KARL MARX 1847

Karl Marx 1844
Economic & Philosophic
Manuscripts of 18441

Written: Between April and August 1844;
First Published: 1932;
Source: Marx. Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844;
First Published: Progress Publishers, Moscow 1959;
Translated: by Martin Milligan from the German text, revised by Dirk J. Struik, contained in
Marx/Engels, Gesamtausgabe, Abt. 1, Bd. 3. Corrections were made of typographical errors and
the author’s obvious slips when preparing the Russian edition, 1956;
Transcribed: in 2000 for marxists.org by Andy Blunden;
Proofed: and corrected by Matthew Carmody, 2009.
Preface
||XXXIX| I have already announced in the Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher the critique of
jurisprudence and political science in the form of a critique of the Hegelian philosophy of law.
While preparing it for publication, the intermingling of criticism directed only against speculation
with criticism of the various subjects themselves proved utterly unsuitable, hampering the
development of the argument and rendering comprehension difficult. Moreover, the wealth and
diversity of the subjects to be treated could have been compressed into one work only in a purely
aphoristic style; whilst an aphoristic presentation of this kind, for its part, would have given the
impression of arbitrary systematism. I shall therefore publish the critique of law, ethics, politics,
etc., in a series of distinct, independent pamphlets, and afterwards try in a special work to present
them again as a connected whole showing the interrelationship of the separate parts, and lastly
attempt a critique of the speculative elaboration of that material. For this reason it will be found
that the interconnection between political economy and the state, law, ethics, civil life, etc., is
touched upon in the present work only to the extent to which political economy itself expressly
touches upon these subjects.
It is hardly necessary to assure the reader conversant with political economy that my results have
been attained by means of a wholly empirical analysis based on a conscientious critical study of
political economy.
(Whereas the uninformed reviewer who tries to hide his complete ignorance and intellectual
poverty by hurling the “utopian phrase” at the positive critic’s head, or again such phrases as
“quite pure, quite resolute, quite critical criticism,” the “not merely legal but social – utterly
social – society”, the “compact, massy mass”, the “outspoken spokesmen of the massy mass”
2
this reviewer has yet to furnish the first proof that besides his theological family affairs he has
anything to contribute to a discussion of worldly matters.)
It goes without saying that besides the French and English socialists I have also used German
socialist works. The only original German works of substance in this science, however – other
than Weitling’s writings – are the essays by Hess published in Einundzwanzig Bogen
3
and
Umrisse zu einer Kritik der Nationalökonomie by Engels in the Deutsch-Französische
Jahrbücher, where also the basic elements of this work [Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts
of 1844] have been indicated by me in a very general way.
(Besides being indebted to these authors who have given critical attention to political economy,
positive criticism as a whole – and therefore also German positive criticism of political economy
– owes its true foundation to the discoveries of Feuerbach, against whose Philosophie der Zukunft2 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. Preface
and Thesen zur Reform der Philosophie in the Anekdota, despite the tacit use that is made of
them, the petty envy of some and the veritable wrath of others seem to have instigated a regular
conspiracy of silence.
It is only with Feuerbach that positive, humanistic and naturalistic criticism begins. The less
noise they make, the more certain, profound, extensive, and enduring is the effect of Feuerbach’s
writings, the only writings since Hegel’s Phänomenologie and Logik to contain a real theoretical
revolution.
In contrast to the critical theologian of our day, I have deemed the concluding chapter of this
work – a critical discussion of Hegelian dialectic and philosophy as a whole to be absolutely
necessary, ||XL| a task not yet performed. This lack of thoroughness is not accidental, since even
the critical theologian remains a theologian. Hence, either he has to start from certain
presuppositions of philosophy accepted as authoritative; or, if in the process of criticism and as a
result of other people’s discoveries doubts about these philosophical presuppositions have arisen
in him, he abandons them in a cowardly and unwarrantable fashion, abstracts from them, thus
showing his servile dependence on these presuppositions and his resentment at this servility
merely in a negative, unconscious and sophistical manner.
(He does this either by constantly repeating assurances concerning the purity of his own criticism,
or by trying to make it seem as though all that was left for criticism to deal with now was some
other limited form of criticism outside itself – say eighteenth-century criticism – and also the
limitations of the masses, in order to divert the observer’s attention as well as his own from the
necessary task of settling accounts between criticism and its point of origin – Hegelian dialectic
and German philosophy as a whole – that is, from this necessary raising of modern criticism
above its own limitation and crudity. Eventually, however, whenever discoveries (such as
Feuerbach’s) are made regarding the nature of his own philosophic presuppositions, the critical
theologian partly makes it appear as if he were the one who had accomplished this, producing that
appearance by taking the results of these discoveries and, without being able to develop them,
hurling them in the form of catch-phrases at writers still caught in the confines of philosophy. He
partly even manages to acquire a sense of his own superiority to such discoveries by asserting in a
mysterious way and in a veiled, malicious and skeptical fashion elements of the Hegelian
dialectic which he still finds lacking in the criticism of that dialectic (which have not yet been
critically served up to him for his use) against such criticism – not having tried to bring such
elements into their proper relation or having been capable of doing so, asserting, say, the category
of mediating proof against the category of positive, self-originating truth, […] in a way peculiar to
Hegelian dialectic. For to the theological critic it seems quite natural that everything has to be
done by philosophy, so that he can chatter away about purity, resoluteness, and quite critical
criticism; and he fancies himself the true conqueror of philosophy whenever he happens to feel
some element
4
in Hegel to be lacking in Feuerbach – for however much he practices the spiritual
idolatry of “self-consciousness” and “mind” the theological critic does not get beyond feeling to
consciousness.)
On close inspection theological criticism – genuinely progressive though it was at the inception
of the movement – is seen in the final analysis to be nothing but the culmination and consequence
of the old philosophical, and especially the Hegelian, transcendentalism, twisted into a
theological caricature. This interesting example of historical justice, which now assigns to
theology, ever philosophy’s spot of infection, the further role of portraying in itself the negative
dissolution of philosophy, i.e., the process of its decay – this historical nemesis I shall
demonstrate on another occasion.
5
(How far, on the other hand, Feuerbach’s discoveries about the nature of philosophy still, for
their proof at least, called for a critical discussion of philosophical dialectic will be seen from my
exposition itself.) |XL|| First Manuscript
Wages of Labor
Wages are determined through the antagonistic struggle between capitalist and worker. Victory
goes necessarily to the capitalist. The capitalist can live longer without the worker than can the
worker without the capitalist. Combination among the capitalists is customary and effective;
workers’ combination is prohibited and painful in its consequences for them. Besides, the
landowner and the capitalist can make use of industrial advantages to augment their revenues; the
worker has neither rent nor interest on capital to supplement his industrial income. Hence the
intensity of the competition among the workers. Thus only for the workers is the separation of
capital, landed property, and labour an inevitable, essential and detrimental separation. Capital
and landed property need not remain fixed in this abstraction, as must the labor of the workers.
The separation of capital, rent, and labor is thus fatal for the worker.
The lowest and the only necessary wage rate is that providing for the subsistence of the worker
for the duration of his work and as much more as is necessary for him to support a family and for
the race of laborers not to die out. The ordinary wage, according to Smith, is the lowest
compatible with common humanity
6
, that is, with cattle-like existence.
The demand for men necessarily governs the production of men, as of every other commodity.
Should supply greatly exceed demand, a section of the workers sinks into beggary or starvation.
The worker’s existence is thus brought under the same condition as the existence of every other
commodity. The worker has become a commodity, and it is a bit of luck for him if he can find a
buyer. And the demand on which the life of the worker depends, depends on the whim of the rich
and the capitalists. Should supply exceed demand, then one of the constituent parts of the price —
profit, rent or wages — is paid below its rate, [a part of these] factors is therefore withdrawn from
this application, and thus the market price gravitates [towards the] natural price as the centerpoint. But (1) where there is considerable division of labor it is most difficult for the worker to
direct his labor into other channels; (2) because of his subordinate relation to the capitalist, he is
the first to suffer.
Thus in the gravitation of market price to natural price it is the worker who loses most of all and
necessarily. And it is just the capacity of the capitalist to direct his capital into another channel
which either renders the worker, who is restricted to some particular branch of labor, destitute, or
forces him to submit to every demand of this capitalist.
The accidental and sudden fluctuations in market price hit rent less than they do that part of the
price which is resolved into profit and wages; but they hit profit less than they do wages. In most
cases, for every wage that rises, one remains stationary and one falls.
The worker need not necessarily gain when the capitalist does, but he necessarily loses when
the latter loses. Thus, the worker does not gain if the capitalist keeps the market price above the
natural price by virtue of some manufacturing or trading secret, or by virtue of monopoly or the
favorable situation of his land.
Furthermore, the prices of labor are much more constant than the prices of provisions. Often they
stand in inverse proportion. In a dear year wages fall on account of the decrease in demand, but
rise on account of the increase in the prices of provisions — and thus balance. In any case, a
number of workers are left without bread. In cheap years wages rise on account of the rise in
demand, but decrease on account of the fall in the prices of provisions — and thus balance.
Another respect in which the worker is at a disadvantage:
4 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. First Manuscript
The labor prices of the various kinds of workers show much wider differences than the profits
in the various branches in which capital is applied. In labor all the natural, spiritual, and social
variety of individual activity is manifested and is variously rewarded, whilst dead capital always
keeps the same pace and is indifferent to real individual activity.
In general we should observe that in those cases where worker and capitalist equally suffer, the
worker suffers in his very existence, the capitalist in the profit on his dead mammon.
The worker has to struggle not only for his physical means of subsistence; he has to struggle to
get work, i.e., the possibility, the means, to perform his activity.
Let us take the three chief conditions in which society can find itself and consider the situation of
the worker in them:
(1) If the wealth of society declines the worker suffers most of all, and for the following reason:
although the working class cannot gain so much as can the class of property owners in a
prosperous state of society, no one suffers so cruelly from its decline as the working class.
(2) Let us now take a society in which wealth is increasing. This condition is the only one
favorable to the worker. Here competition between the capitalists sets in. The demand for workers
exceeds their supply. But:
In the first place, the raising of wages gives rise to overwork among the workers. The more they
wish to earn, the more must they sacrifice their time and carry out slave-labor, completely losing
all their freedom, in the service of greed. Thereby they shorten their lives. This shortening of their
life-span is a favorable circumstance for the working class as a whole, for as a result of it an everfresh supply of labor becomes necessary. This class has always to sacrifice a part of itself in order
not to be wholly destroyed.
Furthermore: When does a society find itself in a condition of advancing wealth? When the
capitals and the revenues of a country are growing. But this is only possible:
(a) As the result of the accumulation of much labor, capital being accumulated labor; as the result,
therefore, of the fact that more and more of his products are being taken away from the worker,
that to an increasing extent his own labor confronts him as another man’s property and that the
means of his existence and his activity are increasingly concentrated in the hands of the capitalist.
(b) The accumulation of capital increases the division of labor, and the division of labor increases
the number of workers. Conversely, the number of workers increases the division of labor, just as
the division of labor increases the accumulation of capital. With this division of labor on the one
hand and the accumulation of capital on the other, the worker becomes ever more exclusively
dependent on labor, and on a particular, very one-sided, machine-like labor at that. Just as he is
thus depressed spiritually and physically to the condition of a machine and from being a man
becomes an abstract activity and a belly, so he also becomes ever more dependent on every
fluctuation in market price, on the application of capital, and on the whim of the rich. Equally, the
increase in the class of people wholly dependent on work intensifies competition among the
workers, thus lowering their price. In the factory system this situation of the worker reaches its
climax.
(c) In an increasingly prosperous society only the richest of the rich can continue to live on
money interest. Everyone else has to carry on a business with his capital, or venture it in trade. As
a result, the competition between the capitalists becomes more intense. The concentration of
capital increases, the big capitalists ruin the small, and a section of the erstwhile capitalists sinks
into the working class, which as a result of this supply again suffers to some extent a depression
of wages and passes into a still greater dependence on the few big capitalists. The number of
capitalists having been diminished, their competition with respect to the workers scarcely exists
any longer; and the number of workers having been increased, their competition among
themselves has become all the more intense, unnatural, and violent. Consequently, a section of 5 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. First Manuscript
the working class falls into beggary or starvation just as necessarily as a section of the middle
capitalists falls into the working class.
Hence even in the condition of society most favorable to the worker, the inevitable result for the
worker is overwork and premature death, decline to a mere machine, a bond servant of capital,
which piles up dangerously over and against him, more competition, and starvation or beggary for
a section of the workers.
The raising of wages excites in the worker the capitalist’s mania to get rich, which he, however,
can only satisfy by the sacrifice of his mind and body. The raising of wages presupposes and
entails the accumulation of capital, and thus sets the product of labor against the worker as
something ever more alien to him. Similarly, the division of labor renders him ever more onesided and dependent, bringing with it the competition not only of men but also of machines. Since
the worker has sunk to the level of a machine, he can be confronted by the machine as a
competitor. Finally, as the amassing of capital increases the amount of industry and therefore the
number of workers, it causes the same amount of industry to manufacture a larger amount of
products, which leads to over-production and thus either ends by throwing a large section of
workers out of work or by reducing their wages to the most miserable minimum.
Such are the consequences of a state of society most favorable to the worker — namely, of a state
of growing, advancing wealth.
Eventually, however, this state of growth must sooner or later reach its peak. What is the
worker’s position now?
3) “In a country which had acquired that full complement of riches both the wages
of labor and the profits of stock would probably be very low the competition for
employment would necessarily be so great as to reduce the wages of labor to what
was barely sufficient to keep up the number of laborers, and, the country being
already fully peopled, that number could never be augmented.” [Adam Smith,
Wealth of Nations, Vol. I, p. 84.]
The surplus would have to die.
Thus in a declining state of society — increasing misery of the worker; in an advancing state —
misery with complications; and in a fully developed state of society — static misery.
Since, however, according to Smith, a society is not happy, of which the greater part suffers —
yet even the wealthiest state of society leads to this suffering of the majority — and since the
economic system
7
(and in general a society based on private interest) leads to this wealthiest
condition, it follows that the goal of the economic system is the unhappiness of society.
Concerning the relationship between worker and capitalist we should add that the capitalist is
more than compensated for rising wages by the reduction in the amount of labor time, and that
rising wages and rising interest on capital operate on the price of commodities like simple and
compound interest respectively.
Let us put ourselves now wholly at the standpoint of the political economist, and follow him in
comparing the theoretical and practical claims of the workers.
He tells us that originally and in theory the whole product of labor belongs to the worker. But at
the same time he tells us that in actual fact what the worker gets is the smallest and utterly
indispensable part of the product — as much, only, as is necessary for his existence, not as a
human being, but as a worker, and for the propagation, not of humanity, but of the slave class of
workers.
The political economist tells us that everything is bought with labor and that capital is nothing but
accumulated labor; but at the same time he tells us that the worker, far from being able to buy
everything, must sell himself and his humanity. 6 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. First Manuscript
Whilst the rent of the idle landowner usually amounts to a third of the product of the soil, and the
profit of the busy capitalist to as much as twice the interest on money, the “something more”
which the worker himself earns at the best of times amounts to so little that of four children of
his, two must starve and die.
Whilst according to the political economists it is solely through labor that man enhances the value
of the products of nature, whilst labor is man’s active possession, according to this same political
economy the landowner and the capitalist, who qua landowner and capitalist are merely
privileged and idle gods, are everywhere superior to the worker and lay down the law to him.
Whilst according to the political economists labor is the sole unchanging price of things, there is
nothing more fortuitous than the price of labor, nothing exposed to greater fluctuations.
Whilst the division of labor raises the productive power of labor and increases the wealth and
refinement of society, it impoverishes the worker and reduces him to a machine. Whilst labor
brings about the accumulation of capital and with this the increasing prosperity of society, it
renders the worker ever more dependent on the capitalist, leads him into competition of a new
intensity, and drives him into the headlong rush of overproduction, with its subsequent
corresponding slump.
Whilst the interest of the worker, according to the political economists, never stands opposed to
the interest of society, society always and necessarily stands opposed to the interest of the worker.
According to the political economists, the interest of the worker is never opposed to that of
society: (1) because the rising wages are more than compensated by the reduction in the amount
of labor time, together with the other consequences set forth above; and (2) because in relation to
society the whole gross product is the net product, and only in relation to the private individual
has the net product any significance.
But that labor itself, not merely in present conditions but insofar as its purpose in general is the
mere increase of wealth — that labor itself, I say, is harmful and pernicious — follows from the
political economist’s line of argument, without his being aware of it.
In theory, rent of land and profit on capital are deductions suffered by wages. In actual fact,
however, wages are a deduction which land and capital allow to go to the worker, a concession
from the product of labor to the workers, to labor.
When society is in a state of decline, the worker suffers most severely. The specific severity of
his burden he owes to his position as a worker, but the burden as such to the position of society.
But when society is in a state of progress, the ruin and impoverishment of the worker is the
product of his labor and of the wealth produced by him. The misery results, therefore, from the
essence of present-day labor itself.
Society in a state of maximum wealth — an ideal, but one which is approximately attained, and
which at least is the aim of political economy as of civil society — means for the workers static
misery.
It goes without saying that the proletarian, i.e., the man who, being without capital and rent, lives
purely by labor, and by a one-sided, abstract labor, is considered by political economy only as a
worker. Political economy can therefore advance the proposition that the proletarian, the same as
any horse, must get as much as will enable him to work. It does not consider him when he is not
working, as a human being; but leaves such consideration to criminal law, to doctors, to religion,
to the statistical tables, to politics and to the poor-house overseer.
Let us now rise above the level of political economy and try to answer two questions on the basis
of the above exposition, which has been presented almost in the words of the political
economists: 7 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. First Manuscript
(1) What in the evolution of mankind is the meaning of this reduction of the greater part of
mankind to abstract labor?
(2) What are the mistakes committed by the piecemeal reformers, who either want to raise wages
and in this way to improve the situation of the working class, or regard equality of wages (as
Proudhon does) as the goal of social revolution?
In political economy labor occurs only in the form of activity as a source of livelihood.
“It can be asserted that those occupations which presuppose specific talents or
longer training have become on the whole more lucrative; whilst the proportionate
reward for mechanically monotonous activity in which one person can be trained
as easily and quickly as another has fallen with growing competition, and was
inevitably bound to fall. And it is just this sort of work which in the present state
of the organization of labor is still by far the commonest. If therefore a worker in
the first category now earns seven times as much as he did, say, fifty years ago,
whilst the earnings of another in the second category have remained unchanged,
then of course both are earning on the average four times as much. But if the first
category comprises only a thousand workers in a particular country, and the
second a million, then 999,000 are no better off than fifty years ago — and they
are worse off if at the same time the prices of the necessaries of life have risen.
With such superficial calculations of averages people try to deceive themselves
about the most numerous class of the population. Moreover, the size of the wage
is only one factor in the estimation of the worker’s income, because it is essential
for the measurement of the latter to take into account the certainty of its duration
— which is obviously out of the question in the anarchy of so-called free
competition, with its ever-recurring fluctuations and periods of stagnation. Finally,
the hours of work customary formerly and now have to be considered. And for the
English cotton-workers these have been increased, as a result of the entrepreneurs’
mania for profit. to between twelve and sixteen hours a day during the past
twenty-five years or so — that is to say, precisely during the period of the
introduction of labor-saving machines; and this increase in one country and in one
branch of industry inevitably asserted itself elsewhere to a greater or lesser degree,
for the right of the unlimited exploitation of the poor by the rich is still universally
recognised.” (Wilhelm Schulz, Die Bewegung der Production, p. 65)
“But even if it were as true as it is false that the average income of every class of
society has increased, the income-differences and relative income-distances may
nevertheless have become greater and the contrasts between wealth and poverty
accordingly stand out more sharply. For just because total production rises — and
in the same measure as it rises — needs, desires and claims also multiply and thus
relative poverty can increase whilst absolute poverty diminishes. The Samoyed
living on fish oil and rancid fish is not poor because in his secluded society all
have the same needs. But in a state that is forging ahead, which in the course of a
decade, say, increased by a third its total production in proportion to the
population, the worker who is getting as much at the end of ten years as at the
beginning has not remained as well off, but has become poorer by a third.” (Ibid.
pp. 65-66)
But political economy knows the worker only as a working animal — as a beast reduced to the
strictest bodily needs.
“To develop in greater spiritual freedom, a people must break their bondage to
their bodily needs — they must cease to be the slaves of the body. They must,
above all, have time at their disposal for spiritual creative activity and spiritual
enjoyment. The developments in the labor organism gain this time. Indeed, with 8 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. First Manuscript
new motive forces and improved machinery, a single worker in the cotton mills
now often performs the work formerly requiring a hundred, or even 250 to 350
workers. Similar results can be observed in all branches of production, because
external natural forces are being compelled to participate to an ever-greater degree
in human labor. If the satisfaction of a given amount of material needs formerly
required a certain expenditure of time and human effort which has later been
reduced by half, then without any loss of material comfort the scope for spiritual
activity and enjoyment has been simultaneously extended by as much…. But again
the way in which the booty, that we win from old Kronos himself in his most
private domain, is shared out is still decided by the dice-throw of blind, unjust
Chance. In France it has been calculated that at the present stage in the
development of production an average working period of five hours a day by
every person capable of work could suffice for the satisfaction of all the material
interests of society…. Notwithstanding the time saved by the perfecting of
machinery. the duration of the slave-labor performed by a large population in the
factories has only increased.” (Schulz, op. cit., pp. 67, 68.)
“The transition from compound manual labor rests on a break-down of the latter
into its simple operations. At first, however, only some of the uniformly-recurring
operations will devolve on machines, while some will devolve on men. From the
nature of things, and from confirmatory experience, it is clear that unendingly
monotonous activity of this kind is as harmful to the mind as to the body; thus this
combination of machinery with mere division of labor among a greater number of
hands must inevitably show all the disadvantages of the latter. These
disadvantages appear, among other things, in the greater mortality of factory
workers…. Consideration has not been given … to this big distinction as to how far
men work through machines or how far as machines.” (Ibid. p. 69)
“In the future life of the peoples, however, the inanimate forces of nature working
in machines will be our slaves and serfs.” (Ibid. p. 74)
“The English spinning mills employ 196,818 women and only 158,818 men. For
every 100 male workers in the cotton mills of Lancashire there are 103 female
workers, and in Scotland as many as 209. In the English flax mills of Leeds, for
every 100 male workers there were found to be 147 female workers. In Dundee
and on the east coast of Scotland as many as 280. In the English silk mills … many
female workers; male workers predominate in the wool-mills where the work
requires greater physical strength. In 1833, no fewer than 38,927 women were
employed alongside 18,593 men in the North American cotton mills. As a result
of the changes in the labor organism, a wider sphere of gainful employment has
thus fallen to the share of the female sex…. Women now occupying an
economically more independent position … the two sexes are drawn closer
together in their social conditions.” (Ibid. pp. 71, 72)
“Working in the English steam- and water-driven spinning mills in 1835 were:
20,558 children between the ages of eight and twelve; 35,867 between the ages of
twelve and thirteen; and, lastly, 108,208 children between the ages of thirteen and
eighteen…. Admittedly, further advances in mechanization, by more and more
removing all monotonous work from human hands, are operating in the direction
of a gradual elimination of this evil. But standing in the way of these more rapid
advances is the very circumstance that the capitalists can, in the easiest and
cheapest fashion, appropriate the energies of the lower classes down to the
children, to be used instead of mechanical devices.” (Ibid. pp. 70-71)
“Lord Brougham’s call to the workers — ‘Become capitalists’. … This is the evil
that millions are able to earn a bare subsistence for themselves only by strenuous 9 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. First Manuscript
labor which shatters the body and cripples them morally and intellectually; that
they are even obliged to consider the misfortune of finding such work a piece of
good fortune.” (Ibid. p. 60)
“In order to live, then, the non-owners are obliged to place themselves, directly or
indirectly, at the service of the owners — to put themselves, that is to say, into a
position of dependence upon them.” (Pecqueur, Théorie nouvelle d’économie soc.,
etc., p. 409)
“Servants — pay: workers — wages; employees — salary or emoluments.” (Ibid.
pp. 409-410)
“To hire out one’s labor”, “to lend one’s labor at interest”, “to work in another’s
place.”
“To hire out the materials of labor”, “to lend the materials of labor at interest”, “to
make others work in one’s place.” (Ibid. p. 411)
“Such an economic order condemns men to occupations so mean, to a degradation
so devastating and bitter, that by comparison savagery seems like a kingly
condition…. (Ibid. pp. 417, 418) “Prostitution of the non-owning class in all its
forms.” (Ibid. p. 421f) “Ragmen.”
Charles Loudon in the book Solution du problème de la population, etc., Paris, 1842
8
, declares
the number of prostitutes in England to be between sixty and seventy thousand. The number of
women of doubtful virtue is said to be equally large (p. 228).
“The average life of these unfortunate creatures on the streets, after they have
embarked on their career of vice, is about six or seven years. To maintain the
number of sixty to seventy thousand prostitutes, there must be in the three
kingdoms at least eight to nine thousand women who commit themselves to this
abject profession each year, or about twenty-four new victims each day — an
average of one per hour; and it follows that if the same proportion holds good over
the whole surface of the globe, there must constantly be in existence one and a
half million unfortunate women of this kind”. (Ibid. p. 229)
“The numbers of the poverty-stricken grow with their poverty, and at the extreme
limit of destitution human beings are crowded together in the greatest numbers
contending with each other for the right to suffer…. In 1821 the population of
Ireland was 6,801,827. In 1831 it had risen to 7,764,010 — an increase of 14 per
cent in ten years. In Leinster, the wealthiest province, the population increased by
only 8 per cent; whilst in Connaught, the most poverty-stricken province, the
increase reached 21 per cent. (Extract from the Enquiries Published in England on
Ireland, Vienna, 1840.)” (Buret, De la misère, etc., t. 1, pp. 36, 37)
Political economy considers labor in the abstract as a thing; “labor is a
commodity.” If the price is high, then the commodity is in great demand; if the
price is low, then the commodity is in great supply: “the price of labor as a
commodity must fall lower and lower.” (Buret, op. cit.) This is made inevitable
partly by the competition between capitalist and worker, partly by the competition
amongst the workers. “The working population, the seller of labor, is necessarily
reduced to accepting the most meager part of the product…. Is the theory of labor
as a commodity anything other than a theory of disguised bondage?” (Ibid. p. 43)
“Why then has nothing but an exchange-value been seen in labor?” (Ibid. p. 44)
The large workshops prefer to buy the labor of women and children, because this
costs less than that of men. (Op. cit.) “The worker is not at all in the position of a
free seller vis-à-vis the one who employs him…. The capitalist is always free to
employ labor, and the worker is always forced to sell it. The value of labor is 10 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. First Manuscript
completely destroyed if it is not sold every instant. Labor can neither be
accumulated nor even be saved, unlike true [commodities].
“Labor is life, and if life is not each day exchanged for food, it suffers and soon
perishes. To claim that human life is a commodity, one must, therefore, admit
slavery.” (Ibid. pp. 49, 50) If then labor is a commodity, it is a commodity with
the most unfortunate attributes. But even by the principles of political economy it
is no commodity, for it is not the “free result of a free transaction.” The present
economic regime “simultaneously lowers the price and the remuneration of labor;
it perfects the worker and degrades the man.” (Ibid. pp. 52, 53) “Industry has
become a war, and commerce a gamble.” (Ibid. p. 62)
The cotton-working machines (in England) alone represent 84,000,000 manual
workers. (Ibid. p. 193)
Up to the present, industry has been in a state of war, a war of conquest: “It has
squandered the lives of the men who made up its army with the same indifference
as the great conquerors. Its aim was the possession of wealth, not the happiness of
men.” (Buret, op. cit., p. 20) “These interests” (that is, economic interests), “freely
left to themselves … must necessarily come into conflict; they have no other
arbiter but war, and the decisions of war assign defeat and death to some, in order
to give victory to the others…. It is in the conflict of opposed forces that science
seeks order and equilibrium: perpetual war, according to it, is the sole means of
obtaining peace; that war is called competition.” (Ibid. p. 23)
“The industrial war, to be conducted with success, demands large armies which it
can amass on one spot and profusely decimate. And it is neither from devotion nor
from duty that the soldiers of this army bear the exertions imposed on them, but
only to escape the hard necessity of hunger. They feel neither attachment nor
gratitude towards their bosses, nor are these bound to their subordinates by any
feeling of benevolence. They do not know them as men, but only as instruments of
production which have to yield as much as possible with as little cost as possible.
These populations of workers, ever more crowded together, have not even the
assurance of always being employed. Industry, which has called them together,
only lets them live while it needs them, and as soon as it can get rid of them it
abandons them without the slightest scruple; and the workers are compelled to
offer their persons and their powers for whatever price they can get. The longer,
more painful and more disgusting the work they are given, the less they are paid.
There are those who, with sixteen hours’ work a day and unremitting exertion,
scarcely buy the right not to die.” (Ibid. pp. 68-69)
“We are convinced … as are the commissioners charged with the inquiry into the
condition of the hand-loom weavers, that the large industrial towns would in a
short time lose their population of workers if they were not all the time receiving
from the neighboring rural areas constant recruitments of healthy men, a constant
flow of fresh blood.” (Ibid. p. 362)
Profit of Capital
1. Capital
What is the basis of capital, that is, of private property in the products of other men’s labor?
“Even if capital itself does not merely amount to theft or fraud, it still requires the
cooperation of legislation to sanctify inheritance.” (Say, Traité d’economie
politique, t. I. P. 136, footnote)
911 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. First Manuscript
How does one become a proprietor of productive stock? How does one become owner of the
products created by means of this stock?
By virtue of positive law. (Say, t. II, p. 4 )
What does one acquire with capital, with the inheritance of a large fortune, for instance?
“The person who [either acquires, or] succeeds to a great fortune, does not
necessarily [acquire or] succeed to any political power […. ] The power which that
possession immediately and directly conveys to him, is the power of purchasing; a
certain command over all the labor, or over all the produce of labor, which is then
in the market.” (Wealth of Nations, by Adam Smith, Vol. I, pp. 26-27.)
10
Capital is thus the governing power over labor and its products. The capitalist possesses this
power, not on account of his personal or human qualities, but inasmuch as he is an owner of
capital. His power is the purchasing power of his capital, which nothing can withstand.
Later we shall see first how the capitalist, by means of capital, exercises his governing power
over labor, then, however, we shall see the governing power of capital over the capitalist himself.
What is capital?
“A certain quantity of labor stocked and stored up to be employed.” (Adam Smith,
op. cit., Vol. I, p. 295.)
Capital is stored-up labor.
(2) Funds, or stock, is any accumulation of products of the soil or of manufacture. Stock is called
capital only when it yields to its owner a revenue or profit. (Adam Smith, op. cit., p. 243)
2. The Profit of Capital
The profit or gain of capital is altogether different from the wages of labor. This
difference is manifested in two ways: in the first place, the profits of capital are
regulated altogether by the value of the capital employed, although the labor of
inspection and direction associated with different capitals may be the same.
