XIV

Wages of Labour

Profit of Capital

[XIV. 1.]
Labour is life, and if life is not exchanged every day for food, it suffers and soon perishes. If human life is to be regarded as a commodity, we are forced to admit slavery." [Eugene Buret, p. 49-50]
....So, if labour is a commodity, it is a commodity with the most unfortunate characteristics. But, even according to economic principles, it is not one, for it is not the free product of a free market. [ ibid., p. 50]
....The present economic regime reduces at the same time both the price and the remuneration of labour; it perfects the worker and degrades the man. [ibid., p. 52-3 ]
....Industry has become a war, commerce a game. [ibid., p. 62 ]

...."The machines for spinning cotton (in England) alone represent 84,000,000 handworkers."
[Eugene Buret, p. 193 ]

....Up to now, industry has been in the situation of a war of conquest:
"...it has squandered the lives of the men who composed its army with as much indifference as the great conquerors. Its goal was the possession of riches, and not human happiness. These interests (i.e., economic interests), left to their own free development, ... cannot help coming into conflict; war is their only arbiter, and the decisions of war assign defeat and death to some and victory to others.... It is in the conflict of opposing forces that science looks for order and equilibrium; perpetual was, in the view of science, is the only means of achieving peace; this war is called competition." [Eugene Buret, pp. 20,23]
...."The industrial war, if it is to be waged successfully, needs large armies which it can concentrate at one point and decimate at will. And neither devotion nor duty moves the soldiers of this army to bear the burden placed upon them; what moves them is the need to escape the harshness of starvation. They feel neither affection nor gratitude for their bosses, who are not bound in their subordinates by any feeling of goodwill and who regard them not as human beings but as instruments of production which bring in as much and cost as little as possible. These groups of workers, who are more and more crowded together, cannot even be sure they will always be employed; the industry which has summoned them together allows them to live only because it needs them; as soon as it can get rid of them, it abandons them without the slightest hesitation; and the workers are forced to offer their persons and their labour for whatever is the going price. The longer, more distressing and loathsome the work which is given them, the less they are paid; one can see workers who toil their way non-stop through a 16-hour day and who scarcely manage to buy the right not to die." [Eugene Buret, pp. 68-9 ]

[XV. 1.]

[XIV. 2.]
they are properly only the agents of wealthier merchants who reside in some of the greater commercial cities."
[Smith, I, pp. 326-7]
...."The annual produce of the land and labour of any nation can be increased in its value by no other means but by increasing either the number of its productive labourers, or the productive powers of those labourers who had before been employed.... In either case, an additional capital is almost always required." [Smith, I, pp. 306-7]
...."As the accumulation of stock must, in the nature of things, be previous to the division of labour, so labour can be more and more subdivided in proportion only as stock is previously more and more accumulated. The quantity of materials which the same number of people can work up, increases in a great proportion as labour comes to be more and more subdivided; and as the operations of each workman are gradually reduced to a greater degree of simplicity, a variety of new machines come to be invented for facilitating and abridging these operations. As the division of labour advances, therefore, in order to give constant employment to an equal number of workmen, an equal stock of provisions, and a greater stock of materials and tools than what would have been necessary in a ruder state of things, must be accumulated beforehand. But the number of workmen in every branch of business generally increases with the division of labour in that branch, or rather it is the increase of their number which enables them to class and subdivide themselves in this manner." [Smith, I, pp. 241-2]
...."As the accumulation of stock is previously necessary for carrying on this great improvement in the productive powers of labour, so that accumulation naturally leads to this improvement. The person who employs his stock in maintaining labour, necessarily wishes to employ it in such a manner as to produce as great a quantity of work as possible. He endeavours, therefore, both to make among his workmen the most proper distribution of employment, and to furnish them with the best machines which he can either invent or afford to purchase. His abilities in both these respects

[XV. 2.]



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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