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as the powers of production increase. Machinery, it is true, cheapens the nec-
essaries of life, but it also cheapens the labourer." ("A Prize Essay on the
Comparative Merits of Competition and Co-operation." London, 1834, p. 27.)

1 "Ils conviennent que plus on peut, sans prejudice, epargner de frais
ou de travaux dispendieux dans la fabrication des ouvrages des artisans,
plus cette epargne est profitable par la diminution des prix de ces ouvrages.
Cependant ils croient que la production de richesse qui resulte des travaux
des artisans consiste dans Faugmentation de la valeur venale de leurs ou-
vrages." (Quesnay: "Dialogues sur le Commerce et les Travaux des Artisans,"
pp. 188, 189.)

2 "Ces speculatcurs si economes du travail des ouvrieES qu'il faudrait
qu'ils payassent." (J. N. Bidaut: "Du Monopole qui s'etablit dans les arts
industriels et le commerce." Paris, 1828, p. 13.) "The employer will be always



THE CONCEPT OP RELATIVE SURPLUS-VALUE 321

produces, say 10 times as many commodities as before, and thus
spends one-tenth as much labour-time on each, by no means pre-
vents him from continuing to work 12 hours as before, nor from pro-
ducing in those 12 hours 1,200 articles instead of 120. Nay, more,
his working-day may be prolonged at the same time, so as to make
him produce, say 1,400 articles in 14 hours. In the treatises, there-
fore, of economists of the stamp of MacCulloch, Ure, Senior, and
tutti quanti, we may read upon one page, that the labourer owes
a debt of gratitude to capital for developing his productiveness,
because the necessary labour-time is thereby shortened, and on the
next page, that he must prove his gratitude by working in future
for 15 hours instead of 10. The object of all development of the pro-
ductiveness of labour, within the limits of capitalist production,
is to shorten that part of the working-day, during which the work-
man must labour for his own benefit, and by that very shortening,
to lengthen the other part of the day, during which he is at liberty
to work gratis for the capitalist. How far this result is also attaina-
ble, without cheapening commodities, will appear from an exami-
nation of the particular modes of producing relative surplus-
value, to which examination we now proceed.



on the stretch to economise time and labour." (Dugald Stewart: Works ed.
by Sir. W. Hamilton. Edinburgh, v. viii., 1855. "Lectures on Polit. Econ.,"
p. 318.) "Their (the capitalists') interest is that the productive powers of
the labourers they employ should be the greatest possible. On promoting
that power their attention is fixed and almost exclusively fixed." (R. Jones:
1. c., Lecture ILL.)



322



CHAPTER XIII
CO-OPERATION

Capitalist production only then really begins, as we have alrea-
dy seen, when each individual capital employs simultaneously a
comparatively large number of labourers; when consequently the
labour-process is carried on on an extensive scale and yields, rel-
atively, large quantities of products. A greater number of labour-
ers working together, at the same time, in one place (or, if you
will, in the same field of labour), in order to produce the same sort
of commodity under the mastership of one capitalist, constitutes,
both historically and logically, the starting-point of capitalist
production. With regard to the mode of production itself, manufac-
ture, in its strict meaning, is hardly to be distinguished, in its ear-
liest stages, from the handicraft trades of the guilds, otherwise
than by the greater number of workmen simultaneously employed
by one and the same individual capital. The workshop of the medie-
val master handicraftsman is simply enlarged.

At first, therefore, the difference is purely quantitative. We have
shown that the surplus-value produced by a given capital is equal
to the surplus-value produced by each workman multiplied by
the number of workmen simultaneously employed. The number of
workmen in itself does not affect, either the rate of surplus-value,
or the degree of exploitation of labour-power. If a working-day of
12 hours be embodied in six shillings, 1,200 such days will be
embodied in 1,200 times 6 shillings. In one case 12 x 1,200 working-
hours, and in the other 12 such hours are incorporated in the prod-
uct. In the production of value a number of workmen rank merely
as so many individual workmen; and it therefore makes no differ-
ence in the value produced whether the 1,200 men work separately,
or united under the control of one capitalist.

