Marx’s Economic Manuscripts of 1861-63
1) Transformation of Money into Capital
[II-A] What the worker sells is disposition over his labour capacity — temporally limited disposition over it. The piece-work system of payment does, admittedly, introduce the semblance that the worker obtains a definite share in the product. But this is only another form of measuring labour time. Instead of saying: you will work for 12 hours, it is said: you will receive such and such an amount per piece, i.e. we measure the number of hours by the product, as the size of the AVERAGE product of an hour has been established by experience. The worker who cannot supply this minimum is dismissed. (See Ure.)
In accordance with the general relation of purchase and sale, the exchange value of the worker’s commodity cannot be determined by the way in which the purchaser uses the commodity; it is determined solely by the quantity of objectified labour contained in the commodity itself; here, therefore, by the quantity of labour it costs to produce the worker himself, for the commodity he offers exists only as an ability, a capacity, and has no existence outside his bodily form, his person. The labour time necessary both to maintain him physically and to modify him to develop this special capacity is the labour time necessary to produce the worker as such.
In this exchange the worker in fact only receives money as coin, i.e. merely a transitory form of the means of subsistence for which he exchanges it. Means of subsistence, not wealth, are for him the purpose of the exchange.
Labour capacity has been called the capital of the worker in so far as it is the fund he does not consume by an isolated exchange, but is able to repeat the exchange again and again for the duration of his life as a worker. On this argument everything that formed a fund for repeated processes by the same subject would be capital; e.g. the eye would be the capital of sight. Phrases. The fact that, as long as he is capable of working, labour is always a source of exchange for the worker, and not exchange absolutely but exchange with capital, is inherent in the definition of the concept, according to which he only sells the temporary disposition over his labour capacity, hence can always begin the same act of exchange anew once he has half satisfied his hunger and slept half long enough, taken in the appropriate quantity of substances to be able to reproduce afresh the manifestation of his life.
Instead of wondering at this and presenting to the worker the fact that he lives at all, hence is able to repeat certain life processes every day, as a great service rendered by capital, the whitewashing sycophants of bourgeois political economy should rather have fixed their attention on the fact that after constantly repeated labour he always has only his living, direct labour itself to exchange. The repetition itself is, in fact, merely an apparent one. What he exchanges for capital (even if it is represented in relation to him by different, successive capitalists) is his entire labour capacity, which he expends over 30 years, say. It is paid for in doses, just as he sells it in doses. This changes absolutely nothing in the essence of the matter, and in no way justifies the conclusion that, because the worker must sleep for a certain number of hours before he is capable of repeating his labour and his exchange with capital, labour forms his capital. Hence what in fact is here conceived as his capital is the limit to his labour, its interruption, the fact that he is not a perpetuum mobile. The struggle for the normal working day proves that the capitalist would like nothing better than for the worker to squander his dosages of vital force, as far as possible, without interruption. [II-A]
[II-55] The whole movement that money performs to be converted into capital therefore falls into two distinct processes: the first is an act of simple circulation, purchase on one side, sale on the other; the second is the consumption of the purchased article by the buyer, an act which lies outside circulation, takes place behind its back. The consumption of the purchased article, in consequence of the latter’s specific nature, here itself constitutes an economic relation. In this consumption process the buyer and the seller enter into a new relation with each other, which is at the same time a relation of production.
The two acts may be entirely separate in time; and whether the sale is realised straight away or first concluded nominally and subsequently realised, it must always, at least nominally, as a stipulation made between buyer and seller, precede as a specific act the second act. the process of consumption of the purchased commodities — although their stipulated price is not paid until later.
The first act fully corresponds to the laws of commodity circulation, to which it belongs. Equivalents are exchanged for equivalents. The money owner pays out on the one hand the value of the material and means of labour, on the other hand the value of the labour capacity. In this purchase he therefore gives in money exactly as much objectified labour as he withdraws from circulation in the form of commodities — labour capacity, material of labour and means of labour. If this first act did not correspond to the laws of the exchange of commodities, it could not appear at all as the act of a mode of production whose foundation is namely that the most elementary relationship individuals enter with each other is that of commodity owners. A different foundation of production would have to be assumed in order to explain it. But, inversely, it is precisely the mode of production whose product always has the elementary form of the commodity, and not that of use value, which is based on capital, on the exchange of money for labour capacity.
The second act displays a phenomenon which in its result and its conditions is not only entirely alien to the laws of simple circulation but even appears to be at odds with it. In the first place, the social position of the seller and the buyer changes in the production process itself. The buyer takes command of the seller, to the extent that the latter himself enters into the buyer’s consumption process with his person as a worker. There comes into being, outside the simple exchange process, a relation of domination and servitude, which is however distinguished from all other historical relations of this kind by the fact that it only follows from the specific nature of the commodity which is being sold by the seller; by the fact, therefore, that this relation only arises here from purchase and sale, from the position of both parties as commodity owners, therefore in itself once again includes political, etc., relationships. The buyer becomes the chief, lord (master), the seller becomes his worker (man, hand). In the same way as the relation of buyer and seller, as soon as it is inverted to become the relation of creditor ‘and debtor, alters the social position of both parties — but there it is only a temporary change. Here it is permanent.
But if one considers the result itself, it completely contradicts the laws of simple circulation, and this becomes even more striking when, as is usually the case, payment is only made after the labour has been delivered, the purchase being therefore in fact realised only at the end of the production process. For now labour capacity no longer confronts the buyer as such. It has become objectified in the commodity, say for example 12 hours of labour time, or 1 day’s labour. The buyer therefore receives a value of 12 hours of labour. But he only pays for a value of say 10 hours of labour. Here equivalents would not really be exchanged for each other; but in fact no exchange is taking place at all now. One could only say: even assuming — and this is a favourite phrase — assuming that Act I has not taken place in the manner described but [II-56] instead the buyer pays not for the labour capacity but rather for the labour itself that has been provided. It can only be imagined. The product is now ready, but its value only exists in the form of its price. It must first be realised as money. If, then, the capitalist immediately realises for the worker his part of the product in money, it is in order that the worker should be content with a lesser equivalent in money than he has given up in the commodity. From a general point of view this is absurd. For it adds up to the assertion that the seller must always be satisfied with a lesser equivalent in money than he provides in the commodity. Once the buyer transforms his money into a commodity, buys, the value only continues to exist in the commodity he buys as price; it no longer exists as realised value, as money. He receives no compensation for the fact that his commodity has lost the form of exchange value, of money. On the other hand, he has gained by the transaction, in that it now exists in the form of the commodity.
But, it is further argued, if I buy a commodity for my own consumption, that is something different; I am interested in its use value. There, it is only a matter of transforming exchange value into means of subsistence. In contrast to this, if I buy a commodity in order to re-sell it, I evidently suffer an initial loss when I exchange my money for it. For I am only concerned with exchange value and by the act of purchase my money loses the form of money. The exchange value exists now only as price, as an equation with money which has yet to be realised. But the intention with which I buy a commodity has nothing to do with its value. The phenomenon that in buying in order to sell a surplus value emerges would here be derived from the intention of the buyer that this surplus value should emerge, which is obviously absurd. When I sell a commodity I am completely indifferent to the use the buyer intends to make of it, as also to the misuse. Let us assume that the commodity owner has insufficient money to buy labour, but enough to buy the material and means of labour. The sellers of the material and means of labour would laugh him to scorn if he were to say: the material and means of labour are incomplete products; one is so in the nature of things, the other, likewise, only forms a constituent element of a later product and has no value except in so far as it enters into that product. Let us say that in fact the material of labour costs 100 thalers, the means of labour 20, and the labour I add to them, measured In money, is equal to 30 thalers. The value of the product would then be 150 thalers, and as soon as I am done with my work I have a commodity of 150 thalers, which, however, must first be sold in order to exist in the form of exchange value, as 150 thalers. I have given 100 thalers to the seller of the material, and 20 thalers to the seller of the means of labour; these form constituent elements of my commodity’s value; they form 80% of its price. This 80% of my as yet unsold commodity — which I must first turn back into money — has been realised in money by the sellers of the raw material and the means of labour in that they sold them to me, before the product was finished, and furthermore before it was sold. I am therefore making them an advance by the mere act of buying, and they ought accordingly to sell me their commodities at less than their value. The case is just the same.
