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,
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.
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
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