Term paper 2009

Biographical sketch of Karl Marx:

“And now as to myself, no credit is due to me for discovering the existence of classes in modern society or the struggle between them. Long before me bourgeois historians had described the historical development of this class struggle and bourgeois economists, the economic anatomy of classes. What I did that was new was to prove:

  • That the existence of classes is only bound up with the particular, historical phases in the development of production.
  • That the class struggle necessarily leads to the dictatorship of the proletariat.
  • That this dictatorship itself only constitutes the transition to the abolition of all classes and to a classless society”.

Karl Marx.

Marx, Heinrich Karl, was born in Trier on May 5, 1818, the son of the lawyer and later counsellor of justice Heinrich Marx, who, as is shown by the baptismal certificate of his son, converted with his family from Judaism to Protestantism in 1824. After concluding his preparatory education at Trier Gymnasium, Karl Marx studied from 1835 in Bonn and then in Berlin, first law and later philosophy, attaining his Dr. Phil. in Berlin in 1841 with a dissertation on the philosophy of Epicurus. In the same year he moved to Bonn in order to qualify as a lecturer, but the obstacles which the government laid in the path of his friend Bruno Bauer, officially there as lecturer in theology, which culminated in Bauer’s removal from the university, soon made it clear to him that there was no room for him at a Prussian university.

Marx’s father, the first in his line to receive a secular education, had broken with the world of the ghetto and had become a disciple of the Enlightenment–of Leibniz and Voltaire, of Kant and Lessing. His native Trier had once been the seat of a Prince-Archbishop, but early in the century it had been occupied by the French and incorporated by Napoleon in the Confederation of the Rhine. Under the French regime, the Jews, who had suffered from grievous civil disabilities earlier, achieved equal rights as citizens. The doors of trades and professions hitherto closed to them were now open. Since the Jews of the Rhineland owed their emancipation to the Napoleonic regime, they supported it with ardor. They faced a major crisis, however, when, after Napoleon’s defeat, the Rhineland was assigned by the Congress of Vienna to Prussia, where Jews were still deprived of their civil rights. Threatened with the loss of his legal practice, Marx’s father decided in 1817 to convert to the mildly liberal Lutheran Church of Prussia. Being a vague deist and having had no contacts with the synagogue, he regarded conversion as an act of expediency without great moral significance.

The young Marx grew up in a bourgeois household where tensions stemming from its minority status were at best subjacent. His mother, a fairly uneducated woman who never learned to write correct German or to speak it without an accent, does not seem to have had a major influence on him. In contrast, relations with his father, despite some strain, remained close almost throughout the latter’s life. He introduced the young Marx to the world of human learning and letters–to the great figures of the Enlightenment and to the Greek and German classics. Although Marx was early repelled by his father’s subservience to governmental authority and the high and mighty, the intellectual bonds that had been created between father and son began to be severed only in the last year of the father’s life, when the son became a Young Hegelian rebel at Berlin University.

The young Marx was fortunate to have another role model besides his father, the Freiherr Ludwig von Westphalen, a next-door neighbor. Westphalen, though socially his superior, enjoyed cordial relations with Marx’s father: they were both at least nominal Protestants in a largely Catholic city, and they shared an admiration for the Enlightenment and for liberal ideas. An uncommonly cultivated man, Westphalen spoke several languages, knew Homer by heart, and was exceedingly well read in ancient and modern philosophy and literature. He soon found himself attracted to his neighbor’s son; he encouraged him, lent him books, and took him on long walks during which he talked to him about Shakespeare and Cervantes and also about the new social doctrines, especially that of the Saint-Simonians, which had lately created such a stir in Paris. The bond between the two was close, and the distinguished upper-class Prussian government official became the spiritual mentor of the future leader of proletarian socialism.

This was the time when the younger elements of the radical bourgeoisie of the Rhineland, tinged with Young Hegelianism, urged, in agreement with the liberal leaders Camphausen and Hansemann, the publication of a big opposition paper in Cologne; Marx and Bauer were also consulted as capable main contributors. A concession — necessary at that time — was quietly obtained by a devious route, and the Rheinische Zeitung appeared on January 1, 1842. Marx contributed lengthy articles from Bonn for the new paper; foremost among these were: a critique of proceedings in the Rhine Province Assembly, a study of the situation of the peasant vintners on the Mosel, and another on wood theft and the relevant legislation. In October 1842 he took over the management of the paper and moved to Cologne. From this point the paper adopted a sharply appositional character. But the management was so adroit that despite first double censorship, and then triple censorship, imposed upon the paper (first the ordinary censor, then the Regierungspräsident, and finally a Mr. von Saint-Paul dispatched ad hoc from Berlin), the government found this sort of newspaper hard to deal with and therefore decided to forbid further publication of the paper as of April 1, 1843. Marx’s resignation from the editorial board on this date bought a three months’ stay of execution, but then the paper was finally suppressed.

Marx then decided to move to Paris where Arnold Ruge also wished to turn, following the suppression of the Deutsche Jahrbücher at about the same time. But first in Kreuznach he married Jenny von Westphalen, sweetheart of his youth, to whom he had been engaged since the beginning of his university days. The young couple reached Paris in the autumn of 1843, and here Marx and Ruge published the Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher, a journal of which only the first issue appeared; a continuation failed, partly because of the insuperable difficulties of circulating it secretly in Germany, and partly because of the differences of principle which very soon became apparent between the two editors. Ruge remained tied up with Hegelian philosophy and political radicalism, while Marx threw himself into the study of political economy, the French socialists, and the history of France. The result was his conversion to socialism.

In September 1844, Fr. Engels visited Marx in Paris for a few days: the two had been in correspondence since their joint work, on the Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher, and their collaboration, which only ended with the death of Marx, dates from this point. The first fruit of this collaboration was a polemical pamphlet against Bruno Bauer, with whom they had likewise parted ways on principles in the course of the disintegration of the Hegelian school: The Holy Family, or Critique of Critical Criticism. Against Bruno Bauer and Company, Frankfurt a. M., 1845.

Marx’s health became undermined by his strenuous work in the International and his still more strenuous writings and organizing. He continued work on the refashioning of political economy and on the completion of Capital, for which he collected a mass of new material and studied a number of languages (Russian, for instance; Marx was fully fluent in German, French, and English). However, ill-health prevented him from completing the last two volumes of Capital (which Engels subsequently put together from Marx’s notes).