Moreover in large works the whole of this labor is committed to some principal
clerk, whose salary bears no regular proportion to the capital of which he oversees
the management. And although the labor of the proprietor is here reduced almost
to nothing, he still demands profits in proportion to his capital. (Adam Smith, op.
cit., Vol. I, p. 43)
11
Why does the capitalist demand this proportion between profit and capital?
He would have no interest in employing the workers, unless he expected from the
sale of their work something more than is necessary to replace the stock advanced
by him as wages and he would have no interest to employ a great stock rather than
a small one, unless his profits were to bear some proportion to the extent of his
stock. (Adam Smith, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 42)
The capitalist thus makes a profit, first, on the wages, and secondly on the raw materials
advanced by him.
What proportion, then, does profit bear to capital?
If it is already difficult to determine the usual average level of wages at a
particular place and at a particular time, it is even more difficult to determine the
profit on capitals. A change in the price of the commodities in which the capitalist
deals, the good or bad fortune of his rivals and customers, a thousand other
accidents to which commodities are exposed both in transit and in the warehouses
— all produce a daily, almost hourly variation in profit. (Adam Smith, op. cit.,
Vol. I, pp. 78-79) But though it is impossible to determine with precision what are
the profits on capitals, some notion may be formed of them from the interest of12 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. First Manuscript
money. Wherever a great deal can be made by the use of money, a great deal will
be given for the use of it; wherever little can be made by it, little will be given.
(Adam Smith, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 79) The proportion which the usual market rate of
interest ought to bear to the rate of clear profit, necessarily varies as profit rises or
falls. Double interest is in Great Britain reckoned what the merchants call a good,
moderate, reasonable profit, terms which mean no more than a common and usual
profit. (Adam Smith, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 87)
What is the lowest rate of profit? And what the highest?
The lowest rate of ordinary profit on capital must always be something more than
what is sufficient to compensate the occasional losses to which every employment
of stock is exposed. It is this surplus only which is neat or clear profit. The same
holds for the lowest rate of interest. (Adam Smith, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 86)
The highest rate to which ordinary profits can rise is that which in the price of the
greater part of commodities eats up the whole of the rent of the land, and reduces
the wages of labor contained in the commodity supplied to the lowest rate, the
bare subsistence of the laborer during his work. The worker must always be fed in
some way or other while he is required to work; rent can disappear entirely. For
example: the servants of the East India Company in Bengal. (Adam Smith, op.
cit., Vol. I, pp. 86-87)
Besides all the advantages of limited competition which the capitalist may exploit in this case, he
can keep the market price above the natural price by quite decorous means.
For one thing, by keeping secrets in trade if the market is at a great distance from
those who supply it, that is, by concealing a price change, its rise above the natural
level. This concealment has the effect that other capitalists do not follow him in
investing their capital in this branch of industry or trade.
Then again by keeping secrets in manufacture, which enable the capitalist to
reduce the costs of production and supply his commodity at the same or even at
lower prices than his competitors while obtaining a higher profit. (Deceiving by
keeping secrets is not immoral? Dealings on the Stock Exchange.) Furthermore,
where production is restricted to a particular locality (as in the case of a rare
wine), and where the effective demand can never he satisfied. Finally, through
monopolies exercised by individuals or companies. Monopoly price is the highest
possible. (Adam Smith, op. cit., Vol. I, pp. 53-54)
Other fortuitous causes which can raise the profit on capital: the acquisition of
new territories, or of new branches of trade, often increases the profit on capital
even in a wealthy country, because they withdraw some capital from the old
branches of trade, reduce competition, and cause the market to be supplied with
fewer commodities, the prices of which then rise: those who deal in these
commodities can then afford to borrow at a higher rate of interest. (Adam Smith,
op. cit., Vol. I, p. 83)
The more a commodity comes to be manufactured — the more it becomes an
object of manufacture — the greater becomes that part of the price which resolves
itself into wages and profit in proportion to that which resolves itself into rent. In
the progress of the manufacture of a commodity, not only the number of profits
increases, but every subsequent profit is greater than the foregoing; because the
capital from which it is derived must always be greater. The capital which
employs the weavers, for example, must always be greater than that which
employs the spinners; because it not only replaces that capital with its profits, but
pays, besides, the wages of weavers; and the profits must always bear some
proportion to the capital. (Op. cit., Vol. I, p. 45) 13 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. First Manuscript
Thus the advance made by human labor in converting the product of nature into the manufactured
product of nature increases, not the wages of labor, but in part the number of profitable capital
investments, and in part the size of every subsequent capital in comparison with the foregoing.
More about the advantages which the capitalist derives from the division of labor, later.
He profits doubly — first, by the division of labor; and secondly, in general, by the advance
which human labor makes on the natural product. The greater the human share in a commodity,
the greater the profit of dead capital.
In one and the same society the average rates of profit on capital are much more
nearly on the same level than the wages of the different sorts of labor. (Op. cit.,
Vol. I, p. 100.) In the different employments of capital, the ordinary rate of profit
varies with the certainty or uncertainty of the returns.
The ordinary profit of stock, though it rises with the risk, does not always seem to
rise in proportion to it. (Op. cit., Vol. I, pp. 99-100.)
It goes without saying that profits also rise if the means of circulation become less expensive or
easier available (e.g., paper money).
3. The Rule of Capital over Labor and the Motives of the Capitalist
The consideration of his own private profit is the sole motive which determines
the owner of any capital to employ it either in agriculture, in manufactures, or in
some particular branch of the wholesale or retail trade. The different quantities of
productive Labor which it may put into motion, and the different values which it
may add to the annual produce of the land and labor of his country, according as it
is employed in one or other of those different ways, never enter into his thoughts.
(Adam Smith, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 335)
The most useful employment of capital for the capitalist is that which, risks being
equal, yields him the greatest profit. This employment is not always the most
useful for society; the most useful employment is that which utilizes the
productive powers of nature. (Say, t. II, pp. 130-31.)
The plans and speculations of the employers of capitals regulate and direct all the
most important operations of labor, and profit is the end proposed by all those
plans and projects. But the rate of profit does not, like rent and wages, rise with
the prosperity and fall with the decline of the society. On the contrary, it is
naturally low in rich and high in poor countries, and it is always highest in the
countries which are going fastest to ruin. The interest of this class, therefore, has
not the same connection with the general interest of the society as that of the other
two…. The particular interest of the dealers in any particular branch of trade or
manufactures is always in some respects different from, and frequently even in
sharp opposition to, that of the public. To widen the market and to narrow the
sellers’ competition is always the interest of the dealer…. This is a class of people
whose interest is never exactly the same as that of society, a class of people who
have generally an interest to deceive and to oppress the public. (Adam Smith, op.
cit., Vol. I, pp. 231-32)
4. The Accumulation of Capitals and the Competition among the Capitalists
The increase of stock, which raises wages, tends to lower the capitalists’ profit,
because of the competition amongst the capitalists. (Adam Smith, op. cit., Vol. I,
p. 78)
If, for example, the capital which is necessary for the grocery trade of a particular
town “is divided between two different grocers, their competition will tend to
make both of them sell cheaper than if it were in the hands of one only; and if it
were divided among twenty, their competition would be just so much the greater, 14 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. First Manuscript
and the chance of their combining together, in order to raise the price, just so
much the less.” (Adam Smith, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 322)
Since we already know that monopoly prices are as high as possible, since the interest of the
capitalists, even from the point of view commonly held by political economists, stands in hostile
opposition to society, and since a rise of profit operates like compound interest on the price of the
commodity (Adam Smith, op. cit., Vol. I, pp. 87-88), it follows that the sole defense against the
capitalists is competition, which according to the evidence of political economy acts beneficently
by both raising wages and lowering the prices of commodities to the advantage of the consuming
public.
But competition is only possible if capital multiplies, and is held in many hands. The formation of
many capital investments is only possible as a result of multilateral accumulation, since capital
comes into being only by accumulation; and multilateral accumulation necessarily turns into
unilateral accumulation. Competition among capitalists increases the accumulation of capital.
Accumulation, where private property prevails, is the concentration of capital in the hands of a
few, it is in general an inevitable consequence if capital is left to follow its natural course, and it
is precisely through competition that the way is cleared for this natural disposition of capital.
We have been told that the profit on capital is in proportion to the size of the capital. A large
capital therefore accumulates more quickly than a small capital in proportion to its size, even if
we disregard for the time being deliberate competition.
12
Accordingly, the accumulation of large capital proceeds much more rapidly than that of smaller
capital, quite irrespective of competition. But let us follow this process further.
With the increase of capital the profit on capital diminishes, because of competition. The first to
suffer, therefore, is the small capitalist.
The increase of capitals and a large number of capital investments presuppose, further, a
condition of advancing wealth in the country.
“In a country which had acquired its full complement of riches [ … ] the ordinary
rate of clear profit would be very small, so the usual [market] rate of interest
which could be afforded out of it would be so low as to render it impossible for
any but the very wealthiest people to live upon the interest of their money. All
people of […] middling fortunes would be obliged to superintend themselves the
employment of their own stocks. It would be necessary that almost every man
should be a man of business, or engage in some sort of trade.” (Adam Smith, op.
cit., Vol. I, p. 86)
This is the situation most dear to the heart of political economy.
“The proportion between capital and revenue, therefore, seems everywhere to
regulate the proportion between industry and idleness; wherever capital
predominates, industry prevails; wherever revenue, idleness.” (Adam Smith, op.
cit., Vol. I, p. 301.)
What about the employment of capital, then, in this condition of increased competition?
“As stock increases, the quantity of stock to be lent at interest grows gradually
greater and greater. As the quantity of stock to be lent at interest increases, the
interest … diminishes (i) because the market price of things commonly diminishes
as their quantity increases. … and (ii) because with the increase of capitals in any
country, “it becomes gradually more and more difficult to find within the country
a profitable method of employing any new capital. There arises in consequence a
competition between different capitals, the owner of one endeavoring to get
possession of that employment which is occupied by another. But upon most
occasions he can hope to jostle that other out of this employment by no other 15 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. First Manuscript
means but by dealing upon more reasonable terms. He must not only sell what he
deals in somewhat cheaper, but in order to get it to sell, he must sometimes, too,
buy it dearer. The demand for productive labor, by the increase of the funds which
are destined for maintaining it, grows every day greater and greater. Laborers
easily find employment, but the owners of capitals find it difficult to get laborers
to employ. Their competition raises the wages of labor and sinks the profits of
stock.” (Adam Smith, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 316)
Thus the small capitalist has the choice: (1) either to consume his capital, since he can no longer
live on the interest — and thus cease to be a capitalist; or (2) to set up a business himself, sell his
commodity cheaper, buy dearer than the wealthier capitalist, and pay higher wages — thus
ruining himself, the market price being already very low as a result of the intense competition
presupposed. If, however, the big capitalist wants to squeeze out the smaller capitalist, he has all
the advantages over him which the capitalist has as a capitalist over the worker. The larger size of
his capital compensates him for the smaller profits, and he can even bear temporary losses until
the smaller capitalist is ruined and he finds himself freed from this competition. In this way, he
accumulates the small capitalist’s profits.
Furthermore: the big capitalist always buys cheaper than the small one, because he buys bigger
quantities. He can therefore well afford to sell cheaper.
But if a fall in the rate of interest turns the middle capitalists from rentiers into businessmen, the
increase in business capital and the resulting smaller profit produce conversely a fall in the rate of
interest.
“When the profits which can be made by the use of a capital are diminished the
price which can be paid for the use of it […] must necessarily be diminished with
them.” (Adam Smith, loc. cit., Vol. I, p. 316)
“As riches, improvement, and population have increased, interest has declined,”
and consequently the profits of capitalists, “after these [profits] are diminished,
stock may not only continue to increase, but to increase much faster than before.
[…] A great stock though with small profits, generally increases faster than a small
stock with great profits. Money, says the proverb, makes money.” (op. cit., Vol. I,
p. 83)
When, therefore, this large capital is opposed by small capitals with small profits, as it is under
the presupposed condition of intense competition, it crushes them completely.
The necessary result of this competition is a general deterioration of commodities, adulteration,
fake production and universal poisoning, evident in large towns.
An important circumstance in the competition of large and small capital is, furthermore, the
relation between fixed capital and circulating capital.
Circulating capital is a capital which is “employed in raising” provisions,
“manufacturing, or purchasing goods, and selling them again. [… ] The capital
employed in this manner yields no revenue or profit to its employer, while it either
remains in his possession, or continues in the same shape. […] His capital is
continually going from him in one shape, and returning to him in another, and it is
only by means of such circulation, or successive exchanges” and transformations
“that it can yield him any profit.” Fixed capital consists of capital invested “in the
improvement of land, in the purchase of useful machines and instruments of trade,
or in such-like things.” (Adam Smith, op. cit., Vol. I, pp. 243-44)
“Every saving in the expense of supporting the fixed capital is an improvement of
the net revenue of the society. The whole capital of the undertaker of every work
is necessarily divided between his fixed and his circulating capital. [Marx uses the
French terms capital fixe and capital circulant. – Ed.] While his whole capital 16 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. First Manuscript
remains the same, the smaller the one part, the greater must necessarily be the
other. It is the circulating capital which furnishes the materials and wages of labor,
and puts industry into motion. Every saving, therefore, in the expense of
maintaining the fixed capital, which does not diminish the productive powers of
labor, must increase the fund which puts industry into motion.” (Adam Smith, op.
cit., Vol. I, p. 257)
It is clear from the outset that the relation of fixed capital and circulating capital is much more
favorable to the big capitalist than to the smaller capitalist. The extra fixed capital required by a
very big banker as against a very small one is insignificant. Their fixed capital amounts to
nothing more than the office. The equipment of the bigger landowner does not increase in
proportion to the size of his estate. Similarly, the credit which a big capitalist enjoys compared
with a smaller one means for him all the greater saving in fixed capital — that is, in the amount of
ready money he must always have at hand. Finally, it is obvious that where industrial labor has
reached a high level, and where therefore almost all manual labor has become factory labor, the
entire capital of a small capitalist does not suffice to provide him even with the necessary fixed
capital. [As is well known, large-scale cultivation usually provides employment only for a small
number of hands. Note by Marx in French.]
It is generally true that the accumulation of large capital is also accompanied by a proportional
concentration and simplification of fixed capital, as compared to the smaller capitalists. The big
capitalist introduces for himself some kind of organization of the instruments of labor.
“Similarly, in the sphere of industry every manufactory and mill is already a
comprehensive combination of a large material fortune with numerous and varied
intellectual capacities and technical skills serving the common purpose of
production…. Where legislation preserves landed property in large units, the
surplus of a growing population flocks into trades, and it is therefore as in Great
Britain in the field of industry, principally, that proletarians aggregate in great
numbers. Where, however, the law permits the continuous division of the land, the
number of small, debt-encumbered proprietors increases, as in France; and the
continuing process of fragmentation throws them into the class of the needy and
the discontented. When eventually this fragmentation and indebtedness reaches a
higher degree still, big landed property once more swallows up small property,
just as large-scale industry destroys small industry. And as larger estates are
formed again, large numbers of propertyless workers not required for the
cultivation of the soil are again driven into industry.” (Schulz, Bewegung der
Production, pp. 58, 59.)
“Commodities of the same kind change in character as a result of changes in the
method of production, and especially as a result of the use of machinery. Only by
the exclusion of human power has it become possible to spin from a pound of
cotton worth 3 shillings and 8 pence 350 hanks of a total length of 167 English
miles (i.e., 36 German miles), and of a commercial value of 25 guineas.” (op. cit.,
p. 62.)
“On the average the prices of cotton-goods have decreased in England during the
past 45 years by eleven-twelfths, and according to Marshall’s calculations the
same amount of manufactured goods for which 16 shillings was still paid in 1814
is now supplied at 1 shilling and 10 pence. The greater cheapness of industrial
products expands both consumption at home and the market abroad, and because
of this the number of workers in cotton has not only not fallen in Great Britain
after the introduction of machines but has risen from forty thousand to one and a
half million. As to the earnings of industrial entrepreneurs and workers, the
growing competition between the factory owners has resulted in their profits 17 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. First Manuscript
necessarily falling relative to the amount of products supplied by them. In the
years 1820-33 the Manchester manufacturer’s gross profit on a piece of calico fell
from four shillings 1 1/3 pence to one shilling 9 pence. But to make up for this
loss, the volume of manufacture has been correspondingly increased. The
consequence of this is that separate branches of industry experience overproduction to some extent, that frequent bankruptcies occur causing property to
fluctuate and vacillate unstably within the class of capitalists and masters of labor,
thus throwing into the proletariat some of those who have been ruined
economically; and that, frequently and suddenly, close-downs or cuts in
employment become necessary, the painful effects of which are always bitterly
felt by the class of wage-laborers.” (Op. cit., p. 63.)
“To hire out one’s labor is to begin one’s enslavement. To hire out the materials of
labor is to establish one’s freedom…. Labor is man; the materials, on the other
hand, contain nothing human.” (Pecqueur, Théorie sociale, etc.)
“The material element, which is quite incapable of creating wealth without the
other element, labor, acquires the magical virtue of being fertile for them [who
own this material element] as if by their own action they had placed there this
indispensable element.” (Op. cit.)
“Supposing that the daily labor of a worker brings him on the average 400 francs a
year and that this sum suffices for every adult to live some sort of crude life, then
any proprietor receiving 2,000 francs in interest or rent, from a farm, a house, etc.,
compels indirectly five men to work for him; an income of 100,000 francs
represents the labor of 250 men, and that of 1,000,000 francs the labor of 2,500
individuals (hence, 300 million [Louis Philippe] therefore the labor of 750,000
workers).” (Op. cit., pp. 412-13.)
‘The human law has given owners the right to use and to abuse — that is to say,
the right to do what they will with the materials of labor…. They are in no way
obliged by law to provide work for the propertyless when required and at all
times, or to pay them always an adequate wage, etc. (Op. cit., p. 413.) “Complete
freedom concerning the nature, the quantity, the quality and the expediency of
production; concerning the use and the disposal of wealth; and full command over
the materials of all labor. Everyone is free to exchange what belongs to him as he
thinks fit, without considering anything other than his own interest as an
individual.” (Op. cit. p. 413.)
“Competition is merely the expression of the freedom to exchange, which itself is
the immediate and logical consequence of the individual’s right to use and abuse
all the instruments of production. The right to use and abuse, freedom of
exchange, and arbitrary competition — these three economic moments, which
form one unit, entail the following consequences; each produces what he wishes,
as he wishes, when he wishes, where he wishes, produces well or produces badly,
produces too much or not enough, too soon or too late, at too high a price or too
low a price; none knows whether he will sell, to whom he will sell, how he will
sell, when he will sell, where he will sell. And it is the same with regard to
purchases. The producer is ignorant of needs and resources, of demand and
supply. He sells when he wishes, when he can, where he wishes, to whom he
wishes, at the price he wishes. And he buys in the same way. In all this he is ever
the plaything of chance, the slave of the law of the strongest, of the least harassed,
of the richest…. Whilst at one place there is scarcity, at another there is glut and
waste. Whilst one producer sells a lot or at a very high price, and at an enormous
profit, the other sells nothing or sells at a loss…. The supply does not know the
demand, and the demand does not know the supply. You produce, trusting to a 18 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. First Manuscript
taste, a fashion, which prevails amongst the consuming public. But by the time
you are ready to deliver the commodity, the whim has already passed and has
settled on some other kind of product…. The inevitable consequences:
bankruptcies occurring constantly and universally; miscalculations, sudden ruin
and unexpected fortunes, commercial crises, stoppages, periodic gluts or
shortages; instability and depreciation of wages and profits, the loss or enormous
waste of wealth, time and effort in the arena of fierce competition.” (Op. cit., pp.
414-16.)
Ricardo in his book [On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation (rent of land)]:
Nations are merely production-shops; man is a machine for consuming and producing; human life
is a kind of capital; economic laws blindly rule the world. For Ricardo men are nothing, the
product everything. In the 26th chapter of the French translation it says:
“To an individual with a capital of £20,000 whose profits were £2,000 per annum,
it would he a matter quite indifferent whether his capital would employ a hundred
or a thousand men…. Is not the real interest of the nation similar? Provided its net
real income, its rent and profits be the same, it is of no importance whether the
nation consists of ten or twelve millions of inhabitants.” — [t. II, pp. 194, 195.]
“In fact, says M. Sismondi (Nouveaux principes diconomie politique, t. II, p. 331),
nothing remains to be desired but that the King, living quite alone on the island,
should by continuously turning a crank cause automatons to do all the work of
England.”
13
“The master who buys the worker’s labor at such a low price that it scarcely
suffices for the worker’s most pressing needs is responsible neither for the
inadequacy of the wage nor for the excessive duration of the labor: he himself has
to submit to the law which he imposes…. Poverty is not so much caused by men as
by the power of things.” (Buret, op. cit., p. 82.)
“The inhabitants of many different parts of Great Britain have not capital
sufficient to improve and cultivate all their lands. The wool of the southern
counties of Scotland is, a great part of it, after a long land carriage through very
bad roads, manufactured in Yorkshire, for want of capital to manufacture it at
home. There are many little manufacturing towns in Great Britain, of which the
inhabitants have not capital sufficient to transport the produce of their own
industry to those distant markets where there is demand and consumption for it. If
there are any merchants among them, they are properly only the agents of
wealthier merchants who reside in some of the greater commercial cities.” (Adam
Smith, Wealth of Nations, Vol. I, pp. 326-27)
“The annual produce of the land and labor of any nation can be increased in its
value by no other means but by increasing either the number of its productive
laborers, or the productive power of those laborers who had before been
employed…. In either case an additional capital is almost always required.” (Adam
Smith, op. cit., Vol. I, pp. 306-07.)
“As the accumulation of stock must, in the nature of things, be previous to the
division of labor, so labor can be more and more subdivided in proportion only as
stock is previously more and more accumulated. The quantity of materials which
the same number of people can work up, increases in a great proportion as labor
comes to be more and more subdivided; and as the operations of each workman
are gradually reduced to a greater degree of simplicity, a variety of new machines
come to be invented for facilitating and abridging those operations. As the
division of labor advances, therefore, in order to give constant employment to an
equal number of workmen, an equal stock of provisions, and a greater stock of 19 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. First Manuscript
materials and tools than what would have been necessary in a ruder state of things,
must be accumulated beforehand. But the number of workmen in every branch of
business generally increases with the division of labor in that branch, or rather it is
the increase of their number which enables them to class and subdivide
themselves in this manner.” (Adam Smith, op. cit., Vol. I, pp. 241-42)
“As the accumulation of stock is previously necessary for carrying on this great
improvement in the productive powers of labor, so that accumulation naturally
leads to this improvement. The person who employs his stock in maintaining
labor, necessarily wishes to employ it in such a manner as to produce as great a
quantity of work as possible. He endeavors, therefore, both to make among his
workmen the most proper distribution of employment, and to furnish them with
the best machines [… ]. His abilities in both these respects are generally in
proportion to the extent of his stock, or to the number of people whom it can
employ. The quantity of industry, therefore, not only increases in every country
with the increase of the stock which employs it, but, in consequence of that
increase, the same quantity of industry produces a much greater quantity of work.”
(Adam Smith, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 242) Hence overproduction.
“More comprehensive combinations of productive forces … in industry and trade
by uniting more numerous and more diverse human and natural powers in largerscale enterprises. Already here and there, closer association of the chief branches
of production. Thus, big manufacturers will try to acquire also large estates in
order to become independent of others for at least a part of the raw materials
required for their industry; or they will go into trade in conjunction with their
industrial enterprises, not only to sell their own manufactures, but also to purchase
other kinds of products and to sell these to their workers. In England, where a
single factory owner sometimes employs ten to twelve thousand workers … it is
already not uncommon to find such combinations of various branches of
production controlled by one brain, such smaller states or provinces within the
state. Thus, the mine owners in the Birmingham area have recently taken over the
whole process of iron production, which was previously distributed among
various entrepreneurs and owners, (See “Der bergmännische Distrikt bei
Birmingham,” Deutsche Vierteljahr-Schrift No. 3, 1838.) Finally in the large
joint-stock enterprises which have become so numerous, we see far-reaching
combinations of the financial resources of many participants with the scientific
and technical knowledge and skills of others to whom the carrying-out of the work
is handed over. The capitalists are thereby enabled to apply their savings in more
diverse ways and perhaps even to employ them simultaneously in agriculture,
industry and commerce. As a consequence their interest becomes more
comprehensive, and the contradictions between agricultural, industrial, and
commercial interests are reduced and disappear. But this increased possibility of
applying capital profitably in the most diverse ways cannot but intensify the
antagonism between the propertied and the non-propertied classes.” (Schulz, op.
cit., pp. 40-4l.)
The enormous profit which the landlords of houses make out of poverty. House rent stands in
inverse proportion to industrial poverty. So does the interest obtained from the vices of the ruined
proletarians. (Prostitution, drunkenness, pawnbroking.)
The accumulation of capital increases and the competition between capitalists decreases, when
capital and landed property are united in the same hand, also when capital is enabled by its size to
combine different branches of production.
Indifference towards men. Smith’s twenty lottery-tickets.
14
Say’s net and gross revenue. |XVI||20 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. First Manuscript
Rent of Land
Landlords’ right has its origin in robbery. (Say, t. 1) The landlords, like all other
men, love to reap where they never sowed, and demand a rent even for the natural
produce of the earth. (Adam Smith, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 44.)
“The rent of land, it may be thought, is frequently no more than a reasonable
profit or interest for the stock laid out by the landlord upon its improvement. This,
no doubt, may be partly the case upon some occasions…. The landlord demands”
(1) “a rent even for unimproved land, and the supposed interest or profit upon the
expense of improvement is generally an addition to this original rent.” (2) “Those
improvements, besides, are not always made by the stock of the landlord, but
sometimes by that of the tenant. When the lease comes to be renewed, however,
the landlord commonly demands the same augmentation of rent as if they had
been all made by his own.” (3) “He sometimes demands rent for what is altogether
incapable of human improvement.” (Adam Smith, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 131.)
Smith cites as an instance of the last case kelp,
“a species of seaweed, which, when burnt, yields an alkaline salt, useful for
making glass, soap, etc. It grows in several parts of Great Britain, particularly in
Scotland, upon such rocks only as lie within the high-water mark, which are twice
every day covered with the sea, and of which the produce, therefore, was never
augmented by human industry. The landlord, however, whose estate is bounded
by a kelp shore of this kind, demands a rent for it as much as for his corn fields.
The sea in the neighborhood of the Islands of Shetland is more than commonly
abundant in fish, which make a great part of the subsistence of their inhabitants.
But in order to profit by the produce of the water they must have a habitation upon
the neighboring land. The rent of the landlord is in proportion, not to what the
farmer can make by the land, but to what he can make both by the land and by the
water.” (Adam Smith, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 131.)
“This rent may be considered as the produce of those powers of nature, the use of
which the landlord lends to the farmer. It is greater or smaller according to the
supposed extent of those powers, or in other words, according to the supposed
natural or improved fertility of the land. It is the work of nature which remains
after deducting or compensating everything which can be regarded as the work of
man.” (Adam Smith, op. cit., Vol. I, pp. 324-25.)
“The rent of land, therefore, considered as the price paid for the use of the land, is
naturally a monopoly price. It is not at all proportioned to what the landlord may
have laid out upon the improvement of the land, or to what he can afford to take;
but to what the farmer can afford to give.” (Adam Smith, op. cit., p. 131.)
Of the three original classes, that of the landlords is the one “whose revenue costs
them neither labor nor care, but comes to them, as it were, of its own accord, and
independent of any plan or project of their own”. (Adam Smith, op. cit., Vol. I, p.
230.)
We have already learnt that the size of the rent depends on the degree of fertility of the land.
Another factor in its determination is situation.
“The rent of land not only varies with its fertility, whatever be its produce, but
with its situation whatever be its fertility.” (Adam Smith, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 133.)
“The produce of land, mines, and fisheries, when their natural fertility is equal, is
in proportion to the extent and proper application of the capitals employed about
them. When the capitals are equal and equally well applied, it is in proportion to
their natural fertility.” (Op. cit., Vol. I, p. 249.) 21 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. First Manuscript
These propositions of Smith are important, because, given equal costs of production and capital
of equal size, they reduce the rent of land to the greater or lesser fertility of the soil. Thereby
showing clearly the perversion of concepts in political economy, which turns the fertility of the
land into an attribute of the landlord.
Now, however, let us consider the rent of land as it is formed in real life.
The rent of land is established as a result of the struggle between tenant and landlord. We find
that the hostile antagonism of interests, the struggle, the war is recognised throughout political
economy as the basis of social organization.
Let us see now what the relations are between landlord and tenant.
“In adjusting the terms of the lease, the landlord endeavors to leave him no greater
share of the produce than what is sufficient to keep up the stock from which he
furnishes the seed, pays the labor, and purchases and maintains the cattle and
other instruments of husbandry, together with the ordinary profits of farming stock
in the neighborhood. This is evidently the smallest share with which the tenant can
content himself without being a loser, and the landlord seldom means to leave him
any more. Whatever part of the produce, or, what is the same thing, whatever part
of its price is over and above this share, he naturally endeavors to reserve to
himself as the rent of his land, which is evidently the highest the tenant can afford
to pay in the actual circumstances of the land. […. ] This portion, however, may
still be considered as the natural rent of land, or the rent for which it is naturally
meant that land should for the most part be let.” (Adam Smith, op. cit., Vol. I, pp.
130-31)
“The landlords,” says Say, “operate a certain kind of monopoly against the
tenants. The demand for their commodity, site and soil, can go on expanding
indefinitely; but there is only a given, limited amount of their commodity…. The
bargain struck between landlord and tenant is always advantageous to the former
in the greatest possible degree…. Besides the advantage he derives from the nature
of the case, he derives a further advantage from his position, his larger fortune and
greater credit and standing. But the first by itself suffices to enable him and him
alone to profit from the favorable circumstances of the land. The opening of a
canal, or a road; the increase of population and of the prosperity of a district,
always raises the rent…. Indeed, the tenant himself may improve the ground at his
own expense; but he only derives the profit from this capital for the duration of his
lease, with the expiry of which it remains with the proprietor of the land;
henceforth it is the latter who reaps the interest thereon, without having made the
outlay, for there is now a proportionate increase in the rent.” (Say, t. II.)
“Rent, considered as the price paid for the use of land, is naturally the highest
which the tenant can afford to pay in the actual circumstances of the land.” (Adam
Smith, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 130.)
“The rent of an estate above ground commonly amounts to what is supposed to be
a third of the gross produce; and it is generally a rent certain and independent of
the occasional variations in the crop.” (Adam Smith, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 153.) This
rent “is seldom less than a fourth … of the whole produce”. (Op. cit., Vol. I, p.
325.)
Rent cannot be paid on all commodities. For instance, in many districts no rent is paid for stones.
