MARXIST INTERNET ARCHIVE |  V. I. Lenin

V. I. Lenin

A CHARACTERISATION
OF ECONOMIC ROMANTICISM

    (SISMONDI AND OUR NATIVE SISMONDISTS )[
44]

Written in spring 1897
 
First published in the
magazine Novoye Slovo,[45]
issues 7-10, April-July 1897.
Signed: K. T-n
 
Reprinted in the miscellany
Economic Studies and Essays
by Vladimir Ilyin, 1898

Published according to
the text of the miscellany
Economic Studies and Essays,
checked with the text in
Novoyo Slovo and that
in the miscellany
The Agrarian Question
by Vladimir Ilyin, 1908
 
 

From V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, 4th English Edition,
Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1972,

First printing 1960
Second printing 1963
Third printing 1972

Vol. 2, pp. 129-265.

Translated from the Russian
Edited by George Hanna


Prepared © for the Internet by David J. Romagnolo,
djr@marx2mao.org (May 1997)
(Corrected and Updated September 2001)

A CHARACTERISATION OF ECONOMIC ROMANTICISM
(Sismondi and Our Native Sismondists) .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .


129

  Chapter I. The Economic Theories of Romanticism .   .   .   .

134

     I.
 
II.
III.
 
IV.
 
V.
VI.
 
VII.
VIII.
IX.
X.
XI.

Does the Home Market Shrink Because of the Ruination
of the Small Producers?   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .
Sismondi's Views on National Revenue and Capital. .   .
Sismondi's Conclusions from the Fallacious Theory of
Two Parts of the Annual Product in Capitalist Society .
Wherein Lies the Errors of Adam Smith's and Sismon-
di's Theories of National Revenue?  .   .   .   .   .   .   .
Accumulation in Capitalist Society .   .   .   .   .   .   .
The Foreign Market as the "Way out of the Difficulty"
of Realizing Surplus-Value .  .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .
Crisis   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .
Capitalist Rent and Capitalist Overpopulation   .   .   .
Machines in Capitalist Society   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .
Protection .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .
Sismondi's Place in the History of Political Economy  .
Postscript .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .


135
140146150
154161
166
174
184
192
199
207

  Chapter II.   The Character of the Romanticists' Criticism
     of Capitalism  .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .


208

I.
II.
III.
 
IV.
V.
VI.

The Sentimental Criticism of Capitalism .   .   .   .   .
The Petty-Bourgeois Character of Romanticism .   .   .
The Problem of the Growth of the Industrial Population
at the Expense of the Agricultural Population .  .   .   .
Practical Proposals of Romanticism .  .   .   .   .   .   .
The Reactionary Character of Romanticism.  .   .   .   .
Corn Tariffs in England as Appraised by Romanticism
and by Scientific Theory.  .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .

209
220225
232
239252

NOTES




     
    page 547


    NOTES

      [44] The essay "A Characterisation of Economic Romanticism" was written by Lenin while in exile in Siberia in the spring of 1897. It appeared in four issues (Nos. 7-10) of the "legal Marxist" magazine Novove Slovo (New Word ) for April-July 1897, over the signature K. T-n. It was included later in the miscellany entitled Economic Studies and Essays by Vladimir Ilyin which appeared in October 1898 (though the date given on the cover and the title-page is 1899). Early in 1908 it appeared, slightly amended and abridged, along with other items in The Agrarian Question by Vl. Ilyin. The parts of it omitted in this miscellany were section three, chapter II, "The Problem of the Growth of the Industrial Population at the Expense of the Agricultural Population," and the end of section five, chapter II, "The Reactionary Character of Romanticism." A postscript was added to chapter I.