Among the socialist organizations Marx made contact with in Brussels was the German Workers’ Educational Association, headed by a type-setter (Schapper), a cobbler (Bauer), and a watchmaker (Moll); its headquarters were in London, and it was affiliated with a federation called the Communist League. In 1847 this group commissioned Marx to write a document expounding its aims and beliefs. Reworking a first draft provided by Engels, Marx wrote The Communist Manifesto in a burst of creative energy and dispatched it to London early in 1848. It was published, without having any major impact, a few weeks before the outbreak of the Paris revolution. The by now familiar first sentence, “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggle,” adumbrates what is perhaps the most distinctive aspect of all of Marx’s later work. His period of apprenticeship was over. He would elaborate and refine his message later on, and his specific political views and orientations would undergo many changes, but the main line of his intellectual development was determined.

When the 1848 revolution broke out in Germany, Marx returned to the Rhineland, after having spent some time in revolutionary Paris, and once again assumed the editorship of a radical newspaper, the Neue Rheinische Zeitung. He and Engels now worked for an alliance of the liberal bourgeoisie with the incipient working-class movement. When the revolution failed, Marx, back again in exile, entertained for a while the will-o’-the-wisp of an impending new revolutionary outbreak. Castigating the liberals for their failure and their cowardice, Marx still expected that the revolutionary flame would be rekindled in the very near future.

In August 1849, Marx was presented by the French government with the alternatives of retiring into a distant provincial retreat or leaving the country. He made his decision and embarked for London. He was never to leave this city again for any length of time.

During the first phase of his stay in London, Marx considered the city a temporary port he would soon leave when the Continental revolution came again. In these early years he wrote his most brilliant historical pamphlets, The Class Struggles in France (1850) and The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (1852). These works are informed by a burning revolutionary ardor, but perhaps more importantly, they show Marx at his best in his new role as a social historian of distinction.

As the London years went on, Marx, although never despairing of the coming of a new revolutionary upsurge, realized that the fires of 1848 had burned out. Refusing to participate in a variety of insurrectionary conspiracies advocated by Continental revolutionaries, Marx and Engels withdrew from most of their fellow refugees. Since he had not managed to make many contacts in the British labor and socialist movement, Marx now retired almost completely into the narrow circle composed of his family, Engels and a few other devoted friends and disciples. He remained in this isolated condition throughout most of his life. When he wrote to Engels about “our party” he was referring to Engels and himself.

In June 1852 Marx obtained an admission card to the reading room of the British Museum. There he would sit from 10:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. every day, pouring over Blue Books of factory inspectors and perusing the immense documentation about the inequities of the operation of the capitalist system that was to become an important part of Das Kapital. Here also, filling notebook after notebook, he deepened his knowledge of the British political economists whom he had begun to study during the Paris days.

Throughout most of the London period Marx lived in dire and abject poverty. Only once had he attempted to find regular gainful employment (as a clerk in a railway office) but was turned down because of his illegible handwriting. Being entirely devoted to his work and absolutely convinced that the anatomy of the political economy of capitalism, which he now was describing, would provide an indispensable instrument for the “necessary” emancipation of the working class, Marx continued his scholarly tasks even when he and his family were pursued by angry creditors and found it hard to obtain lodging. Three of his children died from malnutrition or lack of proper care. When one of them died, he had no money to pay for a coffin until a fellow refugee came to his rescue. He and his family were exhausted by a variety of illnesses, some of which clearly stemmed from their miserable living conditions. But Marx persevered. Had it not been for the financial support that the devoted Engels gave to the full measure of his ability, the family might have gone down completely.

Meanwhile, work on what was to become Das Kapital proved even more time-consuming than had been anticipated. A first sketch entitled A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy had been published in 1859 but attracted little attention. The first volume appeared in 1867. Marx never completed the subsequent volumes; they were finally published by Engels and Kautsky after his death.

Marx’s grinding poverty was slightly relieved for a time when the foreign editor of the New York Daily Tribune, then probably the world’s largest newspaper and one with a radical orientation to boot, asked him to become its regular correspondent for European affairs at one pound sterling for each article. He was to send them regular weekly dispatches for almost ten years. When ill health, lack of detailed knowledge, or the pressure of work on Das Kapital prevented him from writing, Engels, much more the facile journalist, took over. Recently, efforts to establish which of the unsigned articles were written by Marx and which by Engels have proved a profitable occupation for Marxicologists. In any case, these occasional writings provide privileged access to the operation of Marx’s mind. The articles range over a variety of subjects–diplomatic events, social histories of England and the Continent, analyses of the secret sources of war and crisis, analytical accounts of the consequences of British domination in India–and reveal his reactions to the passing scene that are otherwise available only in his Correspondence, particularly with Engels.

Throughout the fifties, Marx and Engels watched expectantly for signs of the major economic crisis that would inaugurate a new period of revolutions. None came for many years. When a serious slump finally occurred in 1857, it had no revolutionary consequences. Marx then concentrated less on the expected economic breakdown and more on organizing the working class, but here too he was disappointed for a long time. To be sure, Ferdinand Lassalle, the romantic firebrand of German socialism, had created a German labor movement. But Marx disapproved of its political orientation even more than of Lassalle’s histrionic manners. Jealousy of Lassalle, who had borrowed most of his theoretical weapons from Marx, may have been one of the motives for Marx’s hostility, but there were more objective reasons. He was suspicious of Lassalle’s tendency to build a socialist movement upon some sort of unspoken alliance with Bismarck and the Prussian government.

On the rest of the Continent, more particularly in France, the working-class movement was quiescent, not having fully recovered from the disasters of 1848. As for England, Marx never managed to have much sympathy for the stolid, unideological and pragmatic labor leaders who dominated the union movement there. He regarded most of them with withering contempt and they, in turn, to the extent that they knew him at all, returned the compliment.

Marx’s wife died on December 2, 1881, and on March 14, 1883, Marx passed away peacefully in his armchair. He lies buried next to his wife at High gate Cemetery in London.

The Work of Karl Marx which postulates for a classless society:

Karl Marx was a socialist theoretician and organizer, a major figure in the history of economic and philosophical thought, and a great social prophet. But it is as a sociological theorist that he commands our interest here.

The Overall Doctrine

Society, according to Marx, comprised a moving balance of antithetical forces that generate social change by their tension and struggle. Marx’s vision was based on an evolutionary point of departure. For him, struggle rather than peaceful growth was the engine of progress; strife was the father of all things, and social conflict the core of historical process. This thinking was in contrast with most of the doctrines of his eighteenth century predecessors, but in tune with much nineteenth century thought.

