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Marx's Grundrisse: Footnotes

<"pagenote323"><"pagenote305">* What is productive labour and what is not, a point very much disputed back and forth since Adam Smith made this distinction, [Ed.: see Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations, Vol. II, pp. 355-85.] has to emerge from the dissection of the various aspects of capital itself. Productive labour is only that which produces capital. Is it not crazy, asks e.g. (or at least something similar) Mr Senior, that the piano maker is a productive worker, but not the piano player, although obviously the piano would be absurd without the piano player? [Ed: See Senior, Principes fondamentaux, pp. 197-206.] But this is exactly the case. The piano maker reproduces capital; the pianist only exchanges his labour for revenue. But doesn't the pianist produce music and satisfy our musical ear, does he not even to a certain extent produce the latter? He does indeed: his labour produces something; but that does not make it productive labour in the economic sense; no more than the labour of the madman who produces delusions is productive. Labour becomes productive only by producing its own opposite. Other economists therfore allow the so-called unproductive worker to be productive indirectly. For example, the pianist stimulates production; partly by giving a more decisive, lively tone to our individuality, and also in the ordinary sense of awakening a new need for the satisfaction of which additional energy becomes expended in direct material production. This already admits that only such labour is productive as produces capital; hence that labour which does not do this, regardless of how useful it may be—it may just as well be harmful—is not productive for capitalization, is hence unproductive labour. Other economists say that the difference between productive and unproductive applies not to production but to consumption. Quite the contrary. The producer of tobacco is productive, although the consumption of tobacco is unproductive. Production for unproductive consumption is quite as productive as that for productive consumption; always assuming that it produces or reproduces capital. 'Productive labourer he that directly augments his master's wealth,' Malthus therefore says, quite correctly (IX,40) [Ed: see Malthus, Principles of Political Economy, p. 47, footnote by the editor, William Otter, Bp of Chichester.]; correct at least in one aspect. The expression is too abstract, since in this formulation it holds also for the slave. The master's wealth, in relation to the worker, is the form of wealth itself in its relation to labour, namely capital. Productive labourer he that directly augments capital.

<"1">1. This is the continuation from the missing final page of the previous notebook. The first seven pages of the present (third) notebook are taken up by the section 'Bastiat and Carey', which was written in July 1857. The present text begins, then, on the eighth page of the third notebook, which carries the date '29th, 30th November, December' in Marx's hand. See Grundrisse (MELI), pp. 200 n., 842 n.

<"2">2. Cf. Hegel, Philosophy of Right, para. 67: 'I can give to someone else the use of my abilities for a restricted period... but by alienating the whole of my time I would be making the substance of my being into another's property.'

<"3">3. As in P. Gaskell, Artisans and Machinery, London, 1836, pp. 261-2.

<"4">4. Potentially.

<"5">5. Antoine Cherbuliez (1797-1869, Swiss lawyer and economist, follower of Sismondi, although he added some elements of Ricardian theory), Richesse ou pauvreté: Exposition des causes et des effets de la distribution actuelle des richesses sociales, Paris, 1841, p. 16.

<"6">6. Cf. Hegel, Science of Logic, p. 753: 'The third relation, mechanism... is a sublating (aufheben) of the means, of the object already posited as sublated, and is therefore a second sublating and a reflection-into-self.'

<"7">7. For example John Gray, The Social System, p. 36, and J. F. Bray, Labour's Wrongs, pp. 157-76.

<"8">8. See below, discussion "Mere self-preservation, non-multiplication of value contradicts the essence of capital".

<"9"> 9. See below, discussion of the "Realization Process".

<"13">13. Sismondi, Nouveaux Principes, Vol. I, p. 90.

<"14">14. ibid., p. 105.

<"15">15. Cherbuliez, Richesse ou pauvreté pp 58, 64.

<"16">16. See above, n. 7.

<"17">17. In Ricardo: On the Principles of Political Economy, pp. 320-37. In Sismondi: Études, Vol. I, p. 22.

<"18">18. The MELI edition gives lassen (let, leave) rather than fassen (grasp, conceive, formulate); this is almost certainly either a misprint (the first of two on that page) or a misreading.

<"19">19. Say, Traité d'économie politique, Vol. II, p. 429 n.

<"20"> 20. Sismondi, Études, Vol. II, p. 273.

