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"To each according to his contribution" is a principle of distribution considered to be one of the defining features of
socialism Socialism is a political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms of Power (social and political), power relations between individuals, ...
. It refers to an arrangement whereby individual compensation is representative of one's contribution to the social product (total output of the economy) in terms of effort, labor and productivity. This is in contrast to the method of distribution and compensation in
capitalism Capitalism is an economic system An economic system, or economic order, is a system A system is a group of interacting Interaction is a kind of action that occurs as two or more objects have an effect upon one another. The idea o ...

capitalism
, an economic and political system in which property owners can receive
unearned income Unearned income is a term coined by Henry George Henry George (September 2, 1839 – October 29, 1897) was an American political economist and journalist. His writing was immensely popular in 19th-century America and sparked several reform mov ...
by virtue of ownership irrespective of their contribution to the social product. The concept formed the basic definition of socialism for its pre-Marxist proponents, including
Ricardian socialists Ricardian socialism is a branch of Classical economics, classical economic thought based upon the work of the economist David Ricardo (1772–1823). The term is used to describe economists in the 1820s and 1830s who developed a theory of capitali ...
, classical economists,
collectivist anarchists Collectivist anarchism, also referred to as anarchist collectivism and anarcho-collectivism, is a revolutionary socialistPatsouras, Louis (2005). ''Marx in Context''. iUniverse. p. 54. doctrine and anarchist school of thought that advocates the abo ...
and
individualist anarchists Individualist anarchism is the branch of anarchism that emphasizes the individual and their Will (philosophy), will over external determinants such as groups, society, traditions and ideological systems."What do I mean by individualism? I mean b ...
, as well as for Marx, who contrasted it with "
to each according to his need "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs" (German language, German: ''Jeder nach seinen Fähigkeiten, jedem nach seinen Bedürfnissen'') is a slogan popularised by Karl Marx in his 1875 ''Critique of the Gotha Program''.F ...
" as the corresponding principle of completed communism.


Definition and purpose

''To each according to his contribution'' was a concept espoused by many members of the socialist and
labor movement The labour movement or labor movement consists of two main wings: the trade union movement (British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect A standard language (also standard variety, standard dialect, and standard) is a l ...
. The French socialist Saint-Simonists of the 1820s and 1830s used slogans such as," from each according to his ability, to each ability according to its work" or," From each according to his capacity, to each according to his works.” Other examples of this can be found from
Ferdinand Lassalle Ferdinand Lassalle (; 11 April 1825 – 31 August 1864) was a Prussia Prussia, , Old Prussian Distribution of the Baltic tribes, circa 1200 CE (boundaries are approximate). Old Prussian was a Western Baltic language belonging to t ...

Ferdinand Lassalle
's and
Eugen DühringEugen Karl Dühring (12 January 1833, Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inhabitants, as of 31 December 2019 makes it t ...
's statements to
Leon Trotsky Lev Davidovich Bronstein. ( – 21 August 1940), better known as Leon Trotsky; uk, link= no, Лев Давидович Троцький; also transliterated ''Lyev'', ''Trotski'', ''Trotskij'', ''Trockij'' and ''Trotzky''. (), was a Ukrainian ...

Leon Trotsky
's writings.
Vladimir Lenin Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov. ( 1870 – 21 January 1924), better known by his alias Lenin,. was a Russian revolutionary, politician, and political theorist. He served as the first and founding head of government The head of government is e ...

Vladimir Lenin
, inspired by Marx's writing on the subject in his ''
Critique of the Gotha Programme The ''Critique of the Gotha Programme'' (german: Kritik des Gothaer Programms) is a document based on a letter by Karl Marx written in early May 1875 to the Social Democratic Workers' Party of Germany (SDAP), with whom Marx and Friedrich Engels wer ...
'', claimed the principle to be a fundamental element of socialism within Marxist theory.
Libertarian socialist Libertarian socialism, also referred to as anarcho-socialism, anarchist socialism, free socialism, stateless socialism, socialist anarchism and socialist libertarianism,Carlson, Jennifer D. (2012). "Libertarianism". In Miller, Wilburn R., ed. ''T ...
thinkers, such as American
anarchist Anarchism is a political philosophy and Political movement, movement that is sceptical of authority and rejects all involuntary, coercive forms of hierarchy. Anarchism calls for the abolition of the State (polity), state, which it holds to ...

anarchist
Benjamin Tucker Benjamin Ricketson Tucker (; April 17, 1854 – June 22, 1939) was an American anarchist Anarchism is a political philosophy and Political movement, movement that is sceptical of authority and rejects all involuntary, coercive forms of h ...

