Economic Works of Karl Marx 1861-1864

The Process of Production of Capital, Draft Chapter 6 of Capital
Results of the Direct Production Process

ad [459] 2) Capitalist Production as the Production of Surplus Value

In so far as capital only steps forth in its elementary forms, as commodity or money, the capitalist steps forth in the character, already known to us, of commodity owner or money owner. But the commodity owner and money owner are no more capitalists for this reason than commodity and money are in themselves capital. just as the latter may be converted into capital only under definite conditions, so the owners of commodities and money are only converted into capitalists under the same conditions.

Originally capital stepped forth as money, which needed to be converted into capital, or was only capital dunamei. [potentially]

Just as on the one hand the political economists commit the blunder of identifying these elementary forms of. capital — commodity and money — as such with capital, so on the other hand do they commit the blunder of asserting that capital’s mode of existence as a use value — the means of labour — is as such capital.

In its first provisional (so to speak) form as money (as the point of departure for the formation of capital), capital still exists as money alone, hence as a quantity of exchange values in the independent form of exchange value, its monetary expression. But this money has to be valorised. Exchange value has to serve for the creation of more exchange value. The magnitude of value has to grow, i.e. the existing value has not only to maintain itself but to posit an increment, D value, a surplus value, with the result that the given value — the given sum of money — represents a fluens and the increment a fluxion.[213] We shall return to this independent monetary expression of capital when we consider its circulation process. Here, where we are still only concerned with money as the point of departure of the direct production process, one remark will be sufficient: Capital still exists here only as a given quantity of value, = M (money), in which all use value has been extinguished, hence in the form of money. The magnitude of this quantity of value is limited by the level or quantity of the sum of money which is to be converted into capital. This quantity of value therefore becomes capital through increasing its magnitude, through its conversion into a variable magnitude, through its being, from the outset, a fluens, which has to produce a fluxion. In itself, i.e. according to its determination this sum of money is only capital because it is to be employed, expended, in a way which has as its purpose the magnification of this sum, because it is expended for the purpose of its own magnification. If this appears, with regard to the existing sum of value or money, as its determination its inner driving force, its tendency, so also, with regard to the capitalist i.e. the owner of this sum of money, in whose hands it is to perform this function, it appears as his intention, his purpose. In this originally simple money or value expression of capital (or what is to become capital), an expression in which abstraction is made from any relation to use value, in which this falls aside, all the disturbing interposition and potentially confusing indications of the real production process (commodity production, etc.) fall away, and the characteristic, specific nature of the capitalist production process appears in just as abstract and simple a form. If the original capital is a, quantity of value = x, the purpose is for this x — and this is what makes it into capital — to become converted into x + Dx, i.e. into a sum of money or a quantity of value = the original quantity of value + an excess amount over and above the original quantity of value, into the given magnitude of money + additional money, into the given value + surplus value. The production of surplus value — which implies the preservation of the value originally advanced — thus appears as the determining purpose, the driving concern, and the final result of the capitalist production process, as the means whereby the original value is converted into capital. How this is achieved, the real procedure followed in converting x into x + Dx, does not change in any way the purpose and result of the process. x can of course also be converted into x + Dx without the capitalist production process, but [firstly] not under the condition and the presupposition which has been given, namely that the competing members of the society should confront each other as persons who stand vis-à-vis each other as commodity owners alone and only enter into contact with each other as such (this excludes slavery, etc.); and, secondly, not under the other condition, namely that the social product is produced as a commodity. (This excludes all forms in which use value is the primary purpose for the direct producers, and in which at most the excess product, etc., is converted into a commodity.)

[460] This purpose of the process, the conversion of x into x + Dx, further shows the course the investigation has to take. The expression must be the function of a variable magnitude, or be converted into such during the process. As a given sum of money, x is at the outset a constant magnitude, the increment of which is therefore = 0. It must therefore be converted in the process into another magnitude, which contains a variable element. And what is needed is to discover this component, and at the same time to demonstrate the kind of mediations through which an originally constant magnitude becomes variable. Since a part of x is in turn reconverted into a constant magnitude (this emerges from further consideration of the real production process[104]) — namely into the means of labour, because a part of the value of x exists only in the form of particular use values, instead of in its monetary form, a change which does not alter in any way the constant nature of the value magnitude, and indeed does not alter this part in any way, in so far as it is exchange value — x is expressed in the process as c (constant magnitude)+v (variable magnitude) = c + v. But the difference, D (c + v) = c + (v + Dv), and, since the difference of c = 0, .it = (v + Dv).[214] What originally appears as Dx is therefore really Dv. And the ratio of this increment of the original magnitude x to the part of x of which it is really the increment must be (Dv = Dx (since Dx = Dv)), Dx/v = Dv/v, which is in fact the formula for the rate of surplus value.

