The capital. Volume I.

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The following is a representation of the first volume of Karl Marx 's Das Kapital, dedicated to Wilhelm Wolff .

Volume 1: The production process of capital

Karl Marx in the year of publication of the first volume Des Kapitals (1867). He was only able to finish this volume for publication; the other two volumes appeared posthumously, edited by Friedrich Engels.
Title page of the first edition, 1867

Foreword to the first edition

The aim of the work is to explore the “capitalist mode of production and the corresponding production and traffic conditions”, ie the laws that prevail under capitalist production, the tendencies that necessarily prevail, “the economic law of motion in modern society”. (Pp. 11–15) Marx sees “the development of the economic social formation as a natural-historical process”. (P. 16) The individual, say the capitalist, is therefore not responsible for the circumstances of which he is the creature.

Section One: Goods and Money

Chapter 1: The Goods

The object of the declaration is the capitalist economy, the first characteristic of which is that the individual commodity represents the elementary form of the wealth it produces. The “Critique of Political Economy” therefore begins with an analysis of the goods . (P. 49)

The use value (GW)

The first quality of the commodity is that it is a piece of nature made suitable for human needs; a thing necessary and useful for life. It is a GW and with it the material wealth of capitalist society. The GW of a thing has its basis in its properties. This determinateness makes them means of special needs. In order to satisfy a need, the right amount of the GW must be at hand. The measure of these quantities can only measure GW of the same variety (you should not add apples and pears!). Therefore - contrary to utility theory, which separates utility from utility and constructs “the need” as an abstraction from its specific quality - utility, like the needs related to it, are incommensurable .

The use of the GW is consumption - productive or individual. It does not matter whether a lot or little work was required for production. The GW produced form the material wealth of every society. The capitalist peculiarity is that the GW are produced for the market. (Pp. 49–50)

The exchange value (TW) or value

The economically essential purpose of the goods is that they are intended for exchange. The TW of the goods disregards the quality of the GW, because its quantitative relationship to other TW is based on qualitative equation of the most diverse goods. The “common third”, the value, is not a material property that comes from the GW, but a practiced abstraction from the GW. The TW appears as something accidental. Every single commodity is interchangeable with every other on the market. The varied exchange relationships show that the TW is not determined by the special relationship between two goods. The TW of the goods of one kind expresses their equality with others, is the expression of a content that is distinguishable from them. The exchangeability of goods is based on a general property that makes them offset in the first place. Only this uniform quality makes them quantitatively comparable at all.

The source of value (value-building substance)

What all goods have in common is that they are products of work . As TW, they are the practiced abstraction of their particular content and purpose. With the usefulness of the labor products, the usefulness of the labor expended on them disappears. As TW, they are reduced to “abstract human work”. "As crystals of this common substance they are values ​​- commodity values." (P. 52)

Each work is as good as the other, and concrete work is considered indiscriminate human work. This is the prerequisite for the labor product, which is non-use value for the producer, to be exchanged. Like the TW of the work products, the abstract human work - the “value substance” (p. 81) - is not an arbitrary abstraction, but the standard that is applied to practically every concrete work.

The value size

A commodity only has a value because abstractly human labor is objectified in it. So the quantity of value is determined by the quantity of the 'value-creating substance' contained in it, abstract labor. The quantity of abstract work is measured by its duration (hour, day) and working time.

Working time as a reason for value

In the exchange of products, all work is considered to be an example of normal social expenditure; the individually different production conditions, intensity of labor and skill of the producers are subsumed under this measure of value. It is only in comparison via the exchange that it becomes clear what the work done was worth. When it comes to TW as the purpose of the work, preference plays no role, tradition of a special trade is irrelevant, change of production branch or mobility is a matter of course.

The money

The reduction of all different goods to their common quality of value practically exists in their equation with a commodity that functions as an independent value structure independent of the variety of goods. It embodies the value of all goods and thus takes on the form of direct interchangeability with all other goods: money.

The monetary commodity contains the antithesis of GW and value directly in itself. Its GW is the independent mode of existence of value and thus the universal power of access to the material wealth of society. Money is the purpose of production. Money is the embodiment of the abstract wealth of capitalist society.

The “fetish character” of the goods

Because of the contrast between GW and TW contained in the commodity, the specific social character of work appears as a necessary property of things (commodities or money). It is true that the purpose of labor is objectified in goods and money. The independent private individuals follow the necessities of goods and money by pursuing their advantage and thereby being confronted with market conditions that arise “behind their backs”. A fetish is when one does not acknowledge that it is a question of a dominant economic purpose, but rather develops an awareness of quasi-natural properties of the GW.

The reason for the “fetish” is that the citizens treat the compulsion that the objective economic conditions represent as their opportunity; as freedom that relates to the purpose it serves, as well as to a presupposed condition of its activity, and which practices it as an appropriate decision of one's own interest. To this end, all producers must adapt the freedom granted to them to the requirements of a production subject to value. Freedom thus does not constitute an opposition to economic compulsion, but is a means of competition for the TW within the framework of capitalist society.

Chapter 2: The Exchange Process

Money is the socially valid general equivalent in which all goods objectively express their existence of value. The commodities must therefore relate to money in the exchange process - as a social relationship between the subjects mediating the commodity relations. That the private producers are representatives of commodity values, i. H. as buyer and seller face the recognition of private property: property means separation of needs and means of its satisfaction as a condition of their coming together - provided that the price is realized.

Because the things of enjoyment etc. do not belong to me, but to someone else, I act as a buyer and create the money to realize the price of the goods.

The validity of the legal relationship is a matter for the state. Political violence is necessary - it makes exclusion by private property a general condition of life and ensures that it is respected - so that the free relationship of people to the world of goods and money, and accordingly to each other, is possible (no one makes a contract, if not Validity is given and known through political violence). Instead of personal dependence, there is freedom of economic character masks , i. H. Submission to the social character of goods, the purpose of which is not their use.

Money fetish

If the state sets the social validity of its money and thus the exchange as a permanent economic relationship that determines the social production and distribution of goods in the community, then every private producer relates his goods in the exchange process to money as a socially valid equivalent. In this way, the social objectivity of this relationship is reproduced in the conscious action of individuals. This is how the commodity fetish gains its objective perfection in money.

Chapter 3: Money or the Circulation of Goods

The realization of the commodity value presents itself as the relation of the commodity to the money and thereby creates special formal determinations which, as categories of commodity circulation, are at the same time functions of money.

Measure of values

The first function of money “consists in supplying the world of commodities with the material of its expression of value or in presenting commodity values ​​as quantities of the same name, qualitatively the same and quantitatively comparable. This is how it works as a general measure of values ​​” (p. 109). A specific commodity, gold, serves as the embodiment of value and, as such, is the unitary measure of the value of all other commodities. Everything has its price, that is, every commodity is equated with a quantity of money as a mere representative of the actual social wealth. For this function of money, its existence is merely assumed; its actual presence in the corresponding extent is not necessary, because the expression of the commodity's value in price is only ideal. Money performs a second function as a yardstick for prices (p. 112): By fixing the monetary commodity as a technical yardstick - originally as a fixed metal weight - and the division into aliquot units (e.g. euros & cents), different prices are compared with one another . The state power ensures the objective validity of the measure of value and the binding nature of the measure of price, that is, the necessity of earning money in order to get to the means of need. The “hard money lurks behind the ideal” (p. 118), because access to concrete wealth - use value - is made dependent on having the necessary money. The compulsion to exchange imposed by private property creates a compulsory social context that asserts itself as a “need” for money or as a barrier to the disposal of it.

