Grundrisse: Notebook IV / V – The Chapter on Capital

Surplus labour or surplus value becomes surplus capital. All determinants of capitalist production now appear as results of (wage) labour itself. The realization process [Verwirklichungsprozess] of labour at the same time its de-realization process [Entwirklichungsprozess]

The new value, then, [is] itself posited as capital again, as objectified labour entering into the process of exchange with living labour, and hence dividing itself into a constant part – the objective conditions of labour, material and instrument – and the conditions for the subjective condition of labour, the existence of living labour capacity, the necessaries, subsistence goods for the worker. With this second entrance by capital in this form, some points appear clarified which were altogether unclear in its first occurrence – as money in transition from its role as value to its role as capital. Now they are solved through the process of realization and production itself. In the first encounter, the presuppositions themselves appeared to come in from the outside, out of circulation; as external presuppositions for the arising of capital; hence not emergent from its inner essence, and not explained by it. These external presuppositions will now appear as moments of the motion of capital itself, so that it has itself – regardless how they may arise historically – pre-posited them as its own moments.

Within the production process itself, surplus value, the surplus value procured through compulsion by capital, appeared as surplus labour, itself in the form of living labour, which, however, since it cannot create something out of nothing, finds its objective conditions laid out before it. Now this surplus labour appears in objectified form as surplus product, and, in order to realize itself as capital, this surplus product divides into a double form: as objective condition of labour – material and instrument; as subjective – consumption goods for the living labour now to be put to work. The general form as value – objectified labour – and objectified labour coming out of circulation – is of course the general, self-evident presupposition. Further: the surplus product in its totality – which objectifies surplus labour in its totality – now appears as surplus capital (in contrast to the original capital, before it had undertaken this cycle), i.e. as independent exchange value, in which living labour capacity encounters its specific use value. All moments which confronted living labour capacity, and employed it as alien, external powers, and which consumed it under certain conditions independent of itself, are now posited as its own product and result.

Firstly: surplus value or the surplus product are nothing but a specific sum of objectified living labour – the sum of surplus labour. This new value which confronts living labour as independent, as engaged in exchange with it, as capital, is the product of labour. It is itself nothing other than the excess of labour as such above necessary labour – in objective form and hence as value.

Secondly: the particular forms which this value must adopt in order to realize itself anew, i.e. to posit itself as capital – on one side as raw material and instrument, on the other as subsistence goods for labour during the act of production – are likewise, therefore, only particular forms of surplus labour itself. Raw material and instrument are produced by it in such relations – or, it is itself objectively posited in production as raw material and instrument in such a proportion – that a given sum of necessary labour – i.e. living labour which reproduces (the value of) the consumption goods – can objectify itself in it, and objectify itself in it continuously, i.e. can always begin anew the diremption into the objective and subjective conditions of its self-preservation and self-reproduction. In addition to this, living labour, in the process of reproducing its objective conditions, has at the same time posited raw material and instrument in such proportions that it can realize itself in them as surplus labour, as labour beyond the necessary, and can hence make them into material for the creation of new values. The objective conditions of surplus labour – which are restricted to the proportion of raw material and instrument beyond the requirements of necessary labour, whereas the objective conditions of necessary labour divide within their objectivity into objective and subjective, into objective moments of labour as well as subjective (consumption goods for living labour) – therefore now appear, are therefore now posited, as the product, result, objective form, external existence of surplus labour itself. Originally, by contrast, the fact that instrument and necessaries were on hand in the amounts which made it possible for living labour to realize itself not only as necessary, but also as surplus labour – this appeared alien to living labour itself, appeared as an act of capital.

Thirdly: The independent, for-itself existence [Fürsichsein] of value vis-à-vis living labour capacity – hence its existence as capital – the objective, self-sufficient indifference, the alien quality [Fremdheit] of the objective conditions of labour vis-à-vis living labour capacity, which goes so far that these conditions confront the person of the worker in the person of the capitalist – as personification [53] with its own will and interest – this absolute divorce, separation of property, i.e. of the objective conditions of labour from living labour capacity – that they confront him as alien property, as the reality of other juridical persons, as the absolute realm of their will – and that labour therefore, on the other side, appears as alien labour opposed to the value personified in the capitalist, or the conditions of labour – this absolute separation between property and labour, between living labour capacity and the conditions of its realization, between objectified and living labour, between value and value-creating activity – hence also the alien quality of the content of labour for the worker himself – this divorce now likewise appears as a product of labour itself, as objectification of its own moments. For, in the new act of production itself – which merely confirmed the exchange between capital and living labour which preceded it – surplus labour, and hence the surplus product, the total product of labour in general (of surplus labour as well as necessary labour), has now been posited as capital, as independent and indifferent towards living labour capacity, or as exchange value which confronts its mere use value. Labour capacity has appropriated for itself only the subjective conditions of necessary labour – the means of subsistence for actively producing labour capacity, i.e. for its reproduction as mere labour capacity separated from the conditions of its realization – and it has posited these conditions themselves as things, values, which confront it in an alien, commanding personification. The worker emerges not only not richer, but emerges rather poorer from the process than he entered. For not only has he produced the conditions of necessary labour as conditions belonging to capital; but also the value-creating possibility, the realization [Verwertung] which lies as a possibility within him, now likewise exists as surplus value, surplus product, in a word as capital, as master over living labour capacity, as value endowed with its own might and will, confronting him in his abstract, objectless, purely subjective poverty. He has produced not only the alien wealth and his own poverty, but also the relation of this wealth as independent, self-sufficient wealth, relative to himself as the poverty which this wealth consumes, and from which wealth thereby draws new vital spirits into itself, and realizes itself anew. All this arose from the act of exchange, in which he exchanged his living labour capacity for an amount of objectified labour, except that this objectified labour – these external conditions of his being, and the independent externality [Ausserihmsein] (to him) of these objective conditions – now appear as posited by himself, as his own product, as his own self-objectification as well as the objectification of himself as a power independent of himself, which moreover rules over him, rules over him through his own actions.

In surplus capital, all moments are products of alien labour – alien surplus labour transformed into capital; means of subsistence for necessary labour; the objective conditions – material and instrument – whereby necessary labour can reproduce the value exchanged for it in means of subsistence; finally the amount of material and instrument required so that new surplus labour can realize itself in them, or a new surplus value can be created.

It no longer seems here, as it still did in the first examination of the production process, as if capital, for its part, brought with it any value whatever from circulation. Rather, the objective conditions of labour now appear as labour’s product – both to the extent that they are value in general, and as use values for production. But while capital thus appears as the product of labour, so does the product of labour likewise appear as capital – no longer as a simple product, nor as an exchangeable commodity, but as capital; objectified labour as mastery, command over living labour. The product of labour appears as alien property, as a mode of existence confronting living labour as independent, as value in its being for itself; the product of labour, objectified labour, has been endowed by living labour with a soul of its own, and establishes itself opposite living labour as an alien power: both these situations are themselves the product of labour. Living labour therefore now appears from its own standpoint as acting within the production process in such a way that, as it realizes itself in the objective conditions, it simultaneously repulses this realization from itself as an alien reality, and hence posits itself as insubstantial, as mere penurious labour capacity in face of this reality alienated [entfremdet] from it, belonging not to it but to others; that it posits its own reality not as a being for it, but merely as a being for others, and hence also as mere other-being [Anderssein], or being of another opposite itself. [54] This realization process is at the same time the de-realization process of labour. It posits itself objectively, but it posits this, its objectivity, as its own not-being or as the being of its not-being – of capital. It returns back into itself as the mere possibility of value-creation or realization [Verwertung]; because the whole of real wealth, the world of real value and likewise the real conditions of its own realization [Verwirklichung] are posited opposite it as independent existences. As a consequence of the production process, the possibilities resting in living labour’s own womb exist outside it as realities – but as realities alien to it, which form wealth in opposition to it.

In so far as the surplus product is realized anew as surplus capital, enters anew into the process of production and self-realization, it divides into (1) means of subsistence for the workers, to be exchanged for living labour capacity; let this part of capital be designated as labour fund; this labour fund, the part allotted for the maintenance of living labour capacity – and for its progressive maintenance, since surplus capital constantly grows – now likewise appears as the product of alien labour, labour alien to capital, as well as (2) its other component parts – the material conditions for the reproduction of a value = to these means of subsistence + a surplus value.

Further, if we consider this surplus capital, then the division of capital into a constant part – raw material and instrument with an antediluvian existence before labour – and a variable part, i.e. the necessary goods exchangeable for living labour capacity, appears as purely formal, in so far as both of them are equally posited by labour and are equally posited by it as its own presuppositions. Now, however, this internal division of capital appears in such a way that labour’s own product – objectified surplus labour – splits into two component parts – the objective conditions for new realization of labour (1), and a labour fund for maintaining the possibility of this living labour, i.e. of living labour capacity as alive (2), but in such a way that labour capacity can only re-appropriate that part of its own result – of its own being in objective form – which is designated as labour fund, can appropriate and extract this part from the form of the alien wealth which confronts it, only by reproducing not merely its own value, but by also realizing that part of the new capital which represents the objective conditions for the realization of new surplus labour and surplus production, or production of surplus values. Labour has itself created a new fund for the employment of new necessary labour, or, what is the same, a fund for the maintenance of new living labour capacities, of workers, but has created at the same time the condition that this fund can be employed only if new surplus labour is employed on the extra part of the surplus capital. Thus, the production by labour of this surplus capital – surplus value – is at the same time the creation of the real necessity of new surplus labour, and thus surplus capital is itself at the same time the real possibility both of new surplus labour and of new surplus capital. It here becomes evident that labour itself progressively extends and gives an ever wider and fuller existence to the objective world of wealth as a power alien to labour, so that, relative to the values created or to the real conditions of value-creation, the penurious subjectivity of living labour capacity forms an ever more glaring contrast. The greater the extent to which labour objectifies itself, the greater becomes the objective world of values, which stands opposite it as alien – alien property. With the creation of surplus capital, labour places itself under the compulsion to create yet further surplus capital etc. etc.

In regard to the original not-surplus capital, the relation has changed, as regards labour capacity, in so far as (1) the part of it which is exchanged for necessary labour has been reproduced by this labour itself, i.e. no longer comes to it out of circulation, but is its own product; and (2) that part of the value which, as raw material and instrument, represents the real conditions for the realization [Verwertung] of living labour, has been maintained by it itself in the production process; and, since every use value by its nature consists of transitory material, but since exchange value is present, exists, only in use value, therefore this maintenance = protection from decay and ruin, or negation of the transitory nature of the values owned by the capitalists; hence, this maintenance means to posit them as values for-themselves, as indestructible wealth. Hence, this original sum of values has been posited for the first time as capital in the production process, by living labour.

Formation of surplus capital I. – Surplus capital II. – Inversion of the law of appropriation. – Chief result of the production and realization process: the reproduction and new production of the relation of capital and labour itself, of capitalist and worker

Now, from the standpoint of capital: As regards the surplus capital, the capitalist represents value for-itself, money in its third moment, wealth, by means of simple appropriation of alien labour; since every moment of surplus capital, material, instrument, necessaries, resolves into alien labour, which the capitalist does not appropriate by means of exchange for existing values, but has appropriated without exchange. True, the exchange of a part of values belonging to him, or of objectified labour possessed by him, for alien living labour capacity, appears as the original precondition for this surplus capital. For the formation of surplus capital I, if we give that name to the surplus capital emerging from the original production process, i.e. for the appropriation of alien labour, of objectified alien labour, it appears as a condition that the capitalist should possess values, of which he formally exchanges one part for living labour capacity. We say formally, because living labour must replace and return to him these exchanged values as well. But be this as it may. In any case, it appears as a condition for the formation of surplus capital I, i.e. for the appropriation of alien labour or of the values in which it is objectified, that there must be an exchange of values belonging to the capitalist, thrown into circulation by him, and supplied to living labour capacity by him – of values which do not arise from his exchange with living labour, or not from his relation as capital to labour.

But now let us think of this surplus capital as having been thrown back into the production process, as realizing its surplus value anew in exchange, and as appearing anew as new surplus capital at the beginning of a third production process. This, surplus capital II, has different presuppositions from surplus capital I. The presupposition of surplus capital I was the existence of values belonging to the capitalist and thrown by him into circulation, or, more exactly, into the exchange with living labour capacity. The presupposition of surplus capital II is nothing more than the existence of surplus capital I; i.e. in other words, the presupposition that the capitalist has already appropriated alien labour without exchange. This puts him into a position where he is able to begin the process again and again. True, in order to create surplus capital II, he had to exchange a part of the value of surplus capital I in the form of means of subsistence for living labour capacity, but the values he gave in that exchange were not values which he originally put into circulation out of his own funds; they were, rather, objectified alien labour which he appropriated without giving any equivalent whatever, and which he now re-exchanges for alien living labour; in the same way, moreover, as the material etc. in which this new labour realizes itself and in which it creates surplus value have come into his hands without exchange, by mere appropriation. The previous appropriation of alien labour now appears as the simple precondition for the new appropriation of alien labour; or, his ownership of alien labour in objective (material) form, in the form of existing values, appears as the condition of his ability to appropriate new alien living labour capacity, hence surplus labour, labour without equivalent. The fact that he has previously confronted living labour as capital appears as the only condition required in order that he may not only maintain himself as capital, but also, as a growing capital, increasingly appropriate alien labour without equivalent; or, that he may extend his power, his existence as capital opposite living labour capacity, and on the other side constantly posit living labour capacity anew in its subjective, insubstantial penury as living labour capacity. Property – previous, or objectified, alien labour – appears as the only condition for further appropriation of present or living alien labour. In so far as surplus capital I was created by means of a simple exchange between objectified labour and living labour capacity – an exchange entirely based on the laws of the exchange of equivalents as measured by the quantity of labour or labour time contained in them – and in so far as the legal expression of this exchange presupposed nothing other than everyone’s right of property over his own products, and of free disposition over them – but in so far as the relation of surplus capital II to I is therefore a consequence of this first relation – we see that, by a peculiar logic, the right of property undergoes a dialectical inversion [dialektischer Umschlag], so that on the side of capital it becomes the right to an alien product, or the right of property over alien labour, the right to appropriate alien labour without an equivalent, and, on the side of labour capacity, it becomes the duty to relate to one’s own labour or to one’s own product as to alien property. The right of property is inverted, to become, on the one side, the right to appropriate alien labour, and, on the other, the duty of respecting the product of one’s own labour, and one’s own labour itself, as values belonging to others. The exchange of equivalents, however, which appeared as the original operation, an operation to which the right of property gave legal expression, has become turned round in such a way that the exchange by one side is now only illusory, since the part of capital which is exchanged for living labour capacity, firstly, is itself alien labour, appropriated without equivalent, and, secondly, has to be replaced with a surplus by living labour capacity, is thus in fact not consigned away, but merely changed from one form into another. The relation of exchange has thus dropped away entirely, or is a mere semblance. Furthermore, the right of property originally appeared to be based on one’s own labour. Property now appears as the right to alien labour, and as the impossibility of labour appropriating its own product. The complete separation between property, and, even more so, wealth, and labour, now appears as a consequence of the law which began with their identity.

