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and communism ; it is the history also of the internecine warfare between the two latter, and its end is the victory of federalism.*
* Federalistic scheme for the modern universal development.
Communisme (a) Total liberalism.
(a) Total communism. (6) Semi-liberalism.
The Leaders of the most recent Socialistic Agitation.-Karl Marx.
-His Opinions.-General Remarks.—British Legislation in the Interests of Factory Labour.—Modes of Expropriation which the Employers of Labour are said to be Guilty of toward their Dependents.-Surplus Value of Labour appropriated by the Capitalists, both absolutely and relatively.—Normal Day of Labour.-Dangerous Tendencies of Capital in influencing the Physical and Moral Well-being of the People.—The English Proletarian Class.-Lassalle as an Agitator.—His Critical Writings and Positive Proposals considered. — Proudhon, Engels.
Karl Marx is a name which has become of late familiar with English readers in connection with the manifestoes of the International Society. But his works are, as a rule, little read, notwithstanding their special bearing on the social question in England and the masterly exposition of British legislation for the protection of the working people engaged in factory labour which they contain. Having lived as an exile for many years in England, he has made himself thoroughly acquainted with the condition of the labouring classes, and has closely followed various labour movements. He is also well versed in English works on political economy, and has given much attention to parliamentary reports, and those of commissions appointed to inquire into the condition of the working classes. In the first volume of his important work, entitled “Capital, Criticism on Political Economy,” he treats on the process of production as carried on by capital.* Here we find abundant material
* By capital he means private capital of the employers of labour.
OVERPLUS LABOUR DEFINED.
for social reformers and the general reader who takes any interest in, and wants to understand the real meaning of, the most recent socialistic movements.
Marx is a Hegelian in his philosophy, and a rather bitter opponent of the ministers of religion. But in forming an opinion on his writings we must not allow ourselves to be prejudiced against the man, whose peculiar position and experience soured his temper and warped his judgment. This in no small degree added to the sting of his severe criticism on capitalism and its apologists, so as to make him appear frequently onesided in his own views and unfair towards those of others. His work, written in German, forms a connecting link between English and German socialism, and has had no little influence on German socialistic literature, and especially on Ferdinand Lassalle.
The whole of this book has apparently for its main object to prove that in the capitalistic process of production the value-in-exchange of labour, regarded as a commodity, is reduced to the lowest possible necessary cost of production, and that by this almost solely the capitalist becomes enriched and adds to his enjoyment. This Marx thinks is only the old story, and he quotes a writer, John Bellers, who so far back as 1696 says, “The labour of the poor represents the gold mines of the rich." Thus he considers that the creation of private fortunes is entirely brought about at the expense of wages labour. He maintains that wages do not represent the value of work rendered for which they are presumably the reward, but that they are only equal in value to the bare necessities required for the support of the labourer. In order to this, some of the necessaries of life such as bread, fuel, etc. =(A), must be renewed daily, another part=(B)weekly, and a third = (C) monthly, in given quantities. Thus Marx puts the following formula to express what daily wages,
365 A + 52 B + 12 C i.e. necessary wages
365 Now, he says, although six hours' work daily might suffice to produce a value equal to this, still the labourer must work for his employer twelve or sixteen hours, in order to receive a remuneration tantamount to it. Since labour power must seek for employment, and in the struggle for existence must accept the lowest possible remuneration, the working man instead of receiving the full amount of the produce of his labour only gets the amount equal to the cost of keeping up his labour power, and in the overplus obtained (i.e. the difference between these two values) consists the “Plusmacherei des Kapitals,” the overplus gained by capital. We shall have occasion to point out in the sequel those misconceptions which underlie this sort of negative criticism. But whatever be the fault in Marx's theories, there is much in his writings, especially where he stands up as the defender of factory legislation, which demands the attention of all those who wish to avert a social revolution by timely social reforms.
Marx distinguishes two kinds of enterprising capital, the constant and the variable, which correspond with what we have called fixed and circulating capital. Raw material and instruments of labour are understood by the former, and the funds out of which wages are paid constitute the latter. Variable capital, he thinks, is the instrument whereby the capitalist is enabled to absorb the profits arising from insufficient remuneration of labour. If m
more, or surplus labour unrewarded, and v = variable capital, then m will be to v what overplus labour is to necessary labour.
Hence, the rate of surplus value is the exact expression for the amount fraudulently
ASSERTIONS OF MARX ARBITRARY.
obtained by capital from labour, or by the capitalist from the working man. As to constant capital, our author considers that it does not contribute towards any increase of value in the process of production, but transplants its value simply, and with no addition, into the transformed product. Now both these assertions are arbitrary.
When Marx, by way of explanation, asserts that in the creation of surplus value in the manufacture of chemical products we need not take into account the constant capital of retorts used in the process he is mistaken. The highest degree of production depends on the jointeffect of constant capital with labour. If constant capital, such as machinery, raw stuffs, etc., can produce nothing without labour, no more can labouritself produce effectively without the best raw material and the aid of machinery at its disposal. And he (be he capitalist, or labourer belonging to a co-operative association) who provides the machinery, at his expense, deserves compensation for its
We do not now discuss whether the premium obtained by the capitalist is always just and equitable; no doubt, profits are frequently out of all proportion. We only point out an error in the views of Marx on the formation of property. The chief cause for the depression of wages, or fall in the value of labour power, is over population. Moreover, even taking for argument's sake only variable capital into account, it will be seen that the (profit or) overplus value obtained is not necessarily nor altogether the revenue arising from curtailment of the labourer's wages. The enterprising capitalist assists as much as the labourer in the overplus value created by a wise division of labour, and by incurring a certain amount of risk in entering upon any given undertaking.