Marx devoted more than 20 years of its life to the writing of this work, but only one part completed any: the first book, published in 1867, devoted to the development of the capitalistic production. Drafts of Marx were used by Friedrich Engels to publish “books 2 and 3”, in 1885 and 1894. The outlines of Marx devoted to the history of the economic doctrines were published by the German Socialist Karl Kautsky in the work the Theories of the appreciation (4 vol., 1905-1910).
It is by observing contemporary British industry and its work conditions, while resting and by criticizing the preceding theorists of the political economy (such as David Ricardo or Adam Smith) that Marx intends to show the real nature of the Capitalisme, and to stress internal contradictions of this system.
The author considered itself his work as being “certainly the most frightening missile which was launched to the head of the middle-class”.
the ideas and principal articulations of each chapter of the book first here are summarized and accompanied by some quotations.
First section: Goods and the currency
Chapter 1: Goods
If one can apprehend the Valeur of goods starting from (qualitative value that the consumer grants to the product according to the utility that it withdraws some) and Exchange value the Practical value (quantitative value which takes produces it through the exchange against other goods), for touching with the value even this product, it is necessary to refer to the quantity of human work which it contains. The value of this human work depends itself on time “socially necessary” to the production of the goods, i.e. the time spent on average in the company to produce it. “We know the substance of the value now: it is work. We know the measurement of his quantity: it is the duration of the work.”
Work at the origin of the goods presents a double character then: on the one hand, it corresponds to an expenditure of man power, which forms the exchange value of the goods, and on the other hand, this expenditure is carried out in a certain productive form and according to a particular goal: to produce practical values.
This value is expressed in a relative form, relative to a form known as equivalent. For example, if it is considered that “twenty meters of fabric have the value of a dress”, the twenty meters of fabric are the relative form, the dress is the equivalent form.
While generalizing one arrives to a form general value where all the goods tend to give each other an equivalence in the same goods. While replacing these goods by the Currency, one arrives at the form currency, according to which any goods with the same value as a certain quantity of currency. The goods thus have for the individuals a character fetish since the social relationship between the producers contained in the value is masked by its money value which reveals the value like a property " matérielle" intrinsic of the goods.
Chapter 2: Exchanges
The goods exchanged by the man are only the goods to which it does not find itself of utility; these goods are then carry-values, since they are only instruments of exchange which make it possible the man to acquire goods which are useful for him.
Chapter 3: The Currency or movement of the goods
If it is considered that gold is the goods which fulfill the function of currency, it is at the same time the measurement of the values (as an ideal currency) and the standard of the prices (the instrument of the movement of the goods), the price translating itself the ideal quantity of gold which goods contain, according to the work contained in these goods.
The currency thus allows the metamorphosis of the goods, i.e. the exchange of the silver goods, where the money replaces the goods during a given time and thus removes the problems of times and space inherent in the immediate Troc. “The money is unbounded because it is immediately transformable in any kind of goods.”
The money is thus at the same time means of payment (when it is received against goods) and of circulation of the goods (when it is used to buy of another goods).
Second section: The transformation of the money into capital
Chapter 4: Transformation of the Capital money into
“The movement of the goods is the starting point of the capital.” Whereas the natural exchange is Marchandise - Money - Goods (M - has - M), where the money is only one intermediary which facilitates the exchange of the goods, the capital is born from an exchange has - M - A', where A' corresponds to has, quantity of starting money, increased by an appreciation.
Chapter 5: Contradictions of the general formula of the Capital
However, the appreciation cannot be born simply from the exchange of the goods. Indeed, the individual being at the same time purchaser and salesman, it cannot sell his more expensive goods 10%, without then buying another more expensive goods 10%. It is thus necessary to seek elsewhere the origin of the appreciation.
Chapter 6: Purchase and sale of the labor force
Consequently only the labor force to faculty to be goods, which, when it is consumed, complete work, and created value when it is consumed. The Exchange value of the labor force is itself to pay to the quantity of necessary work to the production of the foodstuffs which make it possible the individual to renew his labor force. It is certainly there that the origin of the appreciation is.