Finally, the result of the process of production and realization is, above all, the reproduction and new production of the relation of capital and labour itself, of capitalist and worker. This social relation, production relation, appears in fact as an even more important result of the process than its material results. And more particularly, within this process the worker produces himself as labour capacity, as well as the capital confronting him, while at the same time the capitalist produces himself as capital as well as the living labour capacity confronting him. Each reproduces itself, by reproducing its other, its negation. The capitalist produces labour as alien; labour produces the product as alien. The capitalist produces the worker, and the worker the capitalist etc.

Original accumulation of capital. (The real accumulation). – Once developed historically, capital itself creates the conditions of its existence (not as conditions for its arising, but as results of its being). – (Performance of personal services, as opposed to wage labour.) – Inversion of the law of appropriation. Real alien relation [Fremdheit] of the worker to his product. Division of labour. Machinery etc.

Once production founded on capital is presupposed – money has become transformed into capital actually only at the end of the first production process, which resulted in its reproduction and in the new production of surplus capital I; surplus capital I, however, is itself posited, realized as surplus capital, only when it has produced surplus capital II, i.e. as soon as those presuppositions of money, while it is in the process of passing over into capital, which still lie outside the movement of real capital have vanished, and when capital has therefore itself posited, and posited in accordance with its immanent essence, the conditions which form its point of departure in production – [then] the condition that the capitalist, in order to posit himself as capital, must bring values into circulation which he created with his own labour – or by some other means, excepting only already available, previous wage labour – belongs among the antediluvian conditions of capital, belongs to its historic presuppositions, which, precisely as such historic presuppositions, are past and gone, and hence belong to the history of its formation, but in no way to its contemporary history, i.e. not to the real system of the mode of production ruled by it. While e.g. the flight of serfs to the cities is one of the historic conditions and presuppositions of urbanism, it is not a condition, not a moment of the reality of developed cities, but belongs rather to their past presuppositions, to the presuppositions of their becoming which are suspended in their being. The conditions and presuppositions of the becoming, of the arising, of capital presuppose precisely that it is not yet in being but merely in becoming; they therefore disappear as real capital arises, capital which itself, on the basis of its own reality, posits the conditions for its realization. Thus e.g. while the process in which money or value for-itself originally becomes capital presupposes on the part of the capitalist an accumulation – perhaps by means of savings garnered from products and values created by his own labour etc., which he has undertaken as a not-capitalist, i.e. while the presuppositions under which money becomes capital appear as given, external presuppositions for the arising of capital – [nevertheless,] as soon as capital has become capital as such, it creates its own presuppositions, i.e. the possession of the real conditions of the creation of new values without exchange – by means of its own production process. These presuppositions, which originally appeared as conditions of its becoming – and hence could not spring from its action as capital – now appear as results of its own realization, reality, as posited by it – not as conditions of its arising, but as results of its presence. It no longer proceeds from presuppositions in order to become, but rather it is itself presupposed, and proceeds from itself to create the conditions of its maintenance and growth. Therefore, the conditions which preceded the creation of surplus capital I, or which express the becoming of capital, do not fall into the sphere of that mode of production for which capital serves as the presupposition; as the historic preludes of its becoming, they lie behind it, just as the processes by means of which the earth made the transition from a liquid sea of fire and vapour to its present form now lie beyond its life as finished earth. That is, individual capitals can continue to arise e.g. by means of hoarding. But the hoard is transformed into capital only by means of the exploitation of labour. The bourgeois economists who regard capital as an eternal and natural (not historical) form of production then attempt at the same time to legitimize it again by formulating the conditions of its becoming as the conditions of its contemporary realization; i.e. presenting the moments in which the capitalist still appropriates as not-capitalist – because he is still becoming – as the very conditions in which he appropriates as capitalist. These attempts at apologetics demonstrate a guilty conscience, as well as the inability to bring the mode of appropriation of capital as capital into harmony with the general laws of property proclaimed by capitalist society itself. On the other side, much more important for us is that our method indicates the points where historical investigation must enter in, or where bourgeois economy as a merely historical form of the production process points beyond itself to earlier historical modes of production. In order to develop the laws of bourgeois economy, therefore, it is not necessary to write the real history of the relations of production. But the correct observation and deduction of these laws, as having themselves become [55] in history, always leads to primary equations – like the empirical numbers e.g. in natural science – which point towards a past lying behind this system. These indications [Andeutung], together with a correct grasp of the present, then also offer the key to the understanding of the past – a work in its own right which, it is to be hoped, we shall be able to undertake as well. [56] This correct view likewise leads at the same time to the points at which the suspension of the present form of production relations gives signs of its becoming – foreshadowings of the future. Just as, on one side the pre-bourgeois phases appear as merely historical, i.e. suspended presuppositions, so do the contemporary conditions of production likewise appear as engaged in suspending themselves and hence in positing the historic presuppositions for a new state of society.

Now, if we initially examine the relation such as it has become, value having become capital, and living labour confronting it as mere use value, so that living labour appears as a mere means to realize objectified, dead labour, to penetrate it with an animating soul while losing its own soul to it – and having produced, as the end-product, alien wealth on one side and [, on the other,] the penury which is living labour capacity’s sole possession – then the matter is simply this, that the process itself, in and by itself, posits the real objective conditions of living labour (namely, material in which to realize itself, instrument with which to realize itself, and necessaries with which to stoke the flame of living labour capacity, to protect it from being extinguished, to supply its vital processes with the necessary fuels) and posits them as alien, independent existences – or as the mode of existence of an alien person, as self-sufficient values for-themselves, and hence as values which form wealth alien to an isolated and subjective labour capacity, wealth of and for the capitalist. The objective conditions of living labour appear as separated, independent [verselbständigte] values opposite living labour capacity as subjective being, which therefore appears to them only as a value of another kind (not as value, but different from them, as use value). Once this separation is given, the production process can only produce it anew, reproduce it, and reproduce it on an expanded scale. How it does this, we have seen. The objective conditions of living labour capacity are presupposed as having an existence independent of it, as the objectivity of a subject distinct from living labour capacity and standing independently over against it; the reproduction and realization [Verwertung], i.e. the expansion of these objective conditions, is therefore at the same time their own reproduction and new production as the wealth of an alien subject indifferently and independently standing over against labour capacity. What is reproduced and produced anew [neuproduziert] is not only the presence of these objective conditions of living labour, but also their presence as independent values, i.e. values belonging to an alien subject, confronting this living labour capacity. The objective conditions of labour attain a subjective existence vis-à-vis living labour capacity – capital turns into capitalist; on the other side, the merely subjective presence of the labour capacity confronted by its own conditions gives it a merely indifferent, objective form as against them – it is merely a value of a particular use value alongside the conditions of its own realization [Verwertung] as values of another use value. Instead of their being realized [realisiert] in the production process as the conditions of its realization [Verwirklichung], what happens is quite the opposite: it comes out of the process as mere condition for their realization [Verwertung] and preservation as values for-themselves opposite living labour capacity. The material on which it works is alien material; the instrument is likewise an alien instrument; its labour appears as a mere accessory to their substance and hence objectifies itself in things not belonging to it. Indeed, living labour itself appears as alien vis-à-vis living labour capacity, whose labour it is, whose own life’s expression [Lebensäusserung] it is, for it has been surrendered to capital in exchange for objectified labour, for the product of labour itself. Labour capacity relates to its labour as to an alien, and if capital were willing to pay it without making it labour it would enter the bargain with pleasure. Thus labour capacity’s own labour is as alien to it – and it really is, as regards its direction etc. – as are material and instrument. Which is why the product then appears to it as a combination of alien material, alien instrument and alien labour – as alien property, and why, after production, it has become poorer by the life forces expended, but otherwise begins the drudgery anew, existing as a mere subjective labour capacity separated from the conditions of its life. The recognition [Erkennung] of the products as its own, and the judgement that its separation from the conditions of its realization is improper – forcibly imposed – is an enormous [advance in] awareness [Bewusstsein], itself the product of the mode of production resting on capital, and as much the knell to its doom as, with the slave’s awareness that he cannot be the property of another, with his consciousness of himself as a person, the existence of slavery becomes a merely artificial, vegetative existence, and ceases to be able to prevail as the basis of production.

However, if we consider the original relation, before the entry of money into the self-realization process, then various conditions appear which have to have arisen, or been given historically, for money to become capital and labour to become capital-positing, capital-creating labour, wage labour. (Wage labour, here, in the strict economic sense in which we use it here, and no other – and we will later have to distinguish it from other forms of labour for day-wages etc. – is capital-positing, capital-producing labour, i.e. living labour which produces both the objective conditions of its realization as an activity, as well as the objective moments of its being as labour capacity, and produces them as alien powers opposite itself, as values for-themselves, independent of it.) The essential conditions are themselves posited in the relation as it appears originally: (1) on the one side the presence of living labour capacity as a merely subjective existence, separated from the conditions of living labour as well as from the means of existence, the necessary goods, the means of self-preservation of living labour capacity; the living possibility of labour, on the one side, in this complete abstraction; (2) the value, or objectified labour, found on the other side, must be an accumulation of use values sufficiently large to furnish the objective conditions not only for the production of the products or values required to reproduce or maintain living labour capacity, but also for the absorption of surplus labour – to supply the objective material for the latter; (3) a free exchange relation – money circulation – between both sides; between the extremes a relation founded on exchange values – not on the master–servant relation – i.e., hence, production which does not directly furnish the producer with his necessaries, but which is mediated through exchange, and which cannot therefore usurp alien labour directly, but must buy it, exchange it, from the worker himself; finally (4) one side – the side representing the objective conditions of labour in the form of independent values for-themselves – must present itself as value, and must regard the positing of value, self-realization, money-making, as the ultimate purpose – not direct consumption or the creation of use value.

So long as both sides exchange their labour with one another in the form of objectified labour, the relation is impossible; it is likewise impossible if living labour capacity itself appears as the property of the other side, hence as not engaged in exchange. (The fact that slavery is possible at individual points within the bourgeois system of production does not contradict this. However, slavery is then possible there only because it does not exist at other points; and appears as an anomaly opposite the bourgeois system itself.)

The conditions under which the relation appears at the origin, or which appear as the historic presuppositions of its becoming, reveal at first glance a two-sided character – on one side, dissolution of lower forms of living labour; on the other, dissolution of happier forms of the same.

The first presupposition, to begin with, is that the relation of slavery or serfdom has been suspended. Living labour capacity belongs to itself, and has disposition over the expenditure of its forces, through exchange. Both sides confront each other as persons. Formally, their relation has the equality and freedom of exchange as such. As far as concerns the legal relation, the fact that this form is a mere semblance, and a deceptive semblance, appears as an external matter. What the free worker sells is always nothing more than a specific, particular measure of force-expenditure [Kraftäusserung]; labour capacity as a totality is greater than every particular expenditure. He sells the particular expenditure of force to a particular capitalist, whom he confronts as an independent individual. It is clear that this is not his relation to the existence of capital as capital, i.e. to the capitalist class. Nevertheless, in this way everything touching on the individual, real person leaves him a wide field of choice, of arbitrary will, and hence of formal freedom. In the slave relation, he belongs to the individual, particular owner, and is his labouring machine. As a totality of force-expenditure, as labour capacity, he is a thing [Sache] belonging to another, and hence does not relate as subject to his particular expenditure of force, nor to the act of living labour. In the serf relation he appears as a moment of property in land itself, is an appendage of the soil, exactly like draught-cattle. In the slave relation the worker is nothing but a living labour-machine, which therefore has a value for others, or rather is a value. The totality of the free worker’s labour capacity appears to him as his property, as one of his moments, over which he, as subject, exercises domination, and which he maintains by expending it. This to he developed later under wage labour.

