At the source of The Critique of Political Economy - Paresh Chattopadhyay

Paresh Chattopadhyay's review of a collection of Marx and Engels' notebooks.

"Karl Marx - Exzerpte und Notizen: Sommer 1844 bis Anfang 1847" in Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels "” Gesamtausgabe (MEGA) vierte Abteilung. Band 3. Akademie Verlag, Berlin 1998, pp. 866.

Reviewed by Paresh Chattopadhyay*

The volume under review belongs to the second version of the complete works of Marx and Engels (acronym MEGA) undertaken since 1972. The first version of the MEGA was undertaken in the late twenties of the last century in the Soviet Union under the direction of David B. Riazanov, perhaps the most knowledgeable Marx scholar of the time, under whom the edition had attained the highest scholarly standard and textual exactitude. But soon he was destituted of his function by the regime. Subsequently arrested and condemned as a `conspirator' by the Stalinist show trial, he was executed in 1938. A new version of the MEGA started in 1972 with a `trial volume' (Probeband) of course under full party-state control through the Institute of Marxism-Leninism of the (ex)USSR and the GDR. This MEGA number 2 envisages four `sections': (1) works, articles, drafts of Marx and Engels, (2) Capital and the works preceding and preparatory to Capital, (3) correspondence, (4) notebooks, excerpt copy books, marginal comments made by the two authors. This otherwise ambitious and serious scholarly enterprise was, however, marred by its openly ideological orientation. Then, with the downfall of the `really (non) existing socialism,' the situation was radically changed. A total rearrangement for publishing MEGA was undertaken on the initiative of the Amsterdam Institute of Social History (IISG) with the establishment of the International Marx-Engels Foundation (IMES)


*We are grateful to Manfred Neuhaus and Regina Roth for making available to us some important reviews of this volume appearing particularly in the German press.

We thank the editors of HM for their fruitful suggestions.

in 1990. The IMES was statutorily obligated to be an association free of any partisan politics whose task was to continue the MEGA as the "complete historical-critical edition of the (already) published materials, manuscripts and the correspondence of Marx and Engels" with exclusively scientific objective (Rojahan 1994:5). Later it was joined by the Berlin Brandenburg Academy of Sciences (BBAW) "” established in 1993 "” as a conjoint endeavour towards the same end. The works of the two authors could finally be published, free from any partisan political-ideological control, and, in fact, under the new institutional reorganization for the edition revised `guidelines' were established in 1993 "” critically oriented towards `de-ideologizing' the works of the two authors who could henceforth be read in much the same way as the other classics such as Aristotle or Spinoza. For example, henceforth the ideologically surcharged term `marxism' and `marxist' would be totally absent from the editorial remarks accompanying the texts. (We take up this question in the concluding section.) The volume under review is the first MEGA2 volume to appear under the "revised guidelines," and the difference in editorial orientation, compared to the earlier volumes, is immediately clear.1

Each volume of the MEGA 2 consists of two separate books "” the `text' and the `apparatus' (Apparat). The first contains only the text of the author(s), the second contains the editors' introduction (presentation) to the text, as well as the explanations and clarificating remarks concerning the text.2 In the present case the `Text' contains Marx's notebook (Notizbuch) for the period 1844 "” beginning 1847 and eight excerpt copy books (Exzerpthefte) from the period 1844-1845, of which two are from his Paris days and six from his Brussels days. The `Apparat' has the editorial introduction and various explanatory and clarificatory notes. It seems it took more than a decade to prepare the volume. The editors should be praised for their work done meticulously and with great scientific rigour. Particularly, much to their credit, their work of putting together in the `Appart' the relevant references to Marx's later texts will be of great help to all serious students of Marx studies. The excerpts as such will also be of great use for the students of the history of economic analysis.

Marx's systematic, serious, economic studies in fact begin in 1844, at least partly stimulated by Engels's Outline of a Critique of Political Economy (1844), later qualified by Marx as a "work of genius" (Marx 1980: 101).3 In what follows we successively deal with the `notebook' and the `excerpt copy books.' In each case we try to show how, respectively, the `notebook' and the `excerpt copy books' served Marx in the elaboration of his ideas in his own works. In the concluding section we elaborate a little further on `deidedogizing' MEGA as well as on Marx's "method of investigation" as seen in his `excerpt copy books.'


The `notebook' (1844-1847) is, as the editors remark, borrowing a term from M. Rubel, a unique source of Marx's "biographie intellectuelle" (450-51). This is the first of a set of twenty `notebooks' covering the period up to 1881. It contains list of books already in Marx's possession, those which Marx thought of procuring and those which Marx wanted to read. They comprise various fields "” jurisprudence, history, philosophy, belles lettres, above all political economy. The list could be seen as indicating the basic direction of Marx's future investigation. Marx excerpted from only some of these books in his Brussels period, he excerpted from the rest, in 1850s and 1860s. He started excerpting from the English texts beginning summer 1845 while visiting Manchester. Till then he had read the British authors (including Smith and Ricardo) and excerpted from them in French translation. The list includes, secondly, different names and addresses as well as remarks and sketches of different sorts. Finally there are some very interesting short texts inserted in between these items, the most important being the original text of Marx's famous `theses' on Feuerbach. The `notebook' also contains one text on Hegel, two texts on the French Revolution, and remarks on Proudhon which are important. Let us say a few words on these texts.

On page 23 of the `notebook' we find four-point `Hegelian construction of Phenomenology.'4 The four points indicate themes for further elaboration in future following upon what Marx had done earlier in his Hegel-polemic in the 1844 Paris manuscript. The first point reads: "Self consciousness instead of the human . Subject . Object." The same idea appears in the Holy Family which says that "Hegel posits self-consciousness in place of the human being" and that "Hegel makes the human the human of self consciousness instead of making self consciousness the self consciousness of the human" (Marx 1972a: 203, 204. Emphasis in text). Two years earlier he had written about Hegel's "inversion of subject and predicate" making "idea the subject and the real subject, predicate" (Marx 1976a: 209, 210). Another point of the same text affirms that "Hegel gives, within speculation, the real distinctions which grasp the thing itself." In the Holy Family this appears almost verbatim: "Very often Hegel gives, within the speculative representation, a real representation which grasps the thing itself" (Marx 1972: 63; emphasis in text). On page 25 of the `notebook' the inserted text consisting of eleven points refers to political questions such as the French Revolution, the origin of the modern state, the proclamation of the rights of man, division between legislative and executive powers, the right to vote and the struggle for the abolition of the state and the civil (bourgeois) society. This group of points is related to another group of four points in an insertion appearing on page 53 of the `notebook' where again the French Revolution and the history of the origin of the state are the subjects. In both these groups of points Marx underlines the "illusion" of the revolutionaries about the ancient state and their "mixing up" the modern "with the ancient state." This idea appears in Marx's other writings.5

Spread across the pages 53-57 of the `notebook' we have the famous, eleven-point `theses' on Feuerbach6 This is the text where Marx announces his (and Engels's) "new materialism" as opposed to the "old materialism," and leaving his earlier "cult of Feuerbach"7 "” as we see it in his Parisian manuscript of 1844 and even in the Holy Family of 1845, the same year, when this text was written (apparently shortly after the book) "” makes almost a complete turnaround and comes out with a severe critique of the philosopher. The critique of Feuerbach's materialism that it does not go beyond considering the reality under the form of object or intuition, not as sensuous activity, is further developed in the German Ideology.8

The central point of this text is the accent on "revolutionary practice" as the agent for transforming the world by transforming individuals as well as their circumstances (points 3 and 11). This fundamental idea reappears in Marx's later writings.9 Finally on page 108 of the `notebook' we have a couple of critical remarks on Proudhon which were elaborated in Marx's book two years later "” that Proudhon was incapable of understanding the revolutionary movement and that he idealises, following the bourgeois economists, the positive side of the modern industry while considering its dissolving side as negative, which had to be eliminated. Within the same text Marx speaks of "Ricardo's merit" to have posited the "historical opposition of classes."