“Such parts only of the produce of land can commonly be brought to market of
which the ordinary price is sufficient to replace the stock which must be employed
in bringing them thither, together with its ordinary profits. If the ordinary price is
more than this, the surplus part of it will naturally go to the rent of the land. If it is22 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. First Manuscript
not more, though the commodity may be brought to market, it can afford no rent
to the landlord. Whether the price is or is not more depends upon the demand.”
(Adam Smith, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 132.)
“Rent, it is to be observed, therefore, enters into the composition of the price of
commodities in a different way from wages and profit. High or low wages and
profit are the causes of high or low price; high or low rent is the effect of it.”
(Adam Smith, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 132.)
Food belongs to the products which always yield a rent.
As men, like all other animals, naturally multiply in proportion to the means of
their subsistence, food is always, more or less, in demand. It can always purchase
or command a greater or smaller quantity of labor, and somebody can always be
found who is willing to do something in order to obtain it. The quantity of labor,
indeed, which it can purchase is not always equal to what it could maintain, if
managed in the most economical manner, on account of the high wages which are
sometimes given to labor. But it can always purchase such a quantity of labor as it
can maintain, according to the rate at which the sort of labor is commonly
maintained in the neighborhood.
“But land, in almost any situation, produces a greater quantity of food than what is
sufficient to maintain all the labor necessary for bringing it to market […. ] The
surplus, too, is always more than sufficient to replace the stock which employed
that labor, together with its profits. Something, therefore, always remains for a
rent to the landlord.” (Adam Smith, op. cit., Vol. I, pp. 132-33.)
“Food is in this manner not only the original source of rent, but every other part of
the produce of land which afterwards affords rent derives that part of its value
from the improvement of the powers of labor in producing food by means of the
improvement and cultivation of land.” (Adam Smith, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 150.)
“Human food seems to be the only produce of land which always and necessarily
affords some rent to the landlord.” (Op. cit., Vol. I, p. 147.)
“Countries are populous not in proportion to the number of people whom their
produce can clothe and lodge, but in proportion to that of those whom it can feed.”
(Adam Smith, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 149.)
“After food, clothing and lodging are the two great wants of mankind.” They
usually yield a rent, but not inevitably. (Op. cit., Vol. I, p. 147.)
15
Let us now see how the landlord exploits everything from which society benefits.
(1) The rent of land increases with population. (Adam Smith, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 146.)
(2) We have already learnt from Say how the rent of land increases with railways, etc., with the
improvement, safety, and multiplication of the means of communication.
(3) “Every improvement in the circumstances of the society tends either directly
or indirectly to raise the real rent of land, to increase the real wealth of the
landlord, his power of purchasing the labor, or the produce of the labor of other
people.
“The extension of improvement and cultivation tends to raise it directly. The
landlord’s share of the produce necessarily increases with the increase of the
produce.
“That rise in the real price of those parts of the rude produce of land […] the rise in
the price of cattle, for example, tends too to raise the rent of land directly, and in a
still greater proportion. The real value of the landlord’s share, his real command
of the labor of other people, not only rises with the real value of the produce, but
the proportion of his share to the whole produce rises with it. That produce, after 23 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. First Manuscript
the rise in its real price, requires no more labor to collect it than before. A smaller
proportion of it will, therefore, be sufficient to replace, with the ordinary profit,
the stock which employs that labor. A greater proportion of it must, consequently,
belong to the landlord.” (Adam Smith, op. cit., Vol. I, pp. 228-29.)
The greater demand for raw produce, and therefore the rise in value, may in part result from the
increase of population and from the increase of their needs. But every new invention, every new
application in manufacture of a previously unused or little-used raw material, augments rent.
Thus, for example, there was a tremendous rise in the rent of coal mines with the advent of the
railways, steamships, etc.
Besides this advantage which the landlord derives from manufacture, discoveries, and labor, there
is yet another, as we shall presently see.
(4) “All those improvements in the productive powers of labor, which tend
directly to reduce the real price of manufactures, tend indirectly to raise the real
rent of land. The landlord exchanges that part of his rude produce, which is over
and above his own consumption, or what comes to the same thing, the price of
that part of it, for manufactured produce. Whatever reduces the real price of the
latter, raises that of the former. An equal quantity of the former becomes thereby
equivalent to a greater quantity of the latter; and the landlord is enabled to
purchase a greater quantity of the conveniences, ornaments, or luxuries, which he
has occasion for.” (Adam Smith, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 229)
But it is silly to conclude, as Smith does, that since the landlord exploits every benefit which
comes to society the interest of the landlord is always identical with that of society. (Op. cit., Vol.
I, p. 230.) In the economic system, under the rule of private property, the interest which an
individual has in society is in precisely inverse proportion to the interest society has in him —
just as the interest of the usurer in the spendthrift is by no means identical with the interest of the
spendthrift.
We shall mention only in passing the landlord’s obsession with monopoly directed against the
landed property of foreign countries, from which the Corn Laws
16
, for instance, originate.
Likewise, we shall here pass over medieval serfdom, the slavery in the colonies, and the
miserable condition of the country folk, the day-laborers, in Great Britain. Let us confine
ourselves to the propositions of political economy itself.
(1) The landlord being interested in the welfare of society means, according to the principles of
political economy, that he is interested in the growth of its population and manufacture, in the
expansion of its needs — in short, in the increase of wealth; and this increase of wealth is, as we
have already seen, identical with the increase of poverty and slavery. The relation between
increasing house rent and increasing poverty is an example of the landlord’s interest in society,
for the ground rent, the interest obtained from the land on which the house stands, goes up with
the rent of the house.
(2) According to the political economists themselves, the landlord’s interest is inimically opposed
to the interest of the tenant farmer-and thus already to a significant section of society.
(3) As the landlord can demand all the more rent from the tenant farmer the less wages the farmer
pays, and as the farmer forces down wages all the lower the more rent the landlord demands, it
follows that the interest of the landlord is just as hostile to that of the farm workers as is that of
the manufacturers to their workers. He likewise forces down wages to the minimum.
(4) Since a real reduction in the price of manufactured products raises the rent of land, the
landowner has a direct interest in lowering the wages of industrial workers, in competition
amongst the capitalists, in over-production, in all the misery associated with industrial
production. 24 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. First Manuscript
(5) While, thus, the landlord’s interest, far from being identical with the interest of society, stands
inimically opposed to the interest of tenant farmers, farm laborers, factory workers and capitalists,
on the other hand, the interest of one landlord is not even identical with that of another, on
account of the competition which we will now consider.
In general the relationship of large and small landed property is like that of big and small capital.
But in addition, there are special circumstances which lead inevitably to the accumulation of large
landed property and to the absorption of small property by it.
(1) Nowhere does the relative number of workers and implements decrease more with increases
in the size of the stock than in landed property. Likewise, the possibility of all-round exploitation,
of economizing production costs, and of effective division of labor, increases nowhere more with
the size of the stock than in landed property. However small a field may be, it requires for its
working a certain irreducible minimum of implements (plough, saw, etc.), whilst the size of a
piece of landed property can be reduced far below this minimum.
(2) Big landed property accumulates to itself the interest on the capital which the tenant farmer
has employed to improve the land. Small landed property has to employ its own capital, and
therefore does not get this profit at all.
(3) While every social improvement benefits the big estate, it harms small property, because it
increases its need for ready cash.
(4) Two important laws concerning this competition remain to be considered:
(a) The rent of the cultivated land, of which the produce is human food, regulates
the rent of the greater part of other cultivated land. (Adam Smith, op. cit., Vol. I,
p. 144.)
Ultimately, only the big estate can produce such food as cattle, etc. Therefore it regulates the rent
of other land and can force it down to a minimum.
The small landed proprietor working on his own land stands then to the big landowner in the
same relation as an artisan possessing his own tool to the factory owner. Small property in land
has become a mere instrument of labor.
17
Rent entirely disappears for the small proprietor; there
remains to him at the most the interest on his capital, and his wages. For rent can be driven down
by competition till it is nothing more than the interest on capital not invested by the proprietor.
(b) In addition, we have already learnt that with equal fertility and equally efficient exploitation
of lands, mines and fisheries, the produce is proportionate to the size of the capital. Hence the
victory of the big landowner. Similarly, where equal capitals are employed the product is
proportionate to the fertility. Hence, where capitals are equal, victory goes to the proprietor of the
more fertile soil.
(c) “A mine of any kind may be said to be either fertile or barren, according as the
quantity of mineral which can be brought from it by a certain quantity of labor is
greater or less than what can be brought by an equal quantity from the greater part
of other mines of the same kind.” (Adam Smith, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 151.)
“The most fertile coal-mine, too, regulates the price of coal at all the other mines
in its neighborhood. Both the proprietor and the undertaker of the work find, the
one that he can get a greater rent, the other that he can get a greater profit, by
somewhat underselling all their neighbors. Their neighbors are soon obliged to
sell at the same price, though they cannot so well afford it, and though it always
diminishes, and sometimes takes away altogether both their rent and their profit.
Some works are abandoned altogether; others can afford no rent, and can be
wrought only by the proprietor.” (Adam Smith, op. cit., Vol. I, pp. 152-53.)
“After the discovery of the mines of Peru, the silver mines of Europe were, the
greater part of them, abandoned…. This was the case, too, with the mines of Cuba 25 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. First Manuscript
and St. Domingo, and even with the ancient mines of Peru, after the discovery of
those of Potosi.” (Op. cit., Vol. I, p. 154.)
What Smith here says of mines applies more or less to landed property generally:
(d) “The ordinary market price of land, it is to be observed, depends everywhere
upon the ordinary market rate of interest…. If the rent of land should fall short of
the interest of money by a greater difference, nobody would buy land, which
would soon reduce its ordinary price. On the contrary, if the advantages should
much more than compensate the difference, everybody would buy land, which
again would soon raise its ordinary price.” (Op. cit., Vol. I, p. 320.)
From this relation of rent of land to interest on money it follows that rent must fall more and
more, so that eventually only the wealthiest people can live on rent. Hence the ever greater
competition between landowners who do not lease their land to tenants. Ruin of some of these;
further accumulation of large landed property.
This competition has the further consequence that a large part of landed property falls into the
hands of the capitalists and that capitalists thus become simultaneously landowners, just as the
smaller landowners are on the whole already nothing more than capitalists. Similarly, a section of
large landowners become at the same time industrialists.
The final consequence is thus the abolition of the distinction between capitalist and landowner, so
that there remain altogether only two classes of the population — the working class and the class
of capitalists. This huckstering with landed property, the transformation of landed property into a
commodity, constitutes the final overthrow of the old and the final establishment of the money
aristocracy.
(1) We will not join in the sentimental tears wept over this by romanticism. Romanticism always
confuses the shamefulness of huckstering the land with the perfectly rational consequence,
inevitable and desirable within the realm of private property, of the huckstering of private
property in land. In the first place, feudal landed property is already by its very nature huckstered
land — the earth which is estranged from man and hence confronts him in the shape of a few
great lords.
The domination of the land as an alien power over men is already inherent in feudal landed
property. The serf is the adjunct of the land. Likewise, the lord of an entailed estate, the first-born
son, belongs to the land. It inherits him. Indeed, the dominion of private property begins with
property in land — that is its basis. But in feudal landed property the lord at least appears as the
king of the estate. Similarly, there still exists the semblance of a more intimate connection
between the proprietor and the land than that of mere material wealth. The estate is individualized
with its lord: it has his rank, is baronial or ducal with him, has his privileges, his jurisdiction, his
political position, etc. It appears as the inorganic body of its lord. Hence the proverb nulle terre
sans maître [There is no land without its master. – Ed.], which expresses the fusion of nobility
and landed property. Similarly, the rule of landed property does not appear directly as the rule of
mere capital. For those belonging to it, the estate is more like their fatherland. It is a constricted
sort of nationality.
In the same way, feudal landed property gives its name to its lord, as does a kingdom to its king.
His family history, the history of his house, etc. — all this individualizes the estate for him and
makes it literally his house, personifies it. Similarly those working on the estate have not the
position of day-laborers; but they are in part themselves his property, as are serfs; and in part they
are bound to him by ties of respect, allegiance, and duty. His relation to them is therefore directly
political, and has likewise a human, intimate side. Customs, character, etc., vary from one estate
to another and seem to be one with the land to which they belong; whereas later, it is only his
purse and not his character, his individuals , which connects a man with an estate. Finally, the
feudal lord does not try to extract the utmost advantage from his land. Rather, he consumes what 26 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. First Manuscript
is there and calmly leaves the worry of producing to the serfs and the tenants. Such is nobility’s
relationship to landed property, which casts a romantic glory on its lords.
It is necessary that this appearance be abolished — that landed property, the root of private
property, be dragged completely into the movement of private property and that it become a
commodity; that the rule of the proprietor appear as the undisguised rule of private property, of
capital, freed of all political tincture; that the relationship between proprietor and worker be
reduced to the economic relationship of exploiter and exploited; that all [ … ] a personal
relationship between the proprietor and his property cease, property becoming merely objective,
material wealth; that the marriage of convenience should take the place of the marriage of honor
with the land; and that the land should likewise sink to the status of a commercial value, like man.
It is essential that that which is the root of landed property — filthy self-interest — make its
appearance, too, in its cynical form. It is essential that the immovable monopoly turn into the
mobile and restless monopoly, into competition; and that the idle enjoyment of the products of
other people’s blood and sweat turn into a bustling commerce in the same commodity. Lastly, it is
essential that in this competition landed property, in the form of capital, manifest its dominion
over both the working class and the proprietors themselves who are either being ruined or raised
by the laws governing the movement of capital. The medieval proverb nulle terre sans seigneur
[There is no land without its lord. – Ed.] is thereby replaced by that other proverb, l’argent n’a
pas de maître [Money knows no master. – Ed.], wherein is expressed the complete domination of
dead matter over man.
(2) Concerning the argument of division or non-division of landed property, the following is to be
observed.
The division of landed property negates the large-scale monopoly of property in land — abolishes
it; but only by generalizing this monopoly. It does not abolish the source of monopoly, private
property. It attacks the existing form, but not the essence, of monopoly. The consequence is that it
falls victim to the laws of private property. For the division of landed property corresponds to the
movement of competition in the sphere of industry. In addition to the economic disadvantages of
such a dividing-up of the instruments of labor, and the dispersal of labor (to be clearly
distinguished from the division of labor: in separated labor the work is not shared out amongst
many, but each carries on the same work by himself, it is a multiplication of the same work), this
division [of land], like that competition [in industry], necessarily turns again into accumulation.
Therefore, where the division of landed property takes place, there remains nothing for it but to
return to monopoly in a still more malignant form, or to negate, to abolish the division of landed
property itself. To do that, however, is not to return to feudal ownership, but to abolish private
property in the soil altogether. The first abolition of monopoly is always its generalization, the
broadening of its existence. The abolition of monopoly, once it has come to exist in its utmost
breadth and inclusiveness, is its total annihilation. Association, applied to land, shares the
economic advantage of large-scale landed property, and first brings to realization the original
tendency inherent in [land] division, namely, equality. In the same way association also reestablishes, now on a rational basis, no longer mediated by serfdom, overlordship and the silly
mysticism of property, the intimate ties of man with the earth, since the earth ceases to be an
object of huckstering, and through free labor and free enjoyment becomes once more a true
personal property of man. A great advantage of the division of landed property is that the masses,
which can no longer resign themselves to servitude, perish through property in a different way
than in industry.
As for large landed property, its defenders have always, sophistically, identified the economic
advantages offered by large-scale agriculture with large-scale landed property, as if it were not
precisely as a result of the abolition of property that this advantage, for one thing, would receive
its greatest possible extension, and, for another, only then would be of social benefit. In the same
way, they have attacked the huckstering spirit of small landed property, as if large landed27 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. First Manuscript
property did not contain huckstering latent within it, even in its feudal form — not to speak of the
modern English form, which combines the landlord’s feudalism with the tenant farmer’s
huckstering and industry.
Just as large landed property can return the reproach of monopoly leveled against it by partitioned
land, since partitioned land is also based on the monopoly of private property, so can partitioned
landed property likewise return to large landed property the reproach of partition, since partition
also prevails there, though in a rigid and frozen form. Indeed, private property rests altogether on
partitioning. Moreover, just as division of the land leads back to large landed property as a form
of capital wealth, so must feudal landed property necessarily lead to partitioning or at least fall
into the hands of the capitalists, turn and twist as it may.
For large landed property, as in England, drives the overwhelming majority of the population into
the arms of industry and reduces its own workers to utter wretchedness. Thus, it engenders and
enlarges the power of its enemy, capital, industry, by throwing poor people and an entire activity
of the country on to the other side. It makes the majority of the people of the country industrial
and thus opponents of large landed property. Where industry has attained to great power, as in
England at the present time, it progressively forces from large landed property its monopoly
against foreign countries and throws it into competition with landed property abroad. For under
the sway of industry landed property could keep its feudal grandeur secure only by means of
monopolies against foreign countries, thereby protecting itself against the general laws of trade,
which are incompatible with its feudal character. Once thrown into competition, landed property
obeys the laws of competition, like every other commodity subjected to competition. It begins
thus to fluctuate, to decrease and to increase, to fly from one hand to another; and no law can
keep it any longer in a few predestined hands. The immediate consequence is the splitting up of
the land amongst many hands, and in any case subjection to the power of industrial capitals.
Finally, large landed property which has been forcibly preserved in this way and which has
begotten by its side a tremendous industry leads to crisis even more quickly than the partitioning
of land, in comparison with which the power of industry remains constantly of second rank.
Large landed property, as we see in England, has already cast off its feudal character and adopted
an industrial character insofar as it is aiming to make as much money as possible. To the owner it
yields the utmost possible rent, to the tenant farmer the utmost possible profit on his capital. The
workers on the land, in consequence, have already been reduced to the minimum, and the class of
tenant farmers already represents within landed property the power of industry and capital. As a
result of foreign competition, rent in most cases can no longer form an independent income. A
large number of landowners are forced to displace tenant farmers, some of whom in this way [ …]
sink into the proletariat. On the other hand, many tenant farmers will take over landed property;
for the big proprietors, who with their comfortable incomes have mostly given themselves over to
extravagance and for the most part are not competent to conduct large-scale agriculture, often
possess neither the capital nor the ability for the exploitation of the land. Hence a section of this
class, too, is completely ruined. Eventually wages, which have already been reduced to a
minimum, must be reduced yet further, to meet the new competition. This then necessarily leads
to revolution.
Landed property had to develop in each of these two ways so as to experience in both its
necessary downfall, just as industry both in the form of monopoly and in that of competition had
to ruin itself so as to learn to believe in man. |XXI||28 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. First Manuscript
[Estranged Labor]
||XXII| We have proceeded from the premises of political economy. We have accepted its
language and its laws. We presupposed private property, the separation of labor, capital and land,
and of wages, profit of capital and rent of land – likewise division of labor, competition, the
concept of exchange value, etc. On the basis of political economy itself, in its own words, we
have shown that the worker sinks to the level of a commodity and becomes indeed the most
wretched of commodities; that the wretchedness of the worker is in inverse proportion to the
power and magnitude of his production; that the necessary result of competition is the
accumulation of capital in a few hands, and thus the restoration of monopoly in a more terrible
form; and that finally the distinction between capitalist and land rentier, like that between the
tiller of the soil and the factory worker, disappears and that the whole of society must fall apart
into the two classes – property owners and propertyless workers.
Political economy starts with the fact of private property; it does not explain it to us. It expresses
in general, abstract formulas the material process through which private property actually passes,
and these formulas it then takes for laws. It does not comprehend these laws – i.e., it does not
demonstrate how they arise from the very nature of private property. Political economy throws no
light on the cause of the division between labor and capital, and between capital and land. When,
for example, it defines the relationship of wages to profit, it takes the interest of the capitalists to
be the ultimate cause, i.e., it takes for granted what it is supposed to explain. Similarly,
competition comes in everywhere. It is explained from external circumstances. As to how far
these external and apparently accidental circumstances are but the expression of a necessary
course of development, political economy teaches us nothing. We have seen how exchange itself
appears to it as an accidental fact. The only wheels which political economy sets in motion are
greed, and the war amongst the greedy – competition. [After this paragraph the following
sentence is crossed out in the manuscript: “We now have to examine the nature of this material
movement of property.” – Ed.]
Precisely because political economy does not grasp the way the movement is connected, it was
possible to oppose, for instance, the doctrine of competition to the doctrine of monopoly, the
doctrine of the freedom of the crafts to the doctrine of the guild, the doctrine of the division of
landed property to the doctrine of the big estate – for competition, freedom of the crafts and the
division of landed property were explained and comprehended only as accidental, premeditated
and violent consequences of monopoly, of the guild system, and of feudal property, not as their
necessary, inevitable and natural consequences.
Now, therefore, we have to grasp the intrinsic connection between private property, greed, the
separation of labor, capital and landed property; the connection of exchange and competition, of
value and the devaluation of man, of monopoly and competition, etc. – the connection between
this whole estrangement and the money system.
Do not let us go back to a fictitious primordial condition as the political economist does, when he
tries to explain. Such a primordial condition explains nothing; it merely pushes the question away
into a grey nebulous distance. The economist assumes in the form of a fact, of an event, what he
is supposed to deduce – namely, the necessary relationship between two things – between, for
example, division of labor and exchange. Thus the theologian explains the origin of evil by the
fall of man – that is, he assumes as a fact, in historical form, what has to be explained.
We proceed from an actual economic fact.
The worker becomes all the poorer the more wealth he produces, the more his production
increases in power and size. The worker becomes an ever cheaper commodity the more
commodities he creates. The devaluation of the world of men is in direct proportion to the
increasing value of the world of things. Labor produces not only commodities; it produces itself29 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. First Manuscript
and the worker as a commodity – and this at the same rate at which it produces commodities in
general.
This fact expresses merely that the object which labor produces – labor’s product – confronts it as
something alien, as a power independent of the producer. The product of labor is labor which has
been embodied in an object, which has become material: it is the objectification of labor. Labor’s
realization is its objectification. Under these economic conditions this realization of labor appears
as loss of realization for the workers;
18
objectification as loss of the object and bondage to it;
appropriation as estrangement, as alienation.
19
So much does labor’s realization appear as loss of realization that the worker loses realization to
the point of starving to death. So much does objectification appear as loss of the object that the
worker is robbed of the objects most necessary not only for his life but for his work. Indeed, labor
itself becomes an object which he can obtain only with the greatest effort and with the most
irregular interruptions. So much does the appropriation of the object appear as estrangement that
the more objects the worker produces the less he can possess and the more he falls under the sway
of his product, capital.
All these consequences are implied in the statement that the worker is related to the product of his
labor as to an alien object. For on this premise it is clear that the more the worker spends himself,
the more powerful becomes the alien world of objects which he creates over and against himself,
the poorer he himself – his inner world – becomes, the less belongs to him as his own. It is the
same in religion. The more man puts into God, the less he retains in himself. The worker puts his
life into the object; but now his life no longer belongs to him but to the object. Hence, the greater
this activity, the more the worker lacks objects. Whatever the product of his labor is, he is not.
Therefore, the greater this product, the less is he himself. The alienation of the worker in his
product means not only that his labor becomes an object, an external existence, but that it exists
outside him, independently, as something alien to him, and that it becomes a power on its own
confronting him. It means that the life which he has conferred on the object confronts him as
something hostile and alien.
||XXIII| Let us now look more closely at the objectification, at the production of the worker; and
in it at the estrangement, the loss of the object, of his product.
The worker can create nothing without nature, without the sensuous external world. It is the
material on which his labor is realized, in which it is active, from which, and by means of which
it produces.
But just as nature provides labor with [the] means of life in the sense that labor cannot live
without objects on which to operate, on the other hand, it also provides the means of life in the
more restricted sense, i.e., the means for the physical subsistence of the worker himself.
Thus the more the worker by his labor appropriates the external world, sensuous nature, the more
he deprives himself of means of life in two respects: first, in that the sensuous external world
more and more ceases to be an object belonging to his labor – to be his labor’s means of life; and,
second, in that it more and more ceases to be means of life in the immediate sense, means for the
physical subsistence of the worker.
In both respects, therefore, the worker becomes a servant of his object, first, in that he receives an
object of labor, i.e., in that he receives work, and, secondly, in that he receives means of
subsistence. This enables him to exist, first as a worker; and second, as a physical subject. The
height of this servitude is that it is only as a worker that he can maintain himself as a physical
subject and that it is only as a physical subject that he is a worker.
(According to the economic laws the estrangement of the worker in his object is expressed thus:
the more the worker produces, the less he has to consume; the more values he creates, the more
valueless, the more unworthy he becomes; the better formed his product, the more deformed
becomes the worker; the more civilized his object, the more barbarous becomes the worker; the 30 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. First Manuscript
more powerful labor becomes, the more powerless becomes the worker; the more ingenious labor
becomes, the less ingenious becomes the worker and the more he becomes nature’s servant.)
Political economy conceals the estrangement inherent in the nature of labor by not considering
the direct relationship between the worker (labor) and production. It is true that labor produces
for the rich wonderful things – but for the worker it produces privation. It produces palaces – but
for the worker, hovels. It produces beauty – but for the worker, deformity. It replaces labor by
machines, but it throws one section of the workers back into barbarous types of labor and it turns
the other section into a machine. It produces intelligence – but for the worker, stupidity,
cretinism.
The direct relationship of labor to its products is the relationship of the worker to the objects of
his production. The relationship of the man of means to the objects of production and to
production itself is only a consequence of this first relationship – and confirms it. We shall
consider this other aspect later. When we ask, then, what is the essential relationship of labor we
are asking about the relationship of the worker to production.
Till now we have been considering the estrangement, the alienation of the worker only in one of
its aspects , i.e., the worker’s relationship to the products of his labor. But the estrangement is
manifested not only in the result but in the act of production, within the producing activity, itself.
How could the worker come to face the product of his activity as a stranger, were it not that in the
very act of production he was estranging himself from himself? The product is after all but the
summary of the activity, of production. If then the product of labor is alienation, production itself
must be active alienation, the alienation of activity, the activity of alienation. In the estrangement
of the object of labor is merely summarized the estrangement, the alienation, in the activity of
labor itself.
What, then, constitutes the alienation of labor?
First, the fact that labor is external to the worker, i.e., it does not belong to his intrinsic nature;
that in his work, therefore, he does not affirm himself but denies himself, does not feel content
but unhappy, does not develop freely his physical and mental energy but mortifies his body and
ruins his mind. The worker therefore only feels himself outside his work, and in his work feels
outside himself. He feels at home when he is not working, and when he is working he does not
feel at home. His labor is therefore not voluntary, but coerced; it is forced labor. It is therefore
not the satisfaction of a need; it is merely a means to satisfy needs external to it. Its alien
character emerges clearly in the fact that as soon as no physical or other compulsion exists, labor
is shunned like the plague. External labor, labor in which man alienates himself, is a labor of selfsacrifice, of mortification. Lastly, the external character of labor for the worker appears in the fact
that it is not his own, but someone else’s, that it does not belong to him, that in it he belongs, not
to himself, but to another. Just as in religion the spontaneous activity of the human imagination,
of the human brain and the human heart, operates on the individual independently of him – that
is, operates as an alien, divine or diabolical activity – so is the worker’s activity not his
spontaneous activity. It belongs to another; it is the loss of his self.
As a result, therefore, man (the worker) only feels himself freely active in his animal functions –
eating, drinking, procreating, or at most in his dwelling and in dressing-up, etc.; and in his human
functions he no longer feels himself to be anything but an animal. What is animal becomes
human and what is human becomes animal.
Certainly eating, drinking, procreating, etc., are also genuinely human functions. But taken
abstractly, separated from the sphere of all other human activity and turned into sole and ultimate
ends, they are animal functions.
We have considered the act of estranging practical human activity, labor, in two of its aspects. (1)
The relation of the worker to the product of labor as an alien object exercising power over him.
This relation is at the same time the relation to the sensuous external world, to the objects of 31 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. First Manuscript
nature, as an alien world inimically opposed to him. (2) The relation of labor to the act of
production within the labor process. This relation is the relation of the worker to his own activity
as an alien activity not belonging to him; it is activity as suffering, strength as weakness,
begetting as emasculating, the worker’s own physical and mental energy, his personal life – for
what is life but activity? – as an activity which is turned against him, independent of him and not
belonging to him. Here we have self-estrangement, as previously we had the estrangement of the
thing.
||XXIV| We have still a third aspect of estranged labor to deduce from the two already
considered.
Man is a species-being,
20
not only because in practice and in theory he adopts the species (his
own as well as those of other things) as his object, but – and this is only another way of
expressing it – also because he treats himself as the actual, living species; because he treats
himself as a universal and therefore a free being.
The life of the species, both in man and in animals, consists physically in the fact that man (like
the animal) lives on organic nature; and the more universal man (or the animal) is, the more
universal is the sphere of inorganic nature on which he lives. Just as plants, animals, stones, air,
light, etc., constitute theoretically a part of human consciousness, partly as objects of natural
science, partly as objects of art – his spiritual inorganic nature, spiritual nourishment which he
must first prepare to make palatable and digestible – so also in the realm of practice they
constitute a part of human life and human activity. Physically man lives only on these products of
nature, whether they appear in the form of food, heating, clothes, a dwelling, etc. The universality
of man appears in practice precisely in the universality which makes all nature his inorganic body
– both inasmuch as nature is (1) his direct means of life, and (2) the material, the object, and the
instrument of his life activity. Nature is man’s inorganic body – nature, that is, insofar as it is not
itself human body. Man lives on nature – means that nature is his body, with which he must
remain in continuous interchange if he is not to die. That man’s physical and spiritual life is
linked to nature means simply that nature is linked to itself, for man is a part of nature.
In estranging from man (1) nature, and (2) himself, his own active functions, his life activity,
estranged labor estranges the species from man. It changes for him the life of the species into a
means of individual life. First it estranges the life of the species and individual life, and secondly
it makes individual life in its abstract form the purpose of the life of the species, likewise in its
abstract and estranged form.
For labor, life activity, productive life itself, appears to man in the first place merely as a means of
satisfying a need – the need to maintain physical existence. Yet the productive life is the life of
the species. It is life-engendering life. The whole character of a species, its species-character, is
contained in the character of its life activity; and free, conscious activity is man’s speciescharacter. Life itself appears only as a means to life.
The animal is immediately one with its life activity. It does not distinguish itself from it. It is its
life activity. Man makes his life activity itself the object of his will and of his consciousness. He
has conscious life activity. It is not a determination with which he directly merges. Conscious life
activity distinguishes man immediately from animal life activity. It is just because of this that he
is a species-being. Or it is only because he is a species-being that he is a conscious being, i.e., that
his own life is an object for him. Only because of that is his activity free activity. Estranged labor
reverses the relationship, so that it is just because man is a conscious being that he makes his life
activity, his essential being, a mere means to his existence.
