Re. Indirectly Social Labor in the Critique of Political Economy, chapter one


A few thoughts on the concept of Indirectly Social Labor in The Critique of Political Economy

As far as I know, Marx does not use the term “indirectly social labor” at all in the Critique of Political Economy. However much of the first chapter deals with the unique way in which private labor becomes social in a capitalist economy. In this post I hope to extract the key points from the first chapter in relation to this unique form of social labor.

In the first few pages Marx establishes that when commodities pass as equivalents (when A stands as the equivalent of B) that they therefore represent the same entity. This entity is materialized social labor. Since value is a homogenous substance differing only in number but never in quality so must the substance of value, labor be uniform and homogenous. Though the labor that creates use-values is heterogeneous, corresponding…

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