What Was Marx Trying to Do?
From New Interventions, Vol.3 No.1,1992
THE GROUPS which regard themselves as revolutionary are in bad shape. Everybody knows that, except some of their members. At a time when every aspect of world society is being turned upside-down and inside-out, they cling religiously to the old formulas to which they devoted their lives, striving to squeeze the new reality into them. The "revolutionaries" are now some of the most conservative people around.
In this brief article, I do not want to talk about their fragmentary organisation, their limited political activities or their minuscule influence – perhaps much of this is due to factors beyond their control – but about the pitiful state of their theoretical outlook. Fundamentally, they don’t know what they are doing. Far worse: most of them, gripped by fear of any theoretical examination which goes below the political surface, no longer care to know.
But this is not entirely new. We who fought for revolutionary socialism seldom seriously asked ourselves just how we were going to achieve our goal, nor what that goal meant. For a long time, and increasingly since the death of Leon Trotsky, the groups of the Left have confined themselves within a narrow framework of political tactics and organisational manoeuvre, conducted in an unquestioned and worn-out vocabulary.
I do not say this in order to ridicule those who fought for socialist revolution as they best understood it. Without the kind of devoted work we can read about in the pages of Revolutionary History, I could not even ask the questions I now think are so vital. Their struggles, disappointments, stupidities, heroism and hopes have a permanent historic value. But their lives will all have been wasted if we do not now mercilessly criticise these theoretical foundations. All I am trying to do is to suggest a framework for understanding our own history. I am convinced that Marx’s basic project has been totally misunderstood by those who followed him. I don’t just mean the Stalinists, whose obscene caricature was no more than a bureaucratic state religion. I think that, even during his lifetime, those who sincerely dedicated their lives to the ideas they called "Marxism" were unaware of what Marx was trying to do.
A tiny minority of these self-sacrificing fighters took theoretical questions seriously. But even they were only able to read Marx’s writings by forcing them into existing forms of consciousness, and that, as we shall see, meant misreading them. The "orthodox Marxism" of the Second International already took this form, and it must not be forgotten that it was in this theoretical culture that Lenin and Trotsky were educated.
Lenin, in particular, never published any statement which questioned the basic outlook of Plekhanov and Kautsky, The State and Revolution being the only exception. When, at the start of the world war, the treachery of these leaders of "orthodox Marxism" gave him a glimpse of the philosophical gulf between them and Marx, he kept his insight to himself.
Don’t forget that only a small part of Marx’s work was available in those days, and that those of us who have to read Marx in translation were presented with highly distorted versions. (The English translation of Capital, Volume 1 is notorious for frequently printing the exact opposite of what its author had written, starting with its title page.)
Only in the last fifty years have we been able to see some of the most important of Marx’s statements. It was 1959 before we got a good translation of the Paris Manuscripts of 1844, and 1973 before we could read Grundrisse (1857-8). But by this time it was almost impossible to read the newly-available material except in the highly-coloured light of what we already "knew" they meant. (This is why Grundrisse was so important: its author was 40 years old, so it was hardly possible to dismiss it as the work of the "Young Marx".) "Everybody knew" that Marx was a "dialectical materialist", that he believed that there were "laws of history", that Capital was a book about the "economics" of "capitalism", that the state was an organised armed force, through which the ruling class held down the working class, that the transition to socialism, called the "dictatorship of the proletariat", meant "government unrestricted by laws" and that socialism involved state planning of industry. Not one of these universally-known "facts" would have been accepted by Dr. Karl Heinrich Marx.
Of course, the replacement of the present social order with socialism entails the forcible overthrow of the bourgeois state, the expropriation of the capitalist class and the establishment of new social relations. But what are social relations? What does it mean to change them?
We all worked to bring about the socialist revolution, but just what is a revolution? How do we know that our ideas are true? And what is "theory" anyway?
Lenin thought that German philosophy, English political economy (he should have said "Scottish and English") and French socialism formed "three sources and three component parts" of Marxism. In fact, these three are the target of Marx’s threefold critique. But "critique" did not mean providing better alternative "economic theories", philosophical systems or theories of society. That sort of "criticism" raises the problem: on what criterion is it made?
As we see in the example of the "critique of religion", Marx’s critique is an internal process, starting out from the very assumptions of its target.
