3/20 – Response 2.5

March 19, 2019

Reading Assignment: Karl Marx, “The Sale and Purchase of Labour-Power,” from Capital.

Writing Assignment: In a short response, try to explain, in your own words, what you take to be an important argument from this chapter. Identify the passage where Marx argues this point.

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16 Responses to “3/20 – Response 2.5”

  1.   Ayoub Janah said:

    The world we live in today has turned into global trade market. Supply and Demand has always been something that has revolved around business. Karl Marx a philosopher from Germany has made important points in history, like the communist manifesto and Capitalism. In Chapter 6 “The Sale and Purchase of Labour Power” from the book that he has written “Capital” stresses the points of capitalism. This chapter gives the proprietor an idea of how business functions. It goes over the basics of commodities. A commodity is very important especially in today’s society. They are simply goods that are being exchanged for other goods. They play a vital role in flourishing the US’s government. The first point is how labour power could be a commodity and the only way it will be purchased is if the possessor of the commodity has it in their disposal. Labour power is a commodity as it’s bought and sold as the worker is selling their power for an exchange of a salary. In order for this to go through both the labour of power and the proprietor must come to an equal agreement that they are owners of commodities and one is buyer, while the other is the seller.As this very point states, “…that the possessor of labour power, instead of being able to sell commodities in which his labour has been objectified, must rather be compelled to offer for sale as a commodity that very labour power which exists only in his living body.”(272) It goes on to say that certain labour of powers may come with skills that will give them an advantage in that desirable industry. Subsistence comes along with labour power. For example, the amount of quantity and power it took to produce something you will need “food and fuel” to replace that day. As it states, “…means of subsistence, i.e. with the quantity of labour-time required to produce them.” Food is needed to give you the energy that you need clothes and furniture may be replaced in longer intervals. Karl Marx creates a strong point of how labour power is a commodity and is a constructed value in capitalism.

  2.   Rawdah Rahim said:

    In chapter 6 of Capital, Karl Marx addresses the issue of money transforming into capital. He explains how someone can buy and sell commodities at their value and make a profit from them. The change in value does not occur in the money or resale of the product. Preferably the change must happen in the first act of circulation and be a source of value whose consumption is a production of value. Marx’s labor theory of value becomes essential when looking at the commodity of labor-power. Marx applies the definition of value— the quantitative amount of labor required to produce and sustain labor-power.
    Marx concentrates on the concept of capitalism and how it is rooted in social institutions. Capitalism relies on social structures, such as property laws because it is not an independent system. Marx’s theory explains that workers don’t own the means of production ultimately where they must sell their labor to others. It’s important that workers who are responsible for owning their labor that they can provide claims to it by distributing it as property. The result is that workers have zero control or hold on anything they create. Marx framework of labor power explains the somewhat unnatural reasoning that some people own money while others only own their labor-power. “The product of many economic revolutions, of the extinction of a whole series of older formations of social production” (273). Furthermore, the existence of a capital originated in context to historical pre-conditions that took years to develop. It “announces from the outset a new epoch in the process of social production” (274).

  3.   Alinoor Rahman said:

    “The Sale and Purchase of Labour-Power,” is written by a German philosopher named Karl Marx. Throughout it, he mainly argues about capitalism, laying ideas of how business function, or should properly function. Marx stress that labour power itself is a “commodity” on the market and can o.ly be in the market if the “possessor” or person offering it sells it as a commodity. In addition he argues that there should be a one to one relationship with the buyer and seller so that it is equal and lawful. Marx argues these fundamental principles in chapter 6. He also stresses that one cannot sell commodities without means of production. These means include raw material and those “instruments” required to create products. To transform “money into capital” the possessor must also acquire a “free worker” who can dispose his labour power and is his own commodity as well. These are just a few of the major arguments Marx makes in Chapter 6 relating to business and economic functions.

  4.   Rose Fattakhov said:

    In “The Sale and Purchase of Labour-Power,” from Capital by Karl Marx, Marx discusses how he believes capitalism is drawn into the social constructs. Capitalism is not natural and it lives off of social structures like property laws. “On this assumption, labour-power can appear on the market as a commodity only if, and in so far as, its possessor, the individual whose labour-power it is, offers it for sale or sells it as a commodity” (271). The workers do not own what they have produced. Somebody else owns their labor and whatever is produced from the work they do. If they do own it, it gives them the right to sell it because it is their own property. Resulting from this, laborers do not own their productions. In order to keep the workers around and working, they must be paid the amount they need in order to survive and continue working. This means whatever their salary for the week is that is the amount of money their production of work is worth.