Since the total capital C = c + v, of which c is constant and v variable, C can be regarded as a function of v. If v grows by Dv, C becomes = C’.

One therefore has:

1) C = c + v.

2) C' = c + (v + Dv).

If one subtracts equation 1) from equation 2), one obtains the difference C' - C, the increment of C = DC.

3) C' - C = c + v + Dv -c - v = Dv.

Hence 4) DC = Dv.

One therefore has 3); and therefore 4) DC = Dv. But C' - C = the magnitude by which C has changed, = the increment of C or DC ( = DC), hence 4). Or the increment of the total capital = the increment of the variable part of the capital, so that DC or the change in the constant part of the capital = 0. In this investigation of DC or Dv, therefore, the constant capital must be set = 0, i.e. it must be left out of consideration.

The proportion by which v has grown = Dv/v — (the rate of surplus value). The proportion by which C has grown = Dv / C = Dv/(c + v) (the rate of profit).

The actual, specific function of capital as capital is therefore the production of surplus value, which, it later appears, is nothing but the production of surplus labour, the appropriation of unpaid labour in the real production process, which expresses itself as, is objectified as, surplus value.

A further result is that it is necessary for the conversion of x into capital, into x + Dx, that the value or sum of money x should be converted into the factors of the production process, above all into the factors of the real labour process. It is possible in particular branches of industry for a part of the means of production — the object of labour — to have no value, not to be a commodity, despite being a use value. In this case a part of x is converted solely into means of production, and, in so far as the conversion of x comes into consideration, i.e. the purchase by x of commodities which enter into the labour process, the object of labour [does not figure at all, the operation] is restricted to the purchase of means of production. One factor of the labour process, the object of labour, is here = 0, in so far as its value comes into consideration. But we are considering the matter in its complete form, in which the object of labour too = a commodity. For the cases in which this is not so, this factor, as far as value is concerned, should be set = 0, in order to rectify the calculation.

The commodity is a direct unity of use value and exchange value; in the same way, the production process, which is a process of the production of commodities is a direct unity of the labour and valorisation processes. Commodities, i.e. use value and exchange value directly united, emerge from the process as result, as product; similarly, they enter into it as constituent elements. But nothing at all can ever emerge from a production process without first entering into it in the form of the conditions of production.

The conversion of the sum of money advanced, the sum of money which is to be valorised and converted into capital, into the factors of the production process is an act of commodity circulation, of the process of exchange, and is reducible to a series of purchases. This act therefore still falls outside the direct production process. It only introduces it, but it is its necessary presupposition, and if we consider, instead of the direct production process, capitalist production in its totality and continuity, this conversion of money into the factors of the production process, the purchase of means of production and labour capacity, itself forms an immanent moment of the process as a whole.

[461] If we look now at the shape of capital within the direct production process, capital has, like the simple commodity, the dual shape of use value and exchange value. But further determinations enter in both forms, and these determinations are different from those of the simple commodity viewed independently, they have undergone further development.

As far as use value is concerned, first of all, its specific content, its further determination, was completely irrelevant to determining the concept of the commodity. The article which was to be a commodity, and therefore a repository of exchange value, had to satisfy some social need; it therefore had to possess some useful qualities. Voilà tout. It is different with the use value of the commodities which perform a function in the production process. The nature of the labour process first dirempts the means of production into object of labour and means of labour, or, determined more precisely, raw material on the one hand, instruments accessory material, etc., on the other. These are determinations of the form of the use value which arise from the very nature of the labour process, and thus use value is determined further — in relation to the means of production. The determination of the form of the use value [215] is itself essential here for the development of the economic relation, the economic category.