"This state, this society, produce religion, an inverted world consciousness, because they are an inverted world.... The demand to give up illusions about the existing state of affairs is the demand to give up a state of affairs which needs illusions."
Instead of "criticising" religion by contrasting it with some presupposed criterion, he allows it to bring its inner contradictions to light, shows that they express contradictions between the way that humanity lives and what it is, and finally demonstrates how they could be resolved in the revolutionary struggle for a "truly human society". Critique is self-criticism.
What about "Marxian economics", a "theory of capitalism"? In fact, "capitalism" is a word Marx hardly ever used. (I have found just one example in Capital, tucked away in Volume 2.) Marx spent his entire working life on the detailed demonstration that bourgeois society, in every aspect, was nuts – Marx uses the German word verrückte – and to pretend to describe it in rational, "scientific" terms was nonsense. For him, "crazy", "unfree" and "inhuman" were equivalent expressions.
The unequal distribution of the social product was important, but not the most vital issue. Far more important is the alienated life of all in the modern world, both bourgeois and proletarians. Individuals are estranged from each other, from the product of their own work, from their activity as human beings, from nature and from themselves. Related only externally, they are reduced to no more than "the personification" of capital or of labour, the "bearers" of social relations.
Marx is able to grasp these characteristics of bourgeois society through his inner critique of classical political economy. He appreciates the great contributions of Adam Smith and David Ricardo, precisely because they fearlessly brought into the open contradictions which were organic to their subject. The critical task, however, is to understand the meaning and the historical origin of these contradictions, so as to direct them consciously in the supersession of this inhuman social formation. (Modern economics devotes itself to trying to hide these contradictions beneath dense layers of algebra or computer code.)
This is where Marx’s relation with Hegel is so vital – and so messed up by the tradition falsely called "Marxist". Hegel was not an idealist, any more than Marx was a materialist – if these words are used to indicate either (a) what stuff the world is made of, or (b) how we can get to know about it. (Nor, by the way, was Hegel a conservative who sanctified the Prussian monarchy.)
That tradition of "dialectical materialism" is utterly foreign to Marx’s views. He used the word "dialectic" exclusively to mean "Hegelian dialectic" in all his published writings except for the 1873 "Afterword" to Capital, and there he explains that "my dialectic is the opposite of that of Hegel". (His uses of it in the unpublished Grundrisse must be read with care.) Like many other bits of "Marxist" mythology, the "dialectical materialist" story was cooked up by Plekhanov, starting in 1891.
Marx’s materialism, like the idealism of Hegel, centres on the problem of human freedom. His enormous debt to Hegel was that the greatest of bourgeois philosophers revealed with profound accuracy the alienated character of human life in modern times. That was what connected him to the great political economists, especially Adam Smith and Ricardo. Marx’s criticism of Hegel was that – like them – he did his work "within estrangement".
It was precisely this limitation which made Hegel’s method, his dialectic, the most profound reflection of the logic of Capital. In the shape of the Idea, Hegel reflected that great, alien, impersonal power which in modern times controls social life. Capital is not a thing, but a social relation which takes the form of a thing. Here is Hegel’s "Substance which is Subject". Turning itself over incessantly, capital dictates its "laws of motion" to all. It, not the wishes of the capitalists, expands the wealth owned by the possessing classes by consuming the very lives of the wage-labourers and their families. The more the labourers engage in the human activity of production, the more powerful grows their enemy, their real oppressor, their true exploiter, and the more inhuman their conditions of life.
Marx’s life-work was the investigation of how this power operates, how it came into being, and how it will be transcended when its internal contradictions reach their climax in the proletarian revolution. The critique of the Hegelian dialectic – in the sense of "critique" given above – culminates in the proletarian revolution. Because, as Smith and Ricardo had already shown, labour is capital, the struggle of the working class for "conditions worthy of its human nature" (Capital, Volume 3) is in practice the "inner critique" of capital. By applying Hegel’s method to itself, Marx sought to make freedom, not an ideal, but a practical task.
Even before Marx had begun to study either political economy or socialism, he wrote his Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of the State (1843). He accepts completely Hegel’s description of the modern State, but denounces Hegel’s acceptance of this institution as "reasonable". Instead of the constitutional monarchic state being the embodiment of "Reason", the State as such is inhuman: a human society implies its abolition.
