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When it is, the value of labour power is determined by the quantity of means of subsistence necessary for the worker’s maintenance.Capitalists buy labour power, workers sell it in return for wages.Marx’s writings cannot be simply divided into those on economics, those on history and those on politics, for these subjects were for Marx closely interrelated.But taking each of these headings in turn, we can offer some suggested reading.The value of a commodity is the amount of labour-time socially necessary for its production.The air has use-value but no value, as its usefulness does not result from labour.This study guide is therefore directed at Party members who have read none or very little of the writings of Marx and Engels; it is intended to steer them through the mass of texts and commentaries, by suggesting items to read and points to look out for and consider while reading.
And diving in at some unsuitable place (Capital, vol. 1, for instance) may discourage further exploration.Together, instruments and subjects of labour make up the means of production.But back to labour power, which is a source of more value than it has itself. Constant capital, represented by means of production, undergoes no alteration of value in the process of production; but variable capital, represented by labour power, produces an excess or surplus-value.Under capitalism, wealth takes the form of an immense accumulation of commodities, so Marx begins (ch.1) by an analysis of the commodity, which leads to the distinction of use-value, value and exchange-value.