Social Scientist. v 5, no. 49 (Aug 1976) p. 61.


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Marxian Political Economy

PART FOI'R

CAPIFALIST PRODUCTION is generalized, fully developed, commodity production. In it, labour power itself becomes a commodity. Almost all things are produced as commodities. Thus social production acquires the character of being ^production of values'". It may be recalled that the term S'alue' in relation to a commodity has two aspects. Qualitatively, it connotes that the commodity is the result of expending a certain portion of the total labour time of society, that is, it incorporates some amount of abstract labour or ^human labour-in-gcneral". Quantitatively the magnitude of value is the amount of socially necessary labour time expended in the production of the commodity. As is characteristic of the approach of historical materialism, Marx's analysis emphasizes the historically specific character of the capitalist mode of production. This histoiical specificity consists not only in that production here is commodity rvalue) production (and in lhat labour power itself becomes a commodity), but also in that it is surplus-value production. The essence of capiul is self-expansion of value, and in this lies both the fundamentally ^revolutionary' character of tlic capitalist mode of production (in relation to earlier modes) and its historically transitory character.

This article outlines Marx's analysis of the process of production —the lab mr process—under the capitalist mode of production. First, thj



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