Capital Study Series: Session 4


Read:

  • Capital, Chapter 7 – The Labour-Process and the Process of Producing Surplus-Value
  • Capital, Chapter 8 – Constant Capital and Variable Capital
  • Capital, Chapter 9 – The Rate of Surplus-Value

Watch:

Optional Reading:

Study Questions:

The questions below are borrowed from the Marxists Internet Archive

  1. Does the capitalist”s gardener create value? If so under what circumstances? Is the capitalist”s gardener a proletarian? If so under what circumstances?
  2. Are humans part of Nature? What is Nature? Is political economy governed by “Laws of Nature”? If not, where do these laws come from?
  3. What would be the effect of an improvement in the techniques of production across all branches of the economy on the necessary labour time? Is this effect the same in respect of improvements all parts of the economy?
  4. What would be the effect of an intensification of labour (i.e., “speed-up”) right across the economy on the necessary labour time?
  5. What would be the effect of an improvement in technology on the proportion of constant capital embodied in a single unit of a commodity, e.g., one loaf of bread, assuming that the cost of the machinery used by workers is just the same and the machinery requires little maintenance?
  6. If a capitalist introduces a smart new technique which produces the product with less labour, she can expect to make a better profit. How is this so?
  7. How would you go about measuring the rate of surplus value operating in the economy in your country?