In both cases I have a commodity of 150 thalers in my hands, but it must first be sold, realised in money. In the first case I have myself added the value of the labour, but I have paid in advance the value of the material and means of labour, not only before the product has been sold, but before it is finished. In the second case the worker has added the value and I have paid him before the sale of the commodity. So one would always arrive at the absurd conclusion that the buyer as such has the privilege of buying cheaper, whereby he would lose just as much in his capacity of seller as he would have gained as buyer. At the end of the day for example the worker has added a day’s labour to the product and I possess this labour of his in objectified form, as exchange value; I only pay him for this when I give back to him the same exchange value in money. The form of use value in which the value exists changes the magnitude of value just as little as it is changed by existing in the form of the commodity rather than that of money, as realised rather than non-realised value.
What creeps into this conception is the recollection of cash discount. If I have commodities ready, and either have money advanced on them — without selling them (or only making a conditional sale) — or draw out money on a bond of payment for a commodity which is already sold but for which payment first falls due later — for which I therefore have received in payment a bond, a bill of exchange or the like, only to be realised later — in both of these cases I pay discount. I pay for having received money without selling the commodity, or for having received money before the commodity is payable, before the sale is actually realised; in one or the other form I borrow money, and I pay for this. I give up part [II-57] of the price of the commodity, yielding it to the person who advances me money for the commodity as yet unsold or the commodity whose price is not yet payable. Here, therefore, I am paying for the metamorphosis of the commodities.
But if I am the buyer of labour — once it has been objectified in the product — this relation does not fill the bill, to begin with. For whether money is advanced [on unsold commodities] or the payment bond is discounted, in both cases the advancer of the money is not the buyer of the commodity but a third person who interposes himself between buyer and seller. But in our case the capitalist confronts the worker who has provided him with the commodity — a definite amount of labour time objectified in a particular use value — as buyer, and he pays when he has already received the equivalent in the commodity. Secondly, this whole relation between the industrial capitalist and the capitalist advancing money at interest presumes that the capital-relation already exists. It is assumed that money-value in general — possesses as such the quality of valorising itself within a definite period of time, the ability to create a certain surplus value, and payment is made for its use on this assumption. Here, therefore, a derived form of capital is being presupposed in order to explain its original form — a particular form in order to explain its general form.
In any case, the upshot of the whole thing is always this: The worker cannot wait until the product is sold. In other words, he does not have a commodity to sell, only his own labour. If he had commodities to sell, this would imply that in order to exist as a seller of commodities — since he does not live off the product and the commodity is not a use value for himself — he would always have to have in stock in the form of money as much of the commodities as he needs to live, to buy provisions, until his new commodity is finished and sold. Once again we have the same presupposition as in the first act, namely that the worker is faced, as mere labour capacity, with the objective conditions of labour, which include both his means of subsistence — the means to living while he works — and the conditions for the realisation of his labour itself. Under the pretext of reasoning out of existence the first relation on which everything depends, and which is decisive, it is thus re-established.
Another form is just as idiotic: By receiving his wages, the worker has already received his share of the product or the value of the product, hence he has no further demands to make. Capitalist and worker are associés, a joint proprietors of the product or its value, but one partner has his share paid to him by the other and thereby loses his right to the value resulting from the sale of the product and the profit realised therein. Arising from this we have to distinguish between two fallacies, If the worker had received an equivalent for the labour added by him to the raw material, he would in fact have no further claim. He would have received his share payment at its full value. This would of course show why he has nothing further to do with either the commodity or its value, but it by no means shows why he receives an equivalent in money which is smaller than he provided in the labour objectified in the product.
Thus in the above example the seller of raw material at 100 thalers and the seller of the means of labour at 20, which were bought from them by the producer of the new commodity, have no claim to the new commodity and its value of 150 thalers. It does not, however, follow from this that the one received only 80 thalers instead of 100 and the other only 10 instead of 20. It only proves that if the worker has received his equivalent before the sale of the commodities — he has, however, sold his commodity — he has nothing further to demand. But it does not prove that he has to sell his commodity at less than the equivalent. Now of course a second illusion creeps in. The capitalist now sells the commodity at a profit. The worker, who has already obtained his equivalent, has already waived his claim to the profit which arises from this subsequent operation. Here then we once again have the old illusion that profit — surplus value — arises from circulation and therefore that the commodity is sold over its value and the buyer is defrauded. The worker would have no share in this fraud carried out by one capitalist on another; but the profit of the one capitalist would be equal to the LOSS of the other, and thus no surplus value would exist in and for itself, for capital as a whole.
There are of course particular forms of wage labour in which it appears as if the worker sold not his labour capacity but his labour itself, already objectified in the commodities. In the piece wage for example. However, this is [II-58] only another form of measuring labour time and supervising labour (of only paying for necessary labour). If I know, for example, that average labour can deliver 24 units of some article in 12 hours, then 2 units would be equivalent to 1 hour of labour. If the worker receives payment for 10 of the 12 hours he works, hence if he works 2 hours of surplus time, this is the same as if in every hour he provided 1/6 of an hour of surplus labour (labour for nothing). (10 minutes, hence 120 minutes over the whole day = 2 hours.)
Assuming that 12 hours of labour, evaluated in money, = 6s., then 1 hour = 6/12s. = 1/2 s. = 6d. The 24 units therefore = 6s., or a single unit = 1/4s. = 3d. It is all the same whether the worker adds 2 hours to 10 or 4 units to 20. Each unit of 3d. = 1/2 hour of labour of 3d. The worker, however, receives not 3d. but 2 1/2d. And if he delivers 24 units, he receives 48d. + 12d. = 60d. = 5s., while the capitalist sells the commodity at 6s. It is therefore only another way of measuring labour time (and equally of supervising the quality of the labour). These different forms of wage labour have nothing to do with the general relationship. It is in any case obvious that the same question arises with piece wages: where does the surplus value come from? It is clear that the piece is not completely paid for; that more labour is absorbed in the piece than is paid for in money.
Hence the whole phenomenon can only be explained (all other ways of explaining it ultimately return to presupposing its existence) by the fact that the worker does not sell his labour as a commodity — and it is a commodity as soon as it is objectified, in whatever use value, hence always as a result of the labour process, hence mostly before the labour has been paid for — but his labour capacity, before it has been set to work and realised itself as labour.
The result — that the preposited value, or the sum of money the buyer cast into circulation, has not only been reproduced but valorised itself, grown in a definite proportion, that a surplus value has been added to the value — this result is only realised in the direct production process, for only here does labour capacity become actual labour, only here is labour objectified in a commodity. The result is that the buyer gets back more objectified labour in the form of the commodity than he advanced in the form of money. This surplus value — this surplus of objectified labour time — arose first during the labour process itself; later the buyer throws it back into circulation by selling the new commodity.
But this second act, in which surplus value really arises and capital in fact becomes productive capital, can only occur as a result of the first act and is only a consequence of the specific use value of the commodity, which is in the first act exchanged for money at its value. The first act, however, only takes place under certain historical conditions. The worker must be free, in order to be able to dispose of his labour capacity as his property, he must therefore be neither slave, nor serf, nor bondsman. Equally, he must on the other hand have forfeited the conditions for the realisation of his labour capacity. He must therefore be neither a peasant farming for his own needs nor a craftsman; he must have altogether ceased to be an owner of property. It is assumed that he works as a non-proprietor and that the conditions of his labour confront him as alien property. Thus these conditions also imply that the earth confronts him as alien property; that he is excluded from the use of nature and its products. This is the point at which landed property appears as a necessary prerequisite for wage labour and therefore for capital. But in any case this does not have to be borne in mind any further in considering capital as such, since the form of landed property corresponding to the capitalist form of production is itself a historical product of the capitalist mode of production. There therefore lies hidden in the existence of labour capacity offered as a commodity by the worker himself a whole range of historical conditions which alone permit labour to become wage labour, hence money to become capital.
Here, of course, it is a matter of production’s resting in general on this basis; wage labour and its employment by capital should not occur as sporadic phenomena on the surface of the society, but should constitute the [II-59] dominant relation.