In creating a world of objects by his personal activity, in his work upon inorganic nature, man
proves himself a conscious species-being, i.e., as a being that treats the species as his own
essential being, or that treats itself as a species-being. Admittedly animals also produce. They
build themselves nests, dwellings, like the bees, beavers, ants, etc. But an animal only produces32 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. First Manuscript
what it immediately needs for itself or its young. It produces one-sidedly, whilst man produces
universally. It produces only under the dominion of immediate physical need, whilst man
produces even when he is free from physical need and only truly produces in freedom therefrom.
An animal produces only itself, whilst man reproduces the whole of nature. An animal’s product
belongs immediately to its physical body, whilst man freely confronts his product. An animal
forms only in accordance with the standard and the need of the species to which it belongs, whilst
man knows how to produce in accordance with the standard of every species, and knows how to
apply everywhere the inherent standard to the object. Man therefore also forms objects in
accordance with the laws of beauty.
It is just in his work upon the objective world, therefore, that man really proves himself to be a
species-being. This production is his active species-life. Through this production, nature appears
as his work and his reality. The object of labor is, therefore, the objectification of man’s specieslife: for he duplicates himself not only, as in consciousness, intellectually, but also actively, in
reality, and therefore he sees himself in a world that he has created. In tearing away from man the
object of his production, therefore, estranged labor tears from him his species-life, his real
objectivity as a member of the species and transforms his advantage over animals into the
disadvantage that his inorganic body, nature, is taken from him.
Similarly, in degrading spontaneous, free activity to a means, estranged labor makes man’s
species-life a means to his physical existence.
The consciousness which man has of his species is thus transformed by estrangement in such a
way that species [-life] becomes for him a means.
Estranged labor turns thus:
(3) Man’s species-being, both nature and his spiritual species-property, into a being alien to him,
into a means of his individual existence. It estranges from man his own body, as well as external
nature and his spiritual aspect, his human aspect.
(4) An immediate consequence of the fact that man is estranged from the product of his labor,
from his life activity, from his species-being, is the estrangement of man from man. When man
confronts himself, he confronts the other man. What applies to a man’s relation to his work, to the
product of his labor and to himself, also holds of a man’s relation to the other man, and to the
other man’s labor and object of labor.
In fact, the proposition that man’s species-nature is estranged from him means that one man is
estranged from the other, as each of them is from man’s essential nature.
The estrangement of man, and in fact every relationship in which man [stands] to himself, is
realized and expressed only in the relationship in which a man stands to other men.
Hence within the relationship of estranged labor each man views the other in accordance with the
standard and the relationship in which he finds himself as a worker.
||XXV| We took our departure from a fact of political economy – the estrangement of the worker
and his production. We have formulated this fact in conceptual terms as estranged, alienated
labor. We have analyzed this concept – hence analyzing merely a fact of political economy.
Let us now see, further, how the concept of estranged, alienated labor must express and present
itself in real life.
If the product of labor is alien to me, if it confronts me as an alien power, to whom, then, does it
belong?
To a being other than myself.
Who is this being?
The gods? To be sure, in the earliest times the principal production (for example, the building of
temples, etc., in Egypt, India and Mexico) appears to be in the service of the gods, and the 33 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. First Manuscript
product belongs to the gods. However, the gods on their own were never the lords of labor. No
more was nature. And what a contradiction it would be if, the more man subjugated nature by his
labor and the more the miracles of the gods were rendered superfluous by the miracles of
industry, the more man were to renounce the joy of production and the enjoyment of the product
to please these powers.
The alien being, to whom labor and the product of labor belongs, in whose service labor is done
and for whose benefit the product of labor is provided, can only be man himself.
If the product of labor does not belong to the worker, if it confronts him as an alien power, then
this can only be because it belongs to some other man than the worker. If the worker’s activity is
a torment to him, to another it must give satisfaction and pleasure. Not the gods, not nature, but
only man himself can be this alien power over man.
We must bear in mind the previous proposition that man’s relation to himself becomes for him
objective and actual through his relation to the other man. Thus, if the product of his labor, his
labor objectified, is for him an alien, hostile, powerful object independent of him, then his
position towards it is such that someone else is master of this object, someone who is alien,
hostile, powerful, and independent of him. If he treats his own activity as an unfree activity, then
he treats it as an activity performed in the service, under the dominion, the coercion, and the yoke
of another man.
Every self-estrangement of man, from himself and from nature, appears in the relation in which
he places himself and nature to men other than and differentiated from himself. For this reason
religious self-estrangement necessarily appears in the relationship of the layman to the priest, or
again to a mediator, etc., since we are here dealing with the intellectual world. In the real
practical world self-estrangement can only become manifest through the real practical
relationship to other men. The medium through which estrangement takes place is itself practical.
Thus through estranged labor man not only creates his relationship to the object and to the act of
production as to powers [in the manuscript Menschen (men) instead of Mächte (powers). – Ed.]
that are alien and hostile to him; he also creates the relationship in which other men stand to his
production and to his product, and the relationship in which he stands to these other men. Just as
he creates his own production as the loss of his reality, as his punishment; his own product as a
loss, as a product not belonging to him; so he creates the domination of the person who does not
produce over production and over the product. Just as he estranges his own activity from himself,
so he confers upon the stranger an activity which is not his own.
We have until now considered this relationship only from the standpoint of the worker and later
on we shall be considering it also from the standpoint of the non-worker.
Through estranged, alienated labor, then, the worker produces the relationship to this labor of a
man alien to labor and standing outside it. The relationship of the worker to labor creates the
relationship to it of the capitalist (or whatever one chooses to call the master of labor). Private
property is thus the product, the result, the necessary consequence, of alienated labor, of the
external relation of the worker to nature and to himself.
Private property thus results by analysis from the concept of alienated labor, i.e., of alienated
man, of estranged labor, of estranged life, of estranged man.
True, it is as a result of the movement of private property that we have obtained the concept of
alienated labor (of alienated life) in political economy. But on analysis of this concept it becomes
clear that though private property appears to be the reason, the cause of alienated labor, it is rather
its consequence, just as the gods are originally not the cause but the effect of man’s intellectual
confusion. Later this relationship becomes reciprocal.
Only at the culmination of the development of private property does this, its secret, appear again,
namely, that on the one hand it is the product of alienated labor, and that on the other it is the
means by which labor alienates itself, the realization of this alienation. 34 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. First Manuscript
This exposition immediately sheds light on various hitherto unsolved conflicts.
(1) Political economy starts from labor as the real soul of production; yet to labor it gives
nothing, and to private property everything. Confronting this contradiction, Proudhon has decided
in favor of labor against private property
21
. We understand, however, that this apparent
contradiction is the contradiction of estranged labor with itself, and that political economy has
merely formulated the laws of estranged labor.
We also understand, therefore, that wages and private property are identical. Indeed, where the
product, as the object of labor, pays for labor itself, there the wage is but a necessary consequence
of labor’s estrangement. Likewise, in the wage of labor, labor does not appear as an end in itself
but as the servant of the wage. We shall develop this point later, and meanwhile will only draw
some conclusions. ||XXVI|
22
An enforced increase of wages (disregarding all other difficulties, including the fact that it would
only be by force, too, that such an increase, being an anomaly, could be maintained) would
therefore be nothing but better payment for the slave, and would not win either for the worker or
for labor their human status and dignity.
Indeed, even the equality of wages, as demanded by Proudhon, only transforms the relationship of
the present-day worker to his labor into the relationship of all men to labor. Society is then
conceived as an abstract capitalist.
Wages are a direct consequence of estranged labor, and estranged labor is the direct cause of
private property. The downfall of the one must therefore involve the downfall of the other.
(2) From the relationship of estranged labor to private property it follows further that the
emancipation of society from private property, etc., from servitude, is expressed in the political
form of the emancipation of the workers; not that their emancipation alone is at stake, but
because the emancipation of the workers contains universal human emancipation – and it contains
this because the whole of human servitude is involved in the relation of the worker to production,
and all relations of servitude are but modifications and consequences of this relation.
Just as we have derived the concept of private property from the concept of estranged, alienated
labor by analysis, so we can develop every category of political economy with the help of these
two factors; and we shall find again in each category, e.g., trade, competition, capital, money only
a particular and developed expression of these first elements.
But before considering this phenomenon, however, let us try to solve two other problems.
(1) To define the general nature of private property, as it has arisen as a result of estranged labor,
in its relation to truly human and social property.
(2) We have accepted the estrangement of labor, its alienation, as a fact, and we have analyzed
this fact. How, we now ask, does man come to alienate, to estrange, his labor? How is this
estrangement rooted in the nature of human development? We have already gone a long way to
the solution of this problem by transforming the question of the origin of private property into the
question of the relation of alienated labor to the course of humanity’s development. For when
one speaks of private property, one thinks of dealing with something external to man. When one
speaks of labor, one is directly dealing with man himself. This new formulation of the question
already contains its solution.
As to (1): The general nature of private property and its relation to truly human property.
Alienated labor has resolved itself for us into two components which depend on one another, or
which are but different expressions of one and the same relationship. Appropriation appears as
estrangement, as alienation; and alienation appears as appropriation, estrangement as truly
becoming a citizen.
23
We have considered the one side – alienated labor in relation to the worker himself, i.e., the
relation of alienated labor to itself. The product, the necessary outcome of this relationship, as we 35 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. First Manuscript
have seen, is the property relation of the non-worker to the worker and to labor. Private property,
as the material, summary expression of alienated labor, embraces both relations – the relation of
the worker to work and to the product of his labor and to the non-worker, and the relation of the
non-worker to the worker and to the product of his labor.
Having seen that in relation to the worker who appropriates nature by means of his labor, this
appropriation appears as estrangement, his own spontaneous activity as activity for another and as
activity of another, vitality as a sacrifice of life, production of the object as loss of the object to an
alien power, to an alien person – we shall now consider the relation to the worker, to labor and its
object of this person who is alien to labor and the worker.
First it has to be noted that everything which appears in the worker as an activity of alienation, of
estrangement, appears in the non-worker as a state of alienation, of estrangement.
Secondly, that the worker’s real, practical attitude in production and to the product (as a state of
mind) appears in the non-worker who confronting him as a theoretical attitude.
||XXVII| Thirdly, the non-worker does everything against the worker which the worker does
against himself; but he does not do against himself what he does against the worker.
Let us look more closely at these three relations. |XXVII||
[First Manuscript breaks off here.]
Second Manuscript
Antithesis of Capital and Labor. Landed Property and Capital
[….] ||XL| forms the interest on his capital. The worker is the subjective manifestation of the fact
that capital is man wholly lost to himself, just as capital is the objective manifestation of the fact
that labor is man lost to himself. But the worker has the misfortune to be a living capital, and
therefore an indigent capital, one which loses its interest, and hence its livelihood, every moment
it is not working. The value of the worker as capital rises according to demand and supply, and
physically too his existence, his life, was and is looked upon as a supply of a commodity like any
other. The worker produces capital, capital produces him – hence he produces himself, and man
as worker, as a commodity, is the product of this entire cycle. To the man who is nothing more
than a worker – and to him as a worker – his human qualities only exist insofar as they exist for
capital alien to him. Because man and capital are alien, foreign to each other, however, and thus
stand in an indifferent, external and accidental relationship to each other, it is inevitable that this
foreignness should also appear as something real. As soon, therefore, as it occurs to capital
(whether from necessity or caprice) no longer to be for the worker, he himself is no longer for
himself: he has no work, hence no wages, and since he has no existence as a human being but
only as a worker, he can go and bury himself, starve to death, etc. The worker exists as a worker
only when he exists for himself as capital; and he exists as capital only when some capital exists
for him. The existence of capital is his existence, his life; as it determines the tenor of his life in a
manner indifferent to him.
Political economy, therefore, does not recognize the unemployed worker, the workingman,
insofar as he happens to be outside this labor relationship. The rascal, swindler, beggar, the
unemployed, the starving, wretched and criminal workingman – these are figures who do not
exist for political economy but only for other eyes, those of the doctor, the judge, the gravedigger, and bum-bailiff, etc.; such figures are specters outside its domain. For it, therefore, the
worker’s needs are but the one need – to maintain him whilst he is working and insofar as may be
necessary to prevent the race of laborers from [dying] out. The wages of labor have thus exactly
the same significance as the maintenance and servicing of any other productive instrument, or as
the consumption of capital in general, required for its reproduction with interest, like the oil
which is applied to wheels to keep them turning. Wages, therefore, belong to capital’s and the
capitalist’s necessary costs, and must not exceed the bounds of this necessity. It was therefore
quite logical for the English factory owners, before the Amendment Bill of 1834, to deduct from
the wages of the worker the public charity which he was receiving out of the Poor Rate and to
consider this to be an integral part of wages.
24
Production does not simply produce man as a commodity, the human commodity, man in the role
of commodity; it produces him in keeping with this role as a mentally and physically dehumanized
being. – Immorality, deformity, and dulling of the workers and the capitalists. – Its product is the
self-conscious and self-acting commodity … the human commodity…. Great advance of Ricardo,
Mill, etc., on Smith and Say, to declare the existence of the human being – the greater or lesser
human productivity of the commodity – to be indifferent and even harmful. Not how many
workers are maintained by a given capital, but rather how much interest it brings in, the sum-total
of the annual savings, is said to be the true purpose of production.
It was likewise a great and consistent advance of modern ||XLI| English political economy, that,
whilst elevating labor to the position of its sole principle, it should at the same time expound with
complete clarity the inverse relation between wages and interest on capital, and the fact that the
capitalist could normally only gain by pressing down wages, and vice versa. Not the defrauding
37 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. Second Manuscript
of the consumer, but the capitalist and the worker taking advantage of each other, is shown to be
the normal relationship.
The relations of private property contain latent within them the relation of private property as
labor, the relation of private property as capital, and the mutual relation of these two to one
another. There is the production of human activity as labor – that is, as an activity quite alien to
itself, to man and to nature, and therefore to consciousness and the expression of life – the
abstract existence of man as a mere workman who may therefore daily fall from his filled void
into the absolute void – into his social, and therefore actual, non-existence. On the other hand,
there is the production of the object of human activity as capital – in which all the natural and
social characteristic of the object is extinguished; in which private property has lost its natural and
social quality (and therefore every political and social illusion, and is not associated with any
apparently human relations); in which the selfsame capital remains the same in the most diverse
natural and social manifestations, totally indifferent to its real content. This contradiction, driven
to the limit, is of necessity the limit, the culmination, and the downfall of the whole privateproperty relationship.
It is therefore another great achievement of modern English political economy to have declared
rent of land to be the difference in the interest yielded by the worst and the best land under
cultivation; to have [exposed] the landowner’s romantic illusions – his alleged social importance
and the identity of his interest with the interest of society, a view still maintained by Adam Smith
after the Physiocrats; and to [have] anticipated and prepared the movement of the real world
which will transform the landowner into an ordinary, prosaic capitalist, and thus simplify and
sharpen the contradiction [between capital and labor] and hasten its resolution. Land as land, and
rent as rent, have lost their distinction of rank and become insignificant capital and interest – or
rather, capital and interest that signify only money.
The distinction between capital and land, between profit and rent, and between both and wages,
and industry, and agriculture, and immovable and movable private property – this distinction is
not rooted in the nature of things, but is a historical distinction, a fixed historical moment in the
formation and development of the contradiction between capital and labor. In industry, etc., as
opposed to immovable landed property, is only expressed the way in which [industry] came into
being and the contradiction to agriculture in which industry developed. This distinction only
continues to exist as a special sort of work – as an essential, important and life-embracing
distinction – so long as industry (town life) develops over and against landed property
(aristocratic feudal life) and itself continues to bear the feudal character of its opposite in the form
of monopoly, craft, guild, corporation, etc., within which labor still has a seemingly social
significance, still the significance of the real community, and has not yet reached the stage of
indifference to its content, of complete being-for-self
25
, i.e., of abstraction from all other being,
and hence has not yet become liberated capital.
||XLII| But liberated industry, industry constituted for itself as such, and liberated capital, are the
necessary development of labor. The power of industry over its opposite is at once revealed in the
emergence of agriculture as a real industry, while previously it left most of the work to the soil
and to the slave of the soil, through whom the land cultivated itself. With the transformation of
the slave into a free worker – i.e., into a hireling – the landlord himself is transformed into a
captain of industry, into a capitalist – a transformation which takes place at first through the
intermediacy of the tenant farmer. The tenant farmer, however, is the landowner’s representative
– the landowner’s revealed secret: it is only through him that the landowner has his economic
existence – his existence as a private proprietor – for the rent of his land only exists due to the
competition between the farmers.
Thus, in the person of the tenant farmer the landlord has already become in essence a common
capitalist. And this must come to pass, too, in actual fact: the capitalist engaged in agriculture – 38 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. Second Manuscript
the tenant – must become a landlord, or vice versa. The tenant’s industrial hucksterism is the
landowner’s industrial hucksterism, for the being of the former postulates the being of the latter.
But mindful of their contrasting origin, of their line of descent, the landowner knows the capitalist
as his insolent, liberated, enriched slave of yesterday and sees himself as a capitalist who is
threatened by him. The capitalist knows the landowner as the idle, cruel, egotistical master of
yesterday; he knows that he injures him as a capitalist, but that it is to industry that he owes all his
present social significance, his possessions and his pleasures; he sees in him [the landowner] a
contradiction to free industry and to free capital – to capital independent of every natural
limitation. This contradiction [between landowner and capitalist] is extremely bitter, and each
side tells the truth about the other. One need only read the attacks of immovable on movable
property and vice versa to obtain a clear picture of their respective worthlessness. The landowner
lays stress on the noble lineage of his property, on feudal souvenirs or reminiscences, the poetry
of recollection, on his romantic disposition, on his political importance, etc.; and when he talks
economics, it is only agriculture that he holds to be productive. At the same time he depicts his
adversary as a sly, hawking, carping, deceitful, greedy, mercenary, rebellious, heart- and soulless
person who is estranged from the community and freely trades it away, who breeds, nourishes
and cherishes competition, and with it pauperism, crime, and the dissolution of all social bonds,
an extorting, pimping, servile, smooth, flattering, fleecing, dried-up rogue without honor,
principles, poetry, substance, or anything else. (Amongst others see the Physiocrat Bergasse,
whom Camille Desmoulins flays in his journal, Révolutions de France et de Brabant
26
; see von
Vincke, Lancizolle, Haller, Leo, Kosegarten and also Sismondi.)
[See on the other hand the garrulous, old-Hegelian theologian Funke who tells, after Herr Leo,
with tears in his eyes how a slave had refused, when serfdom was abolished, to cease being the
property of the gentry
27
. See also the patriotic visions of Justus Möser, which distinguish
themselves by the fact that they never for a moment […] abandon the respectable, petty-bourgeois
“home-baked”, ordinary, narrow horizon of the philistine, and which nevertheless remain pure
fancy. This contradiction has given them such an appeal to the German heart. – Note by Marx.]
Movable property, for its part, points to the miracles of industry and progress. It is the child of
modern times, whose legitimate, native-born son it is. It pities its adversary as a simpleton,
unenlightened about his own nature (and in this it is completely right), who wants to replace
moral capital and free labor by brute, immoral violence and serfdom. It depicts him as a Don
Quixote, who under the guise of bluntness, respectability, the general interest, and stability,
conceals incapacity for progress, greedy self-indulgence, selfishness, sectional interest, and evil
intent. It declares him an artful monopolist; it pours cold water on his reminiscences, his poetry,
and his romanticism by a historical and sarcastic enumeration of the baseness, cruelty,
degradation, prostitution, infamy, anarchy and rebellion, of which romantic castles were the
workshops.
||XLIII| It claims to have obtained political freedom for everybody; to have loosed the chains
which fettered civil society; to have linked together different worlds; to have created trade
promoting friendship between the peoples; to have created pure morality and a pleasant culture;
to have given the people civilized needs in place of their crude wants, and the means of satisfying
them. Meanwhile, it claims, the landowner – this idle, parasitic grain-profiteer – raises the price
of the people’s basic necessities and so forces the capitalist to raise wages without being able to
increase productivity, thus impeding [the growth of] the nation’s annual income, the
accumulation of capital, and therefore the possibility of providing work for the people and wealth
for the country, eventually cancelling it, thus producing a general decline – whilst he parasitically
exploits every advantage of modern civilization without doing the least thing for it, and without
even abating in the slightest his feudal prejudices. Finally, let him – for whom the cultivation of
the land and the land itself exist only as a source of money, which comes to him as a present – let
him just take a look at his tenant farmer and say whether he himself is not a downright, fantastic, 39 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. Second Manuscript
sly scoundrel who in his heart and in actual fact has for a long time belonged to free industry and
to lovely trade, however much he may protest and prattle about historical memories and ethical or
political goals. Everything which he can really advance to justify himself is true only of the
cultivator of the land (the capitalist and the laborers), of whom the landowner is rather the enemy.
Thus he gives evidence against himself. [Movable property claims that] without capital landed
property is dead, worthless matter; that its civilized victory has discovered and made human labor
the source of wealth in place of the dead thing. (See Paul Louis Courier, Saint-Simon, Ganilh,
Ricardo, Mill, McCulloch and Destutt de Tracy and Michel Chevalier.)
The real course of development (to be inserted at this point) results in the necessary victory of the
capitalist over the landowner – that is to say, of developed over undeveloped, immature private
property – just as in general, movement must triumph over immobility; open, self-conscious
baseness over hidden, unconscious baseness; cupidity over self-indulgence; the avowedly restless,
adroit self-interest of enlightenment over the parochial, worldly-wise, respectable, idle and
fantastic self-interest of superstition; and money over the other forms of private property.
Those states which sense something of the danger attaching to fully developed free industry, to
fully developed pure morality and to fully developed philanthropic trade, try, but in vain, to hold
in check the capitalization of landed property.
Landed property in its distinction from capital is private property – capital – still afflicted with
local and political prejudices; it is capital which has not yet extricated itself from its entanglement
with the world and found the form proper to itself – capital not yet fully developed. It must
achieve its abstract, that is, its pure, expression in the course of its cosmogony.
The character of private property is expressed by labor, capital, and the relations between these
two. The movement through which these constituents have to pass is:
First. Unmediated or mediated unity of the two.
Capital and labor are at first still united. Then, though separated and estranged, they reciprocally
develop and promote each other as positive conditions.
[Second.] The two in opposition, mutually excluding each other. The worker knows the capitalist
as his own non-existence, and vice versa: each tries to rob the other of his existence.
[Third.] Opposition of each to itself. Capital = stored-up labor = labor. As such it splits into
capital itself and its interest, and this latter again into interest and profit. The capitalist is
completely sacrificed. He falls into the working class, whilst the worker (but only exceptionally)
becomes a capitalist. Labor as a moment of capital – its costs. Thus the wages of labor – a
sacrifice of capital.
Splitting of labor into labor itself and the wages of labor. The worker himself a capital, a
commodity.
Clash of mutual contradictions. |XLIII||Third Manuscript28
[Private Property and Labor. Political Economy as a Product of
the Movement of Private Property]
||I| Re. p. XXXVI. The subjective essence of private property – private property as activity for
itself,
29
as subject, as person – is labor. It is therefore evident that only the political economy
which acknowledged labor as its principle – Adam Smith – and which therefore no longer looked
upon private property as a mere condition external to man – that it is this political economy which
has to be regarded on the one hand as a product of the real energy and the real movement of
private property (it is a movement of private property become independent for itself in
consciousness – the modern industry as Self) – as a product of modern industry – and on the other
hand, as a force which has quickened and glorified the energy and development of modern
industry and made it a power in the realm of consciousness.
To this enlightened political economy, which has discovered – within private property – the
subjective essence of wealth, the adherents of the Monetary and Mercantile System, who look
upon private property only as an objective substance confronting men, seem therefore to be
fetishists, Catholics. Engels was therefore right to call Adam Smith the Luther of Political
Economy [See Outlines of a Critique of Political Economy]. Just as Luther recognized religion –
faith – as the substance of the external world and in consequence stood opposed to Catholic
paganism – just as he superseded external religiosity by making religiosity the inner substance of
man – just as he negated the priests outside the layman because he transplanted the priest into
laymen’s hearts, just so with wealth: wealth as something outside man and independent of him,
and therefore as something to be maintained and asserted only in an external fashion, is done
away with; that is, this external, mindless objectivity of wealth is done away with, with private
property being incorporated in man himself and with man himself being recognized as its
essence. But as a result man is brought within the orbit of private property, just as with Luther he
is brought within the orbit of religion. Under the semblance of recognizing man, the political
economy whose principle is labor rather carries to its logical conclusion the denial of man, since
man himself no longer stands in an external relation of tension to the external substance of private
property, but has himself become this tense essence of private property. What was previously
being external to oneself – man’s actual externalization – has merely become the act of
externalizing – the process of alienating.
This political economy begins by seeming to acknowledge man (his independence, spontaneity,
etc.); then, locating private property in man’s own being, it can no longer be conditioned by the
local, national or other characteristics of private property as of something existing outside itself.
This political economy, consequently, displays a cosmopolitan, universal energy which
overthrows every restriction and bond so as to establish itself instead as the sole politics, the sole
universality, the sole limit and sole bond. Hence it must throw aside this hypocrisy in the course
of its further development and come out in its complete cynicism. And this it does – untroubled
by all the apparent contradictions in which it becomes involved as a result of this theory – by
developing the idea of labor much more one-sidedly, and therefore more sharply and more
consistently, as the sole essence of wealth; by proving the implications of this theory to be antihuman in character, in contrast to the other, original approach. Finally, by dealing the death-blow
to rent – that last, individual, natural mode of private property and source of wealth existing
independently of the movement of labor, that expression of feudal property, an expression which
has already become wholly economic in character and therefore incapable of resisting political
economy. (The Ricardo school.) There is not merely a relative growth in the cynicism of political
41 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. Third Manuscript
economy from Smith through Say to Ricardo, Mill, etc., inasmuch as the implications of industry
appear more developed and more contradictory in the eyes of the last-named; these later
economists also advance in a positive sense constantly and consciously further than their
predecessors in their estrangement from man. They do so, however, only because their science
develops more consistently and truthfully. Because they make private property in its active form
the subject, thus simultaneously turning man into the essence – and at the same time turning man
as non-essentiality into the essence – the contradiction of reality corresponds completely to the
contradictory being which they accept as their principle. Far from refuting it, the ruptured ||II|
world of industry confirms their self-ruptured principle. Their principle is, after all, the principle
of this rupture.
The Physiocratic doctrine of Dr. Quesnay forms the transition from the Mercantile System to
Adam Smith. Physiocracy represents directly the decomposition of feudal property in economic
terms, but it therefore just as directly represents its economic metamorphosis and restoration, save
that now its language is no longer feudal but economic. All wealth is resolved into land and
cultivation (agriculture). Land is not yet capital: it is still a special mode of its existence, the
validity of which is supposed to lie in, and to derive from, its natural peculiarity. Yet land is a
general natural element, whilst the Mercantile System admits the existence of wealth only in the
form of precious metal. Thus the object of wealth – its matter – has straightway obtained the
highest degree of universality within the bounds of nature, insofar as even as nature, it is
immediate objective wealth. And land only exists for man through labor, through agriculture.
Thus the subjective essence of wealth has already been transferred to labor. But at the same time
agriculture is the only productive labor. Hence, labor is not yet grasped in its generality and
abstraction: it is still bound to a particular natural element as its matter, and it is therefore only
recognized in a particular mode of existence determined by nature. It is therefore still only a
specific, particular alienation of man, just as its product is likewise conceived nearly [as] a
specific form of wealth – due more to nature than to labor itself. The land is here still recognized
as a phenomenon of nature independent of man – not yet as capital, i.e., as an aspect of labor
itself. Labor appears, rather, as an aspect of the land. But since the fetishism of the old external
wealth, of wealth existing only as an object, has been reduced to a very simple natural element,
and since its essence – even if only partially and in a particular form – has been recognized within
its subjective existence, the necessary step forward has been made in revealing the general nature
of wealth and hence in the raising up of labor in its total absoluteness (i.e., its abstraction) as the
principle. It is argued against physiocracy that agriculture, from the economic point of view –
that is to say, from the only valid point of view – does not differ from any other industry; and that
the essence of wealth, therefore, is not a specific form of labor bound to a particular element – a
particular expression of labor – but labor in general.
Physiocracy denies particular, external, merely objective wealth by declaring labor to be the
essence of wealth. But for physiocracy labor is at first only the subjective essence of landed
property. (It takes its departure from the type of property which historically appears as the
dominant and acknowledged type.) It turns only landed property into alienated man. It annuls its
feudal character by declaring industry (agriculture) as its essence. But it disavows the world of
industry and acknowledges the feudal system by declaring agriculture to be the only industry.
It is clear that if the subjective essence of industry is now grasped (of industry in opposition to
landed property, i.e., of industry constituting itself as industry), this essence includes within itself
its opposite. For just as industry incorporates annulled landed property, the subjective essence of
industry at the same time incorporates the subjective essence of landed property.
Just as landed property is the first form of private property, with industry at first confronting it
historically merely as a special kind of property – or, rather, as landed property’s liberated slave –
so this process repeats itself in the scientific analysis of the subjective essence of private property,
labor. Labor appears at first only as agricultural labor, but then asserts itself as labor in general. 42 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. Third Manuscript
||III| All wealth has become industrial wealth, the wealth of labor, and industry is accomplished
labor, just as the factory system is the perfected essence of industry, that is of labor, and just as
industrial capital is the accomplished objective form of private property.
We can now see how it is only at this point that private property can complete its dominion over
man and become, in its most general form, a world-historical power.
[Private Property and Communism]
Re p. XXXIX. The antithesis between lack of property and property, so long as it is not
comprehended as the antithesis of labor and capital, still remains an indifferent antithesis, not
grasped in its active connection, in its internal relation, not yet grasped as a contradiction. It can
find expression in this first form even without the advanced development of private property (as
in ancient Rome, Turkey, etc.). It does not yet appear as having been established by private
property itself. But labor, the subjective essence of private property as exclusion of property, and
capital, objective labor as exclusion of labor, constitute private property as its developed state of
contradiction – hence a dynamic relationship driving towards resolution.
Re the same page. The transcendence of self-estrangement follows the same course as selfestrangement. Private property is first considered only in its objective aspect – but nevertheless
with labor as its essence. Its form of existence is therefore capital, which is to be annulled “as
such” (Proudhon). Or a particular form of labor – labor leveled down, fragmented, and therefore
unfree – is conceived as the source of private property’s perniciousness and of its existence in
estrangement from men. For instance, Fourier, who, like the Physiocrats, also conceives
agricultural labor to be at least the exemplary type, whilst Saint-Simon declares in contrast that
industrial labor as such is the essence, and accordingly aspires to the exclusive rule of the
industrialists and the improvement of the workers’ condition. Finally, communism is the positive
expression of annulled private property – at first as universal private property.
By embracing this relation as a whole, communism is:
(1) In its first form only a generalization and consummation of it [of this relation]. As such it
appears in a two-fold form: on the one hand, the dominion of material property bulks so large that
it wants to destroy everything which is not capable of being possessed by all as private property.
