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System of Economic Contradictions: Volume II

System of Economic Contradictions: Volume II

or, the Philosophy of Misery

1846

Translator: Clarence L. Swartz (Chapters X and XIV) and Shawn P. Wilbur (Chapter XI)

Chapter VII: Fifth Period – Police, Or Taxation

Chapter VII: Fifth Period – Police, Or Taxation

In positing its principles humanity, as if in obedience to a sovereign order, never goes backward. Like the traveller who by oblique windings rises from the depth of the valley to the mountain-top, it follows intrepidly its zigzag road, and marches to its goal with confident step, without repentance and without pause. Arriving at the angle of monopoly, the social genius casts backward a melancholy glance, and, in a moment of profound reflection, says to itself:

Chapter VII: Fifth Period – Police, Or Taxation

Chapter VII: Fifth Period – Police, Or Taxation

In positing its principles humanity, as if in obedience to a sovereign order, never goes backward. Like the traveller who by oblique windings rises from the depth of the valley to the mountain-top, it follows intrepidly its zigzag road, and marches to its goal with confident step, without repentance and without pause. Arriving at the angle of monopoly, the social genius casts backward a melancholy glance, and, in a moment of profound reflection, says to itself:

Chapter VI: Fourth Period – Monopoly

Chapter VI: Fourth Period – Monopoly

Monopoly, the exclusive commerce, exploitation, or enjoyment of a thing.

Monopoly is the natural opposite of competition. This simple observation suffices, as we have remarked, to overthrow the utopias based upon the idea of abolishing competition, as if its contrary were association and fraternity. Competition is the vital force which animates the collective being: to destroy it, if such a supposition were possible, would be to kill society.

Chapter V: Third Period – Competition

Chapter V: Third Period – Competition

BETWEEN the hundred-headed hydra, division of labour, and the unconquered dragon, machinery, what will become of humanity? A prophet has said it more than two thousand years ago: Satan looks on his victim, and the fires of war are kindled, Aspexit gentes, et dissolvit. To save us from two scourges, famine and pestilence, Providence sends us discord.

Chapter IV: Second Period – Machinery

Chapter IV: Second Period – Machinery

“I HAVE witnessed with profound regret the CONTINUANCE OF DISTRESS in the manufacturing districts of the country.”

Words of Queen Victoria on the reassembling of parliament.

Chapter III: Economic Evolutions – First Period – The Division of Labour

Chapter III: Economic Evolutions – First Period – The Division of Labour

The fundamental idea, the dominant category, of political economy is VALUE.

Value reaches its positive determination by a series of oscillations between supply and demand.

[...]

Chapter II: Of Value

Chapter II: Of Value

[...]

Chapter I: Of the Economic Science

Chapter I: Of the Economic Science

[…]

I affirm the REALITY of an economic science.

[...]

System of Economic Contradictions: Volume I

System of Economic Contradictions: Volume I

or, the Philosophy of Misery

1846

Translation by Benjamin R. Tucker

Destruam et ædificabo[1]

Deuteronomy: c. 32

  


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