The exchange of objectified labour for living labour does not yet constitute either capital on one side or wage labour on the other. The entire class of so-called services from the bootblack up to the king falls into this category. Likewise the free day-labourer, whom we encounter sporadically in all places where either the oriental community [Gemeinwesen] or the western commune [Gemeinde] consisting of free landowners dissolves into individual elements – as a consequence of increase of population, release of prisoners of war, accidents by which the individual is impoverished and loses the objective conditions of his self-sustaining labour, owing to division of labour etc. If A exchanges a value or money, i.e. objectified labour, in order to obtain a service from B, i.e. living labour, then this can belong:

(1) within the relation of simple circulation. Both in fact exchange only use values with one another; one exchanges necessaries, the other labour, a service which the other wants to consume, either directly – personal service – or he furnishes him the material etc. from which, with his labour, with the objectification of his labour, he makes a use value, a use value designed for A’s consumption. For example, when the peasant takes a wandering tailor, of the kind that existed in times past, into his house, and gives him the material to make clothes with. Or if I give money to a doctor to patch up my health. What is important in these cases is the service which both do for one another. Do ut facias here appears on quite the same level as facio ut des, or do ut des. [57] The man who takes the cloth I supplied to him and makes me an article of clothing out of it gives me a use value. But instead of giving it directly in objective form, he gives it in the form of activity. I give him a completed use value; he completes another for me. The difference between previous, objectified labour and living, present labour here appears as a merely formal difference between the different tenses of labour, at one time in the perfect and at another in the present. It appears in fact as a merely formal difference, a difference mediated by division of labour and by exchange, whether B himself produces the necessaries on which he has to subsist, or whether he obtains them from A and, instead of producing the necessaries himself, produces an article of clothing, in exchange for which he obtains them from A. In both cases he can take possession of the use value possessed by A only by giving him an equivalent for it; which, in the last analysis, always resolves itself into his own living labour, regardless of the objective form it may adopt, whether before the exchange is concluded, or as a consequence of it. Now, the article of clothing not only contains a specific, form-giving labour – a specific form of usefulness imparted to the cloth by the movement of labour – but it contains also a certain quantity of labour – hence not only use value, but value generally, value as such. But this value does not exist for A, since he consumes the article, and is not a clothes-dealer. He has therefore bought the labour not as value-positing labour, but as an activity which creates utility, use value. In the case of personal services, this use value is consumed as such without making the transition from the form of movement [Bewegung] into the form of the object [Sache]. If, as is frequently the case in simple relations, the performer of the service does not obtain money, but direct use values themselves, then it no longer even seems as if value were being dealt in on one or the other side; merely use values. But even given that A pays money for the service, this is not a transformation of his money into capital, but rather the positing of his money as mere medium of circulation, in order to obtain an object for consumption, a specific use value. This act is for that reason not an act which produces wealth, but the opposite, one which consumes wealth. The point for A is not the objectification in the cloth of labour as such, of a certain amount of labour time, hence value, but rather the satisfaction of a certain need. Here A sees his money not realized but devalued in its transposition from the form of value into that of use value. Labour is here exchanged not as use value for value, but as itself a particular use value, as value for use. The more frequently A repeats the exchange, the poorer does he become. This exchange is not an act of wealth-getting for him, not an act of value creation, but of devaluation of the values he has in hand, in his possession. The money which A here exchanges for living labour – service in kind, or service objectified in a thing – is not capital but revenue, money as a medium of circulation in order to obtain use value, money in which the form of value is posited as merely vanishing, not money which will preserve and realize itself as such through the acquisition of labour. Exchange of money as revenue, as a mere medium of circulation, for living labour, can never posit money as capital, nor, therefore, labour as wage labour in the economic sense. A lengthy disquisition is not required to show that to consume (spend) money is not the same as to produce money. In situations in which the greatest part of surplus labour appears as agricultural labour, and where the owner of the land therefore appears as owner both of surplus labour and of the surplus product, it is the revenue of the owner of the land which forms the labour fund for the free worker, for the worker in manufactures (here, hand crafts) as opposed to the agricultural labourers. The exchange with them [58] is a form of the consumption of the owner of the land – he divides another part of his revenue directly – for personal services, often only the illusion of services, with a heap of retainers. In Asiatic societies, where the monarch appears as the exclusive proprietor of the agricultural surplus product, whole cities arise, which are at bottom nothing more than wandering encampments, from the exchange of his revenue with the ‘free hands’, as Steuart calls them. [59] There is nothing of wage labour in this relation, but it can stand in opposition to slavery and serfdom, though need not do so, for it always repeats itself under various forms of the overall organization of labour. To the extent that money mediates this exchange the determination of prices will become important on both sides, but it will do so for A only in so far as he does not want to pay too much for the use value of the labour; not in so far as he is concerned with its value. The essence of the relation remains unchanged even if this price, which begins as conventional and traditional, is thereafter increasingly determined economically, first by the relation of demand and supply, finally by the production costs at which the vendors themselves of these living services can be produced; nothing is essentially changed thereby, because the determination of prices remains a merely formal moment for the exchange of mere use values, as before. This determination itself, however, is created by other relations, by the general laws and the self-determination of the ruling mode of production, acting, as it were, behind the back of this particular act of exchange. One of the forms in which this kind of pay [Besoldung] first appears in the old communities is where an army is maintained. The pay [Sold] of the common soldier is also reduced to a minimum – determined purely by the production costs necessary to procure him. But he exchanges the performance of his services not for capital, but for the revenue of the state.

In bourgeois society itself, all exchange of personal services for revenue – including labour for personal consumption, cooking, sewing etc., garden work etc., up to and including all of the unproductive classes, civil servants, physicians, lawyers, scholars etc. – belongs under this rubric, within this category. All menial servants etc. By means of their services – often coerced – all these workers, from the least to the highest, obtain for themselves a share of the surplus product, of the capitalist’s revenue. But it does not occur to anyone to think that by means of the exchange of his revenue for such services, i.e. through private consumption, the capitalist posits himself as capitalist. Rather, he thereby spends the fruits of his capital. It does not change the nature of the relation that the proportions in which revenue is exchanged for this kind of living labour are themselves determined by the general laws of production.

As we have already mentioned in the section on money, [60] it is here rather the performer of the service who actually posits value; who transposes a use value – a certain kind of labour, service etc. – into value, money. Hence in the Middle Ages, those who are oriented towards the production and accumulation of money proceed partly not from the side of the consuming landed nobility, but quite the opposite, from the side of living labour; they accumulate and thus become capitalists, δυνάμει, for a later period. The emancipated serf becomes, in part, the capitalist.

It thus does not depend on the general relation, but rather on the natural, particular quality of the service performed, whether the recipient of payment receives it as day-wages, or as an honorarium, or as a sinecure – and whether he appears as superior or inferior in rank to the person paying for the service. However, with the presupposition of capital as the dominant power, all these relations become more or less dishonoured. But this does not belong here yet – this demystification [Entgötterung] of personal services, regardless of the lofty character with which tradition may have poetically endowed them.

It is not, then, simply the exchange of objectified labour for living labour – which appear, from this standpoint, as two different aspects, as use values in different forms, the one objective, the other subjective – which constitutes capital and hence wage labour, but rather, the exchange of objectified labour as value, as self-sufficient value, for living labour as its use value, a use value not for a specific, particular use or consumption, but as use value for value.

In the exchange of money for labour or service, with the aim of direct consumption, a real exchange always takes place; the fact that amounts of labour are exchanged on both sides is of merely formal interest for measuring the particular forms of the utility of labour by comparing them with each other. This concerns only the form of the exchange; but does not form its content. In the exchange of capital for labour, value is not a measure of the exchange of two use values, but is rather the content of the exchange itself.

(2) In periods of the dissolution of pre-bourgeois relations, there sporadically occur free workers whose services are bought for purposes not of consumption, but of production; but, firstly, even if on a large scale, for the production only of direct use values, not of values; and secondly, if a nobleman e.g. brings the free worker together with his serfs, even if he re-sells a part of the worker’s product, and the free worker thus creates value for him, then this exchange takes place only for the superfluous [product] and only for the sake of superfluity, for luxury consumption; is thus at bottom only a veiled purchase of alien labour for immediate consumption or as use value. Incidentally, wherever these free workers increase in number, and where this relation grows, there the old mode of production – commune, patriarchal, feudal etc. – is in the process of dissolution, and the elements of real wage labour are in preparation. But these free servants [Knechte] can also emerge, as e.g. in Poland etc., and vanish again, without a change in the mode of production taking place.

<In order to express the relations into which capital and wage labour enter as property relations or laws, we need do no more than express the conduct of both sides in the realization process as an appropriation process. For example, the fact that surplus labour is posited as surplus value of capital means that the worker does not appropriate the product of his own labour; that it appears to him as alien property; inversely, that alien labour appears as the property of capital. This second law of bourgeois property, the inversion of the first – which, through laws of inheritance etc., attains an existence independent of the accidental transitoriness of individual capitalists – becomes just as established in law as the first. The first is the identity of labour with property; the second, labour as negated property, or property as negation of the alien quality of alien labour. In fact, in the production process of capital, as will be seen more closely in its further development, labour is a totality – a combination of labours – whose individual component parts are alien to one another, so that the overall process as a totality is not the work of the individual worker, and is furthermore the work of the different workers together only to the extent that they are [forcibly] combined, and do not [voluntarily] enter into combination with one another. The combination of this labour appears just as subservient to and led by an alien will and an alien intelligence – having its animating unity elsewhere – as its material unity appears subordinate to the objective unity of the machinery, of fixed capital, which, as animated monster, objectifies the scientific idea, and is in fact the coordinator, does not in any way relate to the individual worker as his instrument; but rather he himself exists as an animated individual punctuation mark; as its living isolated accessory. Thus, combined labour is combination in-itself in a double way; not combination as a mutual relation among the individuals working together, nor as their predominance either over their particular or individual function or over the instrument of labour. Hence, just as the worker relates to the product of his labour as an alien thing, so does he relate to the combination of labour as an alien combination, as well as to his own labour as an expression of his life, which, although it belongs to him, is alien to him and coerced from him, and which A. Smith etc. therefore conceives is a burden, sacrifice etc. [61] Labour itself, like its product, is negated as the labour of the particular, isolated worker. This isolated labour, negated, is now indeed communal or combined labour, posited. The communal or combined labour posited in this way – as activity and in the passive, objective form – is however at the same time posited as an other towards the really existing individual labour – as an alien objectivity (alien property) as well as an alien subjectivity (of capital). Capital thus represents both labour and its product as negated individualized labour and hence as the negated property of the individualized worker. Capital therefore is the existence of social labour – the combination of labour as subject as well as object – but this existence as itself existing independently opposite its real moments – hence itself a particular existence apart from them. For its part, capital therefore appears as the predominant subject and owner of alien labour, and its relation is itself as complete a contradiction as is that of wage labour.>

Forms which precede capitalist production. (Concerning the process which precedes the formation of the capital relation or of original accumulation)

A presupposition of wage labour, and one of the historic preconditions for capital, is free labour and the exchange of this free labour for money, in order to reproduce and to realize money, to consume the use value of labour not for individual consumption, but as use value for money. Another presupposition is the separation of free labour from the objective conditions of its realization – from the means of labour and the material for labour. Thus, above all, release of the worker from the soil as his natural workshop – hence dissolution of small, free landed property as well as of communal landownership resting on the oriental commune. In both forms, the worker relates to the objective conditions of his labour as to his property; this is the natural unity of labour with its material [sachlich] presuppositions. The worker thus has an objective existence independent of labour. The individual relates to himself as proprietor, as master of the conditions of his reality. He relates to the others in the same way and – depending on whether this presupposition is posited as proceeding from the community or from the individual families which constitute the commune – he relates to the others as co-proprietors, as so many incarnations of the common property, or as independent proprietors like himself, independent private proprietors – beside whom the previously all-absorbing and all-predominant communal property is itself posited as a particular ager publicus [62] alongside the many private landowners.

In both forms, the individuals relate not as workers but as proprietors – and members of a community, who at the same time work. The aim of this work is not the creation of value – although they may do surplus labour in order to obtain alien, i.e. surplus products in exchange – rather, its aim is sustenance of the individual proprietor and of his family, as well as of the total community. The positing of the individual as a worker, in this nakedness, is itself a product of history.

