Karl Marx's Theory Of Surplus Labour

1369 words - 5 pages

Karl Marx's Theory of Surplus Labour

For Marx surplus labour is the extra labour produced by a worker for his employer, to be put towards capital accumulation. The worker must do this work to keep his job but otherwise gains nothing by it. By helping the accumulation of capital he contributes to the cycle of mechanization and division of labour, which allow for fewer workers to do more work, thus adding to the competition between workers, and lowering their wages. Yet despite how it will contribute to a lessening of his earnings, the worker has no choice but to contribute surplus labour.

If a man had the means of production and could work for himself producing what he needed or what he could trade for what he needs, then a man could stop when he has what he needs. If a man does not own the means of production and therefore cannot sell the product of his own labour then he must sell his labour power to someone who owns the means of production. He will be paid a wage. Marx makes it very clear that the wage is paid not for the labour, but for the labour-power, that is, the use of the worker for whatever set amount of time. Marx writes: "Labour-power, then, is a commodity, no more, no less so than is the sugar. The first is measured by the clock, the other by the scales." (1847. Wage-Labour and Capital. pg 3. All subsequent references will be marked by page number only.)

The wage that the worker is paid will be somewhere around the subsistence wage – that is the wage necessary to keep the worker returning to the job the next day. While the subsistence wage for an individual worker can be just what is needed to keep the job position filled (not necessarily by the same person) the subsistence wage overall has to be enough that the working class can raise children to be the next generation of workers. (9) This is the cost of production of labour-power (a commodity) and Marx writes that "the actual price of a commodity, indeed, stands always above or below the cost of production; but the rise and fall reciprocally balance each other" (8). If there is a shortage of workers or the workers ban together then the wage may go above the subsistence wage for a while, as the employers compete to hire the workers. If there is a shortage of jobs or the capitalists ban together then the wage may go down for a while, as the workers compete for the jobs. Yet over all, the wage will remain at the subsistence level.

Note that the workers wage is generally paid out of the money the capitalist has already, and not out of the immediate days earnings. While the workers wage will be decreased or his job lost if the price of the commodity he produces falls over a length of time, on a day to day basis his wage is independent of the sale of the products he produces. (4)

The wages that the worker earns is an expense that the capitalist must pay. As shown above, he cannot lower the wage of the worker. Thus for him to earn money from his capital he must see to it...

Find Another Essay On Karl Marx's Theory of Surplus Labour

Marx's Theory of Alienation Essay

1019 words - 4 pages Marx's theory of alienation has to do with the separation of things that logically belong together. According to Marx, alienation is a universal result of capitalism. Marx's theory of alienation is based upon his observation that, within the capitalist mode of production, workers consistently lose determination of their lives and fates by being deprived of the right to envision themselves as the administrator of their actions. Workers become

The Development of Karl Marx's Critique

2499 words - 10 pages , created a new vocabulary for it, new concepts or concepts that he took from others but giving them new meanings or at least new roles within his theory. For his meticulous study of capitalism he created new relations between the terms of political economy and built a conceptual apparatus with the notions of commodity, use-value, exchange-value, surplus-value, labour power, etc. Marx appropriately changed his framework understanding that to

The Revolution of 1848 and Karl Marx's The Communist Manifesto

1612 words - 6 pages The Revolution of 1848 and Karl Marx's The Communist Manifesto There were two major things that happened in Europe in 1848. One of those things was the Revolution of 1848. The other was the publication of the Communist Manifesto, written by Karl Marx. The Revolution of 1848, and the Communist Manifesto tie into each other very well. The Revolution was calling for a change in society, and so was Marx through the writing of his

The Refrigerator and Marx's theory of Commodification and Alienation

2131 words - 9 pages Refrigeration and freezing are two of the most common forms of food preservation used today. Virtually, in the kitchen of every home of the developed world, there is a refrigerator of one kind or another. This technological invention has become an irreplaceable and indispensable part of our life, which we take for granted.In this essay I will focus on the fridge freezer within its social and economic environment based on Karl Marx's theory of

Can Marx's Theory of History Be Truly Scientific?

