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Mainstream, VOL LIX No 41, New Delhi, Sept 25, 2021

Dialectic of Negativity in Marx’s Critique . . . Capital’s ‘chapter six’ Revisited | Paresh Chattopadhyay

Saturday 25 September 2021


by Paresh Chattopadhyay*

Marx’s Critique is informed by two great ideas from two great minds, Spinoza and Hegel. In the first manuscript of CAPITAL vol. two Marx cites SPINOZA: “All determination is negation” to which Marx adds “all negation is affirmation”. (Marx advises the vulgar economists to reflect on Spinozasdictum; “Omnideterminatzioistnegatzio” (in the manuscript of the second volume of Capital). As regards Hegel, in his 1844 manuscripts Marx notes that the greatness of Hegel’s Phenomenology is the “dialectic of negativity as the moving and creating principle”. Engels in his turn in his well-known work on Ludwigfeuerbach cites Hegel, “one thinks something great when one says the human is by nature good. But one forgets to add that it is even greater to say that the human is by nature bad”, (see Marx Engels Studien Ausgabe Vol.1 Philosophie Fischer Tascsenbuch Verlag Frankfurt am Mein 1978. p 203).

First, a word on clarification of the term ‘six’. At a point in his work on CAPITAL, vol. one, before submitting his manuscript to the publishers, Marx decided to withhold a part of the material of the chapter 4 (production of relative surplus-value) in a second chapter, become the fifth. In this way the chapter on the accumulation of capital (initially fifth) became in the first edition, the sixth, which served as the recapitulation of the central ideas of the first volume of CAPITAL and served as the transition from the first volume to the second volume of CAPITAL

(See In this regard Irina Antonowa’s work ‘Der Platz des Sexten KAPITALS in der Struktur des Kapitals’. in Beitragezur Marx-Engels Forschung II 1982)

Thus we arrive at the masterpiece of the ‘sixth chapter’ which was written at the same time as the transition to the second volume of the book. Here we follow Marx’s text: “Results of the immediate process of production”.

In this chapter we have to consider three points; first, commodity as the product of capital. secondly, capitalist production as the production of surplus-value. third, the capitalist production as the production and reproduction of the whole relation; it is this which according to Marx, confers to this process of production its specifically capitalist character.

Following Marx Let us take up the first point; capital as commodity or as money. Marx observes

“In the same way as the economists have made the mistake of identifying capital with
commodity and money they have similarly made the mistake of identifying capital with its mode of existence as use value or means of labour But this money has to create more exchange”

IN THE BEGINNING CAPITAL PRESENTS ITSELF AS MONEY DESTINED TO BE TRANSFORMED INTO CAPITAL. In the first form capital exists only as a sum of exchange value, in its monetary value. The exchange value has to create more exchange value. It has to create an increment or surplus value. That which, in relation to the existing sum of value, appears as the destination. Its tendency, in relation to the capitalist, the possessor of this sum of money. First of all as regards the use-value, its more precise determination is of the least importance.

We simply consider that the article which has to be a commodity, the carrier of exchange value has to satisfy a social need following Marx.

The process of capitalist production according to Marx, is neither a simple product (use value) nor a simple commodity that is a simple exchange value. Its specific product is surplus value. In capitalist production the labour process appears only as a means and the process only as the process of valorisation. The capitalist must convert her (his) money in labour-power as well as the material factors of the labour process. Let us consider the totality of capital, that is the totality of buyers of labour-power and totality of the sellers of labour-power that is the totality of the labourers.

The commodities which the capitalist has purchased in order to consume as means of production in the process of production are her/his property. In fact it is her/his money transformed into commodities and a form of the latter’s capital. If we now consider capital within the immediate process of production, first as regards use-value, it has to satisfy some social need as Marx observes.

Concretely considered as a process which by useful labour creates with the use-values new use values, the process of production of capital is, before everything, a process of real labour process following Marx. As such its moments are elements of LABOUR PROCESS in general. In the same way as it is concluded that capital is a thing and as such it has a well-determined role in the process of production, with the same logic one concludes that money being made of gold it is in itself the money and that waged labour simply labour. Thus one determines the identity by neglecting their specific differences as Marx observes.

The commodities which the capitalist has purchased in order to consume them as means of production are her (his) property. In fact they are only her (his) money transformed into commodities. These means of production are simply capital. Moreover with the other part of the advanced capital they are her (his) capital, belonging to the capitalist. However, there is a specific difference here. In fact these are only money transformed into commodities and a form of her or his capital. Considered as a personal function in its reality labour is the function of the worker and not of the capitalist. Following Marx considered from the point of labour it is there that an opposition arises where one finds the objective conditions of labour as capital. It is one of the bases of the fetishism of the political economy according to Marx.