     
    page 548

        When preparing tbe editions legally published in 1897 and 1898, Lenin was compelled for censorship reasons to substitute the term "modern theory" for "Marx's theory" and "the well-known German economist" for "Marx," "realist" for "Marxist" the word "paper" for Capital, and so on. In the 1908 edition Lenin either altered a considerable number of these expressions in the text or added the necessary footnotes. In the second and third Russian editions of the Collected Works, the corrections were given in footnotes. In the present edition the corrections have been introduced into the text.    [p.129]

      [45] Novoye Slovo (New Word ) -- a monthly scientific, literary and political journal, published originally in St, Petersburg from 1894 by the liberal Narodniks. In the early part of 1897 it was taken over by the "legal Marxists" (P. B. Struve, M. I. Tugan-Baranovsky, and others). Novoye Slovo published two of Lenin's articles when he was in exile in Siberia -- "A Characterisation of Economic Romanticism" and "About a Certain Newspaper Article." The journal also carried the writings of G. V. Plekhanov, V. I. Zasulich, L. Martov, A. M. Gorky, and others. In Decemher 1897 it was closed down by the tsarist government.    [p.129]

      [46] V. V. (pseudonym of V. P. Vorontsov) and N.-on (pseudonym of N. F. Danielson) were ideologists of liberal Narodism of the 1880s and 1890s.    [p.134]

      [47] Lenin refers to MacCulloch's polemical article "Mr. Owen's Plans for Relieving the National Distress," published anonymously in 1819 in The Edinburgh Review (Vol. XXXII), to which Sismondi replied. The The Edinburgh Review or Critical Journal was a scientific, literary and political journal that appeared from 1802 to 1929.    [p.149]

      [48] Karl Marx, Capital, Vol. II, Moscow, 1957, p. 373; Vol. III, Moscow 1959, p. 821.    [p.151]

      [49] Karl Marx, Capital, Vol. II, Moscow, 1957, pp. 351-523. [Transcriber's Note: See Part III, pp. 355-527 -- DJR].    [p.152]

      [50] In the 1897 and 1898 editions Lenin referred to M. I. Tugan-Baranovsky's Industrial Crises, Part II. In the 1908 edition Lenin introduced a change by referring instead to his own book, The Development of Capitalism in Russia, which appeared in 1899 (see present edition, Vol. 3).    [p.152]

      [51] Karl Marx, Capital, Vol. II, Moscow, 1957, p. 391. [Transcriber's Note: p. 395 -- DJR].    [p.154]

     
    page 549

      [52] Karl Marx, Capital, Vol. III, Moscow, 1959, p. 245.    [p.156]

      [53] Karl Marx, Capital, Vol. II, Moscow, 1957, p. 316. [Transcriber's Note: p. 320, note 32. -- DJR].    [p.169]

      [54] Katheder-Socialists -- representatives of a trend in bourgeois political economy of the 1870s and 1880s who, under the guise of socialism, advocated bourgeois-liberal reformism from university chairs. (Katheder in German). The fear aroused among the exploiting classes by the spread of Marxism in the working-class movement and the growth of that movement brought Katheder-Socialism into being; it united the efforts of bourgeois ideologists to find fresh means of keeping the working people in subjugation.
        Among the Katheder-Socialists were A. Wagner, G. Schmoller, L. Brentano, and V. Sombart who asserted that the bourgeois state is above classes, can reconcile mutually hostile classes, and can gradually introduce "socialism" without affecting the interests of the capitalists but at the same time taking the demands of the working people as far as possible Into consideration. They suggested the legalisation of police-regulated wage-labour, and the revival of the medieval guilds. Marx and Engels exposed Katheder-Socialism, showing how essentially reactionary it was. Lenin called the Katheder-Socialists the bed bugs of "police-bourgeois university science" who hated Marx's revolutionary teachings. In Russia the views of the Katheder-Socialists. were advocated by the "legal Marxists."    [p.174]

      [55] Marx and Engels, On Britain, Moscow 1953, p. 119.    [p.180]

      [56] Karl Marx, Capital, Vol. I, Moscow 1958, p. 642.    [p.180]