Nevertheless, within certain limits, a modification takes place.
The labour realised in value, is labour of an average social quality;
is consequently the expenditure of average labour-power. Any



CO-OPERATION 323



average magnitude, however, is merely the average of a number of
separate magnitudes all of one kind, but differing as to quantity.
In every industry, each individual labourer, be he Peter or Paul,
differs from the average labourer. These individual differences, or
"errors" as they are called in mathematics, compensate one another,
and vanish, whenever a certain minimum number of workmen are
employed together. The celebrated sophist and sycophant, Edmund
Burke, goes so far as to make the following assertion, based on his
practical observations as a farmer; viz., that "in so small a platoon"
as that of five farm labourers, all individual differences in the la-
bour vanish, and that consequently any given five adult farm la-
bourers taken together, will in the same time do as much work as
any other five. L But, however that may be, it is clear, that the col-
lective working-day of a large number of workmen simultaneously
employed, divided by the number of these workmen, gives one day
of average social labour. For example, let the working-day of each
individual be 12 hours. Then the collective working-day of 12 men
simultaneously employed, consists of 144 hours; and although the
labour of each of the dozen men may deviate more or less from av-
erage social labour, each of them requiring a different time for the
same operation, yet since the working-day of each is one-twelfth
of the collective working-day of 144 hours, it possesses the quali-
ties of an average social working-day. From the point of view,
however, of the capitalist who employs these 12 men, the working-
day is that of the whole dozen. Each individual man's day is an
aliquot part of the collective working-day, no matter whether the
12 men assist one another in their work, or whether the connex-
ion between their operations consists merely in the fact, that the
men are all working for the same capitalist. But if the 12
men are employed in six pairs, by as many different small
masters, it will be quite a matter of chance, whether each of these
masters produces the same value, and consequently whether he
realises the general rate of surplus-value. Deviations would occur



1 "Unquestionably, there is a good deal of difference between the value
of one man's labour and that of another from strength, dexterity, and honest
application. But I am quite sure, from my best observation, that any given
five men will, in their total, afford a proportion of labour equal to any other
five within the periods of life I have stated; that is, that among such five
men there will be one possessing all the qualifications of a good workman,
one bad, and the other three middling, and approximating to the first and
the last. So that in so small a platoon as that of even five, you will find the
full complement of all that five men can earn." (E. Burke, 1. c., pp. 15, 16.)
Compare Quetelet on the average individual.



324 CAPITALIST PRODUCTION



in individual cases. If one workman required considerably more
time for the production of a commodity than is socially necessary,
the duration of the necessary labour-time would, in his case, sen-
sibly deviate from the labour-time socially necessary on an aver-
age; and consequently his labour would not count as average la-
bour, nor his labour-power as average labour-power. It would ei-
ther be not saleable at all, or only at something below the average
value of labour-power. A fixed minimum of efficiency in all la-
bour is therefore assumed, and we shall see, later on, that capital-
ist production provides the means of fixing this minimum. Nev-
ertheless, this minimum deviates from the average, although on
the other hand the capitalist has to pay the average value of labour-
power. Of the six small masters, one would therefore squeeze out
more than the average rate of surplus-value, another less. The ine-
qualities would be compensated for the society at large, but not for
the individual masters. Thus the laws of the production of value are
only fully realised for the individual producer, when he produces
as a capitalist, and employs a number of workmen together, whose
labour, by its collective nature, is at once stamped as average so-
cial labour. l

Even without an alteration in the system of working, the
simultaneous employment of a large number of labourers effects a
revolution in the material conditions of the labour-process. The
buildings in which they work, the store-houses for the raw mate-
rial, the implements and utensils used simultaneously or in turns
by the workmen; in short, a portion of the. means of production,
are now consumed in common. On the one hand, the exchange-val-
ue of these means of production is not increased; for the exchange-
value of a commodity is not raised by its use-value being consumed
more thoroughly and to greater advantage. On the other hand,
they are used in common, and therefore on a larger scale than be-
fore. A room where twenty weavers work at twenty looms must be
larger than the room of a single weaver with two assistants. But it
costs less labour to build one workshop for twenty persons than to
build ten to accommodate two weavers each; thus the value of the
means of production that are concentrated for use in common on
a large scale does not increase in direct proportion to the expan-
sion and to the increased useful effect of those means. When con-



1 Professor Roscher claims to have discovered that one needlewoman
employed by Mrs. Roscher during two days, does more wtjrk than two needle-
women employed together during one day. The learned professor should not
study the capitalist process of production in the nursery, nor under circum-
stances where the principal personage, the capitalist, is wanting.



