Grundrisse: Notebook II – The Chapter on Capital
‘From the beginnings of civilization, men have fixed the exchange value of the products of their labour not by comparison with the products offered in exchange, but by comparison with a product they preferred.’ (Ganilh, 13,9.) 
The special difficulty in grasping money in its fully developed character as money – a difficulty which political economy attempts to evade by forgetting now one, now another aspect, and by appealing to one aspect when confronted with another – is that a social relation, a definite relation between individuals, here appears as a metal, a stone, as a purely physical, external thing which can be found, as such, in nature, and which is indistinguishable in form from its natural existence. Gold and silver, in and of themselves, are not money. Nature does not produce money, any more than it produces a rate of exchange or a banker. In Peru and Mexico gold and silver did not serve as money, although it does appear here as jewellery, and there is a developed system of production. To be money is not a natural attribute of gold and silver, and is therefore quite unknown to the physicist, chemist etc. as such. But money is directly gold and silver. Regarded as a measure, money still predominates in its formal quality; even more so as coin, where this appears externally on its face impression; but in its third aspect, i.e. in its perfection, where to be measure and coinage appear as functions of money alone, there all formal character has vanished, or directly coincides with its metallic existence. It is not at all apparent on its face that its character of being money is merely the result of social processes; it is money. This is all the more difficult since its immediate use value for the living individual stands in no relation whatever to this role, and because, in general, the memory of use value, distinct from exchange value, has become entirely extinguished in this incarnation of pure exchange value. Thus the fundamental contradiction contained in exchange value, and in the social mode of production corresponding to it, here emerges in all its purity. We have already criticized the attempts made to overcome this contradiction by depriving money of its metallic form, by positing it outwardly, as well, as something posited by society, as the expression of a social relation, whose ultimate form would be that of labour-money. It must by now have become entirely clear that this is a piece of foolishness as long as exchange value is retained as the basis, and that, moreover, the illusion that metallic money allegedly falsifies exchange arises out of total ignorance of its nature. It is equally clear, on the other side, that to the degree to which opposition against the ruling relations of production grows, and these latter themselves push ever more forcibly to cast off their old skin – to that degree, polemics are directed against metallic money or money in general, as the most striking, most contradictory and hardest phenomenon which is presented by the system in a palpable form. One or another kind of artful tinkering with money is then supposed to overcome the contradictions of which money is merely the perceptible appearance. Equally clear that some revolutionary operations can be performed with money, in so far as an attack on it seems to leave everything else as it was, and only to rectify it. Then one strikes a blow at the sack, intending the donkey. However, as long as the donkey does not feel the blows on the sack, one hits in fact only the sack and not the donkey. As soon as he feels it, one strikes the donkey and not the sack. As long as these operations are directed against money as such, they are merely an attack on consequences whose causes remain unaffected; i.e. disturbance of the productive process, whose solid basis then also has the power, by means of a more or less violent reaction, to define and to dominate these as mere passing disturbances.
On the other hand, it is in the character of the money relation – as far as it is developed in its purity to this point, and without regard to more highly developed relations of production – that all inherent contradictions of bourgeois society appear extinguished in money relations as conceived in a simple form; and bourgeois democracy even more than the bourgeois economists takes refuge in this aspect (the latter are at least consistent enough to regress to even simpler aspects of exchange value and exchange) in order to construct apologetics for the existing economic relations. Indeed, in so far as the commodity or labour is conceived of only as exchange value, and the relation in which the various commodities are brought into connection with one another is conceived as the exchange of these exchange values with one another, as their equation, then the individuals, the subjects between whom this process goes on, are simply and only conceived of as exchangers. As far as the formal character is concerned, there is absolutely no distinction between them, and this is the economic character, the aspect in which they stand towards one another in the exchange relation; it is the indicator of their social function or social relation towards one another. Each of the subjects is an exchanger; i.e. each has the same social relation towards the other that the other has towards him. As subjects of exchange, their relation is therefore that of equality. It is impossible to find any trace of distinction, not to speak of contradiction, between them; not even a difference. Furthermore, the commodities which they exchange are, as exchange values, equivalent, or at least count as such (the most that could happen would be a subjective error in the reciprocal appraisal of values, and if one individual, say, cheated the other, this would happen not because of the nature of the social function in which they confront one another, for this is the same, in this they are equal; but only because of natural cleverness, persuasiveness etc., in short only the purely individual superiority of one individual over another. The difference would be one of natural origin, irrelevant to the nature of the relation as such, and it may be said in anticipation of further development, the difference is even lessened and robbed of its original force by competition etc.). As regards the pure form, the economic side of this relation – the content, outside this form, here still falls entirely outside economics, or is posited as a natural content distinct from the economic, a content about which it may be said that it is still entirely separated from the economic relation because it still directly coincides with it – then only three moments emerge as formally distinct: the subjects of the relation, the exchangers (posited in the same character); the objects of their exchange, exchange values, equivalents, which not only are equal but are expressly supposed to be equal, and are posited as equal; and finally the act of exchange itself, the mediation by which the subjects are posited as exchangers, equals, and their objects as equivalents, equal. The equivalents are the objectification [Vergegenständlichung] of one subject for another; i.e. they themselves are of equal worth, and assert themselves in the act of exchange as equally worthy, and at the same time as mutually indifferent. The subjects in exchange exist for one another only through these equivalents, as of equal worth, and prove themselves to be such through the exchange of the objectivity in which the one exists for the other. Since they only exist for one another in exchange in this way, as equally worthy persons, possessors of equivalent things, who thereby prove their equivalence, they are, as equals, at the same time also indifferent to one another; whatever other individual distinction there may be does not concern them; they are indifferent to all their other individual peculiarities. Now, as regards the content outside the act of exchange (an act which constitutes the positing as well as the proving of the exchange values and of the subjects as exchangers), this content, which falls outside the specifically economic form, can only be: (1) The natural particularity of the commodity being exchanged. (2) The particular natural need of the exchangers, or, both together, the different use values of the commodities being exchanged. The content of the exchange, which lies altogether outside its economic character, far from endangering the social equality of individuals, rather makes their natural difference into the basis of their social equality. If individual A had the same need as individual B, and if both had realized their labour in the same object, then no relation whatever would be present between them; considering only their production, they would not be different individuals at all. Both have the need to breathe; for both the air exists as atmosphere; this brings them into no social contact; as breathing individuals they relate to one another only as natural bodies, not as persons. Only the differences between their needs and between their production gives rise to exchange and to their social equation in exchange; these natural differences are therefore the precondition of their social equality in the act of exchange, and of this relation in general, in which they relate to one another as productive. Regarded from the standpoint of the natural difference between them, individual A exists as the owner of a use value for B, and B as owner of a use value for A. In this respect, their natural difference again puts them reciprocally into the relation of equality. In this respect, however, they are not indifferent to one another, but integrate with one another, have need of one another; so that individual B, as objectified in the commodity, is a need of individual A, and vice versa; so that they stand not only in an equal, but also in a social, relation to one another. This is not all. The fact that this need on the part of one can be satisfied by the product of the other, and vice versa, and that the one is capable of producing the object of the need of the other, and that each confronts the other as owner of the object of the other’s need, this proves that each of them reaches beyond his own particular need etc., as a human being, and that they relate to one another as human beings; that their common species-being [Gattungswesen] is acknowledged by all. It does not happen elsewhere – that elephants produce for tigers, or animals for other animals. For example. A hive of bees comprises at bottom only one bee, and they all produce the same thing. Further. In so far as these natural differences among individuals and among their commodities (products, labour etc. are not as yet different here, but exist only in the form of commodities, or, as Mr Bastiat prefers, following Say, services ; Bastiat fancies that, by reducing the economic character of exchange value to its natural content, commodity or service, and thereby showing himself incapable of grasping the economic relation of exchange value as such, he has progressed a great step beyond the classical economists of the English school, who are capable of grasping the relations of production in their specificity, as such, in their pure form) form the motive for the integration of these individuals, for their social interrelation as exchangers, in which they are stipulated for each other as, and prove themselves to be, equals, there enters, in addition to the quality of equality, that of freedom. Although individual A feels a need for the commodity of individual B, he does not appropriate it by force, nor vice versa, but rather they recognize one another reciprocally as proprietors, as persons whose will penetrates their commodities. Accordingly, the juridical moment of the Person enters here, as well as that of freedom, in so far as it is contained in the former. No one seizes hold of another’s property by force. Each divests himself of his property voluntarily. But this is not all: individual A serves the need of individual B by means of the commodity a only in so far as and because individual B serves the need of individual A by means of the commodity b, and vice versa. Each serves the other in order to serve himself; each makes use of the other, reciprocally, as his means. Now both things are contained in the consciousness of the two individuals: (1) that each arrives at his end only in so far as he serves the other as means; (2) that each becomes means for the other (being for another) [Sein für andres] only as end in himself (being for self) [Sein für sich] ; (3) that the reciprocity in which each is at the same time means and end, and attains his end only in so far as he becomes a means, and becomes a means only in so far as he posits himself as end, that each thus posits himself as being for another, in so far as he is being for self, and the other as being for him, in so far as he is being for himself – that this reciprocity is a necessary fact, presupposed as natural precondition of exchange, but that, as such, it is irrelevant to each of the two subjects in exchange, and that this reciprocity interests him only in so far as it satisfies his interest to the exclusion of, without reference to, that of the other. That is, the common interest which appears as the motive of the act as a whole is recognized as a fact by both sides; but, as such, it is not the motive, but rather proceeds, as it were, behind the back of these self-reflected particular interests, behind the back of one individual’s interest in opposition to that of the other. In this last respect, the individual can at most have the consoling awareness that the satisfaction of his antithetical individual interest is precisely the realization of the suspended antithesis, of the social, general interest. Out of the act of exchange itself, the individual, each one of them, is reflected in himself as its exclusive and dominant (determinant) subject. With that, then, the complete freedom of the individual is posited: voluntary transaction; no force on either side; positing of the self as means, or as serving, only as means, in order to posit the self as end in itself, as dominant and primary [übergreifend]; finally, the self-seeking interest which brings nothing of a higher order to realization; the other is also recognized and acknowledged as one who likewise realizes his self-seeking interest, so that both know that the common interest exists only in the duality, many-sidedness, and autonomous development of the exchanges between self-seeking interests. The general interest is precisely the generality of self-seeking interests. Therefore, when the economic form, exchange, posits the all-sided equality of its subjects, then the content, the individual as well as the objective material which drives towards the exchange, is freedom. Equality and freedom are thus not only respected in exchange based on exchange values but, also, the exchange of exchange values is the productive, real basis of all equality and freedom. As pure ideas they are merely the idealized expressions of this basis; as developed in juridical, political, social relations, they are merely this basis to a higher power. And so it has been in history. Equality and freedom as developed to this extent are exactly the opposite of the freedom and equality in the world of antiquity, where developed exchange value was not their basis, but where, rather, the development of that basis destroyed them. Equality and freedom presuppose relations of production as yet unrealized in the ancient world and in the Middle Ages. Direct forced labour is the foundation of the ancient world; the community rests on this as its foundation; labour itself as a ‘privilege’, as still particularized, not yet generally producing exchange values, is the basis of the world of the Middle Ages. Labour is neither forced labour; nor, as in the second case, does it take place with respect to a common, higher unit (the guild).
