Labour theory of value

Defining value

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I read with interest Joseph Choonara’s response (October SR) to Ken Muller’s letter arguing that education workers should be regarded as productive workers. I agree with Joseph’s essential point that education workers are not productive in terms of capitalism. As he pointed out, “productive labour is labour hired by capitalists to create a commodity (whether a tangible good or service) that contains surplus value.”

An important distinction

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Marx discussed the concepts of productive and unproductive labour in Capital and it has been a source of debate ever since.

There was an interesting letter in last month’s Socialist Review from Ken Muller. In it he questioned the approach taken by my recent book, A Reader’s Guide to Marx’s Capital, to the concept of “productive labour”.

Ken’s argument is that my definition of productive labour — actually Marx’s definition — as labour hired by capital which produces surplus value (the source of profit) is too narrow.

The value of money

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How do the billions wiped off the stock market relate to the rest of the capitalist system? Joseph Choonara goes back to Karl Marx to explain.

Pity money. Over recent months it has been "injected" into markets, "destroyed" in financial meltdowns and stock market collapses; it has been "devalued" and "revalued" and passed along the increasingly unfathomable webs spun by capital.

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