Third section: Production of the absolute appreciation
Chapter 7: Production of and production practical values of the appreciation
To produce, the producer needs products which required a work. The weaver requires thus that individuals worked to extract cotton. By consuming labor force to produce practical values, the capitalist is thus located in a normal logic of producer.
However, the capitalist realizes that the exchange value one half-day of work allows the individual who sells his labor force to produce during one day whole. By selling goods with a Exchange value which is equivalent to more human work that what they cost him, the capitalist carries out his appreciation thus.
Chapter 8: Capital constant and Variable capital
During the production, the goods which are used as raw materials, means of production, etc, see the exchange value which they had, and which is thus used, transferred in the exchange value from the produced goods. This part of the capital existed already before the process of Production present, it is thus named capital constant.
On the other hand, the part of the capital transformed by the labor force changes during the production, since it reproduces its equivalent and in more one surplus: the appreciation. It is thus about the variable capital. (Which then contains the value of the labor force plus a surplus)
Chapter 9: The rate of the appreciation
“The rate of the appreciation P/V = surtravail/necessary work”, it is thus independent of the constant capital, which it is necessary to regard as no one to take into account only the appreciation. This rate of appreciation can for example be 100%, so during a twelve hours day, necessary work and the surtravail lasts both six hours. “The workman thus worked a half of the day for itself and other half for the capitalist.”
Chapter 10: Day's work
The limit minimum of day's work corresponds to the part of the day worked for the renewal of the labor force. The maximum limit, if it depends on the physical terminals of the limit morals and labor force, is much more elastic. It is given only by the power struggle between the capitalist and the worker.
When there is no law to restrict them, the capitalists do not hesitate to make work the workmen, that they are men, women or children 6 year old, during the day and the night, until exhaustion, the illness or death.
“The prolongation of day's work beyond the terminals of the natural day, i.e. until in the night, acts only like palliative, alleviates only roughly the thirst for vampire of the capital for the blood living of work.” The Capitaliste thus founds the work of day like night, during interminable schedules, and by bearings of the labor force.
Until the end of the 17th century, the Entrepreneur S even manage to prolong day's work by the means of the law, such as it is the case during the creation of the Workhouse S . The fight for one day's work “normal” thus intervenes really only in England starting from 1833 with the Factory Act , which controls in particular the Travail of the children. But this one is still too often circumvented by the capitalists, and shy persons improvements only after several revisions in the Années 1850 will thus allow.
The English legislation will inspire then by the regulations in other countries, such as the twelve hours law Frenchwoman at the time of the revolution of February 1848.
Chapter 11: Rate and mass of the appreciation
To obtain same a appreciation, the capitalist must either use a strong rate of appreciation on his workmen, or a less rate and to have then more workmen. In any case, the capitalist must employ a minimal number of workmen to obtain his appreciation.
Fourth section: Production of the relative appreciation
Chapter 12: The relative appreciation
The absolute appreciation, which is the appreciation produced by the simple prolongation of day's work, is to be distinguished from the relative appreciation, obtained by the abbreviation of the Working time necessary, i.e. by modifying the proportion, in one day, of Working time necessary compared to that of the surtravail, without increasing the duration of this day's work.
Thus, only a rise of the Productivité of the workers will allow the rise in the relative appreciation.
Chapter 13: Co-operation
The men working together provide more work that if they worked separately. “That comes from what the man is by nature, if not a political animal, according to the opinion of Aristote, but in all the cases a social animal.” This higher proportion of work obtained by the co-operation between the workmen is all the more advantageous to the capitalist than it pays the workman only for individual work than it brings, and not for the additional collective work which rises from the co-operation.
Chapter 14: Division of the labor and manufacture
The Manufacture could be born in two different ways: either it is about the combination of trades various and independent, that one disaggregates and that one simplifies, or it is about the co-operation of of the same craftsmen kind whose trade is broken up into its various operations, and each one of these operations is insulated.