We start this section by citing a line from a letter (October 10, 1837) that Marx, as a student in Berlin, wrote to his father: "I have made it a habit of making excerpts, from all the books which I read, and, in some places, scribbling down my reflections" (1973a: 8). This method of excerpting is clear in the present volume and, indeed, Marx seems to have followed this method throughout his life. (For more on this see the concluding section.)

There are altogether thirty-one authors from whom Marx excerpted in his eight copy books as given here "” three from the Paris period, twenty-eight from the Brussels period. The excerpts are either in French or in Marx's German translation, often mixed together. Unlike the Paris excerpts "” as given in this volume or elsewhere10 "” a number of which carry, along with the excerpted texts, Marx's own explicit and often extensive comments, the Brussels excerpts contain, in most cases, very few comments, if at all, of Marx's own. However, as with the Paris excerpts without comments, the Brussels excerpts, even when not accompanied by Marx's remarks, could in many cases be considered, by the very choice of the concerned texts, as close to "” if not coinciding with "” Marx's own ideas of the time or as objective representations of the prevailing economic-social relations which Marx would draw on in his later work.

Though not always clearly marked, one could discern from the copy books a number of themes in political economy around with the excerpts were taken and which interested Marx at that period. These also show the orientation of Marx's future investigations. (1) The social consequences of industrialisation in general and of the application of machines in particular on the labouring poor (first two Brussels books including, notably, excerpts from Sismondi and Buret as well as the fifth including excerpts from Gasparin, Babbage, Ure and Rossi); (2) money, credit and trade (the Paris book and the fourth Brussels book including excerpts, importantly, from Boisguillebert, Law, Dupré de St. Maur, Pinto, Child); (3) history of economic thought (sixth Brussels book with excerpts particularly from Pecchio, MacCulloch, Ganilh, Blanqui, Villegardelle). These excerpts also show that along with the classical political economy in general, Marx was also studying and excerpting from the critical literature "” here the most important being Sismondi and Buret. There seems to be no unifying central theme in the third Brussels book where we find excerpts from the important economist Henri Storch.

Marx's excerpts do not necessarily come only from the well known authors in the history of ideas. He excerpted also from the little known ones. For example, in the third Brussels book we have the following significant excerpt from an article by T. Fix in the Journal des économistes (1842, vol. 2): "If the workers do not have enough and the masters have too much, then (things) must be taken from the ones and given to the others . . . The organisers of labour demand a different kind of wealth distribution. Since this cannot take place under liberty, this must, necessarily be executed under constraint and by force. But for this, constraint must be permanent." The editors of the volume find in this statement a pertinence to the Marxian conception of the `dictatorship of the proletariat' (p. 472). We submit that the editors' view is only partially correct, particularly if we take into consideration the last sentence of the statement. Fix's ideas as given in the statement, taken as a whole, are more in tune, with the Jacobinian non-emancipatory conception of the `proletarian dictatorship' as it prevailed in the Third International and beyond than with Marx's own which signifies, as the Communist Manifesto asserts, the "conquest of democracy" by the "autonomous movement of the immense majority in the interest of the immense majority" (Marx, Engels 1966: 68, 76).11 Secondly, far from the "constraint" being "permanent," as in Fix, the `dictatorship' itself is purely transitory, as Marx famously asserts about three decades later in his Gothakritik.

In the following discussion, in our effort to relate Marx's excerpts along with his comments, wherever made, to his later work, we will be selective about the authors involved, given the space limitation. The few authors we select "” admittedly somewhat arbitrarily "” could, nevertheless, serve as a representative sample to illustrate what kind of excerpts Marx was interested in making and the way the excerpts would serve him in his own future work "” and that is the main purpose of the present paper. Within this general framework we will, in particular, focus on Marx's relation to the French classical political economy "” embodied here by Boisguillebert and Sismondi "” in view of the relative neglect of this area as compared to Marx's relation to the English classical school "” Ricardo in particular "” in the mainstream of economic writings on Marx. In what follows we start with excerpts from Boisguillebert and Sismondi. Then we successively deal with the excerpts from Buret, Storch, Gasparin, Babbage, Ure.

II. l. Boisguillebert

Pierre de Boisguillebert, it is well-known, is considered by Marx as the first classical economist from France in the same way as William Petty from England, and of having the "same significant place in the French economy as Petty in the English" (Marx 1980: 36). In his Paris copy book Marx excerpted from Boisguillebert's three works: Le détail de la France, Dissertation sur la nature des richesses, de l'argent et des tributs, and Traité de la nature, culture, commerce et intérêt des grains. The excerpts, appearing in French as well as in Marx's German translation, are interspersed with Marx's own comments. Marx excerpted from Boisguillebert around several themes.

First, Boisguillebert's distinction between money and wealth. Marx excerpts from Le détail: "It is quite certain that money is not at all a good in itself; its quantity does not matter at all for the wealth of a country in general, provided there is enough of it for sustaining the prices contracted by the goods necessary for life . . . Money is the means and the routing (acheminement) while the goods useful for life are the aim and the end." Similarly Marx excerpts from Dissertation: "The true wealth (is) the total enjoyment not only of the needs of life but also of all that which, beyond needs, could offer pleasure to the senses." (The first excerpt is given in a mixture of French and German. Emphasis in text). Later in his Urtext (1858) Marx cites these passages and observes that according to Boisguillebert the quality of the means of circulation is determined by prices, not inversely, and that Boisguillebert in fact looks at the material content of wealth (which is) enjoyment, use value (1980: 37).

Boisguillebert even went further. In Marx's excerpts from Dissertation Boisguillebert points to the contrasting roles of money: money as "beneficial" insofar as it renders service to trade, and money as "criminal" insofar as it has wanted to be "a god instead of being a slave, . . . declaring war . . . to the whole humankind" (emphasis in text). In his comment Marx emphasizes the "first decisive polemic (in Boisguillebert) against silver and gold . . . and "” since these alone represent money "” against money." Then he refers to Boisguillebert's view that with the depreciation of the precious metals, of money, "goods would be reestablished in their just value," and observes that Boisguillebert could not see "that exchange itself, on the basis of private property, that value robs nature and the human of their `just value'" (pp. 53-54; emphasis in text). Years later Marx would note Boisguillebert as one of the most passionate opponents of the monetary system "waging" "” in contrast with Petty "” "a fanatical fight against money which through its interference destroys the natural equilibrium and harmony of commodity exchange."12 At the same time Marx would note "” in the same text "” a contradiction in Boisguillebert to the extent that on the one hand he viewed the bourgeois form of labour, the production of use values as commodities, as the natural social form while, on the other hand, he considered money as an interfering and usurping foreign element "” thus lashing out against the bourgeois labour in one form while, as a utopian, exalting it in another form. Proudhon's socialism, Marx would add, "suffers from this national hereditary evil" (1980: 36, 132, 133).

Secondly, Marx underlines Boisguillebert's sympathy for the poor and the oppressed. He excerpts from Dissertation: "Today men are wholly divided between two classes, that is, the one which enjoys all the pleasures without doing anything and the other which labours from morning till evening and possesses hardly the necessities, and most often is deprived of them" (emphasis in text). Elsewhere, in the same copy book, Marx notes that "Boisguillebert everywhere speaks in the name of the large part of the population who are poor and whose ruin (also) rebounds on the rich. He speaks of the distributive justice" (43).13

Thirdly, Marx credits Boisguillebert with the "doctrine of laissez faire, laissez aller of the modern economists" (53). He excerpts from Dissertation: "It is not a question of taking action for procuring very great wealth. It is only a question of ceasing to take action." Marx comments that with Boisguillebert as with the "modern political economists the natural course of things, that is, the bourgeois society," should bring things in order. At the same time Marx notes that "with Boisguillebert, as later with the Physiocrats, this doctrine has, still something human, and significant; human, in opposition to the economy of the old state which tried to enrich its coffers with the most unnatural means, significant, as the first attempt to emancipate the bourgeois life" (53; emphasis in text).