Coming out of the circulation the means of production enter into the process of production entering like commodities, like cotton, coal etc. They enter here as use-values, Marx calls them variable capital. The latter really transforms partially by exchanging itself with labour-power. One of the parts of capital and later the whole capital is transformed into a variable magnitude precisely by all the circumstances. Of course, in reality the consumption in variable measures can in variable measures take place. Generally the worker consumes her(his)means of subsistence during the interruption of work whereas the machine consumes its part during the period it functions as Marx observes.

Let us now turn to the process of valorisation. As regards the exchange value of capital entering the process it is less than what it was when advanced originally. Instead of the value of the variable part of capital we now have the valorisation as process, the labour being valorised, being realised, progressing to create new values following Marx.

As regards the conservation of old value, the value of the constant part, it is subject to the following condition: the value of the means of production must not exceed the socially necessary labour time as Marx calls it (SNLT)

Beginning with that moment, the means of production employed by the worker are of course the property of the capitalist and It is opposed to the worker. This is the process of what Marx calls auto-valorisation of capital, more exactly the self impoverishism of the worker. It is the creation of value which is alien to the worker. It is not the worker who employs the means of production, it is the means of production that employs the worker (Marx takes it over from Ricardo let us note).

The domination of the capitalist on the worker is the domination of the object on the human, of the dead labour on the living labour. (Die Herrschaft des Capitalistenuber die Herrschaft der Sacheueber den Menschen. Esist die ganzdasselbe Verhaltnis in der materiellen Produktionsprocess welches sich auf demideologischen Gebiet in der Religion darstellt, die Verkehrungals der notwendige Durchgangspunkt um die Schoepfung des Reichtumsalssolchen das heist rueksichlosen Produktivewurzelt und in ihm seine absolute Befriedungfindet; werend der Arbeiter von vorn herein hoherals der Capitalist. (see MEGA 2,4,1. Page 65.

Historically considered this inversion appears as a transition necessary to obtain, by violence, and at the cost of the majority, create the basis of a free human society. This
Is the process of alienation of the human (her or himself). From the start here the worker is superior to the capitalist. (SEE MEGA 2.4.1 pages 65 and following,)

ELSEWHHERE Marx in his own ENGLISH referring to Goethe writes; It is by the greatest waste of individual development that the development of general men is secured in those epochs of history preceding the socialist constitution of humankind. A great example of negativity, we say.

Marx vividly cites Goethe on the virtue of NEGATIVITY: Soltediese Qualunsquaelen, da sie unsere Lust vermehrt, hat nicht myriaden Seelen Timurs Herrschaftaufgezert (Should this shrill complaint torment us since it increased our joy? Did not Timurs harsh dominion myriads of souls destroy? Elsewhere this same expression Marx gave in his own English (See MEGA Il .3.1in his note) (also in his discussion on the British rule in India).

As regards the proletariat, it is constrained as proletariat to abolish itself as well as its antithesis that which conditions it. In what follows we draw on two texts jointly done by Marx and Engels The Holy Family (1845) and German Ideology (1845-1846) indicating dialectic of negativity.

In The Holy Family (jointly by Marx and Engels) The proletariat and wealth are antithetical, they constitute a totality. (Die besitzende Klasse und die Klasse des Proletariats stellen menschliche Selbstent fremdungdar. Aber die erste Klassefuehlt) The one and the other are the creations of the world of private property. Inversely the proletariat is constrained as proletariat to abolish itself and conjointly. inversely the proletariat as proletariat is constrained to abolish itself as well as its antithesis which is private property itself.

The possessing class and the class of the proletariat represent the same human alienation, but the first is satisfied in itself with this alienation and takes it as its own power, to use a Hegelian expression it is within this abjection there is a revolt against this abjection. Within the antethesis private property thus represents the conservative part, the proletariat the part of destruction

Within this antethesis, private property represents thus the conservative part while the proletariat private property advances to its own dissolution it does this uniquely through its own behaviour, contrary to its own will simply by producing the proletariat as proletariat, the dehumanisation which tends to abolish itself. The proletariat executes the sentence which the private property pronounces against itself by creating the proletariat just as it executes the sentence which the wage labour produces against itself. If the proletariat is victorious it will by no means be the absolute side of society since it will triumph only by abolishing itself and by abolishing its opposite. By that time the proletariat will disappear together with its condition, the private property.

