September, 2005

Resurrecting Karl Marx?


HOOVER INSTITUTION
Paul Craig Roberts

Paul RobertsThe Honorable Paul Craig Roberts is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, John M. Olin Fellow at the Institute for Political Economy, and research fellow at the Independent Institute.

A former editor and columnist for the Wall Street Journal and columnist for Business Week and the Scripps Howard News Service, he is a nationally syndicated columnist for Creators Syndicate in Los Angeles and a columnist for Investor's Business Daily. In 1992, he received the Warren Brookes Award for Excellence in Journalism. In 1993, the Forbes Media Guide ranked him as one of its top seven journalists.

Roberts was a distinguished fellow at the Cato Institute from 1993 to 1996. From 1982 through 1993, he held the William E. Simon Chair in Political Economy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. During 1981–82, he served as assistant secretary of the Treasury for economic policy. President Ronald Reagan and Treasury secretary Donald Regan credited him with a major role in the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981, and he was awarded the Treasury Department's Meritorious Service Award for "his outstanding contributions to the formulation of United States economic policy." From 1975 to 1978, Roberts served on the congressional staff, where he drafted the Kemp-Roth bill and played a leading role in developing bipartisan support for a supply-side economic policy. http://www-hoover.stanford.edu/bios/roberts.html

Following the article I have posted an excerpt taken from Engles 1843 article: Outlines of a Critique of Political Economy. I present it for the readers to contrast to what the vulgar Reaganite economist Paul Craig Roberts, presents as "Marxist economic theory", that he acknowledge as being needed - 'resurrected' - by bourgeois political economists. The article below it is an excerpt from Marx's "Poverty of Philosophy", a critique of Joseph Proudhon's "Philosophy of Poverty". shows the bankruptcy of vulgar political economy.

I will only point out in passing that the basic faults, in Roberts "economic analysis" is that he wants to escape the scientific achievements in economic theory as it progressed and regressed in Europe. Particularly Britain.

The issue of scientific economic theory is the basis for wealth, and its circulation through market mechanism to consumption -- consumption in the labor process where the productive forces are used up, and value transferred by labor and the value of labor power expended on wages is sublated in the price product, thus the production of "saleable commodities", as Roberts call it (below) has value that is determined, not by market prices but by the value of socially-necessary labor time expended in production: the 'price of labor power' must equal its value.

David Ricardo, the economist who 'discovered' what Roberts (below) calls 'comparative advantage', wrote "Principles of Political Economy and Taxation". He observed:

The value of a commodity, or the quantity of any other commodity for which it will exchange, depends on the relative quantity of labour which is necessary for its production, and not on the greater or less compensation which is paid for that labour. (Ricardo: Principles Ch. 1 of Value http://www.econlib.org/library/Ricardo/ricP.html)

Labour, like all other things which are purchased and sold, and which may be increased or diminished in quantity, has its natural and its market price. The natural price of labour is that price which is necessary to enable the labourers, one with another, to subsist and to perpetuate their race, without either increase or diminution ...

The power of the labourer to support himself, and the family which may be necessary to keep up the number of labourers, does not depend on the quantity of money which he may receive for wages, but on the quantity of food, necessaries, and conveniences become essential to him from habit, which that money will purchase. The natural price of labour, therefore, depends on the price of the food, necessaries, and conveniences required for the support of the labourer and his family. (Ricardo of Wages http://www.econlib.org/library/Ricardo/ricP.html)

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The actual capitalist class has no need to resurrect "Marx".

The actually existing capitalists already live in the real world, the capitalistic economic mode of production and appropriation that Marx's Model explained.

What is happening is that the American bourgeois economists nationalist model - "comparative advantages" of free trade model is collapsing.