To Marx the motivating force in history was the manner in which men relate to one another in their continuous struggle to wrest their livelihood from nature. “The first historical act is . . . the production of material life itself. This is indeed a historical act, a fundamental condition of all history.” The quest for a sufficiency in eating and drinking, for habitation and for clothing were man’s primary goals at the dawn of the race, and these needs are still central when attempts are made to analyze the complex anatomy of modern society. But man’s struggle against nature does not cease when these needs are gratified. Man is a perpetually dissatisfied animal. When primary needs have been met, this “leads to new needs–and this production of new needs is the first historical act.” New needs evolve when means are found to allow the satisfaction of older ones.

In the effort to satisfy primary and secondary needs, men engage in antagonistic cooperation as soon as they leave the primitive, communal stage of development. As soon as a division of labor emerges in human society, that division leads to the formation of antagonistic classes, the prime actors in the historical drama.

Marx was a relativizing historicist according to whom all social relations between men, as well as all systems of ideas, are specifically rooted in historical periods. “Ideas and categories are no more eternal than the relations which they express. They are historical and transitory products.” For example, whereas the classical economists had seen the tripartite division among landowners, capitalists, and wage earners as eternally given in the natural order of things, Marx considered such categories as typical only for specific historical periods, as products of an historically transient state of affairs.

Historical specificity is the hallmark of Marx’s approach. When he asserted, for example, that all previous historical periods were marked by class struggles, he immediately added that these struggles differed according to historical stages. In marked distinction to his radical predecessors who had tended to see history as a monotonous succession of struggles between rich and poor, or between the powerless and the powerful, Marx maintained that, although class struggles had marked all history, the contenders in the battle had changed over time. Although there might have been some similarity between the journeymen of the late Middle Ages who waged their battle against guildmasters and the modern industrial workers who confronted capitalists, the contenders were, nevertheless, in a functionally different situation. The character of the overall social matrix determined the forms of struggle which were contained within it. The fact that modern factory workers, as distinct from medieval journey- men, are forever expropriated from command over the means of production and hence forced to sell their labor power to those who control these means makes them a class qualitatively different form artisans or journeymen. The fact that modern workers are formally “free” to sell their labor while being existentially constrained to do so makes their condition historically specific and functionally distinct from that of earlier exploited classes.

Marx’s thinking contrasted sharply with that of Comte, as well as of Hegel, for whom the evolution of mankind resulted primarily from the evolution of ideas or of the human spirit. Marx took as his point of departure the evolution in man’s material conditions, the varying ways in which men combined together in order to gain a livelihood. “Legal relations as well as form of state are to be grasped neither from themselves nor from the so-called general development of the human mind, but rather have their roots in the material conditions of life, the sum total of which Hegel . . . combines under the name of ‘civil society’. . . The anatomy of civil society is to be sought in political economy.”

The change of social systems could not be explained, according to Marx, by extra-social factors such as geography or climate, since these remain relatively constant in the face of major historical transformations. Nor can such change be explained by reference to the emergence of novel ideas. The genesis and acceptance of ideas depend on something that is not an idea. Ideas are not prime movers but are the reflection, direct or sublimated, of the material interests that impel men in their dealings with others.

It was from Hegel, though perhaps also from Montesquieu, that Marx learned the holistic approach that regarded society as a structurally interrelated whole. Consequently, for Marx, any aspect of that whole–be it legal codes, systems of education, religion, or art–could not be understood by itself. Societies, moreover, are not only structured wholes but developing totalities. His own contribution lay in identifying an independent variable that played only a minor part in Hegel’s system: the mode of economic production.

Although historical phenomena were the result of an interplay of many components, all but one of them, the economic factor, were in the last analysis dependent variables. “The political, legal, philosophical, literary, and artistic development rests on the economic. But they all react upon one another and upon the economic base. It is not the case that the economic situation is the sole active cause and that everything else is merely a passive effect. There is, rather, a reciprocity within a field of economic necessity which in the last instance always asserts itself.

The sum total of the relations of production, that is, the relations men establish with each other when they utilize existing raw materials and technologies in the pursuit of their productive goals, constitute the real foundations upon which the whole cultural superstructure of society comes to be erected. By relations of production Marx does not only mean technology, though this is an important part, but the social relations people enter into by participating in economic life. “Machinery is no more an economic category than is the ox which draws the plough. The modern workshop, which is based on the use of machinery, is a social relation of production, an economic category.”

The mode of economic production is expressed in relationships between men, which are independent of any particular individual and not subject to individual wills and purposes.

In the social production which men carry on they enter into definite relations that are indispensable and independent of their will; these relations of production correspond to a definite stage of development of their material powers of production. The totality of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of reality–the real foundation, on which legal and political superstructures arise and to which definite forms of social consciousness correspond. The mode of production of material life determines the general character of the social, political and spiritual processes of life. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being determines their consciousness.

Basic to these observations is that men are born into societies in which property relations have already been determined. These property relations in turn give rise to different social classes. Just as a man cannot choose who is to be his father, so he has no choice as to his class. (Social mobility, though recognized by Marx, plays practically no role in his analysis.) Once a man is ascribed to a specific class by virtue of his birth, once he has become feudal lord or a serf, an industrial worker or a capitalist, his mode of behavior is prescribed for him. “Determinate individuals, who are productively active in a definite way, enter into. . .determinate social and political relations.” This class role largely defines the man. In his preface to Das Kapital Marx wrote, “Here individuals are dealt with only in so far as they are personifications of economic categories, embodiments of particular class-relations and class- interests.” In saying this, Marx does not deny the operation of other variables but concentrates on class roles as primary determinants.

Different locations in the class spectrum lead to different class interests. Such differing interests flow not from class consciousness or the lack of it among individuals, but from objective positions in relation to the process of production. Men may well be unaware of their class interests and yet be moved by them, as it were, behind their backs.

Despite his emphasis on the objective determinants of man’s class-bound behavior, Marx was not reifying society and class at the expense of individual actors. “It is above all necessary to avoid postulating ‘society’ once more as an abstraction confronting the individual. The individual is a social being. The manifestation of his life–even when it does not appear directly in the form of social manifestation, accomplished in association with other men–is therefore a manifestation and affirmation of social life.” Man is inevitably enmeshed in a network of social relations which constrain his actions; therefore attempts to abolish such constraints altogether are bound to fail. Man is human only in society, yet it is possible for him at specific historical junctures to change the nature of these constraints.