It wants to disregard talent, etc., in an arbitrary manner. For it the sole purpose of life and
existence is direct, physical possession. The category of the worker is not done away with, but
extended to all men. The relationship of private property persists as the relationship of the
community to the world of things. Finally, this movement of opposing universal private property
to private property finds expression in the brutish form of opposing to marriage (certainly a form
of exclusive private property) the community of women, in which a woman becomes a piece of
communal and common property. It may be said that this idea of the community of women gives
away the secret of this as yet completely crude and thoughtless communism.
30
Just as woman
passes from marriage to general prostitution, [Prostitution is only a specific expression of the
general prostitution of the laborer, and since it is a relationship in which falls not the prostitute
alone, but also the one who prostitutes – and the latter’s abomination is still greater – the
capitalist, etc., also comes under this head. – Note by Marx]
31
so the entire world of wealth (that
is, of man’s objective substance) passes from the relationship of exclusive marriage with the
owner of private property to a state of universal prostitution with the community. This type of
communism – since it negates the personality of man in every sphere – is but the logical
expression of private property, which is this negation. General envy constituting itself as a power
is the disguise in which greed re-establishes itself and satisfies itself, only in another way. The
thought of every piece of private property as such is at least turned against wealthier private
property in the form of envy and the urge to reduce things to a common level, so that this envy
and urge even constitute the essence of competition. Crude communism [The manuscript has:43 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. Third Manuscript
Kommunist. – Ed.] is only the culmination of this envy and of this leveling-down proceeding
from the preconceived minimum. It has a definite, limited standard. How little this annulment of
private property is really an appropriation is in fact proved by the abstract negation of the entire
world of culture and civilization, the regression to the unnatural ||IV| simplicity of the poor and
crude man who has few needs and who has not only failed to go beyond private property, but has
not yet even reached it.
The community is only a community of labor, and of equality of wages paid out by communal
capital – by the community as the universal capitalist. Both sides of the relationship are raised to
an imagined universality – labor as the category in which every person is placed, and capital as
the acknowledged universality and power of the community.
In the approach to woman as the spoil and handmaid of communal lust is expressed the infinite
degradation in which man exists for himself, for the secret of this approach has its unambiguous,
decisive, plain and undisguised expression in the relation of man to woman and in the manner in
which the direct and natural species-relationship is conceived. The direct, natural, and necessary
relation of person to person is the relation of man to woman. In this natural species-relationship
man’s relation to nature is immediately his relation to man, just as his relation to man is
immediately his relation to nature – his own natural destination. In this relationship, therefore, is
sensuously manifested, reduced to an observable fact, the extent to which the human essence has
become nature to man, or to which nature to him has become the human essence of man. From
this relationship one can therefore judge man’s whole level of development. From the character
of this relationship follows how much man as a species-being, as man, has come to be himself
and to comprehend himself; the relation of man to woman is the most natural relation of human
being to human being. It therefore reveals the extent to which man’s natural behavior has become
human, or the extent to which the human essence in him has become a natural essence – the
extent to which his human nature has come to be natural to him. This relationship also reveals
the extent to which man’s need has become a human need; the extent to which, therefore, the
other person as a person has become for him a need – the extent to which he in his individual
existence is at the same time a social being.
The first positive annulment of private property – crude communism – is thus merely one form in
which the vileness of private property, which wants to set itself up as the positive community
system, comes to the surface.
(2) Communism (a) still political in nature – democratic or despotic; (ß) with the abolition of the
state, yet still incomplete, and being still affected by private property, i.e., by the estrangement of
man. In both forms communism already is aware of being reintegration or return of man to
himself, the transcendence of human self-estrangement; but since it has not yet grasped the
positive essence of private property, and just as little the human nature of need, it remains captive
to it and infected by it. It has, indeed, grasped its concept, but not its essence.
(3) Communism as the positive transcendence of private property as human self-estrangement,
and therefore as the real appropriation of the human essence by and for man; communism
therefore as the complete return of man to himself as a social (i.e., human) being – a return
accomplished consciously and embracing the entire wealth of previous development. This
communism, as fully developed naturalism, equals humanism, and as fully developed humanism
equals naturalism; it is the genuine resolution of the conflict between man and nature and
between man and man – the true resolution of the strife between existence and essence, between
objectification and self-confirmation, between freedom and necessity, between the individual and
the species. Communism is the riddle of history solved, and it knows itself to be this solution.
||V| The entire movement of history, just as its actual act of genesis – the birth act of its empirical
existence – is, therefore, for its thinking consciousness the comprehended and known process of
its becoming. Whereas the still immature communism seeks an historical proof for itself – a proof44 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. Third Manuscript
in the realm of what already exists – among disconnected historical phenomena opposed to
private property, tearing single phases from the historical process and focusing attention on them
as proofs of its historical pedigree (a hobby-horse ridden hard especially by Cabet, Villegardelle,
etc.). By so doing it simply makes clear that by far the greater part of this process contradicts its
own claim, and that, if it has ever existed, precisely its being in the past refutes its pretension to
reality.
It is easy to see that the entire revolutionary movement necessarily finds both its empirical and its
theoretical basis in the movement of private property – more precisely, in that of the economy.
This material, immediately perceptible private property is the material perceptible expression of
estranged human life. Its movement – production and consumption – is the perceptible revelation
of the movement of all production until now, i.e., the realization or the reality of man. Religion,
family, state, law, morality, science, art, etc., are only particular modes of production, and fall
under its general law. The positive transcendence of private property as the appropriation of
human life, is therefore the positive transcendence of all estrangement – that is to say, the return
of man from religion, family, state, etc., to his human, i.e., social, existence. Religious
estrangement as such occurs only in the realm of consciousness, of man’s inner life, but economic
estrangement is that of real life; its transcendence therefore embraces both aspects. It is evident
that the initial stage of the movement amongst the various peoples depends on whether the true
recognized life of the people manifests itself more in consciousness or in the external world – is
more ideal or real. Communism begins from the outset (Owen) with atheism; but atheism is at
first far from being communism; indeed, that atheism is still mostly an abstraction.
The philanthropy of atheism is therefore at first only philosophical, abstract philanthropy, and
that of communism is at once real and directly bent on action.
We have seen how on the assumption of positively annulled private property man produces man –
himself and the other man; how the object, being the direct manifestation of his individuality, is
simultaneously his own existence for the other man, the existence of the other man, and that
existence for him. Likewise, however, both the material of labor and man as the subject, are the
point of departure as well as the result of the movement (and precisely in this fact, that they must
constitute the point of departure, lies the historical necessity of private property). Thus the social
character is the general character of the whole movement: just as society itself produces man as
man, so is society produced by him. Activity and enjoyment, both in their content and in their
mode of existence, are social: social [This word is crossed out in the manuscript. – Ed.] activity
and social enjoyment. The human aspect of nature exists only for social man; for only then does
nature exist for him as a bond with man – as his existence for the other and the other’s existence
for him – and as the life-element of human reality. Only then does nature exist as the foundation
of his own human existence. Only here has what is to him his natural existence become his
human existence, and nature become man for him. Thus society is the complete unity of man with
nature – the true resurrection of nature – the consistent naturalism of man and the consistent
humanism of nature.
||VI| Social activity and social enjoyment exist by no means only in the form of some directly
communal activity and directly communal enjoyment, although communal activity and communal
enjoyment – i.e., activity and enjoyment which are manifested and directly revealed in real
association with other men – will occur wherever such a direct expression of sociability stems
from the true character of the activity’s content and is appropriate to the nature of the enjoyment.
But also when I am active scientifically, etc. – an activity which I can seldom perform in direct
community with others – then my activity is social, because I perform it as a man. Not only is the
material of my activity given to me as a social product (as is even the language in which the
thinker is active): my own existence is social activity, and therefore that which I make of myself,
I make of myself for society and with the consciousness of myself as a social being. 45 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. Third Manuscript
My general consciousness is only the theoretical shape of that of which the living shape is the
real community, the social fabric, although at the present day general consciousness is an
abstraction from real life and as such confronts it with hostility. The activity of my general
consciousness, as an activity, is therefore also my theoretical existence as a social being.
Above all we must avoid postulating “society” again as an abstraction vis-à-vis the individual.
The individual is the social being. His manifestations of life – even if they may not appear in the
direct form of communal manifestations of life carried out in association with others – are
therefore an expression and confirmation of social life. Man’s individual and species-life are not
different, however much – and this is inevitable – the mode of existence of the individual is a
more particular or more general mode of the life of the species, or the life of the species is a
more particular or more general individual life.
In his consciousness of species man confirms his real social life and simply repeats his real
existence in thought, just as conversely the being of the species confirms itself in species-
consciousness and exists for itself in its generality as a thinking being.
Man, much as he may therefore be a particular individual (and it is precisely his particularity
which makes him an individual, and a real individual social being), is just as much the totality –
the ideal totality – the subjective existence of imagined and experienced society for itself; just as
he exists also in the real world both as awareness and real enjoyment of social existence, and as a
totality of human manifestation of life.
Thinking and being are thus certainly distinct, but at the same time they are in unity with each
other.
Death seems to be a harsh victory of the species over the particular individual and to contradict
their unity. But the particular individual is only a particular species-being, and as such mortal.
<(4) [In the manuscript: “5”. – Ed.] Just as private property is only the perceptible expression of
the fact that man becomes objective for himself and at the same time becomes to himself a
strange and inhuman object; just as it expresses the fact that the manifestation of his life is the
alienation of his life, that his realization is his loss of reality, is an alien reality: so, the positive
transcendence of private property – i.e., the perceptible appropriation for and by man of the
human essence and of human life, of objective man, of human achievements – should not be
conceived merely in the sense of immediate, one-sided enjoyment, merely in the sense of
possessing, of having. Man appropriates his total essence in a total manner, that is to say, as a
whole man. Each of his human relations to the world – seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, feeling,
thinking, observing, experiencing, wanting, acting, loving – in short, all the organs of his
individual being, like those organs which are directly social in their form, ||VII| are in their
objective orientation, or in their orientation to the object, the appropriation of the object, the
appropriation of human reality. Their orientation to the object is the manifestation of the human
reality, [For this reason it is just as highly varied as the determinations of human essence and
activities. – Note by Marx.] it is human activity and human suffering, for suffering, humanly
considered, is a kind of self-enjoyment of man.
Private property has made us so stupid and one-sided that an object is only ours when we have it
– when it exists for us as capital, or when it is directly possessed, eaten, drunk, worn, inhabited,
etc., – in short, when it is used by us. Although private property itself again conceives all these
direct realizations of possession only as means of life, and the life which they serve as means is
the life of private property – labor and conversion into capital.
In the place of all physical and mental senses there has therefore come the sheer estrangement of
all these senses, the sense of having. The human being had to be reduced to this absolute poverty
in order that he might yield his inner wealth to the outer world. [On the category of “having”, see
Hess, in the Philosophy of the Deed]. 46 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. Third Manuscript
The transcendence of private property is therefore the complete emancipation of all human senses
and qualities, but it is this emancipation precisely because these senses and attributes have
become, subjectively and objectively, human. The eye has become a human eye, just as its object
has become a social, human object – an object made by man for man. The senses have therefore
become directly in their practice theoreticians. They relate themselves to the thing for the sake of
the thing, but the thing itself is an objective human relation to itself and to man, [In practice I can
relate myself to a thing humanly only if the thing relates itself humanly to the human being. –
Note by Marx.] and vice versa. Need or enjoyment have consequently lost their egotistical nature,
and nature has lost its mere utility by use becoming human use.
In the same way, the senses and enjoyment of other men have become my own appropriation.
Besides these direct organs, therefore, social organs develop in the form of society; thus, for
instance, activity in direct association with others, etc., has become an organ for expressing my
own life, and a mode of appropriating human life.
It is obvious that the human eye enjoys things in a way different from the crude, non-human eye;
the human ear different from the crude ear, etc.
We have seen that man does not lose himself in his object only when the object becomes for him
a human object or objective man. This is possible only when the object becomes for him a social
object, he himself for himself a social being, just as society becomes a being for him in this
object.
On the one hand, therefore, it is only when the objective world becomes everywhere for man in
society the world of man’s essential powers – human reality, and for that reason the reality of his
own essential powers – that all objects become for him the objectification of himself, become
objects which confirm and realize his individuality, become his objects: that is, man himself
becomes the object. The manner in which they become his depends on the nature of the objects
and on the nature of the essential power corresponding to it; for it is precisely the determinate
nature of this relationship which shapes the particular, real mode of affirmation. To the eye an
object comes to be other than it is to the ear, and the object of the eye is another object than the
object of the ear. The specific character of each essential power is precisely its specific essence,
and therefore also the specific mode of its objectification, of its objectively actual, living being.
Thus man is affirmed in the objective world not only in the act of thinking, ||VIII| but with all his
senses.
On the other hand, let us look at this in its subjective aspect. Just as only music awakens in man
the sense of music, and just as the most beautiful music has no sense for the unmusical ear – is
[no] object for it, because my object can only be the confirmation of one of my essential powers,
therefore can only exist for me insofar as my essential power exists for itself as a subjective
capacity because the meaning of an object for me goes only so far as my sense goes (has only a
meaning for a sense corresponding to that object) – for this reason the senses of the social man
differ from those of the non-social man. Only through the objectively unfolded richness of man’s
essential being is the richness of subjective human sensibility (a musical ear, an eye for beauty of
form – in short, senses capable of human gratification, senses affirming themselves as essential
powers of man) either cultivated or brought into being. For not only the five senses but also the
so-called mental senses, the practical senses (will, love, etc.), in a word, human sense, the human
nature of the senses, comes to be by virtue of its object, by virtue of humanized nature. The
forming of the five senses is a labor of the entire history of the world down to the present. The
sense caught up in crude practical need has only a restricted sense.> For the starving man, it is
not the human form of food that exists, but only its abstract existence as food. It could just as well
be there in its crudest form, and it would be impossible to say wherein this feeding activity differs
from that of animals. The care-burdened, poverty-stricken man has no sense for the finest play;
the dealer in minerals sees only the commercial value but not the beauty and the specific
character of the mineral: he has no mineralogical sense. Thus, the objectification of the human47 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. Third Manuscript
essence, both in its theoretical and practical aspects, is required to make man’s sense human, as
well as to create the human sense corresponding to the entire wealth of human and natural
substance.
<Just as through the movement of private property, of its wealth as well as its misery– of its
material and spiritual wealth and misery – the budding society finds at hand all the material for
this development, so established society produces man in this entire richness of his being
produces the rich man profoundly endowed with all the senses – as its enduring reality.>
We see how subjectivism and objectivism, spiritualism and materialism, activity and suffering,
only lose their antithetical character, and – thus their existence as such antitheses only within the
framework of society; <we see how the resolution of the theoretical antitheses is only possible in
a practical way, by virtue of the practical energy of man. Their resolution is therefore by no
means merely a problem of understanding, but a real problem of life, which philosophy could not
solve precisely because it conceived this problem as merely a theoretical one.
We see how the history of industry and the established objective existence of industry are the
open book of man’s essential powers, the perceptibly existing human psychology. Hitherto this
was not conceived in its connection with man’s essential being, but only in an external relation of
utility, because, moving in the realm of estrangement, people could only think of man’s general
mode of being – religion or history in its abstract–general character as politics, art, literature, etc.
– ||XI| as the reality of man’s essential powers and man’s species-activity. We have before us the
objectified essential powers of man in the form of sensuous, alien, useful objects, in the form of
estrangement, displayed in ordinary material industry (which can be conceived either as a part of
that general movement, or that movement can be conceived as a particular part of industry, since
all human activity hitherto has been labor – that is, industry – activity estranged from itself).
A psychology for which this, the part of history existing in the most perceptible and accessible
form, remains a closed book, cannot become a genuine, comprehensive and real science.> What
indeed are we to think of a science which airily abstracts from this large part of human labor and
which fails to feel its own incompleteness, while such a wealth of human Endeavour, unfolded
before it, means nothing more to it than, perhaps, what can be expressed in one word – “need”,
“vulgar need”?
The natural sciences have developed an enormous activity and have accumulated an evergrowing mass of material. Philosophy, however, has remained just as alien to them as they remain
to philosophy. Their momentary unity was only a chimerical illusion. The will was there, but the
power was lacking. Historiography itself pays regard to natural science only occasionally, as a
factor of enlightenment, utility, and of some special great discoveries. But natural science has
invaded and transformed human life all the more practically through the medium of industry; and
has prepared human emancipation, although its immediate effect had to be the furthering of the
dehumanization of man. Industry is the actual, historical relationship of nature, and therefore of
natural science, to man. If, therefore, industry is conceived as the exoteric revelation of man’s
essential powers, we also gain an understanding of the human essence of nature or the natural
essence of man. In consequence, natural science will lose its abstractly material – or rather, its
idealistic – tendency, and will become the basis of human science, as it has already become –
albeit in an estranged form – the basis of actual human life, and to assume one basis for life and a
different basis for science is as a matter of course a lie. <The nature which develops in human
history – the genesis of human society – is man’s real nature; hence nature as it develops through
industry, even though in an estranged form, is true anthropological nature.>
Sense-perception (see Feuerbach) must be the basis of all science. Only when it proceeds from
sense-perception in the twofold form of sensuous consciousness and sensuous need – is it true
science. All history is the history of preparing and developing “man” to become the object of
sensuous consciousness, and turning the requirements of “man as man” into his needs. History 48 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. Third Manuscript
itself is a real part of natural history – of nature developing into man. Natural science will in time
incorporate into itself the science of man, just as the science of man will incorporate into itself
natural science: there will be one science.
||X| Man is the immediate object of natural science; for immediate, sensuous nature for man is,
immediately, human sensuousness (the expressions are identical) – presented immediately in the
form of the other man sensuously present for him. Indeed, his own sensuousness first exists as
human sensuousness for himself through the other man. But nature is the immediate object of the
science of man: the first – object of man – man – is nature, sensuousness; and the particular
human sensuous essential powers can only find their self-understanding in the science of the
natural world in general, just as they can find their objective realization only in natural objects.
The element of thought itself – the element of thought’s living expression – language – is of a
sensuous nature. The social reality of nature, and human natural science, or the natural science of
man, are identical terms.
<It will be seen how in place of the wealth and poverty of political economy come the rich
human being and the rich human need. The rich human being is simultaneously the human being
in need of a totality of human manifestations of life – the man in whom his own realization exists
as an inner necessity, as need. Not only wealth, but likewise the poverty of man – under the
assumption of socialism
32
– receives in equal measure a human and therefore social significance.
Poverty is the passive bond which causes the human being to experience the need of the greatest
wealth – the other human being. The dominion of the objective being in me, the sensuous
outburst of my life activity, is passion, which thus becomes here the activity of my being.>
(5) A being only considers himself independent when he stands on his own feet; and he only
stands on his own feet when he owes his existence to himself. A man who lives by the grace of
another regards himself as a dependent being. But I live completely by the grace of another if I
owe him not only the maintenance of my life, but if he has, moreover, created my life – if he is
the source of my life. When it is not of my own creation, my life has necessarily a source of this
kind outside of it. The Creation is therefore an idea very difficult to dislodge from popular
consciousness. The fact that nature and man exist on their own account is incomprehensible to it,
because it contradicts everything tangible in practical life.
The creation of the earth has received a mighty blow from geognosy – i.e., from the science
which presents the formation of the earth, the development of the earth, as a process, as a selfgeneration. Generatio aequivoca is the only practical refutation of the theory of creation.
33
Now it is certainly easy to say to the single individual what Aristotle has already said: You have
been begotten by your father and your mother; therefore in you the mating of two human beings –
a species-act of human beings – has produced the human being. You see, therefore, that even
physically man owes his existence to man. Therefore you must not only keep sight of the one
aspect – the infinite progression which leads you further to inquire: Who begot my father? Who
his grandfather? etc. You must also hold on to the circular movement sensuously perceptible in
that progress by which man repeats himself in procreation, man thus always remaining the
subject. You will reply, however: I grant you this circular movement; now grant me the progress
which drives me ever further until I ask: Who begot the first man, and nature as a whole? I can
only answer you: Your question is itself a product of abstraction. Ask yourself how you arrived at
that question. Ask yourself whether your question is not posed from a standpoint to which I
cannot reply, because it is wrongly put. Ask yourself whether that progress as such exists for a
reasonable mind. When you ask about the creation of nature and man, you are abstracting, in so
doing, from man and nature. You postulate them as non-existent, and yet you want me to prove
them to you as existing. Now I say to you: Give up your abstraction and you will also give up
your question. Or if you want to hold on to your abstraction, then be consistent, and if you think
of man and nature as non-existent, ||XI| then think of yourself as non-existent, for you too are
surely nature and man. Don’t think, don’t ask me, for as soon as you think and ask, your49 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. Third Manuscript
abstraction from the existence of nature and man has no meaning. Or are you such an egotist that
you conceive everything as nothing, and yet want yourself to exist?
You can reply: I do not want to postulate the nothingness of nature, etc. I ask you about its
genesis, just as I ask the anatomist about the formation of bones, etc.
But since for the socialist man the entire so-called history of the world is nothing but the creation
of man through human labor, nothing but the emergence of nature for man, so he has the visible,
irrefutable proof of his birth through himself, of his genesis. Since the real existence of man and
nature has become evident in practice, through sense experience, because man has thus become
evident for man as the being of nature, and nature for man as the being of man, the question about
an alien being, about a being above nature and man – a question which implies the admission of
the unreality of nature and of man – has become impossible in practice. Atheism, as the denial of
this unreality, has no longer any meaning, for atheism is a negation of God, and postulates the
existence of man through this negation; but socialism as socialism no longer stands in any need of
such a mediation. It proceeds from the theoretically and practically sensuous consciousness of
man and of nature as the essence. Socialism is man’s positive self-consciousness, no longer
mediated through the abolition of religion, just as real life is man’s positive reality, no longer
mediated through the abolition of private property, through communism. Communism is the
positive mode as the negation of the negation, and is hence the actual phase necessary for the
next stage of historical development in the process of human emancipation and rehabilitation.
Communism is the necessary form and the dynamic principle of the immediate future, but
communism as such is not the goal of human development, the form of human society. |XI||
34
[Human Requirements and Division of Labor Under the Rule
of Private Property and Under Socialism. Division of Labor in
Bourgeois Society]
||XIV|
35
(7) We have seen what significance, given socialism, the wealth of human needs
acquires, and what significance, therefore, both a new mode of production and a new object of
production obtain: a new manifestation of the forces of human nature and a new enrichment of
human nature. Under private property their significance is reversed: every person speculates on
creating a new need in another, so as to drive him to fresh sacrifice, to place him in a new
dependence and to seduce him into a new mode of enjoyment and therefore economic ruin. Each
tries to establish over the other an alien power, so as thereby to find satisfaction of his own selfish
need. The increase in the quantity of objects is therefore accompanied by an extension of the
realm of the alien powers to which man is subjected, and every new product represents a new
potentiality of mutual swindling and mutual plundering. Man becomes ever poorer as man, his
need for money becomes ever greater if he wants to master the hostile power. The power of his
money declines in inverse proportion to the increase in the volume of production: that is, his
neediness grows as the power of money increases.
The need for money is therefore the true need produced by the economic system, and it is the
only need which the latter produces. The quantity of money becomes to an ever greater degree its
sole effective quality. Just as it reduces everything to its abstract form, so it reduces itself in the
course of its own movement to quantitative being. Excess and intemperance come to be its true
norm.
Subjectively, this appears partly in the fact that the extension of products and needs becomes a
contriving and ever-calculating subservience to inhuman, sophisticated, unnatural and imaginary
appetites. Private property does not know how to change crude need into human need. Its
idealism is fantasy, caprice and whim; and no eunuch flatters his despot more basely or uses more
despicable means to stimulate his dulled capacity for pleasure in order to sneak a favor for 50 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. Third Manuscript
himself than does the industrial eunuch – the producer – in order to sneak for himself a few pieces
of silver, in order to charm the golden birds out of the pockets of his dearly beloved neighbors in
Christ. He puts himself at the service of the other’s most depraved fancies, plays the pimp
between him and his need, excites in him morbid appetites, lies in wait for each of his weaknesses
– all so that he can then demand the cash for this service of love. (Every product is a bait with
which to seduce away the other’s very being, his money; every real and possible need is a
weakness which will lead the fly to the glue-pot. General exploitation of communal human
nature, just as every imperfection in man, is a bond with heaven – an avenue giving the priest
access to his heart; every need is an opportunity to approach one’s neighbor under the guise of the
utmost amiability and to say to him: Dear friend, I give you what you need, but you know the
conditio sine qua non; you know the ink in which you have to sign yourself over to me; in
providing for your pleasure, I fleece you.)
This estrangement manifests itself in part in that the sophistication of needs and of the means [of
their satisfaction] on one side produces a bestial barbarization, a complete, crude, abstract
simplicity of need, on the other; or rather in that it merely reproduces itself in its opposite. Even
the need for fresh air ceases to be a need for the worker. Man returns to a cave dwelling, which is
now, however, contaminated with the pestilential breath of civilization, and which he continues to
occupy only precariously, it being for him an alien habitation which can be withdrawn from him
any day – a place from which, if he does ||XV| not pay, he can be thrown out any day. For this
mortuary he has to pay. A dwelling in the light, which Prometheus in Aeschylus designated as
one of the greatest boons, by means of which he made the savage into a human being, ceases to
exist for the worker. Light, air, etc. – the simplest animal cleanliness – ceases to be a need for
man. Filth, this stagnation and putrefaction of man – the sewage of civilization (speaking quite
literally) – comes to be the element of life for him. Utter, unnatural depravation, putrefied nature,
comes to be his life-element. None of his senses exist any longer, and not only in its human
fashion, but in an inhuman fashion, and therefore not even in an animal fashion. The crudest
methods (and instruments) of human labor are coming back: the treadmill of the Roman slaves,
for instance, is the means of production, the means of existence, of many English workers. It is
not only that man has no human needs – even his animal needs cease to exist. The Irishman no
longer knows any need now but the need to eat, and indeed only the need to eat potatoes – and
scabby potatoes at that, the worst kind of potatoes. But in each of their industrial towns England
and France have already a little Ireland. The savage and the animal have at least the need to hunt,
to roam, etc. – the need of companionship. The simplification of the machine, of labor is used to
make a worker out of the human being still in the making, the completely immature human being,
the child – whilst the worker has become a neglected child. The machine accommodates itself to
the weakness of the human being in order to make the weak human being into a machine.
<How the multiplication of needs and of the means [of their satisfaction] breeds the absence of
needs and of means is demonstrated by the political economist (and the capitalist: in general it is
always empirical businessmen we are talking about when we refer to political economists, who
are their scientific confession and aspect). This he shows:
(1) By reducing the worker’s need to the barest and most miserable level of physical subsistence,
and by reducing his activity to the most abstract mechanical movement; thus he says: Man has no
other need either of activity or of enjoyment. For he call this life, too, human life and existence.
(2) By counting the most meager form of life (existence) as the standard, indeed, as the general
standard – general because it is applicable to the mass of men. He changes the worker into an
insensible being lacking all needs, just as he changes his activity into a pure abstraction from all
activity. To him, therefore, every luxury of the worker seems to be reprehensible, and everything
that goes beyond the most abstract need – be it in the realm of passive enjoyment, or a
manifestation of activity – seems to him a luxury. Political economy, this science of wealth, is
therefore simultaneously the science of renunciation, of want, of saving – and it actually reaches51 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. Third Manuscript
the point where it spares man the need of either fresh air or physical exercise. This science of
marvelous industry is simultaneously the science of asceticism, and its true ideal is the ascetic but
extortionate miser and the ascetic but productive slave. Its moral ideal is the worker who takes
part of his wages to the savings-bank, and it has even found ready-made a servile art which
embodies this pet idea: it has been presented, bathed in sentimentality, on the stage. Thus political
economy – despite its worldly and voluptuous appearance – is a true moral science, the most
moral of all the sciences. Self-renunciation, the renunciation of life and of all human needs, is its
principal thesis. The less you eat, drink and buy books; the less you go to the theater, the dance
hall, the public house; the less you think, love, theorize, sing, paint, fence, etc., the more you save
– the greater becomes your treasure which neither moths nor rust will devour – your capital. The
less you are, the less you express your own life, the more you have, i.e., the greater is your
alienated life, the greater is the store of your estranged being. Everything ||XVI| which the
political economist takes from you in life and in humanity, he replaces for you in money and in
wealth; and all the things which you cannot do, your money can do. It can eat and, drink, go to
the dance hall and the theater; it can travel, it can appropriate art, learning, the treasures of the
past, political power – all this it can appropriate for you – it can buy all this: it is true endowment.
Yet being all this, it wants to do nothing but create itself, buy itself; for everything else is after all
its servant, and when I have the master I have the servant and do not need his servant. All
passions and all activity must therefore be submerged in avarice. The worker may only have
enough for him to want to live, and may only want to live in order to have that.>
It is true that a controversy now arises in the field of political economy. The one side
(Lauderdale, Malthus, etc.) recommends luxury and execrates thrift. The other (Say, Ricardo,
etc.) recommends thrift and execrates luxury. But the former admits that it wants luxury in order
to produce labor (i.e., absolute thrift); and the latter admits that it recommends thrift in order to
produce wealth (i.e., luxury). The Lauderdale-Malthus school has the romantic notion that avarice
alone ought not to determine the consumption of the rich, and it contradicts its own laws in
advancing extravagance as a direct means of enrichment. Against it, therefore, the other side very
earnestly and circumstantially proves that I do not increase but reduce my possessions by being
extravagant. The Say-Ricardo school is hypocritical in not admitting that it is precisely whim and
caprice which determine production. It forgets the “refined needs”; it forgets that there would be
no production without consumption; it forgets that as a result of competition production can only
become more extensive and luxurious. It forgets that, according to its views, a thing’s value is
determined by use, and that use is determined by fashion. It wishes to see only “useful things”
produced, but it forgets that production of too many useful things produces too large a useless
population. Both sides forget that extravagance and thrift, luxury and privation, wealth and
poverty are equal.
And you must not only stint the gratification of your immediate senses, as by stinting yourself on
food, etc.: you must also spare yourself all sharing of general interests, all sympathy, all trust,
etc., if you want to be economical, if you do not want to be ruined by illusions.
<You must make everything that is yours saleable, i.e., useful. If I ask the political economist: Do
I obey economic laws if I extract money by offering my body for sale, by surrendering it to
another’s lust? (The factory workers in France call the prostitution of their wives and daughters
the nth working hour, which is literally correct.) – Or am I not acting in keeping with political
economy if I sell my friend to the Moroccans? (And the direct sale of men in the form of a trade
in conscripts, etc., takes place in all civilized countries.) – Then the political economist replies to
me: You do not transgress my laws; but see what Cousin Ethics and Cousin Religion have to say
about it. My political economic ethics and religion have nothing to reproach you with, but – But
whom am I now to believe, political economy or ethics? – The ethics of political economy is
acquisition, work, thrift, sobriety – but political economy promises to satisfy my needs. – The
political economy of ethics is the opulence of a good conscience, of virtue, etc.; but how can I 52 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. Third Manuscript
live virtuously if I do not live? And how can I have a good conscience if I do not know anything?
