Wage Labour and Capital (Works of Karl Marx 1847) Summary

Capitalism was the primary focus of Karl Marx’s thesis. His critique on political economy was done in instalments. Our society is under the dominion of capitalist production in which large chunk of the population of working-class have to work for the owners or the capitalist, who are the owners of means of production that is raw materials, tools, machinery etc. Labour power is considered as a commodity like any other physical commodity. The ultimate truth of our modern economic society is that the working class alone produces all the values and in return gets only a minimal amount of the total mass-produced. This divides the society into two halves the haves and the have-nots.

There were different places where the struggle between classes and nation took place. There is a history of class struggles in different nations, for instance, the bourgeoise republicans of France, the English Russian slavery, the June conflict in Paris, the fall of Vienna, the efforts of Poland, Italy and Hungary which led to a revolutionary uprising.


According to the working class, wages are the amount of money they receive from capitalist for a certain amount of work, but what actually the working class sells to the capitalist is their labour power. There is an exchange value of a commodity which is usually in money and it is known as price. Therefore, wages are also called the price of labour power. The worker puts his labour power into action that is known as work. This is called the life activity of the labourer which he sells in order earn for his/her living. The labour power is not considered a part of life rather it is the sacrifice for life. Wages are determined by the law which is similar to the laws that determine the price of the commodity.

HOW IS THE PRICE OF THE COMMODITY DETERMINED                                                                                          The price of the commodity is determined by the competition of buyers and sellers, also with the relation of demand and supply. Whoever sells the same commodity, with the same quality at the cheaper rate, secures his place in the market.  There is a competition amongst the sellers and every seller wants to sell his commodity at a cheaper price. Wages can rise or fall depending upon the relation between supply and demand.

The cost of production of labour-power is the cost required for the maintenance of labour-power that is training the labourers, education etc. Time plays an important role in the cost of production of labour, that the shorter time required in training the labour the less will his cost of production and will result in low wages.

THE NATURE AND GROWTH OF CAPITAL                                                                                                                    Capital comprise of raw materials, instruments of labour means of subsistence these are employed for the production of new raw materials, new instruments and new means of subsistence. These components of capital are created by labour and accumulated labour. Accumulated labour is a kind of labour that serves as a means to the new production of capital in certain situations. The term Negro slave refers to the race of black men. In the production process, human beings not only work with the means of production but also with other human beings, they make social relations and have social connections which help them to survive in the production process. These relations are termed social relations and are a crucial part of a society which also leads to stages of society. These stages of society propagate different characteristics such as ancient society, feudal society, bourgeoise society. Capital is also considered as the sum of commodities of the exchange value of the magnitudes.


Capital can be multiplied by exchanging itself with labour power and initiating wage labour. There are three different types of wages the money price of labour power ,the nominal wages and the real wages. Nominal wages is the amount of money in which the labour sells his labour power to the capitalist. Real wages are the amount of money from which the labour can buy commodities for his/ her personal use.

THE GENERAL LAW THAT DETERMINES THE RISE AND FALL OF WAGES AND PROFITS                     There is a selling price for each and every commodity produced, the selling price can be divided into three parts according to the capitalist that is first, it includes the replacement of raw materials, second there is replacement of wages and third the surplus, that is the profit of the capitalist. The rise and fall of wages and profits have a reciprocal relationship. When the share of profit increases, there is a fall in wages in the similar manner and vice versa.

A growth in the capital will automatically lead to the growth of profits. Similarly profits will grow when there is a fall in wages. There also rises a competition between the capitalists, when there are  multiplication of capitals


When there is more productive capital growth, there is more division of labour and the more usage of machinery, thus the competition extends and the wages shrink. When the capital grows, competition within the workers also grows at the same rate. The growth of capital is a good condition for wage labour.

Also, Read Das kapital Summary


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