Fourthly, towards the end of his excerpts from Dissertation Marx refers to Boisguillebert's explanation of the phenomenon of shortage in the midst of plenty, noting its similarity to Say's attempt at "explaining away" (let us add, in common with Ricardo and James Mill) the phenomenon of "overproduction in his doctrine (`law') of markets (débouchés) which Marx considers as "false like all doctrines of political economy" (54; emphasis in text). In this connection Marx offers significant comments on the problem of overproduction where one could already discern the sketch of a portrait of capital's self-destruction as the outcome of its inherent contradictions which Marx would extensively develop in his later manuscripts.14 "The political economists," observes Marx, "are not surprised that there can be a surplus of products in a country though there is, for the majority, the biggest shortage of most elementary means of living: overproduction is the depreciation (Wertlosigkeit) of wealth itself, precisely because wealth as wealth ought to have a value . . . There can be too much of production for the stockjobbers and capitalists, whose commodity can depreciate through abundance. From all sides can arise a surplus of production which is no longer exchanged since it exceeds the need of the solvent humanity, and the movement of private property requires that, in spite of general poverty and (precisely) mediated by it, too much is produced. With the increase of production the shortage of markets increases since the number of the propertyless also increases . . . The mass of products must increase relatively, therefore continually surpass demand more and more, that is, become devalued. It will necessarily turn out that it is not for society but only for a part of it that production takes place and that production for this part will lose its value, since it is destroyed by its mass in proportion to this minority" (56-57; emphasis in text. The term `stockjobbers' is in English in the text).

II. 2. Sismondi

Marx considered Sismondi to be the last representative of the French classical political economy in the same way as he considered Ricardo as the last representative of the English classical political economy. However, Marx considered that, unlike Ricardo, Sismondi also embodied the "critique" of the "bourgeois science of economics" (1962a: 20). Both these aspects are seen in Marx's excerpts from Sismondi. In his Brussels period Marx excerpted from Sismondi's main works: Études sur l'économie politique and Nouveaux principes d'économie politique. However his excerpt copy book containing the excerpts from the latter book as well as the excerpts from Droz and Cherbuliez has not been found. Several important themes on which Marx would draw later came out of the excerpts from Sismondi's Études.

In Sismondi's value theory we already find a rough formulation of what Marx would later call the "socially necessary labour time" (SNLT) as the determinant of value. Marx excerpts the following from Sismondi (in his own German translation): "The market value is always fixed, in the last instance, on the quantity of labour necessary for procuring the object evaluated; it is not the quantity which has actually produced it but the quantity which it would cost with the improvement of the means (of production), and this quantity is always established faithfully by competition." Later, in his Anti-Proudhon (1847) Marx would cite this passage and give what amounts to his first attempt at a formulation of the SNLT determining value: "It is important to insist that what determines value is not the time during which an object has been produced, but the minimum of time in which it could be produced, and the minimum is established by competition" (1965: 39-40. Emphasis in text). About a decade later Marx, in his two different texts, cites from the same excerpt the following: "Exchange value results from the relation between the need of society and the quantity of labour which has sufficed to satisfy the need" (1953: 744; 1980; 138. The whole expression "from the relation . . . the need" is emphasized in the first text). Marx paraphrases and cites Sismondi to the effect that "to reduce the value magnitude to the necessary labour time" is the "characteristic of our economic progress" (1980: 138. The first expression within quotation marks is Marx's, the second Sismondi's. Emphasis in text).

As could be seen, in his work Sismondi offers a clear idea of the two dimensions of SNLT "” the technological and the social needs dimension "” which would later find rigorous formulation in Marx. Thus, in his manuscript for Capital III, Marx writes: "For a commodity to be sold at its market value, i.e., in proportion to the socially necessary labour contained in it, the total quantity of social labour, which in the whole description of that commodity is consumed, must correspond to the quantity of needs which society has of it "” that is, social needs that could be paid for (Zahlungsfähig). Competition . . . tends continually to reduce the total quantity of labour employed on every description of commodities to that standard" (1992: 267. Emphasis in original. The expressions "in the whole . . . consumed," "to reduce," and "labour employed . . . standard" are in English in the original. Engels translated and rephrased them in his edition. See Marx 1964: 202). No wonder, Marx finds Sismondi's superiority over Ricardo in this regard. Referring to Ricardo's formulation of the determination of value by labour time Marx observes that "Sismondi goes further;" in this labour determined value Sismondi "finds the source of all the contradictions of modern industry and commerce" (1965: 39). In a later text Marx notes that Sismondi, in "direct polemic against Ricardo" emphasizes the "specific social character of the labour posting exchange value" (1980: 138).15

Marx excerpted from Sismondi's Études the passages where Sismondi clearly distinguishes between commodity production as such and generalized commodity production (which of course is just another name for the capitalist production). Marx excerpted (in French and in his translation) from Études volume 2 the following: "In the primitive state, in the patriarchal state of society, commerce of course exists but it has not absorbed it wholly. It is practiced only on the surplus of products of a person and not on what constitutes the person's existence. But the character of our economic progress is such that commerce has taken upon itself the task of distributing the totality of wealth communally produced . . . Commerce has robbed wealth of its primitive character of utility. It is the opposition between use value and exchange value to which commerce has reduced everything." Marx would approvingly cite the above text in his 1857-58 manuscript (1953: 743) and partially in Zur Kritik (1859) (1980: 138). From Études volume 1 Marx excerpts the crucial passage: "The progress of wealth has led to the division of the conditions and the professions; it is no longer the surplus of each one which has been the object of exchanges, it is the subsistence itself . . . In this new situation, the life of every man who labours and who produces, depends, not on the completion and success of his labour but on its sale" (underlined in text). Marx, again, would approvingly cite this passage underlining it as a whole in a 1861-1863 manuscript (1976b: 265). The ideas of Sismondi as contained in the passage here Marx would make his own in more than one text. Thus he would assert that while commodity production as such is "compatible with the most historically varied economic social formations," all products must take the commodity form, seize the purchase and sale "not only of the surplus of production but of its substance itself only in the capitalist mode of production" (1962a: 184; 1976b: 286; 1988: 27, 30).

The situation of the proletariat comes out clearly from Marx's excerpts from Sismondi. With the remark that "Sismondi's statement is true today" (123), Marx excerpts from Études volume 1: "The economy on the cost of production cannot but be the economy on the quantity of labour employed to produce or the economy on the reward of this labour" which, in Marx's paraphrase, "necessarily" means that the "superabundant human hands are thrown on the market where they offer themselves at a discount" (emphasis in text). From the same text, again, Marx excerpts (in his translation) the following: "The Roman proletariat lived almost exclusively at the expense of society. One could almost say that the modern society lives at the expense of the proletariat, from the share which it deducts from the reward of his labour." In a later text Marx, would cite this passage in connection with his discussion of the process of capital accumulation, joining it with his remark that the "classical political economy did not for a (single) moment have any illusion about the birth pangs of wealth" (1962a: 621; 1965: 1099).