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The division of labour, which we already saw above as one of the chief forces of history up till now, manifests itself also in the ruling class as the division of mental and material labour, so that inside this class one part appears as the thinkers of the class (its active, conceptive ideologists, who make the perfecting of the illusion of the class about itself their chief source of livelihood), while the others' attitude to these ideas and illusions is more passive and receptive, because they are in reality the active members of this class and have less time to make up illusions and ideas about themselves. Within this class this cleavage can even develop into a certain opposition and hostility between the two parts, which, however, in the case of a practical collision, in which the class itself is endangered, automatically comes to nothing, in which case there also vanishes the semblance that the ruling ideas were not the ideas of the ruling class and had a power distinct from the power of this class.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1845/german-ideology/ch01b.htm#b3

-- -- --- -- -- --- -- -- ---

During, and following World Wars I and II American industrialization and the wiping out of its surplus population, the mutual destruction in Europe of nations productive forces on one hand, and investments in American industrialization on the other enabled the America to emerge with money and industry safe and secure from all alarm.

Leaning on what they thought were the ever lasting arms of the American capitalist's "military-industrial complex" and Britton-Woods, the American economists dismissed the labor theories of value developed in European economic science, and along with this dismissal dismissed the analysis of socially-necessary labor time as the basis for the value of labor power, thus doing away with (or rather hiding from Americans) the capitalist's necessity to force workers to engage in unpaid, surplus labor time objectified in the values of the commodities, surplus-value which upon selling is realized as capitalist profits.

This in sum is the description of the labor process and the exploitation of wageworkers by capitalists: when the capitalists appropriates labor power as a commodity, bought and paid for, the products of this labor belongs to the capitalists and the workers are sent home with paper; currency, with which to purchase commodities from other capitalists owning products of other labor processes.

In the United States in its new role as capital production center following World War II, bourgeois intellectuals created an illusory science of "Sociology Theory" - Veblin, C.Right Mills, Vance Packard, Galbraith and Hollywood movies; and Economic Texts, Samualson, others.

'Sociologists' dismissed, by ignoring, the economic sciences in Europe, culminating in Marxian economic analysis of modes of production and appropriation determination of relations of production and classes, to instead postulate "classes" as determined by how much 'income' one makes as 'payment for contribution to enterprise' : 'factors of production' in which capitalists are 'paid' for 'risk' and 'management' of production, workers wages are supposedly determined solely by supply and demand on the labor market, the discussion of value and surplus-value is completely ignored in American Sociology, Economics and Political theory courses. Or, if mentioned at all, it is to denounce Marxian economic analysis as 'archaic' is not just plain wrong. These omissions are now coming back to hunt these 'economists' and 'sociologists', as the American productivity crisis advances.

In American sociology and economic philosophy the 'labor theory of value' that they associated with their mis-representation of the "Marxian economic critique" was dismissed as "archaic" - "outmoded", dead and buried. The dismissal of the labor theory of value, enabled the American bourgeois intelligentsia to dispense with the theory of surplus-value and capitalistic exploitation of wage labor.

The past decades of down-sizing and capital flight had initially engendered in American economic, social and political theory the myth of a 'new economy', ostensibly based in the so-called 'service sector', and computer robots displacing human labor in production. Well, what this so-called 'new economy' is in fact resulting in is an American economy that is sinking into poverty insomuch as by abandoning production is ending wealth creation!


The 'labor theory of value' is correct after all!


Roberts, considering he was an economist in the Reagan Treasury Department's "supply-siders', whom themselves had no operative theory of value as the basis for prices, thus admits: "Economic science no longer exists in America. Its place has been taken by emotional commitments to dogmas. Americans and their hopes are daily paying the price for this great failure of economic thinking."


This is what Roberts is mealy mouthing where, in the article below he makes two important, interconnected if not directly identical observations:

1) "The US economy has not created a net new job in tradable goods and services in the 21st century".

2) "The destruction of the stabilizing middle class is occurring simultaneously with an extraordinary increase in income inequalities".