The propertied class and the class of the proletariat present the same human self alienation, but the former class feels at ease and strengthened in this self alienation. It recognises this alienation as its own power and has in it the resemblance of a human existence It sees in it.

Within this antithesis the private property owner is thus the conservative side, the proletariat the destructive side. From the former arises the action of preserving the action of preserving the antithesis, from the latter the action of annihilating it as Marx and Engels observe.

Indeed private property drives itself in its economic movement towards its own dissolution through a development which does not depend on it, which takes place against the will of the private property, in as much as it produces the proletariat as proletariat which is conscious of its spiritual and physical poverty, a dehumanisation which is conscious of its dehumanisation and therefore is self abolishing. The proletariat executes the sentence that private property pronounces on itself by producing the proletariat. When the proletariat is victorious, it by no means becomes the absolute side of society for it is victorious only by abolishing itself and its opposite. The proletariat disappears as well as the opposite which determines it, the private property, as Marx and Engels observe. Following these two authors

If the socialist authors assign to the proletariat this historical role it is not at all because they consider the proletariat as God It is rather the contrary. It is because in the developed proletariat the abstraction of the whole humanity, even the appearance of humanity is achieved in practice. That is because their conditions of existence resume all the conditions of the existing society, that is because in the proletariat the human is lost, the proletariat is bound to revolt against this inhumanity. Paroxysm against this inhumanity (Abstraktion von allem Menschlichkeit, selbst von dem Schein der Menschlichkeit. der Mensch in ihmsichselbstverloren. —Die Heilige Familie, Berlin 2010) P.40. We note this as an important example of the principle of the dialectic of negativity. The dialectic of negativity is present in Marx’s work in many places spread over.

The dialectic of negativity present in Marx beginning with his early works. In the Communist Manifesto for example we read: the bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionising the instruments of production just as it declared that the history of hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles. Similarly in his 1847 attack on Proudhon “It is always the bad side that in the end triumphs over the good side”, Also later, In his ‘Afterword’ to CAPITAL volume one’s second edition we read: In its rational form the dialectic includes in its positive understanding of the existing things at the same time their negation and their necessary downfall.

In GRUNDRISSE one reads: As the bourgeois economy develops little by little so also develops its negation which is its ultimate result. If we consider the bourgeois society as a whole there always appears as the final result of the process of production society itself. All that has fixed form as product etc. appears only as a moment in this movement, The immediate process of movement itself appears only as a moment. The conditions and objectifications (Vergegenständlichung) of the process are uniformly (gleichmäßig) the moments of this process, and as the subjects of this process, the individuals, but the individuals in relation to one another which they both reproduce and newly produce. Their own perpetual process of movement they renew themselves as much they renew the world of wealth which they create. A FEW YEARS later commenting on Richard Jones Marx observed; Capitalist mode of production is only a transitional phase in the development of social production, which in contrast with all earlier forms of production makes immense progress when one considers the development of the productive forces of social labour, which is by no means the end result, but rather in its antagonistic form between the owners of accumulated wealth and actual labourers includes the necessity of its down Fall.

Now we take up another work jointly done by Marx and Engels The German Ideology where they expound their materialism and their ideas on revolution and communism. All within the framework of negativity.

The authors assert that their presuppositions at the start are not arbitrary. The first presupposition for the entire human history is the living existence of the humans. One can distinguish the animals from the humans, by the way they produce their existence. Let us look at the facts. Definite individuals establish some productive activities. The production of ideas, of the representations, of the conscience is first of all mixed up with the material conduct. It is the emanation of the material conduct. The conscience can never be anything other than a real process. If in all ideology the humans and their condition appear in a sense opposite to what they are as in a camera obscura this phenomenon follows from their process of life itself.

The first condition of all human history, the book says, is that to make history the human has to live. To live, the human has to eat and drink, to have some shelter, to clothe among many other things what the Germans have never done well. That is why they had never had a historical base contrary to the English and the French,

The second pre-existing condition is that once satisfied the first condition; this fact itself negates any further attempt. The third relation which intervenes here is that here intervenes the relation between male and female giving rise to form a new generation). This is the rise of families, It is only now, after having examined the four aspects of the original relations that we know a human equaly posses a CONSCIENCE.

