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Authored by: Guglielmo Carchedi

Routledge Handbook of Marxian Economics

Print publication date:  March  2017
Online publication date:  March  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138774933
eBook ISBN: 9781315774206
Adobe ISBN:


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Exploitation is the appropriation by capital of a share of the value produced by the laborers. Its origin is that the capitalists, as owners of the means of production, buy the laborers’ labor power and force them to work for a time longer than the time the laborers need to produce the means of their own reproduction (wage goods). The labor needed to produce those wage goods is necessary labor; the time needed for the production of the wage goods is necessary time. The extra time is surplus labor, which is an extension of necessary labor. Since under capitalism value is labor performed by the laborers for capital, the subdivision of new labor into necessary labor and surplus labor is also the subdivision between the value of labor power and surplus value. Given that value (hours of labor) can become manifest only as money quantities, necessary and surplus labor become manifest as wages and profits.

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