Economic Works of Karl Marx 1857-61

Grundrisse der
Kritik der Politischen Ökonomie

marx in 1861 Outlines of the Critique of Political Economy

Written: 1857-61;
Published: in German 1939-41;
Source: Penguin 1973;
Translated by: Martin Nicolaus;
Scanned by: Tim Delaney, 1997;
HTML Mark-up: Andy Blunden, 2002.

Marx wrote this huge manuscript as part of his preparation for what would become A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy (published in 1859) and Capital (published 1867).

Soviet Marxologists released several never-before-seen Marx/Engels works in the 1930s. Most were early works – like the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts – but the Grundrisse stood alone as issuing forth from the most intense period of Marx’s decade-long, in-depth study of economics. It is an extremely rich and thought-provoking work, showing signs of humanism and the influence of Hegelian dialectic method. Do note, though, Marx did not intend it for publication as is, so it can be stylistically very rough in places.

The series of seven notebooks were rough-drafted by Marx, chiefly for purposes of self-clarification, during the winter of 1857-8. The manuscript became lost in circumstances still unknown and was first effectively published, in the German original, in 1953. A limited edition was published by Foreign Language Publishers in Moscow in two volumes, 1939 and 1941 respectively, under the editorship of the Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute, Moscow. The first volume contained the introduction and the seven notebooks translated here. The second added fragments from Marx’s 1851 notebooks of excerpts from Ricardo, the fragment ‘Bastiat and Carey’ (also included in this translation), and miscellaneous related material; also extensive annotations and sources. A photo-offset reprint of the two volumes bound in one, minus illustrations and facsimiles, was issued by Dietz Verlag, Berlin (E.), in 1953, and is the basis of the present translation. It is referred to hereafter as Grundrisse. Rosdolsky states that only three or four copies of the 1939-41 edition ever reached ‘the western world’.

The online edition has been transcribed for MEIA from the Penguin edition, transl. Martin Nicolaus, 1973, used by permission of the translator. Transcribed and marked-up by Tim Delaney.

Analytical Contents List


(1) Production in general  81
(2) General relation between production, distribution, exchange and consumption  88
(3) The method of political economy100
(4) Means (forces) of production and relations of production, relations of production and relations of circulation109

THE CHAPTER ON MONEY (Notebooks I and II, pp. 1-7)

Darimon's theory of crises115
Gold export and crises125
Convertibility and note circulation130
Value and price136
Transformation of the commodity into exchange value; money140
Contradictions in the money relation147
(1) Contradiction between commodity as product and commodity as exchange value147
(2) Contradiction between purchase and sale148
(3) Contradiction between exchange for the sake of exchange and exchange for the sake of commodities148
(4) Contradiction between money as particular commodity and money as general commodity150
(The Economist and the Morning Star on money)151
Attempts to overcome the contradictions by the issue of time-chits153
Exchange value as mediation of private interests156
Exchange value (money) as social bond156
Social relations which create an undeveloped system of exchange163
Product becomes a commodity; the commodity becomes exchange value; the exchange value of the commodity becomes money165
Money as measure166
Money as objectification of general labour time168
(Incidental remark on gold and silver)169
Distinction between particular labour time and general labour time171
Distinction between planned distribution of labour time and measurement of exchange values by labour time172
(Strabo on money among the Albanians)173
The precious metals as subjects of the money relation173
(a) Gold and silver in relation to the other metals174
(b) Fluctuations in the value-relations between the different metals180
(c) and (d) (headings only): Sources of gold and silver; money as coin185
Circulation of money and opposite circulation of commodities186
General concept of circulation187
(a) Circulation circulates exchange values in the form of prices187
(Distinction between real money and accounting money)190
(b) Money as the medium of exchange193
(What determines the quantity of money required for circulation)194
(Comment on (a))195
Commodity circulation requires appropriation through alienation196
Circulation as an endlessly repeated process197
The price as external to and independent of the commodity198
Creation of general medium of exchange199
Exchange as a special business200
Double motion of circulation: C-M; M-C, and M-C; C-M201
Three contradictory functions of money201
(1) Money as general material of contracts, as measuring unit of exchange values203
(2) Money as medium of exchange and realizer of prices208
(Money, as representative of price, allows commodities to be exchanged at equivalent prices)211
(An example of confusion between the contradictory functions of money)
(Money as particular commodity and money as general commodity)213
(3) Money as money: as material representative of wealth (accumulation of money)215
(Dissolution of ancient communities through money)223
(Money, unlike coin, has a universal character)226
(Money in its third function is the negation (negative unity) of its character as medium of circulation and measure)228
(Money in its metallic being; accumulation of gold and silver)229
(Headings on money, to be elaborated later)237