      [57] Karl Marx, Capital, Vol. I, Moscow, 1958, p. 643.    [p.180]

      [58] The quotations referred to were taken from the estimation of Sismondi's petty-bourgeois socialism given in the Manifesto of the Communist Party (see Marx and Engels, Selected Works, Vol. I, Moscow, 1958, p. 57). N. F. Danielson used them in his article "Something About the Conditions of Our Economic Development" in Russkoyc Bogatstvo, No. 6 1894.    [p.199]

      [59] Zur Kritik -- initial words of the tiltle of Marx's Zur Kritik der politischen Ökonomie. Lenin cites passages from P. P. Rumyantsev's Russian translation of this book published in 1896 (K. Marx, Zur Kritik der politischen Ökonomie, Moskau-Leningrad, 1934, S 49).    [p.199]

     
    page 550

      [60] Karl Marx, Critique of the Gotha Programme. Marx and Engels, Selected Works, Vol. II, Moscow, 1958, pp. 24-25. In the 1897 and 1898 editions Lenin, in view of the censorship, did not refer directly to Marx, but to Struve. In the 1908 edition, however, he referred to Marx's Critique of the Gotha Programme. This correction has been made in the present edition.    [p.203]

      [61] Karl Marx, Capital, Vol. III, Moscow, 1959, pp. 856, 860, 861.    [p.204]

      [62] p. 204 Lenin refers to Narodnik polemical articles directed against the Marxists: N. F. Danielson, "An Apology for Money Power as a Sign of the Times," published under the pseudonym Nikolai-on in Russkoye Bogatstvo, No. 1-2, 1895; V. P. Vorontsov, "German Social-Democratism and Russian Bourgeoisism," puhlished under the pseudonym V. V. in the newspaper Nedelya (Week ), Nos. 47-49, 1894.    [p.204]

      [63] Karl Marx, Poverty of Philosophy, Moscow, p. 55.    [p.205]

      [64] Karl Marx, Capital, Vol. III, Moscow, 1959, p. 819.    [p.205]

      [65] G. V. Plekhanov (n. Beltov), The Development of the Monist View of History, Moscow, 1956, p. 60.    [p.207]

      [66] Karl Marx, Theorien über den Mehrwert, Bd. I, Hb. 2, S. 304, 1923. For pages cited here see pp. 309 and 313.    [p.207]

      [67] "Progressive" publicist of the late nineteenth century is an ironical relerence to the liberal Narodnik S. N. Yuzhakov. An extract from his article "Problems of Hegemony at the End of the Nineteenth Century," published in Russkaya Mysl (Russian Thought ), Nos. 3-4, 1885, was quoted by P. B. Struve.    [p.211]

      [68] Karl Marx, Poverty of Philosophy, Moscow, pp. 167-68. Because of the censorship Lenin substituted the word "writers" for "soclalists" (in the German original -- Sozialisten ).    [p.213]

      [69] Karl Marx, Poverty of Philosophy, Moscow, p. 74.    [p.216]

     
    page 551

      [70] Karl Marx, Zur Kritik der politischen Ökonomie, Moskau-Leningrad, 1934, S. 85.    [p.218]

