1970s >> 1975 >> no-856-december-1975

Karl Marx and Iceland

According to radio and press reports, a remarkable development has occurred in Scandinavia. Hot water from the springs in Iceland is being shipped to Sweden and used to heat buildings and wash up in Sweden.

The water is drawn off at around boiling point and can be maintained at about 70 degrees Centigrade in insulated ships. What a splendid application of the Marxian labour theory of value. Like virgin land or wild fruit, hot water in Iceland has no exchange-value until human labour is applied to it. It is like the Sahara, valueless until then: when it becomes a commodity, with a price, its value determined by the amount of socially necessary labour-time required to deliver it to the consumers.