"Middle class" is an American invention in 'sociology'/'economic' theory. It is a euphemism for proletariat - that is the objective Marxian definition of class qua mode of income with directly related corresponding relations of production:


By proletariat, the class of modern wage labourers who, having no means of production of their own, are reduced to selling their labour power in order to live. Thus, by contrast the bourgeoisie: By bourgeoisie is meant the class of modern capitalists, owners of and employers of wage labour. http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1848/communist-manifesto/ch01.htm


What Roberts calls "tradable commodities" is a euphemism mealy mouthing the real concept: wealth, created by labor in the labor process. This is where fresh value is directly new wealth. Profits are derived from surplus wealth created in the labor process, unpaid surplus labor pocketed by the capitalists.


Marx comments, in Theories of Surplus-Value:

Given capitalist production, materialised Labour—in the form of money or commodity—always purchases, besides the quantity of labour which it itself contains, an "additional quantity" of living labour "for the profits of the stock"; which however in other words means nothing but that it appropriates for nothing, appropriates without paying for it, a part of the living labour. Adam Smith is superior to Ricardo in that he so strongly emphasises how this change begins with capitalist production. On the other hand, he is inferior to Ricardo in that he is never able to free himself from the viewpoint —though it is one he himself refuted by his own analysis —that through this changed relation between materialised labour and living labour a change takes place in the determination of the relative value of commodities, which in relation to each other represent nothing but materialised labour, given quantities of realised labour. http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1863/theories-surplus-value/ch03.htm#s1


"When capital and technology flow from the US to China and India, the productivity of labor in China and India rises. In the US it falls." Article below)


What Roberts is whining about below is the lack of produced value and increased wealth, the economy is unable to appropriate to the public sector, and the private sector for that matter, the fresh wealth, money needed to supply a spreading non-productive economy and public spending:


"The pressure on school budgets comes from the lost middle class jobs. As manufacturing and now white collar work move out of US communities, tax revenues become more scarce" ...


"Of the 154,000 private nonfarm jobs created in August, 25,000 are in construction and are filled primarily by legal and illegal Mexican immigrants; 20,000 are in wholesale and retail trade; 16,000 in administrative and waste services; 43,000 in education and health services; 34,000 in leisure and hospitality (primarily waitresses and bartenders). Manufacturing lost another 14,000 jobs."


Lil Joe
Joe_radical@earthlink.net


[Pretty remarkable column for a guy who was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under Reagan.]


The Vicious Downward Cycle of the American Economy:

Resurrecting Karl Marx


By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS

Libertarians and free trade economists don't realize it, but they are
pulling Marx out of his grave.


Free traders are resurrecting class war, not because they are Marxists but
because they confuse free trade with global labor arbitrage. Free traders
turn cold shoulders to US job losses from offshore outsourcing, because they
mistake the losses for the beneficial workings of comparative advantage.
Committed to a 200 year old theory that they no longer understand, free
traders are cheering on the destruction of middle class jobs and the
dismantling of the ladders of upward mobility that make large income
disparities politically acceptable.

The destruction of the stabilizing middle class is occurring simultaneously
with an extraordinary increase in income inequalities. Not so long ago CEOs
were paid 20 times more than the average employee; now some are paid
hundreds of times more. The "gilded age" is returning while the value of a
college degree is declining.


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' 10-year jobs forecast, the
majority of US jobs that will be created in the coming decade will be in
domestic services that do not require a college education. This is a strange
job outlook for a high tech economy allegedly benefiting from free trade.
Domestic services are nontradable. The US economy has not created a net new
job in tradable goods and services in the 21st century.

Free trade economists have forgotten that not all trade reflects the
beneficial workings of comparative advantage. For comparative advantage to
function, a country's capital must stay at home and be allocated to
activities in which the country has comparative advantage. The other
necessary condition is that countries have different internal cost ratios of
producing different goods.


When the principle of comparative advantage was discovered, capital was
mainly kept at home under the watchful eye of the owners and protected by
the country's laws. Tradable commodities were primarily products influenced
by climate and geography, guaranteeing that the cost of a yard of wool in
terms of a bottle of wine would vary among countries.

