By Franz Jakubowski
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Legal capacity, for example, is separate from commercial capa city; it is no longer bestowed only on men but also on “legal entities”. The connection with the economic base becomes less and less visible. In a letter to Conrad Schmidt (27 October 1890), Engels wrote: “In a modem state, law must not only correspond to the general economic situation and be its expression, but it must also be an expression which is in itself consistent, and which does not, owing to inner contradictions, re bound against itself.
The commodity owners meet as legal subjects with equal rights. The general value form of commodities, which makes it pos sible to compare them, has a corresponding general legal form: that of legal subjectivity, which recognises all men as formally equal, as having the same legal capacity. Man the commodity owner is a legal subject, of equal rank to every other legal sub ject. and has the legal capacity to exchange whatever com modities he possesses. There is no difference here between the commodity “means of production or consumption” and the commodity “labour power” .
The connection with the economic base becomes less and less visible. In a letter to Conrad Schmidt (27 October 1890), Engels wrote: “In a modem state, law must not only correspond to the general economic situation and be its expression, but it must also be an expression which is in itself consistent, and which does not, owing to inner contradictions, re bound against itself. ” Even from this brief account, we can see that the correla tion between the legal and political superstructure and its economic base is not superficial, that the two elements form a unity.
Ideology and superstructure in historical materialism by Franz Jakubowski