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By V.I.Lenin

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Sample text

In the Grundrisse, pride of place is given to the discovery of the contradictory character of capitalism and, for this reason, the quantification of needs is analysed with a dual value judgement which corresponds to the two opposed constituents of the contradiction. This fact is expressed in Marx by a very significant change in terminology. In the Manuscripts the expression "abstract" predominates in his description of the function of money (we may recall that "money has reduced every being to its own abstraction I "); in the Grundrisse and thereafter this function is, instead, usually indicated by the expression "general".

On the phase of prosperity in capitalism, Marx writes as follows: "The working class ... " 18 But the moment there is effective demand from the working class, this demand does not satisfy "luxury needs": in accordance with what has been said above, such needs cease to be luxury needs. This ambiguity in the concepts of "luxury products" and "luxury needs" is not at variance with Marx's general conception, by which the whole population can enjoy such "luxury needs" only in exceptional and brief periods.

Last but not least, the very wealth of needs is converted from an end into a means. "Every person speculates on creating a new need in another . . each tries to establish over the other an alien power, so as thereby to find satisfaction of his own selfish need. " 11 Capitalism is the pimp that by constantly producing new objects creates an unending stream of new needs which make people prostitute themselves. The numerical growth of needs will never be able to become true wealth. because it is merely a means serving an alienated force, alien to individual human beings.

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