For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

Economics Works (1861-1863)

by Marx, Karl (1988)

Key Passage

According to Hobbes science, not operative labour, is the mother of the arts.* "Arts of public use, as fortification, making of engines, and other instruments of war; because they confer to defence and victory, are power; and though the true mother of them be science, namely the mathematics, yet because they are brought into the light, by the hand of the artificer, they be esteemed, the midwife passing with the vulgar for the mother, as his issue" * (Leviathan, in The English Works of ThomasHobbes, EDIT, by Molesworth, Vol. Ill, London, 1839-1844, [p.] 75).The product of mental labour—science—always stands far below its value, because the labour time needed to reproduce it  has no relation at all to the labour time required for its original production. For example, a schoolboy can learn the binomial theorem in an hour.Labour capacity:* "The value or worth of a man, is as of all other things, his price: that is to say,so much as would be given for the use of his power" * (Hobbes, Leviathan, I.e.,[p.] 76).* "A man's labour" * //that is, the *use of his labouring power// "also, is acommodity exchangeable for benefit, as well as any other thing"* (I.e., [p.] 233).Productive and unproductive labour:* "It is not enough, for a man to labour for the maintenance of his life; but alsoto fight, if need be, for the securing of his labour. They must either do as the Jewsdid after their return from captivity, in re-edifying the temple, build with onehand, and hold the sword in the other; or else they must hire others to fight forthem" * (Hobbes, I.e., [p.] 333)(...)For Hobbes too labour is the sole source of all wealth, apart from those gifts of nature which are to be found already in a consumable state. God (NATURE)* "either freely gives, or for labour sells to mankind" * (Leviathan [p. 232]).But for Hobbes it is the sovereign who distributes property in land at his discretion.// (p.87)


Marx, Political Economy, Hobbes, Work As Science, Judaism, Worth, Value, Production, Struggle To Work


On Hobbes, Marx



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