Means of circulation

The price expresses that the commodity can be bought by money and makes it objective to equate it with gold as ideal, and thus demands its realization. The realization of the unity with the general equivalent, which is only ideally given in the price-determined commodity, can only take place as an actual transition of the commodity into the form of money due to the separation of the monetary commodity from all commodities. So the money mediates the exchange of any goods. Without the intervening money, there is no exchange of hands of use values ​​in capitalism; the process of exchanging goods takes place in the figure of goods-money-goods (WGW) . The purpose here is not the social dissemination of useful labor products, because the medium of circulation money proves to be the decisive condition and limit on the fulfillment of which WGW depends: the commodity has to prove its saleability. This depends not only on the corresponding need, but also on its solvency. Whether and how much money a commodity attracts and whether the prospective buyer comes into possession of it is decided by the disposal of money or the price of the desired item. The separation of sale and purchase therefore contains a tangible contrast (p. 127). Money matters on both sides: the buyer assumes the successful seller and, conversely, the seller subordinates the wealthy customers (p. 125), so that WW often does not happen at all. The result is unsaleable goods and unmet needs.


Because money only functions as an ideal within the circulation, the real representation of the value in money must take place as its retention against the circulation, i.e. the realization of commodity prices with real money as the end purpose must take the place of the functionalization of the money for the circulation. The necessity of participating in the metabolism through exchange creates the need to dispose of money against its mere use for needs. The condition of metabolism - the raising of money - is the purpose of the market. Those who only use money as a means of spending it on the purchase of consumer goods are and remain poor. The social power of money exists and is therefore only suitable as private property.

The treasurer

practices this need as holding on to the money from the sale, by foregoing the purchase, d. H. He is keen on the power over enjoyments, for them he renounces it.

He is ridiculous and amoral (greed, avarice) not because of this purpose, but because of the contradiction in his persecution.

The hoarder executes the contradiction between qualitative limitlessness and quantitative limitation of money to the detriment of his needs when he extends freedom to satisfy them; he can only increase the value by renouncing: “therefore sacrifices his carnal lust to the gold fetish. He is serious about the gospel of renunciation ” (p. 147)

The means of payment

Although the treasure retains its identity as a representative of general wealth only in relation to circulation, it is based on its interruption, its form precludes the condition of its existence. Money can only function as something independent if the purpose contained in the form of the circulation of goods - the change of place of the goods - is not negated but realized. The circulation must take on a form in which the alienation of commodities takes place as well as the retention of real money as the realized price; Purchase and payment must separate.

The means of payment makes the purpose of making money independent of the buyer's temporary insolvency. Credit is a legitimate technique of market participation: it assumes, firstly, that enough money has been accumulated on the part of the creditor to continue supplying the market; and, secondly, that the debtor has the ability to redeem market surpluses from his production. Debt becomes a means of increasing abstract wealth. Poverty is then the need to borrow money to meet needs and then to pay for it later.

If the money functions as an ideal means of purchase, the real acquisition becomes an end in itself on the part of the debtor: sale in order to be able to pay - otherwise forced delivery of his property. As long as the separation of purchase and payment expresses the connection between purchase and sale, money only functions ideally as calculating money. In the event of malfunctions, this separation turns into a demand for gold goods. Money as an absolute commodity contains the possibility of a crisis as a monetary crisis: the “contrast between the commodity and its value structure, money ... (is) increased to the point of absolute contradiction” (p. 152). The commodity, the material wealth, is sacrificed to the value structure.

The world money

The independence of the money function from the monetary commodity stands with its consequence - the local forms: measure of prices, coins and marks, means of payment and credit - in contrast to the concept of the general equivalent. Money always expresses its contradicting modes of existence through its locally limited function, which is not related to all goods.

According to his concept, money - the universal objectification of abstract wealth - exists in world trade, where money is shedding its local currency. Barriers resulting from the limited validity of the national uniforms of money are overcome by measuring themselves in gold as the independent figure of value.

Section Two: The Transformation of Money into Capital

Chapter 4: Transformation of Money into Capital

World money as a necessary product of the general circulation of goods stands in opposition to its form, the social mediation of material wealth. If the independent existence of value is to be the real purpose of circulation, a form of circulation is required in which money does not disappear, but is the starting point and result of movement, capital is: GWG . Because this independent form of value is tautological and limited, the increase in the original sum of money, or surplus value , is necessary: GW-G ' . The identity of the beginning and end of this cycle shows that the movement described in it is endless. That is why the difference that it must produce gives it the determination of excess. What is decisive is that this independent valorisation of value is a process; goods and money become mere moments of its restless movement.

This process is capital utilization and cannot be explained from the sphere of commodity circulation; neither from a general exchange of equivalents nor from special fraudulent maneuvers. The increase in value must therefore arise from the use of the goods purchased: the valorisation of capital is based on the purchase and productive use of the goods, labor . The opposite of capital, the seller of labor power, is the worker himself: on the capitalist labor market, the "physical and mental faculties that exist in the corporeality, the living personality of a person and which he sets in motion, whenever he sets them in motion, become use values ​​of any kind produces ”(p. 181) itself to the commodity; the person can freely offer his own labor assets such as property for sale. In order for the money in the hand of capital to become the means of command over human labor, the existence of a propertyless class (working class) is assumed, which has no means to provide for its own livelihood - that is, has no other means of subsistence than its own labor as a commodity for sale in this sense doubly free wage laborers . The valorisation of capital is based on the difference between the labor power used to reproduce the commodity and the socially average labor time objectified in the value of the commodity produced. The reproduction of the working class - its life process - is subject to the valorization process of capital. By consuming the commodity labor power, the working class becomes an element of the capitalist production process.

Third section: The production of absolute surplus value

Chapter 5: Work process and recovery process

Work process

In order to subsume labor for the purpose of exploitation, capital must abstract from its identity as a value and submit to the laws of labor. Therefore, the investigation applies to the general provisions of the work process and it "must therefore initially be viewed independently of any particular social form" (192). Work is first of all the production of use values ​​and as such “a process between man and nature, a process in which man mediates, regulates and controls his metabolism with nature through his own deeds” (p. 192). In this process, the human being is a self-confident subject who realizes his purpose in the change in nature. The practical influence on the natural object can be guided by its need for it. To do this, his will has to prove itself in the concentration on the work process. In addition to the purposeful activity, the work itself and its object, the work equipment forms the third element of the work process. With it man overcomes the barriers for changing the shape of the object given in his natural equipment: "He uses the mechanical, physical, chemical properties of things in order to let them act as a means of power on other things according to his purpose." (194 ) These determinations of the purposeful production of use values ​​are “general conditions of the metabolism between man and nature, eternal natural condition of human life and therefore ... common to all forms of society” (198). The capitalist labor process shows two peculiarities: First, the worker has ownership of his goods (labor), which he has to sell; their activity - living labor - belongs to capital. Second, since the means and objects of work are property of capital, the separation of labor and its product from the producer is the starting point and result of the labor process.

Recovery process

The formal subordination of labor to capital does not yet include the valorisation of capital. For the purpose of capital is not done with producing a use value, “but a commodity, not only use value, but value, and not only value but also surplus value” (p. 201). The labor process only exists in capitalism if it produces goods that contain value beyond the sum of values ​​for the means of production and labor: the labor process must prove itself as a valorization process. The reason for the exploitation is that the labor employed by capital transfers the value that is objectified in labor material and means and adds new, living labor that is socially necessary for the production of the commodity. The disposal of labor enables capital to use labor beyond the time in which it reproduces its own value.

Chapter 6: Constant Capital and Variable Capital

With the work process, its moments also become components of the valorisation process, which are therefore only intended in terms of their function for the increase of capital. These different moments "of the labor process take a different share in the formation of the product-value" (214).