Benjamin Tucker
, defined socialism as a system whereby the laborer receives the full product of his labor through the elimination of
exploitation Exploitation may refer to: *Exploitation of natural resources *Exploitation of labour *Exploitation fiction *Exploitation film *Exploitation (film), ''Exploitation'' (film), a 2012 film *Sexual slavery and other forms of slavery *Oppression See al ...
and accrual of
unearned income Unearned income is a term coined by Henry George Henry George (September 2, 1839 – October 29, 1897) was an American political economist and journalist. His writing was immensely popular in 19th-century America and sparked several reform mov ...
to a
capitalist class Bourgeoisie (; ) is a Polysemy, polysemous French term that can mean: * a sociologically defined social class, especially in contemporary times, referring to people with a certain Cultural capital, cultural and financial capital belonging to ...

capitalist class
. The term means simply that each worker in a socialist society receives compensation and benefits according to the quantity and value of the labor that they contributed. This translates into workers of great productivity receiving more wages and benefits than workers of average productivity, and substantially more than workers of lesser productivity. An extension of this principle could also be made so that the more difficult one's job is – whether this difficulty is derived from greater training requirements, job intensity, safety hazards, etc. – the more one is rewarded for the labor contributed. The purpose of the principle, as
Trotsky Lev Davidovich Bronstein ( – 21 August 1940), better known as Leon Trotsky; uk, link= no, Лев Давидович Троцький; also transliterated ''Lyev'', ''Trotski'', ''Trotskij'', ''Trockij'' and ''Trotzky''. (), was a Russian Ma ...

Trotsky
would later state, is to promote productivity. This is done by creating incentives to work harder, longer, and more productively. The principle is ultimately a stowaway from capitalism that, according to Marx, will vanish as work becomes more automated and enjoyable, and goods become available in abundance.


Elaboration by Marx

The principle has its roots in the way that
capitalism Capitalism is an economic system An economic system, or economic order, is a system A system is a group of interacting Interaction is a kind of action that occurs as two or more objects have an effect upon one another. The idea o ...

capitalism
manages its affairs. That is, each is rewarded according to how much he produces. Remuneration increases as the amount of labor contributed increases. However capitalism can lead to a situation where the
means of production The means of production is a concept that encompasses the social use and ownership Ownership is the state or fact of exclusive right In Anglo-Saxon law Anglo-Saxon law (Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest record ...
are owned by a small minority who do not produce, but rather live off the labor of others. Socialism is said to remedy this by putting the means of production in common hands and rewarding individuals according to their contributions. In the ''
Critique of the Gotha Programme The ''Critique of the Gotha Programme'' (german: Kritik des Gothaer Programms) is a document based on a letter by Karl Marx written in early May 1875 to the Social Democratic Workers' Party of Germany (SDAP), with whom Marx and Friedrich Engels wer ...
'', while criticizing
Ferdinand Lassalle Ferdinand Lassalle (; 11 April 1825 – 31 August 1864) was a Prussia Prussia, , Old Prussian Distribution of the Baltic tribes, circa 1200 CE (boundaries are approximate). Old Prussian was a Western Baltic language belonging to t ...

Ferdinand Lassalle
's ideas, Marx elaborates on the theory. According to Marx's analysis of the Programme, Lassalle suggests that "the proceeds of labor belong undiminished with equal right to all members of society". While agreeing that the citizens of a workers' society should be rewarded according to individual contributions, Marx claims that giving them the "full product" of their labor is impossible as some of the proceeds will be needed to maintain infrastructure and so forth. He then explains the nature of a communist society in its lower phase (''socialist society''), which does not emerge from its own foundations "but, on the contrary, .. from capitalist society;
nd
nd
thus in every respect, economically, morally, and intellectually, still stamped with the birthmarks of the old society from whose womb it emerges". And so, "accordingly, the individual producer receives back from society – after the deductions have been made – exactly what he gives to it". He explains this as: In the paragraph immediately following Marx continues to explain how this system of exchange is related to the capitalist system of exchange: Marx says that this is rational and necessary, and that once society advances from the early phase of communist society and work becomes life's prime want, distribution will occur differently. During the completed phase of communism, the standard shall be "
from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs" (German language, German: ''Jeder nach seinen Fähigkeiten, jedem nach seinen Bedürfnissen'') is a slogan popularised by Karl Marx in his 1875 ''Critique of the Gotha Program''.F ...
".


