Full Title: Part 2. of 4. The Heart and Soul of the Marxian Dialectic -- The Human-Societal 'Intra-Duality' of the Social Forces of Production vis-a-vis the Social Relations of Production.
This blog-entry contains the second part of my “improvement” of the text, by the E.A.g. [Equitist Advocacy group], entitled “The Heart and Soul of Marxian Theory”.
I plan to provide my version of their text in the first two parts, and to then add two new sections, as the third and fourth parts, setting forth some of the fruits of the latest research by the Foundation regarding the critical, immanent ‘extention’ of the central concept to that of the ‘‘‘human-societal [self-]force of human-societal [[self-]re-]production’’’, in part via an immanent critique of the ideology-compromised science of Darwinian biology, resulting in F.E.D.’s theory of ‘Dialectical Meta-Darwinism’ as the positive fruition of that immanent critique.
The E.A.g. may not have even been aware of these developments in F.E.D. theory, at least not at the time when they first developed the subject text.
Here are links to the E.A.g.’s original version --
The Heart and Soul of the Marxian Dialectic --
The Human-Societal 'Intra-Duality' of the Social Forces of Production vis-a-vis the Social Relations of Production.
Part 2. Evidence
The following excerpts — from the published writings of Karl Marx, as well as from his surviving writings which were unpublished as of the time of his death — provide evidence as to his resonances with the theses expressed in the previous part.
- Marx introduces this ‘fundamentality’ of his critical concept of the human-social ‘forces of production’ in his letter to Pavel Vasilyevich Annenkov, dated 28 December 1846, on the eve of the Europe-wide revolutionary upheaval of 1848:
“Needless to say, man is not free to choose his productive forces — upon which his whole history is based — for every productive force is an acquired force, the product of previous activity. Thus the productive forces are the result of man’s practical energy, but that energy is in turn circumscribed by the conditions in which man is placed by the productive forces already acquired, by the form of society which exists before him, which he does not create, which is the product of the preceding generation. The simple fact that every succeeding generation finds productive forces acquired by the preceding generation and which serve it as the raw material of further production, engenders a relatedness in the history of man, engenders a history of mankind, which is all the more a history of mankind as man’s productive forces, and hence his social relations, have expanded. From this it can only be concluded that the social history of man is never anything else than the history of his individual development, whether he is conscious of this or not.”
[Source: Karl Marx & Frederick Engels, Collected Works (Volume 38), International Publishers (New York: 1982), pages 95-106. Quoted in: Paul Paolucci, Marx’s Scientific Dialectics, Brill (Boston: 2007), page 79, italics emphasis as in original].
- Marx’s first published summary of the findings of his paradigm of ‘‘‘[psycho]historical materialism’’’, are coupled with the first published systematic rendering of a portion of his [immanent] critique of capitalist political economy, in the world-famous Preface to Zur Kritik der politischen Oekonomie [A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy], first published in 1859:
“The general conclusion at which I arrived and which, once reached, became the guiding principle of my studies can be summarized as follows.”
“In the social production of their existence, men inevitably enter into definite relations, which are independent of their will, namely relations of production appropriate to a given stage in the development of their material forces of production.”
“The totality of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, the real foundation, on which arises a legal and political superstructure and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness.”
“The mode of production of material life conditions the general process of social, political, and intellectual life.”
“It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence which determines their consciousness.”
“At a certain stage of development, the material productive forces of society come into conflict with the existing relations of production, or — this merely expresses the same thing in legal terms — with the property relations within the framework of which they had operated hitherto.”
“From forms of the development of the productive forces these relations turn into their fetters.”
“Then begins an era of social revolution.”
[Karl Marx, Zur Kritik der politischen Oekonomie, International Publishers [NY: 1970], pages 20-22].
This opposition between the social forces of production and the social relations of production is usually assumed to be a process of the “social unconscious”, going on “behind the backs” of the agent social individuals, and never explicitly represented as such privately, or publicly, within the ideological forms of intellectual expression of this social-revolutionary conflict.