Constant capital

The creation and maintenance of value as a unit of the same work process is based on the dual character of work. Concrete work transfers the value of the means of production “through its particular useful character” (215), since as preliminary products they are a necessary component of the end product. The abstract work adds new value to the product: "So it adds ... to the extent that it is abstract social work" (215). The value of the means of production (PM) is transferred and not reproduced: the transfer of value is a free gift of labor “which costs the worker nothing, but brings in a lot for the capitalist” (221). In accordance with their dual character, the PMs enter the recycling process differently. Raw materials and auxiliary materials do not go into the goods, partly or wholly at their GW and wholly at their value; the GW of the work equipment is completely included, but they only give up their value according to their wear and tear. In principle, it applies to all the factors at issue that they "therefore never add more value to the product than they ... have" (220). Their part of the value remains unchanged in the utilization process: "I therefore call it ... constant capital" (223).

Variable capital

The subjective factor of the work process, the active, “living” work capacity, is reproduced: “The replacement of one value by another is mediated here by new value creation” (223). The importance of living work for exploitation is based on the fact that it produces new value; New value, regardless of the value of the commodity labor power: this part of capital “reproduces its own equivalent and an excess thereof; Added value that can change itself, be larger or smaller. … I therefore call it… variable capital ” (224).

Chapter 7: The rate of surplus value

The process of valorization produces an "excess of the value of the product over the sum of its elements of production" (226), which is produced by variable capital (v). Since constant capital does not play a role in the formation of new values, it can be disregarded for the investigation of surplus value (m). The degree of exploitation of labor capacity is not based on the absolute magnitude of the surplus value: m is a quantity of value whose quality is related to v. This "proportional valorization of the variable capital or the proportional size of the surplus value I call the rate of surplus value" (229). The difference between v and m determines the degree to which the production process is subject to self-evaluation of value. For m the GW of v - liquid labor - is consumed, it determines “the second form of the rate of surplus value” (231). The work made fluid reproduces with the new value it creates on the one hand v, and is thereby necessary work. On the other hand, it does extra work and creates new value of the m is. The self-realization of capital is based on the time ratio of necessary and surplus work. In capitalism, the purpose of spending labor is not to increase products, but rather, through the relationship between necessary and surplus labor, to utilize capital, so "it is not the absolute size of the product that measures the relative size of the surplus product, but the level of wealth " (243).

Chapter 8: The Working Day

... is the means of capital in that the work is extended beyond what is necessary in order to suck in additional work: “So it is not a constant, but a variable variable. ... is therefore determinable, in and of itself indeterminate. ” , Because “ the nature of the exchange of goods (there is) no limit to the working day, so no limit to overtime. " (246). The formal subsumption of labor capacity under capital contains in two respects a limit to the excessive drive to utilize capital: the necessary working time “namely the part of the day that the worker must work for his self-preservation” is the minimum limit and the “physical one Worker's limit ” and its “ moral barriers ” (246) form the maximum limit of the working day. From the existence of these barriers it follows at the same time that the utilization process causes the destruction of the labor force, since it tends to exceed the limits of the working day. The determination of the limits of the working day contains two opposing interests with the consequence of the class struggle . Nothing illustrates the character of capitalist relations of production more clearly than that even the reproduction of the working class - the means by which capital is valued - must be fought for by itself.

Marx explains the need of capital for extra work in terms of traditional conditions (boyar) , where his excessive excesses did not peak because they put a barrier to the needs for power, the separation of subsistence and surplus labor (compulsory labor) and the workers' ownership of production and food had. Then he takes a look back at English branches of industry without legal barriers to exploitation , "where the exhaustion of labor is either still free today or it was yesterday" (258). Marx vividly characterizes the brutality of the basic direction of labor in the course of its use through the prohibition of child labor (259f) and the state health system.

Shift work is the means of capital to make itself independent of the physical barrier of the working day. Because “to acquire work during all 24 hours of the day is therefore the immanent drive of capitalist production” (271). Since this is physically impossible, it is necessary to separate the production time from the individual working time, "the alternation of the workers eaten by day and night" (271). In the need of capital to let labor arise when it requires the sucking in of surplus labor, it dissolves its regularity, turns it into irregularity, and thus ruins the physique of the working class.

Capital replies against the struggle for the normal working day that it counts a full 24 hours a day, that the workers' lifetime is working time. The working day's limit is not determined by the maintenance of the labor force, but the greatest "daily expenditure of labor force, however pathologically violent and embarrassing" (281). The purpose - the production of surplus value - produces the premature exhaustion and death of labor, ruins its source, labor capacity. This ruin is the effect of exploitation and contradicts the purpose of surplus labor, since the greater the value that goes into the reproduction of labor, the faster it wears out. The limitation of the immoderate drive for surplus labor seems to be given by the interests of capital itself. This restriction, however, is not the work of capital, since it can always draw new workers into its production process if quicker replacement of the worn ones becomes necessary. This workforce comes from 3 sources: the children and women of the worn-out workers, the persistent overpopulation, and foreign workers. Capital clearly shows its character in the fact that it must be forced to limit the working day by society. The compulsion to restrict comes from outside through the state and the struggle of the working class. “But the history of this struggle shows two opposing currents” (286).

The first trend is the violent extension of the working day by the bourgeois state. The creation of conditions in which the workers are compelled to convert their lifetime into working time presupposes the poverty of the working class, which the English state set itself the task of creating with coercive laws . Conversely, he fights every union organization and takes all measures to satisfy the greed of capital for fresh workers. The capitalist mode of production only creates excessive excess and thereby evokes the social control which legally limits, regulates and uniformed the working day with its breaks; this is the 2nd current. The normal working day, fixed by the state, does not set an absolute limit, but conditions for the capitalists' calculation with it. You become inventive in terms of exploiting loopholes in the law, breaking the law, lowering wages and new working time models (relay system) . On the other hand, the capitalists make barriers their means; stand up for the new competitive conditions with the state, against their competition, because “equal exploitation of labor is the first human right of capital” (309). In order to preserve their goods, the workers are forced to abolish their competition with one another (trade union) and wrest its regulations from the welfare state. As long as the capitalist mode of production has not yet fully embraced society, the state sees no need in limiting the working day.

The struggle for the normal working day has an impact on factory legislation to the extent that capital asserts itself in its native countries. Because of class struggles and the lasting ruin of its working class, the state regulates the normal working day in its interest. As an ideal total capitalist, he issues restrictions because he wants to promote and maintain the valorization of capital; therefore they are a network of rules and exceptions. To that extent the struggle of the working class is only covered by its violence when it wants to fight for its reproduction as a source of capital. And it is therefore crowned with dubious success as long as “it fights against effects, but not against the causes of these effects ... She should understand that the present system, with all the misery it inflicts on her, is at the same time pregnant with the material conditions and the social forms that are necessary for an economic transformation of society ” (MEW 16,152).

Chapter 9: Rate and Mass of Surplus-Value

With the normal working day, capital itself creates a limit for the increase in the rate of surplus value by extending the overtime. This does not limit the tendency of capital to produce the greatest possible mass of surplus value (m). For a normal working day and a given value of the goods, labor, m depends on the number of workers (v) and the rate of surplus value (m '). How these two factors of the mass of surplus value v and m 'act as means for the valorization of capital, Marx expresses in the three laws of rate and mass of surplus value:

  1. The mass of surplus-value is the product of the advanced v and the rate of surplus-value (321f). Since both factors equally influence the mass of surplus value, the decrease in one can be compensated for by an increase in the other. However, the replacement of the number of workers has "by increasing the rate of surplus value or by insurmountable barriers" (323) . The normal working day "forms an absolute limit for the replacement of reduced variable capital" (323), the second limit is the number of the working population.
  2. The "tendency of capital to reduce the number of workers employed by it ... or (the) part of the capital converted into labor" (323) can only be compensated for by extending the working day up to a certain point, so that the mass of the Added value can decrease.
  3. So the mass of surplus value can only be increased by making a larger advance for v. The value of v determines m and thus is the dependence of capital on the mass of applied labor, ultimately on the available working population. Second, it follows that a minimum is assumed for the transformation of money into capital.

