Capital, the Communist Manifesto and Other Writings

By Karl Marx; Max Eastman | Go to book overview

assumed, and abstraction being made of individual differences which disappear anyhow, seeing that each time we have only the average composition of the whole branch before us. The individual capitalist, whose horizon is limited, rightly believes that his profit does not derive exclusively from the labour employed by him personally or in his branch of industry. This is quite right in so far as his average profit is concerned. But he is wholly ignorant as to how far this profit is adjusted by the total exploitation of labour by the total capital, i. e. by all his capitalist comrades; and he is all the more ignorant of this, seeing that the bourgeois theorists themselves, the professors of political economy, have up to now not revealed it. Economy of labour--not only of the labour necessary to produce a given commodity, but also of the number of labourers employed--and increased utilisation of dead labour (i. e. constant capital), appear as economically justifiable operations. How could therefore live labour be the only source of profit, seeing that the reduction of the quantity of labour necessary for production appears under certain circumstances as the primary source of the increase of profit--at any rate for the individual capitalist?


CHAPTER VIII
METHODS BY WHICH SURPLUS-VALUE IS INCREASED

(Extracted from vol. I, ch. 10, 11, 12.)

SURPLUS-VALUE is produced by the employment of labour power. Capital buys the labour power and pays the wages for it. By means of his work the labourer creates new value which does not belong to him, but to the capitalist. He must work a certain time merely in order to reproduce the equivalent value of his wages. But when this equivalent value has been returned, he does not cease work, but continues to do so for some further hours. The new value which he produces during this extra time, and which exceeds in consequence the amount of his wage, constitutes surplus-value.

Capital thus extorts surplus-value in the first place simply

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