But the use values which enter into the labour process are further divided into two moments and contraries, strictly separated conceptually (in the same way as the objective means of production are divided, as we have just said) — on the one hand there are the objective means of production, the objective conditions of production, on the other hand there are the working labour capacities, labour power exerting itself to a given purpose, the subjective condition of production. This is a further determination of the form of capital, in so far as it appears sub specie of use value within the direct production process. In the simple commodity, particular kinds of purposeful labour, spinning, weaving, etc., are incorporated, objectified, in the spun yarn, the woven cloth. The form of the product, appropriate to its purpose, is the sole trace left behind by the purposeful labour which made it, and this trace can itself be extinguished, if the product has a natural form, as do cattle, wheat, etc. Use value appears in the commodity as what is present, what is available; whereas in the labour process it appears only as product. The single commodity is in fact a finished product, the result of the process by which it arose; this process, through which a particular kind of useful labour has been embodied, objectified, in the product, is in fact contained within, and superseded by, the latter. The commodity comes into existence in the production process. It is constantly ejected from the process as product, in such a way that the product itself appears as only a moment of the process. One part of the use value in which capital appears within the production process is living labour capacity itself, but this is labour capacity of a particular specificity corresponding to the particular use value of the means of production, and it is self-activating labour capacity, labour power which expresses itself purposefully, makes the means of production the objective moments of its activity and therefore converts them from the original form of their use value into the new form of the product. Therefore in the labour processes the use values themselves undergo a real conversion process, either of a mechanical, chemical or physical nature. Whereas in the commodity the use value is a given thing with particular qualities, now the use values, things which function as raw material and means of labour, are converted by means of living labour which is active in and through them, living labour which is precisely labour capacity actu, into a use value of a changed shape — the product. Thus the shape capital assumes in the labour process, the shape of use value, is now divided into firstly the means of production, conceptually dirempted and related to each other; and secondly [462] the conceptual diremption, which springs from the nature of the labour process, between the objective conditions of labour (the means of production) and the subjective condition of labour, labour capacity acting for a purpose, i.e. labour itself. Thirdly, however, considering the process as a whole, the use value of capital appears here as a process of the production of use value, in which the means of production, according to this specific determination, function as means of production of the purposefully active specific labour capacity corresponding to their particular nature. Or, the whole of the labour process as such appears in the living interaction of its objective and subjective moments as the overall shape of the use value, i.e. the real shape of capital in the production process.

The production process of capital, seen from the point of view of reality — or seen as a process which by applying useful labour to use values constitutes new use values — is above all a real labour process. As such, its moments, its conceptually determined components, are those of the labour process in general, of any labour process, whatever the level of economic development and whatever mode of production forms the basis of this process. Hence, since the real shape of capital, or the shape of the objective use values of which capital consists, its material substratum, is necessarily the shape of the means of production — means of labour and object of labour — which serve to produce new products; and since, further, these use values are already available (on the market) in the circulation process, in the form of commodities, hence in the possession of the capitalist as a commodity owner, before they begin to function in the labour process in accordance with their specific purpose; hence because capital — in so far as it is expressed in objective conditions of labour — consists from the point of view of use value of means of production, raw materials, accessory materials and means of labour, tools, buildings, machines, etc., the conclusion is drawn from this that all the means of production are dunamei [potentially] and, in so far as they function as means of production, actu capital. Capital is therefore regarded as a necessary moment of the human labour process in general, irrespective of any historical form this process may assume, and is therefore seen as something eternal, something conditioned by the nature of human labour. Similarly, it is assumed that because the production process of capital in general is a labour process, the labour process as such, the labour process in all social forms, is necessarily a labour process of capital. Capital is thus regarded as a thing, which plays a certain thing-like role, a role appertaining to it as a thing, in the production process. This is the same logic which concludes that because money is gold, gold is in and for itself money, that because wage labour is labour, all labour is necessarily wage labour. An identity is thus proved by concentrating on what is identical in all production processes, as opposed to the specific differences between production processes. Identity is proved by abstracting from difference. We shall return in more detail in the course of this section to this point, which is of decisive importance. For the present, we shall only say this:

Firstly: The commodities the capitalist has bought in order to consume them in the production process or labour process as means of production are his property. They are in fact only his money converted into commodities, and his capital exists just as much in them as it did in the money; indeed it exists more intensely, to the extent that they are available in the shape in which they really function as capital, i.e. as means for the creation of value, for the valorisation of value, i.e. for its increase. These means of production are therefore capital. On the other hand, the capitalist has bought labour capacity with the other part of the sum of money he has advanced; he has bought workers, or, as was developed in Chapter IV,[216] it appears that he has bought living labour. This therefore belongs to him just as much as do the objective conditions of the labour process. There is, however, the following specific distinction to be pointed out here: Real labour is what the worker really gives to the capitalist as equivalent for the part of the capital that has been converted into wages, for the [463] purchasing price of labour. It is the expenditure of his life force, the realisation of his productive capacities, his movement, not the capitalist’s. Viewed as a personal function, in its reality, labour is the function of the worker and not of the capitalist. Viewed from the point of view of exchange, the worker is what the capitalist receives from him in the labour process, not what the capitalist represents towards him in the same process. This therefore stands in contrast to the way the objective conditions of labour, as capital, and to that extent as the existence of the capitalist, confront the subjective condition of labour, labour itself, or rather the worker who works, within the labour process itself. Thus it comes about that both from the standpoint of the capitalist and from that of the worker the means of production, as existence of capital, as eminently capital, confront labour, hence confront the other element into which the capital advanced has been converted, and therefore appear dunamei as the specific mode of existence of capital outside the production process as well. This development proceeds further, as will be shown, partly through the general nature of the capitalist valorisation process (the role played in this by the means of production as devourers of living labour) and partly through the development of the specifically capitalist mode of production (in which machinery, etc., becomes the real ruler over living labour). Hence where the capitalist production process is the basis the use values in which capital exists in the form of means of production are inseparably welded to the function of those means of production, the character of these things as capital, which is a particular social relation of production; just as to those caught up in this mode of production the product counts as in and for itself a commodity. This is the basis for the fetishism of the political economists.

Secondly: The means of production proceed from circulation into the labour process as particular commodities, e.g. as cotton, coal, spindles, etc. They enter in the shape of the use value they possessed as long as they were still circulating as commodities. Having entered the process, they then function with the characteristics appropriate to their use values, with the qualities which belong to them materially as things, e.g. cotton as cotton, etc. But it is different with the part of capital which we call variable, but which is only really converted into the variable part of capital by its exchange for labour capacity. Viewed from the point of view of its real shape, money — that part of capital which the capitalist expends for the purchase of labour capacity — represents nothing but the means of subsistence available on the market (or thrown onto the market over certain periods) which enter into the worker’s individual consumption. Money is only the converted form of these means of subsistence, and the worker converts the money back into means of subsistence as soon as he has received it. Both this conversion and then the consumption of these commodities as use values is a process which has no direct connection with the direct production process, more precisely the labour process; it rather falls outside the latter. One part of the capital, and thereby the capital as a whole, becomes converted into a variable magnitude precisely because what is obtained in the exchange is not money, a constant magnitude of value, nor means of subsistence, similarly constant magnitudes of value, in which the money can be expressed, but rather living labour capacity, an element which creates value and, as a value-creating element, may be larger or smaller, may be expressed as a variable magnitude, and in all circumstances, as a factor in the production process, is a fluid magnitude, in the process of becoming — and therefore contained within different limits — instead of having become. Now it is true that in reality the consumption of the means of subsistence by the workers may itself be as much implied by the labour process (included by it) as the consumption of matières instrumentales by machines is e.g. included in the machines, with the result that the worker appears as only an instrument bought by capital, which needs to consume, needs the addition of a certain portion of means of subsistence as its matières instrumentales so that it may perform its function in the labour process. This occurs to a greater or lesser degree according to the extent and brutality of the exploitation of the worker. However, this phenomenon is not contained conceptually in the capital-relation, not in this narrow sense (we shall examine this matter further in Section 3, on the reproduction of the whole relation). The usual situation is more that the worker consumes his means of subsistence during pauses n the direct labour process, whereas the machine consumes what it requires while functioning. (Animals?) But then again, from the point of view of the whole working class, part of these means of subsistence are consumed by family members who are not yet, or no longer, working. In practice, the difference between a worker and a machine can be reduced to the difference between an animal and a machine, quoad matières instrumentales and their consumption. But this is not necessarily so, and therefore does not belong among the conceptual determinants of capital. In any case, the part of the capital laid out in wages appears formally as no longer belonging to the capitalist, but rather to the worker, once it has assumed its real shape, the shape of the means of subsistence which enter into the worker’s consumption. The use value shape this part of the capital has as a commodity before its entry into the production process — as means of subsistence — is therefore entirely different from the shape it assumes within that process, which is that of labour power expressing itself in working activity, hence of living labour itself. This part of the capital is therefore specifically distinguished by this from the [464] part available in the shape of means of production, and this is one more reason why under the capitalist mode of production the means of production appear in an eminent sense, in distinction from, and in opposition to, the means of subsistence, as capital in and for themselves. If we disregard points to be developed later, this appearance is dispelled simply by the fact that the form of the use value in which the capital exists at the end of the production process is that of the product, and this product exists in the form of both means of production and means of subsistence; both are therefore equally present as capital, and are therefore also present in opposition to living labour capacity.

