Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

The Ambivalence of Verfügbare Zeit

The Ambivalence of Verfügbare Zeit Back in December I posted an excerpt from the Grundrisse, Reichtum ist verfügbare Zeit und nichts weiter, without noticing that in it was a prototype for Marx’s concept of socially necessary labour time (Gesellschaftlich notwendige Arbeitzeit):  Die Schöpfung von viel disposable time außer der notwendigen Arbeitszeit für die Gesellschaft überhaupt und jedes Glied derselben (d.h. […]

“Our pamphleteer overlooks two things”

Socially Ambivalent Labour Time VI: TSV part 3, chapter 21: “Our pamphleteer overlooks two things” Although Marx discussed socially necessary labour time in chapters 4, 8, 9, 16, 17, and 20, he didn’t mention it in chapter 21 where he discussed the 1821 pamphlet, The Source and Remedy of the National Difficulties by Charles Wentworth Dilke. Marx’s […]

Socially Ambivalent Labour Time: TSV part 3, chapter 20

Socially Ambivalent Labour Time: TSV part 3, chapter 20 Marx’s discussion of socially necessary labour time in Chapter 20 of Theories of Surplus Value is notable for the fact that it comes immediately before Chapter 21, where he doesn’t mention socially necessary labour time (but the concept lingers just below the surface in the latter chapter). He talked about […]

Socially Ambivalent Labour Time IV

Socially Ambivalent Labour Time IV: TSV part 2, chapters 8, 9, 16, and 17 Nothing notable in these chapters. Chapter 8: Poor quality land requires more labour time than socially necessary (which is to say the average labour time required to produce a given output). Chapter 9: Socially necessary labour time is permanently established in […]

Socially Ambivalent Labour Time III

Socially Ambivalent Labour Time III: Theories of Surplus Value, chapter 7 and addenda to part 1 In an earlier post, I mentioned that in chapter seven of TSV Marx explicitly excluded William Godwin from his historical review of theories of surplus value: In accordance with the plan of my work socialist and communist writers are entirely excluded […]

Necessary labour. Surplus labour. Surplus population. Surplus capital. (The Return of “Disposable People”)

This post will be a bit of a backtrack. While going through my notes for chapter 7 of Theories of Surplus Value, I discovered a printout of a page from the Grundrisse that I had overlooked when writing the post on that book. Although it does not contain the term socially necessary labour time, the two and a half […]

Socially Ambivalent Labour Time II: Theories of Surplus Value, chapter four

Socially Ambivalent Labour Time II: Theories of Surplus Value, chapter four In chapter four of TSV, Marx discusses two (or possibly three?) aspects of socially necessary labour time: the devaluation of labour and commodities produced under less efficient methods, and the fall in value of commodities when more have been produced than there is demand for. […]

Socially Ambivalent Labour Time I: Grundrisse

Karl Marx did not use the phrase, socially necessary labour time (or its equivalent, labour time [that is] socially necessary) in the Grundrisse (1857-58 notebooks). He did, however, refer once to “the necessary labour of society”: As soon as labour in the direct form has ceased to be the great well-spring of wealth, labour time ceases and must cease to be its […]

Socially Necessary Superfluous Labour Time — a digression

In a comment on my earlier post, Bill H. (run75441) mentioned that he thought at first this series on socially necessary labour time (SNLT) would be about Sydney Chapman’s theory. That comment stopped me short because I hadn’t thought about the connection between Marx’s analysis of SNLT and Chapman’s theory of hours. Recall that Chapman […]