Tag Archives: Das Kapital

Capital Vol. III Part III Chapter 15. Exposition of the Internal Contradictions of the Law

Capital Vol. III Part III The Law of the Tendency of the Rate of Profit to Fall Chapter 15. Exposition of the Internal Contradictions of the Law After two chapters of pretty straightforward exposition of the falling rate of profit … Continue reading

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Kapital vol 3; Chapter 14. Counteracting Influences

Capital Vol. III Part III: The Law of the Tendency of the Rate of Profit to Fall Chapter 14. Counteracting Influences (This post is part of an ongoing project: a close reading of volume 3 of Kapital, one post per … Continue reading

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Law of Value 6: Socially Necessary Labor Time

We’ve probably all heard Marx’s famous description of the higher phase of communism: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” Marx didn’t actually come up with this phrase but he quotes it in one his rare commentaries on communism. Here an hour of one person’s work is equal to an hour of anyone else’s, creating a basis for real equality throughout society, regardless of the productive abilities (or privileges) of individuals. In the Critique of the Gotha Program Marx describes the lower phase of communism as a system in which, after an hour of labor, all workers receive a certificate entitling them to a certain amount of consumption goods in proportion to their working time, not their level of productivity. There is no SNLT, and no inequality, because everyone’s work has the same social power. Obviously this is not a robust plan for how a communist society should be run. But it gives us a glimpse into the sort of radical questions we should be asking ourselves when thinking about communism. Continue reading

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Law of Value 5: Contradiction

We are all painfully aware that modern society is full of social antagonisms. There’s poverty amidst great wealth, over-work alongside massive unemployment, banks taking away homes, gentrification, racial tensions, violence against women, labor struggles, environmental apartheid, police brutality, gang violence, hate groups, massive dislocations of populations, and lots of war. Marx was interested in explaining all of these antagonisms, but he doesn’t start his analysis with any of them. Continue reading

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Law of Value 6: Socially Necessary Labor time- another draft

Alone on his tropical island Robinson Crusoe can take as long as he wants to build a cabin for himself. It’s up to him. We don’t have that luxury when we produce for market exchange. When Wonder Bread makes bread they are competing in the market against Pepperidge Farm, Arnold and White Rose. If their workers are less productive, if they take longer to make bread, that doesn’t mean they can sell their bread for more money. The social value of bread is not set by individuals but by the average amount of time it takes to produce bread. This is called the “Socially Necessary Labor Time”. (SNLT) Continue reading

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Das Kapital vol.3 Chapter 9: Formation of a General Rate of Profit (Average Rate of Profit) and Transformation of the Values of Commodities into Prices of Production

In all of the consternation, debate and quarreling over Marx’s value theory this chapter, chapter 9 of volume 3, lies in the center of much of that (though perhaps chapter 10 even more so). Continue reading

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Crisis, Value and Marx’s “Order of Operations”

Abstract:
An economic crisis manifests itself in many different forms simultaneously: stock market crashes, housing market crashes, over capacity, unemployment, etc. For every aspect of the crisis there is some theorist who mistakes this surface appearance for the inner mechanism of crisis. But a proper analysis of crisis needs to have some reason for selecting some phenomena as causes and others as effects. There must be a proper ordering of the relations between different economic factors in order for our analysis to avoid being arbitrary and piecemeal. Marx gives us a very clear, though complex, ordering of these relations. Interestingly enough the misunderstanding of Marx’s method, of the proper relation between different aspects of his value theory, is also one of the main reasons that many have dismissed the labor theory of value and Marx’s theory of crisis in the first place. This paper will seek to explain and defend Marx’s “order of operations” in hopes that this can shed valuable light onto what exactly differentiates Marx’s theory of capitalism from others. Continue reading

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