Thursday, September 07, 2023

Zoom meeting on *Some misconceptions about the Labour Theory of Value*

 Friday 8 September 19.30

The labour theory of value explains how wealth is produced and distributed under capitalism, and how the working class is exploited. Human labour power applied to nature-given materials is the source of most wealth. The wealth produced, however, belongs not to the workers but to those who own and control the means of wealth production and distribution (land, factories, offices, etc.). Wealth production under capitalism generally takes the form of commodities produced for sale at a profit.

The value of a commodity is determined by the amount of socially necessary labour time required under average conditions for its production and reproduction. Subject to any monopolies or government subsidies, it is around a point regulated by value that the price of a commodity fluctuates according to supply and demand.

For Marx, the mode of production determines the mode of distribution:

‘ If the material conditions of production are the co-operative property of the workers themselves, then there likewise results a distribution of the means of consumption different from the present one. Vulgar socialism (and from it in turn a section of the democrats) has taken over from the bourgeois economists the consideration and treatment of distribution as independent of the mode of production and hence the presentation of socialism as turning principally on distribution. After the real relation has long been made clear, why retrogress again?’ (Critique of the Gotha Programme, 1875).


A. Filho & B. Fine, Marx’s ‘Capital’, 2016

Frequently Asked Questions about the Labour Theory of Value

An A to Z of Marxism –

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