  5.   Brian Osorio said:

    Karl Marx mentions at some point that, a labour worker has a commodity that he can offer to a buyer, for a limited time. Basically a person who is looking for work can offer their talents, and special interests to a buyer,(boss/ person who pays them for their work) and they get paid for their time and actions. But what this can lead to is exploitation of the worker. Instead of the labour worker offering a commodity to the buyer, they offer their time and life to the buyer. Hence the worker becoming a slave for labour work. The relationship between the two before the compromise is equal on both levels, but as time goes on one gets the benefit of the other. “The proprietor of labour power must always sell it for a limited period only, for if he were to sell it in a lump, once and for all, he would be selling himself, converting himself from a free man into a slave, from an owner of a commodity into a commodity” (271). “He who was previously the money-owner now strides out in front as a capitalist; the possessor of labour-power follows as his worker. The one smirks self-importantly and is intent on business; the other is timid and holds back, like someone who has brought his own hide to market and now has nothing else to expect but a tanning” (280).

  6.   kyle swedin said:

    In the Capital by Karl Marx, Marx brings up and discusses a variety of ideas most of which I don’t fully understand. I the most important thing I gathered from the chapter reading of the Capital was the idea of exchange value and its benefits on a capitalistic economy and also commodity. However, I feel like commodities are and always have been important, not just exclusively talking about Marx’s theory’s. The idea of selling material that is valuable is obvious and has been expressed by every person and nation, therefore i don’t think Marx should have made it sound like it was exclusive to his method or theory’s. The part about the exchange value more suits him because his socialist ideas express equality among economy meaning everyone is getting paid the same so there is no poor or rich people. Therefore when he talks about exchange value and how it is important he brings up “not cheating the workers during their sale of their labor-power. This idea of fairness in the exchange value is my biggest take away from chapter 6.

  7.   Navneet Kaur said:

    In “The Sale and Purchase of Labour-Power,” from Capital by Karl Marx, portrayed the thought of capitalism being intertwined with the society. Marx discusses the social class and how they both have very different roles. He expresses his belief that its all tied in with the social construct of society. When Marx says “On this assumption, labour-power can appear on the market as a commodity only if, and in so far as, its possessor, the individual whose labour-power it is, offers it for sale or sells it as a commodity” (271), it showed that Marx thinks believes that the workers don’t own their labor. Specifically meaning that the labors don’t work for themselves but work for the one in power. For example, a factory worker doesn’t get paid enough and has a disadvantage but has to bear with it because of the circumstances of their social class. Them being in poverty is a helplessness that they have and they have to abide by the rules and regulations despite what they think.

  8.   JiaJun Lin said:

    The takeaway of this chapter was the class perspective on exchange value. When it comes to commodities and goods, we often think of items such as stocks, gold and oil, in chapter 6, Marx presented a idea of human labor as a form of commodity, instead of trading items, they trade labor force. Marx stated that the use value and exchange value are some key part of a capitalism. Then he discussed how money shaped the exchanging in commodity. “In order to extract value out of the consumption of a commodity…whose use value possesses the peculiar property of being a source of value, whose actual consumption is therefore itself an objectification of labor, hence creation of value “(270). What Marx was saying was before we place value on certain items, we first have to define how it was created, for example, why does a diamond cost so much more than a coal? Because diamond has less amount than coal and the profit from extraction of those two resources varies, one could profit hundreds or tens of thousands from diamonds whereas the other profit less from that amount. Connecting this example back to the quote, the market first has to define the value of labor before we put the price tag on each item. Furthermore, the value of labor power is determined by the quantity and the ability to produce something. The longer time spent on creating an item should receive a higher value comparing to the lesser time creating something else.

  9.   Matthew Outar said:

    German philosopher Karl Marx engages in an interesting critique about capitalism in chapter 6 of Capital. Throughout history the fundamental pillars of business have been some fashion of trading commodities. Typically, that commodity is then set at a price which we deem is valuable for that good or service. However, in this chapter we evidently see a very Marxist view on this ideology. He begins to question the idea of “labour-power” and question how this commodity can be valued. It is odd to think of this as a commodity however Marx makes a great point about this. On page 271 he introduces, “For this relation to continue, the proprietor of labour-power must always sell it for a limited period only, for if he were to sell it in a lump, once and for all, he would be selling himself, converting himself from a free man to a salve, from an owner of a commodity into a commodity”. I believe Marx makes an excellent point here which sets up his argument for the remainder of the chapter. His take on viewing one’s own labour-power as a commodity is what gives it value is where we see him introduce the ideas of supply and demand. While talking about business this topic is bound to come up and we see that when Marx relates the rationing of labour-power to the difference between a free man and a slave. This was an excellent comparison that helped aid in his discussion about the nature of labour-power as a commodity and its value in a capitalistic society.

  10.   jennifer gavilanes said:

    In “The Sale and Purchase of Labour-Power,” written by Karl Marx he argues about capitalism. He creates and points out ideas of how business basically functions. These are many arguments Marx makes in Chapter 6 relating to business and economic functions. And one of these is he argues as an example how there should be a one to one relationship with the buyer and seller so that it is equal. He says that he must explain how someone can buy commodities at their value, sell them at their value, and also make a profit. He states that the individual must be selling his labor power as a commodity. This means that he must own his own person and he and the owner of money must meet in the marketplace as legal equals. And the only way to treat his labor as his own property, he must be willing to put it at the buyer’s disposal.

