I read most of his works ( including Engels' ), and after all the considerations, I concluded he is not a "communist" at all, but rather, a "hyper-capitalist" who had overvalued the "advancement of technologies".

From German Ideology

For as soon as the distribution of labour comes into being, each man has a particular, exclusive sphere of activity, which is forced upon him and from which he cannot escape. He is a hunter, a fisherman, a herdsman, or a critical critic, and must remain so if he does not want to lose his means of livelihood; while in communist society, where nobody has one exclusive sphere of activity but each can become accomplished in any branch he wishes, society regulates the general production and thus makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticise after dinner, just as I have a mind, without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, herdsman or critic. This fixation of social activity, this consolidation of what we ourselves produce into an objective power above us, growing out of our control, thwarting our expectations, bringing to naught our calculations, is one of the chief factors in historical development up till now.

It sounds to me after "conquering all the "struggles" to abandon laborers as being the commodities under the system of the "capitalism" and capitalists privatizing every method in the process of the production thus becoming a like a "brain" controlling the "muscle" ( = laborers ) thus forcing the laborers becoming non-human beings but apparatus to facilitate the process of the production, the laborers as apparatus would be "free from anything at all" like to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening etc etc..

This sounds to me quite impossible, because if human beings could had become "being free", and could become to act like above, I wondered "who will make arrows and bows for hunting? ( which need the division of labor ) same with "who will make the wheels and roads to run the rear?" ( which needs the division of labor too )".

So I thought K.Marx criticized the former "socialists" as eutopeans, he too was the eutopean too, since in The Capital, he is praising the effectiveness of the "division of labor" in terms of its concentration effect onto one process and he is contradicting at many places.

Can I say, in some day, can we be "free" and become "true human beings" without outside forces coming upon us?

Answer to Mozibur Ullah with due respect which he commented on his answer line.

First off, thank you for your comment. Be reminded with due respect that the terminology of Philosophy in a language is always not widely used in ordinary life, therefore, after I read one's work in a language, finding the corresponding section in the book written by a different language is, to say, kind of reading a new book from the very start.


Capital, Vol.1, Chapter 22.

( From above )

It produces its products as commodities. The fact that it produces commodities does not distinguish it from other modes of production. Its peculiar mark is that the prevailing and determining character of its products is that of being commodities. This implies, in the first place, that the laborer himself acts in the role of a seller of commodities, as a free wage worker, so that wage labor is the typical character of labor. In view of the foregoing analyses it is not necessary to demonstrate again, that the relation between wage labor and capital determines the entire character of the mode of production. The principal agents of this mode of production itself, the capitalist and the wage worker, are to that extent merely personifications of capital and wage labor. They are definite social characters, assigned to individuals by the process of social production. They are products of these definite social conditions of production.

This term capitalist merely being a personification of capital can be seen in his books quite numbers of times. He seemed to have thought a capitalist is a function ( personification ) of the auto self-circulation of capital, thus under the mode of the capitalistic production, or to me, with the alienation existing in the process of the production ( = division of the labor ), he seemed to have thought that the capitalist merely was a function in the automatic ongoing production system now hugely observable in modern age. Thus to me you sounded to me even though to some extent loborers in the line are different from yours artist, in terms of freedom, when I take the whole industrial production process as kind of an automated production system which moves by itself and only for the existence of itself, I can not agree entirely. ( By the way, I deleted some parts of the comments due to the length. )

Here, further going down deep, your artist, for what purpose does he/she paint/write/portray his/her product? Yes, ultimately saying under the capitalistic mode of the production, to acquire the "exchange value". Marx's image of the ultimate "communism" is/was to me, at the final stage, workers ( whoever they are ), at the time while producing their product ( which is the process to conceive/confirm that they are the Nature the being ) at the same instant the workers need to control the distribution of his/her product in order. ( which is to me, impossible ) Now you say, an artist has more freedom but how can you know that his/her product can be "automatically exchange value" ( simply "money" under the capitalistic mode of the production ) without any disturbance in the course of the exchange?