Following the two authors, The Life is as old as the conscience. It continues to develop thanks to the growth of productivity, At the same time develops also the labour both manual and intellectual. For the rest what the conscience undertakes has little importance, Depending on the division of labour and its products- unequal between the man and the woman the latter as the slave in the family. It is precisely because of the opposition between the particular and the common interest that the STATE represents an illusory community. It follows that all the struggles within the State, the struggle between democracy and monarchy. It follows that every class aspiring after domination, even when it is the proletarian has to present its own interest as the common interest (Let us note this is the first time that Marx and Engels mention the proletariat’s own power, as the great Marx scholar Maximilien Rubel points out). Finally, as long as subsists the difference between the general and the particular interests and that the particular task Is not allotted voluntarily, the task seems alien. In the communist society, the thing is opposite, No person is a prisoner of a particular circle of fixed activity. It is the society which regulates the general production and allows the choice of work to the individual. This ALIENATION can naturally under two conditions be abolished as we read in the book, there must be a mass of people who do not possess any thing. Secondly there must exist an enormous amount of wealth and culture not simply locally but in their world existence otherwise all the poverty and misery will return again. (Diese Entfremdungkannunterzweipraktischen Voraussetzungenaufgehoben werden. Damitsieeineunertraglisch Machtgegen die revolutioniert. Dazugehort das sie die Masse der Menscheitalsdurchaus Eigentumloserzeugt hat und zugleischim Widerspruchzueinervorhandnen Welt des Reichtums und der Bildung was bides einegrose Steigeung der Proktivkraft.einenhohen Grad ihrer Entwiklungvoraussetzt und andrerseitsistdiese Entwiklungder Produktivkraefteauchdie ganzealte Scheissesichherstellenmuste —Die DEUTSCHE IDEOLOGIE Dietz Verlag Berlin 1969. Pages 34-35.)

Here is an important paragraph from the book about what is communism:

For us communism is not a state of things, which should be established, an ideal to which the reality should conform We call communism the real movement which abolishes the actual state of things. The conditions of this movement result from the data which already exist. For the rest the mass of pure labourers supposes a world market. Consequently the proletariat can exist only as a world-historical reality.

History is nothing but the succession of generations which succeed one another of whom each one exploits the materials, capitals and the forces of production of the others. Thanks to the artifices people are made to believe that the history to come is the aim of the past history.

At every age the ides of the dominant class are the dominant ideas, In other words the class which is the dominant material power is also the dominant spiritual power (Die GEDANKEN der herrschenden Klasse Sind in jeder Epoche die herrschenden materielle Macht —DIE deutsche IDEOLOGIE DIETZ VERLAG BERLIN 1969, Page 46).

That which distinguishes communism from all the other movements (CONSIDERED TILL NOW)

Is that it revolutionises the foundations of all commerce and production and for the first time it treats in a conscious way all the given natural data as the creation of the past generations. It is for this reason that its institution is essentially economic. It is the material establishment of the conditions of this association. from the existing conditions it prepares the conditions of the association. Consequently the communists treat practically the conditions resulting from the ancient mode of production and commerce as the inorganic conditions.

As this development goes on spontaneously, not dependent on a plan, it advances step by step, it follows that within a single nation, a false community facing the individuals, State, law can be destroyed only by a revolution.

In the largescale industry and competition all the conditions of existence, all the limitations all the particularism appear as the product of hazard. These conditions are reduced to two: accumulated labour and real labour. The economists themselves speak of two associations, namely the association of individuals and the association of capitals., Besides, the individuals themselves are totally subordinated to the division of labour. Consequently, we are confronted with two facts; First the productive forces seem to be totally independent and detached from the individuals like a world in itself by the side of the individuals. Secondly in the face of these productive forces stands the majority of individuals from whom these forces have been snatched and who, frustrated in this way, have become simply abstract beings have been related simply as individuals. (Eszeigensichhierzwei Fakta, Ersten Erscheinen die Produtivkraftealsganz Unabhängig und logerrisen von Individuen al seine Welt neben den Individuen MEW 3, page 67).

The only link which they maintain with the productive forces and their own existence. Labour itself has lost all appearance of the work itself (der einzige Zusammenhang, in demsienochmit den produktivkraeften und mitihrer Existenzstehen, die Arbeit, hat beiihnenallen Schein der Selbsbetaetigungverloren und erhaeltihr Leben nur, indemsieesverkummert. MEW 3, Page 69).


