[Marxism] meaning of labor time in Capital

Phil Dunn hyl0morphster at googlemail.com
Sun Apr 19 12:38:25 MDT 2009

Hi Tom

>From the passage you quoted:

"The introduction of power-looms into England probably reduced by
one-half the labour required to weave a given quantity of yarn into
cloth. The hand-loom weavers, as a matter of fact, continued to require
the same time as before; but for all that, the product of one hour of
their labour represented after the change only half an hour's social
labour, and consequently fell to one-half its former value."

Marx is saying here that you can labour as long as you like but your
labour, as measured by money, may count for very little in the product

I have no difficulty in measuring homogeneous labour on the clock. It is
just that clock hours have nothing to do with the relative value of
produced commodities - their value as expressed by money. Clock-measured
labour-time acts as equivalent value for money. The relative value of
money is expressed by clock measured labour-time using the expanded
relative form of value. The value of money is the ratio of aggregate
labour-time to aggregate money value added.

Marx, capital 1, ch 3 first page:
"Money, as a measure of value, is the necessary form of appearance of
the measure of value immanent in commodities, namely labour-time."

and he goes on to identify the expanded relative form of value as
expressing the value of money.

“We only need to read the quotations of a price list backwards, to find
the magnitude of the value of money expressed in all possible

second page.

On Fri, 2009-04-17 at 16:26 -0700, tom arnall wrote:
> I am having trouble with Marx's discussion of labor and the exchange 
> value of commodities, in the section of Capital Vol. 1 titled "The 
> Two Factors of a Commodity: Use-Value and Value. Specifically, I do 
> not understand what he means by 'homogeneous human labour.' Surely he 
> does not hold that the duration of the labor of a skilled worker is 
> the same as for an unskilled worker. Instead, he seems to propose a 
> kind of universal labor ('homogeneous human labour'), but to me he is 
> not at all clear on what this universal labor amounts to. For 
> example, how would he measure the amount of this kind of labor in a 
> particular product?

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