Equally, the other aspect of capital accumulation, which Marx, calls elsewhere capitalists' "enrichment mania" (Bereicherungssucht) (1953: 80; 1980: 194, 195), their merciless drive for profit across the globe, is clearly depicted in the following significant passage from Sismondi, Études, volume 1 which Marx excerpted (in his translation): "There is no longer any distance that can stop the speculators; the expectation of profit makes capital circulate from one extremity to the other extremity of the known universe. No industry which brings profit stops its operation due to lack of funds, however gigantic might be the conceived scale; and it is not only at one place that it is executed. In twenty different countries the giants are begotten from the teeth of the dragon with which the earth is sown (and) right from the moment of their birth they fight relentlessly one against another." The first part of the passage finds clear echo in the Communist Manifesto's famous portrait of the bourgeoisie "invading the whole surface of the globe" (Marx 1966: 62). The second part points to the broad idea of what Marx would, more precisely, call the "competition of capitals" (in the process of accumulation of capital) and would be elaborated by him in his later writings.16


In his second Brussels book Marx excerpted from the second volume of E. Buret's De la misère des classes laborieuses en Angleterre et en France.17 Reading through the excerpts one could see that the themes appearing in the excerpts were of considerable interest to Marx. Marx also inserted in the excerpts a couple of his own observations. The themes relate to capital's negative impact on society, particularly its labouring class. Buret underlines modern industry's substitution of family labour by factory labour and the completely alien relation and silent hostility between the labourers, and the employers, breaking out into open violence on the simplest of occasions. Large scale production with machinery "divides the population participating in production in two classes with distinctly opposed interests; the class of capitalists, owners of the instruments of production and the class of wage labourers . . . In the big manufacturing industries . . . there are only wage labourers and the administrators of capital.18

Marx offers his critical comments on Buret's somewhat romantic reference to the labour organization of the past. Marx excerpts from Buret: "Earlier there was a legitimate hierarchy, accepted and respected equally by the labourers and the masters in the industry: master, companion, apprentice . . . There was an old organization of labour" (emphasis in text). Marx observes: "A word about the phrase: `organization of labour.' This organization was there. It belonged to the Middle Ages. The modern day industry is the dissolved and negated organization of labour. To wish to reestablish it is a reactionary pious wish. The highest to which it brings is the continuation from feudalism to bureaucracy and the bureaucratic organization of industry" (145).

On the question of population, Marx excerpts this significant line from Buret: "The law of population varies with the economic condition of peoples." This is clearly seen elaborated in Capital, volume 1 in connection with Marx's analysis of "relative overpopulation" "” created by the process of accumulation of capital "” called by Marx the "law of population specific to the capitalist mode of production." Against the Malthusian theory of population Marx writes almost echoing Buret: "Each specific historical mode of production has its specific historically valid law of population. An abstract law of population exists only for the plants and animals in so far as they have not come under human action" (1962a: 660; 1965: 1146).

With respect to Buret's assertion "” excerpted in the copybook "” that the capitalist production has created pauperism, promiscuity of sexes and destroyed the sanctity of family, Marx comments: "Today it is no longer a question whether private property should exist? Whether the family should exist? etc. If the existing conditions have to be maintained, they have to be maintained in their totality. Therefore should property and pauperism exist? Should marriage and prostitution, family and loss of family exist? All these conditions have developed through their opposition (contradiction) and can only through the biggest lie and illusion be considered as positive" (142-143; emphasis in text.19

II. 4. Storch

In the third Brussels book Marx made extensive excerpts from Storch's Cours d'Économie Politique.These excerpts deal with several themes such as division of labour and productive and unproductive labour, national product and revenue, the circulation of capital and the nature of human progress. These would be revisited by Marx in his later writings.

On the division of labour Marx excerpts the following (in French and in German translation): "Division of labour singularly increases the productive powers of labour. It has its starting point in the separation of diverse professions from which it proceeds to the division where several labourers share among themselves the fabrication of the same product as in a manufactory." Later, in connection with his discussion of the two different types of division of labour "” the social and the manufacturing "” Marx would cite this passage in Capital (1962a: 371) without comment and in one 1861-63 manuscript (1976b: 266) with the following comment: "Storch connects the two kinds of division of labour like Smith. However, he makes the one the point of departure for the other, which is a progress." Then, referring to Storch's term "product" "” as given in the above quotation "” Marx underlines that the collective result of the manufacturing division of labour "should be called not a product but a commodity" (1976b: 266; Marx uses the French terms produit and marchandise in the manuscript).20

As regards productive and unproductive labour, we read in the excerpts (in Marx's translation) the following interesting lines, which suggest that productive labour is the labour that creates surplus value: "The human activity is productive only when it produces a value sufficient to replace the costs of production . . . Really speaking, this reproduction is not enough. The activity must produce an extra value." In his 1857-58 manuscript Marx refers to this passage, without citing it, with the remark: "It will be damned difficult (verdammt schwer) for the gentlemen economists to pass theoretically from value's self-preservation in capital to its multiplication "” that is, in its fundamental determination. See, for example, how Storch introduces this fundamental determination through an adverb, `really speaking' (eigentlich)" (1953: 182)

Storch holds (in the excerpts) that a person cannot produce wealth if the person does not possess "inner goods," that is if the person has not developed, the necessary "physical, intellectual and moral capabilities," which supposes the existence of means of development such as "social institutions," etc. Storch criticises Adam Smith for excluding from productive labour all that does not contribute to the production of wealth and for not distinguishing immaterial values from wealth. Not making any comment in his Brussels book, Marx returns to this issue in his 1861-63 manuscripts. Marx first says that the distinction between productive and unproductive labour is of decisive importance for what Smith was considering, namely, the production of material wealth, and indeed, a definite form of its production "” the capitalist mode of production and that Storch's approach is "unhistorical." "In order to consider the relation between the intellectual and material production it is first of all necessary to grasp the latter itself not as a general category, but in a definite historical form . . . If the material production itself is not grasped in its specific historical form, it is impossible to grasp the specific intellectual production corresponding to it and their reciprocal interaction" (1956: 246, 247-48. Emphasis in text). This is of course a partial restatement of what he has famously said in 1859: "The mode of production of material life conditions in general the social, political and intellectual life process" (1980: 100).

Some of the excerpts touch on the distinction between gross product and national revenue of a country. There Storch appears as a J.B. Say critique on this question. He shows Say's error in equating the two which would imply that nothing would be kept aside to cover the costs of production. "However," says Storch, "it is clear that the value of the annual product is divided partly in capital, partly in profits and that each of these portions of the value of the annual product will regularly buy the products which the nation needs in order to maintain the capital as well as to renew the consumption funds . . . Say considers the gross product as society's revenue and thus concludes that society can consume a value equal to its product." Later in his manuscripts of the late 1850s and of 1860s Marx refers to these lines, sometimes quoting them from the Brussels book, and positively evaluates Storch's position against what he calls "Say's garbage" (Dreck) (1953: 15, 316; 1956: 69). In his discussion about the decomposition of the aggregate value of the annual product into constant capital and revenue (which includes variable capital and surplus value) and its reproduction Marx cites Storch's lines given above and observes that what Storch is saying is "in fact another expression for commodity's metamorphosis" and that he is "completely correct." However, Marx adds, "though Storch has very correctly underlined this against Say, nevertheless he was himself totally incapable of explaining and grasping the phenomenon. His merit is to have recognized (constatirt) it" (1988: 323, 377).21

As regards money and circulation, Marx excerpts from the second volume of Storch's book the important statement: "All other commodities become objects of consumption sooner or later, money always remain commodity . . . It's stuff could not be indispensable for the existence of the individual because the quantity of money which circulates cannot be employed individually. It must always circulate." In two later texts, Marx approvingly cites these lines and in one of these texts, referring to the second part of the passage, add, that "Storch is correct (here)" and remarks: "The individual can use money only if money is separated from the individual . . . Money coming out of circulation as an autonomous entity and facing it is the negation of its determination as means of circulation and as measure" (1953: 135; 1980: 42). However, Marx calls Storch's inclusion of money along with credit, workers' specialized training and transport facility as factors of accelerating capital's circulation a "higgledy-piggledy assortment" (kunterbunten Zusammenstellung) leading to the "whole confusion of political economists" inasmuch as "money, as it exists as a relation of commerce, . . . money as money in its immediate form, cannot be said to accelerate the circulation of capital, it is but capital's presupposition" (1953: 562). On the circulation of capital Marx excerpts (in his translation) from volume 1 of Storch's work: "The entrepreneur can restart production only after he has sold the completed product and employed the price to buy new materials and new wages . . . This continued movement, incessantly renewed, of circulating capital from the entrepreneur to its return in the first form is comparable to a circle, whence the name circulating is given to this capital, and the name circulation given to its movement." It should be noted that Storch is not speaking here of `circulating capital' in the usual sense of the classical political economy, though his way of putting it is not entirely free from ambiguity. He is in fact basically speaking of "capital of circulation" in Marx's sense.22 This is on the whole what Marx would later call the "turnover of capital" which is tersely defined in the first manuscript of Capital volume 2: "the total time which capital traverses from its starting point in one form to its point of return in the same form . . . is called the turnover of capital" (1988: 209).