In the first form of this landed property, an initial, naturally arisen spontaneous [naturwüchsiges] community appears as first presupposition. Family, and the family extended as a clan [Stamm], [63] or through intermarriage between families, or combination of clans. Since we may assume that pastoralism, or more generally a migratory form of life, was the first form of the mode of existence, not that the clan settles in a specific site, but that it grazes off what it finds – humankind is not settlement-prone by nature (except possibly in a natural environment so especially fertile that they sit like monkeys on a tree; else roaming like the animals) – then the clan community, the natural community, appears not as a result of, but as a presupposition for the communal appropriation (temporary) and utilization of the land. When they finally do settle down, the extent to which this original community is modified will depend on various external, climatic, geographic, physical etc. conditions as well as on their particular natural predisposition – their clan character. This naturally arisen clan community, or, if one will, pastoral society, is the first presupposition – the communality [Gemeinschaftlichkeit] of blood, language, customs – for the appropriation of the objective conditions of their life, and of their life’s reproducing and objectifying activity (activity as herdsmen, hunters, tillers etc.). The earth is the great workshop, the arsenal which furnishes both means and material of labour, as well as the seat, the base of the community. They relate naïvely to it as the property of the community, of the community producing and reproducing itself in living labour. Each individual conducts himself only as a link, as a member of this community as proprietor or possessor. The real appropriation through the labour process happens under these presuppositions, which are not themselves the product of labour, but appear as its natural or divine presuppositions. This form, with the same land-relation as its foundation, can realize itself in very different ways. E.g. it is not in the least a contradiction to it that, as in most of the Asiatic land-forms, the comprehensive unity standing above all these little communities appears as the higher proprietor or as the sole proprietor; the real communities hence only as hereditary possessors. Because the unity is the real proprietor and the real presupposition of communal property, it follows that this unity can appear as a particular entity above the many real particular communities, where the individual is then in fact propertyless, or, property – i.e. the relation of the individual to the natural conditions of labour and of reproduction as belonging to him, as the objective, nature-given inorganic body of his subjectivity – appears mediated for him through a cession by the total unity – a unity realized in the form of the despot, the father of the many communities – to the individual, through the mediation of the particular commune. The surplus product – which is, incidentally, determined by law in consequence of the real appropriation through labour – thereby automatically belongs to this highest unity. Amidst oriental despotism and the propertylessness which seems legally to exist there, this clan or communal property exists in fact as the foundation, created mostly by a combination of manufactures and agriculture within the small commune, which thus becomes altogether self-sustaining, and contains all the conditions of reproduction and surplus production within itself. A part of their surplus labour belongs to the higher community, which exists ultimately as a person, and this surplus labour takes the form of tribute etc., as well as of common labour for the exaltation of the unity, partly of the real despot, partly of the imagined clan-being, the god. Now, in so far as it actually realizes itself in labour, this kind of communal property can appear either in the form where the little communes vegetate independently alongside one another, and where, inside them, the individual with his family work independently on the lot assigned to them (a certain amount of labour for the communal reserves, insurance so to speak, and to meet the expenses of the community as such, i.e. for war, religion etc.; this is the first occurrence of the lordly dominium in the most original sense, e.g. in the Slavonic communes, in the Rumanian etc. Therein lies the transition to villeinage [Frondienst] etc.); or the unity may extend to the communality of labour itself, which may be a formal system, as in Mexico, Peru especially, among the early Celts, a few clans of India. The communality can, further, appear within the clan system more in a situation where the unity is represented in a chief of the clan-family, or as the relation of the patriarchs among one another. Depending on that, a more despotic or a more democratic form of this community system. The communal conditions of real appropriation through labour, aqueducts, very important among the Asiatic peoples; means of communication etc. then appear as the work of the higher unity – of the despotic regime hovering over the little communes. Cities proper here form alongside these villages only at exceptionally good points for external trade; or where the head of the state and his satraps exchange their revenue (surplus product) for labour, spend it as labour-fund.

The second form – and like the first it has essential modifications brought about locally, historically etc. – product of more active, historic life, of the fates and modifications of the original clans – also assumes the community as its first presupposition, but not, as in the first case, as the substance of which the individuals are mere accidents, or of which they form purely natural component parts – it presupposes as base not the countryside, but the town as an already created seat (centre) of the rural population (owners of land). The cultivated field here appears as a territorium belonging to the town; not the village as mere accessory to the land. The earth in itself – regardless of the obstacles it may place in the way of working it, really appropriating it – offers no resistance to [attempts to] relate to it as the inorganic nature of the living individual, as his workshop, as the means and object of labour and the means of life for the subject. The difficulties which the commune encounters can arise only from other communes, which have either previously occupied the land and soil, or which disturb the commune in its own occupation. War is therefore the great comprehensive task, the great communal labour which is required either to occupy the objective conditions of being there alive, or to protect and perpetuate the occupation. Hence the commune consisting of families initially organized in a warlike way – as a system of war and army, and this is one of the conditions of its being there as proprietor. The concentration of residences in the town, basis of this bellicose organization. The clan system in itself leads to higher and lower ancestral lineages [Geschlechtern], [64] a distinction which is still further developed through intermixture with subjugated clans etc. Communal property – as state property, ager publicus – here separated from private property. The property [Eigentum] of the individual is here not, unlike the first case, itself directly communal property; where it is, the individual has no property as distinct from the commune, but rather is merely its possessor [Besitzer]. The less it is the case that the individual’s property can in fact be realized solely through communal labour – thus e.g. the aqueducts in the Orient – the more the purely naturally arisen, spontaneous character of the clan has been broken by historic movement, migration; the more, further, the clan removes itself from its original seat and occupies alien ground, hence enters into essentially new conditions of labour, and develops the energy of the individual more – its common character appearing, necessarily, more as a negative unity towards the outside – the more, therefore, are the conditions given under which the individual can become a private proprietor of land and soil – of a particular plot – whose particular cultivation falls to him and his family. The commune – as state – is, on one side, the relation of these free and equal private proprietors to one another, their bond against the outside, and is at the same time their safeguard. The commune here rests as much on the fact that its members consist of working landed proprietors, small-owning peasants, as the peasants’ independence rests on their mutual relations as commune members, on protection of the ager publicus for communal needs and communal glory etc. Membership in the commune remains the presupposition for the appropriation of land and soil, but, as a member of the commune, the individual is a private proprietor. He relates to his private property as land and soil, but at the same time as to his being as commune member; and his own sustenance as such is likewise the sustenance of the commune, and conversely etc. The commune, although already a product of history here, not only in fact but also known as such, and therefore possessing an origin, is the presupposition of property in land and soil – i.e. of the relation of the working subject to the natural presuppositions of labour as belonging to him – but this belonging [is] mediated by his being a member of the state, by the being of the state – hence by a presupposition regarded as divine etc. [65] Concentration in the town, with the land as territorium; small agriculture working for direct consumption; manufacture as domestic side occupation of wives and daughters (spinning and weaving) or, independently, in individual branches only (fabri [66] etc.). The presupposition of the survival of the community is the preservation of equality among its free self-sustaining peasants, and their own labour as the condition of the survival of their property. They relate as proprietors to the natural conditions of labour; but these conditions must also constantly be posited as real conditions and objective elements of the personality of the individual, by means of personal labour. On the other side, the tendency of this small bellicose community system drives beyond these barriers etc. (Rome, Greece, Jews etc.). ‘When the auguries’, Niebuhr says, ‘had assured Numa of the divine sanction of his election, the pious king’s first concern was not worship at the temple, but a human one. He divided the lands which Romulus had won in war and given over to occupation: he endowed the order of Terminus. All the law-givers of antiquity, Moses above all, founded their success in commanding virtue, integrity and proper custom on landed property, or at least on secured, hereditary possession of land, for the greatest possible number of citizens.’ (Vol. I, 245, 2nd edition. Röm. Gesch.) [67] The individual is placed in such conditions of earning his living as to make not the acquiring of wealth his object, but self-sustenance, his own reproduction as a member of the community; the reproduction of himself as proprietor of the parcel of ground, and, in that quality, as a member of the commune. The survival of the commune is the reproduction of all of its members as self-sustaining peasants, whose surplus time belongs precisely to the commune, the work of war etc. The property in one’s own labour is mediated by property in the condition of labour – the hide of land, guaranteed in its turn by the existence of the commune, and that in turn by surplus labour in the form of military service etc. by the commune members. It is not cooperation in wealth-producing labour by means of which the commune member reproduces himself, but rather cooperation in labour for the communal interests (imaginary and real), for the upholding of the association inwardly and outwardly. Property is quiritorium, [68] of the Roman variety; the private proprietor of land is such only as a Roman, but as a Roman he is a private proprietor of land.

A[nother] form of the property of working individuals, self-sustaining members of the community, in the natural conditions of their labour, is the Germanic. Here the commune member is neither, as such, a co-possessor of the communal property, as in the specifically oriental form (wherever property exists only as communal property, there the individual member is as such only possessor of a particular part, hereditary or not, since any fraction of the property belongs to no member for himself, but to him only as immediate member of the commune, i.e. as in direct unity with it, not in distinction to it. This individual is thus only a possessor. What exists is only communal property, and only private possession. The mode of this possession in relation to the communal property may be historically, locally etc. modified in quite different ways, depending on whether labour itself is performed by the private possessor in isolation, or is in turn determined by the commune or by the unity hovering above the particular commune); nor is the situation such as obtains in the Roman, Greek form (in short, the form of classical antiquity) – in this case, the land is occupied by the commune, Roman land; a part remains to the commune as such as distinct from the commune members, ager publicus in its various forms; the other part is divided up and each parcel of land is Roman by virtue of being the private property, the domain of a Roman, the part of the laboratorium belonging to him; but, also, he is a Roman only in so far as he possesses this sovereign right over a part of the Roman earth. <In antiquity, urban occupation and trade little esteemed, agriculture, however, highly; in the Middle Ages the contrary appraisal.> <The right of using the communal land through possession originally appertained to the patricians, who then granted it to their clients; the transfer of property out of the ager publicus appertained exclusively to the plebeians; all assignments in favour of the plebeians and compensation for a share of the communal property. Actual property in land, excepting the area around the city walls, originally only in the hands of the plebeians (rural communes included later.)> <Basis of the Roman plebs as a totality of agriculturists, as is indicated in their quiritary property. Antiquity unanimously esteemed agriculture as the proper occupation of the free man, the soldier’s school. In it the ancestral stock of the nation sustains itself; it changes in the cities, where alien merchants and dealers settle, just as the indigenous move where gain entices them. Wherever there is slavery, the freedman seeks his support in such dealings, in which he then often gathers riches: thus these occupations were mostly in their hands in antiquity, and were therefore not proper for a citizen: hence the opinion that admission of the craftsmen to full citizenship rights would be a risky undertaking (among the earlier Greeks they were as a rule excluded). ‘ὀὐδενὶ γὰρ ἐξῆν ῾Ρωμαίων οὔτε ϰάπηλον οὔτε χειροτέχνην βίον ἔχειν.[69] Antiquity had no inkling of a privileged guild-system such as prevailed in the history of medieval cities; and already here the martial spirit declined as the guilds defeated the aristocratic lineages, and was finally extinguished altogether; and consequently, with it, the cities’ external respect and freedom.> <The clans of the ancient states were founded on two different principles, either on ancestry [Geschlecht] or on the locality. The ancestral clans preceded the locality clans in time and are almost everywhere pushed aside by the latter. Their most extreme, strictest form is the caste-order, in which one is separated from the other, without the right of intermarriage, quite different in [degree of] privilege; each with an exclusive, irrevocable occupation. The locality clans originally corresponded to a partition of the countryside into districts and villages; so that someone residing in a given village at the time of this partition, in Attica under Cleisthenes, was registered as a demotes (villager) of that village, and as a member of the phylon (tribe) of the village’s region. Now, his descendants, as a rule, remained in the same phylon and the same demos without regard to their residence; whereby this partition also took on an ancestral appearance.> <These Roman gens not blood relatives; to the communal name, Cicero adds descent from free men as a sign. Communal sacra (shrines) for the Roman gentiles; later ceased (already in Cicero’s time). Practice of co-gentile inheritance, in cases without dependents or will, survived longest of all. In the earliest periods, obligation of all members of the gens to help those of their own who require this, to carry unaccustomed burdens. (This occurs originally everywhere among the Germans, remains longest among the Dithmarschen.) The gentes, corporations [Innungen]. There was in the world of antiquity no more general institution than that of kin groups. Thus among the Gaels the noble Campbells and their vassals forming one clan.> [70] Since the patrician represents the community in a higher degree, he is the possessor of the ager publicus and uses it through his clients etc. (and also appropriates it little by little). The Germanic commune is not concentrated in the town; by means of such a concentration – the town as centre of rural life, residence of the agricultural workers, likewise the centre of warfare – the commune as such would have a merely outward existence, distinct from that of the individual. The history of classical antiquity is the history of cities, but of cities founded on landed property and on agriculture; Asiatic history is a kind of indifferent unity of town and countryside (the really large cities must be regarded here merely as royal camps, as works of artifice [Superfötation] erected over the economic construction proper); the Middle Ages (Germanic period) begins with the land as the seat of history, whose further development then moves forward in the contradiction between town and countryside; the modern [age] is the urbanization of the countryside, not ruralization of the city as in antiquity.


22 January – Beginning of February 1858

The Chapter on Capital (continuation)

With its coming-together in the city, the commune possesses an economic existence as such; the city’s mere presence, as such, distinguishes it from a mere multiplicity of independent houses. The whole, here, consists not merely of its parts. It is a kind of independent organism. Among the Germanic tribes, where the individual family chiefs settled in the forests, long distances apart, the commune exists, already from outward observation, only in the periodic gathering-together [Vereinigung] of the commune members, although their unity-in-itself is posited in their ancestry, language, common past and history, etc. The commune thus appears as a coming-together [Vereinigung], not as a being-together [Verein]; as a unification made up of independent subjects, landed proprietors, and not as a unity. The commune therefore does not in fact exist as a state or political body, as in classical antiquity, because it does not exist as a city. For the commune to come into real existence, the free landed proprietors have to hold a meeting, whereas e.g. in Rome it exists even apart from these assemblies in the existence of the city itself and of the officials presiding over it etc. True, the ager publicus, the communal or people’s land, as distinct from individual property, also occurs among the Germanic tribes. It takes the form of hunting land, grazing land, timber land etc., the part of the land which cannot be divided if it is to serve as means of production in this specific form. But this ager publicus does not appear, as with the Romans e.g., as the particular economic presence of the state as against the private proprietors, so that these latter are actually private proprietors as such, in so far as they are excluded, deprived, like the plebeians, from using the ager publicus. Among the Germanic tribes, the ager publicus appears rather merely as a complement to individual property, and figures as property only to the extent that it is defended militarily as the common property of one tribe against a hostile tribe. Individual property does not appear mediated by the commune; rather, the existence of the commune and of communal property appear as mediated by, i.e. as a relation of, the independent subjects to one another. The economic totality is, at bottom, contained in each individual household, which forms an independent centre of production for itself (manufactures purely as domestic secondary task for women etc.). In the world of antiquity, the city with its territory is the economic totality; in the Germanic world, the totality is the individual residence, which itself appears as only a small dot on the land belonging to it, and which is not a concentration of many proprietors, but the family as independent unit. In the Asiatic form (at least, predominantly), the individual has no property but only possession; the real proprietor, proper, is the commune – hence property only as communal property in land. In antiquity (Romans as the most classic example, the thing in its purest, most fully developed form), the form of state property in land and that of private property in land [are] antithetical, so that the latter is mediated by the former, or the former itself exists in this double form. The private proprietor of land hence at the same time urban citizen. Urban citizenship resolves itself economically into the simple form that the agriculturist [is a] resident of a city. In the Germanic form, the agriculturist not citizen of a state, i.e. not inhabitant of a city; [the] basis [is] rather the isolated, independent family residence, guaranteed by the bond with other such family residences of the same tribe, and by their occasional coming-together [Zusammnenkommen] to pledge each others’ allegiance in war, religion, adjudication etc. Individual landed property here appears neither as a form antithetical to the commune’s landed property, nor as mediated by it, but just the contrary. The commune exists only in the interrelations among these individual landed proprietors as such. Communal property as such appears only as a communal accessory to the individual tribal seats and the land they appropriate. The commune is neither the substance of which the individual appears as a mere accident; nor is it a generality with a being and unity as such [seiende Einheit] either in the mind and in the existence of the city and of its civic needs as distinct from those of the individual, or in its civic land and soil as its particular presence as distinct from the particular economic presence of the commune member; rather, the commune, on the one side, is presupposed in-itself prior to the individual proprietors as a communality of language, blood etc., but it exists as a presence, on the other hand, only in its real assembly for communal purposes; and to the extent that it has a particular economic existence in the hunting and grazing lands for communal use, it is so used by each individual proprietor as such, not as representative of the state (as in Rome); it is really the common property of the individual proprietors, not of the union of these proprietors endowed with an existence separate from themselves, the city itself.

