Marx is a very famous for his work on Capital the Communist Manifesto and the Critique of Political Economy. I have done a video on Marx’s Capital. I have also been reading Marx closely and written an article on a Critique of Political economy. I will also soon be publishing an article and video on the Communist Manifesto so keep an eye out.
In the Critique of Political Economy” the ways in which Marx questions the notions of “Use value” and “Exchange Value” are extremely interesting to question these notions, which are basic notions of any capitalist society. This book was written in the 1959. However it is still applicable in 2016, you really the concept has not changed at all because people in business use these ideas to question their purchases. A really good example of this is this product of an equivalent value “universally” which Marx himself questions in association with amount of labour that has gone into making this product, which he measures by time to make this product.
He goes on the example the importance of labour in order to produce any product, he quotes Thomas Cooper and says, “Take away from a piece of bread the labour bestowed by the baker on the flour, by the miller on the grain brought to him, by the farmer in ploughing, sowing, tending, gathering, threshing, cleaning and transporting the seed, and what will remain? A few grains of grass, growing wild in the woods and unfit for any human purpose”. He makes his point very well, if all that labour time was on spent on that mode of production nothing would be made for consumption. We adds to this by saying that “even if the labour required were reduced by 95 per cent as a result of some invention, the usefullness of the bread would remain unaffected” (Marx, 1959, p.6). That is very true, since all of the inventions of products during the period in which Marx was writing, many things made making bread from scratch very easy and accessible however it does not mean that the product being made is affected in any way.
These principles are basic notions of business because productivity is measured. “If productivity of labour grows, the same use-value will be produced in less time. If the productivity of labour declines, more time will be needed to produce the same value (Marx, 1859,p.6). These notions are the basic principles in which business is built on. If I own a warehouse of books, and invest my time from 9-6 in organising the books in order to sell to consumers. This is the “amount labour-time contained in a commodity and therefore its exchange-value, consequently a variable quantity, rising or falling in inverse proportion to the rise or fall of the productivity of labour ” (Marx, 1859, p. 6). Let us say that it is Christmas time, and more people are buying books therefore I am more likely to have more orders therefore more “abundance” because I will have the ability to have higher the production of commodities. So all these notions a very much true. As I strongly believe that as many people have learned so much from Marx and even found his work to be the warm quilt that keeps them warm at night. However there was a lot more to Marx than people are aware of.
In all of his works, he had the ability to apply his theory to historical events during the period of his writing such as the working class movement of the French revolution. In many aspects of his work, he also refers to the daily everyday aspects of working conditions for example in Capital he refers to the daily working hours and how that has changed and made it easier for the state to regulate the hours that people work. This is very accurate and many of Marx’s assumptions have become true with increasing regulations of the hours an individual will work in week and the amount that individual will be paid for their labour.
Marx’s theory of alienation is also a very interesting concept because he argue that as a society we are alienated from the products we make, the environment that we will and the people that we work with. It do strongly believe that as he claimed that we are becoming estranged from human nature. This argument is very much accurate as we invest more effort into building corporations instead of protecting our environment. The products that we make are increasing innovative however further away from the basic principles of human nature and as a result of class divisions we are also estranged from others.
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