The work process becomes the process of utilization through its formal subsumption under the command of capital and thus separation of the worker from the means of production, his labor capacity and the results of the production process. In earlier forms of surplus value production "the worker did not relate to the means of production as capital, but as the mere means and material of his purposeful productive activity" (328). From this, capital develops into a compulsory relationship “which compels the working class to do more work than the close range of its own life needs (328), in that it “is no longer the worker who uses the means of production, but rather it is the means of production that the workers employ ” (329). "The mere transformation of money into objective factors of the production process, into means of production, transforms the latter into legal titles and compulsory titles to foreign work and overtime" (329).

Fourth section: The production of relative surplus-value

Chapter 10: Concept of relative surplus value

From the point of view of the mass of surplus value, the total labor - size of the working population, necessary working hours and the normal working day - appears as a barrier to the valorisation of capital. This dependence on the means of its utilization contradicts the "legal title" to overtime that capital has acquired with the purchase of labor. With a given normal working day and number of workers, the increase in the rate of surplus value is only possible by reducing the necessary working hours, "or part of the working hours that the worker has actually used up for himself is transformed into working hours for the capitalist" (331). This added value is relative because it is not based on the expansion of overtime, but on the change in the division of the working day between necessary and overtime. The reduction in the price of the commodity labor through cheaper means of food, which is assumed for a reduction in necessary labor, "is, however, impossible without an increase in the productive power of labor" (333).

For this increase capital uses its command over social production, which it has acquired with the power of access of its money. However, increases in productivity do not act directly as a decrease in the value of the commodity labor power, but "only in the proportion in which the cheaper commodity is used in the reproduction of labor power" (334). That is why the capitalists do not aim at lowering the value of the commodity labor-power; the “general and necessary tendencies of capital are to be distinguished from their manifestations” (335). With the increase in productivity, a capitalist is after the difference between socially necessary and individual working time, which gives him extra value. As the same product of value is distributed over more products due to greater productivity, the value of the individual product falls below its socially average value. He sells his goods at their social value, because “the real value of a commodity is not its individual, but its social value”. The difference is its extra added value. So there is “for every single capitalist the motive to make the commodity cheaper by increasing the productive power of labor” (336).

The motive of extra added value has an effect that opposes it: the "law of value determination through working time, ..., as a compulsory law of competition, drives its competitors to introduce the new mode of production" (337). In this way they generalize what is initially individual productivity and make it the new social standard; their competition causes the value of the commodities which go into the reproduction of the working class to become cheaper. Another effect is the contradiction that "the capitalist, who is only concerned with the production of exchange value, constantly strives to lower the TW of the commodities" . For the lowering of the value of commodities - the source of wealth of capital - is a means of relative surplus-value production and “only the surplus value contained in it and realizable in sale is of interest” (338). Increased productivity under capitalism never leads to a lightening of labor, since it only reduces the necessary labor in order to "extend the part of the working day that (the worker) can work for the capitalist for free" (340).

Chapter 11: Cooperation

The explanation of the particular methods of production of relative surplus value begins with increases in productivity resulting from the formal subsumption of the production process. The first method is therefore not a form of real subsumption of labor under the purpose of utilization. It differs from previous modes of production only in the number of employees, i.e. not in that the work process itself is made according to the utilization purpose. Cooperation is “the way many people work” ; this "merely" (344) quantitative difference is of qualitative importance in relation to the utilization in two respects:

  1. In the work process, “the average social labor force is set in motion from the start” (343): Cooperation is the appropriate form of value-creating work, as capital is thus emancipated from the barriers and differences between individual labor capacities
  2. The “volume” (344) of c does not increase proportionally to the number of workers employed and the means of production used jointly transfer a smaller proportion of the value to the individual product because a larger quantity of product is produced

With the “systematic work alongside and with one another” (344) capital uses the social potential of labor and increases the performance of the combined labor process, with the result of a reduction in the value of the commodity labor power; this effect is to be distinguished from the increase in the rate of surplus value due to the change in the work process. The social potencies of labor are made the lever of capital. In detail, it concerns the following phenomena:

  1. "Mass force" (345): This is what makes certain work processes possible in the first place
  2. “Competition and a personal excitement of the spirits” (345) is used by capital to compare the performance of the individual work, which is what the average social worker practically produces
  3. Simplification, continuity and versatility through similar and simultaneous performance have the effect of "reducing the working time necessary to manufacture the overall product" (347)
  4. Normal working day: "The short working time is compensated by the size of the working mass ..." (347)
  5. On the one hand expansion of the “spatial sphere of work” (348), on the other hand “spatial narrowing of the production area” (347) in relation to the scale of production

The cooperation changes the conditions of utilization of capital: a certain size of capital is assumed in order to buy the “combined social labor process” (350) and the “command of capital” (350) and the “work of superintendent” (351) are now a necessity “for the development of the work process itself into a real condition of production ” (350). It is about the submission of the workers to the purpose of exploitation: driving, taking care of the "appropriate use" (351) of the means of production and the quality of the work.

The effects of cooperation are not the consequence of the collective productive power of labor. The connection between individual labor is only established when capital subordinates itself to the labor process “despotically” (351). It appears to the workers as an external relationship, “as a plan, practically as the authority of the capitalist, as the power of an alien will that subordinates their actions to its purpose” (351). The social productive power of labor is subsumed under the productive power of capital, since the potencies of cooperation are property of capital, because as "cooperators, as members of a working organism, they (the workers) are themselves only a special mode of existence of capital" (p. 352).

Chapter 12: Division of Labor and Manufacture

Two origins of the manufacture

The origin of the division of labor is the manufacture, on the one hand as a combination of independent craftsmen of different trades who were needed to manufacture a product and their elimination within a new overall process, on the other hand as a cooperation of similar trades and their independence as sub-operations that do not result in an independent product. Capital expediently changes their independent, craft-based activities into dependent sub-functions of an overall process, "a production mechanism whose organs are people" (358). The result is the “most appropriate form for the narrowed working area” (356): Increased efficiency through specialization. Another result of manufacture is the dependence of capital on the individuality of the worker, on whose fate it is due. the productivity increase continues.

The part worker and his tool

Increase in productivity through the division of labor in the manufactory and its effects:

  1. The elimination of part workers increases their virtuosity and reduces the average working time by densifying the pores of the working day by intensifying and / or reducing the unproductive consumption of labor (breaks)
  2. Narrowing and dulling through uniformity of work "the continuity of uniform work destroys the tension and momentum of the spirits of life" (361)
  3. The differentiation of the work processes makes it necessary to specify the tools in accordance with the detailed functions. Special skills of the workers, which result from specialization, only become productive through the development of appropriate special tools
  4. By “adapting them to the exclusive special functions” (361) of the partial work, the dependence on the skill of the worker is reproduced
  5. However, the development of tools is now subsumed under capital so that it has the means to emancipate itself from individual peculiarities
The two basic forms of manufacture - heterogeneous manufacture and organic manufacture

Because it is about the organization of the division of labor, the structure of the manufacture as a whole depends on the character of the product. The unrelated sub-processes of heterogeneous manufacturing , the results of which are subsequently merged, are not suitable for developing the potential of the division of labor.

