Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Theories of Surplus Value, the creation and distribution of value

The second chapter of Theories of Surplus Value goes a long way to explaining the basis of Marx's ideas on the subject. Value is produced by everyone at their jobs. In fact, the production of something valuable, something that did not exist before, is the only reason why jobs exist in the first place. That and that there's a demand for the transformation and added value that the action of the work produces.

Value is produced on all levels on a chain going from agriculture to industry, the question is how the money that comes from the realization of those values through successfully selling the product is distributed throughout the company that produces the product. Where does the most productivity, the most actions that are necessary for creating the product and bringing it to light come from? Traditionally, people in management and in white collar positions have attributed great amounts of productivity to their administrative actions in coordinating the running of business, while devaluing the actual contributions of the people who do the main work of the job.

Surely, doing the accounting and administrative tasks is work that adds value to things overall, but if you have a car company, for instance, and you have a split between the people who actually do the work of manufacturing the cars and the people who do the background paperwork to coordinate all that and make it work together, in the end it's the people who actually make the cars who have done the work. Does the value that they produce come back to them in a way that's commensurate with that labor is the question.

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