The Chapter on Money as Capital239
Difficulty in grasping money in its fully developed character as money239
Simple exchange: relations between the exchangers240
(Critique of socialists and harmonizers: Bastiat, Proudhon)247


Nothing is expressed when capital is characterized merely as a sum of values251
Landed property and capital252
Capital comes from circulation; its content is exchange value; merchant capital, money capital, and money interest253
Circulation presupposes another process; motion between presupposed extremes254
Transition from circulation to capitalist production256
Capital is accumulated labour (etc.)257
'Capital is a sum of values used for the production of values'258
Circulation, and exchange value deriving from circulation, the presupposition of capital259
Exchange value emerging from circulation, a presupposition of circulation, preserving and multiplying itself in it by means of labour262
Product and capital. Value and capital. Proudhon264
Capital and labour. Exchange value and use value for exchange value266
Money and its use value (labour) in this relation capital
Self-multiplication of value is its only movement269
Capital, as regards substance, objectified labour. Its antithesis living, productive labour271
Productive labour and labour as performance of a service272
Productive and unproductive labour. A. Smith etc.273
The two different processes in the exchange of capital with labour274
Capital and modern landed property275
The market279
Exchange between capital and labour. Piecework wages281
Value of labour power282
Share of the wage labourer in general wealth determined only quantitatively283
Money is the worker's equivalent; he thus confronts capital as an equal284
But the aim of his exchange is satisfaction of his need. Money for him is only medium of circulation284
Savings, self-denial as means of the worker's enrichment284
Valuelessness and devaluation of the worker a condition of capital289
(Labour power as capital!)293
Wages not productive294
The exchange between capital and labour belongs within simple circulation, does not enrich the worker295
Separation of labour and property the precondition of this exchange295
Labour as object absolute poverty, labour as subject general possibility of wealth296
Labour without particular specificity confronts capital296
Labour process absorbed into capital297
(Capital and capitalist)303
Production process as content of capital304
The worker relates to his labour as exchange value, the capitalist as use value306
The worker divests himself of labour as the wealth-producing power; capital appropriates it as such307
Transformation of labour into capital308
Realization process310
(Costs of production)315
Mere self-preservation, non-multiplication of value contradicts the essence of capital316
Capital enters the cost of production as capital. Interest-bearing capital318
(Parentheses on: original accumulation of capital, historic presuppositions of capital, production in general)319
Surplus value. Surplus labour time321
Value of labour. How it is determined322
Conditions for the self-realization of capital324
Capital is productive as creator of surplus labour325
But this is only a historical and transitory phenomenon325
Theories of surplus value (Ricardo; the Physiocrats; Adam Smith; Ricardo again)326
Surplus value and productive force. Relation when these increase333
Result: in proportion as necessary labour is already diminished, the realization of capital becomes more difficult340
Concerning increases in the value of capital341
Labour does not reproduce the value of material and instrument, but rather preserves it by relating to them in the labour process as to their objective conditions354
Absolute surplus labour time. Relative359
It is not the quantity of living labour, but rather its quality as labour which preserves the labour time already contained in the material359
The change of form and substance in the direct production process360
It is inherent in the simple production process that the previous stage of production is preserved through the subsequent one361
Preservation of the old use value by new labour362
The quantity of objectified labour is preserved because contact with living labour preserves its quality as use value for new labour363
In the real production process, the separation of labour from its objective moments of existence is suspended. But in this process labour is already incorporated in capital364
The capitalist obtains surplus labour free of charge together with the maintenance of the value of material and instrument365
Through the appropriation of present labour, capital already possesses a claim to the appropriation of future labour367
Confusion of profit and surplus value. Carey's erroneous calculation373
The capitalist, who does not pay the worker for the preservation of the old value, then demands remuneration for giving the worker permission to preserve the old capital374
Surplus Value and profit376
Difference between consumption of the instrument and of wages. The former consumed in the production process, the latter outside it378
Increase of surplus value and decrease in rate of profit381
Multiplication of simultaneous working days386
Growth of the constant part of capital in relation to the variable part spent on wages = growth of the productivity of labour389
Proportion in which capital has to increase in order to employ the same number of workers if productivity rises390
Percentage of total capital can express very different relations395
Capital (like property in general) rests on the productivity of labour397
Increase of surplus labour time. Increase of simultaneous working days. (Population)398
(Population can increase in proportion as necessary labour time becomes smaller)400
Transition from the process of the production of capital into the process of circulation401