  11.   Natalia Paredes said:

    In the chapter “The Sale and Purchase of Labour-Power” by Karl Marx, he explains how money is transformed into capital. Marx talks about how labor-power is a commodity that is the only commodity that can actually leave some profit because the owner of this commodity is the one that decides how much his work (commodity) is worth depending basically in how much he needs to produce it, “labour-power exist only as a capacity of the living individual. Its production consequently presupposes his existence”(274). In other words, it is easier to get more value for the labor of what it is actually worth. Also, it is important to know that in the market after the labor (commodity) was exchange for money, the commodities that it produces and the labor itself are not owned by the seller anymore, they are the buyer’s property now.

  12.   Dejun Gao said:

    “The sale of labor” was written by a man named Karl Marx. He mainly discusses capitalism, the idea of proposing business functions or how they should function properly. Marx’s main arguments about business and economic functions in Chapter 6 are that he emphasizes that labor itself is a commodity on the market, and that if the owner or the person providing it sells it as a commodity, it can enter the market. Moreover, he suggested that if there is no means of production, the goods cannot be sold. These tools include raw materials and the tools needed to create products.

  13.   Jason Jiang said:

    In Karl Marx, “The Sale and Purchase of Labour-Power” he explains how labor power can be exchanged for capital and explains the economy. He goes on explain how supply and demand are how the world works and human labor is factored into that and he explains his view on human labor in the market. In this chapter Marx brings up a lot of points and one important argument from this chapter is how capitalism does not favor the worker and instead exploits them. Throughout page 271 – 275 he mentions the exploitation of the worker and how to a capitalist society labor is seen as a commodity in which someone is able to buy. On page 271 he mentions how even though the laborer and the buyer which is the one paying the laborer are seen as equal in the eyes of the law in reality the laborer is selling his freedom and converting himself to a slave in a capitalist society where the buyer is the one benefiting. He compares this to how one would buy day to day goods and see those as a commodity. In Karl Marx’s eyes he sees capitalism as a society in which one person uses another in order to better themselves.

  14.   Veronica Pena said:

    In Karl Marx’s chapter “The Sale and Purchase of Labour-Power” he goes over Capitalism and what makes it work. He argues how the use of labor power can be used to create a profit. He discusses how in order to make a profit in market one has to use labor power as a source of commodity. Since money is exchanged for commodities of equal worth capitalists make their money by charging extra for labor. For this to work the laborer has to be able to sell his services at a proper price without giving away free labor. The laborer also has to sell only their labor-power. They can’t sell other commodities themselves because that would no longer make them a laborer. In order to sell their own commodities a person has to have their own means of productions. An example he gives is “No boots can be made without leather” (272). Marx depicts Capitalism as having “…no basis in natural history, nor does it have a social basis common to all periods of human history. It is clearly the result of a past historical development…” (273). Capitalism has developed as society has developed, it’s not a system that appeared out of nowhere. He goes on to address how the value of labor power is properly determined. Marx concludes a Laborer’s wage must be enough for them to survive and also depend on their productivity. This means giving works enough for them to have proper housing, food, and clothes. The only problem with this system Marx points out is “… the worker advances the use-value of his labour-power to the capitalist. He lets the buyer consume it before he receives payment of the price” (278). The problem with this is that the worker can be taken advantage of. The capitalist will sometimes sell their workers things on credit that they later on need to pay more for. Another consequence is the capitalist can go bankrupt before the worker receives their pay.

  15.   Wenhui Ding said:

    The distinction between the use value and the value of labour-power is the primary argument in this chapter. Marx mentioned: “The ultimate or minimum limit if the value of labour-power is formed by the value of the commodities which have to be supplied every day to the bearer of labour-power, the man, so that he can renew his life-process” and “The use-value which the former gets in exchange manifests itself only in the actual utilization, in the process of the consumption of labour-power”. The reason why I pick this is that we are constantly facing the distinction. People are and were confused about the use-value and the value of labour-power itself regardless of which years they are in. Even by now, there are people who do not understand why people are paid differently when they are in different positions. Some people cannot figure out what is the difference between the work of a worker producing iron and the work of a worker producing cotton. They all have to suffer from hard and intensive labour work. They work in the same period of time in a day. They are no different from each other as human beings. Marx tells us that their labour-power’s value is paid in terms of the use-value of their work. It is the nature of different business caused the distinction. It is a surprise that Marx provides us with such an innovative view.

  16.   Jenson Hu said:

    Karl Max’s, “The sale and Purchase of Labour-Power” talks about the way a capitalist business operates. An important argument that is brought up within this story is that in order for business to be conducted, those involved in producing goods must be treated with respect and have the willpower to continue creating these products. For example on pages 274-275, Karl Max states, “But in the course of this activity, i.e. labour, … His means of subsistence must therefore be sufficient to maintain him in his normal state as a working individual.” In other words, workers must be satisfied in terms of health and strength to be able to repeat the same hardworking process that they go through. They are the main factors in helping a business succeed, and must be taken care of in exchange for them to produce goods.

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