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Marx on unpaid labor

Маркс о неоплаченном труде

Karl Marx (1818-1883) – the founder of scientific communism, revolutionary, teacher and leader of the international proletariat.

Маркс о неоплаченном труде

So the form of wages erases all traces of the division of the day into necessary and surplus on paid and unpaid labor. All labor appears as paid labor. When corvee labor labor of a serf for himself and his forced labour for the landlord differ in the most tactile way, in space and time. With slave labor, even that part of the working day, during which a slave only reimburse the cost of their own life means, during which he actually works only on myself, seems to work on the host. All his work appears to be unpaid labor. On the contrary, when the system of wage labor, even of the surplus or unpaid labour appears as paid. There attitude of ownership conceals the labor of the slave for himself, here the money relation conceals the gratuitous labor of the wage worker.

It is clear therefore that crucial, what is the conversion cost and the cost of labour in the form of wages, i.e. the value and price of labor itself. This form of expression, concealing the true attitude and perception of the relationship is opposite, the rest are all legal representations as a worker and the capitalist, all the mystifications of the capitalist mode of production, all produced the illusion of freedom, all the apologetic evasions of vulgar political economy.

If world history it took a long time to uncover the mystery of wages, by contrast, nothing is easier than to understand the need, raisons d’etre [the sense base] this form of manifestation.

The exchange between capital and labour is perceived initially exactly the same as buying and selling any other commodity. The buyer gives a certain amount of money, the seller is the subject that is different from money. Legal consciousness sees only physical difference, which is expressed in the legally equivalent formulae: “do ut des”, “do ut facias”, “facio ut des” and “facio ut facias” [“I give that you may give” “I give you to do”, “do that thou wilt” and “do you to do”].

Next: as exchange value and use value themselves incommensurable magnitudes, the expressions “value of labour”, “price of labour” seem to be nothing more irrational, than, for example, the expressions “value of cotton,” “price of cotton”. Here are compounded by the fact that the worker is paid after he has delivered his labor. In its function of means of payment money in hindsight realise value, or price, delivered, therefore, in this case, the value or price of the delivered work. Finally, the “use-value”. that the worker gives to the capitalist is not, in fact, the labor force, and its function, a certain useful labor of the tailor, shoemaker, spinner, etc. That this same labour is, on the other hand, is a universal value-creating element is a property that distinguishes it from all other goods — this circumstance eludes everyday consciousness.

If we’re on the point of view of the worker, who in his twelve-hour labour receives the value created by the labour of six hours, say 3 shillings., for him a twelve-hour labor really is only a means to by 3 shillings. The cost of labor can change with the value of his usual means of life; to rise from 3 shillings. up to 4 or falling from 3 shillings. to 2; or, at a fixed cost of labor, its price due to fluctuations in supply and demand may rise to 4 shillings. Or fall up to 2 shillings., — in all these cases, the worker gives equal 12 hours of labor. Therefore, any change in the amount equivalent to them must seem to him a change in the value or price of his 12 hours. This circumstance has led Adam Smith, considered the working day as a constant, the opposite mistake: to claim that the cost of labor is constant, despite the fact that the cost of living means changing, and therefore the same working day may be to work to a greater or lesser amount of money.

Take, on the other hand, the capitalist. He wants to get more work for probably less money. So practically he is only interested in the difference between the price of labor and the value, which makes its functioning. But he tries to buy may cheaper all the goods, and always sees the source of their profits in a simple sell, buy below and sell above value. Therefore, he is far from understanding the fact that if indeed there was such a thing as the cost of labor, and he really paid this value, it could be no capital, his money could not turn into capital.

G. K. Marx, Capital, Volume 1, Chapter XVII

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