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parts of the Grundrisse where Marx explicitly writes about methodology and made by Mario Duayer and Nélio Schneider, published in by Boitempo. Grundrisse: manuscritos econômicos de – esboços da crítica da economia política [Grundrisse: Economic manuscripts São Paulo: Boitempo. Marx. In his analysis of surplus population in the Grundrisse, Marx () commences with the historical condition São Paulo: Boitempo; Rio de. Janeiro: Ed. UFRJ .

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In a famous scene of Spanish literature, noble Don Quixote, dominated by madness, fought against windmills believing them to be giant warriors. A character that sought to change the world, forcing it on his ways, and went from one mess to another. He attempted with all his strength to be a hero, but he fought the wind in vain.

For Marx, reformist are like Don Quixote. In a previous text to The Capital called Grundisse, he called reformist actions Quixote-like.

It is a reference to the Don Quixote character. For Marx, to attempt to reform capitalism is useless. However, what did Marx understand by reformism? Reformism is characterized by the belief that it is possible to fix capitalism. The belief that capitalism does not work because there is a maladjusted part somewhere. It would suffice to fix what is wrong for the entire system to work rationally, coherently and fairly.

In this sense, reformists part from what society should be, not from what it actually is. It is curious then that many consider Marxism as utopic, when utopic is believing that capitalism may be reformed and it is possible to fix it. We will see this later on.

Eduardo Cintra | Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo –

A very interesting example was the influential French socialist Joseph Proudhon. Inthe working class fought directly, for the first time, the bourgeoisie. The revolution began. Proudhon kept his distance from all struggles despising their leaders. Gruhdrisse him, the essential was to implement his reform project.

With his project of ideal society in his head, Proudhon did not spend any time with mobilizations, barricades and street fights in the ongoing grundrisze. He was elected representative, and he presented his project in the French parliament.

This project was rejected by votes against 2.

His project was as follows: The main measure, however, was to transform the enterprises into labor cooperatives. These cooperatives would continue to produce commodities and sell them in the market.

The worker would now be an employer and a worker at the same time. Proudhon wanted to maintain commodities and end money.

Editions of Grundrisse: Foundations of the Critique of Political Economy by Karl Marx

To maintain the accumulated capital in the grundriswe and end the capitalist. Would this be possible? These generated within themselves the conditions that enabled its overcoming.

Marx shows how each part of capitalism is related to the other. It grundrise an irrational system by nature, contradictory, oppressive and because of boifempo, uncontrollable. The center of this system is production oriented by wealth accumulation by individual enterprises. Enterprises that are private property. It does not matter if they are cooperatives or controlled by one or more capitalists. Within these enterprises, as for private property, there is a fierce control of boitwmpo, functions, schedules with the objective to produce a greater amount of wealth and obtain profit.


If, on one hand, within enterprises everything is strictly controlled, on the other, there is no control regarding the relation between enterprises boitempoo society.

Each enterprise produces commodities to be exchanged in the market, consumed by a buyer who, from starters, no one know who it is. As everything, it is exchanged in market. The need of money emerges to compare all commodities. As we may see, within the grundrises, everything is standardized, divided and regulated.

Outside it, unsafety rules, and nothing may be exactly foreseen. Will vehicles produced by an assembly factory be sold? Will the ore extracted from the mines find buyers?

May be or maybe not. No one knows for certain when and where. In this immensity of enterprises, there will be those dedicated to producing commodities themselves: Here we have vehicle assembly factories, shoe producers, food producers, and so on. However, it is necessary to make commodities reach the individual consumer hands, mostly workers. Therefore, there is commercial capital, responsible for distributing commodities. However, there is no control of the countless relations between enterprises.

Two grundisse developed to establish the minimum conditions for this system to continue to exist. The first is banking capital, which provides credit and loans with a given interest rate. Credit is a specific form of capital bearing interests. Excessive parts of enterprises that compose industrial capital need gigantic investments. Rgundrisse facilities are enormous and the machine system is very expensive. This way, banking capital must provide all enterprises, in the form of loans, the capital to enable its business to work: To oppose banking and productive capital is absurd.

