- 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.
Means of production are the physical things needed to create a product, while labor is the effort and literal man-power needed to use the means of production to create a product. For example, for a writer the means of production may be the paper and pens or technology they use to actually write a book, and the labor is the effort, energy, thought process, and mental focus that they use to create the book with those tools.
- 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?
Value is how much labor goes into the creation of a good (or service). The value is in outsourcing labor to someone else to create a product that we otherwise could not produce ourselves or do not want to produce ourselves.
- How are labor and value related? What’s the relationship/connection between the two?
Value is derived directly from labor. Labor is a force to create value in a service or product, without which there would be no value inherent in the service/product because it wouldn’t exist.
- 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.
Labor is the actual effort put into creating value, while labor power is the total effort and time needed to create the labor itself. I go to work, and work for 6 hours, and that is my labor. The labor power is the time and energy I spend on getting ready for work, commuting to work, buying clothes for work, buying or preparing food for my time at work, etc.
- 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 that workers create through their labor that doesn’t directly get paid to them, but to the owners and capitalists. It is important to be aware of surplus value, because often there is a large discrepancy between value produced and worker compensation resulting in a large surplus of value not being given to the worker. This relates to social class because people who are producing surplus value have little social mobility and ability to accumulate the value they produce, while those exploiting them continue to maximize their personal profits without appropriately redirecting surplus value back to the workers, thus widening the gaps between social classes.