It stems from the very nature of estrangement that each sphere applies to me a different and
opposite yardstick – ethics one and political economy another; for each is a specific estrangement
of man and> ||XVII| focuses attention on a particular field of estranged essential activity, and each
stands in an estranged relation to the other. Thus M. Michel Chevalier reproaches Ricardo with
having ignored ethics. But Ricardo is allowing political economy to speak its own language, and
if it does not speak ethically, this is not Ricardo’s fault. M. Chevalier abstracts from political
economy insofar as he moralizes, but he really and necessarily ignores ethics insofar as he
practices political economy. The relationship of political economy to ethics, if it is other than an
arbitrary, contingent and therefore unfounded and unscientific relationship, if it is not being
posited for the sake of appearance but is meant to be essential, can only be the relationship of the
laws of political economy to ethics. If there is no such connection, or if the contrary is rather the
case, can Ricardo help it? Moreover, the opposition between political economy and ethics is only
an apparent opposition and just as much no opposition as it is an opposition. All that happens is
that political economy expresses moral laws in its own way.
<Frugality as the principle of political economy is most brilliantly shown in its theory of
population. There are too many people. Even the existence of men is a pure luxury; and if the
worker is “ethical”, he will be sparing in procreation. (Mill suggests public acclaim for those who
prove themselves continent in their sexual relations, and public rebuke for those who sin against
such barrenness of marriage…. Is this not ethics, the teaching of asceticism?) The production of
people appears as public misery.>
The meaning which production has in relation to the rich is seen revealed in the meaning which it
has for the poor. Looking upwards the manifestation is always refined, veiled, ambiguous –
outward appearance; downwards, it is rough, straightforward, frank – the real thing. The worker’s
crude need is a far greater source of gain than the refined need of the rich. The cellar dwellings in
London bring more to those who let them than do the palaces; that is to say, with reference to the
landlord they constitute greater wealth, and thus (to speak the language of political economy)
greater social wealth.
Industry speculates on the refinement of needs, it speculates however just as much on their
crudeness, but on their artificially produced crudeness, whose true enjoyment, therefore, is selfstupefaction – this illusory satisfaction of need this civilization contained within the crude
barbarism of need. The English gin shops are therefore the symbolical representations of private
property. Their luxury reveals the true relation of industrial luxury and wealth to man. They are
therefore rightly the only Sunday pleasures of the people which the English police treats at least
mildly. |XVII||
||XVIII|
36
We have already seen how the political economist establishes the unity of labor and
capital in a variety of ways: (1) Capital is accumulated labor. (2) The purpose of capital within
production – partly, reproduction of capital with profit, partly, capital as raw material (material of
labor), and partly, as an automatically working instrument (the machine is capital directly equated
with labor) – is productive labor. (3) The worker is a capital. (4) Wages belong to costs of capital.
(5) In relation to the worker, labor is the reproduction of his life-capital. (6) In relation to the
capitalist, labor is an aspect of his capital’s activity.
Finally, (7) the political economist postulates the original unity of capital and labor as the unity of
the capitalist and the worker; this is the original state of paradise. The way in which these two
aspects, ||XIX| as two persons, confront each other is for the political economist an accidental
event, and hence only to be explained by reference to external factors. (See Mill.)
53 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. Third Manuscript
The nations which are still dazzled by the sensuous glitter of precious metals, and are therefore
still fetish-worshipers of metal money, are not yet fully developed money-nations. Contrast of
France and England.
The extent to which the solution of theoretical riddles is the task of practice and effected through
practice, the extent to which true practice is the condition of a real and positive theory, is shown,
for example, in fetishism. The sensuous consciousness of the fetish-worshipper is different from
that of the Greek, because his sensuous existence is different. The abstract enmity between sense
and spirit is necessary so long as the human feeling for nature, the human sense of nature, and
therefore also the natural sense of man, are not yet produced by man’s own labor.
Equality is nothing but a translation of the German “Ich = Ich”
37
into the French, i.e., political
form. Equality as the basis of communism is its political justification, and it is the same as when
the German justifies it by conceiving man as universal self-consciousness. Naturally, the
transcendence of the estrangement always proceeds from that form of the estrangement which is
the dominant power: in Germany, self-consciousness; in France, equality, because it is politics; in
England, real, material, practical need taking only itself as its standard. It is from this standpoint
that Proudhon is to be criticized and appreciated.
If we characterize communism itself because of its character as negation of the negation, as the
appropriation of the human essence through the intermediary of the negation of private property –
as being not yet the true, self-originating position but rather a position originating from private
property […] in old-German fashion – in the way of Hegel’s phenomenology – […] finished as a
conquered moment and […] one might be satisfied by it, in his consciousness […] of the human
being only by real […] transcendence of his thought now as before […], since with him therefore
the real estrangement of the life of man remains, and remains all the more, the more one is
conscious of it as such, hence it [the negation of this estrangement] can be accomplished solely
by bringing about communism.
In order to abolish the idea of private property, the idea of communism is quite sufficient. It takes
actual communist action to abolish actual private property. History will lead to it; and this
movement, which in theory we already know to be a self-transcending movement, will constitute
in actual fact a very rough and protracted process. But we must regard it as a real advance to have
at the outset gained a consciousness of the limited character as well as of the goal of this
historical movement – and a consciousness which reaches out beyond it.
When communist artisans associate with one another, theory, propaganda, etc., is their first end.
But at the same time, as a result of this association, they acquire a new need – the need for society
– and what appears as a means becomes an end. In this practical process the most splendid results
are to be observed whenever French socialist workers are seen together. Such things as smoking,
drinking, eating, etc., are no longer means of contact or means that bring them together.
Company, association, and conversation, which again has society as its end, are enough for them;
the brotherhood of man is no mere phrase with them, but a fact of life, and the nobility of man
shines upon us from their work-hardened bodies.
||XX| <When political economy claims that demand and supply always balance each other, it
immediately forgets that according to its own claim (theory of population) the supply of people
always exceeds the demand, and that, therefore, in the essential result of the whole production
process – the existence of man – the disparity between demand and supply gets its most striking
expression.
The extent to which money, which appears as a means, constitutes true power and the sole end –
the extent to which in general the means which turns me into a being, which gives me possession
of the alien objective being, is an end in itself … can be clearly seen from the fact that landed
property, wherever land is the source of life, and horse and sword, wherever these are the true
means of life, are also acknowledged as the true political powers in life. In the Middle Ages a 54 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. Third Manuscript
social estate is emancipated as soon as it is allowed to carry the sword. Amongst nomadic peoples
it is the horse which makes me a free man and a participant in the life of the community.
We have said above that man is regressing to the cave dwelling, etc. – but he is regressing to it in
an estranged, malignant form. The savage in his cave – a natural element which freely offers itself
for his use and protection – feels himself no more a stranger, or rather feels as much at home as a
fish in water. But the cellar dwelling of the poor man is a hostile element, “a dwelling which
remains an alien power and only gives itself up to him insofar as he gives up to it his own blood
and sweat” – a dwelling which he cannot regard as his own hearth – where he might at last
exclaim: “Here I am at home” – but where instead he finds himself in someone else’s house, in
the house of a stranger who always watches him and throws him out if he does not pay his rent.
He is also aware of the contrast in quality between his dwelling and a human dwelling that stands
in the other world, in the heaven of wealth.
Estrangement is manifested not only in the fact that my means of life belong to someone else, that
my desire is the inaccessible possession of another, but also in the fact that everything is itself
something different from itself – that my activity is something else and that, finally (and this
applies also to the capitalist), all is under [the sway] of inhuman power.
There is a form of inactive, extravagant wealth given over wholly to pleasure, the enjoyer of
which on the one hand behaves as a mere ephemeral individual frantically spending himself to no
purpose, and also regards the slave-labor of others (human sweat and blood) as the prey of his
cupidity. He therefore knows man himself, and hence also his own self, as a sacrificed and futile
being. With such wealth contempt of man makes its appearance, partly as arrogance and as
squandering of what can give sustenance to a hundred human lives, and partly as the infamous
illusion that his own unbridled extravagance and ceaseless, unproductive consumption is the
condition of the other’s labor and therefore of his subsistence. He regards the realization of the
essential powers of man only as the realization of his own excesses, his whims and capricious,
bizarre notions. This wealth which, on the other hand, again knows wealth as a mere means, as
something that is good for nothing but to be annihilated and which is therefore at once slave and
master, at once magnanimous and base, capricious, presumptuous, conceited, refined, cultured
and witty – this wealth has not yet experienced wealth as an utterly alien power over itself: it sees
in it, rather, only its own power, and [not] wealth but enjoyment [is its final] aim.
This […]
38
||XXI| and the glittering illusion about the nature of wealth, blinded by sensuous
appearances, is confronted by the working, sober, prosaic, economical industrialist who is quite
enlightened about the nature of wealth, and who, while providing a wider sphere for the other’s
self–indulgence and paying fulsome flatteries to him in his products (for his products are just so
many base compliments to the appetites of the spendthrift), knows how to appropriate for himself
in the only useful way the other’s waning power. If, therefore, industrial wealth appears at first to
be the result of extravagant, fantastic wealth, yet its motion, the motion inherent in it, ousts the
latter also in an active way. For the fall in the rate of interest is a necessary consequence and
result of industrial development. The extravagant rentier’s means therefore dwindle day by day in
inverse proportion to the increasing possibilities and pitfalls of pleasure. Consequently, he must
either consume his capital, thus ruining himself, or must become an industrial capitalist…. On the
other hand, there is a direct, constant rise in the rent of land as a result of the course of industrial
development; nevertheless, as we have already seen, there must come a time when landed
property, like every other kind of property, is bound to fall within the category of profitably selfreproducing capital
39
– and this in fact results from the same industrial development. Thus the
squandering landowner, too, must either consume his capital, and thus be ruined, or himself
become the farmer of his own estate – an agricultural industrialist.
The diminution in the interest on money, which Proudhon regards as the annulling of capital and
as a tendency to socialize capital, is therefore directly rather only a symptom of the total victory
of working capital over squandering wealth – i.e., the transformation of all private property into 55 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. Third Manuscript
industrial capital. It is a total victory of private property over all those of its qualities which are
still in appearance human, and the complete subjection of the owner of private property to the
essence of private property – labor. To be sure, the industrial capitalist also takes his pleasures.
He does not by any means return to the unnatural simplicity of need; but his pleasure is only a
side-issue – recreation – something subordinated to production; at the same time it is a calculated
and, therefore, itself an economical pleasure. For he debits it to his capital’s expense account, and
what is squandered on his pleasure must therefore amount to no more than will be replaced with
profit through the reproduction of capital. Pleasure is therefore subsumed under capital, and the
pleasure-taking individual under the capital-accumulating individual, whilst formerly the contrary
was the case. The decrease in the interest rate is therefore a symptom of the annulment of capital
only inasmuch as it is a symptom of the growing domination of capital – of the estrangement
which is growing and therefore hastening to its annulment. This is indeed the only way in which
that which exists affirms its opposite.>
The quarrel between the political economists about luxury and thrift is, therefore, only the quarrel
between that political economy which has achieved clarity about the nature of wealth, and that
political economy which is still afflicted with romantic, anti-industrial memories. Neither side,
however, knows how to reduce the subject of the controversy to its simple terms, and neither
therefore can make short work of the other. |XXI||

||XXXIV|
40
Moreover, rent of land qua rent of land has been overthrown, since, contrary to the
argument of the Physiocrats which maintains that the landowner is the only true producer,
modern political economy has proved that the landowner as such is rather the only completely
unproductive rentier. According to this theory, agriculture is the business of the capitalist, who
invests his capital in it provided he can expect the usual profit. The claim of the Physiocrats – that
landed property, as the sole productive property, should alone pay state taxes and therefore should
alone approve them and participate in the affairs of state – is transformed into the opposite
position that the tax on the rent of land is the only tax on unproductive income, and is therefore
the only tax not detrimental to national production. It goes without saying that from this point of
view also the political privilege of landowners no longer follows from their position as principal
tax-payers.
Everything which Proudhon conceives as a movement of labor against capital is only the
movement of labor in the determination of capital, of industrial capital, against capital not
consumed as capital, i.e., not consumed industrially. And this movement is proceeding along its
triumphant road – the road to the victory of industrial capital. It is clear, therefore, that only when
labor is grasped as the essence of private property, can the economic process as such be analyzed
in its real concreteness.
Society, as it appears to the political economist, is civil society
41
in which every individual is a
totality of needs and only ||XXXV| exists for the other person, as the other exists for him, insofar
as each becomes a means for the other. The political economist reduces everything (just as does
politics in its Rights of Man) to man, i.e., to the individual whom he strips of all determinateness
so as to class him as capitalist or worker.
The division of labor is the economic expression of the social character of labor within the
estrangement. Or, since labor is only an expression of human activity within alienation, of the
manifestation of life as the alienation of life, the division of labor, too, is therefore nothing else
but the estranged, alienated positing of human activity as a real activity of the species or as
activity of man as a species-being.
As for the essence of the division of labor – and of course the division of labor had to be
conceived as a major driving force in the production of wealth as soon as labor was recognized as 56 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. Third Manuscript
the essence of private property – i.e., as for the estranged and alienated form of human activity as
an activity of the species – the political economists are very vague and self-contradictory about it.
Adam Smith: “This division of labor […] is not originally the effect of any human
wisdom […]. It is the necessary, […] slow and gradual consequence of […] the
propensity to truck, barter, and exchange one thing for another. […] This
propensity” to trade is probably a “necessary consequence of the use of reason and
of speech […]. It is common to all men, and to be found in no other race of
animals.” The animal, when it is grown up, is entirely independent. “Man has
almost constant occasion for the help of others, and it is in vain for him to expect
it from their benevolence only. He will be more likely to prevail if he can appeal
to their personal interest, and show them that it is for their own advantage to do
for him what he requires of them. […] We address ourselves, not to their humanity
but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their
advantages. […]
“As it is by treaty, by barter, and by purchase that we obtain from one another the
greater part of those mutual good offices which we stand in need of, so it is this
same trucking disposition which originally gives occasion to the division of labor.
In a tribe of hunters or shepherds a particular person makes bows and arrows, for
example, with more readiness and dexterity than any other. He frequently
exchanges them for cattle or for venison with his companions; and he finds at last
that he can in this manner get more cattle and venison than if he himself went to
the field to catch them. From a regard to his own interest, therefore, the making of
bows, etc., grows to be his chief business […]
“The difference of natural talents in different men […] is not […] so much the
cause as the effect of the division of labor…. Without the disposition to truck […]
and exchange, every man must have procured to himself every necessary and
conveniency of life [….] All must have had […] the same work to do, and there
could have been no such difference of employment as could alone give occasion to
any great difference of talents.
“As it is this disposition which forms that difference of talents among men so it is
this same disposition which renders that difference useful. Many tribes of animals
[… ] of the same species derive from nature a much more remarkable distinction
of genius, than what, antecedent to custom and education, appears to take place
among men. By nature a philosopher is not in talent and in intelligence half so
different from a street porter, as a mastiff is from a greyhound, or a greyhound
from a spaniel, or this last from a shepherd’s dog. Those different tribes of
animals, however, though all of the same species, are of scarce any use to one
another. The mastiff cannot add to the advantages of his strength ||XXXVI| by
making use of the swiftness of the greyhound, etc. The effects of these different
talents or grades of intelligence, for want of the power or disposition to barter and
exchange, cannot be brought into a common stock, and do not in the least
contribute to the better accommodation and conveniency of the species. Each
animal is still obliged to support and defend itself, separately and independently,
and derives no sort of advantage from that variety of talents with which nature has
distinguished its fellows. Among men, on the contrary, the most dissimilar
geniuses are of use to one another; the different produces of their respective
talents, by the general disposition to truck, barter, and exchange, being brought, as
it were, into a common stock, where every man may purchase whatever part of the
produce of other men’s industry he has occasion for. […]57 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. Third Manuscript
“As it is the power of exchanging that gives occasion to the division of labor, so
the extent of this division must always be limited by the extent of that power, or, in
other words, by the extent of the market. When the market is very small, no person
can have any encouragement to dedicate himself entirely to one employment, for
want of the power to exchange all that surplus part of the produce of his own
labor, which is over and above his own consumption, for such parts of the produce
of other men’s labor as he has occasion for …”
In an advanced state of society “every man thus lives by exchanging and becomes
in some measure a merchant, and the society itself grows to be what is properly a
commercial society.” (See Destutt de Tracy [, Élémens d’idéologie, Paris, 1826,
pp. 68 and 78]: “Society is a series of reciprocal exchanges; commerce contains
the whole essence of society.”) … The accumulation of capitals mounts with the
division of labor, and vice versa.”
So much for Adam Smith.
“If every family produced all that it consumed, society could keep going although
no exchange of any sort took place; without being fundamental, exchange is
indispensable in our advanced state of society. The division of labor is a skillful
deployment of man’s powers; it increases society’s production – its power and its
pleasures – but it curtails, reduces the ability of every person taken individually.
Production cannot take place without exchange.”
Thus J. B. Say.
“The powers inherent in man are his intelligence and his physical capacity for
work. Those which arise from the condition of society consist of the capacity to
divide up labor and to distribute different jobs amongst different people … and the
power to exchange mutual services and the products which constitute these means.
The motive which impels a man to give his services to another is self- interest – he
requires a reward for the services rendered. The right of exclusive private property
is indispensable to the establishment of exchange amongst men.” “Exchange and
division of labor reciprocally condition each other.”
Thus Skarbek.
Mill presents developed exchange – trade – as a consequence of the division of labor.
“The agency of man can be traced to very simple elements. He can, in fact, do
nothing more than produce motion. He can move things towards one another, and
he can separate them from one another: ||XXXVII| the properties of matter
perform all the rest.” “In the employment of labor and machinery, it is often found
that the effects can be increased by skillful distribution, by separating all those
operations which have any tendency to impede one another, and by bringing
together all those operations which can be made in any way to aid one another. As
men in general cannot perform many different operations with the same quickness
and dexterity with which they can by practice learn to perform a few, it is always
an advantage to limit as much as possible the number of operations imposed upon
each. For dividing labor, and distributing the powers of men and machinery, to the
greatest advantage, it is in most cases necessary to operate upon a large scale; in
other words, to produce the commodities in greater masses. It is this advantage
which gives existence to the great manufactories; a few of which, placed in the
most convenient situations, frequently supply not one country, but many
countries, with as much as they desire of the commodity produced.”
Thus Mill. 58 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. Third Manuscript
The whole of modern political economy agrees, however, that division of labor and wealth of
production, division of labor and accumulation of capital, mutually determine each other; just as
it agrees that only private property which is at liberty to follow its own course can produce the
most useful and comprehensive division of labor.
Adam Smith’s argument can be summarized as follows: Division of labor bestows on labor
infinite productive capacity. It stems from the propensity to exchange and barter, a specifically
human propensity which is probably not accidental, but is conditioned by the use of reason and
speech. The motive of those who engage in exchange is not humanity but egoism. The diversity of
human talents is more the effect than the cause of the division of labor, i.e., of exchange. Besides,
it is only the latter which makes such diversity useful. The particular attributes of the different
breeds within a species of animal are by nature much more marked than the degrees of difference
in human aptitude and activity. But because animals are unable to engage in exchange, no
individual animal benefits from the difference in the attributes of animals of the same species but
of different breeds. Animals are unable to combine the different attributes of their species, and are
unable to contribute anything to the common advantage and comfort of the species. It is otherwise
with men, amongst whom the most dissimilar talents and forms of activity are of use to one
another, because they can bring their different products together into a common stock, from
which each can purchase. As the division of labor springs from the propensity to exchange, so it
grows and is limited by the extent of exchange – by the extent of the market. In advanced
conditions, every man is a merchant, and society is a commercial society.
Say regards exchange as accidental and not fundamental. Society could exist without it. It
becomes indispensable in the advanced state of society. Yet production cannot take place without
it. Division of labor is a convenient, useful means – a skillful deployment of human powers for
social wealth; but it reduces the ability of each person taken individually. The last remark is a step
forward on the part of Say.
Skarbek distinguishes the individual powers inherent in man – intelligence and the physical
capacity for work – from the powers derived from society – exchange and division of labor,
which mutually condition one another. But the necessary premise of exchange is private property.
Skarbek here expresses in an objective form what Smith, Say, Ricardo, etc., say when they
designate egoism and self-interest as the basis of exchange, and buying and selling as the
essential and adequate form of exchange.
Mill presents trade as the consequence of the division of labor. With him human activity is
reduced to mechanical motion. Division of labor and use of machinery promote wealth of
production. Each person must be entrusted with as small a sphere of operations as possible.
Division of labor and use of machinery, in their turn, imply large-scale production of wealth, and
hence of products. This is the reason for large manufactories.
||XXXVIII| The examination of division of labor and exchange is of extreme interest, because
these are perceptibly alienated expressions of human activity and essential power as a speciesactivity and -power.
To assert that division of labor and exchange rest on private property is nothing but asserting that
labor is the essence of private property – an assertion which the political economist cannot prove
and which we wish to prove for him. Precisely in the fact that division of labor and exchange are
aspects of private property lies the twofold proof, on the one hand that human life required
private property for its realization, and on the other hand that it now requires the supersession of
private property.
Division of labor and exchange are the two phenomena which lead the political economist to
boast of the social character of his science, while in the same breath he gives unconscious
expression to the contradiction in his science – the motivation of society by unsocial, particular
interests. 59 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. Third Manuscript
The factors we have to consider are: Firstly, the propensity to exchange – the basis of which is
found in egoism – is regarded as the cause or reciprocal effect of the division of labor. Say
regards exchange as not fundamental to the nature of society. Wealth – production – is explained
by division of labor and exchange. The impoverishment of individual activity, and its loss of
character as a result of the division of labor, are admitted. Exchange and division of labor are
acknowledged as the sources of the great diversity of human talents – a diversity which in its turn
becomes useful as a result of exchange. Skarbek divides man’s essential powers of production –
or productive powers – into two parts: (1) those which are individual and inherent in him – his
intelligence and his special disposition, or capacity, for work; and (2) those derived from society
and not from the actual individual – division of labor and exchange.
Furthermore, the division of labor is limited by the market. Human labor is simple mechanical
motion: the main work is done by the material properties of the objects. The fewest possible
operations must be apportioned to any one individual. Splitting-up of labor and concentration of
capital; the insignificance of individual production and the production of wealth in large
quantities. Meaning of free private property within the division of labor. |XXXVIII||
[The Power of Money in Bourgeois Society]
||XL|
42
If man’s feelings, passions, etc., are not merely anthropological phenomena in the
[narrower] [This word cannot be clearly deciphered in the manuscript. – Ed.] sense, but truly
ontological
43
affirmation of being (of nature), and if they are only really affirmed because their
object exists for them as a sensual object, then it is clear that:
1. They have by no means merely one mode of affirmation, but rather that the distinct character
of their existence, of their life, is constituted by the distinct mode of their affirmation. In what
manner the object exists for them, is the characteristic mode of their gratification.
2. Wherever the sensuous affirmation is the direct annulment of the object in its independent form
(as in eating, drinking, working up of the object, etc.), this is the affirmation of the object.
3. Insofar as man, and hence also his feeling, etc., is human, the affirmation of the object by
another is likewise his own gratification.
4. Only through developed industry – i.e., through the medium of private property – does the
ontological essence of human passion come into being, in its totality as well as in its humanity;
the science of man is therefore itself a product of man’s own practical activity.
5. The meaning of private property – apart from its estrangement – is the existence of essential
objects for man, both as objects of enjoyment and as objects of activity.
By possessing the property of buying everything, by possessing the property of appropriating all
objects, money is thus the object of eminent possession. The universality of its property is the
omnipotence of its being. It is therefore regarded as an omnipotent being. Money is the procurer
between man’s need and the object, between his life and his means of life. But that which
mediates my life for me, also mediates the existence of other people for me. For me it is the other
person.
“What, man! confound it, hands and feet
And head and backside, all are yours!
And what we take while life is sweet,
Is that to be declared not ours?
Six stallions, say, I can afford,
Is not their strength my property?
I tear along, a sporting lord,
As if their legs belonged to me.”
Goethe: Faust (Mephistopheles) 60 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. Third Manuscript
Shakespeare in Timon of Athens:
“Gold? Yellow, glittering, precious gold? No, Gods,
I am no idle votarist! … Thus much of this will
make black white, foul fair,
Wrong right, base noble, old young, coward valiant.
… Why, this
Will lug your priests and servants from your sides,
Pluck stout men’s pillows from below their heads:
This yellow slave
Will knit and break religions, bless the accursed;
Make the hoar leprosy adored, place thieves
And give them title, knee and approbation
With senators on the bench: This is it
That makes the wappen’d widow wed again;
She, whom the spital-house and ulcerous sores
Would cast the gorge at, this embalms and spices
To the April day again. Come, damned earth,
Thou common whore of mankind, that putt’s odds
Among the rout of nations.”
And also later:
“O thou sweet king-killer, and dear divorce
Twixt natural son and sire! thou bright defiler
Of Hymen’s purest bed! thou valiant Mars!
Thou ever young, fresh, loved and delicate wooer,
Whose blush doth thaw the consecrated snow
That lies on Dian’s lap! Thou visible God!
That solder’s close impossibilities,
And makest them kiss! That speak’st with every tongue,
||XLII| To every purpose! O thou touch of hearts!
Think, thy slave man rebels, and by thy virtue
Set them into confounding odds, that beasts
May have the world in empire!”
Shakespeare excellently depicts the real nature of money. To understand him, let us begin, first of
all, by expounding the passage from Goethe.
That which is for me through the medium of money – that for which I can pay (i.e., which money
can buy) – that am I myself, the possessor of the money. The extent of the power of money is the
extent of my power. Money’s properties are my – the possessor’s – properties and essential
powers. Thus, what I am and am capable of is by no means determined by my individuality. I am
ugly, but I can buy for myself the most beautiful of women. Therefore I am not ugly, for the
effect of ugliness – its deterrent power – is nullified by money. I, according to my individual
characteristics, am lame, but money furnishes me with twenty-four feet. Therefore I am not lame.
I am bad, dishonest, unscrupulous, stupid; but money is honored, and hence its possessor. Money
is the supreme good, therefore its possessor is good. Money, besides, saves me the trouble of
being dishonest: I am therefore presumed honest. I am brainless, but money is the real brain of
all things and how then should its possessor be brainless? Besides, he can buy clever people for
himself, and is he who has [In the manuscript: “is”. – Ed.] power over the clever not more clever
than the clever? Do not I, who thanks to money am capable of all that the human heart longs for,
possess all human capacities? Does not my money, therefore, transform all my incapacities into
their contrary? 61 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. Third Manuscript
If money is the bond binding me to human life, binding society to me, connecting me with nature
and man, is not money the bond of all bonds? Can it not dissolve and bind all ties? Is it not,
therefore, also the universal agent of separation? It is the coin that really separates as well as the
real binding agent – the […] [In the manuscript one word cannot be deciphered. – Ed.] chemical
power of society.
Shakespeare stresses especially two properties of money:
1. It is the visible divinity – the transformation of all human and natural properties into their
contraries, the universal confounding and distorting of things: impossibilities are soldered
together by it.
2. It is the common whore, the common procurer of people and nations.
The distorting and confounding of all human and natural qualities, the fraternization of
impossibilities – the divine power of money – lies in its character as men’s estranged, alienating
and self-disposing species-nature. Money is the alienated ability of mankind.
That which I am unable to do as a man, and of which therefore all my individual essential powers
are incapable, I am able to do by means of money. Money thus turns each of these powers into
something which in itself it is not – turns it, that is, into its contrary.
If I long for a particular dish or want to take the mail-coach because I am not strong enough to go
by foot, money fetches me the dish and the mail-coach: that is, it converts my wishes from
something in the realm of imagination, translates them from their meditated, imagined or desired
existence into their sensuous, actual existence – from imagination to life, from imagined being
into real being. In effecting this mediation, [money] is the truly creative power.
No doubt the demand also exists for him who has no money, but his demand is a mere thing of
the imagination without effect or existence for me, for a third party, for the [others], ||XLIII| and
which therefore remains even for me unreal and objectless. The difference between effective
demand based on money and ineffective demand based on my need, my passion, my wish, etc., is
the difference between being and thinking, between the idea which exists within me merely as an
idea and the idea which exists as a real object outside of me.
If I have no money for travel, I have no need – that is, no real and realizable need – to travel. If I
have the vocation for study but no money for it, I have no vocation for study – that is, no
effective, no true vocation. On the other hand, if I have really no vocation for study but have the
will and the money for it, I have an effective vocation for it. Money as the external, universal
medium and faculty (not springing from man as man or from human society as society) for
turning an image into reality and reality into a mere image, transforms the real essential powers
of man and nature into what are merely abstract notions and therefore imperfections and
tormenting chimeras, just as it transforms real imperfections and chimeras – essential powers
which are really impotent, which exist only in the imagination of the individual – into real
powers and faculties. In the light of this characteristic alone, money is thus the general distorting
of individualities which turns them into their opposite and confers contradictory attributes upon
their attributes.
Money, then, appears as this distorting power both against the individual and against the bonds of
society, etc., which claim to be entities in themselves. It transforms fidelity into infidelity, love
into hate, hate into love, virtue into vice, vice into virtue, servant into master, master into servant,
idiocy into intelligence, and intelligence into idiocy.
Since money, as the existing and active concept of value, confounds and confuses all things, it is
the general confounding and confusing of all things – the world upside-down – the confounding
and confusing of all natural and human qualities.
He who can buy bravery is brave, though he be a coward. As money is not exchanged for any one
specific quality, for any one specific thing, or for any particular human essential power, but for 62 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. Third Manuscript
the entire objective world of man and nature, from the standpoint of its possessor it therefore
serves to exchange every quality for every other, even contradictory, quality and object: it is the
fraternization of impossibilities. It makes contradictions embrace.
Assume man to be man and his relationship to the world to be a human one: then you can
exchange love only for love, trust for trust, etc. If you want to enjoy art, you must be an
artistically cultivated person; if you want to exercise influence over other people, you must be a
person with a stimulating and encouraging effect on other people. Every one of your relations to
man and to nature must be a specific expression, corresponding to the object of your will, of your
real individual life. If you love without evoking love in return – that is, if your loving as loving
does not produce reciprocal love; if through a living expression of yourself as a loving person you
do not make yourself a beloved one, then your love is impotent – a misfortune. |XLIII|| [Critique of the Hegelian Dialectic and Philosophy as a Whole]
||XI| (6) This is perhaps the place at which, by way of explanation and justification, we might
offer some considerations in regard to the Hegelian dialectic generally and especially its
exposition in the Phänomenologie and Logik and also, lastly, the relation [to it] of the modern
critical movement.