The division of society into classes gives rise to political, ethical, philosophical, and religious views of the world, views which express existing class relations and tend either to consolidate or to undermine the power and authority of the dominant class. “The ideas of the ruling class are, in every age, the ruling ideas: i.e., the class which is the dominant material force in society is at the same time its dominant intellectual force. The class which has the means of material production at its disposal, has control at the same time over the means of mental production.” However, oppressed classes, although hampered by the ideological dominance of oppressors, generate counter-ideologies to combat them. In revolutionary or prerevolutionary periods it even happens that certain representatives of the dominant class shift allegiance. Thus, “some of the bourgeois ideologists, who have raised themselves to the level of comprehending theoretically the historical movement as whole” go over to the proletariat.

Every social order is marked by continuous change in the material forces of production, that is, the forces of nature that can be harnessed by the appropriate technologies and skills. As a consequence, “the social relations of production are altered, transformed, with the change and development of the material means of production, of the forces of production.” At a certain point the changed social relations of production come into conflict with existing property relations, that is, with existing divisions between owners and non owners. When this is the case, representatives of ascending classes come to perceive existing property relations as a fetter upon further development. Those classes that expect to gain the ascendancy by a change in property relations become revolutionary.

New social relationships begin to develop within older social structures and result from contradictions and tensions within that structure at the same time as they exacerbate them. For example, new modes of production slowly emerged within late feudal society and allowed the bourgeoisie, which controlled these new modes of production, effectively to challenge the hold of the classes that had dominated the feudal order. As the bourgeois mode of production gained sufficient specific weight, it burst asunder the feudal relations in which it first made its appearance. “The economic structure of capitalist society has grown out of the economic structure of feudal society. The dissolution of the latter sets free the elements of the former.” Similarly, the capitalist mode of production brings into being a proletarian class of factory workers. As these men acquire class consciousness, they discover their fundamental antagonism to the bourgeois class and band together to overthrow a regime to which they owe their existence. “The proletariat carries out the sentence which private property, by creating the proletariat, passes upon itself.” New social and economic forms are fashioned in the matrix of their predecessors.

The Grundrisse

The Grundrisse provides valuable insight into his thought as he developed the idea that were to appear in Volume I of Capital nearly a decade later. The Grundrisse encompasses the full breadth of his projected economic theory in unpolished form; it reveals a movement between economic and philosophical categories that is largely missing from Capital. In the following discussion we will first consider Marx’s critique of alienation, next his discussion on the impact of automation on capitalist economies, and finally his reflections on methodology. All three of these instances provide useful insight into Marx’s ongoing use of critique in his self clarification.

In his discussion on alienation, Marx turns to one of his earliest themes, now refracted through the prism of 15 years of economic research. It is therefore especially interesting to note that in key respects his earlier views have changed but little. Much of Marx’s discussion recasts his earlier argument from the manuscripts in terms of the labour theory of value. While Marx continues to talk of labour objectifying itself in alienated form, he is principally concerned to show that labour is the source of all value including capital, and that as a consequence labour produces the condition for its own domination. Marx first notes that labour produces a surplus value (beyond the value of goods necessary for it own subsistence):

The point is that the working time necessary for the satisfaction of absolute necessities leave some free time (which varies at the various stages of the development of productive forces), so that surplus produce can thus be created if surplus labour is done.

This surplus value is then alienated from the worker and used as a means of his or her enslavement:

Now this surplus labour appears objectified as surplus product, and this surplus product, in order to valorize itself as capital, divides itself into a double form: as objective labour conditions (material and instrument) and as subjective labour conditions (food) for the living labour now to be put to work…all the factors which were opposed to the living labour power as forces which were alien, external, and which consumed and utilized the living labour power under definite social conditions which were themselves independent of it, are now established as its own product and result.

In other words, labour experiences a two-fold enslavement at its own hands: First, it is enslaved to the capital produced by an earlier generation of workers; and second, it is enslaved by the need to but back its subsistence goods – commodities also produced by labour. In Marx’s earlier formulation, these two forms of enslavement refer to labour’s alienation from both the labour process and its products.

Marxist Theory of Class Conflict

“The History of all hitherto existing Human society is a History of Class Struggle.”

Karl Marx.

The term Class has been defined by many different writers in many different ways. Some of the relevant definitions of Class are:

Class is defined as an aggregate of person essentially having the same social status in a given society.                                                            – Ogburn and Nimkoff.

Class is defined as any position of a population marked off from the rest by a social status.                                                                – MacIver and Page.

From the above definitions it becomes clear that class is a division of a society on the basis of a person’s social status or a group’s social status.

One of the greatest theoretician in sociology to talk about class conflict is Karl Marx. Marx postulated the theory of macro level conflict which formed the basic concept for all the other conflict theorists. His mastery in history gave him a rich insight into the future of human society. He saw the emergence of a new socio-economic system built on the ruins of feudalism. He believed that human society passed through different stages of development and each stage contains its own seed of distribution.

Conflict formed the basis of Marxist analysis. Marx believed that revolutionary overt conflict brings about real change. After the final revolution, a new society would be born where there will be no conflict of interest based on private property but the new society would be characterized by cooperation.

Class Conflict formed the central theme of Marxist theoretical scheme based on the following premise:-

  • The History of all hitherto existing human society is the History of Class struggle.
  • It is not the man’s consciousness that determine his being but it is his social being that determines his consciousness.
  • The ideas of the ruling class are in every age the ruling ideas, those who had dominant material forces are also dominant in the intellectual forces.

Therefore Marxist analysis of class can be summarized in the following points.

The importance of Property:

This is the most important distinguishing characteristic of every society and the most important determinant of an individual’s behavior is his relation to the means of production. It is not his occupation but his position to the means of production that determines one’s class. It is the individual’s or group’s relation to the instrument of production that determines their class. Property divisions are crucial breaking lines and the increasing consciousness on the means of distribution further fortified class barriers.

The Economic determinant:

The basis of capitalistic society is the accumulation of resources, means of production. The bourgeoisie converted power and used it as an instrument of exploitation. These dominant classes also use the wheel of the political machinery for their vested interests.

Polarization of Class:

With the increase in exploitation, the society becomes more and more divided into two hostile groups – the Bourgeoisie or the oppressors and the Proletariats or the oppressed. The Bourgeoisie are the ones who owns the means of production and the Proletariats who own nothing but their labor. Marx also talks about two other class of people known as the Petit Bourgeoisie and the Lumpen Proletariats. These two classes however according to Marx will eventually come together with the larger working class to revolt against the Bourgeoisies.