The main point here is this: In all these forms – in which landed property and agriculture form the basis of the economic order, and where the economic aim is hence the production of use values, i.e. the reproduction of the individual within the specific relation to the commune in which he is its basis – there is to be found: (1) Appropriation not through labour, but presupposed to labour; appropriation of the natural conditions of labour, of the earth as the original instrument of labour as well as its workshop and repository of raw materials. The individual relates simply to the objective conditions of labour as being his; [relates] to them as the inorganic nature of his subjectivity, in which the latter realizes itself; the chief objective condition of labour does not itself appear as a product of labour, but is already there as nature; on one side the living individual, on the other the earth, as the objective condition of his reproduction; (2) but this relation to land and soil, to the earth, as the property of the labouring individual – who thus appears from the outset not merely as labouring individual, in this abstraction, but who has an objective mode of existence in his ownership of the land, an existence presupposed to his activity, and not merely as a result of it, a presupposition of his activity just like his skin, his sense organs, which of course he also reproduces and develops etc. in the life process, but which are nevertheless presuppositions of this process of his reproduction – is instantly mediated by the naturally arisen, spontaneous, more or less historically developed and modified presence of the individual as member of a commune – his naturally arisen presence as member of a tribe etc. An isolated individual could no more have property in land and soil than he could speak. He could, of course, live off it as substance, as do the animals. The relation to the earth as property is always mediated through the occupation of the land and soil, peacefully or violently, by the tribe, the commune, in some more or less naturally arisen or already historically developed form. The individual can never appear here in the dot-like isolation [Punktualität] in which he appears as mere free worker. If the objective conditions of his labour are presupposed as belonging to him, then he himself is subjectively presupposed as member of a commune, through which his relation to land and soil is mediated. His relation to the objective conditions of labour is mediated through his presence as member of the commune; at the same time, the real presence of the commune is determined by the specific form of the individual’s property in the objective conditions of labour. Whether this property mediated by commune-membership appears as communal property, where the individual is merely the possessor and there is no private property in land and soil – or whether property appears in the double form of state and private property alongside one another, but so that the latter appears as posited by the former, so that only the citizen is and must be a private proprietor, while his property as citizen has a separate, particular existence at the same time – or whether, finally, the communal property appears only as a complement to individual property, with the latter as the base, while the commune has no existence for-itself except in the assembly of the commune members, their coming-together for common purposes – these different forms of the commune or tribe members’ relation to the tribe’s land and soil – to the earth where it has settled – depend partly on the natural inclinations of the tribe, and partly on the economic conditions in which it relates as proprietor to the land and soil in reality, i.e. in which it appropriates its fruits through labour, and the latter will itself depend on climate, physical make-up of the land and soil, the physically determined mode of its exploitation, the relation with hostile tribes or neighbour tribes, and the modifications which migrations, historic experiences etc. introduce. The survival of the commune as such in the old mode requires the reproduction of its members in the presupposed objective conditions. Production itself, the advance of population (this too belongs with production), necessarily suspends these conditions little by little; destroys them instead of reproducing them etc., and, with that, the communal system declines and falls, together with the property relations on which it was based. The Asiatic form necessarily hangs on most tenaciously and for the longest time. This is due to its presupposition that the individual does not become independent vis-à-vis the commune; that there is a self-sustaining circle of production, unity of agriculture and manufactures, etc. If the individual changes his relation to the commune, he thereby changes and acts destructively upon the commune; as on its economic presupposition; on the other side, the alteration of this economic presupposition brought about by its own dialectic – impoverishment etc. In particular, the influence of warfare and of conquest, which e.g. in Rome belonged to the essential conditions of the commune itself, suspends the real bond on which it rests. In all these forms, the reproduction of presupposed relations – more or less naturally arisen or historic as well, but become traditional – of the individual to his commune, together with a specific, objective existence, predetermined for the individual, of his relations both to the conditions of labour and to his co-workers, fellow tribesmen etc. – are the foundation of development, which is therefore from the outset restricted, but which signifies decay, decline and fall once this barrier is suspended. Thus among the Romans, the development of slavery, the concentration of land possession, exchange, the money system, conquest etc., although all these elements up to a certain point seemed compatible with the foundation, and in part appeared merely as innocent extensions of it, partly grew out of it as mere abuses. Great developments can take place here within a specific sphere. The individuals may appear great. But there can be no conception here of a free and full development either of the individual or of the society, since such development stands in contradiction to the original relation.

Do we never find in antiquity an inquiry into which form of landed property etc. is the most productive, creates the greatest wealth? Wealth does not appear as the aim of production, although Cato may well investigate which manner of cultivating a field brings the greatest rewards, and Brutus may even lend out his money at the best rates of interest. [1] The question is always which mode of property creates the best citizens. Wealth appears as an end in itself only among the few commercial peoples – monopolists of the carrying trade – who live in the pores of the ancient world, like the Jews in medieval society. Now, wealth is on one side a thing, realized in things, material products, which a human being confronts as subject; on the other side, as value, wealth is merely command over alien labour not with the aim of ruling, but with the aim of private consumption etc. It appears in all forms in the shape of a thing, be it an object or be it a relation mediated through the object, which is external and accidental to the individual. Thus the old view, in which the human being appears as the aim of production, regardless of his limited national, religious, political character, seems to be very lofty when contrasted to the modern world, where production appears as the aim of mankind and wealth as the aim of production. In fact, however, when the limited bourgeois form is stripped away, what is wealth other than the universality of individual needs, capacities, pleasures, productive forces etc., created through universal exchange? The full development of human mastery over the forces of nature, those of so-called nature as well as of humanity’s own nature? The absolute working-out of his creative potentialities, with no presupposition other than the previous historic development, which makes this totality of development, i.e. the development of all human powers as such the end in itself, not as measured on a predetermined yardstick? Where he does not reproduce himself in one specificity, but produces his totality? Strives not to remain something he has become, but is in the absolute movement of becoming? In bourgeois economics – and in the epoch of production to which it corresponds – this complete working-out of the human content appears as a complete emptying-out, this universal objectification as total alienation, and the tearing-down of all limited, one-sided aims as sacrifice of the human end-in-itself to an entirely external end. This is why the childish world of antiquity appears on one side as loftier. On the other side, it really is loftier in all matters where closed shapes, forms and given limits are sought for. It is satisfaction from a limited standpoint; while the modern gives no satisfaction; or, where it appears satisfied with itself, it is vulgar.

What Mr Proudhon calls the extra-economic origin of property, by which he understands just landed property, [2] is the pre-bourgeois relation of the individual to the objective conditions of labour, and initially to the natural objective conditions of labour – for, just as the working subject appears naturally as an individual, as natural being – so does the first objective condition of his labour appear as nature, earth, as his inorganic body; he himself is not only the organic body, but also the subject of this inorganic nature. This condition is not his product but something he finds to hand – presupposed to him as a natural being apart from him. Before we analyse this further, one more point: the worthy Proudhon would not only be able to, but would have to, accuse capital and wage labour – as forms of property – of having an extra-economic origin. For the encounter with the objective conditions of labour as separate from him, as capital from the worker’s side, and the encounter with the worker as propertyless, as an abstract worker from the capitalist’s side – the exchange such as takes place between value and living labour, presupposes a historic process, no matter how much capital and labour themselves reproduce this relation and work out its objective scope, as well as its depth – a historic process, which, as we saw, forms the history of the origins of capital and wage labour. In other words: the extra-economic origin of property means nothing else than the historic origin of the bourgeois economy, of the forms of production which are theoretically or ideally expressed by the categories of political economy. But the fact that pre-bourgeois history, and each of its phases, also has its own economy and an economic foundation for its movement, is at bottom only the tautology that human life has since time immemorial rested on production, and, in one way or another, on social production, whose relations we call, precisely, economic relations.

The original conditions of production (or, what is the same, the reproduction of a growing number of human beings through the natural process between the sexes; for this reproduction, although it appears as appropriation of the objects by the subjects in one respect, appears in another respect also as formation, subjugation of the objects to a subjective purpose; their transformation into results and repositories of subjective activity) cannot themselves originally be products – results of production. It is not the unity of living and active humanity with the natural, inorganic conditions of their metabolic exchange with nature, and hence their appropriation of nature, which requires explanation or is the result of a historic process, but rather the separation between these inorganic conditions of human existence and this active existence, a separation which is completely posited only in the relation of wage labour and capital. In the relations of slavery and serfdom this separation does not take place; rather, one part of society is treated by the other as itself merely an inorganic and natural condition of its own reproduction. The slave stands in no relation whatsoever to the objective conditions of his labour; rather, labour itself, both in the form of the slave and in that of the serf, is classified as an inorganic condition of production along with other natural beings, such as cattle, as an accessory of the earth. In other words: the original conditions of production appear as natural presuppositions, natural conditions of the producer’s existence just as his living body, even though he reproduces and develops it, is originally not posited by himself, but appears as the presupposition of his self; his own (bodily) being is a natural presupposition, which he has not posited. These natural conditions of existence, to which he relates as to his own inorganic body, are themselves double: (1) of a subjective and (2) of an objective nature. He finds himself a member of a family, clan, tribe etc. – which then, in a historic process of intermixture and antithesis with others, takes on a different shape; and, as such a member, he relates to a specific nature (say, here, still earth, land, soil) as his own inorganic being, as a condition of his production and reproduction. As a natural member of the community he participates in the communal property, and has a particular part of it as his possession; just as, were he a natural Roman citizen, he would have an ideal claim (at least) to the ager publicus and a real one to a certain number of iugera [3] of land etc. His property, i.e. the relation to the natural presuppositions of his production as belonging to him, as his, is mediated by his being himself the natural member of a community. (The abstraction of a community, in which the members have nothing in common but language etc., and barely that much, is obviously the product of much later historical conditions.) As regards the individual, it is clear e.g. that he relates even to language itself as his own only as the natural member of a human community. Language as the product of an individual is an impossibility. But the same holds for property.

Language itself is the product of a community, just as it is in another respect itself the presence [Dasein] of the community, a presence which goes without saying. <Communal production and common property as they exist e.g. in Peru are evidently a secondary form; introduced by and inherited from conquering tribes, who, at home, had common property and communal production in the older, simpler form such as is found in India and among the Slavs. Likewise the form which we find among the Celts in Wales e.g. appears as a transplanted, secondary form, introduced by conquerors among the lesser, conquered tribes. The completion and systematic elaboration of these systems by a supreme central authority shows their later origin. Just as the feudalism introduced into England was more perfect in form than that which arose spontaneously in France.> <Among nomadic pastoral tribes – and all pastoral peoples are originally migratory – the earth appears like other natural conditions, in its elemental limitlessness, e.g. in the Asiatic steppes and the high plateau. It is grazed etc., consumed by the herds, from which the pastoral peoples in turn live. They relate to it as their property, although they never stabilize this property. This is the case too with the hunting grounds of the wild Indian tribes in America; the tribe regards a certain region as its hunting domain, and asserts it by force against other tribes, or tries to drive others off the domains they assert. Among the nomadic pastoral peoples, the commune is indeed constantly united; the travelling society, the caravan, the horde, and the forms of supremacy and subordination develop out of the conditions of this mode of life. What is in fact appropriated and reproduced here is not the earth but the herd; but the earth is always used communally at each halting place.> The only barrier which the community can encounter in relating to the natural conditions of production – the earth – as to its own property (if we jump ahead to the settled peoples) is another community, which already claims it as its own inorganic body. Warfare is therefore one of the earliest occupations of each of these naturally arisen communities, both for the defence of their property and for obtaining new property. (We can indeed content ourselves here with speaking of land and soil as original property, for among the herding peoples property in natural products of the earth – e.g. sheep – is at the same time property in the pastures they wander through. In general, property in land and soil includes its organic products.) <If human beings themselves are conquered along with the land and soil as its organic accessories, then they are equally conquered as one of the conditions of production, and in this way arises slavery and serfdom, which soon corrupts and modifies the original forms of all communities, and then itself becomes their basis. The simple construction is thereby negatively determined.>

Property thus originally means no more than a human being’s relation to his natural conditions of production as belonging to him, as his, as presupposed along with his own being; relations to them as natural presuppositions of his self, which only form, so to speak, his extended body. He actually does not relate to his conditions of production, but rather has a double existence, both subjectively as he himself, and objectively in these natural non-organic conditions of his existence. The forms of these natural conditions of production are double: (1) his existence as a member of a community; hence the existence of this community, which in its original form is a clan system, a more or less modified clan system; (2) the relation to land and soil mediated by the community, as its own, as communal landed property, at the same time individual possession for the individual, or in such a way that only the fruits are divided, but the land itself and the labour remain common. (However, residences etc., even if only the Scythians’ wagons, always appear in individual possession.) A natural condition of production for the living individual is his belonging to a naturally arisen, spontaneous society, clan etc. This is e.g. already a condition for his language etc. His own productive existence is possible only on this condition. His subjective existence is thereby conditioned as such, just as it is conditioned by his relation to the earth as his workshop. (Property is, it is true, originally mobile, for mankind first seizes hold of the ready-made fruits of the earth, among whom belong e.g. the animals, and for him especially the ones that can be tamed. Nevertheless even this situation – hunting, fishing, herding, gathering fruits from trees etc. – always presupposes appropriation of the earth, whether for a fixed residence, or for roaming, or for animal pasture etc.)