44
So powerful was modern German criticism’s preoccupation with the past – so completely was its
development entangled with the subject-matter – that here prevailed a completely uncritical
attitude to the method of criticizing, together with a complete lack of awareness about the
apparently formal, but really vital question: how do we now stand as regards the Hegelian
dialectic? This lack of awareness about the relationship of modern criticism to the Hegelian
philosophy as a whole and especially to the Hegelian dialectic has been so great that critics like
Strauss and Bruno Bauer still remain within the confines of the Hegelian logic; the former
completely so and the latter at least implicitly so in his Synoptiker (where, in opposition to
Strauss, he replaces the substance of “abstract nature” by the “self-consciousness” of abstract
man), and even in Das entdeckte Christenthum. Thus in Das entdeckte Christenthum, for
example, you get:
“As though in positing the world, self-consciousness does not posit that which is
different [from itself] and in what it is creating it does not create itself, since it in
turn annuls the difference between what it has created and itself, since it itself has
being only in creating and in the movement – as though its purpose were not this
movement?” etc.; or again: “They” (the French materialists) “have not yet been
able to see that it is only as the movement of self-consciousness that the
movement of the universe has actually come to be for itself, and achieved unity
with itself.” [Pp. 113, 114-15.]
Such expressions do not even show any verbal divergence from the Hegelian approach, but on the
contrary repeat it word for word.
||XII| How little consciousness there was in relation to the Hegelian dialectic during the act of
criticism (Bauer, the Synoptiker), and how little this consciousness came into being even after the
act of material criticism, is proved by Bauer when, in his Die gute Sache der Freiheit, he
dismisses the brash question put by Herr Gruppe – “What about logic now?” – by referring him to
future critics.
45
But even now – now that Feuerbach both in his Thesen in the Anekdota and, in detail, in the
Philosophie der Zukunft has in principle overthrown the old dialectic and philosophy; now that
that school of criticism, on the other hand, which was incapable of accomplishing this, has all the
same seen it accomplished and has proclaimed itself pure, resolute, absolute criticism that has
come into the clear with itself; now that this criticism, in its spiritual pride, has reduced the whole
process of history to the relation between the rest of the world and itself (the rest of the world, in
contrast to itself, falling under the category of “the masses”) and dissolved all dogmatic antitheses
into the single dogmatic antithesis of its own cleverness and the stupidity of the world – the
antithesis of the critical Christ and Mankind, the “rabble”; now that daily and hourly it has
demonstrated its own excellence against the dullness of the masses; now, finally, that it has
proclaimed the critical Last Judgment in the shape of an announcement that the day is
approaching when the whole of decadent humanity will assemble before it and be sorted by it into
groups, each particular mob receiving its testimonium paupertatis; now that it has made known in
print its superiority to human feelings as well as its superiority to the world, over which it sits
enthroned in sublime solitude, only letting fall from time to time from its sarcastic lips the ringing
laughter of the Olympian Gods – even now, after all these delightful antics of idealism (i.e., of
Young Hegelianism) expiring in the guise of criticism – even now it has not expressed the
64 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy
suspicion that the time was ripe for a critical settling of accounts with the mother of Young
Hegelianism – the Hegelian dialectic – and even had nothing to say about its critical attitude
towards the Feuerbachian dialectic. This shows a completely uncritical attitude to itself.
Feuerbach is the only one who has a serious, critical attitude to the Hegelian dialectic and who
has made genuine discoveries in this field. He is in fact the true conqueror of the old philosophy.
The extent of his achievement, and the unpretentious simplicity with which he, Feuerbach, gives
it to the world, stand in striking contrast to the opposite attitude (of the others).
Feuerbach’s great achievement is:
(1) The proof that philosophy is nothing else but religion rendered into thought and expounded by
thought, i.e., another form and manner of existence of the estrangement of the essence of man;
hence equally to be condemned;
(2) The establishment of true materialism and of real science, by making the social relationship
of “man to man” the basic principle of the theory;
(3) His opposing to the negation of the negation, which claims to be the absolute positive, the
self-supporting positive, positively based on itself.
Feuerbach explains the Hegelian dialectic (and thereby justifies starting out from the positive
facts which we know by the senses) as follows:
Hegel sets out from the estrangement of substance (in logic, from the infinite, abstractly
universal) – from the absolute and fixed abstraction; which means, put popularly, that he sets out
from religion and theology.
Secondly, he annuls the infinite, and posits the actual, sensuous, real, finite, particular
(philosophy, annulment of religion and theology).
Thirdly, he again annuls the positive and restores the abstraction, the infinite – restoration of
religion and theology.
Feuerbach thus conceives the negation of the negation only as a contradiction of philosophy with
itself – as the philosophy which affirms theology (the transcendent, etc.) after having denied it,
and which it therefore affirms in opposition to itself.
The positive position or self-affirmation and self-confirmation contained in the negation of the
negation is taken to be a position which is not yet sure of itself, which is therefore burdened with
its opposite, which is doubtful of itself and therefore in need of proof, and which, therefore, is not
a position demonstrating itself by its existence – not an acknowledged ||XIII| position; hence it is
directly and immediately confronted by the position of sense-certainty based on itself. [Feuerbach
also defines the negation of the negation, the definite concept, as thinking surpassing itself in
thinking and as thinking wanting to be directly awareness, nature, reality. – Note by Marx
46
]
But because Hegel has conceived the negation of the negation, from the point of view of the
positive relation inherent in it, as the true and only positive, and from the point of view of the
negative relation inherent in it as the only true act and spontaneous activity of all being, he has
only found the abstract, logical, speculative expression for the movement of history, which is not
yet the real history of man as a given subject, but only the act of creation, the history of the origin
of man.
We shall explain both the abstract form of this process and the difference between this process as
it is in Hegel in contrast to modern criticism, in contrast to the same process in Feuerbach’s
Wesen des Christenthums, or rather the critical form of this in Hegel still uncritical process.

Let us take a look at the Hegelian system. One must begin with Hegel’s Phänomenologie, the true
point of origin and the secret of the Hegelian philosophy.65 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy
Phenomenology.
A. Self-consciousness.
I. Consciousness. (α) Certainty at the level of sense-experience; or the “this” and
meaning. (ß) Perception, or the thing with its properties, and deception. (γ) Force
and understanding, appearance and the supersensible world.
II. Self-consciousness. The truth of certainty of self. (a) Independence and
dependence of self-consciousness; mastery and servitude. (b) Freedom of selfconsciousness. Stoicism, skepticism, the unhappy consciousness.
III. Reason. Reason’s certainty and reason’s truth. (a) Observation as a process of
reason. Observation of nature and of self-consciousness. (b) Realization of
rational self-consciousness through its own activity. Pleasure and necessity. The
law of the heart and the insanity of self-conceit. Virtue and the course of the
world. (c) The individuality which is real in and for itself. The spiritual animal
kingdom and the deception or the real fact. Reason as lawgiver. Reason which
tests laws.
B. Mind.
I. True mind, ethics. II. Mind in self-estrangement, culture. III. Mind certain of
itself, morality.
C. Religion. Natural religion; religion of art; revealed religion.
D. Absolute knowledge.
Hegel’s Encyklopädie, beginning as it does with logic, with pure speculative thought, and ending
with absolute knowledge – with the self-conscious, self-comprehending philosophic or absolute
(i.e., superhuman) abstract mind – is in its entirety nothing but the display, the selfobjectification, of the essence of the philosophic mind, and the philosophic mind is nothing but
the estranged mind of the world thinking within its self-estrangement – i.e., comprehending itself
abstractly.
Logic – mind’s coin of the realm, the speculative or mental value of man and nature – its essence
which has grown totally indifferent to all real determinateness, and hence unreal – is alienated
thinking, and therefore thinking which abstracts from nature and from real man: abstract
thinking.
Then: The externality of this abstract thinking … nature, as it is for this abstract thinking. Nature
is external to it – its self-loss; and it apprehends nature also in an external fashion, as abstract
thought, but as alienated abstract thinking. Finally, mind, this thinking returning home to its own
point of origin – the thinking which as the anthropological, phenomenological, psychological,
ethical, artistic and religious mind is not valid for itself, until ultimately it finds itself, and affirms
itself, as absolute knowledge and hence absolute, i.e., abstract, mind, thus receiving its conscious
embodiment in the mode of existence corresponding to it. For its real mode of existence is
abstraction.
There is a double error in Hegel.
The first emerges most clearly in the Phänomenologie, the birth-place of the Hegelian
philosophy. When, for instance, wealth, state-power, etc., are understood by Hegel as entities
estranged from the human being, this only happens in their form as thoughts … They are thoughtentities, and therefore merely an estrangement of pure, i.e., abstract, philosophical thinking. The
whole process therefore ends with absolute knowledge. It is precisely abstract thought from
which these objects are estranged and which they confront with their presumption of reality. The
philosopher – who is himself an abstract form of estranged man – takes himself as the criterion of
the estranged world. The whole history of the alienation process [Entäußerungsgeschichte] and
the whole process of the retraction of the alienation is therefore nothing but the history of the66 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy
production of abstract (i.e., absolute) ||XVII|
47
thought – of logical, speculative thought. The
estrangement, [Entfremdung] which therefore forms the real interest of the transcendence
[Aufhebung] of this alienation [Entäußerung], is the opposition of in itself and for itself, of
consciousness and self-consciousness, of object and subject – that is to say, it is the opposition
between abstract thinking and sensuous reality or real sensuousness within thought itself. All
other oppositions and movements of these oppositions are but the semblance, the cloak, the
exoteric shape of these oppositions which alone matter, and which constitute the meaning of these
other, profane oppositions. It is not the fact that the human being objectifies himself inhumanly, in
opposition to himself, but the fact that he objectifies himself [selbst sich vergegenständlicht] in
distinction from and in opposition to abstract thinking, that constitutes the posited essence of the
estrangement [Entfremdung] and the thing to be superseded [aufzuhebende].
||XVIII| The appropriation of man’s essential powers, which have become objects – indeed, alien
objects – is thus in the first place only an appropriation occurring in consciousness, in pure
thought, i.e., in abstraction: it is the appropriation of these objects as thoughts and as movements
of thought. Consequently, despite its thoroughly negative and critical appearance and despite the
genuine criticism contained in it, which often anticipates far later development, there is already
latent in the Phänomenologie as a germ, a potentiality, a secret, the uncritical positivism and the
equally uncritical idealism of Hegel’s later works – that philosophic dissolution and restoration of
the existing empirical world.
In the second place: the vindication of the objective world for man – for example, the realization
that sensuous consciousness is not an abstractly sensuous consciousness but a humanly sensuous
consciousness, that religion, wealth, etc., are but the estranged world of human objectification, of
man’s essential powers put to work and that they are therefore but the path to the true human
world – this appropriation or the insight into this process appears in Hegel therefore in this form,
that sense, religion, state power, etc., are spiritual entities; for only mind is the true essence of
man, and the true form of mind is thinking mind, theological, speculative mind.
The human character of nature and of the nature created by history – man’s products – appears in
the form that they are products of abstract mind and as such, therefore, phases of mind – thoughtentities. The Phänomenologie is, therefore, a hidden, mystifying and still uncertain criticism; but
inasmuch as it depicts man’s estrangement, even though man appears only as mind, there lie
concealed in it all the elements of criticism, already prepared and elaborated in a manner often
rising far above the Hegelian standpoint. The “unhappy consciousness”, the “honest
consciousness”, the struggle of the “noble and base consciousness”, etc., etc. – these separate
sections contain, but still in an estranged form, the critical elements of whole spheres such as
religion, the state, civil life, etc. Just as entities, objects, appear as thought-entities, so the subject
is always consciousness or self-consciousness; or rather the object appears only as abstract
consciousness, man only as self-consciousness: the distinct forms of estrangement which make
their appearance are, therefore, only various forms of consciousness and self-consciousness. Just
as in itself abstract consciousness (the form in which the object is conceived) is merely a moment
of distinction of self-consciousness, what appears as the result of the movement is the identity of
self-consciousness with consciousness – absolute knowledge – the movement of abstract thought
no longer directed outwards but proceeding now only within its own self: that is to say, the
dialectic of pure thought is the result. |XVIII||

||XXIII|
48
The outstanding achievement of Hegel’s Phänomenologie and of its final outcome, the
dialectic of negativity as the moving and generating principle, is thus first that Hegel conceives
the self-creation of man as a process, conceives objectification as loss of the object, as alienation
and as transcendence of this alienation; that he thus grasps the essence of labor and comprehends
objective man – true, because real man – as the outcome of man’s own labor. The real, active
orientation of man to himself as a species-being, or his manifestation as a real species-being (i.e., 67 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy
as a human being), is only possible if he really brings out all his species-powers – something
which in turn is only possible through the cooperative action of all of mankind, only as the result
of history – and treats these powers as objects: and this, to begin with, is again only possible in
the form of estrangement.
We shall now demonstrate in detail Hegel’s one-sidedness – and limitations as they are displayed
in the final chapter of the Phänomenologie, “Absolute Knowledge” – a chapter which contains
the condensed spirit of the Phänomenologie, the relationship of the Phänomenologie to
speculative dialectic, and also Hegel’s consciousness concerning both and their relationship to
one another.
Let us provisionally say just this much in advance: Hegel’s standpoint is that of modern political
economy.
49
He grasps labor as the essence of man – as man’s essence which stands the test: he
sees only the positive, not the negative side of labor. Labor is man’s coming-to-be for himself
within alienation, or as alienated man. The only labor which Hegel knows and recognizes is
abstractly mental labor. Therefore, that which constitutes the essence of philosophy – the
alienation of man who knows himself, or alienated science thinking itself – Hegel grasps as its
essence; and in contradistinction to previous philosophy he is therefore able to combine its
separate aspects, and to present his philosophy as the philosophy. What the other philosophers did
– that they grasped separate phases of nature and of human life as phases of self-consciousness,
namely, of abstract self-consciousness – is known to Hegel as the doings of philosophy. Hence his
science is absolute.
Let us now turn to our subject.
“Absolute Knowledge”. The last chapter of the “Phänomenologie”.
The main point is that the object of consciousness is nothing else but self-consciousness, or that
the object is only objectified self-consciousness – self-consciousness as object. (Positing of man =
self-consciousness).
The issue, therefore, is to surmount the object of consciousness. Objectivity as such is regarded as
an estranged human relationship which does not correspond to the essence of man, to selfconsciousness. The reappropriation of the objective essence of man, produced within the orbit of
estrangement as something alien, therefore denotes not only the annulment of estrangement, but
of objectivity as well. Man, that is to say, is regarded as a non-objective, spiritual being.
The movement of surmounting the object of consciousness is now described by Hegel in the
following way:
The object reveals itself not merely as returning into the self – this is according to Hegel the onesided way of apprehending this movement, the grasping of only one side. Man is equated with
self. The self, however, is only the abstractly conceived man – man created by abstraction. Man
is selfish. His eye, his ear, etc., are selfish. In him every one of his essential powers has the
quality of selfhood. But it is quite false to say on that account “self-consciousness has eyes, ears,
essential powers”. Self-consciousness is rather a quality of human nature, of the human eye, etc.;
it is not human nature that is a quality of ||XXIV| self-consciousness.
The self-abstracted entity, fixed for itself, is man as abstract egoist – egoism raised in its pure
abstraction to the level of thought. (We shall return to this point later.)
For Hegel the human being – man – equals self-consciousness. All estrangement of the human
being is therefore nothing but estrangement of self-consciousness. The estrangement of selfconsciousness is not regarded as an expression – reflected in the realm of knowledge and thought
– of the real estrangement of the human being. Instead, the actual estrangement – that which
appears real – is according to its innermost, hidden nature (which is only brought to light by
philosophy) nothing but the manifestation of the estrangement of the real human essence, of selfconsciousness. The science which comprehends this is therefore called phenomenology. All 68 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy
reappropriation of the estranged objective essence appears therefore, as incorporation into selfconsciousness: The man who takes hold of his essential being is merely the self-consciousness
which takes hold of objective essences. Return of the object into the self is therefore the
reappropriation of the object.
Expressed in all its aspects, the surmounting of the object of consciousness means:
(1) That the object as such presents itself to consciousness as something vanishing.
(2) That it is the alienation of self-consciousness which posits thinghood.
50
(3) That this alienation has, not merely a negative but a positive significance
(4) That it has this meaning not merely for us or intrinsically, but for self-consciousness itself.
(5) For self-consciousness, the negative of the object, or its annulling of itself, has positive
significance – or it knows this futility of the object – because of the fact that it alienates itself, for
in this alienation it posits itself as object, or, for the sake of the indivisible unity of being-foritself, posits the object as itself.
(6) On the other hand, this contains likewise the other moment, that self-consciousness has also
just as much superseded this alienation and objectivity and resumed them into itself, being thus at
home in its other-being as such.
(7) This is the movement of consciousness and this is therefore the totality of its moments.
(8) Consciousness must similarly be related to the object in the totality of its determinations and
have comprehended it in terms of each of them. This totality of its determinations makes the
object intrinsically a spiritual being; and it becomes so in truth for consciousness through the
apprehending of each one of the determinations as self, or through what was called above the
spiritual attitude to them.
51
As to (1): That the object as such presents itself to consciousness as something vanishing – this is
the above-mentioned return of the object into the self.
As to (2): The alienation of self-consciousness posits thinghood. Because man equals selfconsciousness, his alienated, objective essence, or thinghood, equals alienated self-consciousness,
and thinghood is thus posited through this alienation (thinghood being that which is an object for
man and an object for him is really only that which is to him an essential object, therefore his
objective essence. And since it is not real man, nor therefore nature – man being human nature –
who as such is made the subject, but only the abstraction of man – self-consciousness, so
thinghood cannot be anything but alienated self-consciousness). It is only to be expected that a
living, natural being equipped and endowed with objective (i.e., material) essential powers should
have real natural objects of his essence; and that his self-alienation should lead to the positing of
a real, objective world, but within the framework of externality, and, therefore, an overwhelming
world not belonging to his own essential being. There is nothing incomprehensible or mysterious
in this. It would be mysterious, rather, if it were otherwise. But it is equally clear that a selfconsciousness by its alienation can posit only thinghood, i.e., only an abstract thing, a thing of
abstraction and not a real thing.
52
It is ||XXVI| clear, further, that thinghood is therefore utterly
without any independence, any essentiality vis-à-vis self-consciousness; that on the contrary it is
a mere creature – something posited by self-consciousness. And what is posited, instead of
confirming itself, is but confirmation of the act of positing which for a moment fixes its energy as
the product, and gives it the semblance – but only for a moment – of an independent, real
substance.
Whenever real, corporeal man, man with his feet firmly on the solid ground, man exhaling and
inhaling all the forces of nature, posits his real, objective essential powers as alien objects by his
externalisation, it is not the act of positing which is the subject in this process: it is the
subjectivity of objective essential powers, whose action, therefore, must also be something
objective. An objective being acts objectively, and he would not act objectively if the objective 69 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy
did not reside in the very nature of his being. He only creates or posits objects, because he is
posited by objects – because at bottom he is nature. In the act of positing, therefore, this objective
being does not fall from his state of “pure activity” into a creating of the object; on the contrary,
his objective product only confirms his objective activity, his activity as the activity of an
objective, natural being.
Here we see how consistent naturalism or humanism is distinct from both idealism and
materialism, and constitutes at the same time the unifying truth of both. We see also how only
naturalism is capable of comprehending the action of world history.
<Man is directly a natural being. As a natural being and as a living natural being he is on the one
hand endowed with natural powers, vital powers – he is an active natural being. These forces
exist in him as tendencies and abilities – as instincts. On the other hand, as a natural, corporeal,
sensuous objective being he is a suffering, conditioned and limited creature, like animals and
plants. That is to say, the objects of his instincts exist outside him, as objects independent of him;
yet these objects are objects that he needs – essential objects, indispensable to the manifestation
and confirmation of his essential powers. To say that man is a corporeal, living, real, sensuous,
objective being full of natural vigor is to say that he has real, sensuous objects as the object of his
being or of his life, or that he can only express his life in real, sensuous objects. To be objective,
natural and sensuous, and at the same time to have object, nature and sense outside oneself, or
oneself to be object, nature and sense for a third party, is one and the same thing.>
Hunger is a natural need; it therefore needs a nature outside itself, an object outside itself, in
order to satisfy itself, to be stilled. Hunger is an acknowledged need of my body for an object
existing outside it, indispensable to its integration and to the expression of its essential being. The
sun is the object of the plant – an indispensable object to it, confirming its life – just as the plant
is an object of the sun, being an expression of the life-awakening power of the sun, of the sun’s
objective essential power.
A being which does not have its nature outside itself is not a natural being, and plays no part in
the system of nature. A being which has no object outside itself is not an objective being. A being
which is not itself an object for some third being has no being for its object; i.e., it is not
objectively related. Its being is not objective.
||XXVII| A non-objective being is a non-being.
Suppose a being which is neither an object itself, nor has an object. Such a being, in the first
place, would be the unique being: there would exist no being outside it – it would exist solitary
and alone. For as soon as there are objects outside me, as soon as I am not alone, I am another –
another reality than the object outside me. For this third object I am thus a different reality than
itself; that is, I am its object. Thus, to suppose a being which is not the object of another being is
to presuppose that no objective being exists. As soon as I have an object, this object has me for an
object. But a non-objective being is an unreal, non-sensuous thing – a product of mere thought
(i.e., of mere imagination) – an abstraction. To be sensuous, that is, to be really existing, means to
be an object of sense, to be a sensuous object, to have sensuous objects outside oneself – objects
of one’s sensuousness. To be sensuous is to suffer.
Man as an objective, sensuous being is therefore a suffering being – and because he feels that he
suffers, a passionate being. Passion is the essential power of man energetically bent on its object.
<But man is not merely a natural being: he is a human natural being. That is to say, he is a being
for himself. Therefore he is a species-being, and has to confirm and manifest himself as such both
in his being and in his knowing. Therefore, human objects are not natural objects as they
immediately present themselves, and neither is human sense as it immediately is – as it is
objectively – human sensibility, human objectivity. Neither nature objectively nor nature
subjectively is directly given in a form adequate to the human being.> And as everything natural
has to come into being, man too has his act of origin – history – which, however, is for him a 70 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy
known history, and hence as an act of origin it is a conscious self-transcending act of origin.
History is the true natural history of man (on which more later).
Thirdly, because this positing of thinghood is itself only an illusion, an act contradicting the
nature of pure activity, it has to be canceled again and thinghood denied.
Re 3, 4, 5 and 6. (3) This externalization [Entäußerung] of consciousness has not merely a
negative but a positive significance, and (4) it has this meaning not merely for us or intrinsically,
but for consciousness itself. For consciousness the negative of the object, its annulling of itself,
has positive significance – i.e., consciousness knows this nullity of the object – because it
alienates itself; for, in this alienation it knows itself as object, or, for the sake of the indivisible
unity of being-for-itself, the object as itself. (6) On the other hand, there is also this other moment
in the process, that consciousness has also just as much superseded this alienation and objectivity
and resumed them into itself, being thus at home in its other-being as such.
As we have already seen, the appropriation of what is estranged and objective, or the annulling
of objectivity in the form of estrangement (which has to advance from indifferent strangeness to
real, antagonistic estrangement), means likewise or even primarily for Hegel that it is objectivity
which is to be annulled, because it is not the determinate character of the object, but rather its
objective character that is offensive and constitutes estrangement for self-consciousness. The
object is therefore something negative, self-annulling – a nullity. This nullity of the object has not
only a negative but a positive meaning for consciousness, since this nullity of the object is
precisely the self-confirmation of the non-objectivity, of the ||XXVIII| abstraction of itself. For
consciousness itself the nullity of the object has a positive meaning because it knows this nullity,
the objective being, as its self-alienation; because it knows that it exists only as a result of its own
self-alienation….
The way in which consciousness is, and in which something is for it, is knowing. Knowing is its
sole act. Something therefore comes to be for consciousness insofar as the latter knows this
something. Knowing is its sole objective relation.
It, consciousness, then, knows the nullity of the object (i.e., knows the non-existence of the
distinction between the object and itself, the non-existence of the object for it) because it knows
the object as its self-alienation; that is, it knows itself – knows knowing as object – because the
object is only the semblance of an object, a piece of mystification, which in its essence, however,
is nothing else but knowing itself, which has confronted itself with itself and hence has
confronted itself with a nullity – a something which has no objectivity outside the knowing. Or:
knowing knows that in relating itself to an object it is only outside itself – that it only externalizes
itself; that it itself only appears to itself as an object – or that that which appears to it as an object
is only itself.
On the other hand, says Hegel, there is here at the same time this other moment, that
consciousness has just as much annulled and reabsorbed this externalisation and objectivity,
being thus at home in its other-being as such.
In this discussion all the illusions of speculation are brought together.
First of all: consciousness, self-consciousness, is at home in its other-being as such. It is therefore
– or if we here abstract from the Hegelian abstraction and put the self-consciousness of man
instead of self-consciousness – it is at home in its other being as such. This implies, for one thing,
that consciousness (knowing as knowing, thinking as thinking) pretends to be directly the other of
itself – to be the world of sense, the real world, life – thought surpassing itself in thought
(Feuerbach).
53
This aspect is contained herein, inasmuch as consciousness as mere consciousness
takes offence not at estranged objectivity, but at objectivity as such.
Secondly, this implies that self-conscious man, insofar as he has recognized and superseded the
spiritual world (or his world’s spiritual, general mode of being) as self-alienation, nevertheless
again confirms it in this alienated shape and passes it off as his true mode of being – re-71 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy
establishes it, and pretends to be at home in his other-being as such. Thus, for instance, after
superseding religion, after recognizing religion to be a product of self-alienation he yet finds
confirmation of himself in religion as religion. Here is the root of Hegel’s false positivism, or of
his merely apparent criticism: this is what Feuerbach designated as the positing, negating and reestablishing of religion or theology – but it has to be expressed in more general terms. Thus
reason is at home in unreason as unreason. The man who has recognized that he is leading an
alienated life in law, politics, etc., is leading his true human life in this alienated life as such. Selfaffirmation, self-confirmation in contradiction with itself – in contradiction both with the
knowledge of and with the essential being of the object – is thus true knowledge and life.
There can therefore no longer be any question about an act of accommodation on Hegel’s part
vis-à-vis religion, the state, etc., since this lie is the lie of his principle.
||XXIX| If I know religion as alienated human self-consciousness, then what I know in it as
religion is not my self-consciousness, but my alienated self-consciousness confirmed in it. I
therefore know my self-consciousness that belongs to itself, to its very nature, confirmed not in
religion but rather in annihilated and superseded religion.
In Hegel, therefore, the negation of the negation is not the confirmation of the true essence,
effected precisely through negation of the pseudo-essence. With him the negation of the negation
is the confirmation of the pseudo-essence, or of the self-estranged essence in its denial; or it is the
denial of this pseudo-essence as an objective being dwelling outside man and independent of him,
and its transformation into the subject.
A peculiar role, therefore, is played by the act of superseding in which denial and preservation,
i.e., affirmation, are bound together.
Thus, for example, in Hegel’s philosophy of law, civil law superseded equals morality, morality
superseded equals the family, the family superseded equals civil society, civil society superseded
equals the state, the state superseded equals world history. In the actual world civil law, morality,
the family, civil society, the state, etc., remain in existence, only they have become moments –
states of the existence and being of man – which have no validity in isolation, but dissolve and
engender one another, etc. They have become moments of motion.
In their actual existence this mobile nature of theirs is hidden. It appears and is made manifest
only in thought, in philosophy. Hence my true religious existence is my existence in the
philosophy of religion; my true political existence is my existence in the philosophy of law; my
true natural existence, existence in the philosophy of nature; my true artistic existence, existence
in the philosophy of art; my true human existence, my existence in philosophy. Likewise the true
existence of religion, the state, nature, art, is the philosophy of religion, of nature, of the state and
of art. If, however, the philosophy of religion, etc., is for me the sole true existence of religion
then, too, it is only as a philosopher of religion that I am truly religious, and so I deny real
religious sentiment and the really religious man. But at the same time I assert them, in part within
my own existence or within the alien existence which I oppose to them – for this is only their
philosophic expression – and in part I assert them in their distinct original shape, since for me
they represent merely the apparent other-being, allegories, forms of their own true existence (i.e.,
of my philosophical existence) hidden under sensuous disguises.
In just the same way, quality superseded equals quantity, quantity superseded equals measure,
measure superseded equals essence, essence superseded equals appearance, appearance
superseded equals actuality, actuality superseded equals the concept, the concept superseded
equals objectivity, objectivity superseded equals the absolute idea, the absolute idea superseded
equals nature, nature superseded equals subjective mind, subjective mind superseded equals
ethical objective mind, ethical mind superseded equals art, art superseded equals religion,
religion superseded equals absolute knowledge.
5472 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy
On the one hand, this act of superseding is a transcending of a conceptual entity; thus, private
property as a concept is transcended in the concept of morality. And because thought imagines
itself to be directly the other of itself, to be sensuous reality – and therefore takes its own action
for sensuous, real action – this superseding in thought, which leaves its object in existence in the
real world, believes that it has really overcome it. On the other hand, because the object has now
become for it a moment of thought, thought takes it in its reality too to be self-confirmation of
itself – of self-consciousness, of abstraction.
||XXX| From the one point of view the entity which Hegel supersedes in philosophy is therefore
not real religion, the real state, or real nature, but religion itself already as an object of
knowledge, i.e., dogmatics; the same with jurisprudence, political science and natural science.
From the one point of view, therefore, he stands in opposition both to the real thing and to
immediate, unphilosophic science or the unphilosophic conceptions of this thing. He therefore
contradicts their conventional conceptions. [The conventional conception of theology,
jurisprudence, political science, natural science, etc. – Ed.]
On the other hand, the religious, etc., man can find in Hegel his final confirmation.
It is now time to formulate the positive aspects of the Hegelian dialectic within the realm of
estrangement.
(a) Supersession as an objective movement of retracting the alienation into self. This is the
insight, expressed within the estrangement, concerning the appropriation of the objective essence
through the supersession of its estrangement; it is the estranged insight into the real
objectification of man, into the real appropriation of his objective essence through the
annihilation of the estranged character of the objective world, through the supersession of the
objective world in its estranged mode of being. In the same way atheism, being the supersession
of God, is the advent of theoretic humanism, and communism, as the supersession of private
property, is the vindication of real human life as man’s possession and thus the advent of practical
humanism, or atheism is humanism mediated with itself through the supersession of religion,
whilst communism is humanism mediated with itself through the supersession of private
property. Only through the supersession of this mediation – which is itself, however, a necessary
premise – does positively self-deriving humanism, positive humanism, come into being.