Now, it is admittedly correct that the [relation between those] engaged in exchange, in so far as their motives are concerned, i.e. as regards natural motives falling outside the economic process, does also rest on a certain compulsion; but this is, on one side, itself only the other’s indifference to my need as such, to my natural individuality, hence his equality with me and his freedom, which are at the same time the precondition of my own; on the other side, if I am determined, forced, by my needs, it is only my own nature, this totality of needs and drives, which exerts a force upon me; it is nothing alien (or, my interest posited in a general, reflected form). But it is, after all, precisely in this way that I exercise compulsion ever the other and drive him into the exchange system.
In Roman law, the servus is therefore correctly defined as one who may not enter into exchange for the purpose of acquiring anything for himself (see the Institutes).  It is, consequently, equally clear that although this legal system corresponds to a social state in which exchange was by no means developed, nevertheless, in so far as it was developed in a limited sphere, it was able to develop the attributes of the juridical person, precisely of the individual engaged in exchange, and thus anticipate (in its basic aspects) the legal relations of industrial society, and in particular the right which rising bourgeois society had necessarily to assert against medieval society. But the development of this right itself coincides completely with the dissolution of the Roman community.
Since money is only the realization of exchange value, and since the system of exchange values has realized itself only in a developed money system, or inversely, the money system can indeed only be the realization of this system of freedom and equality. As measure, money only gives the equivalent its specific expression, makes it into an equivalent in form, as well. A distinction of form does, it is true, arise within circulation: the two exchangers appear in the different roles of buyer and seller; exchange value appears once in its general form, in the form of money, then again in its particular form, in the natural commodity, now with a price; but, first of all, these forms alternate; circulation itself creates not a disequation, but only an equation, a suspension of the merely negated difference. The inequality is only a purely formal one. Finally, even equality now posits itself tangibly, in money as medium of circulation, where it appears now in one hand, now in another, and is indifferent to this appearance. Each appears towards the other as an owner of money, and, as regards the process of exchange, as money itself. Thus indifference and equal worthiness are expressly contained in the form of the thing. The particular natural difference which was contained in the commodity is extinguished, and constantly becomes extinguished by circulation. A worker who buys commodities for 3s. appears to the seller in the same function, in the same equality – in the form of 3s. – as the king who does the same. All distinction between them is extinguished. The seller qua seller appears only as owner of a commodity of the price of 3s., so that both are completely equal; only that the 3s. exist here in the form of silver, there again in the form of sugar, etc. In the third form of money, a distinguishing quality might seem to enter between the subjects of the process. But in so far as money here appears as the material, as the general commodity of contracts, all distinction between the contracting parties is, rather, extinguished. In so far as money, the general form of wealth, becomes the object of accumulation, the subject here appears to withdraw it from circulation only to the extent that he does not withdraw commodities of an equal price from circulation. Thus, if one individual accumulates and the other does not, then none does it at the expense of the other. One enjoys real wealth, the other takes possession of wealth in its general form. If one grows impoverished and the other grows wealthier, then this is of their own free will and does not in any way arise from the economic relation, the economic connection as such, in which they are placed in relation to one another. Even inheritance and similar legal relations, which perpetuate such inequalities, do not prejudice this natural freedom and equality. If individual A’s relation is not in contradiction to this system originally, then such a contradiction can surely not arise from the fact that individual B steps into the place of individual A, thus perpetuating him. This is, rather, the perpetuation of the social relation beyond one man’s natural lifespan: its reinforcement against the chance influences of nature, whose effects as such would in fact be a suspension of individual freedom. Moreover, since the individual in this relation is merely the individuation of money, therefore he is, as such, just as immortal as money, and his representation by heirs is the logical extension of this role.
If this way of conceiving the matter is not advanced in its historic context, but is instead raised as a refutation of the more developed economic relations in which individuals relate to one another no longer merely as exchangers or as buyers and sellers, but in specific relations, no longer all of the same character; then it is the same as if it were asserted that there is no difference, to say nothing of antithesis and contradiction, between natural bodies, because all of them, when looked at from e.g. the point of view of their weight, have weight, and are therefore equal; or are equal because all of them occupy three dimensions. Exchange value itself is here similarly seized upon in its simple character, as the antithesis to its more developed, contradictory forms. In the course of science, it is just these abstract attributes which appear as the earliest and sparsest; they appear in part historically in this fashion, too; the more developed as the more recent. In present bourgeois society as a whole, this positing of prices and their circulation etc. appears as the surface process, beneath which, however, in the depths, entirely different processes go on, in which this apparent individual equality and liberty disappear. It is forgotten, on one side, that the presupposition of exchange value, as the objective basis of the whole of the system of production, already in itself implies compulsion over the individual, since his immediate product is not a product for him, but only becomes such in the social process, and since it must take on this general but nevertheless external form; and that the individual has an existence only as a producer of exchange value, hence that the whole negation of his natural existence is already implied; that he is therefore entirely determined by society; that this further presupposes a division of labour etc., in which the individual is already posited in relations other than that of mere exchanger, etc. That therefore this presupposition by no means arises either out of the individual’s will or out of the immediate nature of the individual, but that it is, rather, historical, and posits the individual as already determined by society. It is forgotten, on the other side, that these higher forms, in which exchange, or the relations of production which realize themselves in it, are now posited, do not by any means stand still in this simple form where the highest distinction which occurs is a formal and hence irrelevant one. What is overlooked, finally, is that already the simple forms of exchange value and of money latently contain the opposition between labour and capital etc. Thus, what all this wisdom comes down to is the attempt to stick fast at the simplest economic relations, which, conceived by themselves, are pure abstractions; but these relations are, in reality, mediated by the deepest antithesis, and represent only one side, in which the full expression of the antitheses is obscured.
What this reveals, on the other side, is the foolishness of those socialists (namely the French, who want to depict socialism as the realization of the ideals of bourgeois society articulated by the French revolution) who demonstrate that exchange and exchange value etc. are originally (in time) or essentially (in their adequate form) a system of universal freedom and equality, but that they have been perverted by money, capital, etc.  Or, also, that history has so far failed in every attempt to implement them in their true manner, but that they have now, like Proudhon, discovered e.g. the real Jacob, and intend now to supply the genuine history of these relations in place of the fake. The proper reply to them is: that exchange value or, more precisely, the money system is in fact the system of equality and freedom, and that the disturbances which they encounter in the further development of the system are disturbances inherent in it, are merely the realization of equality and freedom, which prove to be inequality and unfreedom. It is just as pious as it is stupid to wish that exchange value would not develop into capital, nor labour which produces exchange value into wage labour. What divides these gentlemen from the bourgeois apologists is, on one side, their sensitivity to the contradictions included in the system; on the other, the utopian inability to grasp the necessary difference between the real and the ideal form of bourgeois society, which is the cause of their desire to undertake the superfluous business of realizing the ideal expression again, which is in fact only the inverted projection [Lichtbild] of this reality. And now, indeed, in opposition to these socialists there is the stale argumentation of the degenerate economics of most recent times (whose classical representative as regards insipidness, affectation of dialectics, puffy arrogance, effete, complacent platitudinousness and complete inability to grasp historic processes is Frederick Bastiat, because the American, Carey, at least brings out the specific American relations as against the European), which demonstrates that economic relations everywhere express the same simple determinants, and hence that they everywhere express the equality and freedom of the simple exchange of exchange values; this point entirely reduces itself to an infantile abstraction. For example, the relation between capital and interest is reduced to the exchange of exchange values. Thus, after first taking from the empirical world the fact that exchange value exists not only in this simple form but also in the essentially different form of capital, capital is then in turn reduced again to the simple concept of exchange value; and interest, which, to crown all, expresses a specific relation of capital as such, is similarly torn out of this specificity and equated with exchange value; the whole relation in its specific character is reduced to an abstraction and everything reduced to the undeveloped relation of commodity exchange. In so far as I abstract from what distinguishes a concrete from its abstract, it is of course the abstract, and does not differ from it at all. According to this, all economic categories are only so many names for what is always the same relation, and this crude inability to grasp the real distinctions is then supposed to represent pure common sense as such. The ‘economic harmonies’ of Mr Bastiat amount au fond to the assertion that there exists only one single economic relation which takes on different names, or that any differences which occur, occur only in name. The reduction is not even formally scientific to the minimal extent that everything is reduced to a real economic relation by dropping the difference that development makes; rather, sometimes one and sometimes another side is dropped in order to bring out now one, now another side of the identity. For example, the wage for labour is payment for a service done by one individual for another. (The economic form as such is dropped here, as noted above.) Profit is also payment for a service done by one individual for another. Hence wages and profit are identical, and it is, in the first place, an error of language to call one payment wages, the other profit. But let us now look at profit and interest. With profit, the payment of the service is exposed to chance fluctuations; with interest, it is fixed. Thus, since, with wages, payment is relatively speaking exposed to chance fluctuations, while with profit, in contrast to labour, it is fixed, it follows that the relation between interest and profit is the same as that between wages and profit, which, as we have seen, is the exchange of equivalents for one another. The opponents  then take this twaddle (which goes back from the economic relations where the contradiction is expressed to those where it is only latent and obscured) literally, and demonstrate that e.g. with capital and interest there is not a simple exchange, since capital is not replaced by an equivalent, but that the owner of capital, rather, having consumed the equivalent 20 times over in the form of interest, still has it in the form of capital and can exchange it for 20 more equivalents. Hence the unedifying debate in which one side asserts that there is no difference between developed and undeveloped exchange value, and the other asserts that there is, unfortunately, a difference, but, by rights, there ought not to be.
Money as capital is an aspect of money which goes beyond its simple character as money. It can be regarded as a higher realization; as it can be said that man is a developed ape. However, in this way the lower form is posited as the primary subject, over the higher. In any case, money as capital is distinct from money as money. The new aspect is to be developed. On the other hand, capital as money seems to be a regression of capital to a lower form. But it is only the positing of capital in a particular form which already existed prior to it, as non-capital, and which makes up one of its presuppositions. Money recurs in all later relations; but then it does not function as mere money. If, as here, the initial task is to follow it up to its totality as money-market, then the rest of the development is presupposed and has to be brought in occasionally. Thus we give here the general character of capital before we proceed to its particularity as money.
If I state, like for example Say, that capital is a sum of values,  then I state nothing more than that capital = exchange value. Every sum of values is an exchange value, and every exchange value is a sum of values. I cannot get from exchange value to capital by means of mere addition. In the pure accumulation of money, as we have seen, the relation of capitalizing [Kapitalisieren] is not yet posited.
In so-called retail trade, in the daily traffic of bourgeois life as it proceeds directly between producers and consumers, in petty commerce, where the aim on one side is to exchange the commodity for money and on the other to exchange money for commodity, for the satisfaction of individual needs – in this movement, which proceeds on the surface of the bourgeois world, there and there alone does the motion of exchange values, their circulation, proceed in its pure form. A worker who buys a loaf of bread and a millionaire who does the same appear in this act only as simple buyers, just as, in respect to them, the grocer appears only as seller. All other aspects are here extinguished. The content of these purchases, like their extent, here appears as completely irrelevant compared with the formal aspect.