Our hypothesis, in the section above, broaches the possibility that this conflict, if only in the historical extremity of the final “prehistoric” epoch of human social formation, can become a conscious one, secretly, within the innermost deliberations of the ruling faction of the capital-owning class-for-itself that emerges from the historical development of the capital-relation.
- We go to a key writing of Marx, unpublished during his lifetime, for evidence of the crucial core of the definition of the concept he named “the social forces of production”, a core meaning which militates against the feelings of estrangement, for non-capitalists, that tend to associate with this phrase:
“Productive forces and social relationships — the two different sides of the development of the social individual — appear to be, and are, only a means, for capital, to enable it to produce from its own cramped base. But in fact they are the material conditions that will shatter this foundation.”
[David McLellan (editor and translator), The Grundrisse – Karl Marx, Harper & Row [NY: 1971], p. 143].
This passage from the Grundrisse makes clear that, in Marx’s thinking, the human-social forces of production exist as a predicate, not only of each human society as a whole — of each historically-specific human social formation — but also, because “the social individual” is a “concrete universal” in Marx’s thought, as a predicate of each and every individual human person constituent of that social formation.
“Productive force”, ‘society-productive force’, the productivity of ‘societal self-production’, the ‘reproductivity’ of a human society’s self-reproduction, is thus also a ‘self-power’ of that human individual [within that association] — with respect to nature, including with respect to human nature — i.e., in the context of that human society, and of the “self-productivity” of its “collective labor” of continual “production” of itself as a self-evolving whole, within also its “other-determination” by the impact upon it of the rest of the universe, of the rest of Nature.
Likewise, per this passage, “social relationships” — e.g., the dominant human-social “relationship” of production in each epoch of human [social] formation — is a predicate of both the developing human society as a whole, and of the developing human person as a social individual; as a constituent thereof.
The primary historical “human-social relationships of production”, or ‘‘‘forms of human-social intercourse’’’ [See K. Marx and F. Engels, The German Ideology], listed in the order of their appearance / emergence in human [pre-]history, can be named as follows:
- Predation — immediate, predatory appropriation of the raw products of pre-human/extra-human nature [“foraging”, “scavenging”, “hunting and gathering”, etc.] [This is the vanishing point of human social production, back into sub-human, ecological relations; the «arché» of the human-social relations of production.];
- Goods/intra-tribal “Gifts”, or human-labor-improved[-for-human-use] nature-products [e.g., “domesticated” plants and animals, selectively-bred by human agency], «aufheben»-subsuming the ‘predation-relation’;
- pre-money, barterable Commodities, or “the commodity-relation” [Marx], «aufheben»-subsuming the ‘Goods-/Gifts-relation’, as well as subsuming the relation of production preceding that relation of production;
- pre-capital Money, or “the money-relation” [Marx], «aufheben»-subsuming “the commodity-relation”, as well as all of the other preceding human-social relations of production;
- Capital, or “the capital-relation” [Marx], «aufheben»-subsuming “the money-relation”, as well as all of the other preceding human-social relations of production, e.g., as “money-capital” and as “commodity-capital”;
- “Free association”, ‘‘‘the associated property-relation’’’, or ‘‘‘the social-property-relationship’’’, «aufheben»-subsuming “the industrial capital-/wage-labor-relationship”, and all other/previous/predecessor “social relationships of production.
- The development of the human-social forces of production is expected to continue, by Marx — and must continue, per Marx — beyond the epoch of ‘capital-centered society’, into the epoch of ‘“democratic-communist society”’, i.e., the epoch of global ‘political-economic democracy’. The human-social forces of production must continue to grow within the epoch of ‘“democratic-communist society”’ as an ineluctable natural condition of human social reproduction, and as an expression of the “human essence”:
“We have seen that the capitalist process of production is a historically determined form of the social process of production in general.”
“The latter is as much a production process of material conditions of human life as a process taking place under specific historical and economic production relations, producing and reproducing these production relations themselves, and thereby also the bearers of this process, their material conditions of existence and their mutual relations, i.e., their particular socio-economic form.”
