Capitalism and the Modern Labor Process: Essay


Use the article ” Capitalism and the Modern Labor Process” by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. No length requirement, but ensure a thorough outline and some solid analysis. Graded mostly on how well you demonstrate your understanding of the reading.

Capitalism and the Modern Labor Process

Karl Marx describes labor as an agent that enables humans to change and be changed by their environment. The labor process is one of the agents, where the seller becomes the laborer, obligated to generate a particular user value, while the buyer initiates the labor power by purchasing the item. The author argues that the labor process exemplifies interactions between nature and human beings, as the latter uses natural resources and transforms them into necessities (Marx 66). Marx defines the correlation between the production of labor, use-value, and work pay estimation while showing the imbalances that exist within a capitalist society.

Utilizing natural materials to serve human needs through labor sets human beings apart from other animals. According to Marx, humans conceptualize a design in their minds before building it, contrasting with other species that proficiently design structures, such as bees (66). Nature provides raw materials that require labor to alter the product into end products, thus generating value. Therefore, labor achieves outcomes by consuming raw materials, demonstrating that work is a purposeful human endeavor with the end-result being the use of values.

Labor power is closely correlated to capitalism as the latter becomes the client of the commodity. Capitalism creates a closed laborer-consumer loop by providing labor power and means of production before making the worker buy the end product. According to Marx, capitalism incorporates two significant characteristics when consuming labor-power (74). First, the labor owner is the worker, not the capitalist. Second, the capitalist owns the work; thus, the laborer is under their control. Further, the valorization process concept entails value creation. Capitalists produce use-values as long as they provide profits. Therefore, the sale of the end product needs to be slightly higher than the total manufacturing cost to justify its manufacture.

However, a part of the commodity’s value lies in the means of production. This means that all labor categories have a common feature that makes the quality or character of the job to be non-consequential while only depending on the number of products produced (Marx 76). The product gains the same value as the total work used to create it. Therefore, it would seem that there is no value in labor-producing surplus since the costs of the inputs and end-products are equal. However, there is always a surplus since the expenses of labor-power in work differ from the cost of maintaining labor-power. The former determines its worth, while the latter defines the exchange value of the work (Marx 77). A capitalist system takes advantage of this distinction to make profits at the expense of the workers. By paying the workers the exchange value of work rather than the work’s worth, capitalists can gain from the difference, thus using some of their time to produce a surplus. By taking advantage of different labor calculation methods, capitalists can provide surplus products at the expense of the workers.

Marx’s theory empowers the working class by showing how a capitalist society takes advantage of the workforce, leading laborers to become poorer while the wealthy amass riches. Marx’s theory provides a solution to the inequality between work and wages by proposing equality based on labor. Enactment of “fair” labor policies would result in a utopia where every member of the society would be justly rewarded for their roles in wealth creation.

Work Cited

Marx, Karl. Capital. Dover, 2019.

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Published On: 01-01-1970

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