Presentation on theme: ""The wealth of those societies in which the capitalist mode of production prevails presents itself as an immense accumulation of commodities""— Presentation transcript:
"The wealth of those societies in which the capitalist mode of production prevails presents itself as an immense accumulation of commodities"
These commodities have use values You can eat an apple Or write with a pen
But they also exchange: say, 4 apples = one pen =
Almost everything has a number (price tag) attached to it. We work in return for numbers on coloured bits of paper, rather than because we want the products of the work for ourselves or our community, or because we are forced to. Weird, or what?
4 apples = 1 pen? But you can't write with 4 apples any more than with 1 apple, and you can't eat pens
So what is equal here? It's not something natural It must be something social =
Apples and pens are equal things in society in both being "congealed" social labour time ==
Commodities are values: congelations of labour-time. Value is expressed in exchange- value or price.
One particular commodity is separated off from others and becomes money. Later, commodity- money is replaced by pure credit-money
We exchange commodities for money and money for commodities
Most of us exchange one particular commodity, labour-power, for money, and then for food, etc.
Labour-power is not the same as labour. You own labour-power when you are not working. When you sell your labour-power, your boss owns it and "consumes" it by making you labour.
Some people exchange money for commodities for money
How? Conventional explanation: the capitalist just adds a percentage to his costs when setting his selling price
But how? Why doesn't competition reduce the mark-up to zero?
Marx offers a theory of profit because he does not take it for granted that things have prices, and then explain one price (selling-price) from another(cost- price).
Value of output = value of material inputs plus labour-time added
Cost of output = value of material inputs plus value of labour-power "Material inputs" includes wear and tear (a % of value) of machines etc.
So profits, because value added (labour-time) is more than value paid out for labour-power > >
What is the value of labour-power? It is not a commodity produced in factories. You produce it yourself, in your free time, which does not count as social labour-time. But to produce it, you need inputs which do embody social labour- time: food, etc.
Value of labour-power is determined by labour-time embodied in a "living wage" which maintains the worker as a worker
Meanwhile for the capitalist
Speed is essential for capital is not as good as doubling your money in quick time
rather than wait So the capitalist may share the surplus value with a merchant
Or the capitalist may promise to share the surplus value with a bank in order to get started faster
Or with stock or bond holders
But the bankers' or financiers' loot also comes from the workers working longer and harder than needed to cover their "living wage"
Battles between workers and capitalists over pay and conditions are built into this system
In these battles workers get organised as a class
In these and other struggles, some people are stirred up to study how society works
The combination of socialist self- education and mass workers’ organisation will overthrow capital