For labour to be wage labour, for the worker to work as a non-proprietor, for him to sell not commodities but disposition over his own labour capacity — to sell his labour capacity itself in the sole manner in which it can be sold — the conditions for the realisation of his labour must confront him as alienated conditions, as alien powers, conditions under the sway of an alien will, as alien property. Objectified labour, value as such, confronts him as an entity in its own right, as capital, the vehicle of which is the capitalist — hence it also confronts him as the capitalist.
What the worker buys is a result, a definite value; the quantity of labour time equal to the quantity contained in his own labour capacity, hence an amount of money necessary to keep him alive qua worker. For what he buys is money, hence merely another form for the exchange value he himself already possesses as labour capacity, and in the same quantity.
What the capitalist buys, in contrast, and what the worker sells, is the use value of labour capacity, i.e. labour itself, the power which creates and enhances value. This value-creating and value-enhancing power therefore belongs not to the worker but to capital. By incorporating into itself this power, capital comes alive and begins to work “as if its body were by love possessed”. Living labour thus becomes a means whereby objectified labour is preserved and increased. To the extent that the worker creates wealth, living labour becomes a power of capital; similarly, all development of the productive forces of labour is development of the productive forces of capital. What the worker himself sells — and this is always replaced with an equivalent — is labour capacity itself, a definite value, whose magnitude may oscillate between wider or narrower limits, but which is always reducible conceptually to a definite amount of the means of subsistence required for the maintenance of labour capacity as such, i.e. so that the worker may continue to live as a worker. Objectified, past labour thereby becomes the sovereign of living, present labour. The relation of subject and object is inverted. If already in the presupposition the objective conditions for the realisation of the worker’s labour capacity and therefore for actual labour appear to the worker as alien, independent powers, which relate to living labour rather as the conditions of their own preservation and increase — the tool, the material [of labour] and the means of subsistence only giving themselves up to labour in order to absorb more of it — this inversion is still more pronounced in the result. The objective conditions of labour are themselves the products of labour and to the extent that they are viewed from the angle of exchange value they are nothing but labour time in objective form.
In both directions, therefore, the objective conditions of labour are the result of labour itself, they are its own objectification, and it is its own objectification, labour itself as its result, that confronts labour as an alien power, as an independent power; while labour confronts the latter again and again in the same objectlessness, as mere labour capacity.
If the worker needs to work only for half a day in order to live for a whole day, i.e. in order to produce the means of subsistence necessary for his daily maintenance as a worker, the exchange value of his daily labour capacity = half a day’s labour. The use value of this capacity, on the other hand, consists not in the labour time needed to preserve and produce, or reproduce, that capacity itself, but in the labour time it can itself work. Its use value therefore consists for example in a day’s labour, whereas its exchange value is only half a day’s labour. The capitalist buys it at its exchange value, at the labour time required to preserve it; what he receives, in contrast, is the labour time during which it can itself work; hence in the above case a whole day, if he has paid for a half. The size of his profit depends on the length of the period of time for which the worker places his labour capacity at his disposal. But in all circumstances the relation consists in this, that the worker puts it at his disposal for longer than the amount of labour time necessary for his own reproduction. The capitalist only buys it because it has this use value.
Capital and wage labour only express two factors of the same relation. Money cannot become capital without being exchanged for labour capacity as a commodity sold by the worker himself; therefore without finding this specific commodity available on the market. On the other hand, labour can only appear as wage labour once the specific conditions of its realisation, its own objective conditions, confront it as powers in their own right, alien property, value — being-for-itself and holding fast to [II-60] itself, in short as capital. Hence if capital from its material side — or in terms of the use values in which it exists — can only consist of the objective conditions of labour itself, the means of subsistence and means of production (the latter in part material of labour, in part means of labour), from its formal side these objective conditions must confront labour as alienated, as independent powers, as value — objectified labour — which relates to living labour as the mere means of its own preservation and increase.
Wage labour — or the wage system — (the wage as the price of labour) is therefore a necessary social form of labour for capitalist production, just as capital, potentiated value, is a necessary social form the objective conditions of labour must have for labour to be wage labour. One thus sees what a deep understanding of this social relation of production is possessed by e.g. a Bastiat, who says the form of the wage system is not to blame for the evils the socialists complain of. //More on this subject later.// The fellow thinks that if the workers had enough money to live until the sale of the commodity, they would be able to share with the capitalists on more favourable terms. That is, in other words, if they were not wage labourers, if they could sell the product of their labour instead of their labour capacity. The fact that they cannot do this makes them precisely wage labourers and their buyers capitalists. Thus the essential form of the relation is regarded by Mr. Bastiat as an accidental circumstance.
There are a few more questions attached to this, which will be looked at immediately. First, though, one more remark. We have seen that by adding new labour in the labour process — and this is the only labour he sells to the capitalist — the worker preserves the value of the labour objectified in the material of labour and the means of labour. And indeed he does this for nothing. It happens in virtue of the living quality of labour as labour, not that a fresh quantity of labour would be required for this.
//Where e.g. the instrument of labour has to be improved, etc., requires new labour for its maintenance, it is the same thing as if a new tool or an aliquot part of a new means of labour were to be bought by the capitalist and thrown into the labour process. //
The capitalist receives this for nothing. Just as the worker advances his labour to him, in that it is only paid for after it is objectified (This is a point to be made against those who speak of the price of labour’s being advanced. The labour is paid for after it has been provided. The product as such does not concern the worker. The commodity he sells has already passed into the possession of the capitalist before it is paid for.)
But yet a further result comes to pass owing to the whole transaction, and the capitalist also gets this for nothing. After the end of a labour process of, for example, one day the worker has turned the money he receives from the capitalist into means of subsistence and has thereby preserved, reproduced his labour capacity, so that the same exchange between capital and labour capacity can begin again afresh.
[II-61] “The material undergoes changes.... The instruments, or machinery, employed ... undergo changes. The several instruments, in the course of production, are gradually destroyed or consumed.... The various kinds of food, clothing, and shelter, necessary for the existence and comfort of the human being, are also changed. They are consumed, from [II-62] time to time, and their value reappears, in that new vigor imparted to his body and mind, which forms a fresh capital, to be employed again in the work of production” (F. Wayland, The Elements of Political Economy, Boston, 1843, [p:] 32). [II-62]
But this is a condition for the valorisation of capital, for its further existence in general, which allows it to be a continuous relation of production. This reproduction of labour capacity as such means the reproduction of the sole condition under which commodities can be transformed into capital. The worker’s consumption of his wage is productive for the capitalist not only because the latter receives in return labour, and a greater quantity of labour than is represented by the wage, but also because it reproduces for him the condition [for capital’s further existence], labour capacity. Hence the result of the capitalist process of production is not just commodities and surplus value; it is the reproduction of this relation itself (its reproduction on an ever growing scale, as will be seen later).
In so far as labour is objectified in the production process, it is objectified as capital, as not-labour, and in so far as capital yields itself up in the exchange to the worker, it only turns into the means of reproducing his labour capacity. At the end of the process, therefore, its original conditions, its original factors and their original [mutual] relation, are again in place. The relation of capital and wage labour is therefore reproduced by this mode of production just as much as commodities and surplus value are produced. All that emerges at the end of the process is what entered at the start: on the one hand objectified labour as capital, on the other hand objectless labour as mere labour capacity, so that the same exchange is constantly repeated afresh. In colonies, where the domination of capital — or the basis of capitalist production — is not yet sufficiently developed, so that the worker receives more than [II-61] is required for the reproduction of his labour capacity and very soon becomes a peasant farming independently, etc., the original relation is not constantly reproduced; hence great lamentations by the capitalists and attempts to introduce the relation of capital and wage labour artificially (Wakefield ).
Linked with this reproduction of the total relationship — with the fact that by and large the wage labourer only emerges from the process to find himself in the same position in which he entered it — is the importance for the workers of the nature of the original conditions under which they reproduce their labour capacity and of the average wage or the limits within which they have traditionally to live in order to live as workers. This is more or less obliterated in the course of capitalist production, but it takes a long time. What means of subsistence are needed to maintain the worker — i.e. what kind of means of subsistence and in what quantity in general they are considered necessary — on this see Thornton. But this is a striking demonstration that wages are made up of means of subsistence alone, and that the worker continues to result merely as labour capacity. The difference lies only in the more or the less of a thing that counts as the measure of his requirements. He always works only for consumption; the difference is only in whether his consumption costs ( = production costs) are larger or smaller.