The “perfect form” (364) of the manufacture, the organic manufacture , is based on a work process in which the manufacture of the objects is split up into partial operations that go through a sequence of step processes so that they are combined in one place. Marx distinguishes 3 variants:

  1. Combination of originally scattered crafts (364)
  2. several groups of "structured working bodies" (367) mediated because "the bond between the different groups of the same kind is simple cooperation" (367)
  3. "Combination of different manufactories" (368)

The organic manufacture has effects on the capitalist production process:

  1. Removing the spatial separation saves time and work; "This profit arises from the general cooperative character of the manufactory" (364)
  2. The organic manufacture spatially separates the production phases: transformation of the temporal successive into a spatial juxtaposition
  3. Socially necessary working time becomes a technical necessity of production due to the interdependence of the partial work, which creates “a completely different continuity, uniformity, regularity, order and, in particular, intensity of work” (365).
  4. Experience shows that a certain “ratio of the various groups of sub-workers is set for a certain scale of production” (366). This means that a minimum amount of capital is given in order to be able to expand the scale of production
  5. The total worker as a productive organism enforces efficiency at the expense of the part workers. It is true that the manufactory also develops tools to perfect the functions of the partial workers, but the "specific machinery of the manufactory remains the total worker himself, made up of many partial workers" (369)
  6. The necessity of emancipating the productive force of labor from the bearer of labor capacity has the lever, continuity and intensity to enforce in the degradation of the workers to organs of production.
  7. Manufacture develops a hierarchy of the workforce, since "the various functions of the total worker, simpler or more complex, lower or higher" (370), have very different degrees of training and therefore assume different values ​​for the reproduction of the individual workforce.
  8. Low-wage sector: " The manufacture therefore creates ... a class of clumsy workers whom the craft business strictly excluded" (371)
  9. The capital lowers the necessary labor, because from the "reduction of the learning costs arises, ... directly higher utilization of the capital ... because everything that shortens the time necessary for the reproduction of labor extends the domain of the surplus labor" (371)
Division of labor within the manufacture and division of labor within society

Manufacture as a capitalist mode of production presupposes the production of goods, thus also a social division of labor in the preceding societies ( "exchange of goods mediated division of labor" and "separation of town and country" (373)). “Conversely, the manufacturing division of labor retrospectively develops and multiplies that social division of labor” (374), by differentiating tool production, making previously related trades separate and opening up new sources and regions as a means of enrichment. The social and manufacturing division of labor are “not only gradual, but essentially different” (375). The differences arise from how they prove themselves to be parts of the context:

  1. On the one hand, “division of labor within society is mediated through buying and selling” (376) on the market; on the other hand, through the purchase of labor, capital establishes its command over the context of the partial workers as organs of the collective worker. As part-workers, they are dependent and self-employed. Your product is not an interchangeable product.
  2. On the one hand, “the social division of labor fragmentation” (376) assumes the means of production owned by private producers, and on the other hand the manufacturing division of labor assumes the concentration of the means of production in the hands of a capitalist
  3. On the one hand, through the law of value, “ chance and arbitrariness play their colorful game” (376) in the distribution of capital and labor over the social spheres of production, and on the other hand, systematic organization and division of workers in the manufacture
  4. On the one hand, the social division of labor assumes anarchy among the capitalists "who recognize no authority other than that of competition", on the other hand, the manufactory-like "division of labor the unconditional authority (despotism) of the capitalist over people" (377)

The connection between the manufacturing and the social division of labor is based on the separation of the producers from the means of production and thus from the product, which is mediated by the market, so that all means of reproduction (individual and social) are only produced because and as long as they are resources from GW- G 'are. That the two necessarily belong together is also confessed in the bourgeois ideology, which celebrates the submission of the partial laborer as effective and productive and in the same breath forbids any systematic control of social production as the servitude of man: “It is very characteristic that the enthusiastic apologists of the factory system know nothing to say against any general organization of social work except that it would transform the whole of society into a factory. ” (p. 377)

The capitalist character of the manufactory

On the one hand, the size of the number of workers is the starting point for cooperation and manufacture; on the other hand, the division of work in terms of manufacture requires a proportional distribution of work. With this, however, the minimum workforce is also given by the existing division of labor: "Growing minimum volume of capital ... is therefore a law arising from the technical character of manufacture" (381). As a means of increasing surplus value, manufacture develops the productive power of labor at the expense of the workers, not only through the increasing separation of wealth from the producer, but also through systematic "crippling of the individual worker" (386):

  1. Hierarchy among the workers: Capital not only subjects the worker to his command and discipline, but also makes itself partially independent of qualifications and thus frees itself from wage components
  2. Complete dependence of labor power on capital: the individual labor power itself is no longer able to manufacture a product; it “only functions in a context that only exists after its sale, in the workshop of the capitalist” (382). The capitalist division of labor makes the labor capacity that exists outside the production process the property of capital
  3. Narrow down of labor: the knowledge that constitutes production exists separately from the worker as the property of capital. “It is a product of the manufacturing division of labor to contrast them with the intellectual potentials of the material production process as foreign property and with the power that controls them” (p. 382).

The increase in the productive power of the total laborer through manufacture is conditioned by the impoverishment of the laborer in individual productive forces, in that capital assumes the potencies of social productive forces of labor.

Chapter 13: Machinery and Large Industry

The manufacture-like organization of labor by capital shows a limit to its utilization, since "craftsmanship remains the basis of manufacture and the overall mechanism functioning in it has no objective skeleton independent of the workers themselves" (389). At the same time, the manufactory creates the prerequisites for overcoming them in the work equipment, which, with increasing specialization in detailed functions, makes certain movements more and more mechanical and easier. This allows capital to transfer the use of tools to mechanical devices and to break down the barriers which the fate of the workers "still imposed on the rule of capital" (p. 390). The handicraft as an obstacle to the increase in the relative production of surplus value is abolished in that capital frees the potencies of the fragmented labor process contained in the tool from the ties to the worker and his fate; changes the work equipment itself so that the partial work is objectified in the work equipment.

Development of the machinery

It is the machine tool that transforms the tool from a craft instrument into a machine. It is the starting point of the industrial revolution, in which capital makes the development of the productive power of labor its means by making the use of tools the work of the machine itself. The means of work is no longer the worker's extended arm, but an automatic mechanism that emancipates itself from the " organic barrier" (see 394) of the worker's physique. In the machine system , the social elements of the work process are replaced by the workers, and cooperation and division of labor are “a technical necessity dictated by the nature of the work equipment” (p. 407). As soon as the machine tools can carry out all the movements necessary for processing the raw material themselves and only require human assistance, drive and transmission become a purely technical question and labor becomes replaceable. With the factory-like division of labor, capital emancipates itself from useful labor, from its social potential, by reducing labor to the mere expression of a natural force (abstract labor), the intensity of which is dictated by the pace of the machinery. The consequence of such a finished machine system: the worker becomes an appendage to the machinery.

Transfer of value from the machinery to the product

Used as a means of relative surplus value production, machinery makes commodities cheaper by lowering v per item. On the other hand, this has the opposite effect, since the productive utilization of the power of nature and science in the form of means of production is connected with increasing expenditure of c. However, the machinery distributes its own, tending to decline, value to an ever-increasing quantity of goods and thus lowers the degree of price increase for the product. Nevertheless, this makes the product more expensive and contradicts the reason for using machines.

The yardstick for the use of the machinery cannot be made easier, since this is not the purpose of capital. For in capitalism an increase in productive power is a means of increasing the relative surplus value which is based on the change in the ratio of necessary to surplus labor. Whether the constant capital outlay saves more variable than it costs is therefore the measure of capital. The necessary work is diminished by lowering paid, living work in favor of dead work. This results on the one hand in layoffs and on the other hand in the juxtaposition of heavy, dangerous work and machines that could replace it; the latter is no reason for capital to use machines.

Effect of machine operation on the worker

is the ruin of labor, as the machinery becomes the coercive means of increased exploitation. The first of these effects arises from the independence of strength and skill, which does not make work easier, but opens up additional labor for capital. Women’s and child labor (416): more of the working class’s lifetime is converted into working time, the cost of which remains the same. Capital receives the working hours of the working class family at the value of male labor. This leads to the cheapening and dequalification of individual male workers, revolutionizes employment contracts, increases the degree of exploitation (417), undermines the customs, understanding and morality of working class families and thus generally intensifies competition among manufacturing workers, whose resistance is broken by capital ( 424).

The independence of the machine from the strength and will of the worker makes it a suitable means of sucking in absolute surplus value: extending the working day . The contradiction of this means - increased display for c - results in a further reason for the extension of working hours: extending the machine usage time reduces the relative price increase of the product through the use of the machinery (426).

Another result of the use of machines is the replacement of living labor of greater value by dead labor of lesser value (not directly reducing the labor required). In this way capital generalizes the contradiction of capitalist production: the production of relative surplus-value lowers the number of workers employed by total social capital. Capital increases one factor in the production of surplus value, the rate of surplus value, by decreasing the other factor, the number of employed laborers. This contradiction leads to the immoderate prolongation of the working day, since capital seeks to compensate for this effect.

On the one hand, workers are being replaced by machines and working hours are being extended; on the other hand, additional workers are being tapped; the consequence is a superfluous working-class population. In this way capital creates the growing competition of workers (pressure from the unemployed) and thus the means of dictating conditions to them, thus increasing the supply of work and lowering wages (430).

The length of the working day and the intensity of the work are mutually exclusive. Capital is thus - at a higher level - confronted with the natural barriers of labor. The extension of the working day ruins the material of exploitation and forces the introduction of the normal working day. With machinery, capital has an effective means of overcoming this barrier to absolute surplus value by making it a means of intensifying labor . The ease of work allows more work output in the same amount of time (432).

Intensification, that is, a higher degree of compression of the work, increased work expenditure in the same time or a greater amount of work per hour than before with a longer working day and therefore a higher value product. In comparison, the increase in productive power, in which more is produced in the same time with the same work expenditure; However, an unchanged product of value, which is represented in more use values, i.e. it lowers the value of the individual commodity. Intensification is an independent method of producing absolute surplus value, which results from the real subordination of the production process to capital. If the limitation of the working day was a sting for the production of relative surplus value, conversely the production of relative surplus value was a sting for absolute surplus value.

Intensification does not occur automatically, but must be forced by capital through methods of paying labor (433). The machine acts as a double lever: on the one hand simply by its speed, on the other hand by the number of machines to be operated or monitored per worker. The now intensified exploitation creates the tendency to further shorten the working hours, which is answered by capital with renewed intensification; permanent class struggle (440).

The factory

The machine functions as the subject of a social work process that the workers apply (442): On the basis of the leveling of all work, capital uses - on a higher scale - the methods of dividing labor (444), which now distributes the machine appendages among the specialized machines is; on the one hand, equity and natural differences of age and gender regulate this distribution; on the other hand, there is a hierarchy of workers in henchmen, machine workers and controllers with technical knowledge. This state of emancipation from the personal barriers of human labor makes the workers interchangeable, flexible, mobile. Only the will to adapt to these conditions must be instilled in them (447).

The factory is the realization of the real subordination of labor to capital. As the objectification of the social potencies of labor in machinery, it is the place of subordination of living to dead labor. Here the capitalist determination of the means of production to be suckers of labor is completed. Through the use of machinery, capital not only forces the workers to expend their labor power in a more harmful (449), more productive, extensive and intensive manner, but the exploitation purpose of capital now confronts the worker as a "workplace" to which he has to subordinate himself out of technical necessity . Capital does not need a whip or a driver.

Struggle between worker and machine

The class struggle of the workers was first directed against the “material existence of capital” (451). For rationalizations represent a constant threat to the existence of the worker who has no other source of income than the sale of his labor power, which loses its exchange value with the loss of its use value (454). The pressure of the dismissed lowers the price of labor below its value and completes the workers' dependence on capital.

In the machine, the worker faces the capitalist end of production and its objectified existence (455). It is the systematically employed means of the class struggle of capital; hostile power to him, flexible lever for the exploitation of the workers and for the suppression of the periodic workers' revolts (459). So it's not a natural property of machines.

The compensation theory for workers displaced by machinery

Nowadays it is so taken for granted and accepted that rationalization is necessary and “unfortunately” lead to layoffs that this circumstance no longer deserves any theoretical effort. “Modernization” through job cuts must be due to location policy in order to preserve the jobs that have not (yet) been abolished. “Compensation” is only available as a promise from the state and capital that growth rates of more than 3% will create more “jobs” if wages are reduced and the welfare state is “reformed”. Marx now examines all possible moments of the apology that rationalization have positive effects.

First, he examines the claim that capital freed up by rationalization employs laid-off workers. However, only a small part of the variable capital is released, but tied up in machinery. To the extent that capital is set free because the machines are considerably cheaper than the set free workers, this capital employs far fewer workers than those that have been rationalized away, because it divides itself again into c and v, based on the latest technical standards (461).

Insofar as it is thought that additional capital in mechanical engineering, for the production of the necessary machines, hires laid-off workers, then it must be considered that the additional W 'represented by the machines divides itself again into c + v + m, so that in the best case, fewer workers are employed than displaced. And anyway, it is no consolation for laid-off workers that workers are being hired elsewhere. Even if the purchase of new machinery should lead to new jobs in mechanical engineering, it is assumed that buying machines will be rationalized in the sectors; that is, workers are continuously being laid off (462).

On the theory that rationalization frees the laid-off workers' foodstuffs and turns them into capital for their use, he says that foodstuffs are not the same as capital, but goods. The consequence of rationalization is that workers buy less from them and the food industry reduces its production. So instead of proving that the liberation of the workers from foodstuffs is transformed into capital for their use, it has been shown that machinery attracts workers not only in the branch of production in which it is introduced, but also in the branches of production in which it is not introduced Band-Aid Throws (463).

Compensation would only be possible - if at all - through additional capital seeking investment. It is questionable, however, whether the old qualifications of the workers are valid there, so that the devaluation of their goods threatens labor. In addition, with every rationalization, not only the laid-offs but also their substitutes are set free, who are now pouring into the new branches; with better employment prospects than those already consumed. So it is only used under deteriorated conditions. The apologists of capital do not hide the fact that this “structural change” is primarily a source of inconvenience; but they are the dark side of "progress" and have nothing to do with capitalism (465).

The actual effects of rationalization, however, have a completely different character than in the glossing over compensation theory. They are the product of the increased productive power of labor, which increases the mass of goods produced by a reduced number of workers. This also expands production at the suppliers or buyers; sucked in more work that need not lead to recruitment, as this capital can increase the length of the working day, intensity and productivity of work (466) The cheaper food and the growing wealth of the capitalist class due to the relative surplus value, increases them and the luxury production that takes place for them and thereby their employees (468); also allows “to use a larger part of the working class unproductively” : servants of the capitalists and the state, Hartz IV (469). Furthermore, because of these cheaper means of food and production and the superfluous and thus cheaper labor, the basis of new industries that were previously unprofitable is emerging.

Repulsion and attraction of workers with the development of machine operations

The increase in the number of factory workers in no way contradicts the constant release of the workers, since their relative decrease and absolute increase have the same reason - constant revolutionization of the technical basis of production in order to increase the relative surplus value (473). The growing demand for work is not a constant process; instead, layoffs in one job go hand in hand with new hires in another.

Hirings and layoffs occur in the industrial cycle of capital. The increase in the productive power of labor and the associated reduction in the price of products enables the mass of goods to be increased by leaps and bounds, "which is only limited by the raw material and the sales market" (474). On the other hand, inexpensive goods and improved technologies (in transport and communication) are means of conquering the world market. As a result, the factory system outside destroys the outdated modes of production which it orientates towards the production of goods and money acquisition, without their product being able to withstand comparison with the goods from the metropolises. In this way, entire continents are transformed into “raw material countries”, whose states have their economic basis not in domestic production but in the sale of their natural resources. They exploit this without regard to profitability and thus ensure low raw material prices, which have a positive effect on the growth of capital in the industrialized nations (475). The global elastic capacity for expansion of factory production incites competition between capitals as soon as an opportunity for expansion arises somewhere. Since they all strive to use these against each other, the overcrowding of the world market is necessary. The growth of industry therefore appears as a cycle of periods of medium vitality, prosperity, overproduction, crisis and stagnation.

As unsteady as the “economy”, so uncertain the situation of the workers, whose food depends on the course of their business (476). Except in the boom, the battle for market share takes place as a pure price war, which the manufacturers wage with rationalization and wage depressions. Over the industrial cycle as a whole, there is an increase in the number of factory workers only with a relatively faster increase in capital growth. These attitudes appear as permanent hire & fire throughout the cycle.

Big industry revolutionizes manufacturing, handicrafts and housework

The ruin of the proletarians is also brought about by the fact that, on the one hand, large industry increases the number of cheap workers and, on the other hand, revolutionizes all traditional forms of production, and the latter can only be operated profitably if their exploitation withstands competition with the factory (470).

Even more shameless exploitation of cheap and immature workers becomes an essential means of competition in modern manufacture and housework. Total depletion of the labor force through the smallest of savings on the c and low wages make production facilities below the social productivity level profitable.

The cheapening of labor through wasteful squeezing encounters natural barriers to exploitation material. If wage depressions and dead labor have reached a point that cannot be physically exceeded, every further rationalization of the more productive decides the competition in favor of the latter (494). The normal working day and the prohibition of child labor also deprive companies where this kind of unlimited exploitation is the basis of their competitiveness (498).

Factory legislation

For the purpose of surplus value, capital ruthlessly uses the freedoms it has gained with the factory system against the workers. It systematically destroys the foundations of its utilization, labor and nature.

The fundamental intervention of the state against the interests of the capitalists does not take a measure of the damaged interests of the proletariat, but of the effects that these have for (state and) capital itself. For its own reasons, the state ensures that the proletarians are preserved as the exploitative material of capital; precisely in this way ensures the continuation of the capitalist mode of production. The bourgeois (social) state is not a class state in that it is an instrument of the interests of capital against the proletariat, but rather as an ideal total capitalist who, from the standpoint of the growth of its economy, considers restrictions on capitalist exploitation necessary (604).

This reason and purpose of government intervention also puts its stamp on its protective measures. They start from the necessary ruin, want to limit it to a functional level, that is, define a normal level of ruin that should enable exploitation and exploitation material to continue at the same time (505). Because the foundations of exploitation and nothing else should be preserved, the state reflects in its protective provisions that capital is not excessively hindered: 1000 operational exceptions, negligent controls and moderate fines, with which it opens up freedom to capital To calculate its limitations and their breakage is a necessary form of progression. Damage that is not restricted is permitted by law, i.e. it is not harmful to health and has been declared a normal living condition (506, 519). In addition to the regulations on the limitation of working hours (see above), these are, on the one hand, labor law regulations of the health and accident protection departments and, on the other, youth protection, family law provisions and education.


In addition to the restriction of child labor, there is the establishment of a training system with general compulsory education. This, too, is a state matter, because on the one hand capital not only has no interest in investing in “education”, but on the contrary produces intellectual crippling, narrow-mindedness and brutality. As much as capital, on the other hand, emancipates itself from the abilities and skills of the subjects, it forces the ability of labor to be mobile and flexible through the permanent upheaval in production and therefore a constant need for education (512). The “narrow-minded” interest in added value not only leads to no knowledge, but because of its character, the latter is not a business either. Learning for what is currently needed by the individual capitalist takes place as a moment of the machine system. But “elementary education” as a prerequisite for this is not.

Here the state intervenes as the ideal total capitalist. He ensures the functionality of science, technology and education by organizing them separately from the calculations of capital as his business.

Family legislation

The preservation of the class necessarily requires the restriction of the powers to which the state authorizes the parents in order to regulate the generation of offspring functionally for him and capital. By destroying the economic basis of the family, the traditional system of the family working and reproductive community, and making the sale of children to the factory owner a necessity for the maintenance of the working class, capital undermines the next generation of workers as its source. Hence the need to limit child labor and to introduce compulsory education. In the right of children he prohibits parents from wearing out their young citizens beyond measure for capital so that they can mature in their entirety for the purposes set by him (513).

Great industry and agriculture

In agriculture, big industry has an even more ruinous effect on the workers, because their relative decline is not accompanied by an absolute increase, since expansion here always has to go hand in hand with an increase in the built-up area (527). Because of this, and because the relative dispersion of farm workers counteracts the development of a trade union organization (529), the rural proletariat forms the most wretched section of the working class and is still a reservoir for the latent reserve army.

The competition between peasant production relations and the capitalist separation of town and country destroys the traditional basis of the metabolism between man and earth and replaces it with the capitalist mode of production, in which the soil is only a means to the extent that it is suitable for the production of surplus value. Because of this and beyond that, the chapter is ruthless towards this source of its production. The consequence is the ruin of this source if it is worth winning (530).

Fifth section: the production of absolute and relative surplus-value

Chapter 14: Absolute and relative surplus value

With big industry, capital has completely subsumed labor. All the potencies of social labor are incorporated into capital as a means of valorization. In this way, productive labor becomes a means of exploitation under capitalism; their social character, their intellectual potentials and their process are separate from the worker and opposed to him as the objective conditions (machinery) that dictate all the moments of his activity (192). The category of abstract work has become concrete with the factory. It depends on pure performance, on pure "malochen"; Work in capitalism is reduced to the pure expenditure of labor. The worker does concrete work by producing goods under the conditions set by capital for the purpose of producing a surplus value. Work is productive, i.e. a contribution to the wealth of this society, not because of its material usefulness, but because it is a moment of the capitalist work process, which takes place as a combination of dependent partial work in the context of the factory as a whole (531). On the one hand, this “expands” the concept of productive work, since it is sufficient to be part workers. This means, however, that alternatives to the service of capital do not exist because the partial work that is at stake can no longer be carried out outside the capitalist factory. “ On the other hand, however, the concept of productive work narrows ”. It is not enough that the worker produces at all. For only the worker who serves the purpose of capital is productive. Productive labor therefore always includes the capitalist relation of production, which makes the worker an object of exploitation. “To be a productive worker is therefore not luck, but bad luck” (532).

Chapter 15: Change in the size of the price of labor and surplus value

The price of the commodity labor-power, to which capital refers in the production of surplus-value, is itself a quantity which depends on the application of the methods of the production of surplus-value. Thus, by combining the factors of length of the working day, intensity of work and productivity of work, capital has the means to lower the necessary working hours and thus the value of the commodity labor. Thus the price of labor power, presupposed in the process of valorization of capital, and the surplus value created in production are relative quantities which are conditioned by these factors. They and their combination change the value of the commodity labor power, the surplus value and their relationship to one another. Insofar as the methods of the production of surplus value constantly change their own conditions, there are deviations between the assumed price of labor and the newly created value. The change in the value of labor power brought about by the production of surplus value must therefore first be reflected in the circulation in corresponding price changes.

The consequences of productivity increases are that the absolute size of the product of value remains unchanged, the working day is always represented in the same product of value (Law 1). By changing the rate of surplus value, the value of labor power and surplus value change in the opposite direction (Law 2). The change in the rate of surplus value is a direct effect of the decrease in the value of the commodity labor power (Law 3). According to the third law, the change in the size of surplus-value assumes a movement in the value of labor-power caused by a change in the productive power of labor.