Theory of Surplus Value:

With the increasing exploitation of labor, the profit of the capitalists also accumulates. The Theory of Surplus Value refers to the quantity of value produced by the worker beyond necessary time. The price of any commodity is determined by the amount of labor it takes to produce it. The increasing exploitation leads to the surplus wealth accumulated by the capitalist thereby dividing the society into rich and poor.


With the increasing exploitation of labor by the capitalist, the profit accumulates whereas the working classes are left with nothing. These capitalists pamper themselves with their riches whereas the poor working class are becoming poorer and poorer.


Due to the exploitation and inhuman working conditions, the workers become more and more alienated. Work for them is no longer the expression of man himself. He becomes external to his work. He becomes more and more estranged from himself and from the product of his work. The worker then is alienated even from his fellowmen and from the community itself.

Class Solidarity and Antagonism:

With the reign of capitalism there emerged amongst the working class a sense of solidarity and antagonism begins to develop so much so that the division in the society into two groups becomes streamlined and the class struggle becomes more intensified.


Once there is a class consciousness among the working class and the feeling of togetherness prevails the Marx predicted that a bloody revolution will take place at the peak of class struggle. This revolution will happen at the time when the economic crisis will be at the peak in the society. This revolution will shake the capitalists of the society and eventually overthrow them.

Social Dictatorship of the Proletariat:

The revolution according to Marx will be violent but will not involve mass killing. The property will be wrested from the capitalists and they will cease to have power since they will be reduced to the rank of the proletariats.

Inauguration of a new society:

After the onslaught of the revolution on the capitalists, the capitalists are reduced to the ranks of the proletariats. This will bring forth the emergence of a new society which Marx calls a Communist Society. In this society according to Marx, no one will own anything and everyone will own everything. In this society an individual will get only according to his need.

In order to understand Marx’s Theory of Surplus Value it is important to understand the Marxist theory of class conflict as Marx had always maintained that there are several steps that the Proletariats would face and feel before any kind of revolution or creation of a new society could emerge. In this context, the Theory of Surplus Value was attached as one of the pre requisites for a revolution to happen.

It should be noted that understanding the Theory of Surplus Value alone without referring to Marx’s general theory is not only appropriate but also difficult to conceive and interpret in a manner as it should be. Therefore The Theory of Surplus Value has to be juxtaposed with his other theories as all of them are inter related with what Marx tries to explain.

There are different concepts used by Marx to explain the theory of Surplus Value. These concepts are necessary to understand as it will help us to develop to have a better understanding and develop that analytical skill in understanding the premise of the Marxist paradigm. By doing so one would have the grip of the theory and what Marx postulates in his Theory of Surplus Value.

The different concepts used by Karl Marx in the Theory of Surplus Value:


Man just as the society he lives in, is inseparable from nature with which he constantly interacts. Man cannot exist without providing for his primordial, natural, biological needs. Nature cannot provide everything that man needs in a readymade form. Much has to be produced by the man himself which means he has to work. Thus began his labour and as his labour processes developed, man distanced himself from nature.

What is labour?

Labour according to P. Savchenko, has always been a domain of exchange between man and nature.  The content of labour may remain the same at different stages of man’s history but the character of labour however, undergoes revolutionary changes whenever one mode of production is superseded by another. Therefore objectively to man’s vital activity, labour is his eternal companion. Labour is a most important factor in the evolution of world civilization.

The process of labour has three important elements which are:

  • Labour as a purposeful activity.
  • Means of Labour:
    • It means that the things man uses to act upon nature and to adapt natural objects for his own use. There are material and mental means of labour.
    • Means of Production: man uses the means of production to reinforce, as it were, the organs of his own body. (microscope, iron ores, railways)
  • The Object of Labour: this means the materials which are to be transformed or processed. There are primary objects as well as secondary objects of labour.

The instruments and objects of labour essential to manufacturing the things that man needs are material elements of the labour process. In their totality, they constitute the means of production.

Understanding Labour process under capitalism:

Under the capitalist mode of production, the process of labour has the following distinctive features.

a)    The means of production are owned by the capitalist and labour power becomes united with the means of production only after it has been bought by the capitalist, the hired worker is economically bound to capital, and his labour is controlled by the capitalist rather than by himself.

b)    The product of labour is the capitalist’s property by virtue of his owning the means of production. In the case of simple commodity production, the producer owned the means of production and, consequently, the product of labour. Under capitalism, factories, enterprises, shops, land, railways etc belong to the capitalists who do not personally participate in the production of material goods and services.

Just as any commodity, labour power has use value and value. The value of labour power is determined by the socially necessary working time spent to produce the means of subsistence for the worker and his family. The use value of the worker’s labour power is the ability of the worker to create, in the course of labour, a value that is greater than the value of his one labour power.

The excess value created by the wage-workers over and above the value of their labour power is referred to as Surplus Value. It is appropriated by the capitalist without remuneration. That explains why surplus value is the goal of capitalist production from the capitalist’s point of view only that labour is productive which produces surplus value and increases his capital.

What are the new features acquired by labour under communism?

Communist labour is labour performed gratis for the benefit of society, labour performed not as a definite duty, not for the purpose of obtaining a right to certain products, not according to previously established and legally set o quotas, but voluntary labour, irrespective of quotas, it is labour performed without expectation of reward, without reward as  a condition, labour performed because it has become a habit to work for the common good, labour as a requirement of a healthy organism. Thus communism will contribute to the development of world civilization by turning labour into every citizen’s prime vital need.

Labour Power:

The combination of those mental and physical capabilities existing in a human being, whom he exercises whenever he produces a use-value of any description is called Labour Power.

Labour Power as a Commodity: In order that labour power is a commodity, the following conditions must be met:

The individual whose labour-power it is… sells it as a commodity. In order that he may be able to do this, he must have it at his disposal, must be the untrammeled owner of his capacity for labour, i.e., of his person. He and the owner of money meet in the market, and deal with each other as on the basis of equal rights, with this difference alone, that one is buyer, the other seller; both, therefore, equal in the eyes of the law. The continuance of this relation demands that the owner of the labour-power should sell it only for a definite period, for if he were to sell it rump and stump, once for all, he would be selling himself, converting himself from a free man into a slave, from an owner of a commodity into a commodity.

The second essential condition to the owner of money finding labour-power in the market as a commodity is this — that the labourer instead of being in the position to sell commodities in which his labour is incorporated, must be obliged to offer for sale as a commodity that very labour-power, which exists only in his living self.

