X

Wages of Labour

Profit of Capital

Rent of Land

[X. 1.]
If the amount of time and human energy needed earlier to satisfy a given quantity of material needs was later reduced by half, then, without any forfeiture of material comfort, the margin for intellectual creation and recreation will have increased by half.
....But, even the sharing of the spoils which we win from old Chronos on his very own territory still depends on blind and unjust chance.
In France, it has been estimated that, at the present stage of production, an average working day of five hours from each person capable of work would be sufficient to satisfy all society's material needs.... In spite of the time saved through improvements in machinery, the time spent in slave labour in the factories has increased for many people." [Wilhelm Schulz, pp. 67-8 ]
...."The transition from complicated handicrafts presupposes a breaking down of such work into the simple operations of which it consists. To begin with, however, only a part of the uniformly recurring operations falls to the machines, while another part falls to men. Permanently uniform activity of this kind is by its very nature harmful to both soul and body -- a fact which is also confirmed by experience; and so, when machinery is combined in this way, with the mere division of labour among a larger number of men, all the shortcomings of the latter inevitably make their appearance. These shortcomings include the greater mortality of factory workers...

[XI. 1.]

[X. 2.]
....Another important factor in the competition between big and small capitals is the relationship between fixed capital and circulating capital.
...."Circulating capital is capital employed in raising, manufacturing, or purchasing goods, and selling them again at a profit. The capital employed in this manner yields no revenue or profit to its employer, while it either remains in his possession or continues in the same shape.... His capital is continually going from him in one shape, and returning to him in another, and it is only by means of such circulation, or successive exchanges, that is can yield him any profit....
Fixed capital is capital employed in the improvement of land, in the purchase of useful machines and instruments, or in such like things....
...every saving in the expense of supporting the fixed capital of the undertaker of every work is necessarily divided between his fixed and his circulating capital. While his whole capital remains the same, the smaller the one part, the greater must necessarily be the other. It is the circulating capital which furnishes the materials and wages of labour, and puts industry into motion. Every saving, therefore, in the expense of maintaining the fixed capital, which does not diminish the productive powers of labour, must increase the fund which puts industry into motion...." [Smith, p. 257]

....It is clear from the start that the relation between fixed capital and circulating capital is far more favourable to the big capitalist than it is to the smaller capitalist. The difference in volume between the amount of fixed capital needed by a very big banker and the amount needed by a very small one is insignificant. The only fixed capital they need is an office. The equipment needed by a big landowner does not increase in proportion to the extent of his land. Similarly, the amount of credit available to a big capitalist, compared with a smaller one, represents a bigger saving in fixed capital-- namely, in the amount of money which he must have available at all times. Finally, it goes without saying that where industrial labour is highly developed --i.e., where almost all manual crafts have become factory labourthe entire capital of the small capitalist is not enough to procure for him even the necessary fixed capital. It is well known that large-scale [agricultural] cultivation generally requires only a small number of hands.
The accumulation of large capitals is generally accompanied by a
concentration and simplification of fixed capital, as compared with the smaller capitalists. The big capitalist establishes for himself some kind

[XI. 2.]

[X. 3.]
the interest of the landlord is always identical with that of society. In the economic system, under which the rule of private property, the interest which any individual has in society is in inverse proportion to the interest which society has in him, just as the interest of the moneylender in the spendthrift is not at all identical with the interest of the spendthrift.
....We mention only in passing the landlord's obsession with monopoly against the landed property of foreign countries, which is the reason, for example, for the corn laws. We shall similarly pass over mediaeval serfdom, slavery in the colonies and the distress of the rural population -- the day-labourers -- in Great Britain. Let us confine ourselves to the propositions of political economy itself.
....(1) The landlord's interest in the well-being of society means, according to the principles of political economy, that he is interested in the growth of its population and its production and the increase of its needs, in a word, in the increase of wealth; and the increase of wealth is, if our previous observations are correct, identical with the growth of misery and slavery. The relationship of rising rents and rising misery is one example of the landlord's interest in society, for a rise in house rent also means a rise in ground rent -- the interest on the land on which the house stands.
....(2) According to the political economists themselves, the interest of the landlord is fiercely opposed to that of the tenant, and therefore of a considerable section of society.
[XI. 3.]



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Send comments to: Lemmaesthetics@freeuk.com The Hypertext Manuscripts of Karl Marx, Paris 1844. Copyright Gary Tedman 2001-3.