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Marx: Labor Is NOT The Source Of All Wealth

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I think most quote the first page of the Critique of the Gotha Program for Marx asserting this: "First part of the paragraph: 'Labor is the source of all wealth and all culture.' Labor is not the source of all wealth. Nature is just as much the source of use values (and it is surely of such that material wealth consists!) as labor, which itself is only the manifestation of a force of nature, human labor power. The above phrase is to be found in all children's primers and is correct insofar as it is implied that labor is performed with the appurtenant subjects and instruments. But a socialist program cannot allow such bourgeois phrases to pass over in silence the conditions that alone give them meaning. And insofar as man from the beginning behaves toward nature, the primary source

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I think most quote the first page of the Critique of the Gotha Program for Marx asserting this:

"First part of the paragraph: 'Labor is the source of all wealth and all culture.'

Labor is not the source of all wealth. Nature is just as much the source of use values (and it is surely of such that material wealth consists!) as labor, which itself is only the manifestation of a force of nature, human labor power. The above phrase is to be found in all children's primers and is correct insofar as it is implied that labor is performed with the appurtenant subjects and instruments. But a socialist program cannot allow such bourgeois phrases to pass over in silence the conditions that alone give them meaning. And insofar as man from the beginning behaves toward nature, the primary source of all instruments and subjects of labor, as an owner, treats her as belonging to him, his labor becomes the source of use values, therefore also of wealth. The bourgeois have very good grounds for falsely ascribing supernatural creative power to labor; since precisely from the fact that labor depends on nature it follows that the man who possesses no other property than his labor power must, in all conditions of society and culture, be the slave of other men who have made themselves the owners of the material conditions of labor. He can only work with their permission, hence live only with their permission."

But the same proposition is in the first chapter of the first volume of Capital:

"The use values, coat, linen, etc., i.e., the bodies of commodities, are combinations of two elements – matter and labour. If we take away the useful labour expended upon them, a material substratum is always left, which is furnished by Nature without the help of man. The latter can work only as Nature does, that is by changing the form of matter. Nay more, in this work of changing the form he is constantly helped by natural forces. We see, then, that labour is not the only source of material wealth, of use values produced by labour. As William Petty puts it, labour is its father and the earth its mother."

Wealth, for Marx, is not value. It is use values.

You can find many supposed critiques of Marx claiming that he is wrong for denying p. Yet Marx asserts p, and not in some obscure part of his writing. I suppose I also find socialists irritating who advocate for socialism on the basis of Marx by means of propositions that he explicitly denies or argues he transcends. Socialists who explicitly state that they base their arguments on pre-Marxian notions of, say, the labor theory of value are better.

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