But atheism and communism are no flight, no abstraction, no loss of the objective world created
by man – of man’s essential powers born to the realm of objectivity; they are not a returning in
poverty to unnatural, primitive simplicity. On the contrary, they are but the first real emergence,
the actual realization for man of man’s essence and of his essence as something real.
Thus, by grasping the positive meaning of self-referred negation (although again in estranged
fashion) Hegel grasps man’s self-estrangement, the alienation of man’s essence, man’s loss of
objectivity and his loss of realness as self-discovery, manifestation of his nature, objectification
and realization. <In short, within the sphere of abstraction, Hegel conceives labor as man’s act of
self-genesis – conceives man’s relation to himself as an alien being and the manifestation of
himself as an alien being to be the emergence of species-consciousness and species-life.>
(b) However, apart from, or rather in consequence of, the referral already described, this act
appears in Hegel:
First as a merely formal, because abstract, act, because the human being itself is taken to be only
an abstract, thinking being, conceived merely as self-consciousness. And,
Secondly, because the exposition is formal and abstract, the supersession of the alienation
becomes a confirmation of the alienation; or, for Hegel this movement of self-genesis and selfobjectification in the form of self-alienation and self-estrangement is the absolute, and hence
final, expression of human life – of life with itself as its aim, of life at peace with itself, and in
unity with its essence. 73 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy
This movement, in its abstract ||XXXI| form as dialectic, is therefore regarded as truly human life,
and because it is nevertheless an abstraction – an estrangement of human life – it is regarded as a
divine process, but as the divine process of man, a process traversed by man’s abstract, pure,
absolute essence that is distinct from himself.
Thirdly, this process must have a bearer, a subject. But the subject only comes into being as a
result. This result – the subject knowing itself as absolute self-consciousness – is therefore God,
absolute Spirit, the self-knowing and self-manifesting idea. Real man and real nature become
mere predicates – symbols of this hidden, unreal man and of this unreal nature. Subject and
predicate are therefore related to each other in absolute reversal – a mystical subject-object or a
subjectivity reaching beyond the object – the absolute subject as a process, as subject alienating
itself and returning from alienation into itself, but at the same time retracting this alienation into
itself, and the subject as this process; a pure, incessant revolving within itself.
First. Formal and abstract conception of man’s act of self-creation or self-objectification.
Hegel having posited man as equivalent to self-consciousness, the estranged object – the
estranged essential reality of man – is nothing but consciousness, the thought of estrangement
merely – estrangement’s abstract and therefore empty and unreal expression, negation. The
supersession of the alienation is therefore likewise nothing but an abstract, empty supersession of
that empty abstraction – the negation of the negation. The rich, living, sensuous, concrete activity
of self-objectification is therefore reduced to its mere abstraction, absolute negativity – an
abstraction which is again fixed as such and considered as an independent activity – as sheer
activity. Because this so-called negativity is nothing but the abstract, empty form of that real
living act, its content can in consequence be merely a formal content produced by abstraction
from all content. As a result therefore one gets general, abstract forms of abstraction pertaining to
every content and on that account indifferent to, and, consequently, valid for, all content – the
thought-forms or logical categories torn from real mind and from real nature. (We shall unfold
the logical content of absolute negativity further on.)
Hegel’s positive achievement here, in his speculative logic, is that the definite concepts, the
universal fixed thought-forms in their independence vis-à-vis nature and mind are a necessary
result of the general estrangement of the human being and therefore also of a human thought, and
that Hegel has therefore brought these together and presented them as moments of the
abstraction-process. For example, superseded being is essence, superseded essence is concept, the
concept superseded is … absolute idea. But what, then, is the absolute idea? It supersedes its own
self again, if it does not want to traverse once more from the beginning the whole act of
abstraction, and to satisfy itself with being a totality of abstractions or the self-comprehending
abstraction. But abstraction comprehending itself as abstraction knows itself to be nothing: it
must abandon itself – abandon abstraction – and so it arrives at an entity which is its exact
opposite – at nature. Thus, the entire logic is the demonstration that abstract thought is nothing in
itself; that the absolute idea is nothing for itself; that only nature is something.
||XXXII| The absolute idea, the abstract idea, which
“considered with regard to its unity with itself is intuiting (Logic § 244), and
which (loc. cit.) “in its own absolute truth resolves to let the moment of its
particularity or of initial characterization and other-being, the immediate idea, as
its reflection, go forth freely from itself as nature” (loc. cit.),
this whole idea which behaves in such a strange and bizarre way, and which has given the
Hegelians such terrible headaches, is from beginning to end nothing else but abstraction (i.e., the
abstract thinker), which, made wise by experience and enlightened concerning its truth, resolves
under various (false and themselves still abstract) conditions to abandon itself and to replace its
self-absorption, nothingness, generality and indeterminateness by its other-being, the particular,
and the determinate; resolves to let nature, which it held hidden in itself only as an abstraction, as 74 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy
a thought-entity, go forth freely from itself; that is to say, this idea resolves to forsake abstraction
and to have a look at nature free of abstraction. The abstract idea, which without mediation
becomes intuiting, is indeed nothing else but abstract thinking that gives itself up and resolves on
intuition. This entire transition from logic to natural philosophy is nothing else but the transition –
so difficult to effect for the abstract thinker, who therefore describes it in such an adventurous
way – from abstracting to intuiting. The mystical feeling which drives the philosopher forward
from abstract thinking to intuiting is boredom – the longing for content.
(The man estranged from himself is also the thinker estranged from his essence – that is, from the
natural and human essence. His thoughts are therefore fixed mental forms dwelling outside nature
and man. Hegel has locked up all these fixed mental forms together in his logic, interpreting each
of them first as negation – that is, as an alienation of human thought – and then as negation of the
negation – that is, as a superseding of this alienation, as a real expression of human thought. But
as this still takes place within the confines of the estrangement, this negation of the negation is in
part the restoring of these fixed forms in their estrangement; in part a stopping at the last act – the
act of self-reference in alienation – as the true mode of being of these fixed mental forms; * –
[* (This means that what Hegel does is to put in place of these fixed abstractions
the act of abstraction which revolves in its own circle. We must therefore give him
the credit for having indicated the source of all these inappropriate concepts which
originally appertained to particular philosophers; for having brought them
together; and for having created the entire compass of abstraction as the object of
criticism, instead of some specific abstraction.) (Why Hegel separates thought
from the subject we shall see later; at this stage it is already clear, however, that
when man is not, his characteristic expression cannot be human either, and so
neither could thought be grasped as an expression of man as a human and natural
subject endowed with eyes, ears, etc., and living in society, in the world, and in
nature.) – Note by Marx]
– and in part, to the extent that this abstraction apprehends itself and experiences an infinite
weariness with itself, there makes its appearance in Hegel, in the form of the resolution to
recognize nature as the essential being and to go over to intuition, the abandonment of abstract
thought – the abandonment of thought revolving solely within the orbit of thought, of thought
sans eyes, sans teeth, sans ears, sans everything.)
||XXXIII| But nature too, taken abstractly, for itself – nature fixed in isolation from man – is
nothing for man. It goes without saying that the abstract thinker who has committed himself to
intuiting, intuits nature abstractly. Just as nature lay enclosed in the thinker in the form of the
absolute idea, in the form of a thought-entity – in a shape which was obscure and enigmatic even
to him – so by letting it emerge from himself he has really let emerge only this abstract nature,
only nature as a thought-entity – but now with the significance that it is the other-being of
thought, that it is real, intuited nature – nature distinguished from abstract thought. Or, to talk in
human language, the abstract thinker learns in his intuition of nature that the entities which he
thought to create from nothing, from pure abstraction – the entities he believed he was producing
in the divine dialectic as pure products of the labor of thought, for ever shuttling back and forth in
itself and never looking outward into reality – are nothing else but abstractions from
characteristics of nature. To him, therefore, the whole of nature merely repeats the logical
abstractions in a sensuous, external form. He once more resolves nature into these abstractions.
Thus, his intuition of nature is only the act of confirming his abstraction from the intuition of
nature [Let us consider for a moment Hegel’s characteristics of nature and the transition from
nature to the mind. Nature has resulted as the idea in the form of the other-being. Since the id .. ]
– is only the conscious repetition by him of the process of creating his abstraction. Thus, for
example, time equals negativity referred to itself (Hegel, Encyclopädie der philosophischen
Wissenschaften im Grundrisse, p. 238). To the superseded becoming as being there corresponds, 75 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy
in natural form, superseded movement as matter. Light is reflection-in-itself, the natural form.
Body as moon and comet is the natural form of the antithesis which according to logic is on the
one side the positive resting on itself and on the other side the negative resting on itself. The earth
is the natural form of the logical ground, as the negative unity of the antithesis, etc.
Nature as nature – that is to say, insofar as it is still sensuously distinguished from that secret
sense hidden within it – nature isolated, distinguished from these abstractions is nothing – a
nothing proving itself to be nothing – is devoid of sense, or has only the sense of being an
externality which has to be annulled.
“In the finite-teleological position is to be found the correct premise that nature
does not contain within itself the absolute purpose.” [§ 245.]
Its purpose is the confirmation of abstraction.
“Nature has shown itself to be the idea in the form of other-being. Since the idea
is in this form the negative of itself or external to itself, nature is not just relatively
external vis-à-vis this idea, but externality constitutes the form in which it exists as
nature.” [§ 247.]
Externality here is not to be understood as the world of sense which manifests itself and is
accessible to the light, to the man endowed with senses. It is to be taken here in the sense of
alienation, of a mistake, a defect, which ought not to be. For what is true is still the idea. Nature is
only the form of the idea’s other-being. And since abstract thought is the essence, that which is
external to it is by its essence something merely external. The abstract thinker recognizes at the
same time that sensuousness – externality in contrast to thought shuttling back and forth within
itself – is the essence of nature. But he expresses this contrast in such a way as to make this
externality of nature, its contrast to thought, its defect, so that inasmuch as it is distinguished
from abstraction, nature is something defective.
||XXXIV| An entity which is defective not merely for me or in my eyes but in itself – intrinsically
– has something outside itself which it lacks. That is, its essence is different from it itself. Nature
has therefore to supersede itself for the abstract thinker, for it is already posited by him as a
potentially superseded being.
“For us, mind has nature for its premise, being nature’s truth and for that reason
its absolute prius. In this truth nature has vanished, and mind has resulted as the
idea arrived at being-for-itself, the object of which, as well as the subject, is the
concept. This identity is absolute negativity, for whereas in nature the concept has
its perfect external objectivity, this its alienation has been superseded, and in this
alienation the concept has become identical with itself. But it is this identity
therefore, only in being a return out of nature.” [§ 381.]
“As the abstract idea, revelation is unmediated transition to, the coming-to-be of,
nature; as the revelation of the mind, which is free, it is the positing of nature as
the mind’s world – a positing which, being reflection, is at the same time, a
presupposing of the world as independently existing nature. Revelation in
conception is the creation of nature as the mind’s being, in which the mind
procures the affirmation and the truth of its freedom.” “The absolute is mind. This
is the highest definition of the absolute.” [§ 384.] |XXXIV|| Notes
1. The Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 is the first work in which Marx tried to
systematically elaborate problems of political economy from the standpoint of his maturing
dialectical-materialist and communist views and also to synthesize the results of his critical review of
prevailing philosophic and economic theories. Apparently, Marx began to write it in order to clarify
the problems for himself. But in the process of working on it he conceived the idea of publishing a
work analysing the economic system of bourgeois society in his time and its ideological trends.
Towards the end of his stay in Paris, on February 1, 1845, Marx signed a contract with Carl Leske, a
Darmstadt publisher, concerning the publication of his work entitled A Critique of Politics and of
Political Economy. It was to be based on his Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 and
perhaps also on his earlier manuscript Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Law. This
plan did not materialize in the 1840s because Marx was busy writing other works and, to some extent,
because the contract with the publisher was cancelled in September 1846, the latter being afraid to
have transactions with such a revolutionary-minded author. However, in the early 1850s Marx
returned to the idea of writing a book on economics. Thus, the manuscripts of 1844 are connected with
the conception of a plan which led many years later to the writing of Capital.
The Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts is an unfinished work and in part a rough draft. A
considerable part of the text has not been preserved. What remains comprises three manuscripts, each
of which has its own pagination (in Roman figures). The first manuscript contains 27 pages, of which
pages I-XII and XVII-XXVII are divided by two vertical lines into three columns supplied with
headings written in beforehand: “Wages of Labor,” “Profit of Capital” (this section has also
subheadings supplied by the author) and “Rent of Land.” It is difficult to tell the order in which Marx
filled these columns. All the three columns on p. VII contain the text relating to the section “Wages of
Labor.” Pages XIII to XVI are divided into two columns and contain texts of the sections “Wages of
Labor” (pp. XIII-XV), “Profit of Capital” (pp. XIII-XVI) and “Rent of Land” (p. XVI). On pages
XVII to XXI, only the column headed “Rent of Land” is filled in. From page XXII to page XXVII, on
which the first manuscript breaks off, Marx wrote across the three columns disregarding the headings.
The text of these pages is published as a separate section entitled by the editors according to its
content “Estranged Labor.”
Of the second manuscript only the last four pages have survived (pp. XL-XLIII).
The third manuscript contains 41 pages (not counting blank ones) divided into two columns and
numbered by Marx himself from I to XLIII (in doing so he omitted two numbers, XXII and XXV).
Like the extant part of the second manuscript, the third manuscript has no author’s headings; the text
has been arranged and supplied with the headings by the editors.
Sometimes Marx departed from the subject matter and interrupted his elucidation of one question to
analyze another. Pages XXXIX-XL contain the Preface to the whole work which is given before the
text of the first manuscript. The text of the section dealing with the critical analysis of Hegel’s
dialectic, to which Marx referred in the Preface as the concluding chapter and which was scattered on
various pages, is arranged in one section and put at the end in accordance with Marx’s indications.
In order to give the reader a better visual idea of the structure of the work, the text reproduces in
vertical lines the Roman numbers of the sheets of the manuscripts, and the Arabic numbers of the
columns in the first manuscript. The notes indicate where the text has been rearranged. Passages
crossed out by Marx with a vertical line are enclosed in pointed brackets; separate words or phrases
crossed out by the author are given in footnotes only when they supplement the text. The general title
and the headings of the various parts of the manuscripts enclosed in square brackets are supplied by
the editors on the basis of the author’s formulations. In some places the text has been broken up into
paragraphs by the editors. Quotations from the French sources cited by Marx in French or in his own
77 Notes
translation into German, are given in English in both cases and the French texts as quoted by Marx are
given in the footnotes. Here and elsewhere Marx’s rendering of the quotations or free translation is
given in small type but without quotation marks. Emphasis in quotations, belonging, as a rule, to
Marx, as well as that of the quoted authors, is indicated everywhere by italics.
The Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 was first published by the Institute of MarxismLeninism in Moscow in the language of the original: Marx/Engels, Gesamtausgabe, Abt. 1, Bd. 3,
1932.
In English this work was first published in 1959 by the Foreign Languages Publishing House (now
Progress Publishers), Moscow, translated by Martin Milligan.
2. This refers to Bruno Bauer’s reviews of books, articles and pamphlets on the Jewish question,
including Marx’s article on the subject in the Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher, which were
published in the monthly Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung (issue No. 1, December 1843, and issue No.
IV, March 1844) under the title “Von den neuesten Schriften über die Judenfrage.” Most of the
expressions quoted are taken from these reviews. The expressions “utopian phrase” and “compact
mass” can he found in Bruno Bauer’s unsigned article, “Was ist jetzt der Gegenstand der Kritik?”
published in the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung, issue No. VIII, July 1844. A detailed critical appraisal
of this monthly was later on given by Marx and Engels in the book Die heilige Familie, oder Kritik
der kritischen Kritik (see this edition, Vol. 4, The Holy Family, or Critique of Critical Criticism).
3. Marx apparently refers to Weitling’s works: Die Menschheit, wie sie ist und wie sie sein sollte,
1838, and Garantien der Harmonic und Freiheit, Vivis, 1842.
Moses Hess published three articles in the collection Ein-und-zwanzig Bogen aus der Schweiz
(Twenty-One Sheets from Switzerland), Erster Teil (Zürich und Winterthur, 1843), issued by Georg
Herwegh. These articles, entitled “Sozialismus und Kommunismus,” “Philosophie der Tat” and “Die
Eine und die ganze Freiheit,” were published anonymously. The first two of them had a note –
“Written by the author of ‘Europäische Triarchie’.”
4. The term “element” in the Hegelian philosophy means a vital element of thought. It is used to stress
that thought is a process, and that therefore elements in a system of thought are also phases in a
movement. The term “feeling” (Empfindung) denotes relatively low forms of mental life in which no
distinction is made between the subjective and objective.
5. Shortly after writing this Preface Marx fulfilled his intention in The Holy Family, or Critique of
Critical Criticism, written in collaboration with Engels (see Karl Marx and Frederick Engels,
Collected Works, Vol. 4).
6. The expression “common humanity” (in the manuscript in French, “simple humanity”) was
borrowed by Marx from the first volume (Chapter VIII) of Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations, which he
used in Garnier’s French translation (Recherches sur la nature et les causes de la richesse des nations,
Paris, 1802, t. I, p. 138). All the subsequent references were given by Marx to this publication, the
synopsis of which is contained in his Paris Notebooks with excerpts on political economy. This
edition is reproduced on the MIA and Marx’s citations are linked to the text.
7. Marx uses the German term “Nationalökonomie” to denote both the economic system in the sense
of science or theory, and the economic system itself.
8. Loudon’s work was a translation into French of an English manuscript apparently never published
in the original. The author did publish in English a short pamphlet – The Equilibrium of Population
and Sustenance Demonstrated, Leamington, 1836.
9. Unlike the quotations from a number of other French writers such as Constantin Pecqueur and
Eugéne Buret, which Marx gives in French in this work, the excerpts from J. B. Say’s book are given
in his German translation. 78 Notes
10. From this page of the manuscript quotations from Adam Smith’s book (in the French translation),
which Marx cited so far sometimes in French and sometimes in German, are, as a rule, given in
German. In this book the corresponding pages of the English edition are substituted for the French by
the editors and Marx’s references are given in square brackets (see Note 6).
11. The text published in small type here and below is not an exact quotation from Smith but a
summary of the corresponding passages from his work. Such passages are subsequently given in small
type but without quotation marks.
12. The preceding page (VII) of the first manuscript does not contain any text relating to the sections
“Profit of Capital” and “Rent of Land” (see Note 1).
13. The whole paragraph, including the quotation from Ricardo’s book in the French translation by
Francisco Solano Constancio: Des principes de l’économie politique, et de 1’impôt, 2-e éd., Paris,
1835, T. II, pp. 194-95 (see the corresponding English edition On the Principles of Political Economy,
and Taxation, London, 1817), and from Sismondi’s Nouveaux principes d’économie politique…, Paris,
1819, T. II., p. 331, is an excerpt from Eugéne Buret’s book De la misère des classes laborieuses en
Angleterre et en France…. Paris, 1840, T. I, pp. 6-7, note.
14. The allusion is to the following passage: “In a perfectly fair lottery, those who draw the prizes
ought to gain all that is lost by those who draw the blanks. In a profession where twenty fail for one
that succeeds, that one ought to gain all that should have been gained by the unsuccessful twenty.”
(Smith, Wealth of Nations, Vol. 1, Bk. 1, p. 94.)
15. See Note 12.
16. The Corn Laws – a series of laws in England (the first of which dated back to the 15th century)
which imposed high duties on imported corn with the aim of maintaining high prices on it in the home
market. In the first third of the 19th century several laws were passed (in 1815, 1822 and so on)
changing the conditions of corn imports, and in 1828 a sliding scale was introduced, which raised
import duties on corn while lowering prices on the home market and, on the contrary, lowered import
duties while raising prices.
In 1838 the Manchester factory owners Cobden and Bright founded the Anti-Corn Law League, which
widely exploited the popular discontent at rising corn prices. While agitating for the abolition of the
corn duties and demanding complete freedom of trade, the League strove to weaken the economic and
political positions of the landed aristocracy and to lower workers’ wages.
The struggle between the industrial bourgeoisie and the landed aristocracy over the Corn Laws ended
in their repeal in 1846.
17. Pages XIII to XV are divided into two columns and not three like the other pages of the first
manuscript; they contain no text relating to the section “Rent of Land.” On page XVI, which also has
two columns, this text is in the first column, while on the following pages it is in the second.
18. Marx, still using Hegel’s terminology and his approach to the unity of the opposites, counterposes
the term “Verwirklichung” (realization) to “Entwirklichung” (loss of realization).
19. In this manuscript Marx frequently uses two similar German terms, “Entäusserung” and
“Entfremdung,” to express the notion of “alienation.” In the present edition the former is generally
translated as “alienation,” the latter as “estrangement,” because in the later economic works (Theories
of Surplus-Value) Marx himself used the word “alienation” as the English equivalent of the term
“Entäusserung.”
20. The term “species-being” (Gattungswesen) is derived from Ludwig Feuerbach’s philosophy
where it is applied to man and mankind as a whole.
21. Apparently Marx refers to Proudhon’s book Qu’est-ce que la propriété?, Paris, 1841. 79 Notes
22. This passage shows that Marx here uses the category of wages in a broad sense, as an expression
of antagonistic relations between the classes of capitalists and of wage-workers. Under “the wages” he
understands “the wage-labor,” the capitalist system as such. This idea was apparently elaborated in
detail in that part of the manuscript which is now extant.
23. This apparently refers to the conversion of individuals into members of civil society which is
considered as the sphere of property, of material relations that determine all other relations. In this
case Marx refers to the material relations of society based on private property and the antagonism of
different classes.
24. The Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834 deprived poor people considered able to work (including
children) of any public relief except a place in the workhouse, where they were compelled to work.
25. In the manuscript “sein für sich selbst,” which is an expression of Hegel’s term “für sich’ (for
itself) as opposed to “an sich” (in itself). In the Hegelian philosophy the former means roughly
explicit, conscious or defined in contrast to “an sich,” a synonym for immature, implicit or
unconscious.
26. This refers to Revolutions de France et de Brabant, par Camille Desmoulins. Second Trimestre,
contenant mars, avril et mai, Paris, l’an 1ier, 1790, N. 16, p. 139 sq.; N. 23, p. 425 sqq.; N. 26, p. 580
sqq.
27. This refers to Georg Ludwig Wilhelm Funke, Die aus der unbeschrdnklen Theilbarkeit des
Grundeigenthums hervorgehenden Nachtheile, Hamburg und Gotha, 1839, p. 56, in which there is a
reference to Heinrich Leo, Studien und Skizzen zu einer Vaturlehre des Slaates, Halle, 1833, p. 102.
28. The third manuscript is a thick notebook the last few pages of which are blank. The pages are
divided into two columns by a vertical line, not for the purpose of dividing the text according to the
headings but for purely technical reasons. The text of the first three sections comprises pp. I-XI, XIVXXI, XXXIV-XXXVIII and was written as a supplement to the missing pages of the second
manuscript. Pages XI-XIII, XVII, XVIII, XXIII, XXIV, XXVI, XXXIV contain the text of the
concluding chapter dealing with the criticism of Hegel’s dialectic (on some pages it is written
alongside the text of other sections). In some places the manuscript contains the author’s remarks
testifying to his intention to unite into a single whole various passages of this section separated from
each other by the text of other sections. Pages XXIX-XL comprise the draft Preface. Finally, the text
on the last pages (XLI-XLIII) is a self-contained essay on the power of money in bourgeois society.
29. The manuscript has “als für sich seiende Tätigkeit.” For the meaning of the terms “für sich” and
“an sich” in Hegel’s philosophy see Note 25.
30. Marx refers to the rise of the primitive, crude equalitarian tendencies among the representatives of
utopian communism at the early stages of its development. Among the medieval religious
communistic communities, in particular, there was current a notion of the common possession of
women as a feature of the future society depicted in the spirit of consumer communism ideals. In
1534-35 the German Anabaptists, who seized power in Münster, tried to introduce polygamy in
accordance with this view. Tommaso Campanella, the author of Civitas Solis (early 17th century),
rejected monogamy in his ideal society. The primitive communistic communities were also
characterized by asceticism and a hostile attitude to science and works of art. Some of these primitive
equalitarian features, the negative attitude to the arts in particular, were inherited by the communist
trends of the first half of the 19th century, for example, by the members of the French secret societies
of the 1830s and 1840s (“worker-egalitarians,” “humanitarians,” and so on) comprising the followers
of Babeuf (for a characterization of these see Engels, “Progress of Social Reform on the Continent”
(Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Collected Works, Volume 3, pp. 396-97)).
31. This note is given by Marx on page V of the manuscript where it is separated by a horizontal line
from the main text, but according to its meaning it refers to this sentence. 80 Notes
32. This part of the manuscript shows clearly the peculiarity of the terminology used by Marx in his
works. At the time he had not worked out terms adequately expressing the conceptions of scientific
communism he was then evolving and was still under the influence of Feuerbach in that respect.
Hence the difference in the use of words in his early and subsequent, mature writings. In the Economic
and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 the word “socialism” is used to denote the stage of society at
which it has carried out a revolutionary transformation, abolished private property, class antagonisms,
alienation and so on. In the same sense Marx used the expression “communism equals humanism.” At
that time he understood the term “communism as such” not as the final goal of revolutionary
transformation but as the process of this transformation, development leading up to that goal, a lower
stage of the process.
33. This expression apparently refers to the theory of the English geologist Sir Charles Lyell who, in
his three-volume work The Principles of Geology (1830-33), proved the evolution of the earth’s crust
and refuted the popular theory of cataclysms. Lyell used the term “historical geology” for his theory.
The term “geognosy” was introduced by the 18th-century German scientist Abraham Werner, a
specialist in mineralogy, and it was used also by Alexander Humboldt.
34. This statement is interpreted differently by researchers. Many of them maintain that Marx here
meant crude equalitarian communism, such as that propounded by Babeuf and his followers. While
recognizing the historic role of that communism, he thought it impossible to ignore its weak points. It
seems more justifiable, however, to interpret this passage proceeding from the peculiarity of terms
used in the manuscript (see Note 32). Marx here used the term “communism” to mean not the higher
phase of classless society (which he at the time denoted as “socialism” or “communism equalling
humanism”) but movement (in various forms, including primitive forms of equalitarian communism at
the early stage) directed at its achievement, a revolutionary transformation process of transition to it.
Marx emphasized that this process should not be considered as an end in itself, but that it is a
necessary, though a transitional, stage in attaining the future social system, which will be
characterized by new features distinct from those proper to this stage.
35. Page XI (in part) and pages XII and XIII are taken up by a text relating to the concluding chapter
(see Note 28).
36. The greater part of this page as well as part of the preceding page (XVII) comprises a text relating
to the concluding chapter (see Note 28).
37. Apparently Marx refers to a formula of the German philosopher Johann Fichte, an adherent of
subjective idealism.
38. A part of this page of the manuscript is ripped off, about three lines are missing. – Ed.
39. See this work, pp. 20-23. – Ed.
40. The preceding pages starting from p. XXI, which is partly taken up by a text relating to this
section, contain the text of the concluding chapter.
41. In some of his early writings Marx already uses the term “bürgerliche Gesellschaft” to mean two
things: (1) in a broader sense, the economic system of society regardless of the historical stage of its
development, the sum total of material relations which determine political institutions and ideology,
and (2) in the narrow sense, the material relations of bourgeois society (later on, that society as a
whole), of capitalism. Hence, the term has been translated according to its concrete meaning in the
context as “civil society” in the first case and “bourgeois society” in the second.
42. The two previous pages of the manuscript contain the draft Preface to the whole work, which is
published on pages 1-2.
43. Ontology – in some philosophic systems a theory about being, about the nature of things. 81 Notes
44. Originally the section on the Hegelian dialectic was apparently conceived by Marx as a
philosophical digression in the section of the third manuscript which is published under the heading
“Private Property and Communism” and was written together with other sections as an addition to
separate pages of the second manuscript. Therefore Marx marked the beginning of this section (p. XI
in the manuscript) as point 6, considering it to be the continuation of the five points of the preceding
section. He marked as point 7 the beginning of the following section, headed “Human Requirements
and Division of Labor Under the Rule of Private Property,” on page XIV of the manuscript. However,
when dealing with this subject on subsequent pages of his manuscript, Marx decided to collect the
whole material into a separate, concluding chapter and mentioned this in his draft Preface. The
chapter, like a number of other sections of the manuscript, was not finished. While writing it, Marx
made special excerpts from the last chapter (“Absolute Knowledge”) of Hegel’s Phänomenologie des
Geistes, which are in the same notebook as the third manuscript (these excerpts are not reproduced in
this edition).
45. The reference is not quite accurate. On page 193 of the work mentioned, Bruno Bauer polemicises
not against the anti-Hegelian Herr Gruppe but against the Right Hegelian Marheineke.
46. Marx here refers to Feuerbach’s critical observations on Hegel in §§ 29-30 of his Grundsätze der
Philosophie der Zukunft.
This note is given at the bottom of page XIII of the third manuscript without any indication what it
refers to. The asterisk after the sentence to which it seems to refer is given by the editors.
47. Here on page XVII of the third manuscript (part of which comprises a text relating to the section
“Human Requirements and Division of Labor Under the Rule of Private Property”) Marx gave the
note: “see p. XIII,” which proves that this text is the continuation of the section dealing with the
critical analysis of the Hegelian dialectic begun on pp. XI-XII.
48. At the end of page XVIII of the third manuscript there is a note by Marx: “continued on p. XXII.”
However number XXII was omitted by Marx in paging. The text of the given chapter is continued on
the page marked by the author as XXIII, which is also confirmed by his remark on it: “see p. XVIII.”
49. Marx apparently refers here not only to the identity of Hegel’s views on labor and some other
categories of political economy with those of the English classical economists but also to his profound
knowledge of economic writings. In lectures he delivered at Jena University in 1803-04 Hegel cited
Adam Smith’s work. In his Philosophie des Rechts (§ 189) he mentions Smith, Say and Ricardo and
notes the rapid development of economic thought.
50. Hegel uses the term “thinghood” (Dingheit) in his work Phänomenologie des Geistes to denote an
abstract, universal, mediating link in the process of cognition; “thinghood” reveals the generality of
the specific properties of individual things. The synonym for it is “pure essence” (das reine Wesen).
51. These eight points of the “surmounting of the object of consciousness,” expressed “in all its
aspects,” are copied nearly word for word from §§ 1 and 3 of the last chapter (“Absolute Knowledge”)
of Hegel’s Phänomenologie des Geistes.
52. Number XXV was omitted by Marx in paging the third manuscript.
53. Marx refers to § 30 of Feuerbach’s Grundsätze der Philosophie der Zukunft, which says: “Hegel
is a thinker who surpasses himself in thinking.”
54. This enumeration gives the major categories of Hegel’s Encyclopädie der philosophischen
Wissenschaften in the order in which they are examined by Hegel. Similarly, the categories
reproduced by Marx above (on p. 65), from “civil law” to “world history,” are given in the order in
which they appear in Hegel’s Philosophie des Rechts.

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