Buy for others

The credit system completes its development as a reaction against usury. However, this must not be misunderstood, and in no way interpreted obitempo the former authors, the Church priests, Luther, or former socialists. The credit system does not mean anything besides the submission of capital bearing interests to conditions and geundrisse of the capitalist production mode. This way, the credit system is a necessary demand of the capitalist production mode.

Without it, the reproduction of the entire system grundrissr impossible. Only the tabloid writer, Proudhon, who wanted to sustain commodity production and abolish money, was capable of imagining the monstrous free credit, this alleged realization of the merciful wish of the perspective of the petty bourgeoisie.

Today, as we know, some currents that believe it is possible to tame capitalism do the opposite. They take productive capital as sacred and banking capital as the demon, without understanding the necessary link between them. However, the main brundrisse is the State. The State guarantees a currency pattern, like the dollar or the real, that is accepted both by sellers and buyers within a country.

To regulate competition between enterprises, the State determines a work shift and the minimum rights for each workers. Since boitepo force is a commodity sold and bought in market, a struggle between workers and capitalists defines the pattern of minimum rights. The State instituted this patter for all enterprises. It even defines the conditions to buy and sell commodities from enterprises in different countries, and therefore, it negotiates with other States.

As we may see, the State is not capable of controlling the market, but of boitemlo the minimum conditions for it to work. For this, to guarantee capitalist economy does not get off track, capitalists may concentrate their strength through the State to repress all grundrsse any threat to this system. For example through armed forces, the law and judges. The constant changes in the political forms of the State to adapt to the needs of the moment come from here, taking into account the sustaining of the system and the parasite social classes.


In this sense, nothing could be more contradictory with the Marxist conception than the idea of transforming society betting on the capitalist state. Juridical forms where these economic transactions appear as acts of will of those involved, as exteriorizations of their frundrisse will and as contracts whose execution may be imposed to the contractual parts by the State, cannot determine the content, since they are mere forms. They may grunerisse express it. When it corresponds to the mode of production, when it is adequate, this content is fair; when it contradicts it, it is unfair.

Slavery, based on a capitalist mode of production is unfair, grunndrisse as fraud regarding the quality of commodity. As one may see, criticism to bourgeois society exposed by Marx is not based on moral condemnation of it, neither is it based on universal ethics of men based on eternal principles of justice.

Before this, the prerequisites for socialist production relations appear in the heart gruundrisse bourgeois society.

Criticism and metaphysics: the philosophical legacy of Karl Marx

The entire system, grundriswe, is oriented to guarantee the origin and the source of all wealth within enterprises. In other words, for the enterprise owner to appropriate part of the wealth produced by his workers, to continue doing so year after year. The illusion of reformists, therefore, is to believe that some of the parts of this system may be changed in nature and make the whole work differently. As Proudhon thought, it is possible to abolish money and maintain commodities.

To end capitalists and maintain capital accumulation within enterprises. Just as Proudhon, today, countless organizations believe it to be possible to humanize capitalism.

In other words, to solve to problems of the working class without destroying the system, which produces these issues, as a whole. Some, like Ciro Gomes in Grundrisse, believe that the problem is banking and financial capital. His program stands for productive and industrial capital versus capital that commercializes money.

Others believe that through the State, it is possible to transform society and transfer the wealth produced for the poorer, pushing consumption policies for families. There is yet a nationalist trend.

They believe that the solution is to favor national enterprises, private or state-owned, against foreign enterprises.

As we may see, these are several types of reformism. All these reformist programs may even be right on some of their criticism to a specific issue. However, when they attempt to alter the system by using its own mechanisms, they are swallowed by it. This happens because all these parts are articulated amongst themselves and are part of one same system: