Marx completed a narrower innovation. He made a contribution by identifying the double character of labor in its role as a commodity—its determinate exchange value—and in its concrete use as the means for generating a surplus for employers.
The purchaser of labor manages to turn a profit only by taking advantage of the use value of the labor in the production process. If the owner at this moment properly uses this labor power, it can yield goods with more exchange value than the exchange value of the labor. The exchange value of labor power Marx defined as the substantial cost, or amount of labor, needed to maintain the employee's ability to work. The commodity of labor power is unique because it represents " a source not only of value but of more value than it has itself. This is the specific service that the capitalist expects from it.
Marx objected to the rhetorical notion that capitalists did not play by the rules of the game or that their profit was a kind of illicit "deduction" from the worker: "The capitalist, having paid the worker the real price of his labor power , has the good right—that is, the right in terms of this mode of production—to the surplus value. Marx's interlacing of German ideas of production with British suppositions of circulation was original but not singular. It represented an intellectual outcome that may have already been in the cards.
Lohnarbeit und Kapital /Lohn, Preis und Profit
Karl Roesler published a parallel solution in , six years before the first edition of Kapital appeared in the bookstores. He highlighted the dual character of what he termed "labor power" by entitling one chapter of his work "The Use Value of Labor" and the next "The Exchange Value of Labor. One must hold on to the fundamental principle that in the process of exchange, including the labor market, values are traded only against like values.
Without this rule the amount of use value. If the free resources in the earth, in the air, or wherever they may find themselves cannot be considered in the measurement of exchange value, and thus in the price [of a good], so it is not to be seen why this is not also or possibly the case with human labor power. The use value of labor has no influence on the formation of its price.
Roesler retained the classical principle governing equal exchange in the market while acknowledging that the employer could thereby receive a bonus in unpaid use value of the labor power. This acute insight anticipated Marx's analysis of the double character of labor as a commodity in the market and in the production process. Roesler diverged from Marx principally in supposing that capital could make an independent contribution to the exchange value of goods.
For this reason, he did not arrive at the conclusion that all profit derived ultimately from the employment of labor. In its explanation of the extraction of surplus value, as in other ways, Marx's contribution remained unique. Historians of economic theory have often envisioned their task as one of tracing a lineage or sequence of ideas among the known "greats," from.
Smith to Ricardo to Marx. Within this overall plan of succession, they have, to be sure, identified the discontinuities that Marx introduced into the British line of development. But they have treated this change in the analysis of the valorization of labor as the fortuitous consequence of Marx's genius.
His voluminous notes and citations reinforce this view, and rightly so. Ask a question.
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Wage Labour and Capital - Wikipedia
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