Hegel sees private property as the foundation of individual freedom in "civil society", from which the State necessarily arises. Yes, says Marx, private property is the basis for all alienated social forms, including the State. But. as he says in his first comments on political economy, the "Comments on James Mill" (1844):
"Our own product has risen up against us: it seemed to be our property, but in fact we are its property. We ourselves are excluded from true property, because our property excludes other men."
The opposition between Marx and Hegel turns on the character of social relationships, of the mediations between individuals. The dialectic (i.e. Hegel’s dialectic) sees the contradictions between two opposites resolved in a third which rises above them. State, money, law, God – Marx knows these to be links between people – but links which dominate them:
"Owing to this alien mediator – instead of man himself being the mediator for man – man regards his will, his activity and his relation to other men as a power independent of him and them."
Hegel was well aware of the analogy between his conception of mediation and Adam Smith’s view of market forces as an "invisible hand". But Marx sees that the emancipation of humanity demands, not just correctly "interpreting" these powers as human creations, but getting rid of them. Until that is accomplished, and the relations between human beings are direct, human relations: "... the mediating process between men engaged in exchange is not a social or human process, not a human relationship." That was written in 1844. Fourteen years later, the "mature" Marx is even more firmly convinced that, under the power of the market: "... the individuals are subsumed under social production, which exists outside them as their fate." When he came to study communist and socialist ideas, Marx accepted none of them as they stood. The Utopians tried to apply the external standard of Reason (drawn from the Enlightenment) to bourgeois society. Instead, Marx strove to show how bourgeois social relations criticised themselves.
All of the systems of socialism he regarded as "tainted with their opposite", since even the best of them only recommend altering the organisational arrangements in which people lived. Marx spent his life struggling in theory and in practice for a world of "universally developed individuals, whose social relationships are their own communal relations and therefore subject to their own communal control", a world of "free individuality, based on the universal development of the individuals and the subordination of their communal, social productivity, which is their social possession".
The Plekhanovite story seeks to downgrade consciousness in explaining how history moves. But, for Marx, consciousness, and its falsification in money and the state, plays the essential role in the workings of society. In a world of estranged labour, it is opposed to self-consciousness. As Hegel had shown, consciousness operates "behind the backs" of the individuals, whose thoughts are in the grip of established forms of thought and language.
But consider a world based on "the free development of individualities, in which the mediations between individuals were under their conscious control, instead of controlling them", in which "the labour of the individual is from the outset taken as social labour", in which "labour would be organised in such a way that the individual’s share in common consumption would directly follow". As we read in Capital, Volume 1:
"The veil is not removed from the countenance of the social life-process, i.e. the process of material production, until it becomes production by freely associated men, and stands under their conscious and planned control."
That brings us to one of the most difficult issues. What role is played in the liberation of humankind from its own estranged social relations by the theoretical work itself? For "Marxism", theory was reduced to the techniques of political activity. But Marx saw his task as developing ideas with which the revolutionary class would become conscious agents of the supersession of its own social being. Grasping the possibility of abolishing itself as a class, it would abolish all classes. Although the terminology changed, he never ceased to believe that "science is the head and the proletariat is the heart of the revolution".
It now seems to me that Marx’s work centres on two questions:
(a) What does it mean to be human?
(b) What must we do if we are to live humanly, that is, as "a free association of producers"?
Neither of these questions is new: every philosopher worthy of the name has grappled with them. What Marx did was to pose them in a way which made them answerable in practice.
Marx may not have been right about everything, but he was the greatest of moral philosophers. He did not apply some transcendent, external standard to human life, but showed how it judged itself in practice against its own, human criteria. All of his categories – class and class struggle, base and superstructure, value and surplus value, State and revolution, man and nature – are ethical categories, because they provide the internal criteria against which we can grasp the human answer to human problems.
Marx clarified the concept of labour, distinguishing the enforced activity of alienated wage-labour from the human, i.e. free, rational, sane, healthy activity of creation, in which the human individual takes his or her place in the collective life-process of the species, changing themselves in changing nature. For this clarification, Aristotle was as important as Hegel, but Marx went far beyond them both. For only from the perspective of communism can we grasp the potentiality of human life as part of nature, and of individual life as part of the entire history of humanity.