The change in the intensity of labor increases the product of value due to the deviation from the social average and therefore reproduces the value of labor in a shorter time. The thus increased surplus value can go hand in hand with a higher price of labor, provided that the increased wear and tear of labor increases the costs of reproduction - only through labor disputes. However, even an increase in the price of labor may not compensate for its increased wear and tear. Equal degrees of intensity in one sphere cancel this effect, since the new, higher degree of intensity now becomes the usual social normal degree (548).

If the working day is extended, the relative size of the surplus value increases with the absolute value. The rate of surplus value rises even if the price of labor rises due to increased wear and tear. Nevertheless, a rise in the price of labor can be accompanied by a fall below its value (549). At a certain point, a longer working day - i.e. more wear and tear - can no longer be compensated for by more food. All normal reproductive and operating conditions of the worker are ruined. The price of labor and its degree of exploitation become incommensurable quantities:

The combined application of the various methods of the production of surplus value allows capital to overcome the limits of exploitation given with the respective production process. They are used to extract more overtime from workers. In doing so, capital develops the productive forces of labor, but only for the purpose of increasing surplus labor by reducing the labor required. Increasing productivity and increasing intensity go hand in hand in the capitalist factory. As the value of labor decreases, the shortening of the working day becomes the lever to force further increase in intensity. Reducing working hours is a means of increasing overtime under capitalism. Of all things, increases in intensity and productivity, which allow work to be done more easily and quickly and at the same time allow the enjoyment to be more diverse, are only developed under capitalism to convert every minute that the worker has to work less for himself into overtime. (552)

Chapter 16: Various Formulas for the Rate of Surplus-Value

Through the methods of absolute and relative surplus-value production, v is no longer just a simply presupposed quantity, but the result of the constantly revolutionized capitalist production process.

The formula: M / V = ​​surplus value / value of labor = extra work / necessary work expresses precisely this relationship that determines the rate of surplus value. Capital advances money because the purchase of this commodity is the only source, the reason for surplus value, and its consumption brings it profit. The rate of surplus value is a value relationship that is established using a time relationship established in production.

In the formula established by classic bourgeois economy - extra work / working day = surplus value / product value = surplus product / total product - the connection between the purchase of labor and its value and its use in the production of surplus value has been erased. It takes up surplus value only as a result of production, as the ratio of working hours or products in which the values ​​are embodied, suppresses the exchange of variable capital with living labor and the corresponding exclusion of the worker from the product (p. 553). It therefore records the formally independent but related acts of buying and spending labor against each other, puts them in an external relationship and compares the respective values ​​with one another. The surplus value appears to her as the surplus of the working day over the values ​​going into the process and thus as part of the total value product of the working day. This view is also wrong in the way it conceives capitalist products. Because production only takes place because and to the extent that profitable work is set in motion. The necessary work takes place only for the overtime and because of it. It is not only the reason for added value, but it is only reproduced when extra work is done.

The formula: surplus value / value of labor = extra work / necessary labor = unpaid / paid work says that labor is only bought for the purpose of producing surplus value. It differs from the first formula in that it expresses the relationship between the expenditure of labor and the purpose of your purchase. Capital is not only the command of labor, but the command of a certain amount of unpaid labor for others. (556)

Section six: wages

In the market economy, the workers' wages appear formally as the price of their labor (557). In this form of payment for their labor power, work has an exchange value that is paid for in wages. Marx points out that in this practice the bottom line of wages is reversed (559). He wants to explain this contradiction: In the form of wages, the daily value of labor - which corresponds to only part of its value product - is expressed as the value of daily labor. The payment of the entire working day is identical to the appropriation of the unpaid working hours. This form erases any trace of the division of the working day into necessary work and overtime, into paid and unpaid work. All work appears as paid work (562).

This is the reality of wage payment: the employer's payment hides the fact that performing unpaid work is a condition of getting paid for the work that is necessary. Exploitation of labor exists in the form of its opposite: payment for labor. All legal ideas of workers and capitalists, all justifications of the capitalist mode of production (562), are based on this manifestation, which makes the real relationship invisible and reveals its opposite.

The two basic forms of wages - time and piece wages - emerge from the provision that payment for work is the means of appropriating unpaid work. The type of payment ensures that unpaid work is performed absolutely and relatively. It relates the remuneration to units of working time and the product quantity resulting from the work. By paying for the working time of the labor force (time wage), the capital appropriates unpaid work with every hour of paid work. It can even get extra work out of the labor force without granting the working time necessary for its self-preservation (568). Piece wages are only a modified time wage: the labor expended is measured by the pieces produced in a given period of time, in which it is condensed over a certain period of time (576). It creates the impression that workers receive a certain share of the product. But it is just another way of measuring working hours and a lever to mobilize the most intense work during its duration.

Seventh Section: The Accumulation Process of Capital

22nd chapter. Transformation of surplus value into capital

This chapter contains the beginning of a Marxist theory of growth . It explains how the surplus value is converted into capital and why this creates a pressure to grow :

“Furthermore, the development of capitalist production makes a continual increase in the capital invested in an industrial enterprise a necessity, and competition rules on every individual capitalist the immanent laws of the capitalist mode of production as external laws of compulsion. It forces him to continuously expand his capital in order to maintain it, and he can only expand it through progressive accumulation. "

It also describes what the rate of accumulation depends on, namely the degree of exploitation, productivity and the size of capital advanced.

24th chapter. The so-called original accumulation

Main article "The so-called original accumulation" in "Capital"

Chapter 25. The modern colonization theory

Marx describes the economic conditions in the colonies . He does this in order to expose what he considers to be the simplistic theories of 'political economy' (especially E. Wakefield ). He gives an example:

"Mr. Peel, he [Wakefield] laments to us, took groceries and means of production to the amount of £ 50,000 from England to the Swan River, New Holland. Mr. Peel was so careful, besides 3,000 working class men, men, Bring women and children. Once at the place of destination, “Mr. Peel stayed without a servant to make his bed or to draw water from the river.” Unfortunate Mr. Peel, who provided everything but not the export of the English production conditions after the Swan River! (...) One knows: Production and foodstuffs, as the property of the direct producer, are not capital. They only become capital under conditions in which they also serve as the workers' means of exploitation and domination. " (P. 793f)

In the following, Marx describes the measures which the capitalist mother country England and later the independent governments in the colonies took to enforce a capitalist mode of production. According to Marx, this included an artificially prescribed land price, which forced the immigrants to initially enter into wage employment, which then accumulated further capital for the owners of the capital. In addition, this capital served "to import have-nots from Europe into the colonies and thus to keep the capitalist's wage labor market fully" (p. 800). Thirdly, "the American Civil War had a colossal national debt in its wake and with it tax pressure, the creation of the most common financial aristocracy, the giving away of an enormous part of the public lands (...) - in short, the fastest centralization of capital" (p. 801).

Marx closes the 25th chapter and at the same time the first volume of Capital with the remark that he is less concerned with the condition of the colonies than - in line with the seventh section 'The process of capital accumulation' (Chapters 21-24) - to show again: "Capitalist modes of production and accumulation (...) require the destruction of private property based on one's own labor, ie the expropriation of the worker." (P. 802)

World document heritage

The first volume of the capital was placed on the World Document Heritage List in June 2013 .

Individual evidence

  1. ^ All quotations from Karl Marx: Das Kapital. Critique of Political Economy, Volume One , Dietz Verlag, Berlin [GDR] 1962 (= MEW 23)
  2. ^ Karl Marx : Das Kapital, Volume 1 . In: Marx-Engels works . No. 23 . Dietz, Berlin 1965, p. 618 ( ).