“For the aggregate of these relations, in which the agents of this production stand with respect to Nature and to one another, and in which they produce, is precisely society, considered from the standpoint of its economic structure.”
“Like all its predecessors, the capitalist process of production proceeds under definite material conditions, which are, however, simultaneously the bearers of definite social relations entered into by individuals in the process of reproducing their life.”
“Those conditions, like those relations, are on the one hand prerequisites, on the other hand results and creations of the capitalist process of production; they are produced and reproduced by it.”
“We saw also that capital — and the capitalist is merely capital personified, and functions in the process of production solely as the agent of capital — in its corresponding process of production, pumps a definite quantity of surplus-labour out of the direct producers, or labourers; capital obtains this surplus-labour without an equivalent, and in essence it always remains forced labour — no matter how much it may seem to result from free contractual agreement.”
“This surplus-labour appears as surplus-value, and this surplus-value exists as a surplus-product.”
“Surplus-labour in general, as labour performed over and above the given requirements, must always remain.”
“In the capitalist as well as in the slave system, etc., it merely assumes an antagonistic form, and is supplemented by the complete idleness of a stratum of society.”
“A definite quantity of surplus-labour is required as insurance against accidents, and by the necessary and progressive expansion of the process of reproduction in keeping with the development of the needs and the growth of population, which is called accumulation from the viewpoint of the capitalist.”
“It is one of the civilizing aspects of capital that it enforces this surplus-labour in a manner and under conditions which are more advantageous to the development of the productive forces, social relations, and the creation of the elements for a new and higher form than under the preceding forms of slavery, serfdom, etc.”
“Thus it gives rise to a stage, on the one hand, in which coercion and monopolization of social development (including its material and intellectual advantages) by one portion of society at the expense of the other are eliminated; on the other hand, it creates the material means and the embryonic conditions, making it possible for a higher form of society to combine this surplus-labour with a greater reduction of time devoted to material labour in general.”
“For, depending on the development of labour productivity, surplus-labour may be large in a small total working-day, and relatively small in a large total working-day.”
“If the necessary labour-time = 3 and the surplus-labour = 3, then the total working-day = 6 and the rate of surplus-labour = 100%.”
“If the necessary labour = 9 and the surplus-labour = 3, then the total working-day = 12 and the rate of surplus-labour = 33 1/3%.”
“In that case, it depends upon the labour productivity how much use-value shall be produced in a definite time, hence also in a definite surplus labour-time.”
“The actual wealth of society, and the possibility of constantly expanding its reproduction process, therefore, do not depend upon the duration of surplus-labour, but upon its productivity and the more or less copious conditions of production under which it is performed.”
“In fact, the realm of freedom actually begins only where labour which is determined by necessity and mundane considerations ceases; thus, in the very nature of things, it lies beyond the sphere of actual material production.”
“Just as the savage must wrestle with Nature to satisfy his wants, to maintain and reproduce life, so must civilized man, and he must do so in all social formations and under all possible modes of production.”
“With his development this realm of physical necessity expands as a result of his wants; but, at the same time, the forces of production which satisfy these wants also increase.”
“Freedom in this field can only consist is socialized man, the associated producers, rationally regulating their interchange with Nature, bringing it under their common control, instead of being ruled by it as by the blind forces of Nature; and achieving this with the least expenditure of energy and under conditions most favourable to, and worthy of, their human nature.”
“But it nonetheless still remains a realm of necessity.”
“Beyond it begins that development of human energy which is an end in itself, the true realm of freedom, which, however, can blossom forth only with this realm of necessity as its basis.”
“The shortening of the working-day is its basic prerequisite.”
[Karl Marx, Capital: A Critique of Political Economy (volume III), pp. 818-820, bold, italics, underline, and color emphasis added].
Marx does not explicitly mention, here, another aspect of this continuing necessity of the growth of the social forces of production -- a necessity which continues both before, and during, and also after the capitalist epoch, i.e., including continuing into and throughout the human history proper which is predicted to succeed that “human prehistory” [Marx] which only ends with the end of global capitalism.
