Marx-Engels Correspondence 1867
Source: MECW Volume 42, p. 389;
First published: in MEGA, Berlin, 1930.
The 2 half £5-notes received with kindest thanks. With respect to the address, use Borkheim. He knows my situation, though with as much concealment as I consider necessary in his regard. I would even like him to know that you are lending me money. But you must write and tell me when the money is to be sent to him. I do not see why I should involve yet a 3rd philistine.
The Fenians should be delivered to you today.
I was so very pleased by your lines of yesterday, and that requires no further elaboration from me.
Sheet 20 [of the first volume of Capital] was the latest to reach me. It will probably run to 40 or 42 sheets in all. I've not as yet received any corrected proofs after the ones already sent you. On your departure send me back those which are in your possession.
Regarding the objection that you mentioned the philistines and vulgar economists will infallibly raise (they forget, of course, that, if they reckon paid labour as wages, they are reckoning unpaid labour as profit, etc.), it amounts, in scientific terms, to the following question:
How is the value of the commodity transformed into its price of production in which
1. the whole of the labour appears paid for in the form of wages;
2. the surplus-labour, however, or the surplus-value, assumes the form of an addition to the price, and goes by the name of interest, profit, etc., over and above the cost-price (= price of the constant part of capital + wages).
Answering this question presupposes:
I. That the transformation of, for example, the value of a day’s labour-power into wages or the price of a day’s labour has been explained. This is done in Chapter V of this volume.
II. That the transformation of surplus-value into profit, and of profit into average profit, etc., has been explained. This presupposes that the process of the circulation of capital has been previously explained, since the turnover of capital, etc., plays a part here. This matter cannot therefore be treated prior to the 3rd book (Volume II is to contain books 2 and 3). Here it will be shown how the philistines’ and vulgar economists’ manner of conceiving things arises, namely, because the only thing that is ever reflected in their minds is the immediate form of appearance of relations, and not their inner connection. Incidentally, if the latter were the case, we would surely have no need of science at all.
Now if I wished to refute all such objections in advance, I should spoil the whole dialectical method of exposition. On the contrary, the good thing about this method is that it is constantly setting traps for those fellows which will provoke them into an untimely display of their idiocy.
By the by, Para. 3: ‘The Rate of Surplus Value’, which was the last one you had in your possession, is immediately followed by the Para.: ‘The Working Day’ (struggle for the reduction of working time), whose argument demonstrates ad oculus to what extent those bourgeois gentlemen comprehend the source and nature of their profit in practice. This is also shown in the Senior case, where your bourgeois assures us that his whole profit and interest derive from the last unpaid hour of labour.
Kindest regards to Mrs Lizzy.
You must stop over for a few days here on your journey home.
Apropos. I judged it in every way imprudent to take Mr Meissner into my confidence regarding my private circumstances.