Today capital is more mobile than tradable goods. Modern production
functions are based on acquired knowledge and produce identical results
regardless of location. When a US corporation closes a factory in Ohio and
relocates its production for US markets to China, the loss of US jobs is not
the result of a Chinese firm gaining a comparative advantage over the Ohio
one. It is the result of US capital seeking absolute advantage in lower cost
Chinese labor.


Free trade economists have completely forgotten that the flow of resources
to where they have absolute advantage does not result in mutual benefit. The
country that receives the resources gains and the other country loses.


When capital and technology flow from the US to China and India, the
productivity of labor in China and India rises. In the US it falls.


Outsourcing is eliminating entire American occupations in engineering and
information technology. As there are fewer jobs for graduates, engineering
enrollments in the US are declining. Libertarians and free traders are so
emotionally enamored of the market that they have forgotten that markets can
as easily work against a country as for it. In the US, markets are working
to reduce the supply of American engineers as US corporations lay off their
American employees and replace them with cheaper Chinese and Indians.


Product development, or research and development, follows manufacturing. As
US manufacturing moves offshore, so does R&D.


Innovation follows R&D, with the consequence that US science is also in
relative decline. In brief, the US is developing the labor force
characteristics of a third world country in which jobs are available only in
lower productivity, lower paid "hands on" domestic services.


For engineering and IT jobs that remain in the US, fewer are filled by
Americans. US firms have learned that they can pay foreigners on H-1B and
L-1 work visas lower salaries, force their American employees to train their
foreign replacements, and then discharge their American workers.
Consequently, there is double-digit unemployment among American software
engineers, IT professionals and computer programmers.


As Lou Dobbs exposed recently on CNN, the US Department of Labor is
currently reserving some 52,000 high tech job openings in US firms for H-1B
visa holders. "Bodyshops" use the visas to bring in foreigners who take
Americans' jobs by undercutting their pay.


American firms advertise openings for H-1B visa holders only. No Americans
need apply. Gene Koprowski in TechNewsWorld (August 20) reports that "in
excess of 600,000 new visas have been granted during the last five years.
Thirty-nine percent of H-1B visas were for workers in computer-related
occupations."


In other words, 600,000 Americans lost the occupations in which they have
invested their human capital. You can be assured that these 600,000 did not
move up to better jobs.


As bad as it is for the individuals, it is even more costly for the country.
The outsourcing of jobs and the importation of foreigners on work visas are
emptying the pipeline of qualified Americans and destroying US technical
occupations. It is paradoxical to hear the very executives who replaced
their US employees with foreigners now complain about the declining interest
of Americans in science and engineering. Last July Bill Gates expressed his
worries about the precipitous decline in the number of students entering
computer science. Why is Bill surprised when he helped to lead the offshore
outsourcing movement?


Obviously, it is a vicious cycle. As Americans are discouraged from the
occupations, the corporations lobby for more work visas, which discourages
more Americans.


Seeking to protect their careers from being outsourced, Americans are
turning to domestic services, such as nursing and teaching. However, H-1B
visas threaten these occupations, too. Hospitals struggling with costs and
school systems struggling with budgets are importing lower cost foreigners
to teach American kids and care for American patients.


In Nevada the Clark County School District has imported teachers from the
Philippines. Arizona has imported teachers from New Delhi, India. The New
York Department of Education has brought teachers in from Jamaica.
Cleveland, Ohio, has imported teachers from India. It goes on and on.

Joe Guzzardi has a good article posted on vdare.com about the use of foreign

teachers in US schools. This practice raises many questions: Does the money
saved on teachers' salaries go to administrators as bonuses for
cost-cutting? How can foreigners from outside our culture enculturate
American students? What happens to enrollments in US education and nursing
curriculums as imported foreigners fill available positions? What happens to
the laid off US engineers and technical people who are displaced again, this
time from teaching math and science in our schools?