      [71] The village (land) comununity (obshchina or mir ) in Russia was the communal form of peasant use of the land, characterised by compulsory crop rotation, and undivided woods and pastures. Its principal features were collective responsibility, the periodical redistribution of the land with no right to refuse the allotment given, and prohihition of its purchase and sale. The Russian village community dates back to ancient times, and in the course of historical development gradually became one of the mainstays of feudalism in Russia. The landlords and the tsarist government used the village community to intensify feudal oppression and to squeeze land redemption payments and taxes out of the people. Lenin pointed out that the village community "does not save the peasant from turning into a proletarian; actually it serves as a medieval barrier dividing the peasants, who are as if chained to small associations and to categories which have lost all 'reason for existence'." (V. I. Lenin, The Agrarian Question in Russia Towards the Close of the Nineteenth Century. See present edition, Vol. 15).
        The problem of the village community aroused heated arguments and brought an extensive economic literature into existence. Particularly great interest in the village community was displayed by the Narodniks, who saw in it the guarantee of Russia's socialist evolution by a special path. By tendentiously gathering and falsifying facts and employing so-called "average figures," the Narodniks sought to prove that the community peasantry in Russia possessed a special sort of "steadfastness," and that the peasant community protected the peasants against the penetration of capitalist relations into their lives, and "saved" them from ruin and class differentlation. As early as the 1880s G. V. Plekhanov showed that the Narodnik illusions about "community socialism" were unfounded and in the 1890s Lenin completely refuted the Narodnik theories. Lenin made use of a tremendous amount of statistical material and countless facts to show how capitalist relations were developing in the Russian village, and how capital, by penetrating into the patriarchal village community, was splitting the peasantry into two antagonistic classes, the kulaks and the poor peasants.
        In 1906 tsarist minister Stolypin issued a law favouring the kulaks that allowed peasants to leave the community and to sell their allotments. This law laid the basis for the official abolition of the village community system and intensified the differentiation among the peasantry. In nine years following the adoption of the law, over two million peasant families withdrew from the communities.    [p.219]

     
    page 552

      [72] Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte. Marx and Engels, Selected Works, Vol. I, Moscow, 1958, p. 275.    [p.222]

      [73] Russkaya Mysl (Russian Thought ) -- a monthly literary and political journal published in Moscow from 1880 to 1918; up to 1905 it was liberal Narodnik in trend. In the nineties, during the polemic between the Marxists and the liberal Narodniks, the editors of the journal, while adhering to the Narodnik outlook, occasionally allowed articles by Marxists to be published in its columns. Items by the progressive writers A. M. Gorky, V. G. Kprolenko; D. N. Mamin-Sibiryak, G. I. Uspensky, A. P. Chekhov, and others were published in the journal's literature section.
        After the 1905 Revolution, Russkaya Mysl became the organ of the Right wing of the Cadet Party, and was edited by P. B. Struve. It was closed down in the middle of 1918.    [p.223]

      [74] Kit Kitych -- the nickname of Tit Titych, a rich merchant, one of the characters in A. N. Ostrovsky's comedy Shouldering Another's Troubles. Lenin gives this epithet to the capitalist money bags.    [p.225]

      [75] Marx and Engels, Manifesto of the Communist Party. Selected Works, Vol. I, Moscow, 1958, p. 57.    [p.227]

      [76] Karl Marx, Capital, Vol. III, Moscow, 1959, p. 622.    [p.228]

      [77] Karl Marx, Capital, Vol. I, Moscow, 1958, p. 505.    [p.229]

      [78] Marx and Engels, On Britain, Moscow, 1953, pp. 1-336.    [p.229]

      [79] Frederick Engels, Anti-Dühring, Moscow, 1954, pp. 402-14.    [p.229]

      [80] Sozialpolitisches Centralblatt (Central Social-Political Sheet ) -- organ of the Right wing of German Social-Democracy. First appeared in 1892.    [p.230]

      [81] Marx and Engels, On Britain, Moscow, 1953, pp. 49-50.    [p.237]

      [82] Karl Marx, Capital, Vol. I, Moscow, 1956, pp. 503-04.
        In the 1897 and 1898 editions, because of the censorship, Lenin replaced the words social revolution" (der sozialen Revolution )

    page 553

    by the words "social transformation." In the 1908 edition Lenin translated the words as "social revolution." This correction has been made in the present edition.    [p.245]

      [83] Chinsh peasants -- those entitled to the hereditary possession of the land in perpetuity, and who had to pay an almost fixed quit-rent, known as chinsh. In tsarist Russia, the chinsh system operated mainly in Poland, Lithuania, Byelorussia, and the Black Sea littoral of the Ukraine.    [p.246]