Use by Bolsheviks and Marxist-Leninists

Lenin wrote ''
The State and Revolution ''The State and Revolution'' (1917) is a book by Vladimir Lenin Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov. ( 1870 – 21 January 1924), better known by his alias Lenin,. was a Russian revolutionary, politician, and political theorist. He served as the firs ...
'' to inform the public and to prevent Marxism from becoming tainted by "opportunists" and "reformists", as he called them. The work is very important as it categorizes the "first phase of communist society" as socialism, with the completed phase being communism proper. The pamphlet also answers all questions and concerns of the Marxists of his time by utilizing the classic works of Marxism. When he is set to describe socialism and its economic features he turns to the authority of Marx, especially the ''Critique of the Gotha Programme''. Lenin claims that socialism will not be perfect since, as Marx said, it has emerged from the womb of capitalism and which is in every respect stamped with the birthmarks of the old society. This society, socialism, will be unable to provide people with total equality, precisely because it is still marked by capitalism. He also explains the difference between the old society and the new as: Lenin states that such a society is indeed socialism as it realizes the two principles of socialism "
he who does not work, neither shall he eat He who does not work, neither shall he eat is a New Testament aphorism traditionally attributed to Paul the Apostle, later cited by John Smith (explorer), John Smith in the early 1600s colony of Jamestown, Virginia, and by Communist revolutionary ...
" and "an equal amount of products for an equal amount of labor".
Joseph Stalin ( – 5 March 1953) was a Georgians, Georgian revolutionary and Soviet political leader who governed the Soviet Union from 1924 until his death in 1953. He held power both as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1922–1952 ...
and
Leon Trotsky Lev Davidovich Bronstein. ( – 21 August 1940), better known as Leon Trotsky; uk, link= no, Лев Давидович Троцький; also transliterated ''Lyev'', ''Trotski'', ''Trotskij'', ''Trockij'' and ''Trotzky''. (), was a Ukrainian ...

Leon Trotsky
both mentioned the term in their works. *Stalin's most famous use of the concept is in his
1936 Soviet Constitution The 1936 Constitution of the Soviet Union, also known as the Stalin Constitution, was the constitution of the Soviet Union adopted on 5 December 1936. The 1936 Constitution was the second constitution of the Soviet Union and replaced the 1924 ...
. He writes that "''The principle applied in the U.S.S.R. is that of socialism:'' From each according to his ability, to each according to his work." *Trotsky's mention is in his famous ''
The Revolution Betrayed ''The Revolution Betrayed: What Is the Soviet Union and Where Is It Going?'' (russian: Преданная революция: Что такое СССР и куда он идет?) is a book published in 1937 by the exiled Soviet Bolshevik leader ...
''. He says that "''Capitalism prepared the conditions and forces for a social revolution: technique, science and the proletariat. The communist structure cannot, however, immediately replace the bourgeois society. The material and cultural inheritance from the past is wholly inadequate for that.''" He goes on to defend his position by saying that "''in its first steps the workers’ state cannot yet permit everyone to work "according to his abilities" – that is, as much as he can and wishes to – nor can it reward everyone "according to his needs''", regardless of the work he does." And he presents the principle as the method that socialism will use by saying: "''In order to increase the productive forces, it is necessary to resort to the customary norms of wage payment – that is, to'' the distribution of life's goods in proportion to the quantity and quality of individual labor."Leon Trotsky, ''The Revolution Betrayed'' Chapter 3
/ref>


See also


References

{{reflist


External links

*
Capital: Volume I
', Marx's socioeconomic analysis of capitalism.

the pamphlet from which Lenin draws much of his arguments for the State and Revolution. *
The State and Revolution
', the complete text of Lenin's main philosophical work. *
The Revolution Betrayed
', the complete text of Trotsky's most famous and important work. Political catchphrases Socialism Marxian economics Economic systems Classical economics