The pressure on school budgets comes from the lost middle class jobs. As
manufacturing and now white collar work move out of US communities, tax
revenues become more scarce. Administrators seek foreign employees who will
work for less.


Eventually, all Americans will be working for less except the fat cats at
the top, who will earn large bonuses by substituting foreigners for
Americans.


What occupations will be left to native citizens? This question comes to me
from many frustrated parents who are trying to give their children some
career counseling. It is possible for Americans still to earn good incomes
from being dentists and lawyers (if they are in the top 20% of their class).
Next one thinks of skilled trades such as electrician, plumber and auto
mechanic. However, Mexican immigrants are crowding Americans out of the
construction trades and may soon dominate other trades as well.


Opportunity for native born Americans is collapsing. The loss of opportunity
is showing up in declining median household income and rising poverty rate.
On September 1, Edwin Rubenstein reported (vdare.com) that according to the
Census Bureau's August 30 report, "median household income declined for an
unprecedented fifth straight year in 2004." The main reason for declining
household income, says the Economic Policy Institute, is "ongoing weakness
in the job market."


HIgher paying jobs are being lost to outsourcing and to work visas. Lower
paying jobs are being lost to Mexicans. With real income falling for five
years (despite an economic recovery), the US poverty rate has climbed from
11.3% in 2000 to 12.7% in 2004, adding 5.4 million more persons to the
poverty roll.


Yet, no think free trade economists and libertarians--like LBJ who promised
us light at the end of the tunnel in Vietnam and Bush who promises light at
the end of the tunnel in Iraq--still promise that outsourcing and H-1B visas
mean increased wealth for Americans.


Economic science no longer exists in America. Its place has been taken by
emotional commitments to dogmas. Americans and their hopes are daily paying
the price for this great failure of economic thinking.


The August payroll jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics repeats
the consistent pattern of 21st century America--no net job creation in high
productivity sectors. The only jobs created are in nontradable lower paid
domestic services.


Of the 154,000 private nonfarm jobs created in August, 25,000 are in
construction and are filled primarily by legal and illegal Mexican
immigrants; 20,000 are in wholesale and retail trade; 16,000 in
administrative and waste services; 43,000 in education and health services;
34,000 in leisure and hospitality (primarily waitresses and bartenders).
Manufacturing lost another 14,000 jobs.


Brand name companies that once were symbols of US manufacturing are today
assemblers of foreign made parts. An industry of assemblers has no need for
engineers or scientists. The dismantling of the US economy cannot be
corrected by education and job retraining. The US is on its way to becoming
a third world country.

It is detrimental to the future of freedom that at this time, when our civil
liberties are under attack by the Bush administration and diminishing
economic opportunity is breathing new life into class war, libertarians and
market economists are demonstrating more commitment to ideology than to the
welfare of fellow citizens. By associating freedom and market solutions with
policies that are eroding Americans' prospects, freedom's defenders are
unwittingly stabbing freedom in the back.

http://www.counterpunch.org/roberts09052005.html

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"Political economy came into being as a natural result of the expansion of trade, and with its appearance elementary, unscientific huckstering was replaced by a developed system of licensed fraud, an entire science of enrichment.


This political economy or science of enrichment born of the merchants' mutual envy and greed, bears on its brow the mark of the most detestable selfishness. People still lived in the naive belief that gold and silver were wealth, and therefore considered nothing more urgent than the prohibition everywhere of the export of the "precious" metals. The nations faced each other like misers, each clasping to himself with both arms his precious moneybag, eyeing his neighbours with envy and distrust. Every conceivable means was employed to lure from the nations with whom one had commerce as much ready cash as possible, and to retain snugly within the customsboundary all which had happily been gathered in.


If this principle had been rigorously carried through trade would have been killed. People therefore began to go beyond this first stage. They came to appreciate that capital locked up in a chest was dead capital, while capital in circulation increased continuously. They then became more sociable, sent off their ducats as callbirds to bring others back with them, and realised that there is no harm in paying A too much for his commodity so long as it can be disposed of to B at a higher price.