As in the theory the concept of value precedes that of capital, but requires for its pure development a mode of production founded on capital, so the same thing takes place in practice. The economists therefore necessarily sometimes consider capital as the creator of values, as their source, while at other times they presuppose values for the formation of capital, and portray it as itself only a sum of values in a particular function. The existence of value in its purity and generality presupposes a mode of production in which the individual product has ceased to exist for the producer in general and even more for the individual worker, and where nothing exists unless it is realized through circulation. For the person who creates an infinitesimal part of a yard of cotton, the fact that this is value, exchange value, is not a formal matter. If he had not created an exchange value, money, he would have created nothing at all. This determination of value, then, presupposes a given historic stage of the mode of social production and is itself something given with that mode, hence a historic relation.
At the same time, individual moments of value-determination develop in earlier stages of the historic process of social production and appear as its result.
Hence, within the system of bourgeois society, capital follows immediately after money. In history, other systems come before, and they form the material basis of a less complete development of value. Just as exchange value here plays only an accompanying role to use value, it is not capital but the relation of landed property which appears as its real basis. Modern landed property, on the other hand, cannot be understood at all, because it cannot exist, without capital as its presupposition, and it indeed appears historically as a transformation of the preceding historic shape of landed property by capital so as to correspond to capital. It is, therefore, precisely in the development of landed property that the gradual victory and formation of capital can be studied, which is why Ricardo, the economist of the modern age, with great historical insight, examined the relations of capital, wage labour and ground rent within the sphere of landed property, so as to establish their specific form. The relation between the industrial capitalist and the proprietor of land appears to be a relation lying outside that of landed property. But, as a relation between the modern farmer and the landowner, it appears posited as an immanent relation of landed property itself; and the [latter],  as now existing merely in its relation to capital. The history of landed property, which would demonstrate the gradual transformation of the feudal landlord into the landowner, of the hereditary, semi-tributary and often unfree tenant for life into the modern farmer, and of the resident serfs, bondsmen and villeins who belonged to the property into agricultural day-labourers, would indeed be the history of the formation of modern capital. It would include within it the connection with urban capital, trade, etc. But we are dealing here with developed bourgeois society, which is already moving on its own foundation.
Capital comes initially from circulation, and, moreover, its point of departure is money. We have seen that money which enters into circulation and at the same time returns from it to itself is the last requirement, in which money suspends itself. It is at the same time the first concept of capital, and the first form in which it appears. Money has negated itself as something which merely dissolves in circulation; but it has also equally negated itself as something which takes up an independent attitude towards circulation. This negation, as a single whole, in its positive aspects, contains the first elements of capital. Money is the first form in which capital as such appears. M–C–C–M; that money is exchanged for commodity and the commodity for money; this movement of buying in order to sell, which makes up the formal aspect of commerce, of capital as merchant capital, is found in the earliest conditions of economic development; it is the first movement in which exchange value as such forms the content – is not only the form but also its own content. This motion can take place within peoples, or between peoples for whose production exchange value has by no means yet become the presupposition. The movement only seizes upon the surplus of their directly useful production, and proceeds only on its margin. Like the Jews within old Polish society or within medieval society in general, entire trading peoples, as in antiquity (and, later on, the Lombards), can take up this position between peoples whose mode of production is not yet determined by exchange value as the fundamental presupposition. Commercial capital is only circulating capital, and circulating capital is the first form of capital; in which it has as yet by no means become the foundation of production. A more developed form is money capital and money interest, usury, whose independent appearance belongs in the same way to an earlier stage. Finally, the form C–M–M–C, in which money and circulation in general appear as mere means for the circulating commodity, which for its part again steps outside circulation and directly satisfies a need, this is itself the presupposition of that original appearance of merchant capital. The presuppositions appear distributed among different peoples; or, within society, commercial capital as such appears only as determined by this purely consumption-directed circulation. On the other side, the circulating commodity, the commodity which realizes itself only by taking on the form of another commodity, which steps outside circulation and serves immediate needs, is similarly [the]  first form of capital, which is essentially commodity capital.
On the other side it is equally clear that the simple movement of exchange values, such as is present in pure circulation, can never realize capital. It can lead to the withdrawal and stockpiling of money, but as soon as money steps back into circulation, it dissolves itself in a series of exchange processes with commodities which are consumed, hence it is lost as soon as its purchasing power is exhausted. Similarly, the commodity which has exchanged itself for another commodity through the medium of money steps outside circulation in order to be consumed, destroyed. But if it is given independence from circulation, as money, it then merely represents the non-substantial general form of wealth. Since equivalents are exchanged for one another, the form of wealth which is fixed as money disappears as soon as it is exchanged for the commodity; and the use value present in the commodity, as soon as it is exchanged for money. All that can happen in the simple act of exchange is that each can be lost in its role for the other as soon as it realizes itself in it. None can maintain itself in its role by going over into the other. For this reason the sophistry of the bourgeois economists, who embellish capital by reducing it in argument to pure exchange, has been countered by its inversion, the equally sophistical, but, in relation to them, legitimate demand that capital be really reduced to pure exchange, whereby it would disappear as a power and be destroyed, whether in the form of money or of the commodity. *
* Just as exchange value, i.e. all relations of commodities as exchange values, appears in money to be a thing, so do all aspects of the activity which creates exchange values, labour, appear in capital.
The repetition of the process from either of the points, money or commodity, is not posited within the conditions of exchange itself. The act can be repeated only until it is completed, i.e. until the amount of the exchange value is exchanged away. It cannot ignite itself anew through its own resources. Circulation therefore does not carry within itself the principle of self-renewal. The moments of the latter are presupposed to it, not posited by it. Commodities constantly have to be thrown into it anew from the outside, like fuel into a fire. Otherwise it flickers out in indifference. It would die out with money, as the indifferent result which, in so far as it no longer stood in any connection with commodities, prices or circulation, would have ceased to be money, to express a relation of production; only its metallic existence would be left over, while its economic existence would be destroyed. Circulation, therefore, which appears as that which is immediately present on the surface of bourgeois society, exists only in so far as it is constantly mediated. Looked at in itself, it is the mediation of presupposed extremes. But it does not posit these extremes. Thus, it has to be mediated not only in each of its moments, but as a whole of mediation, as a total process itself. Its immediate being is therefore pure semblance. It is the phenomenon of a process taking place behind it. It is now negated in every one of its moments: as a commodity – as money – and as a relation of the two, as simple exchange and circulation of both. While, originally, the act of social production appeared as the positing of exchange values and this, in its later development, as circulation – as completely developed reciprocal movement of exchange values – now, circulation itself returns back into the activity which posits or produces exchange values. It returns into it as into its ground.  It is commodities (whether in their particular form, or in the general form of money) which form the presupposition of circulation; they are the realization of a definite labour time and, as such, values; their presupposition, therefore, is both the production of commodities by labour and their production as exchange values. This is their point of departure, and through its own motion it goes back into exchange-value-creating production as its result. We have therefore reached the point of departure again, production which posits, creates exchange values; but this time, production which presupposes circulation as a developed moment and which appears as a constant process, which posits circulation and constantly returns from it into itself in order to posit it anew. The movement which creates exchange value thus appears here in a much more complex form, since it is no longer only the movement of presupposed exchange values, or the movement which posits them formally as prices, but which creates, brings them forth at the same time as presuppositions. Production itself is here no longer present in advance of its products, i.e. presupposed; it rather appears as simultaneously bringing forth these results; but it does not bring them forth, as in the first stage, as merely leading into circulation, but as simultaneously presupposing circulation, the developed process of circulation. (Circulation consists at bottom only of the formal process of positing exchange value, sometimes in the role of the commodity, at other times in the role of money.)
This movement appears in different forms, not only historically, as leading towards value-producing labour, but also within the system of bourgeois production itself, i.e. production for exchange value. With semi-barbarian or completely barbarian peoples, there is at first interposition by trading peoples, or else tribes whose production is different by nature enter into contact and exchange their superfluous products. The former case is a more classical form. Let us therefore dwell on it. The exchange of the overflow is a traffic which posits exchange and exchange value. But it extends only to the overflow and plays an accessory role to production itself. But if the trading peoples who solicit exchange appear repeatedly (the Lombards, Normans etc. play this role towards nearly all European peoples), and if an ongoing commerce develops, although the producing people still engages only in so-called passive trade, since the impulse for the activity of positing exchange values comes from the outside and not from the inner structure of its production, then the surplus of production must no longer be something accidental, occasionally present, but must be constantly repeated; and in this way domestic production itself takes on a tendency towards circulation, towards the positing of exchange values. At first the effect is of a more physical kind. The sphere of needs is expanded; the aim is the satisfaction of the new needs, and hence greater regularity and an increase of production. The organization of domestic production itself is already modified by circulation and exchange value; but it has not yet been completely invaded by them, either over the surface or in depth. This is what is called the civilizing influence of external trade. The degree to which the movement towards the establishment of exchange value then attacks the whole of production depends partly on the intensity of this external influence, and partly on the degree of development attained by the elements of domestic production – division of labour etc. In England, for example, the import of Netherlands commodities in the sixteenth century and at the beginning of the seventeenth century gave to the surplus of wool which England had to provide in exchange, an essential, decisive role. In order then to produce more wool, cultivated land was transformed into sheep-walks, the system of small tenant-farmers was broken up etc., clearing of estates took place etc. Agriculture thus lost the character of labour for use value, and the exchange of its overflow lost the character of relative indifference in respect to the inner construction of production. At certain points, agriculture itself became purely determined by circulation, transformed into production for exchange value. Not only was the mode of production altered thereby, but also all the old relations of population and of production, the economic relations which corresponded to it, were dissolved. Thus, here was a circulation which presupposed a production in which only the overflow was created as exchange value; but it turned into a production which took place only in connection with circulation, a production which posited exchange values as its exclusive content.
On the other hand, in modern production, where exchange value and developed circulation are presupposed, it is prices which determine production on one side, and production which determines prices on the other.
When it is said that capital ‘is accumulated (realized) labour (properly, objectified [vergegenständlichte] labour), which serves as the means for new labour (production)’,  then this refers to the simple material of capital, without regard to the formal character without which it is not capital. This means nothing more than that capital is – an instrument of production, for, in the broadest sense, every object, including those furnished purely by nature, e.g. a stone, must first be appropriated by some sort of activity before it can function as an instrument, as means of production. According to this, capital would have existed in all forms of society, and is something altogether unhistorical. Hence every limb of the body is capital, since each of them not only has to be developed through activity, labour, but also nourished, reproduced, in order to be active as an organ. The arm, and especially the hand, are then capital. Capital would be only a new name for a thing as old as the human race, since every form of labour, including the least developed, hunting, fishing, etc., presupposes that the product of prior labour is used as means for direct, living labour. A further characteristic contained in the above definition is that the material stuff of products is entirely abstracted away, and that antecedent labour itself is regarded as its only content (matter); in the same way, abstraction is made from the particular, special purpose for which the making of this product is in its turn intended to serve as means, and merely production in general is posited as purpose. All these things only seemed a work of abstraction, which is equally valid in all social conditions and which merely leads the analysis further and formulates it more abstractly (generally) than is the usual custom. If, then, the specific form of capital is abstracted away, and only the content is emphasized, as which it is a necessary moment of all labour, then of course nothing is easier than to demonstrate that capital is a necessary condition for all human production. The proof of this proceeds precisely by abstraction from the specific aspects which make it the moment of a specifically developed historic stage of human production. The catch is that if all capital is objectified labour which serves as means for new production, it is not the case that all objectified labour which serves as means for new production is capital. Capital is conceived as a thing, not as a relation.