CO-OPERATION 325



sumed in common, they give up a smaller part of their value to
each single product; partly because the total value they part with
is spread over a greater quantity of products, and partly because
their value, though absolutely greater, is, having regard to their
sphere of action in the process, relatively less than the value of
isolated means of production. Owing to this, the value of a part of
the constant capital falls, and in proportion to the magnitude of
the fall, the total value of the commodity also falls. The effect is
the same as if the means of production had cost less. The economy
in their application is entirely owing to their being consumed in
common by a large number of workmen. Moreover, this character
of being necessary conditions of social labour, a character that
distinguishes them from the dispersed and relatively more costly
means of production of isolated, independent labourers, or small
masters, is acquired even when the numerous workmen assembled
together do not assist one another, but merely work side by side.
A portion of the instruments of labour acquires this social charac-
ter before the labour-process itself does so.

Economy in the use of the means of production has to be con-
sidered under two aspects. First, as cheapening commodities, and
thereby bringing about a fall in the value of labour-power. Second-
ly, as altering the ratio of the surplus-value to the total capital ad-
vanced, i.e., to the sum of the values of the constant and variable
capital. The latter aspect will not be considered until we come to
the third book, to which, with the object of treating them in their
proper connexion, we also relegate many other points that relate
to the present question. The march of our analysis compels this
splitting up of the subject-matter, a splitting up that is quite in
keeping with the spirit of capitalist production. For since, in this
mode of production, the workman finds the instruments of labour
existing independently of him as another man's property, economy
in their use appears, with regard to him, to be a distinct operation,
one that does not concern him, and which, therefore, has no con-
nexion with the methods by which his own personal productiveness
is increased.

When numerous labourers work together side by side, wheth-
er in one and the same process, or in different but connected proc-
esses, they are said to co-operate, or to work in co-operation. *

Just as the offensive power of a squadron of cavalry, or the de-
fensive power of a regiment of infantry, is essentially different
from the sum of the offensive or defensive powers of the individual



1 "Concours de forces." (Destutt de Tracy, 1. c., p. 80.)



326 CAPITALIST PRODUCTION



cavalry or infantry soldiers taken separately, so the sum total of
the mechanical forces exerted by isolated workmen differs from the
social force that is developed, when many hands take part simul-
taneously in one and the same undivided operation, such as rais-
ing a heavy weight, turning a winch, or removing an obstacle. 1 In
such cases the effect of the combined labour could either not be pro-
duced at all by isolated individual labour, or it could only be pro-
duced by a great expenditure of time, or on a very dwarfed scale.
Not only have we here an increase in the productive power of the
individual, by means of co-operation, but the creation of a new
power, namely, the collective power of masses. 2

Apart from the new power that arises from the fusion of many
forces into one single force, mere social contact begets in most in-
dustries an emulation and a stimulation of the animal spirits that
heighten the efficiency of each individual workman. Hence it is
that a dozen persons working together will, in their collective
working-day of 144 hours, produce far more than twelve isolated
men each working 12 hours, or than one man who works twelve
days in succession. 3 The reason of this is that man is, if not as Aris-
totle contends, a political, 4 at all events a social animal.



1 "There are numerous operations of so simple a kind as not to admit
a division into parts, which cannot be performed without the co-operation
of many pairs of hands. I would instance the lifting of a large tree on to a
wain ... everything, in short, which cannot be done unless a great many pairs
of hands help each other in the same undivided employment and at the same
time" (E. G. Wakefield: "A View of the Art of Colonisation." London, 1849,
p. 168).

