[Marxism] meaning of labor time in Capital

Anthony Boynton anthony.boynton at gmail.com
Sun Apr 19 15:58:04 MDT 2009

Re: [Marxism] meaning of labor time in Capital

A few points

The exchange value of labor is determined by three social relations: the
class struggle broadly understood; and supply of and demand for labor; the
complexity of labor.

Joaquin is right when he aruges that Marx (followed by Engels and most other
Marxists) did not study how the work of housewives and mothers fits into
these social relations as a determinant of exchange value of labor. (Forgive
me for paraphraising your words, but time is short).

However, this work is factored in, indirectly, through the class struggle
and through supply and demand for labor. Workers return to work the next
day, rather than moving on, going on strike, orgainzing a political party,
staging an inusrrection, etc. if their minimum needs are being met. This
means not only that male workers not only need enough calories to lift the
shovel, but that life at home must be good enough to maintain some degree of
sanity. If the wife and kids are starving, chances are the worker will skip
town and look for greener grass on the other side of the hill, organize a
strike, commit suicide, or even participate in an insurrection.

How it factors into the supply and demand of labor is more complex, but if
you think about it you can begin to figure it out for yoursefl. The kids
starve to death, the demand for labor exceeds supply, etc.

The issue of the average socially necessary hours to produce a commodity in
the case of labor power can only be understood if it is placed in the
context in which workers work. Had Marx and Engels lived to be 200 they
probably would have rewritten Capital to include the class struggle more
front and center in their economic thought experiments.

Sorry if I repeated points already made on this thread, I only looked at it


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