Wage labour is therefore a necessary condition for the formation of capital and it remains the constant, necessary prerequisite for capitalist production. Therefore although the first act, the exchange of money for labour capacity or the sale of labour capacity, does not enter as such into the direct production process (labour process), it does enter into the production of the whole relation. Without it, money does not become capital, labour does not become wage labour and therefore the whole labour process is not brought under the control of capital, either, not subsumed under it; hence the production of surplus value in the manner defined earlier does not take place either. This question of whether this first act belongs to the production process of capital — is the actual subject of discussion in the dispute between the economists as to whether the part of capital laid out in wages — or, what is the same thing, the means of subsistence for which the worker exchanges his wage — does constitute a part of capital. (See Rossi, Mill, Ramsay.)
The question: are wages productive is in fact the same misunderstanding as the question: is capital productive?
In the latter case capital is understood to mean nothing other than the use values of the commodities in which it exists (the physical objects which comprise capital), not the formal determination, the definite social relation of production of which the commodities are the vehicles. In the former case the emphasis is on the fact that the wage as such does not enter into the direct labour process.
It is not the price of a machine which is productive but the machine itself, to the extent that it functions as a use value in the labour process. When the value of the machine reappears in the value of the product, the price of the machine in the price of the commodity, this only occurs because it has a price. This price produces nothing; it does not preserve, still less does it increase itself. From one aspect wages are a deduction from the productivity of labour; for surplus labour is limited by the labour time the worker requires for his own reproduction, preservation. Hence the surplus value is limited. From another aspect they are productive, in so far as they produce labour capacity itself, which is the source of valorisation altogether and the basis of the whole relation.
The portion of capital expended in wages, i.e. the price of labour capacity, does not enter directly into the labour process, although it does indeed in part, since the worker has to consume means of subsistence several times a day in order to continue with his work. Nevertheless, this consumption process falls outside the actual labour process. (Like coal, oil, etc., in the case of the machine, perhaps?) As matière instrumentale of labour capacity? The preposited values only enter into the valorisation process at all to the extent that they are available. With the wage it is different, for this is reproduced; replaced by fresh labour. In any case, if wages themselves — split up into means of subsistence — are regarded merely as the coal and oil needed to keep the machine of labour in motion, they only enter into the labour process as use values to the extent to which t hey are consumed by the worker as means of subsistence and they are productive to the extent to which they keep him in motion as a working machine. But they do this in so far as they are means of subsistence, not because these means of subsistence [II-62] have a price. The price of these means of subsistence, however, the wage, does not come in here, for the worker must reproduce it. With the consumption of the means of subsistence the value contained in them is annihilated. He replaces this value with a fresh quantity of labour. It is therefore this labour which is productive, not its price.
//We have seen that the value contained in the material and means of labour is simply preserved by their being used up as material and means of labour, hence by their becoming factors of new labour, hence by the addition of new labour to them.
Let us now assume [that this is done] in order to carry on a production process on a particular scale — and this scale is itself determined, for only necessary labour time is to be employed, hence only as much labour time as is necessary at the given social stage of development of the productive forces. This given stage of development is however expressed in a certain quantity of machinery, etc., a certain quantity of products required for fresh production. Hence do not weave with a handloom when the powerloom is predominant, etc. In other words, in order that only necessary labour time be applied, labour must be placed in conditions which correspond to the mode of production. These conditions are themselves expressed as a certain quantity of machinery, etc., in short as means of labour which are prerequisites for ensuring that only as much labour time be employed for the manufacture of the product as is necessary at the given stage of development. Thus to spin yarn at least a minimum size of factory is needed, a steam engine with so and so much horsepower, mules with so and so many spindles, etc. Hence in order to preserve the value contained in these conditions of production — and spinning with machines in turn implies that a definite quantity of cotton must be consumed every day — it is necessary not only to add fresh labour but to add a certain quantity of that labour, so that the quantity of material determined by the stage of production itself should be used up as material, and that the particular time during which the machine must be in motion (must be utilised every day as instrument) should really be available as the machine’s period of utilisation.
If I have a machine which is constructed in such a way as to require the spinning of 600 lbs of cotton a day, and if 1 working day is needed to spin 6 lbs, 100 working days must be absorbed by these means of production, so as to preserve the value of the machinery. It is not that the fresh labour is in any way employed in the preservation of this value; all it does is add new value, while the old value re-appears unchanged in the product. But the old value is only preserved by the addition of new value. To re-appear in the product it must proceed as far as the product. Hence if 600 lbs of cotton must be spun so that the machinery is used as machinery, this 600 lbs must be transformed into product, i.e. there must be added to it the quantity of labour time which is necessary to transform it into product. In the product itself the value of the 600 lbs of cotton and the aliquot part of the machine that has been worn out simply reappears; the freshly added labour changes nothing in this, but it increases the value of the product. One part of it replaces the price of the wage (of labour capacity); another creates surplus value. If, however, the whole of this labour had not been added, the value of the raw material and the machinery would not have been preserved either. This part of the labour, in which the worker reproduces only the value of his own labour capacity, hence only adds this afresh, therefore preserves only the part of the value of material and instrument which has absorbed this quantity of labour. The other part of the labour, which creates the surplus value, preserves a further component of the value of the material and the machinery.
Let us assume that the raw material (the 600 lbs) costs 600d. = 50s. = £2 10s. The worn out machinery = £1, but the 12 hours of labour add £1 10s. (replacement of wage, and surplus value), so that the total price of the commodity = £5. Assuming the wage amounts to £1, 10s. expresses the surplus labour. Value preserved in the commodity = £2 10s., or half of it [of the £5]. The total product of the working day (one may imagine that this is a working day×100, i.e. a working day of 100 workers, since each one works for 12 hours) = £5. This makes 8 1/3s. per hour, or 8s. 4d. In one hour, therefore, 4s. 2d. of raw material and machinery is replaced and 4s. 2d. is added in labour (necessary and surplus labour).
The product of 6 hours of labour is [II-63] = 50s. = £2 10s.; preserved in this are raw material and machinery to the value of £1 5s. But in order to use machines so productively, 12 hours must be worked, hence as much raw material must be consumed as 12 hours of labour will absorb. The capitalist can therefore view the matter like this: in the first 6 hours alone the price of the raw material is replaced, amounting to precisely £2 10s. (50s.), the value of the product of 6 hours of labour. 6 hours of labour can only preserve, through the labour thereby added, the value of the material needed for 6 hours of labour. But the capitalist makes his calculations as if the first 6 hours had merely preserved the value of the cotton and machinery, because he must use his machine as a machine, let 12 hours be worked, hence also consume 600 lbs of cotton, in order to extract a definite surplus value. On our assumption, however, the value of the cotton was £1 10s. = 30s., 3/10 of the whole.
To simplify matters — since the figures are here a matter of indifference — let us assume that £2 worth of cotton (hence 80 lbs, each lb. costing 6d.) is spun in 12 hours of labour; that £2 worth of machinery is used up in 12 hours of labour; and finally that £2 of value is added by fresh labour, of which £1 for wages, £1 for surplus value, surplus labour. £2 (40s.) for 12 hours would come to 3 1/3s. per hour (3s. 4d.), expressing the value of an hour of labour in money; similarly 3 1/3s. worth of cotton is used up each hour, on our assumption 6 2/3 lbs; lastly 3 1/3s. worth of machinery is worn out each hour. The value of the commodities finished each hour = 10s. But of this 10s. 6 2/3s. (6s. 8d.) or 66 2/3 % is merely preposited value, which only re-appears in the commodity because 3 1/3s. of machinery and 6 2 /3 lbs of cotton are required to absorb 1 hour of labour; because they have entered into the labour process as material and machinery — as material and machinery in these proportions — hence the exchange value contained in this quantity [of material and machinery] has gone over to the new commodity, the twist for example.