Let us now proceed to the valorisation process.

With regard to exchange value there is once more a distinction between the commodity and the capital involved in the valorisation process.

The exchange value of the capital that enters into the production process is smaller than the exchange value of the capital that was thrown onto the market or advanced. For it is only the value of the commodities which enter into the process as means of production — i.e. the value of the constant part of the capital — that enters into the production process as value. We now have, instead of the value of the variable part of capital, valorisation as a process, with the labour involved constantly realising itself as value, but also flowing beyond the already posited values, proceeding to the creation of new values.

As far as the preservation of the old value is concerned, the preservation of the value portion of the constant part [of the capital], this depends on the following: that the value of the means of production which enter into the process should not be greater than is necessary, hence that the commodities of which they consist should only contain, objectified, the labour time socially necessary for the purpose of production. This should be the case e.g. with the buildings, the machinery, etc., and it is the capitalist’s business to make sure of this when purchasing these means of production; to make sure that they have the appropriate average quality as use values needed for the formation of the product, whether as raw material or as machinery, etc., hence that they function averagely well, and do not oppose any unusual obstacles to labour, the living factor, e.g. through the quality of the raw material; and, also to be included here, the machinery, etc., employed should not pass on more than the average depreciation to the commodities, etc. All this is the capitalist’s affair. But the preservation of the value of the constant capital also depends on its being consumed as far as possible only productively, on its not being squandered, because otherwise, a greater portion of objectified labour would be contained in the product than is socially necessary. This depends in part on the workers themselves, and there the supervision of the capitalist begins. (He can make sure of this by introducing task work, by deductions from wages.) It is necessary, further, that the work should be performed properly, should serve its purpose, that the conversion of the means of production into product should proceed in a methodical fashion, that the use value envisaged as the aim of the process should really emerge in the right form as its result. The capitalist’s functions of supervision and [maintaining] discipline enter the picture once again here. It is necessary, finally, that the production process should not be disturbed, or interrupted, and that it really proceed to produce the. product within the time limit imposed by the nature of the labour process and its objective conditions. (Time period.) This depends in part on the continuity of labour, which is a feature of capitalist production. But it also depends in part on external and uncontrollable accidents. To that extent, every production process involves a risk for the values which enter into it; but 1) the values are subject to risk outside the production process as well, and 2) risk is a feature of every production process; it is not peculiar to capital’s production process alone. (Capital protects itself against risks by association. The direct producer working with his own means of production is subject to the same risks. This is not peculiar to the capitalist production process. If, in capitalist production, the risks fall upon the capitalist, that is only because he has usurped possession of the means of production.)

But now, as far as the living factor of the valorisation process is concerned, 1) the value of the variable capital must be preserved by being replaced, reproduced, i.e. by the addition to the means of production of as large a quantity of labour as the value of the variable capital or of wages amounted to; 2) an increment of its value, a surplus value, must be created, by the objectification in the product of a surplus quantity of labour over and above that contained in the wage, of an additional quantity of labour.

Accordingly, the distinction between the use value of the capital advanced, or of the commodities in which it existed, and the use value shape of the capital in the [465] labour process corresponds to the distinction between the exchange value of the capital advanced and the appearance of the exchange value of the capital in the valorisation process. In the former case the means of production, the constant capital, enters into the process in the same use value form as was previously possessed by the commodities of which it consists, whereas the finished use values of which the variable capital consisted are replaced by the living factor of labour power, real labour, valorising itself in new use values. In the latter case, the value of the means of production, the constant capital, enters as such into the valorisation process, whereas the value of the variable capital does not enter into it at all, but is replaced by the value-creating activity of the living factor, an activity which exists as the valorisation process.

For the worker’s labour time to posit value in proportion to its duration, it must be socially necessary labour time. I.e. the worker must perform the socially normal quantity of purposeful labour within a given time, and the capitalist therefore forces him to ensure that his labour possesses at least the socially normal average degree of intensity. He will try to raise it as much as possible above this minimum, and extract from him over a given period as much labour as possible, for every [increase in the] intensity of labour over the average degree creates surplus value for him. He will also try to prolong the labour process as much as possible beyond the boundary of what has to be worked in order to replace the value of variable capital, of wages. If the intensity of the labour process is given, he will try to increase its duration as much as possible; if the duration is given, he will try to increase its intensity as much as possible. The capitalist compels the worker to give his labour the normal degree of intensity, and where possible a higher degree, and he compels him to prolong his labour process as much as possible beyond the period of time needed to replace his wages.