Property therefore means belonging to a clan (community) (having subjective-objective existence in it); and, by means of the relation of this community to the land and soil, [relating] to the earth as the individual’s inorganic body; his relation to land and soil, to the external primary condition of production – since the earth is raw material, instrument and fruit all in one – as to a presupposition belonging to his individuality, as modes of his presence. We reduce this property to the relation to the conditions of production. Why not to consumption, since the production of the individual is originally restricted to the reproduction of his own body through the appropriation of ready objects prepared by nature itself for consumption? Even where the only task is to find and to discover, this soon requires exertion, labour – as in hunting, fishing, herding – and production (i.e. development) of certain capacities on the part of the subject. Then also, situations in which it is possible to seize hold of the things available without any instruments whatever (i.e. products of labour destined for production), without alteration of form (which already takes place for herding) etc., are themselves transitional and in no case to be regarded as normal; nor as normal original situations. The original conditions of production, incidentally, of course include substances consumable directly, without labour; thus the consumption fund appears as s component part of the original production fund.

The fundamental condition of property resting on the clan system (into which the community originally resolves itself) – to be a member of the clan – makes the clan conquered by another clan propertyless and throws it among the inorganic conditions of the conqueror’s reproduction, to which the conquering community relates as its own. Slavery and serfdom are thus only further developments of the form of property resting on the clan system. They necessarily modify all of the latter’s forms. They can do this least of all in the Asiatic form. In the self-sustaining unity of manufacture and agriculture, on which this form rests, conquest is not so necessary a condition as where landed property, agriculture are exclusively predominant. On the other hand, since in this form the individual never becomes a proprietor but only a possessor, he is at bottom himself the property, the slave of him in whom the unity of the commune exists, and slavery here neither suspends the conditions of labour nor modifies the essential relation.

It is now clear, further, that:

Property, in so far as it is only the conscious relation – and posited in regard to the individual by the community, and proclaimed and guaranteed as law – to the conditions of production as his own, so that the producer’s being appears also in the objective conditions belonging to him – is only realized by production itself. The real appropriation takes place not in the mental but in the real, active relation to these conditions – in their real positing as the conditions of his subjective activity.

It is thereby also clear that these conditions change. Only when tribes hunt upon it does a region of the earth become a hunting domain; only cultivation of the soil posits the land as the individual’s extended body. After the city of Rome had been built and the surrounding countryside cultivated by its citizens, the conditions of the community were different from what they had been before. The aim of all these communities is survival; i.e. reproduction of the individuals who compose it as proprietors, i.e. in the same objective mode of existence as forms the relation among the members and at the same time therefore the commune itself. This reproduction, however, is at the same time necessarily new production and destruction of the old form. For example, where each of the individuals is supposed to possess a given number of acres of land, the advance of population is already under way. If this is to be corrected, then colonization, and that in turn requires wars of conquest. With that, slaves etc. Also, e.g., enlargement of the ager publicus, and therewith the patricians who represent the community etc. Thus the preservation of the old community includes the destruction of the conditions on which it rests, turns into its opposite. If it were thought that productivity on the same land could be increased by developing the forces of production etc. (this precisely the slowest of all in traditional agriculture), then the new order would include combinations of labour, a large part of the day spent in agriculture etc., and thereby again suspend the old economic conditions of the community. Not only do the objective conditions change in the act of reproduction, e.g. the village becomes a town, the wilderness a cleared field etc., but the producers change, too, in that they bring out new qualities in themselves, develop themselves in production, transform themselves, develop new powers and ideas, new modes of intercourse, new needs and new language. The older and more traditional the mode of production itself – and this lasts a long time in agriculture; even more in the oriental supplementation of agriculture with manufactures – i.e. the longer the real process of appropriation remains constant, the more constant will be the old forms of property and hence the community generally. Where there is already a separation between the commune members as private proprietors [on one side,] and they themselves as the urban commune and proprietors of the commune’s territorium [on the other], there the conditions already arise in which the individual can lose his property, i.e. the double relation which makes him both an equal citizen, a member of the community, and a proprietor. In the oriental form this loss is hardly possible, except by means of altogether external influences, since the individual member of the commune never enters into the relation of freedom towards it in which he could lose his (objective, economic) bond with it. He is rooted to the spot, ingrown. This also has to do with the combination of manufacture and agriculture, of town (village) and countryside. In classical antiquity, manufacture appears already as a corruption (business for freedmen, clients, aliens) etc. This development of productive labour (not bound in pure subordination to agriculture as a domestic task, labour by free men for agriculture or war only, or for religious observances, and manufactures for the community – such as construction of houses, streets, temples), which necessarily develops through intercourse with aliens and slaves, through the desire to exchange the surplus product etc., dissolves the mode of production on which the community rests, and, with it, the objective individual, i.e. the individual defined as Roman, Greek, etc. Exchange acts in the same way; indebtedness etc.

The original unity between a particular form of community (clan) and the corresponding property in nature, or relation to the objective conditions of production as a natural being, as an objective being of the individual mediated by the commune – this unity, which appears in one respect as the particular form of property – has its living reality in a specific mode of production itself, a mode which appears both as a relation between the individuals, and as their specific active relation to inorganic nature, a specific mode of working (which is always family labour, often communal labour). The community itself appears as the first great force of production; particular kinds of production conditions (e.g. stock-breeding, agriculture), develop particular modes of production and particular forces of production, subjective, appearing as qualities of individuals, as well as objective [ones].

In the last analysis, their community, as well as the property based on it, resolves itself into a specific stage in the development of the productive forces of working subjects – to which correspond their specific relations amongst one another and towards nature. Until a certain point, reproduction. Then turns into dissolution.

Property, then, originally means – in its Asiatic, Slavonic, ancient classical, Germanic form – the relation of the working (producing or self-reproducing) subject to the conditions of his production or reproduction as his own. It will therefore have different forms depending on the conditions of this production. Production itself aims at the reproduction of the producer within and together with these, his objective conditions of existence. This relation as proprietor – not as a result but as a presupposition of labour, i.e. of production – presupposes the individual defined as a member of a clan or community (whose property the individual himself is, up to a certain point). Slavery, bondage etc., where the worker himself appears among the natural conditions of production for a third individual or community (this is not the case e.g. with the general slavery of the Orient, only from the European point of view) – i.e. property no longer the relation of the working individual to the objective conditions of labour – is always secondary, derived, never original, although [it is] a necessary and logical result of property founded on the community and labour in the community. It is of course very simple to imagine that some powerful, physically dominant individual, after first having caught the animal, then catches humans in order to have them catch animals; in a word, uses human beings as another naturally occurring condition for his reproduction (whereby his own labour reduces itself to ruling) like any other natural creature. But such a notion is stupid – correct as it may be from the standpoint of some particular given clan or commune – because it proceeds from the development of isolated individuals. But human beings become individuals only through the process of history. He appears originally as a species-being [Gattungswesen], clan being, herd animal – although in no way whatever as a ζῶον πολιτιϰόν [4] in the political sense. Exchange itself is a chief means of this individuation [Vereinzelung]. It makes the herd-like existence superfluous and dissolves it. Soon the matter [has] turned in such a way that as an individual he relates himself only to himself, while the means with which he posits himself as individual have become the making of his generality and commonness. In this community, the objective being of the individual as proprietor, say proprietor of land, is presupposed, and presupposed moreover under certain conditions which chain him to the community, or rather form a link in his chain. In bourgeois society, the worker e.g. stands there purely without objectivity, subjectively; but the thing which stands opposite him has now become the true community [Gemeinwesen], [5] which he tries to make a meal of, and which makes a meal of him.

All forms (more or less naturally arisen, spontaneous, all at the same time however results of a historic process) in which the community presupposes its subjects in a specific objective unity with their conditions of production, or in which a specific subjective mode of being presupposes the communities themselves as conditions of production, necessarily correspond to a development of the forces of production which is only limited, and indeed limited in principle. The development of the forces of production dissolves these forms, and their dissolution is itself a development of the human productive forces. Labour begins with a certain foundation – naturally arisen, spontaneous, at first – then historic presupposition. Then, however, this foundation or presupposition is itself suspended, or posited as a vanishing presupposition which has become too confining for the unfolding of the progressing human pack.

In so far as classical landed property reappears in modern small-parcel landownership, it itself belongs to political economy and we shall come to it in the section on landed property.

(All this is to be returned to at greater depth and length.)

What we are here concerned with is this: the relation of labour to capital, or to the objective conditions of labour as capital, presupposes a process of history which dissolves the various forms in which the worker is a proprietor, or in which the proprietor works. Thus above all (1) Dissolution of the relation to the earth – land and soil – as natural condition of production – to which he relates as to his own inorganic being; the workshop of his forces, and the domain of his will. All forms in which this property appears presuppose a community, whose members, although there may be formal distinctions between them, are, as members of it, proprietors. The original form of this property is therefore itself direct common property (oriental form, modified in the Slavonic; developed to the point of antithesis, but still as the secret, if antithetical, foundation in classical and Germanic property). (2) Dissolution of the relations in which he appears as proprietor of the instrument. Just as the above form of landed property presupposes a real community, so does this property of the worker in the instrument presuppose a particular form of the development of manufactures, namely craft, artisan work; bound up with it, the guild-corporation system etc. (The manufacture system of the ancient Orient can be examined under (1) already.) Here labour itself still half artistic, half end-in-itself etc. Mastery. Capitalist himself still master-journeyman. Attainment of particular skill in the work also secures possession of instrument etc. etc. Inheritability then to a certain extent of the mode of work together with the organization of work and the instrument of work. Medieval cities. Labour still as his own; definite self-sufficient development of one-sided abilities etc. (3) Included in both is the fact that he has the means of consumption in his possession before production, which are necessary for him to live as producer – i.e. during production, before its completion. As proprietor of land he appears as directly provided with the necessary consumption fund. As master in a craft he has inherited it, earned it, saved it up, and as a youth he is first an apprentice, where he does not appear as an actual independent worker at all, but shares the master’s fare in a patriarchal way. As journeyman (a genuine one) there is a certain communality in the consumption fund possessed by the master. While it is not the journeyman’s property either, still, through the laws of the guild, tradition etc., at least co-possession etc. (To be gone into further.) (4) Dissolution likewise at the same time of the relations in which the workers themselves, the living labour capacities themselves, still belong directly among the objective conditions of production, and are appropriated as such – i.e. are slaves or serfs. For capital, the worker is not a condition of production, only work is. If it can make machines do it, or even water, air, so much the better. And it does not appropriate the worker, but his labour – not directly, but mediated through exchange.

These are, now, on one side, historic presuppositions needed before the worker can be found as a free worker, as objectless, purely subjective labour capacity confronting the objective conditions of production as his not-property, as alien property, as value for-itself, as capital. But the question arises, on the other side, which conditions are required so that he finds himself up against a capital?