If it is said on the other hand that capital is a sum of values used for the production of values, then this means: capital is self-reproducing exchange value. But, formally, exchange value reproduces itself even in simple circulation. This explanation, it is true, does contain the form wherein exchange value is the point of departure, but the connection with the content (which, with capital, is not, as in the case of simple exchange value, irrelevant) is dropped. If it is said that capital is exchange value which produces profit, or at least has the intention of producing a profit, then capital is already presupposed in its explanation, for profit is a specific relation of capital to itself. Capital is not a simple relation, but a process, in whose various moments it is always capital. This process therefore to be developed. Already in accumulated labour, something has sneaked in, because, in its essential characteristic, it should be merely objectified labour, in which, however, a certain amount of labour is accumulated. But accumulated labour already comprises a quantity of objects in which labour is realized.
‘At the beginning everyone was content, since exchange extended only to objects which had no value for each exchanger: no significance was assigned to objects other than those which were without value for each exchanger; no significance was assigned to them, and each was satisfied to receive a useful thing in exchange for a thing without utility. But after the division of labour had made everyone into a merchant and society into a commercial society, no one wanted to give up his products except in return for their equivalents; it thus became necessary, in order to determine this equivalent, to know the value of the thing received.’ (Ganilh, 12, b.)  This means in other words that exchange did not stand still with the formal positing of exchange values, but necessarily advanced towards the subjection of production itself to exchange value.
To develop the concept of capital it is necessary to begin not with labour but with value, and, precisely, with exchange value in an already developed movement of circulation. It is just as impossible to make the transition directly from labour to capital as it is to go from the different human races directly to the banker, or from nature to the steam engine. We have seen that in money, as such, exchange value has already obtained a form independent of circulation, but only a negative, transitory or, when fixated, an illusory form. It exists only in connection with circulation and as the possibility of entering into it; but it loses this character as soon as it realizes itself, and falls back on its two earlier roles, as measure of exchange value and as medium of exchange. As soon as money is posited as an exchange value which not only becomes independent of circulation, but which also maintains itself through it, then it is no longer money, for this as such does not go beyond the negative aspect, but is capital. That money is the first form in which exchange value proceeds to the character of capital, and that, hence, the first form in which capital appears is confused with capital itself, or is regarded as sole adequate form of capital – this is a historic fact which, far from contradicting our development, rather confirms it. The first quality of capital is, then, this: that exchange value deriving from circulation and presupposing circulation preserves itself within it and by means of it; does not lose itself by entering into it; that circulation is not the movement of its disappearance, but rather the movement of its real self-positing [Sichsetzen] as exchange value, its self-realization as exchange value.  It cannot be said that exchange value as such is realized in simple circulation. It is always realized only in the moment of its disappearance. If the commodity is exchanged via money for another commodity, then its value-character disappears in the moment in which it realizes itself, and it steps outside the relation, becomes irrelevant to it, merely the direct object of a need. If money is exchanged for a commodity, then even the disappearance of the form of exchange is posited; the form is posited as a merely formal mediation for the purpose of gaining possession of the natural material of the commodity. If a commodity is exchanged for money, then the form of exchange value, exchange value posited as exchange value, money, persists only as long as it stays outside exchange, withdraws from it, is hence a purely illusory realization, purely ideal in this form, in which the independence of exchange value leads a tangible existence. If, finally, money is exchanged for money – the fourth form in which circulation can be analysed, but at bottom only the third form expressed in the form of exchange – then not even a formal difference appears between the things distinguished; a distinction without a difference; not only does exchange value disappear, but also the formal movement of its disappearance. At bottom, these four specific forms of simple circulation are reducible to two, which, it is true, coincide in themselves; the distinction consists in the different placing of the emphasis, the accent; which of the two moments – money and commodity – forms the point of departure. Namely, money for the commodity: i.e. the exchange value of the commodity disappears in favour of its material content (substance); or commodity for money, i.e. its content (substance) disappears in favour of its form as exchange value. In the first case, the form of exchange value is extinguished; in the second, its substance; in both, therefore, its realization is its disappearance. Only with capital is exchange value posited as exchange value in such a way that it preserves itself in circulation; i.e. it neither becomes substanceless, nor constantly realizes itself in other substances or a totality of them; nor loses its specific form, but rather preserves its identity with itself in each of the different substances. It therefore always remains money and always commodity. It is in every moment both of the moments which disappear into one another in circulation. But it is this only because it itself is a constantly self-renewing circular course of exchanges. In this relation, too, its circulation is distinct from that of simple exchange values as such. Simple circulation is in fact circulation only from the standpoint of the observer, or in itself, not posited as such. It is not always the same exchange value – precisely because its substance is a particular commodity – which first becomes money and then a commodity again; rather, it is always different commodities, different exchange values which confront money. Circulation, the circular path, consists merely of the simple repetition or alternation of the role of commodity and money, and not of the identity of the real point of departure and the point of return. Therefore, in characterizing simple circulation as such, where money alone is the persistent moment, the term mere money circulation, money turnover has been applied.
‘Capital values are self-perpetuating.’ (Say, 14.)  ‘Capital – permanent’ (‘self-multiplying’ does not belong here as yet) ‘value which no longer decayed; this value tears itself loose from the commodity which created it; like a metaphysical, insubstantial quality, it always remained in the possession of the same cultivateur’ (here irrelevant; say owner) ‘for whom it cloaked itself in different forms.’ (Sismondi, VI.) 
The immortality which money strove to achieve by setting itself negatively against circulation, by withdrawing from it, is achieved by capital, which preserves itself precisely by abandoning itself to circulation. Capital, as exchange value existing prior to circulation, or as presupposing and preserving itself in circulation, not only is in every moment ideally both of the two moments contained in simple circulation, but alternately takes the form of the one and of the other, though no longer merely by passing out of the one into the other, as in simple circulation, but rather by being in each of these roles at the same time a relation to its opposite, i.e. containing it ideally within itself. Capital becomes commodity and money alternately; but (1) it is itself the alternation of both these roles; (2) it becomes commodity; but not this or the other commodity, rather a totality of commodities. It is not indifferent to the substance, but to the particular form; appears in this respect as a constant metamorphosis of this substance; in so far as it is then posited as a particular content of exchange value, this particularity itself is a totality of particularity; hence indifferent not to particularity as such, but to the single or individuated particularity. The identity, the form of generality [Allgemeinheit], which it obtains is that of being exchange value and, as such, money. It is still therefore posited as money, in fact it exchanges itself as commodity for money. But posited as money, i.e. as this contradictory form of the generality of exchange value, there is posited in it at the same time that it must not, as in simple exchange, lose this generality, but must rather lose the attribute antithetical to generality, or adopt it only fleetingly; therefore it exchanges itself again for the commodity, but as a commodity which itself, in its particularity, expresses the generality of exchange value, and hence constantly changes its particular form.
If we speak here of capital, this is still merely a word. The only aspect in which capital is here posited as distinct from direct exchange value and from money is that of exchange value which preserves and perpetuates itself in and through circulation. We have so far examined only one side, that of its self-preservation in and through circulation. The other equally important side is that exchange value is presupposed, but no longer as simple exchange value, such as it exists as a merely ideal quality of the commodity before it enters into circulation, or as, rather, a merely intended quality, since it becomes exchange value only for a vanishing moment in circulation; nor as exchange value as it exists as a moment in circulation, as money; it exists here, rather, as money, as objectified exchange value, but with the addition of the relation just described. What distinguishes the second from the first is that it (1) exists in the form of objectivity; (2) arises out of circulation, hence presupposes it, but at the same time proceeds from itself as presupposition of circulation.
There are two sides in which the result of simple circulation can be expressed:
The simply negative: The commodities thrown into circulation have achieved their purpose; they are exchanged for one another; each becomes an object of a need and is consumed. With that, circulation comes to an end. Nothing remains other than money as simple residue. As such a residue, however, it has ceased to be money, loses its characteristic form. It collapses into its material, which is left over as the inorganic ashes of the process as a whole.
The positively negative: Money is negated not as objectified, independent exchange value – not only as vanishing in circulation – but rather the antithetical independence, the merely abstract generality in which it has firmly settled, is negated; but
thirdly: Exchange value as the presupposition and simultaneously the result of circulation, just as it is assumed as having emerged from circulation, must emerge from it again. If this happens in a merely formal manner, it would simply become money again; if it emerges as a real commodity, as in simple circulation, then it would become a simple object of need, consumed as such, and again lose its quality as form. For this emergence to become real, it must likewise become the object of a need and, as such, be consumed, but it must be consumed by labour, and thereby reproduce itself anew.
Differently expressed: Exchange value, as regards its content, was originally an objectified amount of labour or labour time; as such it passed through circulation, in its objectification, until it became money, tangible money. It must now again posit the point of departure of circulation, which lay outside circulation, was presupposed to it, and for which circulation appeared as an external, penetrating and internally transforming movement; this point was labour; but [it must do so] now no longer as a simple equivalent or as a simple objectification of labour, but rather as objectified exchange value, now become independent, which yields itself to labour, becomes its material, only so as to renew itself and to begin circulating again by itself. And with that it is no longer a simple positing of equivalents, a preservation of its identity, as in circulation; but rather multiplication of itself. Exchange value posits itself as exchange value only by realizing itself; i.e. increasing its value. Money (as returned to itself from circulation), as capital, has lost its rigidity, and from a tangible thing has become a process. But at the same time, labour has changed its relation to its objectivity; it, too, has returned to itself. But the nature of the return is this, that the labour objectified in the exchange value posits living labour as a means of reproducing it, whereas, originally, exchange value appeared merely as a product of labour.
< I. (1) General concept of capital. – (2) Particularity of capital: circulating capital, fixed capital. (Capital as the necessaries of life, as raw material, as instrument of labour.) (3) Capital as money. II. (1) Quantity of capital. Accumulation. (2) Capital measured by itself. Profit. Interest. Value of capital: i.e. capital as distinct from itself as interest and profit. (3) The circulation of capitals. (α) Exchange of capital and capital. Exchange of capital with revenue. Capital and prices. (β) Competition of capitals. (γ) Concentration of capitals. III. Capital as credit. IV. Capital as share capital. V. Capital as money market. VI. Capital as source of wealth. The capitalist. After capital, landed property would be dealt with. After that, wage labour. All three presupposed, the movement of prices, as circulation now defined in its inner totality. On the other side, the three classes, as production posited in its three basic forms and presuppositions of circulation. Then the state. (State and bourgeois society. – Taxes, or the existence of the unproductive classes. – The state debt. – Population. – The state externally: colonies. External trade. Rate of exchange. Money as international coin. – Finally the world market. Encroachment of bourgeois society over the state. Crises. Dissolution of the mode of production and form of society based on exchange value. Real positing of individual labour as social and vice versa.)>
(Nothing is more erroneous than the manner in which economists as well as socialists regard society in relation to economic conditions. Proudhon, for example, replies to Bastiat by saying (XVI, 29): ‘For society, the difference between capital and product does not exist. This difference is entirely subjective, and related to individuals.’  Thus he calls subjective precisely what is social; and he calls society a subjective abstraction. The difference between product and capital is exactly this, that the product expresses, as capital, a particular relation belonging to a historic form of society. This so-called contemplation from the standpoint of society means nothing more than the overlooking of the differences which express the social relation (relation of bourgeois society). Society does not consist of individuals, but expresses the sum of interrelations, the relations within which these individuals stand. As if someone were to say: Seen from the perspective of society, there are no slaves and no citizens: both are human beings. Rather, they are that outside society. To be a slave, to be a citizen, are social characteristics, relations between human beings A and B. Human being A, as such, is not a slave. He is a slave in and through society. What Mr Proudhon here says about capital and product means, for him, that from the viewpoint of society there is no difference between capitalists and workers; a difference which exists precisely only from the standpoint of society.)