  • What is an eutopean? What is the source "German Ideology"?
    – Drux
    Mar 21, 2015 at 8:34

3 Answers 3


Division of labour is inevitable; but judgement has to be exercised as to what extent.

Making a bow and arrow and then going hunting is very different from sitting in an assembly line and screwing in one arrow head onto its shaft, hour after hour.

A similar but different observation was made by Simone Weil about workers who were made to do dangerous work - she observed that the work could be safer and more humane, that training could be given.

The question here is the efficiency of the total machinery of production versus the quality of life, or human flourishing (eudaimonia).

  • Of those commentators who have had access to both the early and later writings of Marx, by far the largest number have seen little contradiction in his views on the abolition of the division of labour
    – user6917
    Mar 14, 2015 at 10:15
  • 1
    The theme that a communist society will involve the abolition of the division of labour runs throughout Marx's writings
    – user6917
    Mar 14, 2015 at 10:17
  • The vague comment is rhetorical style and not to be taken literally; what he means is that a worker retains to some degree a freedom of will. Like I suggested one needs to consider the difference between a worker on an assembly line and say an artisan. Mar 14, 2015 at 11:04
  • I think the division of labour that Marx was against was the minute fractions that work can be divided into in industrial work; it's one form of alienation - not being able to participate in the whole of a thing, and not even a part, but a fraction - this is why the image of a factory figures so strongly in his work; not social or occupational differentiation, which I expect he along with most political commentators expected to happen naturally. Mar 14, 2015 at 13:19
  • Sure; and how is that different from what I said? Mar 17, 2015 at 10:30

The question seems to be asking how Marx can be anything but a Utopian (i.e. unable to help free man) if he thinks that there can be any kind of society without the division of labour forcing us into work.

Of course Marx does address how things will be produced under Communism: the free association of workers will function to create what is needed. He hypothesizes this state due to his analysis of man's species being, and the critique of capital which suggests that it could collapse into classless (and so without an artificial division of labour) society.

As to him praising capitalism, that doesn't make him a capitalist apologist, on the grounds than Marx thought that capital was a necessary step toward communism.


Disclaimer: I am not a marxist in any way and in fact have not read anything by him, I am just trying to give a logical answer to the question.

Does it contradict anything that by coordinated effort it is possible to raise some day a generation of people with the typical specimen, when seeing something that the society needs to be done and finding oneself capable to do it, reacts with a desire to go ahead and do it?

In fact I think fragments of such societies have emerged many times, both in humans and in the rest of the animal world.

  • It sounds to me as if being a marxist is a crime which we can see so many everywhere in "ordinary environment" such as these who always link him with Mao, Pol Pot's crimes or Stalin's. Here is a philosophy site, there are many philosophical legacies left by him such as the division of labor, alienation, dialectics, the movement of the capital etc etc. You do not have to write a "Disclaimer" so it looks like I am a Marxist who commits killings. However, I am a Marxist, but can and do criticize him
    – user13955
    Mar 21, 2015 at 2:22
  • How can you "logically" answer without reading even a single product by him? Please describe "how to conquer the alienation of human being with the relationship with the communist league or whatever he envisioned" by your own word.
    – user13955
    Mar 21, 2015 at 3:39
  • @KentaroTomono I did read your question, it contained (in my opinion) an unjustified claim (that one action or another is impossible without division of labor) and am answering by trying to explain why exactly the claim is unjustified, that's all. It is precisely what the disclaimer is about - to say that I am only addressing this part of the question and nothing else. Mar 21, 2015 at 6:21
  • As for your second comment - as I said I have no idea how exactly did Marx propose to conquer alienation stemming (among other things) from overspecialization of tasks to separate individuals, but independently of that I can well imagine kind of upbringing which stimulates broadening the scope of motivations from needs of oneself to the needs of larger and larger portions of the society. Consider that - satisfying one's own desires is high enough motivation nowadays for a person to develop new skills if needed; the same well may be made true of satisfying collective desires of the society Mar 21, 2015 at 8:01
  • (while in fact you are citing somebody else, I never wrote that) Mar 21, 2015 at 8:07

You must log in to answer this question.