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 Post subject: New to Marxism. Please critique my understanding.
PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2016 12:44 pm 
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Till now I have understood this -

The wages gives to a worker can be / always are lower than the price of commodity he produces.

The exchange value of a commodity [approximate of price?] is equal to the labor that has gone into it.

The exchange value of labor to commodity production is generally as less as the capitalist collusion can push it. Capitalists can compete to raise wages. But they have to be necessarily less than the value the labor produces. Labor is the only commodity that produces more value than it costs.

A easier way to make people understand this is to ask them why the commodity being sold has higher price than the sum total of their wages plus raw material.


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 Post subject: Re: New to Marxism. Please critique my understanding.
PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2016 4:02 pm 
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Jobhi wrote:
Till now I have understood this -

The wages gives to a worker can be / always are lower than the price of commodity he produces.


Correct, to go even further, the wages given to a worker are always less than the value added by that worker to the commodity.

Jobhi wrote:
The exchange value of a commodity [approximate of price?] is equal to the labor that has gone into it.


Exchange-value as it is used in Capital refers to the specific ratio in which two given commodities exchange. So a pen can have an exchange value of 1:2 with pencils for example, but it can have infinite numbers of exchange-values because it can be compared to any and all commodities in different proportions.

Value is what I think you're trying to get at. Value is what is 'underneath' price so to speak. Price is the name of the specific exchange-value that commodities have with the money commodity.

And you are absolutely right, the value of a commodity is equal to the labour that has gone in to it. To expand, it is worth noting that we aren't just talking about the living labour that goes in to a commodity, but also the dead labour. For instance, the value of hand-spun cotton is equal to the value added by the labourer plus the value that the cotton already contained plus the value transferred by any hand-tools etc.

Jobhi wrote:
The exchange value of labor to commodity production is generally as less as the capitalist collusion can push it. Capitalists can compete to raise wages.


If you're trying to say that capitalists try to drive wages as low as (in)humanly possible then you are correct, they even try (and very very often succeed) at pushing wages below the value of labour-power.

Jobhi wrote:
But they have to be necessarily less than the value the labor produces. Labor is the only commodity that produces more value than it costs.



Wages do have to be necessarily lower than the value produced in the time for which the worker is employed.

The idea that labor produces more value than it costs is actually one which Marx fought against. It is, if I'm not mistaken, an idea held by both Adam Smith and Ricardo.

What Marx posited that was fundamentally new (in addition to other things) is the idea not of labour as a commodity, but as labour-power as a commodity. Labour-power is the potential to labour, labour being the active use of the commodity labour-power. The difference between labour-power and labour is the same difference as between the machine and the use of that machine.

So what is really happening is that labour-power can create more value through labour than it requires to reproduce the labour-power.


Jobhi wrote:
A easier way to make people understand this is to ask them why the commodity being sold has higher price than the sum total of their wages plus raw material.


Almost, but the value of the machinery used to produce the commodity must also be taken in to consideration. Otherwise, yes.

And welcome aboard!

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