(For Proudhon in his polemic against Bastiat, ‘Gratuité du crédit’, everything comes down to his own wish to reduce the exchange between capital and labour to the simple exchange of commodities as exchange values, to the moments of simple circulation, i.e. he abstracts from just the specific difference on which everything depends. He says: ‘At a given moment, every product becomes capital, because everything which is consumed is at a given moment consumed reproductively.’ This very false, but never mind. ‘What is it that makes the motion of the product suddenly transform itself into that of capital? It is the idea of value. That means that the product, in order to become capital, needs to have passed through an authentic evaluation, to have been bought or sold, its price debated and fixed by a sort of legal convention. E.g. leather, coming from the slaughterhouse, is the product of the butcher. Is this leather bought by the tanner? The latter then immediately carries it or carries its value into his exploitation fund [fonds d’exploitation]. By means of the tanner’s labour, this capital becomes product again etc.’  Every capital is here ‘a constituted value’. Money is the ‘most perfect value’,  constituted value to the highest power. This means, then: (1) Product becomes capital by becoming value. Or capital is just nothing more than simple value. There is no difference between them. Thus he says commodity (the natural side of the same, expressed as product) at one time, value another time, alternatively, or rather, since he presupposes the act of buying and selling, price. (2) Since money appears as the perfected form of value such as it is in simple circulation, therefore money is also the true constituted value.)
The transition from simple exchange value and its circulation to capital can also be expressed in this way: Within circulation, exchange value appears double: once as commodity, again as money. If it is in one aspect, it is not in the other. This holds for every particular commodity. But the wholeness of circulation, regarded in itself, lies in the fact that the same exchange value, exchange value as subject, posits itself once as commodity, another time as money, and that it is just this movement of positing itself in this dual character and of preserving itself in each of them as its opposite, in the commodity as money and in money as commodity. This in itself is present in simple circulation, but is not posited in it. Exchange value posited as the unity of commodity and money is capital, and this positing itself appears as the circulation of capital. (Which is, however, a spiral, an expanding curve, not a simple circle.)
Let us analyse first the simple aspects contained in the relation of capital and labour, in order by this means to arrive at the inner connection not only of these aspects, but also of their further development from the earlier ones.
The first presupposition is that capital stands on one side and labour on the other, both as independent forms relative to each other; both hence also alien to one another. The labour which stands opposite capital is alien [fremde] labour, and the capital which stands opposite labour is alien capital. The extremes which stand opposite one another are specifically different. In the first positing of simple exchange value, labour was structured in such a way that the product was not a direct use value for the labourer, not a direct means of subsistence. This was the general condition for the creation of an exchange value and of exchange in general. Otherwise the worker would have produced only a product – a direct use value for himself – but not an exchange value. This exchange value, however, was materialized in a product which had, as such, a use value for others, and, as such, was the object of their needs. The use value which the worker has to offer to the capitalist, which he has to offer to others in general, is not materialized in a product, does not exist apart from him at all, thus exists not really, but only in potentiality, as his capacity. It becomes a reality only when it has been solicited by capital, is set in motion, since activity without object is nothing, or, at the most, mental activity, which is not the question at issue here. As soon as it has obtained motion from capital, this use value exists as the worker’s specific, productive activity; it is his vitality itself, directed toward a specific purpose and hence expressing itself in a specific form.
In the relation of capital and labour, exchange value and use value are brought into relation; the one side (capital) initially stands opposite the other side as exchange value, * and the other (labour), stands opposite capital, as use value. In simple circulation, each of the commodities can alternately be regarded in one or the other role. In both cases, when it counts as commodity as such, it steps outside circulation as object of a need and falls entirely outside the economic relation. In so far as the commodity becomes fixed as exchange value – money – it tends towards the same formlessness, but as falling within the economic relation. In any case, the commodities are of interest in the exchange-value relation (simple circulation) only in so far as they have exchange value; on the other side their exchange value is of only passing interest, in that it suspends the one-sidedness – the usefulness, use value, existing only for the specific individual, hence existing directly for him – but not this use value itself; rather, it posits and mediates it as use value for others etc. But to the degree that exchange value as such becomes fixed in money, use value no longer confronts it as anything but abstract chaos; and, through just this separation from its substance, it collapses into itself and tends away from the sphere of simple exchange value, whose highest movement is simple circulation, and whose highest perfection is money. But within the sphere itself, the distinctness exists in fact only as a superficial difference, a purely formal distinction. Money itself in its highest fixedness is itself a commodity again, and distinguishes itself from the others only in that it expresses exchange value more perfectly; but, as currency, and precisely for that reason, it loses its exchange value as intrinsic quality, and becomes mere use value, although admittedly use value for determining the prices etc. of commodities. The aspects still immediately coincide and just as immediately they separate. Where they relate to one another independently, positively, as in the case of the commodity which becomes an object of consumption, it ceases to be a moment of the economic process; where negatively, as in the case of money, it becomes madness; madness, however, as a moment of economics and as a determinant of the practical life of peoples.
* Is not value to be conceived as the unity of use value and exchange value? In and for itself, is value as such the general form, in opposition to use value and exchange value as particular forms of it? Does this have significance in economics? Use value presupposed even in simple exchange or barter. But here, where exchange takes place only for the reciprocal use of the commodity, the use value, i.e. the content, the natural particularity of the commodity has as such no standing as an economic form. Its form, rather, is exchange value. The content apart from this form is irrelevant; is not a content of the relation as a social relation. But does this content as such not develop into a system of needs and production? Does not use value as such enter into the form itself, as a determinant of the form itself, e.g. in the relation of capital and labour? the different forms of labour? – agriculture, industry etc. – ground rent? – effect of the seasons on raw product prices? etc. If only exchange value as such plays a role in economics, then how could elements later enter which relate purely to use value, such as, right away, in the case of capital as raw material etc.? How is it that the physical composition of the soil suddenly drops out of the sky in Ricardo?  The word ware [commodity] (German Güter [goods] perhaps as denrée [good] as distinct from marchandise [commodity]?) contains the connection. The price appears as a merely formal aspect in it. This is not in the slightest contradicted by the fact that exchange value is the predominant aspect. But of course use does not come to a halt because it is determined only by exchange; although of course it obtains its direction thereby. In any case, this is to be examined with exactitude in the examination of value, and not, as Ricardo does, to be entirely abstracted from, nor like the dull Say, who puffs himself up with the mere presupposition of the word ‘utility’.  Above all it will and must become clear in the development of the individual sections to what extent use value exists not only as presupposed matter, outside economics and its forms, but to what extent it enters into it. Proudhon’s nonsense, see the ‘Misère’.  This much is certain: in exchange we have (in circulation) the commodity – use value – as price; that it is, apart from its price, a commodity, an object of need, goes without saying. The two aspects in no way enter into relation with each other, except in so far as the particular use value appears as the natural limit of the commodity and hence posits money, i.e. its exchange value, simultaneously as an existence apart from itself, in money, but only formally. Money itself is a commodity, has a use value for its substance.
We have seen earlier that it cannot be said that exchange value is realized in simple circulation.  This is so, however, because use value does not stand as such opposite exchange value, as something defined as use value by exchange value; while inversely use value as such does not stand in a connection with exchange value, but becomes a specific exchange value only because the common element of use values – labour time – is applied to it as an external yardstick. Their unity still immediately splits, and their difference still immediately coincides. It must now be posited that use value as such becomes what it becomes through exchange value, and that exchange value mediates itself through use value. In money circulation, all we had was the different forms of exchange value (price of the commodity – money) or only different use values (commodity – C), for which money, exchange value, is merely a vanishing mediation. A real connection of exchange value and use value did not take place. The commodity as such – its particularity – is for that reason an irrelevant, merely accidental, and in general imaginary content, which falls outside the relation of economic forms; or, the latter is a merely superficial form, a formal quality: the real substance lies outside its realm and stands in no relation at all to the substance as such; therefore if this formal quality as such becomes fixed in money, then it transforms itself on the sly into an irrelevant natural product, a metal, in which every trace of a connection, whether with the individual or with intercourse between individuals, is extinguished. Metal as such of course expresses no social relations; the coin form is extinguished in it as well; the last sign of life of its social significance.
Posited as a side of the relation, exchange value, which stands opposite use value itself, confronts it as money, but the money which confronts it in this way is no longer money in its character as such, but money as capital. The use value or commodity which confronts capital or the posited exchange value is no longer the commodity such as it appeared in opposition to money, where its specific form was as irrelevant as its content, and which appeared only as a completely undefined substance. First, as use value for capital, i.e. therefore as an object in exchange with which capital does not lose its value-quality, as for example does money when it is exchanged for a particular commodity. The only utility whatsoever which an object can have for capital can be to preserve or increase it. We have already seen, in the case of money, how value, having become independent as such – or the general form of wealth – is capable of no other motion than a quantitative one; to increase itself. It is according to its concept the quintessence of all use values; but since it is always only a definite amount of money (here, capital), its quantitative limit is in contradiction with its quality. It is therefore inherent in its nature constantly to drive beyond its own barrier. (As consumption-oriented wealth, e.g. in imperial Rome, it therefore appears as limitless waste, which logically attempts to raise consumption to an imaginary boundlessness, by gulping down salad of pearls etc.) Already for that reason, value which insists on itself as value preserves itself through increase; and it preserves itself precisely only by constantly driving beyond its quantitative barrier, which contradicts its character as form, its inner generality. Thus, growing wealthy is an end in itself. The goal-determining activity of capital can only be that of growing wealthier, i.e. of magnification, of increasing itself. A specific sum of money (and money always exists for its owner in a specific quantity, always as a specific sum of money) (this is to be developed as early as in the money chapter) can entirely suffice for a specific consumption, in which it ceases to be money. But as a representative of general wealth, it cannot do so. As a quantitatively specific sum, a limited sum, it is only a limited representative of general wealth, or representative of a limited wealth, which goes as far, and no further than, its exchange value, and is precisely measured in it. It thus does not by any means have the capacity which according to its general concept it ought to have, namely the capacity of buying all pleasures, all commodities, the totality of the material substances of wealth; it is not a ‘précis de toutes les choses’  etc. Fixed as wealth, as the general form of wealth, as value which counts as value, it is therefore the constant drive to go beyond its quantitative limit: an endless process. Its own animation consists exclusively in that; it preserves itself as a self-validated exchange value distinct from a use value only by constantly multiplying itself. (It is damned difficult for Messrs the economists to make the theoretical transition from the self-preservation of value in capital to its multiplication; and this in its fundamental character, not only as an accident or result. See e.g. Storch, how he brings this fundamental character in with an adverb, ‘properly’.  Admittedly, the economists try to introduce this into the relation of capital as an essential aspect, but if this is not done in the brutal form of defining capital as that which brings profit, where the increase of capital itself is already posited as a special economic form, profit, then it happens only surreptitiously, and very feebly, as we shall later show in a brief review of all that the economists have contributed towards determining the concept of capital. Drivel to the effect that nobody would employ his capital without drawing a gain from it  amounts either to the absurdity that the good capitalists will remain capitalists even without employing their capital; or to a very banal form of saying that gainful investment is inherent in the concept of capital. Very well. In that case it would just have to be demonstrated.) – Money as a sum of money is measured by its quantity. This measuredness contradicts its character, which must be oriented towards the measureless. Everything which has been said here about money holds even more for capital, in which money actually develops in its completed character for the first time. The only use value, i.e. usefulness, which can stand opposite capital as such is that which increases, multiplies and hence preserves it as capital.
