Economic Works of Karl Marx 1861-1864
73) — The Colliers. The effects of this dependence of the colliers on the exploiters for their dwellings are shown whenever there is a strike. In November 1863, for example, there was a strike in Durham. The people were evicted in the severest weather, with wives and children, and their furniture, etc., was thrown into the street. What was then important above all was to find shelter during the cold nights. A large proportion of them slept in the open air; some broke into their evacuated dwellings and occupied them during the night. The next day the mine-owners had the doors and windows nailed up and barred, in order to cut off from those who had been ejected the luxury of sleeping on the bare floors of the empty cottages during the freezing nights. The people then resorted to building wooden cabins, and wigwams of turf, but these were again torn down by the owners of the fields. A large number of children died or had their health ruined during this campaign of labour against capital (Reynolds’s Newspaper, November 29, 1863 ).
75) Ricardo actually comforts the workers by saying that as a result of the increasing productive power of labour and the increase in the total capital as against the variable component of capital, the portion of surplus value consumed as income will also increase, hence an increased demand for menial servants! (Ricardo, On the Principles of Political Economy, and Taxation, p. 475).
76) * “Property ... is essential to preserve the common unskilled Labourer from falling into the condition of a piece of machinery, bought at the minimum market price at which it can be produced, that is at which labourers can be got to exist and propagate their species, to which he is invariably reduced sooner or later, when the interests of capital and labour are quite distinct, and are left to adjust themselves under the sole operation of the law of supply and demand” * (Samuel Laing, National Distress, London, 1844, pp. 45-46).
77) Ireland. Emigration. In so far as the real increase or reduction in the working POPULATION during the ten-year industrial cycle can exert a perceptible influence on the labour market, this could only be in England, and we take it as a model, because here the capitalist mode of production is [highly] developed, and does not, unlike on the European continent, operate largely on the basis of a peasant economy which does not correspond to it. Here we can only speak of the impact of capital’s need for valorisation on the extension or contraction of emigration. It should first be remarked that the emigration of capital, i.e. the part of the annual income which is invested abroad as capital, particularly in the colonies and in the United States of America, is far larger in proportion to the annual fund for accumulation than the number of emigrants in proportion to the annual increase in population. Some. of these emigrants are in fact merely following capital abroad. Furthermore, the emigration from England, if we consider its main component, the agricultural one, consists for the most part not of workers but of tenant farmers’ sons, etc. This has so far been more than replaced by immigration from Ireland. The periods of stagnation and crisis, when the pressure to emigrate is at its strongest, are the same periods as those during which more excess capital is sent abroad, and the periods of declining emigration are the same as those of declining emigration of superfluous capital. The absolute proportion between capital employed in the country and labour power is therefore little affected by the fluctuations of emigration. If emigration from England were to take on serious dimensions, in relation to the annual increase of the population, it would lose its position on the world market. The Irish emigration since 1848 has given the lie to all the expectations and prophecies of the. Malthusians. First of all, they had declared an emigration exceeding the increase of population to be an impossibility. The Irish solved that problem despite their poverty. Those who have emigrated send back every year most of the resources needed to finance the emigration of those left behind. Secondly, however, the same gentlemen had made the prophecy that the famine which swept away one million people, and the subsequent exodus, would have the same effect in Ireland as the black death  had had in England in the mid-14th century. Precisely the opposite has occurred. Production has fallen more quickly than the population, and the decline in the means of employing the agricultural workers has been quicker too, although their wages are no higher today, taking into account the changes in the price of the means of subsistence, than in 1847. The population has fallen in 15 years from 8 million to approximately 4 1/2 million. To be sure, cattle production has increased to a certain extent, and Lord Dufferin, who wants to convert Ireland into a mere sheep pasture, is quite right to say that the population is still far too high. In the meantime, the Irish have taken not only their bones but themselves to America, and the cry “exoriare aliquis ultor” [rise some avenger] resounds threateningly on the other side of the Atlantic.
If we look at the last two years, 1864 and 1865, we find the following figures for the main crops:
1864 1865 Decrease
Wheat 875,782 826,783 48,999
Oats 7,826,332 7,659,727 166,605
Barley 761,909 732,017 29,892
Bere 15,160 13,989 1,171
1864 1865 Decrease
Potatoes 4,312,388 3,865,990 446,398
Turnips 3,467,659 3,301,683 165,976
Flax 64,506 39,561 24,945
(The official Agricultural Statistics, Ireland, Dublin, 1866, p. 4).
This does not prevent individual persons from ‘enriching themselves during the rapid ruin of the country as a whole. Thus e.g.
The number of people who had an annual income of from £900 to £1,000 in 1864 was 59, and in 1865: 66. The number with an annual income between £1,000 and £2,000 was 315 in 1864 and 342 in 1865. (Verte.)