On this basis the mercantile system was built. The avaricious character of trade was to some extent already beginning to be hidden. The nations drew slightly nearer to one another, concluded trade and friendship agreements, did business with one another and, for the sake of larger profits, treated one another with all possible love and kindness. But in fact there was still the old avarice and selfishness and from time to time this erupted in wars, which in that day were all based on trade jealousy. In these wars it also became evident that trade, like robbery, is based on the law of the strong hand. No scruples whatever were felt about exacting by cunning or violence such treaties as were held to be the most advantageous.


The cardinal point in the whole mercantile system is the theory of the balance of trade. For as it still subscribed to the dictum that gold and silver constitute wealth, only such transactions as would finally bring ready cash into the country were considered profitable. To ascertain this, exports were compared with imports. When more had been exported than imported, it was believed that the difference had come into the country in ready cash, and that the country was richer by that difference. The art of the economists, therefore, consisted in ensuring that at the end of each year exports should show a favourable balance over imports; and for the sake of this ridiculous illusion thousands of men have been slaughtered! Trade, too, has had its crusades and inquisitions.


The eighteenth century, the century of revolution, also revolutionised economics. But just as all the revolutions of this century were onesided and bogged down in antitheses -- just as abstract materialism was set in opposition to abstract spiritualism, the republic to monarchy, the social contract to divine right -- likewise the economic revolution did not get beyond antithesis. The premises remained everywhere in force: materialism did not attack the Christian contempt for and humiliation of Man, and merely posited Nature instead of the Christian God as the Absolute confronting Man. In politics no one dreamt of examining the premises of the state as such. It did not occur to economics to question the validity of private property. Therefore, the new economics was only half an advance. It was obliged to betray and to disavow its own premises, to have recourse to sophistry and hypocrisy so as to cover up the contradictions in which it became entangled, so as to reach the conclusions to which it was driven not by its premises but by the humane spirit of the century. Thus economics took on a philanthropic character. It withdrew its favour from the producers and bestowed it on the consumers. It affected a solemn abhorrence of the bloody terror of the mercantile system, and proclaimed trade to be a bond of friendship and union among nations as among individuals. All was pure splendour and magnificence -- yet the premises reasserted themselves soon enough, and in contrast to this sham philanthropy produced the Malthusian population theory -- the crudest, most barbarous theory that ever existed, a system of despair which struck down all those beautiful phrases about philanthropy and world citizenship. The premises begot and reared the factory system and modern slavery, which yields nothing in inhumanity and cruelty to ancient slavery. Modern economics -- the system of free trade based on Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations -- reveals itself to be that same hypocrisy, inconsistency and immorality which now confront free humanity in every sphere.


But was Smith's system, then, not an advance? Of course it was, and a necessary advance at that. It was necessary to overthrow the mercantile system with its monopolies and hindrances to trade, so that the true consequences of private property could come to light. It was necessary for all these petty, local and national considerations to recede into the background, so that the struggle of our time could become a universal human struggle. It was necessary for the theory of private property to leave the purely empirical path of merely objective inquiry and to acquire a more scientific character which would also make it responsible for the consequences, and thus transfer the matter to a universally human sphere. It was necessary to carry the immorality contained in the old economics to its highest pitch, by attempting to deny it and by the hypocrisy introduced (a necessary result of that attempt). All this lay in the nature of the case. We gladly concede that it is only the justification and accomplishment of free trade that has enabled us to go beyond the economics of private property; but we must at the same time have the right to expose the utter theoretical and practical nullity of this free trade.