Secondly. Capital is by definition money, but not merely money in the simple form of gold and silver, nor merely as money in opposition to circulation, but in the form of all substances – commodities. To that degree, therefore, it does not, as capital, stand in opposition to use value, but exists apart from money precisely only in use values. These, its substances themselves, are thus now transitory ones, which would have no exchange value if they had no use value; but which lose their value as use values and are dissolved by the simple metabolism of nature if they are not actually used, and which disappear even more certainly if they are actually used. In this regard, the opposite of capital cannot itself be a particular commodity, for as such it would form no opposition to capital, since the substance of capital is itself use value; it is not this commodity or that commodity, but all commodities. The communal substance of all commodities, i.e. their substance not as material stuff, as physical character, but their communal substance as commodities and hence exchange values, is this, that they are objectified labour. * The only thing distinct from objectified labour is non-objectified labour, labour which is still objectifying itself, labour as subjectivity. Or, objectified labour, i.e. labour which is present in space, can also be opposed, as past labour, to labour which is present in time. If it is to be present in time, alive, then it can be present only as the living subject, in which it exists as capacity, as possibility; hence as worker. The only use value, therefore, which can form the opposite pole to capital is labour (to be exact, value-creating, productive labour. This marginal remark is an anticipation; must first be developed, by and by. Labour as mere performance of services for the satisfaction of immediate needs has nothing whatever to do with capital, since that is not capital’s concern. If a capitalist hires a woodcutter to chop wood to roast his mutton over, then not only does the wood-cutter relate to the capitalist, but also the capitalist to the wood-cutter, in the relation of simple exchange. The woodcutter gives him his service, a use value, which does not increase capital; rather, capital consumes itself in it; and the capitalist gives him another commodity for it in the form of money. The same relation holds for all services which workers exchange directly for the money of other persons, and which are consumed by these persons. This is consumption of revenue, which, as such, always falls within simple circulation; it is not consumption of capital. Since one of the contracting parties does not confront the other as a capitalist, this performance of a service cannot fall under the category of productive labour. From whore to pope, there is a mass of such rabble. But the honest and ‘working’ lumpenproletariat belongs here as well; e.g. the great mob of porters etc. who render service in seaport cities etc. He who represents money in this relation demands the service only for its use value, which immediately vanishes for him; but the porter demands money, and since the party with money is concerned with the commodity and the party with the commodity, with money, it follows that they represent to one another no more than the two sides of simple circulation; goes without saying that the porter, as the party concerned with money, hence directly with the general form of wealth, tries to enrich himself at the expense of his improvised friend, thus injuring the latter’s self-esteem, all the more so because he, a hard calculator, has need of the service not qua capitalist but as a result of his ordinary human frailty. A. Smith was essentially correct with his productive and unproductive labour, correct from the standpoint of bourgeois economy.  What the other economists advance against it is either horse-piss (for instance Storch, Senior even lousier etc.),  namely that every action after all acts upon something, thus confusion of the product in its natural and in its economic sense; so that the pickpocket becomes a productive worker too, since he indirectly produces books on criminal law (this reasoning at least as correct as calling a judge a productive worker because he protects from theft). Or the modern economists have turned themselves into such sycophants of the bourgeois that they want to demonstrate to the latter that it is productive labour when somebody picks the lice out of his hair, or strokes his tail, because for example the latter activity will make his fat head – blockhead – clearer the next day in the office. It is therefore quite correct – but also characteristic – that for the consistent economists the workers in e.g. luxury shops are productive, although the characters who consume such objects are expressly castigated as unproductive wastrels. The fact is that these workers, indeed, are productive, as far as they increase the capital of their master; unproductive as to the material result of their labour. In fact, of course, this ‘productive’ worker cares as much about the crappy shit he has to make as does the capitalist himself who employs him, and who also couldn’t give a damn for the junk. But, looked at more precisely, it turns out in fact that the true definition of a productive worker consists in this: A person who needs and demands exactly as much as, and no more than, is required to enable him to gain the greatest possible benefit for his capitalist. All this nonsense. Digression. But return in more detail to the productive and unproductive).
* But only this economic (social) substance of use values, i.e. of their economic character as content as distinct from their form (but this form value, because specific amount of this labour), comes into question when searching for an antithesis to capital. As far as their natural differences are concerned, none of them excludes capital from entering into them and making their bodies its own, so long as none excludes the character of exchange value and of the commodity.
The use value which confronts capital as posited exchange value is labour. Capital exchanges itself, or exists in this role, only in connection with not-capital, the negation of capital, without which it is not capital; the real not-capital is labour.
If we consider the exchange between capital and labour, then we find that it splits into two processes which are not only formally but also qualitatively different, and even contradictory:
(1) The worker sells his commodity, labour, which has a use value, and, as commodity, also a price, like all other commodities, for a specific sum of exchange values, specific sum of money, which capital concedes to him.
(2) The capitalist obtains labour itself, labour as value-positing activity, as productive labour; i.e. he obtains the productive force which maintains and multiplies capital, and which thereby becomes the productive force, the reproductive force of capital, a force belonging to capital itself.
The separation of these two processes is so obvious that they can take place at different times, and need by no means coincide. The first process can be and usually, to a certain extent, is completed before the second even begins. The completion of the second act presupposes the completion of the product. The payment of wages cannot wait for that. We will even find it an essential aspect of the relation, that it does not wait for that.
In simple exchange, circulation, this double process does not take place. If commodity A is exchanged for money B, and the latter then for the commodity C, which is destined to be consumed – the original object of the exchange, for A – then the using-up of commodity C, its consumption, falls entirely outside circulation; is irrelevant to the form of the relation; lies beyond circulation itself, and is of purely physical interest, expressing no more than the relation of the individual A in his natural quality to an object of his individual need. What he does with commodity C is a question which belongs outside the economic relation. Here, by contrast, the use value of that which is exchanged for money appears as a particular economic relation, and the specific utilization of that which is exchanged for money forms the ultimate aim of both processes. Therefore, this is already a distinction of form between the exchange of capital and labour, and simple exchange – two different processes.
If we now further inquire how the exchange between capital and labour is different in content from simple exchange (circulation), then we find that this difference does not arise out of an external connection or equation; but rather that, in the totality of the latter process, the second form distinguishes itself from the first, in that this equation is itself comprised within it. The difference between the second act and the first – note that the particular process of the appropriation of labour by capital is the second act – is exactly the difference between the exchange of capital and labour, and exchange between commodities as it is mediated by money. In the exchange between capital and labour, the first act is an exchange, falls entirely within ordinary circulation; the second is a process qualitatively different from exchange, and only by misuse could it have been called any sort of exchange at all. It stands directly opposite exchange; essentially different category.
<Capital. I. Generality: (1) (a) Emergence of capital out of money. (b) Capital and labour (mediating itself through alien labour). (c) The elements of capital, dissected according to their relation to labour (Product. Raw material. Instrument of labour.) (2) Particularization of capital: (a) Capital circulant, capital fixe. Turnover of capital. (3) The singularity of capital: Capital and profit. Capital and interest. Capital as value, distinct from itself as interest and profit. II. Particularity: (1) Accumulation of capitals. (2) Competition of capitals. (3) Concentration of capitals (quantitative distinction of capital as at same time qualitative, as measure of its size and influence). III. Singularity: (1) Capital as credit. (2) Capital as stock-capital. (3) Capital as money market. In the money market, capital is posited in its totality; there it determines prices, gives work, regulates production, in a word, is the source of production; but capital, not only as something which produces itself (positing prices materially in industry etc., developing forces of production), but at the same time as a creator of values, has to posit a value or form of wealth specifically distinct from capital. This is ground rent. This is the only value created by capital which is distinct from itself, from its own production. By its nature as well as historically, capital is the creator of modern landed property, of ground rent; just as its action therefore appears also as the dissolution of the old form of property in land. The new arises through the action of capital upon the old. Capital is this – in one regard – as creator of modern agriculture. The inner construction of modern society, or, capital in the totality of its relations, is therefore posited in the economic relations of modern landed property, which appears as a process: ground rent – capital – wage labour (the form of the circle can also be put in another way: as wage labour – capital – ground rent; but capital must always appear as the active middle). The question is now, how does the transition from landed property to wage labour come about? (The transition from wage labour to capital arises by itself, since the latter is here brought back into its active foundation.) Historically, this transition is beyond dispute. It is already given in the fact that landed property is the product of capital. We therefore always find that, wherever landed property is transformed into money rent through the reaction of capital on the older forms of landed property (the same thing takes place in another way where the modern farmer is created) and where, therefore, at the same time agriculture, driven by capital, transforms itself into industrial agronomy, there the cottiers, serfs, bondsmen, tenants for life, cottagers etc. become day labourers, wage labourers, i.e. that wage labour in its totality is initially created by the action of capital on landed property, and then, as soon as the latter has been produced as a form, by the proprietor of the land himself. This latter himself then ‘clears’, as Steuart says,  the land of its excess mouths, tears the children of the earth from the breast on which they were raised, and thus transforms labour on the soil itself, which appears by its nature as the direct wellspring of subsistence, into a mediated source of subsistence, a source purely dependent on social relations. (The reciprocal dependence has first to be produced in its pure form before it is possible to think of a real social communality [Gemeinschaftlichkeit]. All relations as posited by society, not as determined by nature.) Only in this way is the