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3. Socially Necessary Labour Time

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Chapter Summary

One aspect of the contradictory nature of the commodity is that value can only be determined quantitatively through the after-effect of a difference that appears within it. Socially necessary labour time is the quantitative determination of general/abstract labour, and its definition is contradictory. Marx is fully aware of the fact that he is proposing a contradictory definition of social labour time. Marx's aim is to identify the link between the law of supply and demand and exchange-value. The contradictory definition of socially necessary labour time is inseparably linked to the contradictory nature of the commodity. In reality, the contradiction of the commodity now appears in a different form: 'In the relationship of demand and supply for commodities one has firstly a repetition of the relationship between use-value and exchange-value, commodity and money, buyer and seller; secondly, one has the relationship of producer and consumer'.

Keywords: commodities; exchange-value; socially necessary labour time; use-value



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