Devaluation of capital itself owing to increase of productive forces402
Capital as unity and contradiction of the production process and the realization process414
Capital as limit to production. Overproduction415
Demand by the workers themselves419
Barriers to capitalist production422
Overproduction; Proudhon423
Price of the commodity and labour time424
The capitalist does not sell too dear; but still above what the thing costs him430
Price can fall below value without damage to capital432
Number and unit (measure) important in the multiplication of prices432
Specific accumulation of capital. (Transformation of surplus labour into capital)433
The determination of value and of prices433
The general rate of profit434
the capitalist merely sells at his own cost of production, then it is a transfer to another capitalist. The worker gains almost nothing thereby436
Barrier of capitalist production. Relation of surplus labour to necessary labour. Proportion of the surplus consumed by capital to that transformed into capital443
Devaluation during crises446
Capital coming out of the production process becomes money again447
(Parenthesis on capital in general)449
Surplus Labour or Surplus Value Becomes Surplus Capital450
All the determinants of capitalist production now appear as the result of (wage) labour itself450
The realization process of labour at the same time its de-realization process452
Formation of surplus capital I456
Surplus capital II456
Inversion of the law of appropriation458
Chief result of the production and realization process458
Original Accumulation of Capital459
Once developed historically, capital itself creates the conditions of its existence459
(Performance of personal services, as opposed to wage labour)465
(Parenthesis on inversion of the law of property, real alien relation of the worker to his product, division of labour, machinery)469
Forms which precede capitalist production. (Concerning the process which precedes the formation of the capital relation or of original accumulation)471
Exchange of labour for labour rests on the worker's propertylessness514
Circulation of capital and circulation of money516
Production process and circulation process moments of production. The productivity of the different capitals (branches of industry) determines that of the individual capital517
Circulation period. Velocity of circulation substitutes for volume of capital. Mutual dependence of capitals in the velocity of their circulation518
The four moments in the turnover of capital520
Moment II to be considered here: transformation of the product into money; duration of this operation521
Transport costs521
Circulation costs524
Means of communication and transport525
Division of the branches of labour527
Concentration of many workers; productive force of this concentration528
General as distinct from particular conditions of production533
Transport to market (spatial condition of circulation) belongs in the production process533
Credit, the temporal moment of circulation534
Capital is circulating capital536
Influence of circulation on the determination of value; circulation time = time of devaluation537
Difference between the capitalist mode of production and all earlier ones (universality, propagandistic nature)540
(Capital itself is the contradiction)543
Circulation and creation of value544
Capital not a source of value-creation547
Continuity of production presupposes suspension of circulation time548

Theories of Surplus Value

Ramsay's view that capital is its own source of profit549
No surplus value according to Ricardo's law551
Ricardo's theory of value. Wages and profit553
Wakefield. Conditions of capitalist production in colonies563
Surplus value and profit. Example (Malthus)564
Difference between labour and labour capacity576
Carey's theory of the cheapening of capital for the worker579
Carey's theory of the decline of the rate of profit580
Wakefield on the contradiction between Ricardo's theories of wage labour and of value581
Bailey on dormant capital and increase of production without previous increase of capital582
Wade's explanation of capital. Capital, collective force. Capital, civilization584
Rossi. What is capital? Is raw material capital? Are wages necessary for it?591
Malthus. Theory of value and of wages595
Aim of capitalist production value (money), not commodity, use value etc. Chalmers600
Difference in return. Interruption of the production process. Total duration of the production process. Unequal periods of production602
The concept of the free labourer contains the pauper. Population and overpopulation604
Necessary labour. Surplus labour. Surplus population. Surplus capital608
Adam Smith: work as sacrifice610
Adam Smith: the origin of profit614
Surplus labour. Profit. Wages616
Immovable capital. Return of capital. Fixed capital. John Stuart Mill616
Turnover of capital. Circulation process. Production process618
Circulation costs. Circulation time633
Capital's change of form and of substance; different forms of capital; circulating capital as general character of capital637
Fixed (tied down) capital and circulating capital640
Constant and variable capital649
Surplus value. Production time. Circulation time. Turnover time652
Competition (continued)657
Part of capital in production time, part in circulation time658
Surplus value and production phase. Number of reproductions of capital = number of turnovers663
Change of form and of matter in the circulation of capital C – M – C. M – C – M667
Difference between production time and labour time668
Formation of a mercantile estate; credit671
Small-scale circulation. The process of exchange between capital and labour capacity generally673
Threefold character, or mode, of circulation678
Fixed capital and circulating capital679
Influence of fixed capital on the total turnover time of capital684
Fixed capital. Means of labour. Machine690
Transposition of powers of labour into powers of capital both in fixed and in circulating capital
To what extent fixed capital (machine) creates value701
Fixed capital & continuity of the production process. Machinery & living labour702
Contradiction between the foundation of bourgeois production (value as measure) and its development704
Significance of the development of fixed capital (for the development of capital generally)707
The chief role of capital is to create disposable time; contradictory form of this in capital708
Durability of fixed capital710
Real saving (economy) = saving of labour time = development of productive force711
True conception of the process of social production712
Owen's historical conception of industrial (capitalist) production712
Capital and value of natural agencies714
Scope of fixed capital indicates the level of capitalist production715
Is money fixed capital or circulating capital?716
Turnover time of capital consisting of fixed capital and circulating capital. Reproduction time of fixed capital717
The same commodity sometimes circulating capital, sometimes fixed capital723
Every moment which is a presupposition of production is at the same time its result, in that it reproduces its own conditions726
The counter-value of circulating capital must be produced within the year. Not so for fixed capital. It engages the production of subsequent years727
Maintenance costs of fixed capital732
Revenue of fixed capital and circulating capital732
Free labour = latent pauperism. Eden735
The smaller the value of fixed capital in relation to its product, the more useful737
Movable and immovable, fixed and circulating739
Connection of circulation and reproduction741

