Philosophy, June 6th

“Capital, therefore, is not only the command over labor, as Adam Smith thought. It is essentially the command over unpaid labor. All surplus-value, whatever form (profit, interest, and rent) it may subsequently crystallize into, is in substance the materialization of unpaid labor-time. The secret of the self-valorization of capital resolves itself into the fact that it has at its disposal a definite quantity of the unpaid labor of other people [fremder Arbeit].” – Karl Marx, Capital

“But when surplus-value must be produced by the conversion of necessary labor into surplus labor, it by no means suffices for capital to take over the labor process in its given or historically transmitted shape, and then simply to prolong its duration. The technical and social conditions of the process and consequently the mode of production itself must be revolutionized before the productivity of labor can be increased. Then, with the increase in the productivity of labor, the value of labor-power will fall, and the portion of the working day necessary for the reproduction of that value will be shortened.” – Karl Marx, Capital

“The understandings of the greater part of men,’ says Adam Smith, ‘are necessarily formed by their ordinary employments. The man whose whole life is spent in performing a few simple operations . . . has no occasion to exert his understanding . . . He generally becomes as stupid and ignorant as it is possible for a human creature to become.’ After describing the stupidity of the specialized worker, he goes on: ‘The uniformity of his stationary life naturally corrupts the courage of his mind . . . It corrupts even the activity of his body and renders him incapable of exerting his strength with vigor and perseverance in any other employments than that to which he has been bred. His dexterity at his own trade seems in this manner to be acquired at the expense of his intellectual, social, and martial virtues. But in every improved and civilized society, this is the state into which the laboring poor, that is, the great body of the people, must necessarily fall.'” – Karl Marx, Capital

“Division of labor within the workshop implies the undisputed authority of the capitalist over men, who are merely the members of a total mechanism which belongs to him. The division of labor within society brings into contact independent producers of commodities, who acknowledge no authority other than that of competition, of the coercion exerted by the pressure of their reciprocal interests, just as in the animal kingdom the ‘war of all against all’ preserves the conditions of existence of every species. The same bourgeois consciousness which celebrates the division of labor in the workshop, the lifelong annexation of the worker to a partial operation, and his complete subjection to capital, as an organization of labor that increases its productive power, denounces with equal vigor every conscious attempt to control and regulate the process of production socially, as an inroad upon such sacred things as the rights of property, freedom and the self-determining ‘genius’ of the individual capitalist. It is very characteristic that the enthusiastic apologists of the factory system have nothing more damning to urge against a general organization of labor in society than that it would turn the whole of society into a factory.” – Karl Marx, Capital

“He did not, however, look upon himself as unhappy, because this misfortune was, in his opinion, peculiar to knights-errant, and that he was not able to rise on account of the innumerable bruises he had received, he ascribed entirely to the fault of his horse.” – Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote

Published by jim

Curator of things...

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