conducts operations that resemble those of a weaver, and a bee puts to shame many an architect in the construction of her cells. But what distinguishes the worst architect from the best of bees is this, that the architect raises his structure in imagination before he erects it in reality.
From each according to his abilities
to each according to his needs
the antithesis of
USE V A L& U E
»M. Proudhon undertakes to explain to us first of all the double nature of value, the “distinction in value,” the process by which use value is transformed into exchange value. It is necessary for us to dwell with M. Proudhon upon this act of transubstantiation. The following is how this act is accomplished, according to our author. »A very large number of products are not to be found in nature, they are products of industry. If man’s needs go beyond nature’s spontaneous production, he is forced to have recourse to industrial production. What is this industry in M. Proudhon’s view? What is its origin? A single individual, feeling the need for a very great number of things, “cannot set his hand to so many things.” So many things to produce presuppose at once more than one man’s hand helping to produce them. Now, the moment you postulate more than one hand helping in production, you at once presuppose a whole production based on the division of labour. Thus need, as M. Proudhon presupposes it, itself presupposes the whole division of labour. In presupposing the division of labour, you get exchange, and, consequently, exchange value. One might as well have presupposed exchange value from the very beginning. »But M. Proudhon prefers to go the roundabout way. Let us follow him in all his detours, which always bring him back to his starting point. »In order to emerge from the condition in which everyone produces in isolation and to arrive at exchange, “I turn to my collaborators in various functions,” says M. Proudhon. I, myself, then, have collaborators, all with different func-
tion. And yet, for all that, I and all the others, always according to M. Proudhon’s supposition, have got no farther than the solitary and hardly social position of the Robinsons. The collaborators and the various functions, the division of labour and the exchange it implies, are already at hand. »To sum up: I have certain needs which are founded on the division of labour and on exchange. In presupposing these needs, M. Proudhon has thus presupposed exchange, exchange value, the very thing of which he purposes to “note the genesis with more care than other economists.” »M. Proudhon might just as well have inverted the order of things, without in any way affecting the accuracy of his conclusions. To explain exchange value, we must have exchange. To explain exchange, we must have the division of labour. To explain the division of labour, we must have needs which render necessary the division of labour. To explain these needs, we must “presuppose” them, which is not to deny them – contrary to the first axiom in M. Proudhon’s prologue: “To presuppose God is to deny him.” (Prologue, p.1) »How does M. Proudhon, who assumes the division of labour as the known, manage to explain ex-
the metaphysics of political economy
Here we are, right in Germany! We shall now have to talk metaphysics while talking political economy. And in this again we shall but follow M. Proudhon’s “contradictions.” Just now he forced us to speak English, to become pretty well English ourselves. Now the scene is changing. M. Proudhon is transporting us to our dear fatherland and is forcing us, whether we like it or not, to become German again. If the Englishman transforms men into hats, the German transforms hats into ideas. The Englishman is Ricardo, rich banker and distinguished economist; the German is Hegel, simple professor at the University of Berlin. Louis XV, the last absolute monarch and representative of the decadence of French royalty, had attached to his person a physician who was himself France’s first economist. This doctor, this economist, represented the imminent and certain triumph of the French bourgeoisie. Doctor Quesnay made a science out of political economy; he summarized it in his famous Tableau économique. Besides the thousand and one commentaries on this table which have
appeared, we possess one by the doctor himself. It is the “Analysis of the Economic Table,” followed by “seven important observations.” M. Proudhon is another Dr. Quesnay. He is the Quesnay of the metaphysics of political economy.
Here we are
Now metaphysics – indeed all philosophy – can be summed up, according to Hegel, in method. We must, therefore, try to elucidate the method of M. Proudhon, which is at least as foggy as the Economic Table. It is for this reason that we are making seven more or less important observations. If Dr. Proudhon is not pleased with our observations, well, then, he will have to become an Abbe Baydeau and give the “explanation of the economico-metaphysical method” himself. First Observation “We are not giving a history according to the order in time, but according to the sequence of ideas. Economic phases or categories are in their manifestation sometimes contemporary, sometimes inverted.... Economic theories have nonetheless their logical sequence and their serial relation in the understanding: it is this order that we flatter our- selves to have discovered.”
right in Germany!
democracy is the
road to communism
THE PRODUCTION OF TOO MANY USEFUL THINGS results in too many useless people. CONDENSED NO. 18 / 26 PT
THE PRODUCTION OF TOO MANY USEFUL THINGS results in too many useless people. BOLD CONDENSED NO. 18 / 26 PT
THE PRODUCTION OF TOO MANY USEFUL things results in too many useless people. BOLD / 26 PT
THE PRODUCTION OF TOO MANY USEFUL things results in too many useless people. LIGHT / 24 PT
THE PRODUCTION OF TOO MANY USEFUL things results in too many useless people. REGULAR / 24 PT
THE PRODUCTION OF TOO MANY USEFUL things results in too many useless people. BOLD NO. 2 / 24 PT
THE PRODUCTION OF TOO MANY USEFUL things results in too many useless people. EXTENDED / 18 PT
THE PRODUCTION OF TOO MANY USEFUL things results in too many useless people. BOLD EXTENDED / 18 PT
WORKERS OF THE WORLD UNITE;
YOU HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE BUT YOUR CHAINS
the writer may very well serve a moment of history as its mouthpiece
but he cannot of course create it.