Sunday, November 27, 2011

Capital: Volume 1, Chapters 16-18 by Karl Marx

Chapter 16: Absolute and Relative Surplus-Value

  1. absolute surplus-value, "the prolongation of the working day beyond the point at which the worker would have produced an exact equivalent for the value of his labour-power...forms the general foundation of the capitalist system, and the starting point for the production of relative surplus-value." - 645
  2. "A merely formal subsumption of labour under capital suffices for the production of absolute surplus-value." - 645
  3. "the capital-relation arises out of an economic soil that is the product of a long process of development. The existing productivity of labour, from which it proceeds as its basis, is a gift, not of nature, but of a history embracing thousands of centuries." - 647
Chapter 17: Changes of Magnitude in the Price of Labour-Power and in Surplus-Value

- The length of the working day and the intensity of labour constant; the productivity of labour variable

  1. "a working day of a given length always creates the same amount of value, no matter how the productivity of labour, and, with it, the mass of the product and the price of each single commodity produced may vary." - 656
  2. "the value of labour-power and surplus-value vary in opposite directions." - 656
  3. "Increase or diminution in surplus-value is always the consequence, and never the cause, of the corresponding diminution or increase in the value of labour-power." - 658
- The length of the working day and the productivity of labour constant; the intensity of labour variable

  1. "Here we have an increase in the number of products unaccompanied by a fall in their individual prices; as their number increases, so does the sum of their prices, whereas in the case of an increase in productivity, a given value is spread over a greater mass of products." - 661
- The productivity and intensity of labour constant; the length of the working day variable

  1. "Since the value-product in which a day of labour is embodied increases with the length of that day, it is evident that the surplus-value and the price of labour-power may simultaneously increase, either by equal or unequal quantities." - 663
  2. "When the working day is prolonged, the price of labour-power may fall below its value, although that price nominally remains unchanged, or even rises." - 664
- Simultaneous variations in the duration, productivity and intensity of labour

  1. "If the whole working day were to shrink to the length of its necessary component, surplus labour would vanish, something which is impossible under the regime of capital. Only the abolition of the capitalist form of production would permit the reduction of the working day to the necessary labour-time." - 667
  2. "The capitalist mode of production, while it enforces economy in each individual business, also begets, by its anarchic system of competition, the most outrageous squandering of labour-power and of the social means of production, not to mention the creation of a vast number of functions at present indispensable, but in themselves superfluous." - 667
Chapter 18: Different Formulae for the Rate of Surplus-Value

  1. surplus-value/value of labour-power = surplus labour/necessary labour = unpaid labour/paid labour
  2. "Capital, therefore, is not only the command over labour, as Adam Smith thought. It is essentially the command over unpaid labour. All surplus-value, whatever particular form (profit, interest or rent) it may subsequently crystallize into, is in substance the materialization of unpaid labour-time. The secret of the self-valorization of capital resolves itself into the fact that it has at its disposal a definite quantity of the unpaid labour of other people." - 672

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