This peculiar character of the capitalist valorisation process gives rise to a further modification of the real shape of capital in the production process, its shape as a use value. Firstly the means of production must be available in a quantity sufficient not only for the absorption of necessary labour, but also for that of surplus labour. Secondly there are changes in the intensity and extension of the real labour process.

To be sure, the means of production the worker employs in the real labour process are the property of the capitalist, and, as previously explained[217], they confront the worker’s labour, which is the expression of his own life, as capital. But on the other hand it is the worker who employs the means of production in his labour. In the real labour process, he utilises the means of labour as the conductor of his labour, and the object of labour as the material in which his labour is expressed. It is precisely through this that he converts the means of production into a form of the product appropriate to the purpose. The matter assumes a different aspect if considered from the angle of the valorisation process. It is not the worker who employs the means of production, but the means of production that employ the worker. It is not a matter of living labour being realised in objective labour as its objective organ, but of objective labour being preserved and increased by the absorption of living labour, thereby becoming self-valorising value, capital, and functioning as such. The means of production now appear only as absorbers of the largest possible quantity of living labour. Living labour now appears only as a means for the valorisation and therefore capitalisation of existing values. And, leaving aside our previous analysis, the means of production again appear, precisely for that reason, as éminemment the presence of capital vis-à-vis living labour, and indeed they now appear as the rule of past, dead labour over living labour. Living labour, precisely in its value-creating function, is constantly incorporated into the valorisation process of objectified labour. Labour, as the exertion, the expenditure of vital forces, is the personal activity of the worker. But as value-creating, as engaged in its own objectification process, the labour of the worker itself becomes a mode of existence of the value of the capital, incorporated into the value of the capital, once he enters into the production process. This power of preserving value and creating new value is therefore capital’s power, and the process appears as one of capital’s self-valorisation, while the worker who creates the value — value alien to him — is on the contrary impoverished.

[466] This ability of objectified labour to convert itself into capital, i.e. to convert the means of production into means of command over, and exploitation of, living labour, appears under capitalist production as an inherent characteristic of the means of production (and it is indeed dunamei bound up with them on this basis); it appears as inseparable from them, hence as a quality which falls to them as things, as use values, as means of production. They therefore appear to be in and for themselves capital, and capital, which expresses a particular relation of production, a particular social relation, in which the owners of the conditions of production confront living labour capacities within production, therefore appears as a thing, just as value appeared as the quality of a thing and the economic determination of the thing as a commodity appeared as its quality as a thing; and just as the social form assumed by labour in money expressed itself as the qualities of a thing.[218] In fact the rule of the capitalists over the workers is only the rule over the workers themselves of the conditions of labour it, their independence, in the independent position they have taken on vis-à-vis the workers (apart from the objective conditions of the production process — the means of production — the conditions of labour include the objective conditions for the preservation and effective functioning of labour power, i.e. the means of subsistence), although this relation only comes to realisation in the real production process, which, as we have seen, is essentially a process of the production of surplus value, which includes the preservation of the old value; it is a process of the self-valorisation of the capital advanced. In circulation, capitalist and worker only stand vis-à-vis each other as sellers of commodities, but owing to the specific polarity of the kinds of commodity they sell to each other, the worker necessarily enters into the production process as a constituent in the use value, the real existence and the value existence of capital, although this relation is first brought to realisation within the production process, and the capitalist, who as a buyer of labour only exists dunamei, first becomes a real capitalist when the worker, who is eventua1iter [ultimately] converted into a wage labourer through the sale of his labour capacity, first really falls under the command of capital in that process. The functions performed by the capitalist are only the functions of capital itself performed with consciousness and will — the functions of value valorising itself through the absorption of living labour. The capitalist functions only as capital personified, capital as a person, just as the worker only functions as the personification of labour, which belongs to him as torment, as exertion, while it belongs to the capitalist as the substance that creates and increases wealth; and in fact it appears as such an element incorporated into capital in the production process, as its living, variable, factor. The rule of the capitalist over the worker is therefore the rule of the object over the human, of dead labour over living, of the product over the producer, since in fact the commodities which become means of domination over the worker (but purely as means of the rule of capital itself) are mere results of the production process, the products of the production process. This is exactly the same relation in the sphere of material production, in the real social life process — for this is the production process — as is represented by religion in the ideological sphere: the inversion of the subject into the object and vice versa. Looked at historically this inversion appears as the point of entry necessary in order to enforce, at the expense of the majority, the creation of wealth as such, i.e. the ruthless productive powers of social labour, which alone can form the material basis for a free human society. It is necessary to pass through this antagonistic form, just as man had first to shape his spiritual forces in a religious form, as powers independent of him.[219] It is the alienation process of his own labour. To that extent, the worker here stands higher than the capitalist from the outset, in that the latter is rooted in that alienation process and finds in it his absolute satisfaction, whereas the worker, as its victim, stands from the outset in a relation of rebellion towards it and perceives it as a process of enslavement. To the extent that the production process is at the same time a real labour process, and the capitalist has to perform the function of supervision and direction in actual production, his activity [467] in fact obtains thereby a specific, manifold content. But the labour process itself only appears as a means to the valorisation process, just as the use value of the product only appears as the vehicle of its exchange value. The self-valorisation of capital — the creation of surplus value — is therefore the determining, dominating, and overmastering purpose of the capitalist, the absolute driving force and content of his action, in fact only the rationalised drive and purpose of the hoarder. This is an utterly miserable and abstract content, which makes the capitalist appear as just as much under the yoke of the capital-relation as is the worker at the opposite extreme, even if from a different angle.