The nearer to our time the economists whom we have to judge, the more severe must our judgment become. For while Smith and Malthus found only scattered fragments, the modern economists had the whole system complete before them: the consequences had all been drawn; the contradictions came clearly enough to light; yet they did not come to examining the premises, and still accepted the responsibility for the whole system. The nearer the economists come to the present time, the further they depart from honesty. With every advance of time, sophistry necessarily increases, so as to prevent economics from lagging behind the times. This is why Ricardo, for instance, is more guilty than Adam Smith, and McCulloch and Mill more guilty than Ricardo. (Engles Outlines of a Critique of Political Economy http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/df-jahrbucher/outlines.htm)


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Karl Marx

The Poverty of Philosophy

Chapter Two: The Metaphysics of Political Economy


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The Method


The more the antagonistic character comes to light, the more the economists, the scientific representatives of bourgeois production, find themselves in conflict with their own theory; and different schools arise.


We have the fatalist economists, who in their theory are as indifferent to what they call the drawbacks of bourgeois production as the bourgeois themselves are in practice to the sufferings of the proletarians who help them to acquire wealth. In this fatalist school, there are Classics and Romantics. The Classics, like Adam Smith and Ricardo, represent a bourgeoisie which, while still struggling with the relics of feudal society, works only to purge economic relations of feudal taints, to increase the productive forces and to give a new upsurge to industry and commerce. The proletariat that takes part in this struggle and is absorbed in this feverish labor experiences only passing, accidental sufferings, and itself regards them as such. Economists like Adam Smith and Ricardo, who are the historians of this epoch, have no other mission than that of showing how wealth is acquired in bourgeois production relations, of formulating these relations into categories, into laws, and of showing how superior these laws, these categories, are for the production of wealth to the laws and categories of feudal society. Poverty is in their eyes merely the pang which accompanies every childbirth, in nature as in industry.


The romantics belong to our own age, in which the bourgeoisie is in direct apposition to the proletariat; in which poverty is engendered in as great abundance as wealth. The economists now pose as blase fatalists, who, from their elevated position, cast a proudly disdainful glance at the human machines who manufacture wealth. They copy all the developments given by their predecessors, and the indifference which in the latter was merely naivete becomes in them coquetry.


Next comes the humanitarian school, which sympathizes with the bad side of present-day production relations. It seeks, by way of easing its conscience, to palliate even if slightly the real contrasts; it sincerely deplores the distress of the proletariat, the unbridled competition of the bourgeois among themselves; it counsels the workers to be sober, to work hard and to have few children; it advises the bourgeois to put a reasoned ardor into production. The whole theory of this school rests on interminable distinctions between theory and practice, between principles and results, between ideas and application, between form and content, between essence and reality, between right and fact, between the good side and the bad side.

The philanthropic school is the humanitarian school carried to perfection. It denies the necessity of antagonism; it wants to turn all men into bourgeois; it wants to realize theory in so far as it is distinguished from practice and contains no antagonism. It goes without saying that, in theory, it is easy to make an abstraction of the contradictions that are met with at every moment in actual reality. This theory would therefore become idealized reality. The philanthropists, then, want to retain the categories which express bourgeois relations, without the antagonism which constitutes them and is inseparable from them. They think they are seriously fighting bourgeois practice, and they are more bourgeois than the others.


Just as the economists are the scientific representatives of the bourgeois class, so the Socialists and Communists are the theoreticians of the proletarian class. So long as the proletariat is not yet sufficiently developed to constitute itself as a class, and consequently so long as the struggle itself of the proletariat with the bourgeoisie has not yet assumed a political character, and the productive forces are not yet sufficiently developed in the bosom of the bourgeoisie itself to enable us to catch a glimpse of the material conditions necessary for the emancipation of the proletariat and for the formation of a new society, these theoreticians are merely utopians who, to meet the wants of the oppressed classes, improvise systems and go in search of a regenerating science. But in the measure that history moves forward, and with it the struggle of the proletariat assumes clearer outlines, they no longer need to seek science in their minds; they have only to take note of what is happening before their eyes and to become its mouthpiece.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1847/poverty-philosophy/ch02.htm


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