From the third volume of Storch's work Marx excerpts these striking lines on the character of human progress: "The progress of social wealth begets this class useful to society which is burdened with the irksome, the most lowly and the most disgusting tasks, in a word, which, taking upon itself all that the life has as unpleasant and servile (assujetissant), procures to the other classes the time, the serenity of mind, and the conventional dignity of character" (emphases in text). Marx would cite these lines in Capital where he comments: "Storch asks himself in what consists then the real superiority of the capitalist civilisation with its misery and degradation of the masses over barbarism? He has only one answer "” security" (1962a: 677). On a similar theme, again, Marx excerpts from the same volume: "It is a very remarkable result of the philosophical history of man that the progress of society in population, industry and enlightenment (lumière) is always obtained at the expense of the health, dexterity and intelligence of the great mass of people . . . The individual happiness of the majority of people is sacrificed to that of the minority" (emphasis in text). Basically the same idea in a much sharper form appears in Marx's later texts. "The law that civilization has followed till our times" is that "if there is no antagonism, there is no progress" (1965: 35-36). "The development of the human productive powers" is effected "at first at the cost of the majority of human individuals and even of the entire classes." Indeed, "the higher development of the individuality is brought only through a historical process in which the individuals are sacrificed" (1959: 107).23

II. 5. Gasparin, Babbage, Ure

The excerpts from these authors appearing in the fifth Brussels copybook have the theme of machinery and big industry in relation to the division of labour and productivity of labour as well as the consequences, on the working class, of the introduction of machinery in industry. The editors of the volume under review point to the importance of this particular Brussels book, underlining that "here for the first time Marx intensively deals with the problem of the employment of machinery in the production process" (713).

Before we deal with these excerpts, let us make a general point. Following what he called in his Paris manuscripts (1844) the "dialectic of negativity (1973a: 574), and adhering to what he considered as a "law," that "if there is no antagonism, there is no progress" (1965: 35) and that the "development of contradictions of a historical form of production is the only historical way towards its dissolution and metamorphosis" (1962a: 512; 1965: 933), Marx saw both the destructive and the emancipatory aspects of employment of machinery in industry in relation to the immediate producers.24 Hence the importance of these excerpts.

Even though Gasparin, with whose excerpts the fifth Brussels book starts, is a little known author, left no lasting place in the history of ideas and would apparently not appear again in any of Marx's works, Marx excerpted some significant lines from his writings, just as he did with another little known writer, T. Fix, considered earlier in this paper. Marx excerpted the following from Gasparin (in French and in German translation): "Philosophy and Religion have, by turn, proclaimed freedom and equality. But they remain impotent to make them prevail. It is from scientific efforts that the new social order, the great emancipation, has to come . . . The emancipation of the human species is proclaimed in the noise of the industrial machines. The machine man will be able to replace the man machine" (emphasis in text). Marx comments: "unconditional worshipper of machines" (322).

As regards Charles Babbage, Marx excerpted from the French translation of his book On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures (1832). Marx observes that Babbage "belongs to the Ricardian school" inasmuch as "in the last analysis he reduces the power of labour to costs of production" (330). Marx excerpts Babbage's definition of a machine: "the union of all the simple instruments put to action by a single motor constitutes a machine." This definition would be cited by Marx in his Anti-Proudhon (1947) while refuting Proudhon's "absurd" idea of considering "machines as the anthesis of the division of labour" (1965: 103-04; emphasis in text). In Capital, again, he cites this definition and paraphrases it while considering "machine as the point of departure of the industrial revolution" (1962a: 356; see also 1982: 1914).

In these excerpts Babbage is seen to lay down two important principles regarding the division of labour and efficiency in industrial (manufacturing) production. The first is what Alfred Marshall would later call"Babbage's great principle of economical production" (Marshall 1932: 149). Babbage maintains that the master manufacturer by dividing the work into separate operations requiring different degrees of skill and force can procure the precise quantity of skill and force necessary for each operation; while, if the whole work were to be accomplished by one labourer, this latter requires to have, simultaneously, enough skill to execute the most delicate and sufficient force to perform the most difficult operation. Later Marx approvingly cites the relevant passage in his 1860s manuscript in connection with his discussion of the contribution of the division of labour to the reduction in the cost of production of labour power (1976: 262). Again in Capital, the passage appears in connection with the discussion of the general mechanism as well as the basic forms of manufacturing capital. In fact Marx there not only cites the passage but also develops the theme around the action of what he calls the (social) "collective worker" formed from a combination of individual workers towards producing a commodity, first arising in cooperation, then "constituting the specific mechanism of the manufacturing period" (1962a: 369; 1965: 890. Emphasis in the French version as in the first German edition).

The second principle laid down by Babbage is called by Marx the "multiples principle" (1976b: 263; 1980: 1668). According to Babbage, following the special nature of each type of product, once the experience shows the most advantageous number of partial operations into which the production should be divided and the appropriate number of workers employed, the establishments which do not adopt an exact multiple of this number (of workers) will produce at higher costs. "This is," Babbage holds, "one of the causes of the colossal extension of the industrial establishments." Marx cites the relevant passage in his later writings pointing out the pertinence of the "multiples principle underlying cooperation and repeated in the division of labour and the employment of machinery" in the explanation of the process of concentration of capital (1962a: 366; 1980: 1668).

Marx makes the following significant comment on Babbage: "Babbage, though absolutely convinced that the prosperity of the masters is, in general, advantageous to the workers and that the interest of these classes are identical, finds, nevertheless, that each individual of this mixed association does not receive a portion of the gain exactly proportional to the share which he contributes towards its elaboration" (335; the last sentence "each individual . . . elaboration" is given in French). On the great technological progress in the English cotton textile industry Marx excerpts from Babbage: "This continual progress of knowledge and experience is our great force, our great advantage on all the nations who would like to try to rival England in industry" (340; emphasis in text). In a later text Marx cites the beginning part of this sentence ("This continual . . . force") and then observes: "This progress, this social advancement, belongs to and is exploited by capital. All earlier forms of property condemn the greater part of humanity, the slaves, to be the pure instruments of labour. The historical development, political development, art, science, etc. prevail in the high spheres above them. Capital is the first to have imprisoned the historical progress in the service of wealth" (1953: 483-84)

Finally we come to Ure. In Marx's extensive discussion "” in Capital and in different manuscripts "” of the factory system, propelled by (automatic) machinery, Andrew Ure takes a central position and Marx draws on his work considerably.

About the contribution of Ure, particularly in comparison with that of Babbage, Marx says: "In his apotheosis of the big industry, Dr. Ure senses the specific character of manufacture more sharply than the earlier economists and even compared to his contemporaries, for example, Babbage, who is much superior to him in mathematics and mechanics, but who nevertheless understands the big industry singularly from the standpoint of manufacture" (1962a: 370).25 Ure, indeed, is the "Pinder of the (automatic) factory system" (Marx 1962a: 441; 1972b: 440; 1982: 2028; 1992: 458).

In the fifth Brussels book Marx excerpted from the French translation of Ure's The Philosophy of Manufactures (1835). These excerpts are mainly concerned with division of labour and its change of form under the automatic factory system as compared with the earlier system of manufacture, and the employment of the automatic system in the factory and its consequences for the working class.