<The formula of capital, where living labour relates to the raw material as well as to the instrument and to the means of subsistence required during labour, as negatives, as not-property, includes, first of all, not-land-ownership, or, the negation of the situation in which the working individual relates to land and soil, to the earth, as his own, i.e. in which he works, produces, as proprietor of the land and soil. In the best case he relates not only as worker to the land and soil, but also as proprietor of the land and soil to himself as working subject. Ownership of land and soil potentially also includes ownership of the raw material, as well as of the primordial instrument, the earth itself, and of its spontaneous fruits. Posited in the most original form, it means relating to the earth as proprietor, and finding raw material and instrument on hand, as well as the necessaries of life created not by labour but by the earth itself. Once this relation is reproduced, secondary instruments and fruits of the earth created through labour itself appear as included with landed property in its primitive forms. This historic situation is thus first of all negated as a full property relation, in the worker’s relation to the conditions of labour as capital. This is historic state No. I, which is negated in this relation or presupposed as historically dissolved. Secondly, however, where there is ownership of the instrument on the part of the worker, i.e. the worker relates to the instrument as his own, where the worker works as owner of the instrument (which at the same time presupposes the subsumption of the instrument under his individual work, i.e. a particular, limited developmental stage of the productive force of labour), where this form of the worker as owner or of the working owner is already posited as an independent form beside and apart from landed property – the artisan-like and urban development of labour – not, as in the first case, as accidental to landed property and subsumed under it – hence where the raw material and the necessaries of life are also mediated as the craftsman’s property, mediated through his craft work, through his property in the instrument – there a second historical stage is already presupposed beside and apart from the first, which must itself already appear significantly modified, through the achievement of independence by this second sort of property or by working owners. Since the instrument itself is already the product of labour, thus the element which constitutes property already exists as posited by labour, the community can no longer appear here in a naturally arisen, spontaneous form as in the first case – the community on which this form of property founded – but rather as itself already a produced, made, derived and secondary community, produced by the worker himself. It is clear that wherever ownership of the instrument is the relation to the conditions of production as property, there, in the real labour process, the instrument appears only as a means of individual labour; the art of really appropriating the instrument, of handling it as an instrument of labour, appears as the worker’s particular skill, which posits him as the owner of the instrument. In short, the essential character of the guild-corporation system, of craft work as its subject, constituted by owners – can be resolved into the relation to the instrument of production – the instrument of labour as property – as distinct from the relation to the earth, to land and soil (to the raw material as such) as one’s own. That the relation to this one moment of the conditions of production constitutes the working subject as owner, makes him into a working owner, this [is] historic situation No. II, which by its nature can exist only as antithesis to or, if one will, at the same time as complement of a modified form of the first – likewise negated in the first formula of capital. The third possible form, in which the worker relates as owner only to the necessaries of life, finding them on hand as the natural condition of the working subject, without relating to the land and soil, or to the instrument, or even (therefore) to labour itself as his own, is at bottom the formula of slavery and bondage, which is likewise negated, posited as a historically dissolved condition, in the relation of the worker to the conditions of production as capital. The original forms of property necessarily dissolve into the relation to the different objective moments which condition production, as one’s own; they form the economic foundation of different forms of community, just as they for their part have specific forms of the community as presupposition. These forms are essentially modified by the inclusion of labour itself among the objective conditions of production (serfdom and slavery), through which the simply affirmative character of all forms of property included under No. I is lost and modified. They all contain, within themselves, slavery as possibility and hence as their own suspension. As regards No. II, where the particular kind of work – mastery of it, and, consequent upon that, an identity between property in the instrument and property in the conditions of production – while it excludes slavery and bondage, can take on an analogous negative development in the form of the caste system.> <The third form, ownership of the necessaries of life – if it does not reduce itself to slavery and serfdom – cannot contain a relation by the working individual to the conditions of production and hence of existence; it can therefore only be the relation of a member of the original community based on land ownership who has lost his landed property and not yet proceeded to variety No. II of property, such as the Roman plebs at the time of the bread and circuses.> <The relation of personal servitude, or of the retainers to their lord, is essentially different. For it forms, at bottom, only a mode of existence of the land-proprietor himself, who no longer works, but whose property includes, among the other conditions of production, the workers themselves as bondsmen etc. Here the master–servant relation [Herrschaftsverhältnis] as essential element of appropriation. Basically the appropriation of animals, land etc. cannot take place in a master–servant relation, although the animal provides service. The presupposition of the master–servant relation is the appropriation of an alien will. Whatever has no will, e.g. the animal, may well provide a service, but does not thereby make its owner into a master. This much can be seen here, however, that the master–servant relation likewise belongs in this formula of the appropriation of the instruments of production; and it forms a necessary ferment for the development and the decline and fall of all original relations of property and of production, just as it also expresses their limited nature. Still, it is reproduced – in mediated form – in capital, and thus likewise forms a ferment of its dissolution and is an emblem of its limitation.>

<‘The power to sell one’s self and one’s own when in distress was a grievous general right; it prevailed in the North as well as among the Greeks and in Asia: the power of the creditor to take into servitude a debtor who could not make payment, and to obtain payment through sale of the debtor’s labour or of his person, was almost equally widespread.’ (Niebuhr, I, p. 600.)> <In one passage Niebuhr says that the Greek writers writing in the period of Augustus had great difficulty with, and misunderstood, the relation between patricians and plebeians, confusing this relation with that between patrons and clients, because they ‘write at a time when rich and poor were the only true classes of citizens; where the needy person, no matter how noble his ancestry, required a patron, and where the millionaire, even if he were a freed slave, was sought out as a patron. They could hardly find a trace of inherited dependency-relations any longer.’ (I, 620.)> <‘Craftsmen were to be found in both classes – Metoikoi [6] and freedmen and their descendants – and the plebeian who abandoned agriculture assumed the limited civic rights to which these were restricted. They did not lack the privilege of legal corporations; and their guilds were so highly esteemed, that Numa [7] was named as their founder: they were 9: pipers, gold-smiths, carpenters, dyers, harness makers, tanners, copper-smiths, potters, and the ninth guild, the miscellaneous remainder … Those among them who were independent citizens; isopolites, [8] who belonged to no patron – if there was such a right; and descendants of servitors, whose bondage was dissolved by extinction of their patron’s line; all these people without a doubt remained as distant from the wranglings of the patricians and the commune as did the Florentine guilds from the feuds of the Guelphs and the Ghibellines: the servitors probably still stood entirely under the command of the patricians.’ (I, 623.)>

On one side, historic processes are presupposed which place a mass of individuals in a nation etc. in the position, if not at first of real free workers, nevertheless of such who are so δυνάμει, whose only property is their labour capacity and the possibility of exchanging it for values then present; individuals who confront all objective conditions of production as alien property, as their own not-property, but at the same time as values, as exchangeable, hence appropriable to a certain degree through living labour. Such historic processes of dissolution are also the dissolution of the bondage relations which fetter the worker to land and soil and to the lord of land and soil; but which factually presuppose his ownership of the necessaries of life – this is in truth the process of his release from the earth; dissolution of the landed property relations, which constituted him as a yeoman, as a free, working small landowner or tenant (colonus), a free peasant; * dissolution of the guild relations which presuppose his ownership of the instrument of labour, and which presuppose labour itself as a craftsmanlike, specific skill, as property (not merely as the source of property); likewise dissolution of the client-relations in the various forms in which not-proprietors appear in the retinue of their lord as co-consumers of the surplus product and wear the livery of their master as an equivalent, participate in his feuds, perform personal services, imaginary or real etc. It will be seen on closer inspection that all these processes of dissolution mean the dissolution of relations of production in which: use value predominates, production for direct consumption; in which exchange value and its production presupposes the predominance of the other form; and hence that, in all these relations, payments in kind and services in kind predominate over payment in money and money-services. But this only by the way. It will likewise be found on closer observation that all the dissolved relations were possible only with a definite degree of development of the material (and hence also the intellectual) forces of production.

* The dissolution of the still earlier forms of communal property and real community goes without saying.

What concerns us here for the moment is this: the process of dissolution, which transforms a mass of individuals of a nation etc. into free wage labourers δυνάμει – individuals forced solely by their lack of property to labour and to sell their labour – presupposes on the other side not that these individuals’ previous sources of income and in part conditions of property have disappeared, but the reverse, that only their utilization has become different, that their mode of existence has changed, has gone over into other hands as a free fund or has even in part remained in the same hands. But this much is clear: the same process which divorced a mass of individuals from their previous relations to the objective conditions of labour, relations which were, in one way or another, affirmative, negated these relations, and thereby transformed these individuals into free workers, this same process freed – δυνάμει – these objective conditions of labour – land and soil, raw material, necessaries of life, instruments of labour, money or all of these – from their previous state of attachment to the individuals now separated from them. They are still there on hand, but in another form; as a free fund, in which all political etc. relations are obliterated. The objective conditions of labour now confront these unbound, propertyless individuals only in the form of values, self-sufficient values. The same process which placed the mass face to face with the objective conditions of labour as free workers also placed these conditions, as capital, face to face with the free workers. The historic process was the divorce of elements which up until then were bound together; its result is therefore not that one of the elements disappears, but that each of them appears in a negative relation to the other – the (potentially) free worker on the one side, capital (potentially) on the other. The separation of the objective conditions from the classes which have become transformed into free workers necessarily also appears at the same time as the achievement of independence by these same conditions at the opposite pole.

If the relation of capital and wage labour is regarded not as already commanding and predominant over the whole of production, * but as arising historically – i.e. if we regard the original transformation of money into capital, the process of exchange between capital, still only existing δυνάμει on one side and the free workers existing δυνάμει on the other – then of course one cannot help making the simple observation, out of which the economists make a great show, [9] that the side which appears as capital has to possess raw materials, instruments of labour and necessaries of life so that the worker can live during production, before production is completed. This further takes the form that there must have taken place on the part of the capitalist an accumulation – an accumulation prior to labour and not sprung out of it – which enables him to put the worker to work and to maintain his effectiveness, to maintain him as living labour capacity. This act by capital which is independent of labour, not posited by labour, is then shifted from the prehistory of capital into the present, into a moment of its reality and of its present activity, of its self-formation. From this is ultimately derived the eternal right of capital to the fruits of alien labour, or rather its mode of appropriation is developed out of the simple and just laws of equivalent exchange. [10]

* For in that case the capital presupposed as condition of wage labour is wage labour’s own product, and is presupposed by it as its own presupposition, created by it as its own presupposition.

Once capital and wage labour are posited as their own presupposition, as the basis presupposed to production itself, then what appears initially is that the capitalist possesses, in addition to the fund of raw materials and necessaries required for the labourer to reproduce himself, to create the required means of subsistence, i.e. to realize necessary labour, a fund of raw material and means of labour in which the worker realizes his surplus labour, i.e. the capitalist’s profit. On further analysis this takes the form that the worker constantly creates a double fund for the capitalist, or in the form of capital. One part of this fund constantly fulfils the conditions of his own existence and the other part fulfils the conditions for the existence of capital. As we have seen, in the case of the surplus capital – and surplus capital in relation to its antediluvian relation to labour – all real, present capital and each of its elements has equally been appropriated without exchange, without an equivalent, as objectified, appropriated alien labour.

Wealth present in the form of money can be exchanged for the objective conditions of labour only because and if these are separated from labour itself. We saw that money can be piled up in part by way of the sheer exchange of equivalents; but this forms so insignificant a source that it is not worth mentioning historically – if it is presupposed that this money is gained through the exchange of one’s own labour. The monetary wealth which becomes transformed into capital in the proper sense, into industrial capital, is rather the mobile wealth piled up through usury – especially that practised against landed property – and through mercantile profits. We shall have occasion below to speak further of both of these forms – in so far as they appear not as themselves forms of capital, but as earlier forms of wealth, as presuppositions for capital.

It is inherent in the concept of capital, as we have seen – in its origin – that it begins with money and hence with wealth existing in the form of money. It is likewise inherent in it that it appears as coming out of circulation, as the product of circulation. The formation of capital thus does not emerge from landed property (here at most from the tenant [Pächter] in so far as he is a dealer in agricultural products); or from the guild (although there is a possibility at the last point); but rather from merchant’s and usurer’s wealth. But the latter encounter the conditions where free labour can be purchased only when this labour has been released from its objective conditions of existence through the process of history. Only then does it also encounter the possibility of buying these conditions themselves. Under guild conditions, e.g., mere money, if it is not itself guild money, masters’ money, cannot buy the looms to make people work with them; how many an individual may operate etc. is prescribed. In short, the instrument itself is still so intertwined with living labour, whose domain it appears, that it does not truly circulate. What enables money-wealth to become capital is the encounter, on one side, with free workers; and on the other side, with the necessaries and materials etc., which previously were in one way or another the property of the masses who have now become object-less, and are also free and purchasable. The other condition of labour, however – a certain level of skill, instrument as means of labour etc. – is already available to it in this preliminary or first period of capital, partly as a result of the urban guild system, partly as a result of domestic industry, or industry which is attached to agriculture as an accessory. This historic process is not the product of capital, but the presupposition for it. And it is through this process that the capitalist inserts himself as (historic) middle-man between landed property, or property generally, and labour. History knows nothing of the congenial fantasies according to which the capitalist and the workers form an association etc., nor is there a trace of them in the conceptual development of capital. Manufactures may develop sporadically, locally, in a framework which still belongs to a quite different period, as e.g. in the Italian cities alongside the guilds. But as the sole predominant forms of an epoch, the conditions for capital have to be developed not only locally but on a grand scale. (Notwithstanding this, individual guild masters may develop into capitalists with the dissolution of the guilds; but the case is rare, in the nature of the thing as well. As a rule, the whole guild system declines and falls, both master and journeyman, where the capitalist and the worker arise.)

