....But liberated industry, industry constituted for itself as such, and liberated capital, are the necessary development of labour. The power of industry over its antagonist is at once made manifest in the emergence of agriculture as an actual industry, when previously most of the work was left to the soil itself and to the slave of the soil, through whom the land cultivated itself. With the transformation of the slave into a free worker--i.e., into a hireling--the landlord himself is transformed into a captain of industry, into a capitalist--a transformation which takes place at first through the intermediacy of the tenant farmer. The tenant farmer, however, is the landowner's representative--the landowner's revealed secret: it is only through him that the landowner has his economic existence--his existence as a private proprietor--for the rent of his land only exists due to the competition between the farmers. Thus, in the person of the tenant farmer the landlord has already become in essence a common capitalist. And this must come to pass, too, in actual fact: the capitalist engaged in agriculture--the tenant--must become a landlord, or vice versa. The tenant's industrial hucksterism is the landowner's industrial hucksterism, for the existence of the former postulates the existence of the latter.
....But mindful of the conflictual origins of their line of descent, the landowner knows the capitalist as his insolent, liberated, and enriched slave of yesterday and himself as a capitalist who is threatened by him. The capitalist knows the landowner as the idle, cruel, egotistical master of yesterday; he knows that the landowner injures him as a capitalist, but that it is to industry that he owes all his present social significance, possessions and pleasures; he sees in the landowner a contradiction to free industry and to free capital - to capital independent of every natural limitation. This contradiction is extremely bitter, and each side tells the truth about the other. One need only read the attacks launcehd by immovable on movable property and vice-versa to obtain a clear picture of their respective worthlessness. The landowner highlights the noble lineage of his property, his feudal souvenirs or reminiscences, his poetry of recollection, his romantic disposition, his political importance, etc.; and when he talks economics, he holds that it is only agriculture that is productive. At the same time he depicts his adversary as a sly, hawking, censorious, carping, deceitful, greedy, mercenary, rebellious, heartless and spiritless racketeer who is estranged from the community and freely trades it away, who breeds, nourishes and cherishes competition, and with it pauperism, crime, and the dissolution of all social ties, an extorting, pimping, servile, smooth, flattering, fleecing, dried-up rogue without honour, principles, Poetry, substance, or anything else. (Amongst others see the Physiocrat Bergasse, whom Camille Desmoulins flays in his journal, Revolutions de France et de Brabant; see von Vincke, Lancizolle, Haller, LeQ Kosegarten and also Sismondi.) [Note by Marx: See also the pompous Old Hegelian theologian Funke, who, according to Herr Leo, told with tears in his eyes how a slave had refused, when serfdom was abolished, to cease being a noble possession. See also Justus Moser's Patriotische Phantasien, these being distinguished by the fact that they never for one moment leave the staunch, petty-bourgeois, "Home-baked", ordinary, narrow-minded horizon of the philistine, and, yet still, remain pure fantasy. It is this contradiction which has made them so plausible to the German mind.] Movable property, for its part, points to the miracles of industry and progress. It is the child of modern times, whose legitimate, only-begotten son it is. It pities its adversary whom it sees as a simpleton unenlightened as to his own nature (and with this no one could disagree), who wants to replace moral capital and free labour by brute, immoral violence and serfdom. It depicts him as a Don Quixote, who under the guise of bluntness, respectability, the general interest, and stability, conceals incapacity for progress, self-indulgence, greed, sectional interest, and evil intent. It declares him an artful monopolist; it pours cold water on all his reminiscences, his poetry, and his romanticism by a historical and sarcastic enumeration of the baseness, cruelty, degradation, prostitution, infamy, anarchy and revolt, forged in the workshops of his romantic castles.

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The Hypertext Manuscripts of Karl Marx, Paris 1844
Copyright Gary Tedman 2001
last modified: 10/8/01 10:49:02 PM