…the development of [the] productive forces within the framework of capitalism will never lead to the gate[s] of Communism, since the technologies, the relations of production and the nature of the products exclude not just the durable, equitable satisfaction of needs but also the stabilization of social production at a level commonly accepted as sufficient.
At a certain stage of development, the material productive forces of society come into conflict with the existing relations of production or – this merely expresses the same thing in legal terms – with the property relations within the framework of which they have operated hitherto. From forms of development of the productive forces these relations turn into their fetters. Then begins an era of social revolution.
It is a discipline over them, which becomes superfluous and burdensome at a certain level of their development, just like the guilds etc. These inherent limits have to coincide with the nature of capital, with the essential character of its very concept. These necessary limits are:(1) Necessary labour as limit on the exchange value of living labour capacity or of the wages of the industrial population;(2) Surplus value as limit on surplus labour time; and, in regard to relative surplus labour time, as barrier to the development of the forces of production;(3) What is the same, the transformation into money, exchange value as such, as limit of production; or exchange founded on value, or value founded on exchange, as limit of production.This is: (4) again the same as restriction of the production of use values by exchange value; or that real wealth has to take on a specific form distinct from itself, a form not absolutely identical with it, in order to become an object of production at all.
When we consider bourgeois society in the long view and as a whole, then the final result of the process of social production always appears as the society itself, i.e. the human being itself in its social relations. Everything that has a fixed form, such as the product etc., appears as merely a moment, a vanishing moment, in this movement. The direct production process itself here appears only as a moment. The conditions and objectifications of the process are themselves equally moments of it, and its only subjects are the individuals, but individuals in mutual relationships, which they equally reproduce and produce anew. The constant process of their own movement, in which they renew themselves even as they renew the world of wealth they create.