At this point, latter-day "Marxists" will chorus: "What has all this to do with our work today? We are too important to waste time on such ‘abstract’ questions."
How wrong they are! The theoretical weakness of the Left shows itself most clearly in its inability to get to grips with such massive contemporary issues as the increasingly parasitic character of economic life, the ecological crisis, the problems of AIDS, drug abuse, psychiatric disorder or the crisis of sexual relations. When they do talk about such things, they merely parrot the empty chatter of radical circles.
A real understanding of the ideas of Marx, liberated from the philosophical mausoleum in which "Marxism" imprisoned him, is vital for our time.
I have run out of space. Most of what I have written here is mere assertion. One day, perhaps, I shall be able to fill in some of the supporting argument. In the meantime, here are a few passages from the writings of Karl Marx, a writer we have to learn to read as if we had never heard of him before, quietly listening to what he had to say about how he lived and how we still live.
Perhaps some of these lines might be familiar to readers. But, as Hegel explained, "what is familiar is not thereby comprehended".
First, some quotations from writings of 1843-7.
"In civil society, [man] ... acts as a private individual, regards other men as a means, degrades himself into a means, and becomes the plaything of alien forces." (Marx-Engels, Collected Works [MECW], Volume 3, p.154, "On the Jewish Question".)
"Instead of man himself being the mediator for man – man regards his will, his activity and his relation to other men as a power independent of him and them" (ibid., p.212, "Comment on James Mill").
"One ought to consider how vile it is to estimate the value of a man in money, as happens in the credit relationship.... Credit is the economic judgement on the morality of a man. In credit, the man himself, instead of metal or paper, has become the mediator of exchange, not however as a man, but as the mode of existence of capital and interest.... Man himself is turned into money, or money is incorporated in him. Human individuality, human morality itself, has become both an object of commerce and the material in which money exists" (ibid., p.215).
"The worker’s role is determined by social needs which, however, are alien to him and a compulsion to which he submits out of egoistic need and necessity, and which have for him only the significance of a means of satisfying his dire need, just as for them he exists only as the slave of their needs.... To the worker the maintenance of his individual existence appears to be the purpose of his activity and what he does is regarded by him only as a means.... Exchange of the activity itself appears as a division of labour, which turns man as far as possible into an abstract being, a machine tool, etc., and transforms him into a spiritual and physical monster" (ibid., p.220).
"As a man you have, of course, a human relation to my product: you have need of my product...But your need, your desire, your will, are powerless as regards my product. That means therefore, that your human nature ... is not your power over this production, your possession of it, for it not the specific character, not the power, of man’s nature that is recognised in my production.... Far from being the means which would give you power over my production, they are instead the means for giving me power over you" (ibid., p.226).
"Let us suppose that we had carried out our product as human beings. Each of us would have in two ways affirmed himself and the other person. 1) In my production I would have objectified my individuality, its specific character, and therefore enjoyed not only an individual manifestation of my life during the activity, but also when looking at the object I would have the individual pleasure of knowing my personality to be objective, visible to the senses, and hence a power beyond all doubt. 2) In your enjoyment or use of my product I would have the direct enjoyment both of being conscious of having satisfied a human need by my work, that is, of having objectified man’s essential nature, and of having thus created an object corresponding to the need of another man’s essential nature. 3) I would therefore have been for you the mediator between you and the species, and therefore would become recognised and felt by you yourself as a completion of your own essential nature and as a necessary part of of yourself, and consequently would know myself to be confirmed both in your thought and your love. 4) In the individual expression of my life I would have directly created your expression of your life, and therefore in my individual activity I would have directly confirmed and realised my true nature, my human nature, my communal nature. Our products would be so many mirrors in which we saw reflected our essential nature.... My work would be a free manifestation of life, hence an enjoyment of life.... The specific nature of my individuality, therefore, would be affirmed in my labour, since the latter would be an affirmation of my individual life. Labour therefore would be true, active property" (ibid., pp.227-8).
"The worker is related to the product of his labour as to an alien object.The alienation of the worker in his product means not only that his labour becomes an object, an external existence, but that it exists outside him, independently, as something alien to him, and that it becomes a power on its own, confronting him. It means that the life which he has conferred on the object confronts him as something hostile and alien" (ibid., p.272, Paris Manuscripts).