In all the cases, the task of a worker being broken up and simplified to the extreme, this one repeats it during all its day, and, having the adapted material, the compartmental worker reduced the idle periods, gains in skill, it thus becomes more productive. Heterogeneous manufactures, i.e. manufactures where formed goods of several parts then assembled in only one are produced (as in the case of a factory of watch) are imperfect and make little gain in productivity. On the other hand, serial manufactures, i.e. those where the produced goods traverse related phases of development (as in the case of the manufacture of pins), are perfect, since they make it possible to use to the maximum the compartmental worker and his productivity. “The Division of the labor supposes the absolute authority of the capitalist on men transformed into simple members of a mechanism which belongs to him.” Manufacture thus requires that the order is maintained, because the risks of indiscipline on behalf of the workers are great. And it is only the intervention of the machines which “removed labor like regulating principle of the social production”.
Chapter 15: Mechanization and big industry
Thus with the advent of the Mechanization, the workman becomes driving machine, it does not intervene more directly on the product manufactured. However, the value transmitted by the machine being all the more low as the machine lasts a long time, the mechanical engineering industry reacts by adapting additional labor forces (that of the women and children), by prolonging day's work, and by intensifying work, this in order to always produce in a time decreasing an always increasing quantity of values.
“ In manufacture and the trade, the workman makes use of his tool; in the factory, it serves the machine. ” the machine thus fixes the rate/rhythm of work of the workman, who is constrained to follow it under penalty of punishments taking the form of reserves of wages. Work environment is unhealthy: raw material particles flood the ambient air, the noise is constant, the industrial accidents are innumerable. The workmen thus sought to fight against the machine, initially while attacking itself, then against the social mode of exploitation which it causes, and which is added to the “temporary disadvantages” that it involves: the fall of employment. The machine can be thus presented in the form of a direct competitor of the workman.
So according to certain economists, according to a law of the compensation, the workmen released by the arrival of the machine will inevitably find employment in another branch of industry, one notices on the contrary that in this case, if they manage to draw from unemployment, it is to practice uses “of modern domestic slaves”.
If the development of mechanization involves the multiplication of the “slaves of work” by his operation, the improvements made to the machines often involve a rise on behalf of the constant capital with the detriment of that of variable capital, i.e. they destroy of employment. The waves of repulsion and attraction of the workmen by the factory thus follow one another unceasingly.
The development of big industry removes the co-operation before founded on the division of the labor. Manufacture and the domestic industry are put to the test and must thus adapt. Whereas in manufactures, the work conditions worsen, the competition of the factories pushing the owners to increase the exploitation of work, the Domestic industry, to survive, becomes depend on the orders of the factories and their fluctuations. The workmen of this mode of production thus are successively drowned by work and constrained with unemployment. “There, it capitalist can thus recruit in a systematic way an industrial army of reserve, always available, which ten-per-cent tax exaggeration of the forced labor during part of the year and which, during the other, forced unemployment reduced to misery.”
If the legislation for the factories develops, it is only tardily, and this one is imperfect and misses effectiveness, because the agents of control being very few, it is almost never respected.
In agriculture also, the machine develops and destroys employment. “In modern agriculture, just as in the industry of the cities, the increase in productivity and the higher output of work at the price destruction and drying up of the labor force are bought.”
Fifth section: Later research on the production of the appreciation
Chapter 16: Absolute appreciation and relative appreciation
In addition to the precise details concerning the appreciation which were already presented before, it is advisable to add that it is not the productivity which is at the origin of the appreciation, it is always the surtravail.
Chapter 17: Variations in the report/ratio of size between the appreciation and the value of the labor force
Three factors determine the report/ratio of size between the appreciation and the labor force: duration of the work, the degree of intensity of the work and its degree of productivity. The various variations of these factors thus make increase with lowering the share of surtravail in the course of the day.
Chapter 18: Various formulas for the rate of the appreciation
P/V = Appreciation/Variable capital = Appreciation/Value of the labor force = Surtravail/Necessary work
Sixth section: Wages
Chapter 19: Transformation of the value or the price of the labor force into wages
The wages are allotted to the workman n the other hand his carried out work, but it remunerates in fact only necessary work (and not the surtravail). However, it gives the impression to the workman that it is its work in its entirety which is paid. “The monetary report/ratio dissimulates the free work of paid for its capitalist.”