From Ure's book Marx excerpts Ure's two-way characterization of the factory system. Such a system, according to Ure, signifies "cooperation of several classes of workers looking over, skillfully and assiduously, a system of productive machinery continually put into operation by a central power." In another sense, a factory system is a "vast automaton composed of numerous mechanical and intellectual organs which operate concertedly and without interruption to produce a common object, all of them subordinated to a self-regulated moving force." Later, citing these passages in Capital, Marx makes a fundamental point: "These two definitions are not identical. In the one there is the collective worker as the dominant subject and the mechanical automaton as the object. In the other, the automaton is the subject and the workers are only the conscious organs assisting the unconscious organs and together with them subordinated to the central moving force. The first definition is valid for all possible employment of machinery, whereas the second characterizes its capitalist employment . . . Ure, therefore, likes to present the central machine not only as automat (automaton) but also as autocrat (1962a: 442; 1965: 952; (340; emphasis in the French text, taken over from the first German edition).

In the excerpts on the division of labour, Ure speaks of the substitution of manual as well as skilled labour by machines and the substitution of male labour by female and child labour. Adam Smith's analysis of the division of labour, written only in the infancy of industrialisation, says Ure, does not hold in the age of the automatic system where, instead of adopting works to specific individual capacities, the labour of the individual workers with specific skills is replaced by particular machines, whose "automatic operation even a child can supervise." Ure adds: "By the infirmity of human nature it happens that the more skillful the workman, the more self-willed and intractable he is apt to become and the less fit a component of a mechanical system in which . . . he may do great damage to the whole." Hence the need of "combining science with capital, to reduce the task of workers to the exercise of their vigilance and dexterity, early brought to perfection by the youth when they are concentrated on one single object." Later in Capital Marx cites the first part of the statement ("friend Ure's exclamation") quoted above to make his point: "Since the handicraft skill remains the basis of manufacture and since its whole mechanism has no material skeleton independently of the workers themselves, capital incessantly grapples with the workers' insubordination" (1962a: 389). In this connection, quite logically, Ure, referring to the introduction of the spinning self-acting mule as the "iron man" (workers' own expression taken over by Ure), says (in the excerpts) that "when capital enrols science in its service the rebellious hand of industry always learns to be docile." Referring to this, Marx comments, in one of his 1860s manuscripts, that with the capitalist production "the scientific factor for the first time is consciously developed (and) applied on a scale and is called to life to an extent of which earlier epochs had no idea" (1982: 2062).26 As regards Ure's contention of the "youth" being "concentrated on the single object," as referred to above, Marx has this to say in a manuscript of the 1860s: "Ure confesses that the automatic system, like the division of labour, fixes the activity on a single point "” only that the undeveloped individual must be broken from the youth onwards into an organ of the automaton" (1982: 2033; emphasis in text).

On the substitution of the labour of women and children for that of men, with the introduction of the automatic system, Marx excerpts from Ure the following: "The constant aim and tendency of all mechanical improvement is effectively to side-step wholely the male labour . . . by substituting the labour of women and children for that of the adult workers . . . The tendency to employ the children with sharp eyes and nimble fingers, instead of day labourers with long experience, demonstrates that the scholastic dogma of the division of labour according to the different degrees of skill has finally been exploded by our enlightened manufacturers."27 Citing this passage in a later manuscript Marx observes: "After describing correctly the `tendency' and the `constant aim' (of) displacing labour, subjecting the labourer under automat = autocrat, lowering the price of labour through the substitution of women and children in place of adults, that of the unskilled for the skilled labour, after describing all this as the essence of the automatic workshop, (Ure) reproaches the labourers that they, by their strikes, hasten the development of this beautiful system! Since, this system is the best for them, what can be more intelligent for them than to `force' its development!" (1982: 2034).28


We conclude by a little elaboration on two points touched upon earlier in the text above: (a) `deideologizing' MEGA under the new direction and (b) Marx's method of excerpting from works by other authors, including the importance of his `excerpt copy books' and, in particular, of the one under review here.

(a) To appreciate the `deideologizing' of MEGA it may not be out of place, first, to briefly recall Marx's own position on ideology. Marx did not set out to create a new ideology as opposed to bourgeois ideology, what he (and Engels) did was to found "new materialism" (see his discussion on `theses' on Feuerbach above), and his aim, based on "materialist and, therefore, scientific method" was precisely to demystify all ideologies by revealing how the "conditions of real life" give rise to these "intellectual representations" (1962a: 393). His theoretical work is in the realm of science, not ideology. The aim of his "scientific endeavours," as he wrote to a friend in 1862, was to "revolutionize science" and to lay down "scientific" foundation" (to Kugelmann, December 28, 1962 in Marx and Engels 1972a: 114). In Capital Marx opposes "disinterested investigation and unbiased scientific research to "malevolent conscience" (1962a: 21). What Marx was doing was the exact opposite of creating "false consciousness" or the inverted representation of the human relations, which is what ideology is all about. "In all ideology," Marx declared, "the human beings and their relations appear to stand on their head, as in a camera obscura" (1973b:27).29

It is ironical that the proclaimed disciples of Marx "” who himself had a negative attitude to `ideology' "” denigrated only the `bourgeois' ideology as opposed to which, however, they posited and glorified a new `proletarian' (`Marxist' or `Marxist-Leninist') ideology, completely standing Marx on his head. It was the great merit of David Riazanov that he, the first director of Moscow's Marx-Engels Institute (founded in 1931) and a card holding member of the ruling Party, did not allow any ideological incursion into the editorial principles of the MEGA 1 appearing under his direction. MEGA 1, at least till Riazanov was eliminated from his position, was a shining example of scientific and meticulous presentation of the texts of Marx and Engels without any ideological maquillage.

There was a complete reversal with MEGA 2 which, starting in the early 1970s, was explicitly ideologically oriented. The two Institutes of Marxism-Leninism (in Moscow and Berlin) were no academic or research institutions. These were Party institutions under the central committees of the two Parties. The whole MEGA 2 project was conceived in terms of political finality and set in the context of the "development of a worldwide ideological offensive of Marxism-Leninism," as the central party organ (Einheit) put it in 1972. It was obligatory for the editors to explicitly connect Lenin with the works of Marx and Engels, "stylizing Lenin" as Dlubek, a principal editor of MEGA 2, later put it, "as the singular continuator of the works of Marx and Engels and the unerring interpreter of their ideas" (See Rojahn 1994: 11, 12 and Dlubek 1996: 100.) We offer here just two specimens which are self explanatory. In the very opening volume of MEGA 2, in their `Forword,' the editors wrote: "The further development of the teachings of Marx and Engels, the victory of Marxism in the twentieth century are, above all, bound up with the name of V.I. Lenin. Leninism is the triumph (Errungenschaft) and theoretical weapon of the entire international working class. It is the Marxism of the epoch of the general crisis of the capitalist system . . ., the epoch of humanity's transition from capitalism to socialism and of the establishment of communism" ("Vorwort zur `Gesamtausgabe'"in Marx 1975: 25). Later, in their `Introduction' to the first edition of Capital I appearing in MEGA 2, the editors wrote: "Marx has left behind an invaluable legacy for the proletariat of the whole world: the key to the scientific investigation of the road to the new society, the analysis of this society, the investigation and recognition of its laws and therewith the possibility of recognizing its future development as well as bringing it about in a planned way. The fundamental principles of the new society (as laid down by Marx) served for Lenin and the Bolshevik Party as the starting point for setting about building the future and for erecting on them the basis of the new state and the new society. More than six decades of socialist society in the world have directly and spectacularly (eindrucksvoll) confirmed this." (`Einleitung' in Marx 1983: 51-52). This blatant apologetic of the "new state and the new society" appeared just a few years before they spectacularly crumbled.