For the conversion of his money into capital, therefore, the owner of money must meet in the market with the free labourer, free in the double sense, that as a free man he can dispose of his labour-power as his own commodity, and that on the other hand he has no other commodity for sale, is short of everything necessary for the realisation of his labour-power.

How the Value of Labour Power is Determined:

The value of labour-power is the value of the means of subsistence necessary for the maintenance of the labourer.

The value of labour-power is determined, as in the case of every other commodity, by the labour-time necessary for the production, and consequently also the reproduction, of this special article. So far as it has value, it represents no more than a definite quantity of the average labour of society incorporated in it. Labour-power exists only as a capacity, or power of the living individual. Its production consequently pre-supposes his existence. Given the individual, the production of labour-power consists in his reproduction of himself or his maintenance. For his maintenance he requires a given quantity of the means of subsistence. Therefore the labour-time requisite for the production of labour-power reduces itself to that necessary for the production of those means of subsistence; in other words, the value of labour-power is the value of the means of subsistence necessary for the maintenance of the labourer….

The owner of labour-power is mortal. If then his appearance in the market is to be continuous, and the continuous conversion of money into capital assumes this, the seller of labour-power must perpetuate himself, “in the way that every living individual perpetuates himself, by procreation.” The labour-power withdrawn from the market by wear and tear and death, must be continually replaced by, at the very least, an equal amount of fresh labour-power. Hence the sum of the means of subsistence necessary for the production of labour-power must include the means necessary for the labourer’s substitutes, i.e., his children, in order that this race of peculiar commodity-owners may perpetuate its appearance in the market.

The minimum limit of the value of labour-power is determined by the value of the commodities, without the daily supply of which the labourer cannot renew his vital energy, consequently by the value of those means of subsistence that are physically indispensable. If the price of labour-power fall to this minimum, it falls below its value, since under such circumstances it can be maintained and developed only in a crippled state. But the value of every commodity is determined by the labour-time requisite to turn it out so as to be of normal quality.

The concept of Value:

To understand the importance of value in this paper, it is important to brief about Marx’s theory of Value. According to this theory, the main postulates emphasized by Karl Marx are:

  • Commodity production is the outcome of a specific division of labour: “Only such products can become commodities with regard to each other, as result from different kinds of labour, each kind being carried on independently and for the account of private individuals”
  • The value of commodities expresses what private labors have in common: it is a socially necessary quantity of labour.
  • Exchange relations are the manifestation of the social character of value: “If we bear in mind that the value of commodities has a purely social reality (…)it follows as a matter of course, that value can only manifest itself in the social relation of commodity to commodity”


Value has ‘mass’. Physicists take this to mean the quantity of matter a body contains and often contrast it with the molecule or atom. Matter is the substance out of which an object is made or which it consists. Value is embedded in the body of commodities. Its substance is abstract labour. Its magnitude is determined by labour time. Marx is therefore interested in the quantity of this social substance contained in commodities. Value is non empirical and therefore cannot be known absolutely, only relatively in terms o another body. ‘Relative’ means in relation or proportion to something. The value of one commodity is expressed relative to the value of another commodity, by the proportions in which they are exchanged.

Marx, as a classical economist, believed in an absolute rather than a relative standard of value. This absolute standard was the basis of the rate of exchange between commodities, the level around which actual prices fluctuated. Labour was both the measure and the source of value, value was the amount of socially necessary labour time embodied in the production of a commodity, and this absolute value was the basis of relative exchange value.

It is therefore necessary to define value by reference to exchange-value. The Grundrisse, which is a 900 pages of notes compiled by Marx during the period of 1857-1858. The Grundrisse commences to talk in terms of a reduction of exchange value to value in the sense of labour-time expended in production (social labour in the sense that individual labors are assumed to be equal, or to b standardized).


The wealth of those societies in which the capitalist mode of production prevails, presents itself as “an immense accumulation of commodities,” the unit being a single commodity. A commodity is an object outside us, a thing that by its properties satisfies human wants of some sort or another. The nature of such wants makes no difference as it can be directly as a means of subsistence or indirectly as means of production. Every useful thing, as iron or paper may be looked at from the two points of view of quality and quantity. It is an assemblage of many properties, and may therefore be of use in many ways.

The utility of such a thing makes it a use value. But this utility is not a thing of air. Being limited by the physical properties of the commodity, it has no existence apart from that commodity. A commodity, such as iron and paper, is therefore, so far as it is a material thing, a use value, something useful. This property of the commodity is independent of the amount of labour required to appropriate its useful qualities. Use values become a reality only by use or consumption as they also constitute the substance of all wealth, whatever may be the social form of that wealth.

Use Value:

Use-value in the classical sense is the objective function of a good or service, which depends on the application made of the good by the purchaser, but not on the purchaser’s subjective valuation of the good. This contrasts with utility in neoclassical economics, where the utility of a good is its subjective valuation, which necessarily can vary from individual to individual. The classical concept of utility could also be described as “concrete”, as opposed to the “abstract” utility of neoclassical economics, differing in the same sense as do Marx’s concepts of concrete and abstract labour.

Use value of a good or service is created by all societies, capitalist and non-capitalist. The use values of such are not specifically measurable in a numerical sense; it is the level of demand by a community, or social necessity for certain goods or services. Unique to capitalist production is the exchange value of goods or services. The exchange value is the value of a good or service compared to another good or service. Understanding use value and exchange value broadly defines two kinds of economies – subsistence economies and surplus producing economies. Subsistence economies are concerned with meeting needs for social good while surplus-producing economies are concerned with meeting social needs (real or perceived) and creating excess profit. It is important to remember that a good or service becomes a commodity under capitalism because it is produced with the intention of being exchanged for a profit. “in commodity production, production necessarily implies exchange; exchange in a necessary step in the process of reproduction”
However, all commodities, in addition to having an exchange value, retain their use value as well. Goods that have a use value can transition to also having an exchange value when they are appropriated by private industry. An example of this is the water industry in Bolivia, which was owned and maintained by the government, and provided as a service to the public. When the water industry was privatized, the service of water was given an exchange value, for which citizens than had to pay for.

The concept of use-value was also undergoing development at the early stage of Marx’s introduction to political economy, and like the labour theory of value, Marx initial understanding was quite different to the final. In the course of a powerful insight into the conflict between Ricardo and Malthus, Marx expressed an opinion which is diametrically opposed to the labour theory of value—that use determines value. Having criticized Ricardo and Say for forgetting in the debate over thrift versus luxury that “there would be no production without consumption”, he continues: “that it is use that determines a thing’s value, and that fashion determines use.… Both sides forget that extravagance and thrift, luxury and privation, wealth and poverty are equal.”

