1. Two key concepts in this video are the means of production and labor. In your comment, explain how you understand the means of production and labor. Give an example of each.

Definition of Means of production: tools, technology one uses to get a product.  For example: I’m a singer, in order to record a song I will need things like a microphone, a quiet space to record, monitor speakers and a mixer where to connect all my technology. Those would be the means of production to create my product which would in this case be a recorded song. 

Definition of Labour: for Marx is the one thing that can increase the value of what people have. To illustrate: If I bought a big chunk of fabric and did nothing with it, its value would remain the same. However, If I labour to make a shirt out of it. Its value would increase, and all I’ve added to it was my labour. 

2. Another important concept in understanding social class is value. Based on the ideas presented in Video 5.1, what is value?  What give “value” to value, what makes something valuable? 

Definition of Value: For Marx, value is something proportional to the measure of how much labor it takes to produce something under normal circumstances. It is measured in time, hours and minutes. Under this context, what gives value to a product is the labour that a person puts in in. Likewise, the time that a person invests laboring in a product under normal circumstances is what adds value to a product.

3. How are labor and value related? What’s the relationship/connection between the two?

The relation that labor and value have is conditioned by a product. They are cause and effect, proportional to one another. In fact, the more time a person invests into laboring the more valuable the product will be. On the opposite, the less labour that a product requires the less valuable it will be.

4. How do you understand the difference between labor and labor power? Hint: this is a key difference, give it your best shot based on what the video says about it, and your own ideas. We’ll clarify and develop it in our discussions, and in my video comments.

The difference is simple: Labour is the action that applied increases the value of a product, and power of labour is the ability to get to use one’s labour. As a matter of fact, video 5.1 explains it very well. For example: a person requires commodities food, clothing and shelter to be able to have the power to labour. Then, when people go work, they rent their labour power for the day, and there they get to increase the value of products (labour)

5. Surplus Value: what is it? Why is it important to know about, in our study of social classes? Think about an example of surplus value?

Surplus value is the value kept produced after the costs of a persons labour power is covered .Since the means of production are privately owned, any product done by an employee belongs to a the owning class. Later, they sell the products to make profit and keep that to themselves. In other words, the surpus value goes to the owning class. Under capitalism one is always paid less than what one’s labour is actually worth. What people is not paid is the profit or surplus value that the owning class keep to themselves.

One thought on “Labour and value.

  1. Hi Carmen!

    1. Great examples of means of production and labor. Means of production: tools, resources to produce a product. Labor: using products to create a commodity.

    2. Yes. The amount of labor put into something tends to increase the value. It’s like difference between a hand made item vs a factory made item varies in value. A hand made item is likely to be more valuable and expensive because of the quality of the work the laborer has put in.

    3. If products are cheaply made and not made to last long it likely will be lower in price and ultimately value. If a product is built last 50 years the value and price go up.

    4. Correct. Labor power is the laborer’s ability to execute tasks.

    5. Well said. Surplus value is sheer profit for the business owner.

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