"Man is a species-being, not only because in practice and in theory he adopts the species, (his own as well as those of other things) as his object, but..also because he treats himself as the actual, living species; because he treats himself as a universal and therefore a free being" (ibid., p.275).
"The life of the species, both in man and animals, consists physically in the fact that man (like the animal) lives on organic nature...Physically, man lives only on these products of nature, whether they appear in the form of food, heating, clothes, a dwelling, etc. The universality of man appears in practice precisely in the universality which makes all nature his inorganic body – both inasmuch as nature is (1) his direct means of life, and (2) the material, the object, and the instrument of his life activity....That man’s physical and spiritual life is linked with nature means simply that nature is linked to itself, for man is a part of nature" (ibid., pp.275-6).
"The positive transcendence of private property, as the ap propriation of human life, is therefore the positive transcendence of all estrangement – that is to say, the return of man from religion, family, state, etc., to his human, i.e., social existence" (ibid., p.297).
"The first positive annulment of private property – crude communism – is thus merely a manifestation of the vileness of private property, which wants to set itself up as the positive community system (ibid., p.296).
"Communism (a) still political in nature – democratic or despotic; (b) with the abolition of the state, yet still incomplete, and being still affected by private property, i.e., by the estrangement of man. In both forms communism is already aware of being re-integration or return of man to himself, the transcendence of human estrangement; but since it has not yet grasped the positive essence of private property, and just as little the human nature of need, it remains captive to it and is infected by it" (ibid., p.296).
"It will be seen how in place of the wealth and poverty of political economy come the rich human being and the rich human need. The rich human being is simultaneously the human being in need of a totality of human manifestations of life – the man in whom his own realisation exists as an inner necessity, as need. Not only wealth, but likewise the poverty of man – under the assumption of socialism – receives in equal measure a human and therefore social significance" (ibid., p.304).
"Assume man to be man and his relationship to the world to be a human one: then you can exchange love only for love, trust for trust, etc.... Every one of your relations to man and to ature must be a specific expression, corresponding to the object of your will, of your real individual life" (ibid., p.326).
"Capital consists of raw materials, instruments of labour and means of subsistence of all kinds, which are employed to produce new raw materials, new instruments of production and new means of subsistence. All these components part of capital are creations of labour, products of labour, accumulated labour. Accumulated labour which serves as means of new production is capital. So say the economists. What is a Negro slave? A man of the black race. The one explanation is as good as the other.
"A Negro is a Negro. He becomes a slave in certain relations. A cotton-spinning jenny is a machine for spinning cotton. It becomes capital only in certain relations. Torn from these relationships, it is no more capital than gold is itself money, or sugar the price of sugar" (MECW, Vol.9, p.211, Wage-Labour and Capital).
Now some passages from Grundrisse, of 1857-8. (For convenience, I have used the translation given in MECW, Volumes 28-9.)
"The absolute mutual dependence of individuals, who are indifferent to one another, constitutes their social connection. This social connection is is expressed in exchange value, in which alone his product becomes an activity or product for the individual himself. He must produce a general product – exchange value, or exchange value isolated by itself, individualised: money. On the other hand, the power that each individual exercises over the activity of others, or over social wealth exists in him as the owner of exchange value, of money. He carries his social power, as also his connection with society, in his pocket.... The social character of the activity, as also the social form of the product, and the share of the individual in production, appear here as something alien to and existing outside the individuals; not as their relationship to each other, but as their subordination to relationships existing independently of them and arising from the collision between different individuals" (MECW, Vol.28, p.94).
"The illusion about its nature ... and the neglect of the contradiction contained in it, endows money – behind the back of individuals – with this really magical significance" (ibid., p.158).
"Although individual A may feel a need for the commodity of individual B, he does not seize it by force, or vice versa; A and B recognise each other as owners, as persons, whose commodities are permeated by their will.... Individual A satisfies individual B’s need by means of the commodity a only to the extent that and because individual B satisfies individual A’s need by means of commodity b, and vice versa. Each serves the other in order to serve himself.... The social interest which appears as the motive of the act as whole, is certainly recognised as a FACT on both sides, but as such it is not the motive, but goes on, as it were, behind the back of the self-reflected particular interests, behind the back of one individual’s interest in contrast to that of the other.... The general interest is nothing but the generality of selfish interests (ibid., pp.175-6; see also Capital, Volume 1, Chapter 2).