That aspect is this: every major stage in the ‘“pre-historical” development, and also in Marx’s predicted ‘post-pre-historical’ development, of the social forces of production, defines a certain, historically-specific aspect of ‘extra-human Nature’ as its necessary, grounding resource base, an aspect of -- local, planetary -- Nature which is relatively finite, and which can be depleted and, finally, exhausted -- used up -- as a result of the continued appropriation of that “natural resource” by human social [re-]production, e.g., fossil fuels resources, for the current, ‘molecular power’, stage of the development of the social forces of production under capitalism.
If human social reproduction is to continue, then, before that depletion/conversion/accumulation process is completed, human “universal labor” [Marx] must discover / invent, and implement, a new, next major technology, basing a new major, higher stage in the historic qualitative, ontological development and quantitative growth of the human social forces of production, e.g., the predicted “nuclear fusion power” «species» of the «genos» of ‘“[primarily-protonic, thus sub-]atomic power”’.
Continued human social reproduction thus requires continued ‘qualo-quantitative’ expansion of human “universal labor” [Marx], and the timely implementation of the fruits of that “universal labor” -- which induces a ‘qualo-quantitatively’ expanded further growth of the human social forces of production -- to surmount the ‘depletion-depreciation’ of each stage in the qualitative, ontological development/growth of the social forces of production, due to the ‘depletion-depreciation’ of that aspect of ‘extra-human Nature’ which that stage of the growth of the social productive forces defines as its core “natural resource”.
- That is, the necessity of the development of the human-social forces of production for continued human social reproduction does not end with the end of capitalist society:
“There appears here the universalizing tendency of capital, which distinguishes it from all previous stages of production.”
“Although limited by its very nature, it strives towards the universal development of the forces of production, and thus becomes the presupposition of a new mode of production, which is founded not on the development of the forces of production for the purpose of reproducing or at most expanding a given condition, but where the free, unobstructed, progressive, and universal development of the forces of production is itself the presupposition of society and hence of its reproduction. ...”
“The barrier to capital is that this entire development proceeds in a contradictory way, and that the working-out of the productive forces, of general wealth, etc., knowledge, etc., appears in such a way that the working individual alienates himself [sich entäussert]; relates to the conditions brought out of him by his labour as those not of his own but of an alien wealth and of his own poverty.”
“But this antithetical form is itself fleeting, and produces the real conditions of its own suspension.”
“The result is: the tendentially and potentially general development of the forces of production — of wealth as such — as a basis; likewise, the universality of intercourse, hence the world market as basis.”
“The basis as the possibility of the universal development of the individual, and the real development of the individuals from this basis as a constant suspension of its barrier, which is recognized as a barrier, not taken for a sacred limit.”
“Not an ideal or imagined universality of the individual, but the universality of his real and ideal relations.”
“Hence also the grasping of his own history as a process, and the recognition of nature (equally present as power over nature) as his real body.”
“The process of development itself posited and known as the presupposition of the same.”
“For this, however, necessary above all that the full development of the forces of production has become the condition of production; and not that specific conditions of production are posited as a limit to the development of the productive forces.”
[Karl Marx, Grundrisse: Foundations of the Critique of Political Economy, Martin Nicolaus [translator], Penguin [New York: 1973], pp. 540-542, bold, italics, underline, and color emphasis added].
“Democratic-communist society” is, precisely, the society of the uninterrupted development of the human-social forces of self-expanding human-societal self-reproduction, which includes the reproduction of the rest of nature as the real body of humanity.
- Neither does the fact, and the necessity, of the development of the human-social forces of production — as inseparable from the continued self-reproduction of human society, and as the core of the Marxian explanation of human-social evolution/revolution — begin with capitalist society:
“This tendency [Ed.: toward the universal development of the human-social forces of production] — which capital possesses, but which at the same time, since capital is a limited form of production, contradicts it and hence drives it towards dissolution — distinguishes capital from all earlier modes of production, and at the same time contains this element, that capital is posited as a mere point of transition.”
