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Friday evening around Central Sofia, Bulgaria. On the pictures you can see: The national theatre Ivan Vazov Presidency of Bulgaria National Archeological Museum and The main shopping and dining Street in Sofia - bul Vitosha (now entirely pedestrian zone!). This is great in summer evenings

Notes on Marx’s 1849 “Wage Labor and Capital”

Workers’ Labor:

  • Belongs to the capitalist class broadly, is sold by the worker to the capitalist individually
  • Is, therefore, a commodity which is bought and sold like any other
  • A worker’s “life-activity” is converted to labor which is used to buy a means of subsistence
  • “The existence of a class which possesses nothing but its capacity to labour is necessary prerequisite of capital”

Wages:

  • Determined by the cost of production of labor
    • Cost of production of labor= “the cost required for maintaining the worker as a worker and of developing him into a worker,” or the cost of the worker’s continued existence and any training to make him work-ready
    • Cost of production of simple labor= cost of existence and reproduction of the worker
  • Wage minimum= cost of production of labor, the minimum amount a worker can be paid if he is to continue to work
  • Are consumed by both capitalist and worker. The worker consumes them immediately and unproductively- he buys, for example, food with it, which is gone as soon as he eats it. The capitalist consumes the cost of wages when he pays them, but consumes them productively- he receives the product of the worker’s work, which is worth much more than the worker’s wage. The capitalist can then pour this money into another worker’s wage, which again he gets back twofold or more.

Capital:

  • Defined by Marx as a “social relation of production,” or a result of very specific social circumstances which themselves are the result of a very specific mode of production
  • Capital= a sum of material products as well as exchange values, is entirely made of commodities such as
    • Exchange values are expressed as price in money
    • All exchange values are sums of exchange values- a house is worth all the parts of it, as well as the labor that went into its building, as well as the labor/creative activity of turning the raw materials into a house
  • Commodities (things which can be bought and sold) become capital by multiplying themselves

Competition:

  • Among capitalists, competition drives profits lower, in what is called “the tendency of the rate of profit to fall”
    • A capitalist buys a powerful machine which cuts down production costs —> other capitalists do the same —>  the cost of producing the product dips below cost of production —> capitalists must sell more and more, and more cheaply, to stay afloat
  • Among workers, competition drives wages lower
    • New machines kick workers out of jobs by doing more work than workers can —-> skills become useless —-> workers must perform more and more work for the same wage (if the machine does the work of 2 people, they must do the work of more to merit being paid) —> competition increases because work requires fewer skills, wages lower