Academic journal article Economics, Management and Financial Markets

Highlighting the Labor & Employment's Concepts

Academic journal article Economics, Management and Financial Markets

Highlighting the Labor & Employment's Concepts

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT. It is well known that work is a conscious activity, intellectual and physical or specifically human, done to achieve a particular purpose, namely the creation of certain material and spiritual goods. Man performs the work process, regulates and controls the exchange of material action between him and his fellow men in order to satisfy his needs. In fact, all these characteristics define workforce or work capacity.

JEL Classification: E24, J00

Keywords: human capital, human development index, human capability


Work itself is called into action by labor force. "Work is the substance and the measure of values, but it has no value in itself'1, the same as weight has no weight or heat has no temperature. The distinction between work, that represents the activity of creating goods, and labor force, which represents worker's physical and intellectual capacity to perform this work, is notified by Marx. What the worker sells the capitalist is his working force and not work, in return for his efforts receiving a price called salary. Therefore, we can say that labor force is a commodity with special features.

Labor force represents a very special commodity, different and yet similar to other goods; different from other commodities because it is a source of value exchange, and similar because it has a specific, determined value, like any other commodity, due to its working time necessary to produce it.

The capitalist buys his employees' work for a certain amount of money, as a result of the fact that the worker sells his work to the, for a certain amount of money, i.e. the wages. But this is only apparently, because what the worker really sells to the capitalist in exchange for a sum of money is his workforce. The capitalist buys the labor force for a certain period of time: day, week, month, etc. After he had bought it, the capitalist consumes the labor force, making the worker to work for a certain period of time previously established. With the same amount with which the capitalist had bought the worker's workforce, he could have bought any quantity of another commodity. The amount of money paid by the capitalist to the worker represents in fact the right to use the bought labor force for a certain period of time. Therefore, labor force is but a commodity, except that its price is measured in units of time, in contrast to other units of measurement used in determining the value of other goods.

Workers' labor force, which constitutes their commodity, is exchanged, in a report previously set, on another commodity namely money. Actually, the worker exchanged his commodity, labor force, on commodities of all kinds, namely in a report previously established, the capitalist paying the worker a certain amount of money due to the use of his workforce, i.e. the exchange value of his work force, his labor force being finally exchanged on other goods. The exchange value of a commodity expressed in money is exactly what we call price. So, salary is only another form of expression for the price of labor force usually called labor price. Workforce is therefore a commodity which its possessor, the employed worker sells the capitalist in order to secure those assets that are vital to his existence. For the worker this sale is the only way that can provide the necessary existence. Therefore the worker works to live; he does not consider work a pleasure in his life; work is the equivalent of working time, what the worker receives as a result of giving up some of his free time. His workforce represents the commodity that is sold to the capitalist the product of his activity is not at the same time the aim of his work. What he produces for himself is not the product as result of his work, but his salary. The time spent working has no meaning in the life of the worker; on the contrary, life begins for him only when this activity ceases, when working time has finished and free time, leisure, recreation or rest begins. …

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