Confused by the syntax or grammaticality used in this quote by Karl Marx. Please help?

The quote is from the Manifesto of the Communist Party:

No sooner is the exploitation of the labourer by the manufacturer, so far, at an end, that he receives his wages in cash, than he is set upon by the other portions of the bourgeoisie, the landlord, the shopkeeper, the pawnbroker, etc.

I understand what this quote means, but I do not understand the way it is worded. Marx uses “no sooner” with “so far”, “at an end”, and “that” before he gets to using “than”, which seems to be the familiar construct. Can someone help untangle this one for me?


There are several editions of the Manifesto, and several translations. An easier reading of this sentence is often given as

No sooner has the labourer received his wages in cash, for the moment
escaping exploitation by the manufacturer, than he is set upon by the
other portions of the bourgeoisie- the landlord, the shopkeeper, the
pawnbroker, etc.

In your version, somewhat more convoluted, the “so far” refers to the exploitation of the laborer up to the point that he receives his wages: with this paycheck, the exploitation that the laborer has been subjected to “so far” has come to “an end.” Thenceforth, the laborer will be exploited by other elements of bourgeoisie–i.e., the landlord, etc., will set out to take that laborer’s money away. It might be said this way:

The moment a worker gets his wages, and escapes the exploitation he
has suffered thus far at the hands of his boss, he will begin to be exploited
by his landlord, etc.

Source : Link , Question Author : Matt , Answer Author : Community

Leave a Comment