Exchange Value:

Marx was very particular about the distinction between value, as the absolute worth of a commodity, and exchange value, as the relative price that commodity would obtain in exchange with another commodity. The relative concept of exchange value, the ratio at which goods exchange (whether measured in labour-time or, when “posited as money”), was thus based on value, but could diverge for many reasons. It is the appearance of value, but “the mere form of appearance is not its proper content.” As a corollary, if absolute value was to be the basis of exchange value, then the class standing of the parties to a transaction could not affect the transaction itself: “A worker who buys commodities for 3s appears to the seller in the same fashion…as the king who does the same.” The two sides of the commodity, use and exchange value manifest the two sides of the labour by which it is created. They are fused in the act of exchange as the substance of value, abstract labour, is transformed into its form, exchange value. The single process of exchange is two sided:

  • The conversion of the commodity into money. (M-C)
  • The reconversion of the commodity into money. (C-M)


The valorization of capital is a concept created by Karl Marx in his critique of political economy. The German original term is “Verwertung” (specifically Kapital verwertung) but this is difficult to translate, and often wrongly rendered as “realisation of capital”, “creation of surplus-value” or “self-expansion of capital” or “increase in value”. In modern translations of Marx’s economic writings, the term valorization (as in French) is preferred because it is recognized that it denotes a highly specific economic concept. It refers both to the process whereby a capital value is conferred or bestowed on something, and to the increase in the value of a capital asset.

Marx introduces the concept in chapter 7 of the first volume of Das Kapital. The capitalist production process, he argues, is both a labour process creating use-values and a value-creation process through which new value is created. However, value creation as such is not what the capitalist aims at. The capitalist wants his capital to increase. This means that the worker must create more value for the capitalist than he receives as wage from the capitalist. The worker must create not only new value but surplus value. A value creation process which goes beyond the point at which the worker has just created the equivalent of the value of his own labour power, and begins to increase the value of capital, is a valorization process, not just a value creation process.

Valorisation thus specifically describes the increase in the value of capital assets through the application of living, value-forming labour in production. The “problem” of valorisation is: how can labour be applied in production so that capital value grows? How can assets be invested productively, so that they gain value rather than lose it?

When a worker is put to work on a commercial basis, he initially produces a value equal to what it costs to hire him. But once this value has been created, and the work continues, he begins to valorize capital, i.e. increase its value. Marx claims however that this process, whereby capital grows in value through human activity in production, becomes obscured and hidden in the theories of economics.

The “fetish” of capital reaches its culmination when it appears that capital grows of its own accord without anybody doing anything. In that case, people are no longer able to perceive or understand the connection between human activity which forms new value, and the increase in the value of their assets.

If Verwertungsprozess is translated as “self-expansion of capital”, this actually conveys the exact opposite of what Marx intends: after all, the expansion of capital is not automatic, it requires human work to expand it.

Surplus Value:

Surplus Value is the social product which is over and above what is required for the producers to live. The measure of labour is labour time, so surplus value is the accumulated product of the unpaid labour time of the producers. In bourgeois society, surplus value is acquired by the capitalist in the form of profit. The capitalist owns the means of production as Private property, so the workers have no choice but to sell their labour power to the capitalist to live. The capitalist then owns not only the means of production, and the worker’s labour power which he has bought to use in production, but the product as well. After paying wages, the capitalist then becomes the owner of the surplus value, over and above the value of the worker’s labour-power.

In all societies in which there is a division of labour, there is a social surplus. What is different about bourgeois society is that surplus values takes the form of capital, and surplus value is in the fact the essence of production in capitalism – only productive work that is work which creates surplus value, is supported. All ‘unproductive labour’ is eliminated. The capitalists may increase the amount of surplus value extracted from the working class by two means

  • By absolute surplus value: extending the working day as long as possible.
  • By relative surplus value: by cutting wages.

Attempts by individual capitalists to increase their profits by introducing machinery or speeding-up production by technique fail as soon as their competitor copy the new technique and restore their market share. The end effect of these improvements in production may be to increase the productivity of labour, but unless the rate of surplus value is increased proportionately, the rate of profit will actually fall. Having been accumulated as capital, surplus value must then be distributed to landlords, bankers and other parasites, and expended via taxes on the various expense of maintaining the social fabric.

The production of absolute surplus value:

Marx set up a system of concepts to analyze commodity production and exchange. He argued that Surplus Value cannot originate in exchange, but most come about through the purchase of labour-power, and its employment in production. According to Marx, capitalist production can be seen in two ways:

  • In terms of the production of use-values

Labour process or the production of use-values is the activity of production. All societies must produce use-values (of one sort or another). Labour ‘is the everlasting nature imposed condition of human existence.’ Human labour is purposive as a plan is first conceived and then carried out. He however argues that purposive production is part of ‘human nature’, and that workers suffer ‘alienation’ in a capitalist system because their productive activity is imposed on them rather than being an expression of their own will. The labour process is common to all forms of society.

In a capitalist production, labour-power and means of production are bought and set to work by the capitalist. The production process is therefore under his control, and resulting product is his property.

  • The production of surplus value

A capitalist produces use-values only because they are the necessary vehicle for the production of surplus value. A simple numerical example (of cotton spinning) illustrates the general principles. The value of the yarn produced is the sum of the values of the means of production used up, plus the labour performed in cotton spinning itself. Suppose that the value of a day’s labour-power corresponds to six hours of labour (that is the commodities consumed by the worker and his family embody six hours of labour), and the worker is paid the equivalent in money. If he worked for six hours, the new value created (in addition to the cost of the means of production used up) would be just equal to the wage, leaving the capitalist no profit. But the labourer will be required to work for longer than this, say for twelve hours, and the extra six hours will create Surplus Value for the capitalist. This is the central point of Marx’s theory of Surplus Value.

To produce surplus value, the capitalist spends his money on two particular kinds of commodities; one where part of his capital is advanced to buy means of production and another art to buy labour power. The value of the means of production used up is transferred to the product, because the labour needed to produce means of production is part of the total labour required to produce the final product. The part of capital that buys means of production, then, creates no new value or Surplus Value. It is merely preserved in the value of the product and returns to the capitalist when the product is sold. Marx calls it Constant capital because it remains constant in value during the process of production. Constant capital is only constant in the sense that it creates no surplus value in itself although it is a necessary condition for the production of surplus value.

Labour power on the other hand is expended as actual living labour, which creates new value and surplus value. The part of capital that is advanced to buy labour power expands in value during the process of production. Marx calls it Variable capital.

