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Clifford Groves

What is a Commodity?

Often when discussing with friends, sympathisers and others we use the term, "commodity." This seems a very simple word, easy to understand, but we wonder how often it is misunderstood. We fear, very often. Let us therefore examine the question for a while.

The first essential characteristic of a commodity is that it is something produced primarily for sale at a profit. That is the object of its production. For the capitalist, if there is no profit there will be no production.

Obituary: Prince Vallar

Prince Vallar 1888-1947

Roots of the Class Struggle

We have recently in this journal published a series of articles on economics from the socialist point of view. We think it would now be useful to go a little more carefully into this question of labour power. First of all, what is it? It is the mental and physical energy of the worker which he sells to the capitalist for a wage. Labour power is a commodity like any other commodity and exchanges at its value. It is unlike other commodities in that it can produce more value than it contains itself. For this reason it is the most treasured commodity for the capitalist class. Labour power is the sole creator of value. Other commodities merely transfer their own values into the commodities produced. This is made obvious by the effort of the capitalists in a world of competition to cheapen their commodities by reducing the time taken to produce them. Thus speeding up, labour saving machinery and the like.

Why Study Economics?

We are sometimes asked why we should spend our time studying economics, and told that there are enough problems and evils in Capitalism for us to attack without wasting our time on such a dry-as-dust subject as economics. We reply, in the first place, by saying that we do not find economics dry-as-dust, but, on the contrary, we find it fascinating, as it is the only way by which the world we live in can be explained. Secondly, it is only be a knowledge of economics that we can explain the poverty and exploitation of the working class, and, what is far more important, how that poverty and exploitation can be ended.

The economics we study is that first of all laid down by one of the founders of scientific Socialism, Karl Marx. The first sentence of the first chapter of the first volume of his monumental work "Capital" says:—

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