II

[II.1.]
world of industry confirms their self-ruptured principle. Their principle is, after all, the principle of this rupture.

The physiocratic doctrine of Dr. Quesnay forms the transition from the mercantile system to Adam Smith. Physiocracy represents directly the decomposition of feudal property in economic terms, but it therefore just as directly represents its economic metamorphosis and restoration, save that now its language is no longer feudal but economic. All wealth is resolved into land and cultivation (agriculture). Land is not yet capital: it is still a special mode of its existence, the validity of which is supposed to lie in, and to derive from, its natural peculiarity. Yet land is a general natural element, whilst the mercantile system admits the existence of wealth only in the form of precious metal. Thus the object of wealth--its matter--has straightway gained the greatest degree of universality within the confines of nature, insofar as even as nature, it is immediate objective wealth. And land only exists for man through labour, through agriculture.

Thus the subjective essence of wealth has already been transferred to labour. But at the same time agriculture is the only productive labour. Hence, labour is not yet grasped in its generality and abstraction: it is still bound to a particular natural element as its matter, and it is therefore only recognised in a particular mode of existence determined by nature. It is therefore still only a specific, particular alienation of man, just as its product is likewise conceived nearly [as] a specific form of wealth--due more to nature than to labour itself. The land is here still recognised as a phenomenon of nature independent of man--not yet as capital, i.e., as an aspect of labour itself. Labour appears, rather, as an aspect of the land. But since the fetishism of the old external wealth, of wealth existing only as an object, has been reduced to a very simple natural element, and since its essence - even if only partially and in a particular form - has been recognised within its subjective existence, the necessary step forward has been made in revealing the general nature of wealth and hence in the raising up of labour in its total absoluteness (i.e., its abstraction) as the principle.
[III.1.]

[II.2.]
It is argued against physiocracy that agriculture, from the economic point of view--that is to say, from the only valid point of view--does not differ from any other industry; and that the essence of wealth, therefore, is not a specific form of labour bound to a particular element--a particular expression of labour--but labour in general.

Physiocracy denies particular, external, merely objective wealth by declaring labour to be the essence of wealth. But for physiocracy labour is at first only the subjective essence of landed property. (It takes its departure from the type of property which historically appears as the dominant and acknowledged type.) It turns only landed property into alienated man. It annuls its feudal character by declaring industry (agriculture) as its essence. But it disavows the world of industry and acknowledges the feudal system by declaring agriculture to be the only industry.

It is clear that if the subjective essence of industry is now grasped (of industry in opposition to landed property, i.e., of industry constituting itself as industry), this essence includes within itself its opposite. For just as industry incorporates annulled landed property, the subjective essence of industry at the same time incorporates the subjective essence of landed property.

Just as landed property is the first form of private property, with industry at first confronting it historically merely as a special kind of property - or, rather, as landed property's liberated slave--so this process repeats itself in the scientific analysis of the subjective essence of private property, labour. Labour appears at first only as agricultural labour; but then asserts itself as labour in general.
[III.2.]


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