Hence the great significance of the post 1993 MEGA (the process starting in 1990-1991), ending an entire epoch of ideologically-politically guided reading of the two authors under the tutelage of the Party, glorifying all acts of the "new state and the new society" and, in the process, infinitely discrediting the two authors. From now on the writings of these authors, at last freed from the Procrustean bed of partisan politics, could again be read like any other great classic, leaving the reader entire freedom to read these authors in their own way, to interpret them in their own way. The volume under review is indeed the first fruit of this scientific endeavour. The great difference should be clear to any reader comparing this volume with the volumes published before the new arrangement came into force. `Marxism' or `Marxism-Leninism' "” serving as ideological cover for the existing regimes and, needless to add, forming no part of Marx's own categories "” have, in our view, rightly been abandoned. Hence the great importance of the present volume. Last, but not at all the least, a new publishing event has also taken place corresponding to the new course. The old publishing house "” Berlin's Dietz Verlag "” historically associated with the Party and which had published all the volumes of `Works' by Marx and Engels (MEW) and the beginning volumes of MEGA was abandoned and the exclusive publishing rights for MEGA were taken over by a well-known academic publishing house, `Akademie Verlag' of Berlin to signal MEGA as an academic endeavour at par with the other classics. It is this publishing house which has published the volume under review, which also lends special significance to this volume.

(b) Finally, a word on Marx's working method as seen in his `excerpt copybooks,' on the importance of these `copybooks' in general and of those included in the present volume in particular.

Marx wrote in the `Afterword' to the second edition of Capital: "The method of presentation must formally differentiate itself from the method of investigation. Investigation has to appropriate the matter (as its own) in detail, analyse its varied forms of development, and to track down their inner connection. Only after accomplishing this work can the real, corresponding movement be presented" (1962a: 27). Marx's 20 `notebooks' and particularly, more than 200 `excerpt copybooks' "” done during almost the whole of his adult life (1840-1882) "” demonstrate this famous "method of investigation" very well indeed. A familiarity with them is indispensable for a proper understanding of Marx's ideas for which a reading of his established texts alone is insufficient.30 Till now very few, writing on Marx, have bothered to refer to them. There are two texts which throw important light on Marx's "method of investigation" "” his working method. The first is from the `preliminary remarks' which Marx's daughter Eleanor Marx-Aveling wrote while publishing Marx's letter to his father "” cited earlier in the present paper "” in Neue Zeit in 1897 (16th year, volume 1, number 1). There we read, among other things, the following: "We already see here the almost superhuman working power and drive for work which have marked Marx's whole life . . . We see how he wrote dozens of pages and calmly destroyed the work, with only one consideration "” `to be clear to himself' and to grasp and master his subject. We see here how he criticizes himself and his work with the utmost severity . . . We already see here the flashes of that original humor which characterized him later so much. We already see him not at all confined to one speciality but a reader who is all embracing, all devouring "” everything, juridical science, philosophy, history, poetry, art, all is water to his mill, and always what he did, he did that completely." (in Marx 1973a: 661). The second text "” a more specific one relating to Marx's `excerpt copybooks' "” is by David Riazanov, the great Marx scholar and the initiator and first director of MEGA 1. Riazanov was in fact the first to signal the great significance of the copybooks. Referring to them he wrote towards the end of the 1920s: "It is not easy to trace a boundary line between a simple excerpt copybook and a preparatory work in Marx's method of copying. In many of the copybooks (even) when they carry no comments by Marx himself, the excerpts cluster around definite problems so closely that they are to be considered as preparatory work for planned and (well) thought out investigations. Many (copy) books are scattered with a small or a large number of short remarks, while in others Marx gives rein to his own thoughts and, in course of excerpting, long excursuses are generated which, as regards their form, appear as Marx's independent products" (Riazanov 1929: XIX).

For our present purpose let us note that Marx, convinced that political economy had to be studied for an understanding of the "anatomy of the bourgeois (civil) society," specifically mentions in his famous `Preface' of 1859 that he began to study the subject in Paris and Brussels (1980: 100). That is why the early `excerpt copybooks,' on political economy of the period 1844-1847 "” comprising those made in Paris and Brussels (and Manchester) "” are of extraordinary importance for investigating the origins of Marx's `critique of political economy,' as the title of the present paper indicates. In fact the first fruit of Marx's explanations in this domain was his justly famous Paris manuscripts of 1844 "” the so-called `Economic-Philosophical Manuscripts' "” which, Marx claimed in his `Forword,' was "based on a conscientious, critical study of political economy" (Marx 1932: 33). Indeed, this was Marx's first `critique of political economy.' Later, as we know, he would characterize his work "” including Capital "” as `critique of political economy.'31


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_______. 1983. `Einleitung' in Marx, K. "Das Kapital," volume 1, (1867) MEGA, Section 2, volume 5, Berlin, Deitz.

_______. 1988. "Ökonomische Manuskripte (1863-1867) in MEGA, Section 2, vol. 4. Part 1, Berlin: Dietz.

_______. 1992. "Ökonomische Manuskripte (1863-1867) in MEGA, Section 2, vol. 4. Part 2, Berlin: Dietz.

_______. 1994. Oeuvres, vol. 4, "Politique"' 1, Paris: Gallimard.

Riazanov, David. 1929. "Einlitung zu Band 1, Zweiter Halbband" in Karl Marx "Werke und Schriften bis Anfang 1844 nebst Briefe und Duokumenten." MEGA Section 1, Volume 1. Berlin: Marx-Engels Verlag.

Rojahan, Jürgen. 1994. "Und sie bewegt sich durch! Die Fortsetzung der Arbeit an der MEGA unter dem Schirm der IMES" in Mega Studien: 5-31.

Rubel, Maximilien. 1974. "Les cahiers d'étude de Marx" in Rubel, M. Marx, Critique du Marxisme. Paris: Payot: 302-339.

Winters, Peter J. 1998. "Der MEGA-Hit" in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, December 30.

1 For useful short accounts of the MEGA's chequered career see R. Hecker (1999: 235-241); G. Hubmann, H. Münkler, M. Neuhaus (2001: 299-311); M. Rubel (in Marx 1994: X-XIX); P.J. Winters (1998: 31). For a more complete picture see the important articles by J. Rojahn (1994: 5-31) and R. Dlubek (1994: 60-106).

2 Before the revised guidelines came into operation, the editorial `introduction' used to be included along with the text in the first book itself, leaving the rest for the second book.

3 It was during 1844-45 that Marx (mostly) and Engels composed the Holy Family.

4 Marx had already, in his Parisian manuscript of 1844, excerpted, without comments, from the last chapter of Phenomenology, `the absolute knowledge': see Marx 1932: 592-96.

5 For example, in the Holy Family, we find the following elaboration, "Robespierre, Saint Just and their party went down because they confounded the ancient realist-democratic community, based on the real slavery, with the modern spiritual-democratic representative state based on the emancipated slavery, the civil (bourgeois) society. What a colossal illusion!" (1972a: 129; emphasis in text). Similarly, a few years later, Marx would write: "The social revolution of the nineteenth century can compose its poetry not from the past but only from the future. It cannot start with itself before it has gotten rid of all the superstitions regarding the past" (1973c: 117).

6 These eleven points were called `theses' by Engels who found them "in an old notebook of Marx . . . hastily written down" (Engels 1964: 329). Engels published them with modifications. Marx had entitled them `Ad Feuerbach' (addressed to Feuerbach). In the present volume we have Marx's original text.

7 This is Marx's expression appearing in his letter to Engels dated April 4, 1867 (1973d: 290).

8 "Feuerbach's `conception' of the sensuous world is limited on the one hand to its intuition purely and simply (bloss) and, on the other hand, to pure and simple perception. He speaks of the `human' and not of the `really historical human' . . . With him materialism and history are completely separated" (Marx 1973b: 42, 45).

9 Thus in the work written a year later we find: "Self transformation and the transformation of circumstances coincide in the revolutionary activity" (1973b: 195). The idea finds echo two and a half decades later in Marx's discourse on the communards (1871): "The working class knows that in order to work out their own emancipation . . . they will have to pass through long struggles, through a series of historic processes, transforming circumstances and men" (1971:76).