2959 words - 12 pages when a systematic study gives knowledge of natural or physical phenomena. To see or not if Marx's theory is or can be scientific we need to look at, firstly at a fuller definition of science, and then at how much scientific method Marx used to formulate his study. Karl Popper provided one of the clearest and most comprehensive criteria for what makes something a science. In "The logic of scientific discovery"(1934) Popper talked about how

The Social and Economic Features of Jabal Nablus and Karl Marx's Methodology

1283 words - 5 pages In my essay, I will argue that the application of Marx's theory of the separation of town and country on the social and economical developments, which took place in Jabal Nablus during 17-19th century, confirm the existence of other factors, which cultivated overwhelming city's domination over hinterland. I claim that in addition to private property, growing trade with Europe also had a major impact on the conflict between city and country. In

"Das Kapital" -explains and analyzes Karl Marx's "Das Kapital" -Reccomends book to future students of my economics class

1173 words - 5 pages Capital or "Das Kapital", in it's original German form, continues to be one of the most important contributions to economics in history. Although Karl Marx wrote it in 1867, it is still just as relevant in our present time as it was 185 years ago. Too often Marx's writings are quickly discarded as simple communist propaganda and ignored by today's mainstream intellectual society. Capital is nothing of the sort. It is in fact an in depth

Small Element, Big Difference: A comparison of Adam Smith and Karl Marx's view on labor in a capitalist society.

1721 words - 7 pages Adam Smith and Karl Marx are both considered few of the most influential giants in social and economical history. When viewing their economical standpoints, it is not difficult to recognize the difference in ideas that they have regarding society. Adam Smith is an advocator for capitalism and the wealth that can be accumulated in it, while Karl Marx critiques on the flaws of capitalism and praises communism that will overthrow the capitalist

Karl Marx’s Theory of the Capitalist Economic System

1122 words - 4 pages Karl Marx’s was a German philosopher, economist and evolutionary socialist born in Germany on May 5th 1818. His theories mostly consisted of the capitalist economic system. Marx’s attended the University of Bonn and University of Berlin. He is widely recognized for his theory of on the class system which included the concepts of base and super-structure. Marx’s theory of the class system is well exhibited by the documentary film, Class Dismissed

Karl Marx’s Theory of the Capitalist Economic System

1036 words - 5 pages Karl Marx was born in Trier, Germany in 1818. He was a Economist, Philosopher and a Sociologist. Marx attained his PhD in Philosophy from the University of Berlin in 1841. Among the various theories and concepts developed by Marx, his theory on the capitalist economic system along with the concept of the base and superstructure is what he widely recognized by. Although Marx was born in a fairly wealthy middle class family, Marx has always

Introduction to Philosophy: This essay is about my philosophy of human nature and a comparison and contrast with Karl Marx's view of human nature. Essay includes resources.

1650 words - 7 pages us, he loves us and judges whether we are condemned to hell or resurrected to heaven considering what sins we have committed.The philosopher I will compare and contrast with is Karl Marx, because he has many different as well as some of the same thoughts of human nature as I do. Marx was an atheist, and in the general trend of his thought was materialist and determinist. As a would-be social scientist, he proposed to explain all human phenomenon

Similar Essays

Karl Marx's Theory Of Alienation Essay

579 words - 2 pages Few philosophers viscerally strike a chord with their readers, regardless of the subject in question. Yet there is something within Marx's essay, Alienated Labor, that is able to communicate directly to working people laboring even over one-hundred and fifty years subsequent to its publication. There is good reason for this: Marx elucidated a theory of labor in which workers become subservient to the objects they produce, a theory where people

An Account Of Karl Marx's Theory Of Alienation

1465 words - 6 pages Karl Marx's Theory of AlienationKarl Marx's theory of alienation presents us with a grim view of capitalist society and the dehumanising effect that this society has on the worker. Marx's theory of alienation refers to human beings becoming alienated from the society that, according to Marx, they created. As society develops human beings gradually begin to feel that it is not of their making and they do not feel at home in such a place. Marx's

Karl Marx's Contribution To Labor Theory Of Value

1263 words - 5 pages Contrary to popular belief, the origin of the Labor Theory of Value (LTV), which states that the value of a commodity is proportional to the amount of labor consumed to produce it, is not attributable to Karl Marx. While this may be true, the LTV is most familiar to economists as the cornerstone of Marx’s argument against capitalism in Capital. In studying Marxism, it is important to understand the degree to which Marx expounded upon the

Marx's Theory Of Class Essay

2711 words - 11 pages Marx's definition of class. It's strengths and weaknesses. -Although the concept of class has a central importance in Marxist theory, Marx does notdefine it in a systematic form. Marx left this problem of producing a definition of the concept ofsocial class until much later. The manuscript of the third volume of Capital breaks off at themoment when Marx was about to answer the question: 'What constitutes a class?' Even withouthis definition of