The value of the yarn produced in 4 hours = 40s. or £2, of which in turn 1/3 (namely 13 1/3s.) is newly added labour, and 2/3 or 26 2/3s. is merely the preservation of the value contained in the worked up material and the machinery. And indeed this is only preserved because the new value of 13 1/3s. is added to the material, i.e. 4 hours of labour are absorbed in it; or this is the quantity of material and machinery needed by the 4 hours of spinning labour for its realisation. In these 4 hours no value has been created apart from the 4 hours of labour which, objectified, = 13 1/3s. But the value of the commodity, or of the product of these 4 hours, 2/3 of which is preposited value preserved, = £2 (or 40s.), is exactly equal to the value of the cotton which needs to be spun (consumed) in 12 hours of labour by the spinning process. If, therefore, the manufacturer sells the product of the first 4 hours, he has thereby replaced the value of the cotton which he requires over the 12 hours, or which he requires so as to absorb 12 hours of labour time. But why? Because on our assumption the value of the cotton that enters into the product of 12 hours = 1/3 of the value of the total product. In 1/3 of the labour time he consumes only 1/3 of the cotton and therefore only preserves the value of this one third. If he adds another 2/3 of labour, he thereby consumes 2/3 more cotton and in 12 hours he has preserved in the product the total value of the cotton, because all 80 lbs of cotton have really entered into the product, into the labour process. Now, if he were to sell the product of 4 hours of labour, whose value = 1/3 of the total product, which is also the part of the value of the total product formed by the cotton, he might imagine that he had reproduced the value of the cotton in these first 4 hours, that it had been reproduced in 4 hours of labour. In actual fact, however, only 1/3 of the cotton enters these 4 hours, hence only 1/3 of its value. He assumes that the cotton consumed in the 12 hours was reproduced in the 4 hours. But the calculation only works because he included in the cotton ‘/3 for the instrument and 1/3 for labour (objectified), which together form 2/3 of the price of the product of the 4 hours. They = 26 2/3s., and in price therefore = 53 1/3 lbs of cotton. If he were only to work for 4 hours, he would only have in his commodity ‘/3 of the value of the total product of 12 hours. Since the cotton forms 1/3 of the value of the total product, he can reckon that in the product of 4 hours he brings forth the value of the cotton needed for 12 hours of labour.
[II-64] If he works for a further 4 hours, this again = 1/3 of the value of the total product, and since the machinery = 1/3 of the latter, he can imagine that in the 2nd third of the labour time he has replaced the value of the machinery needed for 12 hours. Indeed, if he sells the product of this 2nd third, or of these other 4 hours, the value of the machinery used up in 12 hours has been replaced. On this calculation the product of the last 4 hours contains neither raw material nor machinery, whose value it would include, but simply labour. Newly created value, therefore, so that 2 hours = the reproduced wage (£l) and 2 hours are surplus value, surplus labour (also £l). In reality, the labour added in the last 4 hours only adds 4 hours of value, hence 13 1/3s. But it is presupposed that the value of the raw material and means [of labour], which enter to 662 /3% into the product of these 4 hours, merely replaces the labour added. The value added by labour in the 12 hours is thus conceived as if it were added by labour in 4 hours. The whole calculation comes out because it is presupposed that 1/3 of the labour time not only creates itself but also the value of the 2 2/3 of the preposited values contained in the labour’s product. [This should read: “...but also the value of the preposited values, contained in the labour’s product to the amount of 2/3 of that product” — Ed.]
If it is assumed in this way that the product of a whole third part of the labour time — is merely the value added by labour — although this value is only 1/3 — the result is naturally the same as if over 3×4 hours the real third part were calculated on labour and the 2 2/3 on the preposited values. This calculation may be quite practical for the capitalist, but it entirely distorts the real relationship and leads to the greatest absurdity, if it is supposed to have theoretical validity. The preposited value of raw material and machinery alone forms 66 2/3 % of the new commodity, whilst the added labour only forms 33 1/3%. The 66 2/3% represents 24 hours of objectified labour time; how ridiculous therefore the requirement that the 12 hours of new labour should objectify not only itself but in addition a further 24 hours, hence 36 hours altogether.
The point, then, is this:
The price of the product of 4 hours of labour, i.e. of a third of the total working day of 12 hours, = 1/3 of the price of the total product. According to our assumption, the price of the cotton forms 1/3 of the price of the total product. Hence the price of the product of 4 hours of labour, of 1/3 of the total working day, = the price of the cotton that enters into the total product, or is spun in 12 hours of labour. The manufacturer therefore says that the first 4 hours of labour replace only the price of the cotton that is consumed during the 12 hours of labour. But in fact the price of the product of the first 4 hours of labour = 1/3 of the value added in the labour process, i.e. 13 %s. labour (in our example), 13 1/3s. cotton, and 13 1/3s. machinery, the last two components only re-appearing in the price of the product because they have been consumed by the four hours’ labour in their shape as use values, hence re-appear in a new use value, and have therefore preserved their old exchange value.
What is added in the 4 hours to the 26 2/3s. of cotton and machinery (which possessed this value before they entered into the labour process, and only re-appear in the value of the new product because they have entered into the new product through the agency of the four-hour spinning process) is nothing other than 13 1/3s., i.e. the newly added labour. (The quantity of newly added labour time.) If we therefore deduct the 4 hours from the price of the product, the 26 2/3s. advanced from the 40s., only 13 1/3s. remains as value really created in the process, the four hours of labour expressed in money. If now 2/3 of the price of the product, namely the one third or 13 1/3s. which represents the machinery, and the other third or 13 1/3s. which represents the labour, is evaluated in cotton, there emerges the price of the cotton that is consumed in the 12 hours.
In other words: In 4 hours of labour time only 4 hours of labour time is in fact added to the values previously present. But these values appear again — the values of the quantities of cotton and machinery — because they have absorbed this 4 hours of labour time or because as factors in the spinning they have become constituents of the yarn. The price of the cotton which re-appears in the value of the product of 4 hours of labour therefore = only the value of the quantity of cotton which has really entered as material into this 4-hour labour process, has been consumed; hence it = 13 1/3s., according to the [original] assumption. But the price of the total product of 4 hours of labour = the price of the cotton consumed in 12 hours, because the product of 4 hours of labour time = % of the total product of 12 hours, and the price of the cotton constitutes 1/3 of the price of the total product of 12 hours.
[II-65] What is true of 12 hours of labour is true of one hour. The proportion between 4 hours and 12 hours is the same as between 1/3 hour and 1 hour. Hence in order to simplify the whole example even more let us reduce it to 1 hour. On the given assumption the value of the product of 1 hour = 10s., of which 3 1/3s. is cotton (6 2/3 lbs of cotton), 3 1/3 machinery, and 3 1/3 labour time. If an hour of labour time is added, the value of the whole product = 10s. or 3 hours of labour time, because the values of the material consumed and the machinery consumed, which re-appear in the new product, the yarn, = 6 2/3s., which = 2 hours of labour on our assumption. The manner in which the values of the cotton and the spindle re-appear in the value of the yarn and the manner in which the freshly added labour enters into it are now to be distinguished.
Firstly: The value of the whole product = 3 hours of labour time, or 10s. Of this, 2 hours were labour time contained in the cotton and spindle and in existence prior to the labour process, i. e. they were values of cotton and spindle before these entered into the labour process. They therefore simply re-appear, are merely r, reserved, in the value of the total product, of which they form 2/3. The excess of the value of the new product over the values of its material constituents is only = 1/3, = 3 1/3s. This is the sole new value created in this labour process. The old values, which existed independently of it, have merely been preserved.
But, secondly: How have they been preserved? Through being applied by living labour as material and means, through being consumed by it as factors in the formation of a new use value, that of yarn. The labour has only preserved their exchange value because it related to them as use values, i. c. consumed them as the elements in the formation of a new use value, of yarn. The exchange values of the cotton and the spindle therefore re-appear in the exchange value of the yarn, not because labour in general, abstract labour, pure labour time — labour as it forms the element of exchange value — has been added to them, but this particular, real labour, spinning, useful labour which is realised in a particular use value, in yarn, and which as this specific purposeful activity consumes cotton and spindle as its use values, utilises them as its factors, making them, through its own purposeful activity, into the formative elements of yarn.