      [84] Marx and Engels, Manifesto of the Communist Party. Selected Works, Vol. I, Moscow, 1958, p. 57.    [p.248]

      [85] The Corn Laws, which were introduced in England in 1815, established high tariffs on imported corn, and at times prohibited corn imports. They enabled the big landowners to increase grain prices on the home market and to secure enormous rents. They also strengthened the political position of the landed aristocracy. There was a fierce and protracted struggle between the big landowners and the bourgeoisie over the Corn Laws which ended in their repeal in 1846.    [p.253]

      [86] "On the one hand, it cannot hut be recognised, on the other hand, it must be admitted" -- an ironical expression used by M. Y. Saltykov-Shchedrin in his stories "The Diary of a Provincial in St. Petersburg" and "Funeral."    [p.257]

      [87] Karl Marx, The Poverty of Philosophy, Moscow, pp. 234-53.    [p.258]

      [88] The Anti-Corn-Law League (this term is in English in the original) was founded in 1838 by the textile manufacturers Cobden and Bright. Its headquarters were in Manchester, the centre of the Free-Trade movement.
        The Anti-Corn-Law League, as its name indicates, fought to secure the repeal of the Corn Laws, and stood for Free Trade, demagogically asserting that it would improve the workers' standard of living, although reduced corn prices could only result in reduced wages for the workers and increased profits for the capitalists. The conflict over this issue between the industrial bourgeoisie and the landed aristocracy ended in the repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846. Marx's views on the anti-Corn-Law movement are given in his speech "On Free Trade" (see Appendix to The Poverty of Philosophy by Karl Marx, Moscow, pp. 234-53).    [p.258]

     
    page 554

      [89] Karl Marx, The Poverty of Philosophy, Moscow, p. 264.    [p.259]

      [90] Marx and Engels, On Britain, Moscow, 1953, p. 303.    [p.259]

      [91] Die Neue Zeit (New Times ) -- theoretical journal of German Social-Domocracy. Appeared in Stuttgart from 1883 to 1923. Prior to October 1917 was edited by K. Kautsky, then by H. Cunow. In 1885-95, articles by K. Marx and F. Engels appeared in its columns. Engels frequently made suggestions to the editors of Die Neue Zeit, and severely criticised them for departing from Marxism. The journal also publishcd articles by F. Mehring, P. Lafargue, G. V. Plekhanov, and other leading figures of the international working-class movement. In the late 1890s the journal made a practice of publishing articles by revisionists. During the First World War (1914-18) the journal adopted a centrist, Kautskian position in support of the social-chauvinists.    [p.259]

      [92] The articles mentioned by V. I. Lenin are: "The Anti-Kriege Circular" by K. Marx and F. Engels, and chapter IV, Vol. II of German Ideology, both of which appeared in Das Westphälische Dampfboot for July 1846 and August-Septemher 1847, while extracts from them were reprinted in Nos. 27 and 28 of Die Neue Zeit, 1895-96 (MEGA, Erste Abteilung, Band 6, S. 10, 11, 12, 13; Band 5, S. 500, 501, 502).
        Das Westphälische Dampfboot (Westphalian Steamer ) -- a monthly magazine, organ of one of the trends of petty-bourgeois German, or "true," socialism; was edited by O. Lüning in Bielefeld and Paderborn (Germany) from January 1845 to March 1848.    [p.259]

      [93] Karl Marx, Capital, Vol. I, Moscow, 1958, pp. 677-78.    [p.261]

      [94] Karl Marx, Capital, Vol. III, Moscow, 1959, p. 709.    [p.261]

      [95] Marx and Engels, On Britain, Moscow. 1953. pp. 302-03.    [p.265]

      [96] Karl Marx, The Poverty of Philosophy, Moscow, p. 253.    [p.265]