application of science possible for the first time, and the development of the full force of production. There can therefore be no doubt that wage labour in its classic form, as something permeating the entire expanse of society, which has replaced the very earth as the ground on which society stands, is initially created only by modern landed property, i.e. by landed property as a value created by capital itself. This is why landed property leads back to wage labour. In one regard, it is nothing more than the extension of wage labour, from the cities to the countryside, i.e. wage labour distributed over the entire surface of society. The ancient proprietor of land, if he is rich, needs no capitalist in order to become the modern proprietor of land. He needs only to transform his workers into wage workers and to produce for profit instead of for revenue. Then the modern farmer and the modern landowner are presupposed in his person. This change in the form in which he obtains his revenue or in the form in which the worker is paid is not, however, a formal distinction, but presupposes a total restructuring of the mode of production (agriculture) itself; it therefore presupposes conditions which rest on a certain development of industry, of trade, and of science, in short of the forces of production. Just as, in general, production resting on capital and wage labour differs from other modes of production not merely formally, but equally presupposes a total revolution and development of material production. Although capital can develop itself completely as commercial capital (only not as much quantitatively), without this transformation of landed property, it cannot do so as industrial capital. Even the development of manufactures presupposes the beginning of a dissolution of the old economic relations of landed property. On the other hand, only with the development of modern industry to a high degree does this dissolution at individual points acquire its totality and extent; but this development itself proceeds more rapidly to the degree that modern agriculture and the form of property, the economic relations corresponding to it, have developed. Thus England in this respect the model country for the other continental countries. Likewise: if the first form of industry, large-scale manufacture, already presupposes dissolution of landed property, then the latter is in turn conditioned by the subordinate development of capital in its primitive (medieval) forms which has taken place in the cities, and at the same time by the effect of the flowering of manufacture and trade in other countries (thus the influence of Holland on England in the sixteenth and the first half of the seventeenth century). These countries themselves had already undergone the process, agriculture had been sacrificed to cattle-raising, and grain was obtained from countries which were left behind, such as Poland etc., by import (Holland again). It must be kept in mind that the new forces of production and relations of production do not develop out of nothing, nor drop from the sky, nor from the womb of the self-positing Idea; but from within and in antithesis to the existing development of production and the inherited, traditional relations of property. While in the completed bourgeois system every economic relation presupposes every other in its bourgeois economic form, and everything posited is thus also a presupposition, this is the case with every organic system. This organic system itself, as a totality, has its presuppositions, and its development to its totality consists precisely in subordinating all elements of society to itself, or in creating out of it the organs which it still lacks. This is historically how it becomes a totality. The process of becoming this totality forms a moment of its process, of its development. – On the other hand, if within one society the modern relations of production, i.e. capital, are developed to its totality, and this society then seizes hold of a new territory, as e.g. the colonies, then it finds, or rather its representative, the capitalist, finds, that his capital ceases to be capital without wage labour, and that one of the presuppositions of the latter is not only landed property in general, but modern landed property; landed property which, as capitalized rent, is expensive, and which, as such, excludes the direct use of the soil by individuals. Hence Wakefield’s theory of colonies, followed in practice by the English government in Australia.  Landed property is here artificially made more expensive in order to transform the workers into wage workers, to make capital act as capital, and thus to make the new colony productive; to develop wealth in it, instead of using it, as in America, for the momentary deliverance of the wage labourers. Wakefield’s theory is infinitely important for a correct understanding of modern landed property. – Capital, when it creates landed property, therefore goes back to the production of wage labour as its general creative basis. Capital arises out of circulation and posits labour as wage labour; takes form in this way; and, developed as a whole, it posits landed property as its precondition as well as its opposite. It turns out, however, that it has thereby only created wage labour as its general presupposition. The latter must then be examined by itself. On the other hand, modern landed property itself appears most powerfully in the process of clearing the estates and the transformation of the rural labourers into wage labourers. Thus a double transition to wage labour. This on the positive side. Negatively, after capital has posited landed property and hence arrived at its double purpose: (1) industrial agriculture and thereby development of the forces of production on the land; (2) wage labour, thereby general domination of capital over the countryside; it then regards the existence of landed property itself as a merely transitional development, which is required as an action of capital on the old relations of landed property, and a product of their decomposition; but which, as such – once this purpose achieved – is merely a limitation on profit, not a necessary requirement for production. It thus endeavours to dissolve landed property as private property and to transfer it to the state. This the negative side. Thus to transform the entire domestic society into capitalists and wage labourers. When capital has reached this point, then wage labour itself reaches the point where, on one side, it endeavours to remove the landowner as an excrescence, to simplify the relation, to lessen the burden of taxes etc., in the same form as the bourgeois; on the other hand, in order to escape wage labour and to become an independent producer – for immediate consumption – it demands the breaking-up of large landed property. Landed property is thus negated from two sides; the negation from the side of capital is only a change of form, towards its undivided rule. (Ground rent as the universal state rent (state tax), so that bourgeois society reproduces the medieval system in a new way, but as the latter’s total negation.) The negation from the side of wage labour is only concealed negation of capital, hence of itself as well. It must now be regarded as independent in respect to capital. Thus the transition double: (1) Positive transition from modern landed property, or from capital through the mediation of modern landed property, to general wage labour; (2) negative transition: negation of landed property by capital, i.e. thus negation of autonomous value by capital, i.e. precisely negation of capital by itself. But its negation is wage labour. Then negation of landed property and, through its mediation, of capital, on the part of wage labour, i.e. on the part of wage labour which wants to posit itself as independent.>
<The market, which appears as an abstract quality at the beginning of economics, takes on total shapes. First, the money market. This includes the discount market; in general, the loan market; hence money trade, bullion market. As money-lending market it appears in the banks, for instance the discount at which they discount: loan market, billbrokers etc.; but then also as the market in all interest-bearing bills: state funds and the share market. The latter separate off into larger groups (first the shares of money institutions themselves; bank shares; joint-stock bank shares; shares in the means of communication (railway shares the most important; canal shares; steam navigation shares, telegraph shares, omnibus shares); shares of general industrial enterprises (mining shares the chief ones). Then in the supply of common elements (gas shares, water-supply shares). Miscellaneous shares of a thousand kinds. For the storage of commodities (dock shares etc.). Miscellaneous in infinite variety, such as enterprises in industry or trading companies founded on shares. Finally, as security for the whole, insurance shares of all kinds.) Now, just as the market by and large is divided into home market and foreign market, so the internal market itself again divides into the market of home shares, national funds etc. and foreign funds, foreign shares etc. This development actually belongs properly under the world market, which is not only the internal market in relation to all foreign markets existing outside it, but at the same time the internal market of all foreign markets as, in turn, components of the home market. The concentration of the money market in a chief location within a country, while the other markets are more distributed according to the division of labour; although here, too, great concentration in the capital city, if the latter is at the same time a port of export. – The various markets other than the money market are, firstly, as different as are products and branches of production themselves. The chief markets in these various products arise in centres which are such either in respect of import or export, or because they are either themselves centres of a given production, or are the direct supply points of such centres. But these markets proceed from this simple difference to a more or less organic separation into large groups, which themselves necessarily divide up according to the basic elements of capital itself: product market and raw-material market. The instrument of production as such does not form a separate market; it exists as such chiefly, first, in the raw materials themselves which are sold as means of production; then, however, in particular in the metals, since these exclude all thought of direct consumption, and then the products, such as coal, oil, chemicals, which are destined to disappear as auxiliary means of production. Likewise dyes, wood, drugs etc. Hence:
I. Products. (1) Grain market with its various subdivisions. E.g. seed market: rice, sage, potatoes etc. This very important economically; at the same time market for production and for direct consumption. (2) Colonial-produce market. Coffee, tea, cocoa, sugar; spices (pepper, tobacco, pimento, cinnamon, cassia lignea, cloves, ginger, mace, nutmegs, etc.). (3) Fruits. Almonds, currants, figs, plums, prunes, raisins, oranges, lemons etc. Molasses (for production etc.). (4) Provisions. Butter; cheese; bacon; hams; lard; pork; beef (smoked), fish etc. (5) Spirits. Wine, rum, beer etc. II. Raw Materials. (1) Raw materials for mechanical industry. Flax; hemp; cotton; silk; wool; hides; leather; gutta-percha etc. (2) Raw materials for chemical industry. Potash, saltpetre; turpentine; nitrate of soda etc. III. Raw materials which at the same time instruments of production. Metals (copper, iron, tin, zinc, lead, steel etc.), wood. Lumber. Timber. Dye-woods. Specialized wood for shipbuilding etc. Accessory means of production and raw materials. Drugs and dyes. (Cochineal, indigo etc. Tar. Tallow. Oil. Coals etc.) Of course, every product must go to market, but really great markets, as distinct from retail trade, are formed only by the great consumption goods (economically important are only the grain market, the tea, the sugar, the coffee market (wine market to some extent, and market in spirits generally), or those which are raw materials of industry: wool, silk, wood, metal market etc.) To be seen at what point the abstract category of the market has to be brought in.>
The exchange between the worker and the capitalist is a simple exchange; each obtains an equivalent; the one obtains money, the other a commodity whose price is exactly equal to the money paid for it; what the capitalist obtains from this simple exchange is a use value: disposition over alien labour. From the worker’s side – and service is the exchange in which he appears as seller – it is evident that the use which the buyer makes of the purchased commodity is as irrelevant to the specific form of the relation here as it is in the case of any other commodity, of any other use value. What the worker sells is the disposition over his labour, which is a specific one, specific skill etc.