The original relation in which the would-be capitalist buys labour (after Chapter IV [216] we can say this instead of saying “labour capacity”) from the worker, in order to capitalise a monetary value, and the worker sells disposition over his labour capacity, sells his labour, in order to eke out his life, is the necessary introduction to and condition of — it contains it within itself — the relation now developed in the real production process, in which the commodity owner becomes a capitalist, becomes capital personified, and the worker becomes a mere personification of labour for capital. The first relation, in which the two sides appear to confront each other as owners of commodities, is the presupposition for the capitalist production process; similarly, it is also, as we shall see later on, its result and product. But the two acts must accordingly be kept separate from each other. The first belongs to circulation. The second only develops on the basis of the first, in the real production process.

The production process is the direct unity of the labour process and the valorisation process, just as its direct result, the commodity, is the direct unity of use value and exchange value. But the labour process is only a means to the valorisation process, and the valorisation process as such is essentially the production of surplus value, i.e. the process of the objectification of unpaid labour. The overall character of the production process is thereby specifically determined.

Although we view the production process from two distinct points of view, 1) as a labour process, and 2) as a valorisation process, it is already implied that it is in fact only one single, indivisible labour process. Work is not done twice, once to produce a useful product, a use value, to convert the means of production into products, and the second time to produce value and surplus value, to valorise value. Labour is only added in the particular, concrete, specific form, mode, mode of existence in which it is activity directed towards a purpose, activity which converts the means of production into a particular product, converting, e.g., spindles and cotton into yarn. Only spinning labour, etc., is added, and as it continues it produces more and more yarn. This real labour only posits value in so far as it possesses a normal, definite level of intensity (or, it only counts to the extent that it possesses this), and in so far as this real labour of given intensity is materialised in the product in definite quantities measured by time. If the labour process ceased at the point where the quantity of labour added in the form of spinning, etc., was = the quantity of labour contained in the wage, no surplus value would be produced. Surplus value is therefore also expressed in a surplus product, here as the quantity of yarn which exceeds the quantity the value of which = the value of the wage. The labour process therefore appears as a valorisation process through the fact that the concrete labour added in its course is a quantity of socially necessary labour (by virtue of its intensity), that it is posited as equal to a certain quantity of average social labour; and through the fact that this quantity represents a quantity additional to the amount contained in the wage. It is the quantitative calculation of the particular concrete labour as necessary average social labour, a calculation which corresponds, however, to the real moment, firstly, of the normal intensity of labour (the fact that only the socially necessary amount of labour time is employed for the production of a given quantity of the product) and [secondly,] of the prolongation of the labour process beyond the length of time necessary for the replacement of the value of the variable capital.