Chapter 20: Wages at time
The wages at time correspond to the ratio the value day laborer of the labor force over the day's work of a number of hours given. If the wages at time are low, the workman thus will have to work more to secure hardly suitable average wages.
Chapter 21: The wage the piece
The wage the piece derives from the wages at time. It is paid if the produced parts are in good state, and, if the number of produced parts is insufficient, the workman is congédié. The wage the piece thus ensures the capitalist the quality and the intensity of work, it thus makes the monitoring quasi superfluous, which allows the domestic industry. Moreover, he encourages the increase in the productivity, which makes thereafter lower the value of the product and thus cause a drop in the wages of the workman.
Chapter 22: Difference in the national wage rate
The more the capitalistic production is developed in a country, the smaller the relative value of the money is, and, if the price of work appears cheap, it is in fact higher than that of the other countries.
Seventh section: Accumulation of the capital
Chapter 23: Simple reproduction
To produce in a continuous way, the capitalist must retransformer continuously part of his products in means of production. So by the production process, the produced capitalist and reproduced the labor force. Thus, the capitalist just wishes “to limit the individual consumption of the workmen to the strict minimum”, so that the workman can reproduce his labor force.
Also, if the appreciation is entirely spent by the capitalist, one attends a phenomenon of simple reproduction: the capitalist always reproduces the production process in same measurements, it thus obtains a constant share of appreciation.
Chapter 24: Transformation of the capital profitsOn the other hand, if the capitalist does not spend the entirety of the appreciation which it adapted, it capitalizes it, i.e. it reinvests it in the production process, which will enable him thereafter to withdraw an increasing quantity of appreciation from it. Thus, it is thanks to this capitalization of the appreciation that accumulation occurs. For some, the capitalist must thus practice the abstinence, i.e. it must endeavor to consume the least possible of the appreciation (it must thus resist emulously of the conspicuous consumption), in order to capitalize it. “If the proletarian is only one machine to produce appreciation, the capitalist is only one machine to capitalize this appreciation.”
The larger the degree of exploitation of the working force is, the more the capital coming from the appreciation is capitalized, and the larger the advanced capital is, plus accumulation will be important.
Chapter 25: General law of the capitalist accumulation
Vis-a-vis the acceleration of accumulation, the excess of capital makes that work offered becomes insufficient, which would tend to involve a rise of the wages and thus a fall proportional of free work.
However, more the capital accumulates and concentrates, more the share allotted to the variable capital decreases with the profit of the constant capital. So it constitutes a relative overpopulation, “it forms an industrial reserve army which belongs to the capital in a way as absolute as if it had raised it and disciplined with its own expenses. It provides the human matter always exploitable and always available”. The capitalist thus has interest with the appearance of this overpopulation.
He results the following general law from it: the industrial reserve is all the more numerous as the produced richness, the accumulation of the capital, the absolute number of the working class and the productivity of its work are considerable. The more the reserve grows bigger, the more official pauperism increases.
The case of England illustrates this law well: whereas the working class was into supernumerary, that its productivity increased, one witnessed an increase in the number of imposed people, which underwent an increase of 20% between 1853 and 1861, and thus testifies to the movement of accumulation of the capital and increase in the produced richness. In parallel, the number of people registered on the official list of the poor underwent a rise of 14% between 1855 and 1865.
For the working classes and the minors, the work conditions are insupportable, those of life are appalling: the absorptive quantities of food are lower than the limits where the diseases of inanition are declared, on the level of the residences “plus the accumulation of the capital is fast, plus the working dwellings become miserable”, the workmen and the minors are piled up in unhealthy huts which they rent in spite of very at high prices, they are the hearth of diseases such as pox, fever scarlet fever, cholera… In the event of crisis, even the workmen best paid must go in the “workhouses” to obtain food than they cannot be provided any more.