At a certain stage of the evolution of the productive forces there appear that the forces of production and those of commerce only create misfortune. Far from being the forces of production they turn into forces of destruction. As another misfortune; One class of the society constituting the majority from which arises the conscience of the necessity of a revolution, a communist revolution such as which could arise among other classes, in similar circumstances.

Till now all the revolutions have left intact the mode of activities. Contrariwise, the communist revolution opposes the traditional mode of activity frees itself from the traditional mode gets free from LABOUR (itself), abolishes the classes themselves in as much as this revolution is the work of the class which does not have any class rank. From that point on begins the dissolution of all the classes, of all the nationalities within the present society itself.

For creating massively this communist consciousness as well as to in the victory there must have to be a REVOLUTION. Hence a revolution is necessary since it is only in a revolution That the lowest class will succeed in getting rid of the old garbage and will succeed in giving the society a new foundation.

SOME INSTANCES OF MARX’S APPLICATION OF DIALECTIC OF NEGATIVITY AT some Random examples: Themselves the earlier forms of unfree social production, wage labour and capital in their turn are negated by the material and spiritual conditions, the result of their own process of production. The violent destruction of capital not by external relations but by the condition of its self preservation the advice is given to be gone and to give room to a higher state of social production (Grundrisse pages 635, 636)

In the concluding chapter of CAPITAL VOL. ONE; The socialisation of labour and the centralisation of its material resorts arrive at a point where they can no longer hold on in their capitalist envelop. This envelop bursts. This is the first negation. But the capitalist production engenders its own negation with the fatality of a law of nature. It is the negation of negation.

The negativity of the social process through union separation reunion is stressed by Marx in his 1861-63 manuscript on the History of the Theory: The original union between labour and the conditions of labour leaving aside slavery where the labourer himself belongs to the objective conditions has two principal forms.: the Asiatic community and the small family agriculture. Both are embryonic forms and little suited to develop as social labour and productive power of social labour; hence the necessity of separation and of tearing apart, opposition between labour and property. The extreme form of this rupture in which the productive forces of social labour are most powerfully developed is capital. Only on the material basis that it creates and by means of revolutions can the original unity be re-established,

In the first volume of CAPITAL in the chapter on large scale industry we read however terrible, disgusting the role of big industry in the dissolution of the traditional by the role it assigns to the women and children it creates nevertheless the new economic basis for a superior form of the family and the relation between sexes. history as in nature putrefaction is the laboratory of life,

In his Preface to the Contribution to the critique of Political Economy 1859 Marx wrote; At a certain degree of development the material productive forces of society come into conflict with the existing relations of production. Then begins an era of REVOLUTION. Never does a society expire before exhausting all its possibilities of development. That is why humankind does undertake only those tasks which it can fulfil.

Let us bring here a speech in English by Marx himself at the anniversary of the People’s Paper in 1856 April addressed directly to the workers recalling the 1848 revolution:

That social revolution was no novelty invented in 1848. Steam, Electricity and the self-acting mule were revolutionists of a rather more dangerous character than even citizens Barbes, Raspail and Blanqui. But although the atmosphere in which we live weighs upon everyone with a 20, 000 lb force, do you feel it? No more than European society before 1848 felt the revolutionary atmosphere enveloping and pressing it from every side. There is one great fact. Characteristic of this our 19th century, a fact no party dares deny,

On the one hand there have started into life industrial and scientific forces which no epoch of the former human history had ever suspected, On the one hand there exist symptoms of decay. Far surpassing the horrors far surpassing the records of the records of latter times of the Roman Empire. In our days everything SEEMS PREGNANT WITH ITS CONTRARY. (our emphasis). Machinery gifted with the wonderful power of shortening and fructifying human labour. we behold starving and overworking it, the newfangled sources of wealth, by some strange weird spell are turned into sources of want; the victories of art seem bought by the loss of character. At the same pace that mankind masters nature man seems to become enslaved to other men or to his own Even the pure light of science seems unable to shine but on the dark background of ignorance. All our invention and progress seem to result. In endowing material forces with intellectual life, and in stultifying human life into a material force.

This antagonism between modern industry and science on the one hand and modern misery dissolution on the other hand. This antagonism between the productive powers and social relations is a fact, palpable, overwhelming this fact cannot be controverted. Some parties may wail over it. Others may wish to get rid of modern arts in order to get rid of modern conflicts.

On our part we do not mistake the shrewd spirit that continues to mark all these contradictions. We know that to work well the new fangled forces of society they want to be mastered by new fangled men, and such are the working men. They are as much the invention of the modern time as machinery itself.