INCOMES between 3,000-4,000: 46 50
4,000-5,000: 19 28
5,000-10,000: 30 44
10,000-50,000: 23 25
And: 3 people each of whom had £87,606 in 1864, and 3 people each of whom had £91,509 in 1863 (Income and Property Tax Return, August 7, 1866).
Lord Dufferin, who is himself one of these “supernumeraries”, notes correctly that Ireland still has far too many inhabitants.
79) Thus e.g. the talk of shifting present burdens onto future generations by means of government debts. A can give B, who lends him commodities either in reality or in appearance, a promissory note on future products, just as indeed there exist poets and musicians of the future. But A and B together never consume an atom of the future product. Every epoch pays for its own wars. A worker, on the other hand, can expend the labour of the three following years in a single year.
“In pretending to stave off the expenses of the present hour to a future day, in pretending that you can burthen posterity to supply the wants of the existing generation” * the absurd statement is made * “that you can consume what does not yet exist, that you can feed on provisions before their seeds have been sown in the earth... All the wisdom of our statesmen will have ended in a great transfer of property from one class of persons to another, in creating an enormous fund for the rewards of jobs and peculation” * (Percy Ravenstone, M. A., Thoughts on the Funding System, and Its Effects, London, 1824, pp. 8-9).
Although the formation of capital and the capitalist mode of production rest essentially on both the ending of the feudal mode of production and the expropriation of the peasants, handicraftsmen, and in general on the ending of the mode of production which rests on the private property of the direct producer in his conditions of production; although the capitalist mode of production, once it is introduced, develops in the same proportion as that form of private property is done away with, along with the mode of production founded on it, hence to the degree that those direct producers are expropriated in the name of the concentration of capital (centralisation); although that process of expropriation which is later repeated systematically in the clearing of estates, in part introduces; as an act of violence, the capitalist mode of production, both the theory of the capitalist mode of production (political economy, the philosophy of law, etc.) and the capitalist himself in his conception of the matter like to confuse the capitalist’s form of property and appropriation, which rests on the appropriation of alien labour in its progress and, essentially, on the expropriation of the direct producer, with the above-mentioned mode of production which on the contrary presupposes the private property of the direct producer in his conditions of production — a presupposition under which the capitalist mode of production in agriculture and manufacture, etc., would be impossible — and therefore also like to present every attack on the capitalist form of appropriation as an attack on the other kind of property, the property that has been worked for, indeed an attack on all property. Of course they always experience great difficulty in presenting the expropriation of the mass of working people from their property as the vital condition for property which rests on labour. [By the way, private property of that form always implies at least slavery for the members of the family, who are used and exploited to the full by the head of the family.] The general legal conception, from Locke to Ricardo, is therefore that of petty-bourgeois property, while the relations of production they actually describe belong to the capitalist mode of production. What makes this possible is the relation of buyer and seller, which remains the same formally in both forms. With all these writers one finds the following duality:
1) economically they oppose private property resting on labour, and show the advantages of the expropriation of the mass [of workers] and the capitalist mode of production;
2) but ideologically and legally the ideology of private property resting on labour is transferred without further ado to property resting on the expropriation of the direct producer.
“It was under Frederick II that subjects” (peasants) “were first granted hereditary tenure and property rights in most of the provinces of the Kingdom of Prussia. And this Ordinance helped to end a misfortune suffered by the country people which was threatening to depopulate the countryside. For it was precisely in the last” (18th) “century that the landowners, once they had started to concern themselves with raising the yield of their estates, began to find it advantageous to drive out some of their subjects and add the peasants’ fields to their own demesnes. The people who had been driven out fell victim to poverty, being homeless; moreover, those who remained on the land were now subjected to completely intolerable burdens, since they were now expected by the landowners to cultivate the previous peasants’ fields as well, the owners of which would otherwise have facilitated through their labour the cultivation of the demesne too. This ‘expropriation of the peasants’ was especially severe in the eastern part of Germany. When Frederick II conquered Silesia, many thousand peasant farms there were without any farmers; the cottages lay in ruins, and the fields were in the hands of the landowners. All the confiscated lands had to be redistributed, placed in the hands of farm managers, provided with cattle and implements, and granted to peasants in hereditary and private ownership. The same abuses on the island of Rügen were still causing uprisings of the rural inhabitants when Moritz Arndt was a young man; soldiers were sent, the rebels were imprisoned, and the peasants sought revenge, ambushing and murdering individual members of the nobility. In Electoral Saxony too, the same abuses were a source of disturbances as late as 1790” (G. Freytag Neue Bilder aus dem Leben des deutschen Volkes, Leipzig, 1862, pp. 38-391).
This is a clear demonstration of what the noble sentiments of feudalism really amounted to!