If the spinner — therefore the labour of spinning — were able to convert 6 2/3 lbs of cotton into yarn in half an hour instead of 1 hour with a more ingenious machine, which nevertheless had the same value relation, the value of the product would = 3 1/3s. (for cotton)+3 1/3s. (for machine)+1 2/3s. of labour, since half an hour of labour time would be expressed in 1 2/3s. on our assumption. The value of the product would therefore = 8 1/3s., in which the value of the cotton and the machinery would re-appear entirely, as in the first case, although the labour time added to them would amount to 50% less than in the first case. They would re-appear entirely, because no more than half an hour of spinning was required to convert them into yarn. Hence they re-appear entirely because they entered entirely into the product of half an hour’s spinning, into the new use value, yarn. The labour, so far as it preserves them as exchange values, does so only to the extent that it is real labour, a specific purposeful activity aimed at producing a particular use value. It does this as spinning, not as abstract social labour time which is indifferent to its content. Only as spinning does the labour preserve here the values of cotton and spindle in the product, the yarn.
On the other hand, in this process in which it preserves the exchange values of cotton and spindle the labour, spinning, relates to them not as exchange values, but as use values, elements of this particular labour, spinning. If by using certain machinery the spinner can convert 6 1/3 lbs of cotton into yarn, it is for this process quite irrelevant whether the lb. of cotton costs 6d. or 6s., for he consumes it in the spinning process as cotton, as the material of spinning. There must be as much of this material as is required to absorb 1 hour of spinning labour. The price of the material has nothing to do with this. The same applies to the machinery. If the same machinery cost only half the price and performed the same service, this would not affect the spinning process in any way. The sole condition for the spinner is that he should possess material (cotton) and spindle (machinery) to the extent, in such quanta, as are required for spinning over the course of an hour. The values or prices of cotton and spindle do not concern the spinning process as such. They are the result of the labour time objectified in themselves. They therefore only re-appear in the product to the extent that they were preposited to it as given values, and they re-appear only because the commodities cotton and spindle are required as use values, in their material determinateness, for the spinning of yarn, because they enter as factors into the spinning process.
On the other hand, however, spinning adds to the value of cotton and spindle a new value not to the extent that it is this particular labour of spinning but only because it is labour in general, and the labour time of the spinner is general labour time, for which it is a matter of indifference whatever [II-66] use value it is objectified in and whatever specific useful character, specific purpose it has, or whatever the specific kind or mode of existence of the labour as whose time (measure) it is present. An hour of spinning labour is here equated with an hour of labour time as such (whether this = one hour or several has no bearing on the matter). This hour of objectified labour time adds to the combination of cotton and spindle 3'1/3s., for example, because this sum objectifies the same labour time in money.
If the 5 lbs of yarn (6 lbs of spun cotton) could be produced in half an hour instead of a whole hour, the same use value would be preserved at the end of half an hour as, in the other case at the end of the whole hour. The same quantity of use value of the same quality, 5 lbs of yarn of a given quality. The labour, to the extent that it is concrete labour, spinning, activity directed at producing a use value, would have achieved in the half hour as much as previously in the whole hour, it would have created the same use value. As spinning it achieves the same in both cases, although the duration of the spinning is twice as long in one case as in the other. To the extent that labour itself is use value, i.e. purposeful activity directed at producing a use value, the necessary time required, the time labour must last, to produce this use value is completely irrelevant; whether labour needs 1 hour or 1/2 hour to spin 5 lbs of yarn. On the contrary. The less time it needs to produce the same use value, the more productive and useful it is. But the value it adds, the value it creates, is measured purely by the labour’s duration. In 1 hour, the labour of spinning adds twice as great a value as in 1/2, and in 2 hours twice as great a value as in one, etc. The value it adds is measured by the labour’s own duration and, as value, the product is nothing but the materialisation of a definite amount of labour time in general. It is not the product of this specific labour of spinning, or spinning only comes into consideration to the extent that it is labour in general and its duration is labour time in general. The values of cotton and spindle are preserved because the labour of spinning converts them into yarn, hence because they are employed as the material and means of this specific mode of labour; the value of the 6 lbs of cotton is only increased because it has absorbed 1 hour of labour time; in the product, yarn, 1 hour more of labour time is objectified than was contained in the value elements cotton and spindle.
However, labour time can only be added to existing products or, in general, to existing material of labour to the extent that it is the time of a specific labour, which relates to the material and means of labour as to its own material and means; hence 1 hour of labour time can only be added to the cotton and the spindle in that an hour of spinning labour is added to them. The fact that their values are preserved derives merely from the specific character of the labour, from its material determinateness, from its being spinning, precisely the particular labour for which cotton and spindle serve as the means for the production of yarn; and further, from its being living labour in general, purposeful activity. The fact that value is added to them derives merely from spinning labour’s being labour in general, abstract social labour in general, and from the hour of spinning labour being equivalent to an hour of social labour in general, an hour of social labour time. Hence the values of the material and means of labour are preserved and re-appear as value components in the total value of the product merely through the process of valorisation — which is in fact merely an abstract expression for actual labour — through the process of adding new labour time — since this must be added in a particular useful and purposeful form. But the work is not done twice, once to add value, the next time to preserve the existing values; instead, since the labour time can only be added in the form of useful labour, specific labour, like spinning, it automatically preserves the values of material and means [of labour] by adding new value to them, i.e. by adding labour time.
It is now clear, furthermore, that the quantity of existing values preserved by the new labour stands in a definite relation to the quantity of value the new labour adds to them, or that the quantity of already objectified labour that is preserved stands in a definite relation to the quantity of new labour time that is added, is objectified for the first time; that, in a word, a definite relation occurs between the direct labour process and the valorisation process.
If the labour time necessary to spin 6 lbs of cotton, using up x amount of machinery, is 1 hour under given general conditions of production, only 6 lbs of cotton can be converted into yarn in the one hour and only x amount of machinery can be used up, hence only 5 lbs of yarn can be produced; so that for every hour of labour by which the value of the yarn is higher than the value of the cotton and x spindles there would be 2 hours of labour (of objectified labour time), 6 lbs of cotton and x spindles (3 1/3s. preserved in the yarn. Cotton can only be valorised (i.e. obtain a surplus value) by 1 hour of labour, 3 1/3s., in so far as 6 lbs of cotton and x amount of machinery is used up; on the other hand, these can only be used up, and therefore their values can only re-appear in the yarn, if 1 hour of labour time is added. Thus if the value of 72 lbs  of cotton is to re-appear in the product [II-67] as a value component of the yarn, 12 hours of labour must be added. A definite quantity of material only absorbs a definite quantity of labour time. Its value is only preserved in proportion as it absorbs the latter (with a given productivity of labour). Therefore the value of the 72 lbs of cotton cannot be preserved unless it is all spun into yarn. But this requires a labour time of 12 hours, on our assumption.
If the productivity of labour — i.e. the quantity of use value it can provide in a definite time — is given, the quantity of given values it preserves depends purely on its own duration; or the amount of value of material [and] means [of labour] that is preserved depends purely on the labour time that is added, hence on the measure in which new value is created. The preservation of values falls and rises in direct proportion to the fall or rise in the addition of value. If on the other hand the material and means of labour are given, their preservation as values depends purely on the productivity of the labour added, on whether this labour needs more or less time to convert them into a new use value. Here, therefore, the preservation of the given values stands in an inverse relation to the addition of value, i.e. if the labour is more productive, they require less labour time to be preserved; and vice versa.
//But now a peculiar circumstance comes into the picture, through the division of labour, and still more through machinery.