10 See MEGA 4.2 (1981).

11 . The term itself appeared for the first time in Marx's Class Struggles in France (1850) as the`dictatorship of the working class.' The term became famous as `dictatorship of the proletariat' in his well-known letter to Weydemeyer (March 3, 1852). Actually, the specific term seems to have been used for the first time by Marx's friend Weydemeyer in the New York organ Turnzeitung (January 1, 1852). (See the remarks by M. Rubel along with Weydemeyer's article in Marx 1994: 1095, 1679-81.)

12 In his Urtext (1858) Marx opposes Boisguillebert's negative attitude to the precious metals (and money) to Petty's advocacy of continuing accumulation of precious metals (basically through foreign trade) as a "spokesperson" and "inciter" of the 17th century England's "energetic, merciless, universal drive for enrichment" mediated by "production for production's sake" (1980: 34, 36). Elsewhere Marx, with reference to Petty's (and Misselden's) veritable apotheosis of "chase after treasure," underlines the "most striking way" in which the "opposite approach, which represents, the real needs of production against the supremacy of money (and previous metals)" comes out in Boisguillebert (1953: 143, 144). Marx would note similar opposition between Ricardo and Sismondi, of course, corresponding to a higher stage of capitalist production. See for example, Marx 1953: 314; 1959: 106-107; 1962b: 50-51.

13 Marx would later contrast W. Petty as a "frivolous, plundering, characterless adventurer" with Boisguillebert who, even as the king's intendant, "stood for the oppressed classes with great spirit and audacity" (1980: 133).

14 See in particular 1953: 314-20, 321, 326, 346-47; 1959: 488-531; 1992: 321-323.

15 The other economist in the classical tradition "” preceding Sismondi "” whom Marx credits with this insight is James Steuart (1980: 135)

16 Thus in a text of late 1840s Marx speaks of "one capitalist driving another from the field and capture his capital" (1973f: 417). Then in his 1861-63 manuscripts Marx refers to the "capitalists as brother enemies sharing the booty of the appropriated alien labour;" "each individual capital seeking to capture the biggest place in the market and drive away and expel its fellow competitor;" "each (capitalist) striving through struggle to draw more than average profit, possible only if the other draws less" (1959: 21, 480; 1962b: 79. Emphasis in text). And in his manuscript of Capital III he refers to the "Capitalists (appearing) in competition as false brothers (faux frères)" and underlines that "competition is transformed into a fight of the brother enemies" (1992: 272, 327).

17 Marx had already excerpted from volume 1 of the book in a 1844 Paris excerpt copybook (see Marx 1981: 561-599) and had liberally cited from the same volume in his famous 1844 Paris Manuscript (see Marx 1973a: 481-483).

18 In his later manuscripts, in connection with his discussion of the "double existence" of capital, Marx would call the capitalists, occupied with the process of production and confronting the wage labourers, "active" capitalists, the "functionaries of capital," that is, simple administrators of capital, as opposed to the "non-functioning" simple owners of "idle capital." See, specially, 1962b: 456, 474-475;, 1992: 445, 446, 450-452, 459-460.

19 We read in the Communist Manifesto: "On what depends the modern bourgeois family? On capital, on private acquisition. Only the bourgeoisie knows the fully developed family; but it finds its complement in the forced negation of family in the proletariat and in the public prostitution . . . the bourgeois marriage is in reality the community of married women . . . It is obvious that with the abolition of the present-day relations of production also disappears the community of women "” begotten by them "” in other words, the official and unofficial prostitution" (Marx 1966: 73, 74).

20 In Capital Marx made the idea more precise: "the collective product of the detail labourers is transformed into a commodity" (1962a: 376; 1965: 897).

21 Elsewhere Marx shows the inconsistency of Storch's acceptance of constant capital as a part of the gross product with his endorsement of A. Smith's position on commodity value which contains only wages and surplus value, but no part of constant capital (1973e: 390).

22 That is, as Marx puts it, "the different forms which the same advanced capital value assumes and throws off ever successively in its curriculum vitae" (1973e: 192) As many as twelve quotations from the Storch excerpts in this sense are uninterruptedly given in Marx's 1857-58 manuscript (1953: 529-530).

23 The same idea is found in Marx 1976b: 327; 1988: 107; 1992: 124-25.

24 Here we offer a sample from Marx's rich storehouse. First the negative. In machines "the opposition between capital and labour develops into a complete contradiction inasmuch as capital appears as the means not only to depreciate the living labour power, but also to make it superfluous" (1982: 2056). "The autonomous and alienated form which the capitalist mode of production in general gives to the conditions of labour and products of labour in opposition to the labourer, is developed, with machinery, into total antagonism" (1962a: 455). And now the emancipatory aspect. In "fixed capital, in its determination as means of production of which the most adequate form is machinery, the human labour, the expenditure of power, is reduced to a minimum. This will be of advantage to the emancipated labour and is the condition of its emancipation" (1953: 589. Though "in fact in machinery the visible products of labour . . . confront the individual labourers as alien, objective, naked forms of being, independent of them and, as means of labour, dominating them, . . . (nevertheless) this inversion of subject-object relation, historically considered, appears as the necessary point of transition for creating, by violence and at the cost of the majority, the wealth as such, that is, the unlimited (rücksichslosen) productive powers of social labor which alone can form the material basis of a free human society" (1988: 65, 120, 121; emphasis in original).

25 In 1860s manuscripts Marx writes about Ure: "This shameless apologist of the factory system has nevertheless the merit of being the first to correctly grasp the spirit of the factory system and then sharply characterize the difference and opposition between the automatic workshop and the manufacture based on the division of labour treated by Smith as the principal thing" (1982: 2022. Emphasis in text).

26 In Capital Marx comments on Ure's "iron man" subjugating the workers: "Even though Ure's work appeared at a time of the little developed factory system, it remains the classical expression of the spirit of factory not only because of his frank cynicism, but also because of the naivete with which he divulges the absurd contradictions of the capitalist mind (Kapitalhirns)" (1962a: 460)

27 Later, citing the last part of above passage ("the scholastic dogma . . . manufacturers") Marx holds that "Ure was right" in noting the historical character and the outmodedness of Adam Smith's notion of the division of labour in relation to the modern industry (1976b: 273). What Ure is saying in the above paragraph seems to be quite relevant to the following statement by Marx. "To the extent that machinery dispenses with the muscular power, it becomes the means of employing labourers without muscular power, but with greater suppleness of the limbs. The labour of women and children was therefore the first word of the capitalist employment of machinery . . . By annexing a preponderant mass of children and women to the combined labour personnel machinery finally breaks down the resistance which the male labourer still puts up against the despotism of capital in manufacture" (1962a: 416, 424).

28 In his List manuscript, composed much earlier (1845), Marx cites the first two passages given above from the "English Pinder of the manufacturing system" ("by the infirmity of human nature . . ." and "the constant aim and tendency . . .") in order to affirm against List: "that the worker develops all his facilities, sets in motion his productive power, himself activates humanly and, thereby, activates what is human in him "” does the bourgeois, the factory owner, have anything to do with all this?" (1972b: 440).

29 Years later, in the same vein, Engels wrote to F. Mehring in 1893: "Ideology is a process which is carried out by the so-called thinker, of course, consciously, but with a false consciousness" (in Marx and Engels 1964: 465. Emphasis added).

30 See the important paper by M. Rubel on Marx's `excerpt copybooks' (Rubel 1974: 302-359).

31 The unusual meaning of this "critique" "” which does not stand for a simple criticism of political economy "” Marx offers in his `Afterword' in Capital's second edition (1873). See Marx 1962a: 22. The revolutionary significance of this concept has escaped most of the writers on Marx including his followers "” among whom, outstandingly, the economists "” who have reduced Marx's work to a simple manual of `Marxist' economics or, at best, `Marxist' political economy.