[468] It follows from our previous discussion that the expression “objectified labour”, and the antithesis between capital as objectified labour and living labour, are capable of severe misinterpretation.[220]

I have already shown previously that the analysis of the commodity in terms of “labour” by all previous political economists is ambiguous and incomplete. [Without this confusion it would have been altogether impossible for any dispute to arise as to whether nature does not also contribute to the product, in addition to labour. This point concerns concrete labour alone.] It is not sufficient to reduce it to “labour”; labour has to be considered in the dual form in which it is on the one hand represented as concrete labour, in the use value of the commodities; and on the other hand calculated as socially necessary labour, in exchange value. From the first point of view, everything depends on its particular use value, its specific character, which impresses on the use value it has created a specific kind of stamp and makes it into one concrete use value in distinction from others, into this specific article. But its particular utility, its specific nature and the kind of thing it is are completely abstracted from when labour enters into calculations as a value-forming element or the commodity is viewed as its objectification. In this case it is undifferentiated, socially necessary, general labour, entirely indifferent towards any particular content, for which reason it receives an expression common to all commodities and only distinguishable in terms of quantity. This is its independent expression as money, the expression of the commodity as price. From the one aspect the thing is expressed in the particular use value of the commodity, in its particular existence as an object, from the other aspect it is expressed in money, whether this exists as actual money, or, in the price of the commodity, as mere money of account. From the one aspect it is exclusively quality that is involved; from the other aspect it is merely the quantity of labour. From the one aspect the distinction between different kinds of concrete labour is expressed in the division of labour; from the other aspect in its monetary expression, which is undifferentiated. Within the production process this distinction confronts us actively. It is no longer made by us, but is a feature of the production process itself.

The distinction between objectified labour and living labour is manifested in the real labour process. The means of production, such as cotton and spindles, etc., are products, use values, in which definite useful, concrete kinds of labour, machine-making, cotton growing, etc., are embodied whereas the labour of spinning appears in the process as a kind of labour not only specifically distinct from the kinds of labour contained in the means of production, but also as living labour, labour which is still in process of being realised and which constantly ejects its product from itself, in contrast to the kinds of labour which have already been objectified in their own characteristic products. From this standpoint too, an antithesis emerges between one side, which is the immediate presence of capital, and the other, which is living labour, the direct expenditure of the worker’s life. Furthermore, objectified labour steps forth in the labour process as the objective moment, element, in the realisation of living labour.

The situation looks entirely different once one considers the valorisation process, the formation and creation of new value.

The labour contained here in the means of production is particular quantity of general social labour, and it is therefore expressed in a certain magnitude of value or sum of money, in fact in the price of these means of production. The labour which is added is a particular additional quantity of general social labour, and is expressed as an additional amount of value and sum of money. The labour already contained in the means of production is the same as the newly added labour. The only difference between the two is that the one is objectified in use values, and the other is in the process of carrying out this objectification, the one is past, the other present, the one dead, the other living, the one objectified, in the perfect tense, the other objectifying itself, in the present tense. To the extent that past labour sets living labour to work, it itself becomes a process, it valorises itself, it becomes a fluens that creates a fluxion.[213] This absorption of additional living labour is past labour’s process of self-valorisation, its real conversion into capital, [469] into self-valorising value, its conversion from a constant magnitude of value into a variable magnitude of value, value in process. This additional labour can admittedly only be added in the shape of concrete labour, and therefore it can only be added to the means of production in their specific shape as particular use values; moreover, the value contained in these means of production is only preserved by their consumption as means of labour by concrete labour. This is not, however, to deny that the available value, the labour objectified in the means of production, increases above its own quantity, and indeed above the quantity of labour objectified in the variable capital, solely because, and to the degree that, it absorbs living labour, and to the degree that the latter is itself objectified as money, as general social labour. It is therefore eminently in this sense — which relates to the valorisation process — the actual purpose of capitalist production — that capital, as objectified labour — (accumulated labour, pre-existent labour and so forth), confronts living labour (immediate labour, etc.) and is counterposed to it by the political economists. Yet they constantly fall into contradiction and ambiguity here — even Ricardo — because they have not clearly worked out the analysis of the commodity in terms of labour in its dual form.

It results from the original process of exchange between capitalist and worker — as owners of commodities — that only the living factor, labour capacity, enters into the production process as a moment of capital in its real shape. But it is only in the production process itself that objectified labour is converted into capital through the absorption of living labour, and that labour is therefore converted into capital.

[Note: The passage entered in pages 96 to 107 under the heading “The Direct Production Process” belongs here. It should be blended with the foregoing, and each passage should be rectified by reference to the other. Pages 262-64 of this book belong here as well.[221]]

This belongs to P. 469. [222]