<"21">21. This is Adam Smith's phrase, not Ricardo's (Smith, Wealth of Nations, Vol. II, p. 355).

<"22">22. Say, Traité d'économie politique, VoL II, p. 425.

<"23">23. 'Capital has value, labour produces.' Proudhon, Système des contradictions éonomiques, Vol. I, p. 61.

<"24">24. Cf. Hegel, Science of Logic, p. 633: 'In the judgement the subject is determined by the predicate... the predicate is determined in the subject.'

<"25">25. 'The act of producing'.

<"26">26. Incidental 'false' expenses of production: the category into which the political economists from Adam Smith onwards relegated the cost of maintaining necessary but unproductive workers, e.g. soldiers, doctors etc.

<"27">27. Bastiat et Proudhon, Gratuité du credit, p. 180.

<"28">28. Cf. Hegel, Science of Logic, pp. 717-18; 'The action passes over into rest. It shows itself to be a merely superficial, transient alteration in the self-enclosed indifferent totality of the object. This return constitutes the product of the mechanical process.'

<"29">29. Sir George Ramsay (1800-1871, philosopher and political economist, the first to distinguish between constant and variable capital), An Essay on the Distribution of Wealth, Edinburgh, 1836, p. 184.

<"30">30. Ricardo, On the Principles of Political Economy, p. 131.

<"31">31. See above, n. 26.

<"32">32. As in Carey, Principles of Political Economy, Pt I, p. 338.

<"33">33. Bastiat et Proudhon, Gratuité du crédit, pp. 65-74.

<"34">34. 'A distinction is to be drawn between this, on one side, and the accumulation of capitals, on the other; the latter presupposes its relations to labour, prices (fixed capital and circulating capital), interest and profit.' Our reconstruction is based on a comparison with the passage on p.310 where a distinction is drawn between 'capital in the process of its becoming' and 'the later relations' or 'the specific form in which capital is posited at a certain point'. Marx is repeating this distinction here, but in a different manner.

<"35">35. Ricardo, On the Principles of Political Economy, pp. 1-3.

<"36">36. See above, discussion of labor process absorbed into capital.

<"37">37. The expression in full is 'travailler pour le roi de Prusse' (to work for the king of Prussia'), i.e. to work for the purposes of another without recompense.

<"Pagenote323">* One of Mr Bastiat's tremendous profundities is that wage labour is an inessential, only formal form, a form of association, which, as such, has nothing to do with the economic relation of labour and capital. If, he says, the workers were rich enough to be able to await the completion and sale of the product, then wages, wage labour, would not hinder them from making as advantageous a contract with their capitalist as their capitalist makes with another capitalist. Thus the evil lies not in the wage form, but in conditions independent of it. That these conditions are themselves the wage condition naturally does not occur to him. If the workers were capitalists at the same time, then indeed they would relate to non-working capital not as working workers, but as working capitalists—i.e. not in the form of wage-laborers. That is why wages and profit are essentially the same for him as profit and interest. This he calls the harmony of economic relations, namely that only seemingly economic relations exist, but in fact, in essence, there exists only one relation, that of simple exchange. The essential forms therefore appear to him as lacking content, i.e. not as real forms.

<"39">39. The Times, London, Saturday, 21 November 1857, No. 22,844, p. 9. 'Negroes and the Slave Trade. To the Editor of The Times. By Expertus. Marx's English in this sentence has been changed to conform to modern usage.

<"40">40. See below, The Circulation Process of Capital, passim.

<"41">41. This is a generalized reference to Malthus's numerous discussions of value, e.g. in Principles of Political Economy, London, 1836, pp. 50-135, The Measure of Value, London, 1823, and Definitions in Political Economy, London, 1827, pp. 23-36.

<"42">42. Ricardo's polemic against Smith, in On the Principles of Political Economy, pp. 4—12; Ricardo on the effect on value of difficulties of production, pp. 60-67; the essential difference between value and wealth, p. 320; the theory of ground rent, pp. 53-75; the theory of international trade, pp. 131-61.

<"43">43. Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations, Vol. II, p. 356.

<"44">44. Victor, Marquis de Mirabeau (1715-89), was an eccentric French aristocrat converted by Quesnay to the cause of Physiocracy in the 1750s, who subsequently wrote two of the main Physiocratic works, the Théorie de l'impôt (1760) and the Philosophie rurale (1763).