Karl Mark Capital Volume I Ch. 1.1 Notes
Karl Mark Capital Volume I Ch. 1.1 Notes MGT 248
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Date Created: 10/11/15
Karl Marx Capital Volume Ch 1 The Commodity 1 The Two Factors of the Commodity UseValue and Value substance of value magnitude of value pg 12523 Wealth of societies in the capitalist mode of production quotimmense collection of commoditiesquot 125 Commodity is an external object 125 a thing which through its qualities satis es human needs of whatever kind nature of these needs makes no difference does not matter how the thing satis es man39s need ex for production or consumption Every useful thing may be looked at from 2 points of quality and quantity 125 quot quot quot is a whole composed of many properties therefore can be useful in various wants 125 Discovery and manifold uses of things is the work of history as is the invention of socially recognized standards of measurement for the quantities of these useful objects 125 The diversities of the measurements for commodities arises in part from the diverse nature of the objects to be measured and in part from convention 125 126 The usefulness of a thing makes it a usevalue 126 it is conditioned by the physical properties of the commodityhad no existence apart therefore iron com a diamond the usevalue of a useful thing 126 This property of a commodity is independent of the amount of labor required to appropriate its useful qualities 126 When dealing with usevalue we always assume we are dealing with de nite quantities ex dozens of watches yards of linen etc 126 usevalues of commodities provide the material for a special branch of knowledge commercial knowledge of commodities 126 usevalues are only realized in use or in consumption126 usevalues constitutes the material content of wealth whatever its social form may be 126 In the form of society to be considered here they are also the material bearers ofexchangevalue 126 Exchange value appears rst of all as the quantitative relation the proportion in which use values of one kind exchange for the usevalues of another kind 126 This relation changes constantly with time and place 126 exchangevaue therefore appears to be something accidental and purely relative and consequently an intrinsic value 126 an exchangevalue that is inseparany connected with the commodity inherent in it seems a contradiction in terms 126 1The valid exchangevalues of a particular commodity express something equal 2 exchangevalue cannot be anything other than the mode of expression the 39form of appearance of a content distinguishable from it 127 2 commodities ex corn and iron exchange rate can always be represented by an equation in which a given quantity of x is equal to a given quantity of y equation signi es that a common element of identical magnitude exists in two different things Both are therefore equal to a 3rCI thing which in itself is neither the one nor the other n each of them so far as it is exchangevalue must therefore be reducible to this 3rCI thing ex how a triangle is reduced to an expression totally different from its visible shape bh2 in the same way the exchange values of commodities must be reduced to a common element of which they represent a greater or lesser quantity 127 This common element geometrical physical or other natural property of commodities Such properties only come into consideration only to the extent that they make the commodities useful ie turn them into usevalues 127 But clearly the exchange relation of commodities is characterized precisely by its abstraction from their usevalues within the exchange relation one usevalue is worth just as much as another provided only that it is present in the appropriate quantity 127 As usevalues commodities differ above all in quality while as exchangevalues they can only differ in quantity and therefore do not contain an atom of usevalue 128 If we disregard the usevalue of commodities only one property remains Product of labor If we make abstractions from its usevalue we abstract also from the material constituents and forms which make it a usevalue 128 it is no longer a table or a chair all sensuous characteristics are extinguished disappearance of the useful character of the products of laborlj disappearance of the different concrete forms of labor they can no longer be distinguished but are all together reduced to the same kind of labor human labor in the abstract 128 Residue of products of labor nothing left of them in each case but the same phantomlike objectivity they are merely congealed quantities of homogeneous human laborpower has been expended to produce them human labor is accumulated in them 128 commodity values 128 quotwe have seen that when commodities are in the relation of exchange their exchangevalue manifests itself as something totally independent of the usevalue But if we abstract from their usevalue there remains their value as it has just been de ned the common factor in the exchange relation or in the exchangvalue of the commodity is therefore its value the progress of the investigation will lead us back to exchangevalue as the necessary mode of expression or form of appearance of value for the present however we must consider the nature of value independently of itsquot form of appearance 128 A usevalue or useful article therefore has value only because abstract human labor is objecti ed or materialized in it 129 How is the magnitude of this value measured By the means of the quantity of the 39valueforming substance39 the labor contained in the article this quantity is measured by its duration and the labortime itself measured on the particular scale of hours days etc 129 since a commodity39s value is determined by the quantity of labor expended to produce it it would be more based on the unskillfulness and laziness of a worker because it would take them more time to complete it 129 however the labor that forms the substance of value is equal human labor the expenditure of identical human laborpower 129 the total labor power of society which is manifested in the values of the world commodities counts here as one homogeneous mass of human laborpower each of these units is the same as any other to the extent that it has the character of a socially average unit of labor power and acts as such ie only needs In order to produce a commodity the labor time which is necessary on an average or in other words is socially necessary socialy necessary labor timethe labor time required to produce any usevalue under the conditions of production normal for a given society with the average degree of skill and intensity of labor prevalent in that society 129 what exclusively determines the magnitude of value of any article is therefore the amount of labor socially necessary or the labortime socially necessary for its production 129 the individual commodity counts here only as an average sample of its kind 129130 commodities which contain equal quantities of labor or which can be produced in the same time have therefore the same value 130 The value of a commodity is related to the value of any other commodity as the labortime necessary for the production of the one is related to the labor time necessary for the production of the other 130 quotas exchange values all commodities are merely de nite quantities of congealed labor timequot 130 The value of the commodity would remain constant if the labortime required for its production remained constant 130 However labor time changes with every variation in the productivity of labor this is determined by a wide range of circumstances worker39s average degree of skill level of development of science and its technological application the social organization of the process of production and the conditions found in the natural environment 130 In general the greater the productivity of labor the less labor time required to produce an article the less the mass of labor crystallized in that article and the less its value 131 inversey quot the less the productivity of labor the greater its value the value of a commodity therefore varies directly as the quantity and indirectly as the productivity of the labor which nds it realization within the commodity 131 Now we know the substance of value it is labor We know the measure of its magnitude it is labor time The form which stamps value as exchange value remains to be anayzed a thing can be a usevalue without being a value this is the case whenever its utility to man is not mediated through labor 131 ex air virgin soil natural meadows unpanted forests etc He who satis es his own need with the product of his own labor admittedly creates usevalues but not commodities in order to produce commodities he must not only produce usevalues but usevalues for others social usevalues In order to become a commodity the product must be transferred to the other person for whom it serves as a usevalue through the medium of exchamnge nothing can be a value without being an object of utility if the thing is useless so is the labor contained in it the labor does not count as labor and therefore creates no value 131
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