Skip to Content

Labour Theory of Value

Is Marx's Theory of Value Sound?


 About five hundred people were present at the Leyton Town Hall, on Sunday, March 8th, to hear the debate between the London Constitutional Labour Movement and the S.P.G.B. The subject for debate was, "Is Marx’s Theory of Value Unsound? ” Councillor A. Smith occupied the chair.

 Mr. Kirkley (of the L.C.L.M.) opened the debate to show that “Marx’s Theory is unsound.” He stated that the subject for debate was of the greatest importance, and indeed, so exceedingly deep that he doubted whether all in the audience would fully comprehend the arguments advanced by both sides. It was necessary for them to understand Marx, for in his opinion, much of the industrial unrest of to-day could be traced to the influence of Marx’s writings.

Marx's Labour Theory of Value

    "Take the theory of water motion. We pipe water, we regulate its flow differently in ordinary wells, in artesians, springs, etc. Is the theory of the flow of water explained by listing the specific bores, drills, pumps, and pipes? No. There is an abstract physical theory of the flow of all water, the science of hydraulics, and this abstract theory ignores the individual forms of the motion of water, describes no particular form of water whatever, and describes no actual phenomenon exactly as it takes place. But its theory describes them and its laws govern them and unless we have this abstract theory we have no means of understanding anything. And this despite the fact that water is abstractly described and yet, in practice, it is always concretely availed of.

Socialist Economics: 6 - Surplus Value

Capitalism's innermost secret is the production and the accumulation of surplus value. This is sub-divided into Profit, Interest and Rent, and it is the blessed trinity dominating the entire international economic and political structure of the capitalist world. The seed corn of Surplus Value is Labour-power. Labour-power is now a commodity. It is different from all other commodities in that it produces more Value than it takes to reproduce itself. The mental and physical capabilities of human beings are thus appropriated as commodities and set to work to produce other commodities.

A Fair Day's Wage?

How often have you heard the term "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work?" To the defenders of the wages system this slogan exemplifies the essentially "honest and fair" relationship between employer and employee within capitalism. But is it "fair"?

Marx understood that this relationship is based on the exploitation of employees as members of the working class by the capitalist (employer) class. Marx offered an explanation of how this exploitation takes place in his Labour Theory of Surplus Value. In the pamphlet Wages, Price and Profit, Marx demonstrated the fallacy of "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work".

Syndicate content