It goes without saying – and shows itself if we go more deeply into the historic epoch under discussion here – that in truth the period of the dissolution of the earlier modes of production and modes of the workers relation to the objective conditions of labour is at the same time a period in which monetary wealth on the one side has already developed to a certain extent, and on the other side grows and expands rapidly through the same circumstances as accelerate the above dissolution. It is itself one of the agencies of that dissolution, while at the same time that dissolution is the condition of its transformation into capital. But the mere presence of monetary wealth, and even the achievement of a kind of supremacy on its part, is in no way sufficient for this dissolution into capital to happen. Or else ancient Rome, Byzantium etc. would have ended their history with free labour and capital, or rather begun a new history. There, too, the dissolution of the old property relations was bound up with development of monetary wealth – of trade etc. But instead of leading to industry, this dissolution led in fact to the supremacy of the countryside over the city. – The original formation of capital does not happen, as is sometimes imagined, with capital heaping up necessaries of life and instruments of labour and raw materials, in short, the objective conditions of labour which have already been unbound from the soil and animated by human labour. * Capital does not create the objective conditions of labour. Rather, its original formation is that, through the historic process of the dissolution of the old mode of production, value existing as money-wealth is enabled, on one side, to buy the objective conditions of labour; on the other side, to exchange money for the living labour of the workers who have been set free. All these moments are present; their divorce is itself a historic process, a process of dissolution, and it is the latter which enables money to transform itself into capital. Money itself, to the extent that it also plays an active role, does so only in so far as it intervenes in this process as itself a highly energetic solvent, and to that extent assists in the creation of the plucked, object-less free workers; but certainly not by creating the objective conditions of their existence; rather by helping to speed up their separation from them – their propertylessness. When e.g. the great English landowners dismissed their retainers, who had, together with them, consumed the surplus product of the land; when further their tenants chased off the smaller cottagers etc., then, firstly, a mass of living labour powers was thereby thrown onto the labour market, a mass which was free in a double sense, free from the old relations of clientship, bondage and servitude, and secondly free of all belongings and possessions, and of every objective, material form of being, free of all property; dependent on the sale of its labour capacity or on begging, vagabondage and robbery as its only source of income. It is a matter of historic record that they tried the latter first, but were driven off this road by gallows, stocks and whippings, onto the narrow path to the labour market; owing to this fact, the governments, e.g. of Henry VII, VIII etc. appear as conditions of the historic dissolution process and as makers of the conditions for the existence of capital. On the other side, the necessaries of life etc., which the landowners previously ate up together with their retainers, now stood at the disposal of any money which might wish to buy them in order to buy labour through their instrumentality. Money neither created nor stockpiled these necessaries; they were there and were consumed and reproduced before they were consumed and reproduced through its mediation. What had changed was simply this, that these necessaries were now thrown on to the exchange market – were separated from their direct connection with the mouths of the retainers etc. and transformed from use values into exchange values, and thus fell into the domain and under the supremacy of money wealth. Likewise with the instruments of labour. Money wealth neither invented nor fabricated the spinning wheel and the loom. But, once unbound from their land and soil, spinner and weaver with their stools and wheels came under the command of money wealth. Capital proper does nothing but bring together the mass of hands and instruments which it finds on hand. It agglomerates them under its command. That is its real stockpiling; the stockpiling of workers, along with their instruments, at particular points. This will have to be dealt with more closely in the so-called stockpiling of capital. Monetary wealth – as merchant wealth – had admittedly helped to speed up and to dissolve the old relations of production, and made it possible for the proprietor of land for example, as A. Smith already nicely develops, [11] to exchange his grain and cattle etc. for use values brought from afar, instead of squandering the use values he himself produced, along with his retainers, and to locate his wealth in great part in the mass of his co-consuming retainers. It gave the exchange value of his revenue a higher significance for him. The same thing took place in regard to his tenants, who were already semi-capitalists, but still very hemmed-in ones. The development of exchange value – favoured by money existing in the form of the merchant estate – dissolves production which is more oriented towards direct use value and its corresponding forms of property – the relations of labour to its objective conditions – and thus pushes forward towards the making of the labour market (certainly to be distinguished from the slave market). However, even this action of money is only possible given the presupposition of an urban artisanate resting not on capital but on the organization of labour in guilds etc. Urban labour itself had created means of production for which the guilds became just as confining as were the old relations of landownership to an improved agriculture, which was in part itself a consequence of the larger market for agricultural products in the cities etc. The other circumstances which e.g. in the sixteenth century increased the mass of circulating commodities as well as that of money, which created new needs and thereby raised the exchange value of indigenous products etc., raised prices etc., all of these promoted on one side the dissolution of the old relations of production, sped up the separation of the worker or non-worker but able-bodied individual from the objective conditions of his reproduction, and thus promoted the transformation of money into capital. There can therefore be nothing more ridiculous than to conceive this original formation of capital as if capital had stockpiled and created the objective conditions of production – necessaries, raw materials, instrument – and then offered them to the worker, who was bare of these possessions. Rather, monetary wealth in part helped to strip the labour powers of able-bodied individuals from these conditions; and in part this process of divorce proceeded without it. When the formation of capital had reached a certain level, monetary wealth could place itself as mediator between the objective conditions of life, thus liberated, and the liberated but also homeless and empty-handed labour powers, and buy the latter with the former. But now, as far as the formation of money-wealth itself is concerned, this belongs to the prehistory of the bourgeois economy. Usury, trade, urbanization and the treasury rising with it play the main roles here. So, too, hoarding by tenants, peasants etc.; although to a lesser degree. – This shows at the same time that the development of exchange and of exchange value, which is everywhere mediated through trade, or whose mediation may be termed trade – money achieves an independent existence in the merchant estate, as does circulation in trade – brings with it both the dissolution of labour’s relations of property in its conditions of existence, in one respect, and at the same time the dissolution of labour which is itself classed as one of the objective conditions of production; all these are relations which express a predominance of use value and of production directed towards use value, as well as of a real community which is itself still directly present as a presupposition of production. Production based on exchange value and the community based on the exchange of these exchange values – even though they seem, as we saw in the previous chapter on money, to posit property as the outcome of labour alone, and to posit private property over the product of one’s own labour as condition – and labour as general condition of wealth, all presuppose and produce the separation of labour from its objective conditions. This exchange of equivalents proceeds; it is only the surface layer of a production which rests on the appropriation of alien labour without exchange, but with the semblance of exchange. This system of exchange rests on capital as its foundation, and, when it is regarded in isolation from capital, as it appears on the surface, as an independent system, then it is a mere illusion, but a necessary illusion. Thus there is no longer any ground for astonishment that the system of exchange values – exchange of equivalents measured through labour – turns into, or rather reveals as its hidden background, the appropriation of alien labour without exchange, complete separation of labour and property. For the domination of exchange value itself, and of exchange-value-producing production, presupposes alien labour capacity itself as an exchange value – i.e. the separation of living labour capacity from its objective conditions; a relation to them – or to its own objectivity – as alien property; a relation to them, in a word, as capital. Only in the period of the decline and fall of the feudal system, but where it still struggles internally – as in England in the fourteenth and first half of the fifteenth centuries – is there a golden age for labour in the process of becoming emancipated. In order for labour to relate to its objective conditions as its property again, another system must take the place of the system of private exchange, which, as we saw, posits the exchange of objectified labour for labour capacity, and therefore the appropriation of living labour without exchange. – The way in which money transforms itself into capital often shows itself quite tangibly in history; e.g. when the merchant induces a number of weavers and spinners, who until then wove and spun as a rural, secondary occupation, to work for him, making their secondary into their chief occupation; but then has them in his power and has brought them under his command as wage labourers. To draw them away from their home towns and to concentrate them in a place of work is a further step. In this simple process it is clear that the capitalist has prepared neither the raw material, nor the instrument, nor the means of subsistence for the weaver and the spinner. All that he has done is to restrict them little by little to one kind of work in which they become dependent on selling, on the buyer, the merchant, and ultimately produce only for and through him. He bought their labour originally only by buying their product; as soon as they restrict themselves to the production of this exchange value and thus must directly produce exchange values, must exchange their labour entirely for money in order to survive, then they come under his command, and at the end even the illusion that they sold him products disappears. He buys their labour and takes their property first in the form of the product, and soon after that the instrument as well, or he leaves it to them as sham property in order to reduce his own production costs. – The original historic forms in which capital appears at first sporadically or locally, alongside the old modes of production, while exploding them little by little everywhere, is on one side manufacture proper (not yet the factory); this [12] springs up where mass quantities are produced for export, for the external market – i.e. on the basis of large-scale overland and maritime commerce, in its emporiums like the Italian cities, Constantinople, in the Flemish, Dutch cities, a few Spanish ones, such as Barcelona etc. Manufacture seizes hold initially not of the so-called urban trades, but of the rural secondary occupations, spinning and weaving, the two which least requires guild-level skills, technical training. Apart from these great emporiums, where the external market is its basis, where production is thus, so to speak, naturally oriented towards exchange value – i.e. manufactures directly connected with shipping, shipbuilding itself etc. – it takes up its first residence not in the cities, but on the land, in villages lacking guilds etc. The rural subsidiary occupations have the broad basis [characteristic] of manufactures, while the urban trades demand great progress in production before they can be conducted in factory style. Likewise certain branches of production – such as glassworks, metal works, sawmills etc., which demand a higher concentration of labour powers from the outset, apply more natural energy from the outset, demand mass production, likewise concentration of the means of labour etc. Likewise paper mills. On the other side the rise of the tenant and the transformation of the agricultural population into free day-labourers. Although this transformation in the countryside is the last to push on towards its ultimate consequences and its purest form, its beginnings there are among the earliest. Classical antiquity, which could never get beyond the urban artisanate proper, could therefore never get to large industry. The first presupposition of the latter is to draw the land in all its expanse into the production not of use values but of exchange values. Glass factories, paper mills, iron works etc. cannot be operated on guild principles. They demand mass production; sales to a general market; monetary wealth on the part of their entrepreneur – not that he creates the conditions, neither the subjective nor the objective ones; but under the old relations of property and of production these conditions cannot be brought together. – The dissolution of relations of serfdom, like the rise of manufacture, then little by little transforms all branches of work into branches operated by capital. – The cities themselves, it is true, also contain an element for the formation of wage labour proper, in the non-guild day-labourers, unskilled labourers etc.

* The first glance shows what a nonsensical circle it would be if on the one hand the workers whom capital has to put to work in order to posit itself as capital had first to be created, to be brought to life through its stockpiling if they waited for its command, Let There Be Workers!; while at the same time it were itself incapable of stockpiling without alien labour, could at most stockpile its own labour, i.e. could itself exist in the form of not-capital and not-money; since labour, before the existence of capital, can only realize itself in forms such as craft labour, petty agriculture etc., in short, all forms which can not stockpile, or only sparingly; in forms which allow of only a small surplus product and eat up most of it. We shall have to examine this notion of stockpiling [Aufhäufung] still more closely later on.

While, as we have seen, the transformation of money into capital presupposes a historic process which divorces the objective conditions of labour from the worker and makes them independent of him, it is at the same time the effect of capital and of its process, once arisen, to conquer all of production and to develop and complete the divorce between labour and property, between labour and the objective conditions of labour, everywhere. It will be seen in the course of the further development how capital destroys craft and artisan labour, working small-landownership etc., together with itself in forms in which it does not appear in opposition to labour – in small capital and in the intermediate species, the species between the old modes of production (or their renewal on the foundation of capital) and the classical, adequate mode of production of capital itself.

The only stockpiling presupposed at the origin of capital is that of monetary wealth, which, regarded in and for itself, is altogether unproductive, as it only springs up out of circulation and belongs exclusively to it. Capital rapidly forms an internal market for itself by destroying all rural secondary occupations, so that it spins, weaves for everyone, clothes everyone etc., in short, brings the commodities previously created as direct use values into the form of exchange values, a process which comes about by itself through the separation of the workers from land and soil and from property (even in the form of serf property) in the conditions of production.

With the urban crafts, although they rest essentially on exchange and on the creation of exchange values, the direct and chief aim of this production is subsistence as craftsmen, as master-journeymen, hence use value; not wealth, not exchange value as exchange value. Production is therefore always subordinated to a given consumption, supply to demand, and expands only slowly.

The production of capitalists and wage labourers is thus a chief product of capital’s realization process. Ordinary economics, which looks only at the things produced, forgets this completely. When objectified labour is, in this process, at the same time posited as the worker’s non-objectivity, as the objectivity of a subjectivity antithetical to the worker, as property of a will alien to him, then capital is necessarily at the same time the capitalist, and the idea held by some socialists that we need capital but not the capitalists is altogether wrong. It is posited within the concept of capital that the objective conditions of labour – and these are its own product – take on a personality towards it, or, what is the same, that they are posited as the property of a personality alien to the worker. The concept of capital contains the capitalist. Still, this error is in no way greater than that of e.g. all philologists who speak of capital in antiquity, of Roman, Greek capitalists. This is only another way of expressing that labour in Rome and Greece was free, which these gentlemen would hardly wish to assert. The fact that we now not only call the plantation owners in America capitalists, but that they are capitalists, is based on their existence as anomalies within a world market based on free labour. If the concern is the word, capital, which does not occur in antiquity * then the still migrating hordes with their herds on the Asiatic high plateau are the biggest capitalists, since capital originally means cattle, which is why the métairie contract still frequently drawn up in southern France, for lack of capital, just as an exception, is called: Bail de bestes à cheptel. [14] If one wants to descend to bad Latin, then our capitalists or Capitales Homines would be those ‘qui debent censum de capite’. [15]

* Although ἀρχεῖα among the Greeks, corresponding to the principalis summa rei creditae. [13]

The conceptual specification of capital encounters difficulties which do not occur with money; capital is essentially capitalist; but at the same time again as an element of his existence distinct from him, or production in general, capital. We shall likewise find later that many things are subsumed under capital which do not seem to belong within it conceptually. E.g. capital is lent out. It is stockpiled etc. In all these designations it appears to be a mere thing, and to coincide entirely with the matter in which it is present. But this and other questions will be cleared up in the course of the development. (Noted incidentally as a joke: the good Adam Müller, who takes all figurative ways of speaking as very mystical, has also heard of living capital in ordinary life as opposed to dead capital, and now rationalizes this theosophically. [16] King Aethelstan could teach him a lesson here: Reddam de meo proprio decimas Deo tam in Vivente Capitale (livestock), quam in mortis fructuis terrae (dead fruits of the earth).) [17] Money always remains the same form in the same substratum; and can thus be more easily conceived as a mere thing. But one and the same commodity, money etc., can represent capital or revenue etc. Thus it is clear even to the economists that money is not something tangible; but that one and the same thing can be subsumed sometimes under the title capital, sometimes under another and contrary one, and correspondingly is or is not capital. It is then evident that it is a relation, and can only be a relation of production.

We have seen that the true nature of capital emerges only at the end of the second cycle. What we have to examine now is this cycle itself, or the circulation of capital. Production originally appeared to lie beyond circulation, and circulation beyond production. The circulation of capital – circulation posited as the circulation of capital – spans both moments. Production appears in it as the conclusion and the point of departure of circulation, and vice versa. The independence of circulation is here reduced to a mere semblance, as is the otherworldliness of production.