In the signs that bewilder the middle class, the aristocracy and the poor prophets of regression we recognise our brave friend Robin Goodfellow, the old mole that can work in the earth so fast, that worthy pioneer: the REVOLUTION. The English workingmen are the first born sons of modern industry. They will then certainly not be the last in aiding the social revolution produced by that industry, a revolution which means the emancipation of their own class all over the world which is as universal as capital rules and wage slavery. I know the heroic struggles of the English working class, struggles les glorious, because shrouded in obscurity and burked by the middle-class historian

To revenge the misdeeds of the ruling class, there existed in Germany a secret tribunal named Vehmgericht If a red cross was seen marked on a house people knew that its owner was doomed by the VEHM. All houses in Europe are marked by the mysterious red cross.

The negativity of the social process through union-separation-reunion we see again in Marx’s one of 1861-63 manuscripts on the History of the theory: The original union between labourer and the conditions of labour (leaving aside slavery where the labourer her or himself belongs to the conditions of labour) has two principal forms: the Asiatic and the small family agriculture. Both are embryonic (Kinderformen) and equally little suited developed as social labour or the productive power of social labour. Hence the necessity of separation and tearing apart (Zerrissung), opposition between labour and property, The extreme form of this rupture in which the productive forces of social labour are most powerfully developed is capital. Only on the material basis that it creates and by means of the revolutions which in the process of this creation the working class and the whole society undergo can the original unity be re-established.

Again, in the first volume of CAPITAL in the chapter on large scale industry we read that however terrible the however disgusting the role of the big industry in the dissolution of the traditional family be, by the role it assigns to women and creates nevertheless the new economic basis for a superior form of the family and the relation between the sexes and of different ages, this source of corruption and slavery under the capitalist regime carries in itself the germ of a more humane evolution. In history as in nature ‘putrefaction is the laboratory of life. MARX emphasises that the development of contradictions of a historical form of production is the only historical way of its dissolution and a new configuration.

Again, in the 1860s notebooks we read, “to the extent, in the capitalist production capital forces the worker beyond her (his) necessary labour, it creates, as the domination of the past labour over the present labour, surplus labour, thus the surplus-value…Surplus labour is in fact the labour for the society. Even though it is the capitalist who at first cashes it in the name of society. This surplus-labour is on the one hand the material basis for society’s development. The basis of the general culture. To the extent that it is capital’s constraint which forces the masses of society to work beyond their immediate needs , capital creates the culture, fulfils a socio-historic task.

Also, in his 1861-63 notebook referring to Ricardo’s insistence on production for the sake of production Marx defended Ricardo against the latter’s opponents who upheld that production for production was not the goal saying that Ricardo’s opponents forgot that production for the sake of production signified nothing but the development of the productive powers of the humans, therefore the development of the wealth of the humans, If one opposes this to the good of the individual this would mean that the development of the species should be stopped (aufgehalten warden)in order to guarantee the welfare of the individual. Such a view reveals a failure to understand that this development of the capacities of the human species, though at first taking place at the cost of the majority of the human individuals and even classes finally surmounts (durchbricht) this antagonism and finally coincides with the particular individuals and therefore the higher development of individuality only at the price of a historical process in which individuals are sacrificed.

In his work on ARBEITSLOHN (MEW VOL.3) MARX had clearly underlined what he called the ‘positive side of labour’, that is, without big industry, free competition, world market and the corresponding means of production there would be no material resources for the emancipation of the proletariat and the creation of the new society, and he added that without these conditions the proletariat would not have taken the road of the union or known the development which makes it capable of revolutionizing the old society as well as itself. Later in the Grundrisse Marx added that capital by its unceasing pretension to be a universal form of wealth pushes the labour beyond the limits of the latters needs and thereby creates the material elements of the development of a rich individuality. In the same way to the extent that it is capital’s disciplining constraint which forces the great mass of society to create surplus labour beyond its own immediate needs, capital creates culture and fulfils a social-historical function. This development of the productive forces, for which stands Ricardo as opposed to Sismondi Marx praises highly. Similarly in a letter to his friend Kugelmann Marx underlines

The Big industry is not only the mother of antagonism, but it is also the creator of material and intellectual conditions for resolving this antagonism, And as Marx underlines in CAPITAL I: In history as in nature putrefaction is the laboratory of life.

History is the Judge its executioner the PROLETARIAT

*(Emeritus Professor Political Economy at the University of Quebec, Canada)

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