx’s first mention of the fourth book of Capital, “On the History of the Theory”, which he planned to write. He also refers to Book IV in his letter to Ludwig Kugelmann of October 13, 1866. The fifth section of the Manuscript of 1861-63 — Theories of Surplus Value — was the first rough draft of the fourth book of Capital. On the views of the Physiocrats see MECW, Vol. 30, pp. 352-76.
- The words “capital employs labour” are a paraphrase of Ricardo’s “capital, or ... the means of employing labour”. In another passage Ricardo speaks of capital as “funds” which “would be paid to the labouring class”, as “funds” which “employed this class” (D. Ricardo, On the Principles of Political Economy, and Taxation. Third edition, London, 1821, pp. 92, 511-12). Marx analysed these propositions of Ricardo in his manuscript.
- A reference to the missing part of the manuscript (cf. Capital, Vol. I, Part III).
- A reference to the missing part of the manuscript (cf. Capital, Vol. I, Part VII, Chapter XXV).
- A reference to the missing part of the manuscript (cf. Capital, Vol. I, Part III).
- A reference to the missing part of the manuscript (cf. Capital, Vol. I, Part VII, Chapter XXV).
- There is no such note in the manuscript. Marx probably has in mind the American economist Carey, who examined the relationship between the growth of population and the growth of capital in his work Principles of Political Economy, Philadelphia, 1837.