What the capitalist does with his labour is completely irrelevant, although of course he can use it only in accord with its specific characteristics, and his disposition is restricted to a specific labour and is restricted in time (so much labour time). The piece-work system of payment, it is true, introduces the semblance that the worker obtains a specified share of the product. But this is only another form of measuring time (instead of saying, you will work for 12 hours, what is said is, you get so much per piece; i.e. we measure the time you have worked by the number of products); it is here, in the examination of the general relation, altogether beside the point. If the capitalist were to content himself with merely the capacity of disposing, without actually making the worker work, e.g. in order to have his labour as a reserve, or to deprive his competitor of this capacity of disposing (like e.g. theatre directors who buy singers for a season not in order to have them sing, but so that they do not sing in a competitor’s theatre), then the exchange has taken place in full. True, the worker receives money, hence exchange value, the general form of wealth, in one or another quantity; and the more or less he receives, the greater or the lesser is the share in the general wealth he thus obtains. How this more or less is determined, how the quantity of money he receives is measured, is of so little relevance to the general relation that it cannot be developed out of the latter. In general terms, the exchange value of his commodity cannot be determined by the manner in which its buyer uses it, but only by the amount of objectified labour contained in it; hence, here, by the amount of labour required to reproduce the worker himself. For the use value which he offers exists only as an ability, a capacity [Vermögen] of his bodily existence; has no existence apart from that. The labour objectified in that use value is the objectified labour necessary bodily to maintain not only the general substance in which his labour power exists, i.e. the worker himself, but also that required to modify this general substance so as to develop its particular capacity. This, in general terms, is the measure of the amount of value, the sum of money, which he obtains in exchange. The further development, where wages are measured, like all other commodities, by the labour time necessary to produce the worker as such, is not yet to the point here. Within circulation, if I exchange a commodity for money, buy a commodity for it and satisfy my need, then the act is at an end. Thus it is with the worker. But he has the possibility of beginning it again from the beginning because his life is the source in which his own use value constantly rekindles itself up to a certain time, when it is worn out, and constantly confronts capital again in order to begin the same exchange anew. Like every individual subject within circulation, the worker is the owner of a use value; he exchanges this for money, for the general form of wealth, but only in order to exchange this again for commodities, considered as the objects of his immediate consumption, as the means of satisfying his needs. Since he exchanges his use value for the general form of wealth, he becomes co-participant in general wealth up to the limit of his equivalent – a quantitative limit which, of course, turns into a qualitative one, as in every exchange. But he is neither bound to particular objects, nor to a particular manner of satisfaction. The sphere of his consumption is not qualitatively restricted, only quantitatively. This distinguishes him from the slave, serf etc. Consumption certainly reacts on production itself; but this reaction concerns the worker in his exchange as little as it does any other seller of a commodity; rather, as regards mere circulation – and we have as yet no other developed relation before us – it falls outside the economic relation. This much, however, can even now be mentioned in passing, namely that the relative restriction on the sphere of the workers’ consumption (which is only quantitative, not qualitative, or rather, only qualitative as posited through the quantitative) gives them as consumers (in the further development of capital the relation between consumption and production must, in general, be more closely examined) an entirely different importance as agents of production from that which they possessed e.g. in antiquity or in the Middle Ages, or now possess in Asia. But, as noted, this does not belong here yet. Similarly, because the worker receives the equivalent in the form of money, the form of general wealth, he is in this exchange an equal vis-à-vis the capitalist, like every other party in exchange; at least, so he seems. In fact this equality is already disturbed because the worker’s relation to the capitalist as a use value, in the form specifically distinct from exchange value, in opposition to value posited as value, is a presupposition of this seemingly simple exchange; because, thus, he already stands in an economically different relation – outside that of exchange, in which the nature of the use value, the particular use value of the commodity is, as such, irrelevant. This semblance exists, nevertheless, as an illusion on his part and to a certain degree on the other side, and thus essentially modifies his relation by comparison to that of workers in other social modes of production. But what is essential is that the purpose of the exchange for him is the satisfaction of his need. The object of his exchange is a direct object of need, not exchange value as such. He does obtain money, it is true, but only in its role as coin; i.e. only as a self-suspending and vanishing mediation. What he obtains from the exchange is therefore not exchange value, not wealth, but a means of subsistence, objects for the preservation of his life, the satisfaction of his needs in general, physical, social etc. It is a specific equivalent in means of subsistence, in objectified labour, measured by the cost of production of his labour. What he gives up is his power to dispose of the latter. On the other side, it is true that even within simple circulation the coin may grow into money, and that in so far as he receives coin in exchange, he can therefore transform it into money by stockpiling it, etc., withdrawing it from circulation; fixes it as general form of wealth, instead of as vanishing medium of exchange. In this respect it could thus be said that, in the exchange between capital and labour, the worker’s object – hence, for him, the product of the exchange – is not the means of subsistence, but wealth; not a particular use value, but rather exchange value as such. Accordingly the worker could make exchange value into his own product only in the same way in which wealth in general can appear solely as product of simple circulation in which equivalents are exchanged, namely by sacrificing substantial satisfaction to obtain the form of wealth, i.e. through self-denial, saving, cutting corners in his consumption so as to withdraw less from circulation than he puts goods into it. This is the only possible form of enriching oneself which is posited by circulation itself. Self-denial could then also appear in the more active form, which is not posited in simple circulation, of denying himself more and more rest, and in general denying himself any existence other than his existence as worker, and being as far as possible a worker only; hence more frequently renewing the act of exchange, or extending it quantitatively, hence through industriousness.  Hence still today the demand for industriousness and also for saving, self-denial, is made not upon the capitalists but on the workers, and namely by the capitalists. Society today makes the paradoxical demand that he for whom the object of exchange is subsistence should deny himself, not he for whom it is wealth. The illusion that the capitalists in fact practised ‘self-denial’  and became capitalists thereby – a demand and a notion which only made any sense at all in the early period when capital was emerging from feudal etc. relations – has been abandoned by all modern economists of sound judgement. The workers are supposed to save, and much bustle is made with savings banks etc. (As regards the latter, even the economists admit that their proper purpose is not wealth, either, but merely a more purposeful distribution of expenditure, so that in their old age, or in case of illness, crises etc., they do not become a burden on the poorhouses, on the state, or on the proceeds of begging (in a word, so that they become a burden on the working class itself and not on the capitalists, vegetating out of the latter’s pockets), i.e. so that they save for the capitalists; and reduce the costs of production for them.) Still, no economist will deny that if the workers generally, that is, as workers (what the individual worker does or can do, as distinct from his genus, can only exist just as exception, not as rule, because it is not inherent in the character of the relation itself), that is, if they acted according to this demand as a rule (apart from the damage they would do to general consumption – the loss would be enormous – and hence also to production, thus also to the amount and volume of the exchanges which they could make with capital, hence to themselves as workers) then the worker would be employing means which absolutely contradict their purpose, and which would directly degrade him to the level of the Irish, the level of wage labour where the most animal minimum of needs and subsistence appears to him as the sole object and purpose of his exchange with capital. If he adopted wealth as his purpose, instead of making his purpose use value, he would then, therefore, not only come to no riches, but would moreover lose use value in the bargain. For, as a rule, the maximum of industriousness, of labour, and the minimum of consumption – and this is the maximum of his self-denial and of his moneymaking – could lead to nothing else than that he would receive for his maximum of labour a minimum of wages. By his exertions he would only have diminished the general level of the production costs of his own labour and therefore its general price. Only as an exception does the worker succeed through will power, physical strength and endurance, greed etc., in transforming his coin into money, as an exception from his class and from the general conditions of his existence. If all or the majority are too industrious (to the degree that industriousness in modern industry is in fact left to their own personal choice, which is not the case in the most important and most developed branches of production), then they increase not the value of their commodity, but only its quantity; that is, the demands which would be placed on it as use value. If they all save, then a general reduction of wages will bring them back to earth again; for general savings would show the capitalist that their wages are in general too high, that they receive more than its equivalent for their commodity, the capacity of disposing of their own labour; since it is precisely the essence of simple exchange – and they stand in this relation towards him – that no one throws more into circulation than he withdraws; but also that no one can withdraw more than he has thrown in. An individual worker can be industrious above the average, more than he has to be in order to live as a worker, only because another lies below the average, is lazier; he can save only because and if another wastes. The most he can achieve on the average with his self-denial is to be able better to endure the fluctuations of prices – high and low, their cycle – that is, he can only distribute his consumption better, but never attain wealth. And that is actually what the capitalists demand. The workers should save enough at the times when business is good to be able more or less to live in the bad times, to endure short time or the lowering of wages. (The wage would then fall even lower.) That is, the demand that they should always hold to a minimum of life’s pleasures and make crises easier to bear for the capitalists etc. Maintain themselves as pure labouring machines and as far as possible pay their own wear and tear. Quite apart from the sheer brutalization to which this would lead – and such a brutalization itself would make it impossible even to strive for wealth in general form, as money, stockpiled money – (and the worker’s participation in the higher, even cultural satisfactions, the agitation for his own interests, newspaper subscriptions, attending lectures, educating his children, developing his taste etc., his only share of civilization which distinguishes him from the slave, is economically only possible by widening the sphere of his pleasures at the times when business is good, where saving is to a certain degree possible), [apart from this,] he would, if he saved his money in a properly ascetic manner and thus heaped up premiums for the lumpenproletariat, pickpockets etc., who would increase in proportion with the demand, he could conserve savings – if they surpass the piggy-bank amounts of the official savings banks, which pay him a minimum of interest, so that the capitalists can strike high interest rates out of his savings, or the state eats them up, thereby merely increasing the power of his enemies and his own dependence – conserve his savings and make them fruitful only by putting them into banks etc., so that, afterwards, in times of crisis he loses his deposits, after having in times of prosperity foregone all life’s pleasures in order to increase the power of capital; thus has saved in every way for capital, not for himself.
Incidentally – in so far as the whole thing is not a hypocritical phrase of bourgeois ‘philanthropy’, which consists in fobbing the worker off with ‘pious wishes’ – each capitalist does demand that his workers should save, but only his own, because they stand towards him as workers; but by no means the remaining world of workers, for these stand towards him as consumers. In spite of all ‘pious’ speeches he therefore searches for means to spur them on to consumption, to give his wares new charms, to inspire them with new needs by constant chatter etc. It is precisely this side of the relation of capital and labour which is an essential civilizing moment, and on which the historic justification, but also the contemporary power of capital rests. (This relation between production and consumption to be developed only under capital and profit etc.) (Or, then again, under accumulation and competition of capitals.) These are nevertheless all exoteric observations, relevant here only in so far as they show the demands of hypocritical bourgeois philanthropy to be self-contradictory and thus to prove precisely what they were supposed to refute, namely that in the exchange between the worker and capital, the worker finds himself in the relation of simple circulation, hence obtains not wealth but only subsistence, use values for immediate consumption. That this demand contradicts the relation itself emerges from the simple reflection (the recently and complacently advanced demand that the workers should be given a certain share in profits  is to be dealt with in the section wage labour; other than as a special bonus which can achieve its purpose only as an exception from the rule, and which is in fact, in noteworthy practice, restricted to the buying-up of individual overlookers etc. in the interests of the employer against the interests of their class; or to travelling salesmen etc., in short, no longer simple workers, hence also not to the simple relation; or else it is a special way of cheating the workers and of deducting a part of their wages in the more precarious form of a profit depending on the state of the business) that, if the worker’s savings are not to remain merely the product of circulation – saved up money, which can be realized only by being converted sooner or later into the substantial content of wealth, pleasures etc. – then the saved-up money would itself have to become capital, i.e. buy labour, relate to labour as use value. It thus presupposes labour which is not capital, and presupposes that labour has become its opposite – not-labour. In order to become capital, it itself presupposes labour as not-capital as against capital; hence it presupposes the establishment at another point of the contradiction it is supposed to overcome. if, then, in the original relation itself, the object and the product of the worker’s exchange – as product of mere exchange, it can be no other – were not use value, subsistence, satisfaction of direct needs, withdrawal from circulation of the equivalent put into it in order to be destroyed by consumption – then labour would confront capital not as labour, not as not-capital, but as capital. But capital, too, cannot confront capital if capital does not confront labour, since capital is only capital as not-labour; in this contradictory relation. Thus the concept and the relation of capital itself would be destroyed. That there are situations in which property-owners who themselves work engage in exchange with one another is certainly not denied. But such conditions are not those of the society in which capital as such exists in developed form; they are destroyed at all points, therefore, by its development. As capital it can posit itself only by positing labour as not-capital, as pure use value. (As a slave, the worker has exchange value, a value; as a free wage-worker he has no value; it is rather his power of disposing of his labour, effected by exchange with him, which has value. It is not he who stands toward the capitalist as exchange value, but the capitalist toward him. His valuelessness and devaluation is the presupposition of capital and the precondition of free labour in general. Linguet regards it as a step backwards;  he forgets that the worker is thereby formally posited as a person who is something for himself apart from his labour, and who alienates his life-expression only as a means towards his own life. So long as the worker as such has exchange value, industrial capital as such cannot exist, hence nor can developed capital in general. Towards the latter, labour must exist as pure use value, which is offered as a commodity by its possessor himself in exchange for it, for its exchange value, which of course becomes real in the worker’s hand only in its role as general medium of exchange; otherwise vanishes.) Well. The worker, then, finds himself only in the relation of simple circulation, of simple exchange, and obtains only coin for his use value; subsistence; but mediated. This form of mediation is, as we saw, essential to and characteristic of the relation. That it can proceed to the transformation of the coin into money – savings – proves precisely only that his relation is that of simple circulation; he can save more or less; but beyond that he cannot get; he can realize what he has saved only by momentarily expanding the sphere of his pleasures. It is of importance – and penetrates into the character of the relation itself – that, because money is the product of his exchange, general wealth drives him forward as an illusion; makes him industrious. At the same time, this not only formally opens up a field of arbitrariness in the realiz …