2 "As one man cannot, and ten men must strain to lift a ton of weight,
yet 100 men can do it only by the strength of a finger of each of them."
(John Bellers: "Proposals for Raising a Colledge of Industry." London, 1696.
p. 21.)

8 "There is also" (when the same number of men are employed by one
farmer on 300 acres, instead of by ten farmers with 30 acres a piece) "an ad-
vantage in the proportion of servants, which will not so easily be under-
stood but by practical men'; for it is natural to say, as 1 is to 4, so are 3
to 12: but this will not hold good in practice; for in harvest time and many
other operations which require that kind of despatch by the throwing many
hands together, the work is better and more expeditiously done: f. i. in har-
vest, 2 drivers, 2 loaders, 2 pitchers, 2 rakers, and the rest at the rick, or
in the barn, will despatch double the work that the same number of hands
would do if divided into different gangs on different farms." ("An Inquiry
into the Connexion between the Present Price of Provisions and the Size
of Farms." By a Farmer. London, 1773, pp. 7, 8.)

4 Strictly, Aristotle's definition is that man is by nature a town-cit-
izen. This is quite as characteristic of ancient classical society as Franklin's
definition of man, as a tool-making animal, is characteristic of Yankeedom.



CO-OPERATION 327



Although a number of men may be occupied together at the same
time on the same, or the same kind of work, yet the labour of each,
as a part of the collective labour, may correspond to a distinct
phase of the labour-process, through all whose phases, in conse-
quence of co-operation, the subject of their labour passes with great-
er speed. For instance, if a dozen masons place themselves in a row,
so as to pass stones from the foot of a ladder to its summit, each of
them does the same thing; nevertheless, their separate acts form
connected parts of one total operation; they are particular phases,
which must be gone through by each stone; and the stones are thus
carried up quicker by the 24 hands of the row of men than they
could be if each man went separately up and down the ladder with
his burden. l The object is carried over the same distance in a short-
er time. Again, a combination of labour occurs whenever a build-
ing, for instance, is taken in hand on different sides simultaneously;
although here also the co-operating masons are doing the same, or
the same kind of work. The 12 masons, in their collective working-
day of 144 hours, make much more progress with the building than
one mason could make working for 12 days, or 144 hours. The rea-
son is, that a body of men working in concert has hands and eyes
both before and behind, and is, to a certain degree, omnipresent.
The various parts of the work progress simultaneously.

In the above instances we have laid stress upon the point that
the men do the same, or the same kind of work, because this,
the most simple form of labour in common, plays a great part in
co-operation, even in its most fully developed stage. If the work be
complicated, then the mere number of the men who co-operate
allows of the various operations being apportioned to different
hands, and, consequently, of being carried on simultaneously. The
time necessary for the completion of the whole work is thereby
shortened. 2



1 "On doit encore remarquer que cette division partielle de travail
peut se faire quand meme les ouvriers sont occupes a" une meme besogne.
Des macons par exemple, occupes a faire passer de mains en mains des bri-
ques a un ecbafaudage superieur, font tous la meme besogne, et pourtant il
existe parmi eux une espece de division de travail, cjui consiste en ce que
chacun d'eux fait passer la brique par unespace donne et que tous ensemble
la font parvenir beaucoup plus promptement a Tendroit marque qu i

le feraient si cbacun d'eux portait sa brique separement jusqu'a 1 echafaudage
superieur." (F. Skarbek: "Theorie des ricbesses sociales." Paris, lecjy, t. 1,

pp. 97, 98.)

