ECONOMIC AND PHILOSOPHIC MANUSCRIPTS OF 1844 (also referred to as THE
PARIS MANUSCRIPTS) are a series of notes written between April and
August 1844 by
* 1 Context
* 2 Themes
* 3 See also * 4 Notes * 5 External links
The notebooks are an early expression of Marx's analysis of
Because the 1844 manuscripts show Marx's thought at the time of its
early genesis, their publication, in English not until 1959, has
profoundly affected recent scholarship on Marx and
In the first manuscript in which there are extensive quotes on
economics from Adam Smith, Marx exposes his theory of alienation ,
which he adapted (not without changes) from Feuerbach 's The Essence
of Christianity (1841). He explains how, under capitalism , more and
more people rely on "labour" to live. That is, before people could
rely in part on
‘Excerpt notes of 1844’ also called the ‘Paris manuscripts’ are known as some of Karl Marx’s earliest writings on philosophy plus economics. However, they were only published in the 1930s after the Soviet Revolution of 1917 had already taken place. He argues that the worker is alienated in four ways:
* Alienation from the product he produces * The labour becomes impersonal * Alienation from nature and self * Alienation from other human beings
MONEY AND ALIENATED MAN
Within classical political economy, economists lay out theories determining value in terms of precious metals or money such as silver and gold, costs of production, amount of labour embedded within a product and the, in Marx’s view, chaotic process of demand and supply.
The fetishism of money is born. Men are evaluated in terms of their materialistic creditability. This also becomes an economic judgement of their morality. The consequence is that human individuality and morality becomes a vehicle for money. Basic human ideals completely change. The main objective of men moves towards earning as much money as possible, putting everything else in background. This enhances the formation and size of gaps between the capitalist and the labourer, and gives power to those who are wealthy. This also means that the poorer become more dependent on the rich, since they are the rich’s employees. This is a rather unfortunate process for the poor, since they have to sell their labour to the capitalist and in return are being paid a wage. However, the capitalist pays lesser wage than the value added by the labourer. When he then brings the product onto the market, the labourer has to buy the product at a proportionally higher price than he can afford. Thereby it becomes impossible for the poor to build up capital and on the other hand quite easy for the capitalist to increase his. A situation of dissimulation and subservience of the poor is created.
Developing this idea further on, the credit relationship becomes an object of trades of abuse and misuse. Reaching the state level fairly quickly it puts the state in power of financiers.
For Marx, alienation exists mainly because of the tyranny of money. He refers to Aristotle’s praxis and production, by saying that the exchange of human activity involved in the exchange of human product, is the generic activity of man. Man’s conscious and authentic existence, he states, is social activity and social satisfaction.
Moreover, he sees human nature in true common life, and if that is
not existent as such, men create their common human nature by creating
their common life. Furthermore, he argues similarly to
Relating alienation to property.
To satisfy needs, property has to be exchanged, making it an equivalent in terms of trade and capital. This is called the labour theory of value. Property becomes very impersonal. It is an exchange value, raising it to become real value.
The cause of alienation is to be found in capitalism based on private property of means of production and money. Capitalist organized labour exploits the working class. It is thrown back at animal level while at the same time the capital class gains wealth.
LABOUR AND WAGE LABOUR
Since nothing coming from nature can enter the market unaltered, exchange presupposes labour, especially wage labour . Marx is of the opinion that alienation reaches its peak once labour becomes wage labour. A capitalist hires a worker in order to be able to convert capital goods into final products. This does not imply that the product reflects the labourer’s needs in any way, but he produces it by processes alien to him. Furthermore, the wages only just cover the subsistence costs of the worker and his family. Hence the market price does not in any way reflect the wage, allowing the conclusion that the value added by the worker doesn’t go back to the worker, but instead returns to the capitalist. A person who buys with money does not directly exchange the product of their labor. The primitive barter on the other hand, only exchanges a surplus of his own products, without exchanging money, but only to satisfy his needs.
The more needs vary, the more workers have to specialize the more alienated they become towards each other. Alien needs drive the labourer to work for his only goal, which is the satisfaction of his subsistence needs, to guarantee mere existence.
With his desire to guarantee his existence, the labourer becomes even more dependent on his employer and the product.
The more human labour specialises the less human it gets. It rather develops towards commerce and seems to make man an automaton. This indicates and basically states that production causes men to behave like machines, implying that labour is completely alienated from the labouring subject as well as it is alienated from its object. Due to that, Marx regards the unity of human labour as its division, since the productive capability of cooperative labour is a function of specialization and division. He also denounces the impossibility of the labourers’ self-realization.
This division of labour increases with civilization, meaning that with the introduction of money the worker no longer exchanges only his surplus, but his whole product for money.
* ^ German : Ökonomisch-philosophische Manuskripte aus dem Jahre
1844 or Pariser Manuskripte.
* ^ Tedman, Gary. (2004) "Marx's 1844 manuscripts as a work of art:
A hypertextual reinterpretation." Rethinking
* Economic &