With the abolition of the Corn laws , the capital and mechanization in mass the campaigns invest. The farm laborers see their wages crumbling and their living conditions become such as the men are nourished better in the English prisons than than is to it the farm laborers. They are expropriés, the destruction of their habitat poses to them as many problems of housing for the workmen.
Eighth section: Primitive accumulation
Chapter 26: The secrecy of the primitive accumulationThe production process supposes the advance of a capital by the capitalist, it thus exists necessarily a primitive accumulation. “This primitive accumulation plays in the political economy about the same role as the original sin in the Théologie. Adam bit apple, and here is the sin who makes his entry in the world.”
Chapter 27: The expropriation of the country population
The capitalists despoiled the goods of Church, lunatic the fields of the State, plundered and enclosed the communal grounds in order to adapt them. They thus exproprié the population towards the industry of the cities.
Chapter 28: Sanguinary legislation against expropriés starting from the end of the 15th century. - Laws on the wages.
In England, the laws concerning the judgment of vagrancy follow one another. They condemn the men wandering to torture, the imprisonment, slavery and even sometimes with death, whereas their vagrancy results from their expropriation. This one was carried out by the capitalists, who are in addition the judges who condemn them.
In the same way, of the laws fix the wages of the workmen, who should not in no case to be exceeded, under penalty of imprisonment of the workman and even of the owner; on the other hand, no law fixes minimum wages.
Chapter 29: Genesis of the capitalist farmersIn England, after the fall of the Feudal system, the farmer is initially a baillif (a serf), then he becomes a sharecropper, i.e. a farmer who advances the capital, the fact of being worth. With the usurpation of the communal parts, it increases its cattle and in the car of the profits. The 19th century, the depreciation of the currency due to that of the noble metals allows the fall of the wages (of which those of the workmen) whereas the prices of the agricultural produce are raised. The capitalist farmer thus grows rich quickly.
Chapter 30: By-effect of the agricultural revolution on industry. Establishment of the interior market for the industrial capital.
Following their expropriation of the grounds, the farmers are transformed into paid by the agricultural revolution. Become of the goods, they are attracted in the cities, and thus form the interior market for the industrial capital.
Chapter 31: Genesis of the industrial capitalist
The private property is founded on personal work, that of the capitalists is founded on the work of others. It is by the expropriation of the workers, the plundering of the richnesses and the men of the colonies, the perception of the wear which the industrial capital develops little by little and takes the control of the capitalistic production. The capital arrives at the world “sweating blood and mud by all the pores”.
Chapter 32: Historical tendency of the capitalist accumulation.The capitalist accumulation passes by the expropriation of the hard-working people. The “capitalist private property” is “founded on the exploitation of the work of others, on wage-earning”.
The evolution of the capital goes in the direction of its concentration, and its universalization, involving “the interlacing of all the people in the network of the universal market”. Increase “misery, oppression, slavery, degradation, the exploitation, but also the resistance of the unceasingly magnifying working class”.
At the end of the development of capitalism “the monopoly of the capital becomes an obstacle”, the mode of production must change and the capitalist property to become social property. Capitalism was constituted by “the expropriation of the mass by some usurpers”, his fall will be “the expropriation of some usurpers by the mass”.
Chapter 33: The modern theory of colonization
“The colonial richness has one natural base: slavery.”
The study of the emergence of capitalism in the colonies proves for Marx that “the mode of production and of capitalist accumulation, and leaving the capitalist private property, presupposes the destruction of the private property founded on personal work; its base, it is the expropriation of the worker”.
Principal ideas of workThe conclusion of Marx is that the Capitalisme is an at the same time unjust and unstable system, which alienates the human beings, and whose base is “the expropriation of the workers” in the form of the system of Salaire. Moreover, Marx estimates that the Capitalisme will have to be replaced by a mode of production based on the common property, replacing the work paid by the free labor and co-operative.
- economic Marxism
- the thought of Karl Marx
- History of the economic thinking
- Theory of value (Marxism)
- Appreciation (Marxism)
- the Capital, prefaces
- the Capital, delivers 1
- the Capital, delivers 3
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