"The material on which it works is alien material; just as the instrument is an alien instrument; its labour appears as a mere accessory to them as substance and therefore objectifies itself in things not belonging to it. Indeed, living labour itself appears as alien vis-à-vis living labour capacity whose labour it is, whose life it expresses, for it is surrendered to capital in return for objectified labour, for the product of labour itself. Labour capacity relates to it as something alien, and if capital wanted to pay it without setting it to work, it would make the bargain with pleasure. Its own labour is therefore just as alien to it – and it really is alien, as regards its direction, etc. – as the material and instrument. Therefore, naturally, the product appears to it as a combination of alien material, alien instrument and alien labour – as alien property, and after production it has only become poorer by the life force expended; but begins the DRUDGERY anew of itself, as a merely subjective labour capacity separated from the conditions of its life.
"The recognition of the products as its own, and its awareness that its separation from the conditions of its realisation is improper and imposed by force, is an enormous consciousness, and is itself the product of the mode of production based on capital, and just as much the KNELL TO ITS DOOM as the consciousness of the slave that he cannot be the property of another, his consciousness of being a person, reduced slavery to an artificial lingering existence, and made it impossible for it to continue to provide the basis of production" (ibid., pp.390-1).
"It is important to note that wealth as such, i.e. bourgeois wealth, is always expressed to the highest power in exchange value, where it is posited as mediator, as mediation between the extremes of exchange value and use value themselves. This middle term always appears as the completed economic relation, because it comprises the opposites, and always ultimately appears as a higher power than the extremes themselves, but in a one-sided way; because the movement or the relationship which originally appears as mediating between the extremes, must dialectically come to appear as mediation with it itself, as the subject of which the extremes are merely the elements. It transcends their autonomous premisses, and by doing so posits itself as that which alone is autonomous" (ibid., p.257).
"Considered notionally, the dissolution of a definite form of consciousness would be sufficient to destroy an entire epoch. In reality, this barrier to consciousness corresponds to a definite degree of development of the material productive forces and thus of wealth.... The result is: the tendentially and [potentially] universal development of the productive forces – of wealth in general – as basis, likewise the universality of intercourse, hence also the world market as basis. The basis as the possibility of the universal development of individuals, and their actual development from this basis as constant transcendence of their barrier, which is recognised as such, and not interpreted as a sacred limit. The universality of the individual not as an imaginary concept, but the universality of his real and notional relations. Hence also the comprehension of his own history as a process and the knowledge of nature (likewise available as practical control 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 productive forces has become the condition of production; and not that particular conditions of production are posited as the limit to the development of the productive forces" (ibid., pp.463-6).
Once this transformation has taken place, it is neither the immediate labour performed by man himself, nor the time for which he works, but the appropriation of his own general productive power, his comprehension of Nature and domination of it by virtue of being a social entity – in a word the development of the social individual – that appears as the corner-stone of production and wealth. The theft of alien labour-time, which is the basis of present wealth, appears to be a miserable foundation compared to this newly-developed one, the foundation created by large-scale industry itself.... As a result, production based upon exchange value collapses, and the immediate material production process itself is stripped of its form of indigence and antagonism. Free development of individualities, and hence not the reduction of necessary labour-time in order to posit surplus labour, but in general the reduction of the necessary labour of society to a minimum, to which then corresponds the artistic, scientific, etc., development of individuals, made possible by the time set free and the means produced for all of them" (MECW, Vol.29, p.91).
"The bourgeois economists are so wrapped up in the notions of a definite historical stage of social development that the necessity for the objectification of the social powers of labour appears to them to be inseparable from the necessity for their alienation over against living labour. But as soon as the immediate character of living labour is transcended, i.e. its character as merely individual, or as only internally or only externally general, with the positing of the activities of individuals as immediately general or social activity, this form of alienation is stripped from the reified moments of production. Then they are posited as property, as the organic social body in which the individuals reproduce themselves as individuals, but as social individuals. The conditions enabling them to be such in the reproduction of their life, their productive life-process, are only posited by the historical economic process itself; both the objective and the subjective conditions, which are merely two different forms of the same conditions" (ibid., pp.210-1).
Finally, a few lines from Capital, Volume 3.
"Freedom in this field can only consist in socialised 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 their human nature" (p.820).