“All previous forms of society — or, what is the same, of the forces of social production — foundered on the development of wealth.”
“Those thinkers of antiquity who were possessed of consciousness therefore directly denounced wealth as the dissolution of the community.”
“The feudal system, for its part, foundered on urban industry, trade, modern agriculture (even as a result of individual inventions like gunpowder and the printing press).”
“With the development of wealth — and hence also new powers and expanded intercourse on the part of individuals — the economic conditions on which the community rested were dissolved, along with the political relations of the various constituents of the community which corresponded to those conditions: religion, in which it was viewed in idealized form (and both [Ed.: religion and political relations] rested in turn on a given relation to nature, into which all productive force resolves itself); the character, outlook etc. of individuals.”
“The development of science alone — i.e. the most solid form of wealth, both its product and its producer — was sufficient to dissolve these communities.”
“But the development of science, this ideal and at the same time practical wealth, is only one aspect, one form in which the development of the human productive forces, i.e., of wealth, appears.”
“Considered ideally, the dissolution of a given form of consciousness sufficed to kill a whole epoch.”
“In reality, this barrier to consciousness corresponds to a definite degree of development of the forces of material production and hence of wealth.”
“True, there was not only a development on the old basis, but also a development of this basis itself.”
“The highest development of this basis itself (the flower into which it transforms itself; but it is also this basis, this plant as flower; hence wilting after the flowering and as consequence of the flowering) is the point at which it is itself worked out, developed, into the form in which it is compatible with the highest development of the forces of production, hence also the richest development of the individuals.”
“As soon as this point is reached, the further development appears as decay, and the new development begins from a new basis.”
[Karl Marx, Grundrisse: Foundations of the Critique of Political Economy, pp. 540-541, bold, italics, underline, and color emphasis added].
More specifically, Marx applies his concept of the development of the human-social forces of human-societal self-re-production to the [meta-]evolution of pre-slavery and pre-serfdom social formations as well, as follows:
“The fundamental condition of property based on tribalism ... is to be a member of the tribe.”
“Consequently a tribe conquered and subjugated by another becomes propertyless and part of the inorganic conditions of the conquering tribe’s reproduction, which that community regards as its own.”
“Slavery and serfdom are therefore simply further developments of property based on tribalism.”
“But this also clearly means that these conditions change.”
“What makes a region of the earth into a hunting-ground, is being hunted over by tribes; what turns the soil into a prolongation of the body of the individual is agriculture.”
“Once the city of Rome had been built and its surrounding land cultivated by its citizens, the conditions of the community were different from what they had been before.”
“The object of all of these communities is preservation, i.e. the production of the individuals which constitute them as proprietors, i.e. in the same objective mode of existence, which also forms the relationship of the members to each other, and therefore forms the community itself.”
“But this reproduction is at the same time necessarily new production and the destruction of the old form. ...”
“The act of reproduction itself changes not only the objective conditions — e.g. transforming village into town, the wilderness into agricultural clearings, etc. — but the producers change with it, by the emergence of new qualities, by transforming and developing themselves in production, forming new powers and new conceptions, new modes of intercourse, new needs, and new speech
“The community itself appears as the first great force of production. ...”
“In the last instance the community and the property resting upon it can be reduced to a specific stage in the development of the forces of production of the labouring subjects — to which correspond specific relations of these subjects with each other and with nature.”
“Up to a certain point, reproduction. Thereafter, it turns into dissolution. ...”
“These forms are of course more or less naturally evolved, but at the same time also the results of a historic process.”
“The evolution of the forces of production dissolves them, and their dissolution is itself an evolution of the human forces of production.”
[Karl Marx, Grundrisse: Pre-Capitalist Economic Formations, International Publishers [New York: 1965], pp. 92-95, bold, italics, underline, and color emphasis added].
The growth of the human-social "forces of production" is the very '''heart and soul''' of Marxian theory; of its explanation of the causation of human-social evolution, and of human-social revolution, as also of Marx's root definition of the very essence of "[democratic] communist society".
Those who deny this, are — whatever else they may or may not be — quite simply not Marxians.