Transformation Of Surplus Value into Profit

Rate of profit. Fall of the rate of profit745
Surplus value as profit always expresses a lesser proportion753
Wakefield, Carey and Bastiat on the rate of profit754
Capital and revenue (profit). Production and distribution. Sismondi758
Transformation of surplus value into profit762
Laws of this transformation762
Surplus value = relation of surplus labour to necessary labour764
Value of fixed capital and its productive power765
Machinery and surplus labour. Recapitulation of the doctrine of surplus value generally767
Relation between the objective conditions of production. Change in the proportion of the component parts of capital771


Money and fixed capital: presupposes a certain amount of wealth. Relation of fixed capital and circulating capital. (Economist) 778
Slavery and wage labour; profit upon alienation (Steuart)778
Steuart, Montanari and Gouge on money781
The wool industry in England since Elizabeth; silk- manufacture; iron; cotton783
Origin of free wage labour. Vagabondage. (Tuckett)785
Blake on accumulation and rate of profit; dormant capital786
Domestic agriculture at the beginning of the sixteenth century. (Tuckett)788
Profit. Interest. Influence of machinery on the wage fund. (Westminster Review )789
Money as measure of values and yardstick of prices. Critique of theories of the standard measure of money789
Transformation of the medium of circulation into money. Formation of treasures. Means of payment. Prices of commodities and quantity of circulating money. Value of money805
Capital, not labour, determines the value of money. (Torrens)816
The minimum of wages817
Cotton machinery and working men in 1826. (Hodgskin)818
How the machine creates raw material. (Economist) 818
Machinery and surplus labour819
Capital and profit. Relation of the worker to the conditions of labour in capitalist production. All parts of capital bring a profit821
Tendency of the machine to prolong labour825
Cotton factories in England. Example for machinery and surplus labour826
Examples from Glasgow for the rate of profit828
Alienation of the conditions of labour with the development of capital. Inversion831
Merivale. Natural dependence of the worker in colonies to be replaced by artificial restrictions833
How the machine saves material. Bread. D'eau de la Malle834
Development of money and interest836
Productive consumption. Newman. Transformations of capital. Economic cycle840
Dr Price. Innate power of capital842
Proudhon. Capital and simple exchange. Surplus843
Necessity of the worker's propertylessness845
Theory of savings. Storch848
MacCulloch. Surplus. Profit849
Arnd. Natural interest850
Interest and profit. Carey851
How merchant takes the place of master855
Merchant wealth856
Commerce with equivalents impossible. Opdyke861
Principal and interest862
Double standard862
On money864
James Mill's false theory of prices867
Ricardo on currency870
On money871
Theory of foreign trade. Two nations may exchange according to the law of profit in such a way that both gain, but one is always defrauded872
Money in its third role, as money872

(I) VALUE (This section to be brought forward)

Bastiat's economic harmonies883
Bastiat on wages889