2 "Est-il question d'executer un travail complique\ plusieurs choses
doivent etre faites simultanement. L'un en fait une pendant que ^1 autre en
fait une autre, et tous contribuenta 1'effet qu'un seul homme n aurait pu



328 CAPITALIST PRODUCTION



In many industries, there are critical periods, determined by
the nature of the process, during which certain definite results
must be obtained. For instance, if a flock of sheep has to be shorn,
or a field of wheat to be cut and harvested, the quantity and qual-
ity of the product depends on the work being begun and ended
within a certain time. In these cases, the time that ought to be
taken by the process is prescribed, just as it is in herring fishing.
A single person cannot carve a working-day of more than, say 12
hours, out of the natural day, but 100 men co-operating extend the
working-day to 1,200 hours. The shortness of the time allowed for
the work is compensated for by the large mass of labour thrown
upon the field of production at the decisive moment. The comple-
tion of the task within the proper time depends on the simultane-
ous application of numerous combined working-days; the amount
of useful effect depends on the number of labourers; this number,
however, is always smaller than the number of isolated labourers
required to do the same amount of work in the same period. l
It is owing to the absence of this kind of co-operation that, in the
western part of the United States, quantities of corn, and in those
parts of East India where English rule has destroyed the old com-
munities, quantities of cotton, are yearly wasted. 2

On the one hand, co-operation allows of the work being car-
ried on over an extended space; it is consequently imperatively
called for in certain undertakings, such as draining, constructing
dykes, irrigation works, and the making of canals, roads and rail-
ways. On the other hand, while extending the scale of production,
it renders possible a relative contraction of the arena. This contrac-



produire. L'un rame pendant que 1'autre tient le gouvernail, et qu'un troi-
sieme jette le filet ou harponne le poisson, et la peche a un succes impossible
sans ce concours." (Destutt de Tracy, 1. c.)

1 "The doing of it (agricultural work) at the critical juncture is of so
much the greater consequence." ("An Inquiry into the Connexion between the
Present Price," &c., p. 9.) "In agriculture, there is no more important factor
than that of time." (Liebig: "Ueber Theorie und Praxis in der Landwirt-
schaft." 1856, p. 23.)

2 "The next evil is one which one would scarcely expect to find in a
country which exports more labour than any other in the world, with the
exception, perhaps, of China and England-^the impossibility of procuring
a sufficient number of hands to clean the cotton. The consequence of this
is that large quantities of the crop are left unpicked, while another portion is
gathered from the ground when it has fallen, and is of course discoloured and
partially rotted, so that for want of labour at the proper season the culti-
vator is actually forced to submit to the loss of a large part of that crop for
which England is so anxiously looking." ("Bengal Hurkaru." Bi-Monthly
Overland Summary of News, 22nd July, 1861.)



CO-OPERATION 329



tion of arena simultaneous with, and arising from, extension of
scale, whereby a number of useless expenses are cut down, is owing
to the conglomeration of labourers, to the aggregation of various
processes, and to the concentration of the means of production. l

The* combined working-day produces, relatively to an equal
sum of isolated working-days, a greater quantity of use-values,
and, consequently, diminishes the labour-time necessary for the
production of a given useful effect. Whether the combined work-
ing-day, in a given case, acquires this increased productive power,
because it heightens the mechanical force of labour, or extends its
sphere of action over a greater space, or contracts the field of produc-
tion relatively to the scale of production, or at the critical moment
sets large masses of labour to work, or excites emulation between
individuals and raises their animal spirits, or impresses on the sim-
ilar operations carried on by a number of men the stamp of con-
tinuity and many-sidedness, or performs simultaneously different
operations, or economises the means of production by use in com-
mon, or lends to individual labour the character of average social
labour whichever of these be the cause of the increase, the spe-
cial productive power of the combined working-day is, under all
circumstances, the social productive power of labour, or the produc-
tive power of social labour. This power is due to co-operation it-
self. When the labourer co-operates systematically with others, he
strips off the fetters of his individuality, and develops the ca-
pabilities of his species. 2

As general rule, labourers cannot co-operate without being
brought together: their assemblage in one place is a necessary
condition of their co-operation. Hence wage-labourers cannot co-
operate, unless they are employed simultaneously by the same cap-
ital, the same capitalist, and unless therefore their labour-powers
are bought simultaneously by him. The total value of these la-



1 In the progress of culture "all, and perhaps more than all, the capital
and labour which once loosely occupied 500 acres, are now concentrated
for the more complete tillage of 100." Although "relatively to the amount of
capital and labour employed, space is concentrated, it is an enlarged sphere
of production, as compared to the sphere of production formerly occupied



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