Monday, 27 January 2014

Karl Marx (1818-1883)

Karl Marx: Critique of Political Economy Appendix I

Available at:

Introduction to a Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy

1. Direct identity: Production is consumption and consumption is production. Consumptive production and productive consumption. Economists call both productive consumption, but they still make a distinction. The former figures in their work as reproduction, the latter as productive consumption. All investigations of the former are concerned with productive and unproductive labour, those of the latter with productive and non-productive consumption.
2. Each appears as a means of the other, as being induced by it; this is called their mutual dependence; they are thus brought into mutual relation and appear to be indispensable to each other, but nevertheless remain extrinsic to each other. Production provides the material which is the external object of consumption, consumption provides the need, i.e., the internal object, the purpose of production. There is no consumption without production, and no production without consumption. This proposition appears in various forms in political economy.
3. Production is not only simultaneously consumption, and consumption simultaneously production; nor is production only a means of consumption and consumption the purpose of production – i.e., each provides the other with its object, production supplying the external object of consumption, and consumption the conceptual object of production-in other words, each of them is not only simultaneously the other, and not merely the cause of the other, but each of them by being carried through creates the other, it creates itself as the other. It is only consumption that consummates the process of production, since consumption completes the product as a product by destroying it, by consuming its independent concrete form. Moreover by its need for repetition consumption leads to the perfection of abilities evolved during the first process of production and converts them into skills. Consumption is therefore the concluding act which turns not only the product into a product, but also the producer into a producer. Production, on the other hand, produces consumption by creating a definite mode of consumption, and by providing an incentive to consumption it thereby creates the capability to consume as a requirement.

This explains The Binary Tension of Production and Consumption^

The following is a link to a powerpoint presentation I accessed for background
information on the ideas of Marx. The powerpoint has little information about 
production and consumption and has a greater emphasis on needs, the 
exploitation of labourers and social classes.

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