Labour time as the element, substance, of value is necessary labour time; hence labour time required under given general social conditions of production. If for example 1 hour is the labour time necessary for the conversion of 6 lbs of cotton into yarn, it is the duration of a labour of spinning which needs certain conditions for its realisation: e.g. a mule with so and so many spindles, a steam engine with such and such horse-power, etc. The whole of this apparatus would be necessary to convert 6 lbs of cotton into yarn over a period of 1 hour. But this case belongs to a later discussion.//
Now back to our example. 6 lbs of cotton spun in one hour. Value of the cotton = 3 1/3s., value of the spindle, etc., used up = 3 1/3s., value of the labour added = 3 1/3s. Therefore value of the product = 10s. The given values = 2 hours of labour, as the cotton and the spindle are each equal to 1 hour of labour. The price of the total product at the end of the hour = the sum of prices; = 10s.; or 3 hours of objectified labour time, of which 2 hours, the hours accounted for by the cotton and the spindle, merely re-appear in the product, and 1 hour alone represents the creation of new value or added labour. The price of each of the factors forms 1/3 of the total price of the product of 1 hour of labour. Hence the price of the product of 1/3 of an hour of labour = the price of 1/3 of the total product, hence = the price of the labour, or cotton, or machinery, contained in the total product, as each of these 3 elements of the total product constitutes 1/3 of its price. Therefore, if 1/3 of an hour’s work is done, the product = 2 lbs of yarn of a value of 3 1/3s., with which I could buy cotton to the amount of 6 lbs. Or the price of the product of ‘/3 of an hour = the price of the cotton consumed in a whole hour of labour. The price of the 2nd third = the price of the machinery used up. The price of the product, e.g. 1/3 of an hour = the price of the whole of the labour added (both the part which constitutes an equivalent for the wage and the part which constitutes surplus value or profit).
The manufacturer can therefore calculate as follows: I work 1/3 of an hour to pay the price of the cotton, 1/3 of an hour to replace the price of the machinery worn out, and 1/3 of an hour of which ‘/r, replaces wages, 1/6 forms the surplus value. Correct as this calculation is in practice, it is completely absurd if it is meant to explain the real formation of value (valorisation process) and therefore the relation between necessary and surplus labour. In particular the preposterous notion creeps in here that 1/3 of an hour of labour creates or replaces the value of the cotton that has been used, 1/3 replaces the value of the worn out machinery, while 1/3 forms the newly added labour or the newly created value, which is the common fund for wages and profit. It is in fact only a trivial method of expressing the relation in which the given values of cotton and means of labour re-appear in the product of the whole of the labour time (the hour’s labour), or the relation in which given values, objectified labour, are preserved in the labour process by the addition of an hour of labour time.
If I say: the price of the product of 1/3 of an hour of labour = the price of the cotton spun in a whole hour of labour, let us say = the price of 6 lbs of cotton, 3 1/3s., I know that the product of 1 hour of labour = 3 times the product of 1/3 of an hour of labour. If, then, the price of the product of 1/3 of an hour of labour = the price of the cotton which is spun in 1/3, or 1 hour of labour, this only means that the price of the cotton = 1/3 of the price of the total product, that 6 lbs of cotton enter into the total product, hence its value re-appears and this value forms 1/3 of the value of the total product. Ditto with the value of the machinery. Ditto with the labour.
If I therefore say that the price of the product of 2/3 of the time that labour is [II-68] in general carried on, i. e. for example the price of the product of 2 2/3 of the hour of labour = the price of the material and the price of the machinery which is worked up in 3 /3 or 1 hour of labour, this is only another way of expressing the fact that the prices of the material and means of labour enter to an extent of 2 A into the price of the total product of the hour, hence the hour of labour added is only 1/3 of the whole value objectified in the product. The fact that the price of the product of a part of the hour, 1/3, or 2 2/3, etc., is equal to the price of the raw material, the machinery, etc., definitely does not mean, therefore, that the price of the raw material, the machinery, is produced or even reproduced in the proper sense of the word in the course of 1/3 or 2/3, etc., of an hour; it means rather that the price of these partial products, or these products of aliquot parts of labour time = the price of the raw material, etc., which re-appears, is preserved, in the total product.
The absurdness of the other conception is best seen if one looks at the final third, which represents the price of the labour added, the quantity of value added, or the quantity of new objectified labour. The price of the product of this last third is on our assumption equal to 1 1/9s. of cotton, = ‘/3 of an hour of labour; + 1 1/9s. of machinery = 1/3 of an hour of labour; +1/3 of an hour of labour, which is, however, newly added. The sum total therefore = 3/3 of an hour of labour, or 1 hour of labour. This price is therefore, in fact, the monetary expression of the whole of the labour time added to the raw material. But according to the confused notion mentioned earlier 1/3 of an hour of labour would be represented by 3 1/3s., i.e. by the product of 3 3/3 of an hour of labour. Similarly in the first third, where the price of the product of 1/3 of an hour of labour = the price of the cotton. This price consists of the price of 2 lbs of cotton at 1 1/9s. (1/3 of an hour of labour), the price of the machinery at 1 1/9s. (1/3 of an hour of labour) and 1/3 of what really is newly added labour, the labour time, indeed, that was required to convert 2 lbs of cotton into yarn. The sum total therefore = 1 hour of labour, = 3 1/3s. But this is also the price of the cotton that is required in 3/3 of an hour of labour. In fact, therefore, the value of 2/3 of an hour of labour ( = 2 2/9s.) is only preserved in this first third, as in every subsequent third, of an hour of labour because x amount of cotton has been spun, and hence the value of the cotton and the machinery used up re-appears. Only the 1/3 of newly objectified labour has been added to this as new value.
But in this way it does look as if the manufacturer is right in saying that the first 4 hours of labour (or 1/3 of an hour of labour) only replace the price of the cotton he needs in 12 hours of labour, the second 4 hours of labour only replace the price of the machinery he uses up in 12 hours of labour, and the last 4 hours of labour alone form the new value, one part of which replaces the wages and the other constitutes the surplus value he gets as the result of the whole production process. He thereby forgets, however, that he is assuming that the product of the last 4 hours objectifies only newly added labour time, hence 12 hours of labour, namely the 4 hours of labour in the material, the 4 hours of labour in the machinery used up, and finally the 4 hours of labour that have really been newly added; and he obtains the result that the price of the total product consists of 36 hours of labour, 24 of which merely represent the value the cotton and the machinery had before they were worked up into yarn, while 12 hours of labour, 1/3 of the total price, represent the newly added labour, the new value, which is exactly equal to the newly added labour. //
// The fact that the worker, placed face to face with money, offers his labour capacity for sale as a commodity implies :
1) That the conditions of labour, the objective conditions of labour, confront him as alien powers, alienated conditions. Alien property. This also implies, among other things, the earth as landed property, it implies that the earth confronts him as alien property. Mere labour capacity.
2) That he is related as a person both to the conditions of labour, which have been alienated from him, and to his own labour capacity; that he therefore disposes of the latter as proprietor and does not himself belong among the objective conditions of labour, i. e. is not himself possessed by others as an instrument of labour. Free worker.
3) That the objective conditions of his labour themselves confront him as merely objectified labour, i. e. as value, as money and commodities; as objectified labour which only exchanges with living labour to preserve and increase itself, to valorise itself, to turn into more money, and for which the worker exchanges his labour capacity in order to gain possession of a part of it, to the extent that it consists of his own means of subsistence. Hence in this relation the objective conditions of labour appear only as value, which has become more independent; holds onto itself and aims only at increasing itself.
The whole content of the relation, and the mode of appearance of the conditions of the worker’s labour alienated from labour, are therefore [II-69] present in their pure economic form, without any political, religious or other trimmings. It is a pure money-relation. Capitalist and worker. Objectified labour and living labour capacity. Not master and servant, priest and layman, feudal lord and vassal, master craftsman and journeyman, etc. In all states of society the class that rules (or the classes) is always the one that has possession of the objective conditions of labour, and the repositories of those conditions, in so far as they do work, do so not as workers but as proprietors, and the serving class is always the one that is either itself, as labour capacity, a possession of the proprietors (slavery), or disposes only over its labour capacity (even if, as e. g. in India. Egypt, etc., it possesses land, the proprietor of which is however the king, or a caste, etc.). But all these forms are distinguished from capital by this relation being veiled in them, by appearing as a relation of masters to servants, of free men to slaves, of demigods to ordinary mortals, etc., and existing in the consciousness of both sides as a relation of this kind. In capital alone are all political, religious and other ideal trimmings stripped from this relation. It is reduced — in the consciousness of both sides — to a relation of mere purchase and sale. The conditions of labour confront labour nakedly as such, and they confront it as objectified labour, value, money, which knows itself as mere form of labour and only exchanges with labour in order to preserve and increase itself as objectified labour. The relation therefore emerges in its purity as a mere relation of production — a purely economic relation. And where relations of domination develop again on this basis, it is known that they proceed purely from the relation in which the buyer, the representative of the conditions of labour, confronts the seller, the owner of labour capacity. //
Let us therefore now return to the question of the wage system.
