Graphic Witness: Hugo Gellert
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Hugo Gellert: Karl Marx' 'Capital' in Lithographs

page 56. TRANSFORMATION OF SURPLUS VALUE INTO GROUND-RENT
Money Rent


TRANSFORMATION OF SURPLUS VALUE INTO GROUND-RENT: money rent

Under money rent, the direct producer no longer turns over the product, but its price, to the landlord (who may be either the state or a private individual) . . . . The character of the entire mode of production is thus more or less changed. It loses its independence, it remains no longer detached from the social connections. The proportion of the cost of production, which now is more and more complicated with the expenditure of money, now becomes the determining factor. . . .

The cultivating possessor thus becomes virtually a mere tenant. This transformation serves, on the one hand, provided that other general conditions of production permit such a thing, to expropriate gradually the old peasant possessors and to put in their place capitalist tenants. . . .

The transformation of rent in kind into money rent is not only necessarily accompanied but even anticipated by the formation of a class of propertyless day laborers, who hire themselves out for wages. During the period of their rise, when this new class appears but sporadically, the custom necessarily develops (among the better situated tributary farmers) of exploiting agricultural laborers for their own account, just as the wealthier serfs in the feudal times used to employ serfs for their own benefit. In this way they gradually acquire the ability to accumulate a certain amount of wealth and even to transform themselves into future capitalists. . . .

As soon as rent assumes the form of money rent, and with it the relation between rent-paying peasants and landlords becomes a relation fixed by contract -- a development which is not possible unless the world market, commerce, and manufacture have reached a relatively high level -- the leasing of land to capitalists necessarily also puts in its appearance. . . .The capitalist tenant becomes the actual commander of these agricultural laborers, and the actual exploiter of their surplus labor, whereas the landlord has any direct relations only with this capitalist tenant, and the relation being a mere money relation fixed by contract. . . .

And now the total surplus labor, both profit and surplus above the profit, are extracted by him directly, appropriated in the form of the surplus product and turned into money. It is only the surplus portion of the surplus value extracted by him from the agricultural laborer by direct exploitation, by means of his capital, which he turns over to the landlord as rent. . . .


Finally . . . the former rent-paying tenant may be transformed into an independent peasant proprietor . . . also urban and other moneyed people may buy real estate, in order to lease them either to peasants or to capitalists and thus enjoy rent in the form of interest on capital so invested; . . . therefore, this likewise assists in the transformation of the former mode of exploitation, of the relation between the owner and the actual tiller of the land, and of the rent itself.