  • Understanding the rate of surplus value

Marx tried to explain the rate of surplus value by giving some concrete examples. He came out with a formula to explain the rate of surplus value. If C stood for capital advanced by the capitalist, c being the constant capital and v being the variable capital, then the value of the product is C1 = c + v+ s, where s is the surplus value produced. The new value created by labour is v + s, and the value of the means of production used up which is c, has been transferred to the product.

  • Rate and mass of surplus value.

According to Marx, the rate of surplus value (s/v) depends on the value of labour power and the length of the working day. The total, or mass, of surplus value gained by a capitalist is equal to s/v X v, the total variable capital, and the latter is equal to the value employed. Surplus value is proportional to variable capital and not to total capital advanced.

Production of Relative Surplus Value

According to Marx, the unnecessary labour time in which the worker recoups for the capitalist the value which the capitalist has not paid wages for creates surplus value. The rate of surplus value can be increased by lengthening the working day so that more surplus-labour is extracted on top of a given amount of necessary labour. Surplus value can be equally increased, within the limits of a given working day, if necessary labour-time can be reduced, that is, if the value of labour power falls.

Surplus value that derives from a reduction in necessary labour-time is called Relative surplus value, distinguished from Absolute Surplus Value, which results from a lengthening of the working-day. It is however necessary to understand that it is not possible to identify one part of surplus value as relative and another part as absolute without a starting point.

Production of absolute and of relative surplus value

Productive labour was considered simply as labour that produces use-values. Anyone who performs a necessary function in production is part of the ‘collective labourer’, and is productive in this sense, even though there is no identifiable use-value produced by that specific individual. On the other hand, a labourer is only productive for capital if he produces surplus value.

Marx also explains that unless natural conditions are such that workers can produce more than they need for subsistence, there can be no surplus value. However, favourable natural conditions need not lead to exploitation at all, even less to specifically capitalist exploitation. Changes of magnitude in the price of labour power and in surplus value depend upon three variables: a) the length of the working day. b) the intensity of labour and c) the productiveness of labour. An increase in the productiveness reduces the value of labour power and increases the rate of surplus value (relative surplus value). An increase in the intensity of labour or, equivalently, a lengthening of the working day also increases the rate of surplus value (absolute surplus value).

Marx’s analysis of surplus value hinges on the distinction between labour and labour power. The worker sells labour power and is paid the value of his labour power. What the capitalist gets from the worker is value creating labour. If workers were paid for their labour, for the value they create, they would either be paid in full, leaving no surplus value, or they would be paid less than the value created, which would apparently be a violation of the principle that value is exchanged for value. Either way, it would not be possible to explain capitalism in terms of the exchange of equal values.

Rate of surplus values:

The rate of surplus value is also called as “percentage of surplus value” and ‘degree of exploitation’ as well.

When the workers get down to work, they have to perform, for some time, work that is equivalent to the value of wages. This portion of the work is one that has to be performed for their own sake. Workers have to do this portion of work. For labourers, this is the portion of necessary labour. After the completion of work that is equivalent to the value of wages, whatever work that is performed thenceforth, the whole of it will be not for the sake of the workers but for the sake of the capitalist. Which means, after getting down to work every day, workers perform ‘necessary labour’ for some time and ‘surplus labour’ for some more time. Neither the capitalists nor the workers know that the work done daily thus consists of two portions.

If the working day is ’12 hours’, it may have 6 hours of necessary labour and 6 hours of surplus labour. Or there may be 4 hours of necessary labour and 8 hours of surplus labour. These two portions might thus be of any portion.

It is the “rate of surplus value” that expresses the ratios of the two portions of labour in a ‘working day’. By means of ‘this rate’ one can know how much work the workers have done for themselves and how much for the exploiters. This rate of surplus measures ‘exploitation’ just as a thermometer measures ‘heat’. It reveals the degree of exploitation. The rate of surplus value can, therefore, be called as ‘degree of exploitation’.

‘Surplus value’ will be known only if the expenditure spent initially on the commodity and the value at which the commodity is sold are known. Thus, the rate of surplus value will be known if the proportions of wages and surplus value are seen.


If the wages given to the labourer is 27 and the surplus value is 108. What then is the rate of surplus value? What are the portions of necessary and surplus labour?

Answer:         if 27 wages give   –   108 surplus value,

100 wages give   —    ?

108 X  100  = 400%


In this example, the rate of surplus value is 400%. That is, 400 for 100. This means, if the first part is 100, then the second part is 400.

Necessary Labour              :           Surplus Labour

100                       :                  400

1                         :                    4

The working day is of 4 + 1 = 5 parts. In it, 1 part is necessary labour and 4 parts are surplus labour. If there is a device of working day of 12 hours as per this proportion, the time of necessary labour comes to 2 hours and 24 minutes and the time of surplus labour comes to 9 hours and 36 minutes. Here, the degree of exploitation is 400.

The rate of surplus value is represented by the following formulae:

Surplus value (s/v)    =         surplus value =                surplus labour

Variable capital           value of labour power                      necessary labour

The first two formulae represent, as a ratio of values, what is represented in the third formula as a ratio of the times during which those values are produced. These mutually replaceable formulae are rigorously definite and correct.

Surplus   Labour* =             Surplus       Value =            Surplus Product

Working   Day                            Value of the Product                             Total Product

One and the same proportion is expressed here alternately in the form of labour-times, of the values in which those labour-times are embodied, and of the products in which those values exist. It is understood that by ‘value of product’ the political economists mean only the value newly created in a working day, the constant part of the value of the product being excluded.

Some issues concerning “surplus value and its ‘rate’.

If an example is taken of cloth manufacturing where the constant value I 80 and the variable value is 20, there are still fixed means of 400 value in the ‘work place’. The rate of surplus value has nothing to do with either the 80 constant or with the fixed means in the work place. As wages along give the surplus value, the relations of these 2 factors alone continue the rate of surplus value.

ü  Surplus value and the ‘rate of surplus value’ are not the same.

ü  ‘Surplus value’ means the ‘mass’ which is excess than the capital.

ü  The ‘rate of surplus value’ means the relationship between the ratios of necessary labour and surplus labour.

ü  The formula to know surplus value is: “commodity value ‘minus’ capital’.

ü  Symbol of surplus value is S and symbol of wages is V.

ü  The formula of rate of surplus value is S/V.

ü  Symbol for rate of surplus value is Si.

Si =  S/V X 100.

Allanson Wahlang


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