We have seen that in the labour process — hence in the production process, to the extent that it is production of a use value, realisation of labour as purposeful activity — the values of the material and means of labour simply do not exist for labour itself. They exist only as objective conditions for the realisation of labour, as objective factors of labour, and as such they are consumed by it. However, the fact that the exchange values of the material and means of labour do not enter into the labour process as such signifies, in other words, simply that they do not enter into it as commodities. The machine serves as a machine, cotton as cotton, and neither of them because they represent a definite quantity of social labour. Rather, as materialisation of this social labour their use value is extinguished in them, they are money. There are in fact labour processes in which the material costs nothing, e. g. fish in the sea, coal in the mine.
But it would be wrong to conclude from this that their character as a commodity has absolutely nothing to do with the production process; for this process produces not only use value, but exchange value, not only product, but commodity; or its product is no mere use value, but a use value with a definite exchange value, and the latter is in part determined by the exchange values which the material and means of labour themselves possess as commodities. They enter into the production process as commodities ; otherwise they could not emerge from it as commodities. If one were to say, therefore, that the values of the material and means of labour had nothing to do with the production process, their quality as commodities had nothing to do with it, because they figure in the labour process not as commodities, but simply as use values, this would be the same thing as saying that it was irrelevant for the production process that it is not only a labour process, but at the same time a valorisation process; and this in turn amounts to saying that the production process takes place for personal consumption. Which contradicts the presupposition. But with respect to the pure valorisation process too, their values are not productive for they merely re-appear in the product, are merely preserved.
Now let us consider the wage, or price of labour capacity. The price of labour capacity or the wage is not productive, i. e. if it is understood by “productive” that it must enter as an element into the labour process as such. It is the worker himself — the human being bringing his labour capacity into action — who produces use value, purposefully employs the material and means of labour, not the price at which he has sold his labour capacity. Or, when he enters into the labour process, he enters as the activation, the energy of his labour capacity — as labour. Now it can be said [II-70] that the wage comes down to the means of subsistence necessary for the worker to live as a worker, for his self-preservation as living labour capacity, in short, for the maintenance of his life during the work. The means of subsistence which keep the worker in motion as a worker enter into the labour process just as much as the coal and oil, etc., which are consumed by the machine. The worker’s costs of maintenance during the work are just as much a moment of the labour process as are the matières instrumentales consumed by the machine, etc. Even so, here too — in the case of the machine — the coal, oil, etc., in short the matières instrumentales, enter into the labour process as use values alone. Their prices have nothing to do with the matter. Is this also true of the price of the worker’s means of subsistence, his wage?
Here the question only has importance in the following way:
Are the means of subsistence the worker consumes — and which therefore form his cost of maintenance as a worker — to be viewed as if capital itself consumes them as a moment of its production process (in the way that it consumes the matières instrumentales)? This is of course the case in practice. Nevertheless the first act always remains an act of exchange.
The point at issue among the economists is this: Do the means of subsistence the worker consumes, which are represented by the price of his labour, the wage of labour, constitute a part of capital, just as much as the means of labour? (Material and means of labour.) The means of labour are, d'abord, also means of subsistence, as it is assumed that the individuals only confront each other as commodity owners, whether in the form of buyers or sellers 20 ; hence he who lacks the means of labour has no commodity to exchange (assuming also that production for one’s own consumption is out of the question; assuming that the product being considered is, in general, a commodity) and therefore no means of subsistence to get in return. On the other hand, the direct means of subsistence are equally means of labour; for in order to work he must live, and in order to live he must consume such and such an amount of the means of subsistence every day.
Labour capacity, which confronts the material conditions of its realisation, its own reality, as mere labour capacity, deprived of the object, therefore stands in the same position towards the means of subsistence or the means of labour, or both of them confront it uniformly as capital. Capital is admittedly money, the independent existence of exchange value, objectified general social labour. But this is only its form. Once it has to realise itself as capital — i. e. as self-preserving and self-increasing value — it must transform itself into the conditions of labour; in other words, these conditions form its material existence, they are the real use values within which it exists as exchange value. But the chief condition for the labour process is the worker himself. What is essential, therefore, is the component of capital which buys labour capacity. If there were no means of subsistence on the market, it would be pointless for capital to pay the worker in money. The money is only a promissory note the worker receives on a definite quantity of the means of subsistence available on the market. The capitalist therefore has these dynamei and they form a component part of his power. Moreover, even if there were no capitalist production, the costs of maintenance (originally provided by nature free of charge) would continue to be just as necessary conditions of the labour process as the material and means of labour. All the objective moments, however, which labour needs at all for its realisation, appear as alienated from it, as standing on the side of capital, the means of subsistence no less than the means of labour.
Rossi, etc., want to say, or say in fact (whether they want to or not) nothing more, actually, than that wage labour as such is not a necessary condition of the labour process. They only forget that the same would then be true of capital.
//We must go into this further (in the additions) in countering Say’s nonsense about the same capital — but here he means value — which is doubly consumed, productively for the capitalist, unproductively for the worker. //
//Property in the instrument of labour is characteristic of guild industry, or the medieval form of labour.//
The social mode of production in which the production process is subsumed under capital, or which rests on the relation of capital and wage labour, and indeed in such a way that it is the determining, dominant mode of production, we call capitalist production.
The worker goes through the form of circulation C — M — C. He sells in order to buy. He exchanges his labour capacity for money, in order to swap the money for commodities — to the extent that they are use values, means of subsistence. The purpose is individual consumption. In line with the nature of simple circulation, he can proceed at most to the formation of a hoard, through thrift and extraordinary industry; he cannot create wealth. The capitalist, in contrast, goes through M — C — M. He buys in order to sell. The purpose of this [II-71] movement is exchange value, i.e. enrichment.
By wage labour we understand exclusively free labour which is exchanged for capital, is converted into capital and valorises capital. All so-called services are excluded from this. Whatever their character otherwise, money is expended for them; it is not advanced. With them, money is always exchange value as evanescent form, a means of getting hold of a use value. There is as little connection between the services the capitalist consumes as a private person — outside the process of the production of commodities — and productive consumption, i.e. productive from the capitalist point of view, as there is between the purchase of commodities in order to consume them (not to consume them through labour) and productive consumption. No matter how useful, etc., they are. Their content is here completely irrelevant. Of course, the services themselves are differently valued — in so far as they are estimated in economic terms — on the basis of capitalist production from under other relations of production. But an investigation of this only becomes possible once the fundamental factors of capitalist production have themselves been made clear.
With all services, whether they themselves directly create commodities, e.g. the tailor who sews a pair of trousers for me; or not, e.g. the soldier who protects me, similarly the judge, etc., or the musician whose music-making I buy to provide me with aesthetic enjoyment, or the doctor I buy to set a leg back into position, it is always a matter of the material content of the labour, its usefulness, while the circumstance that it is labour is quite irrelevant to me. With wage labour, which creates capital, the content is in fact irrelevant. The particular mode of labour only counts for me in so far as it is social labour as such and therefore the substance of exchange value; money. The above-mentioned workers, performers of services, from prostitute to pope, are therefore never employed in the direct production process. //As for the rest, it would be better to put closer consideration of “productive labour” into the section “Capital and Labour”.// With the purchase of one kind of labour I make money, with that of the other I spend money. The one enriches, the other impoverishes. It is possible that the latter may itself be one of the conditions for making money, as policemen, judges, soldiers, executioners. But as such a condition it is always merely an “aggravating circumstance” and has nothing to do with the direct process.
We started out from circulation in order to come to capitalist production. This is also the course of events historically, and the development of capitalist production therefore already presupposes in every country the development of trade on another, earlier production basis. //We shall have to speak of this in more detail. //
What we have to consider more closely in the following is the development of surplus value. In doing so we shall see that as the production of surplus value becomes the actual purpose of production or as production becomes capitalist production, the originally merely formal subsumption of the labour process under capital, of living labour under objectified, of present labour under past, considerably modifies the manner in which the labour process is itself carried on: hence the capital-relation — where it emerges in a developed form — implies a particular mode of production and development of the productive forces.
//With services too I admittedly consume the labour capacity of the person performing the service; but not because the use value of the labour capacity is labour, rather because his labour has a particular use value.//