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17. Cost, Wages, Profit and Illusions of Time

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Chapter Summary

The category of cost is first of all a practical notion enabling the distinction between profit and expenses. The difference between the sale price of the commodity and its production cost is nothing other than what Marx calls 'profit'. The latter is, therefore, merely the altered form of surplus-value. Wages - or that part of the production cost that is expended for the purchase of labour-power - and profit have this in common: they appear to the ordinary mind for what they are not in reality. If the wage is the 'price of labour', profit can only have its source in the process of circulation. Profit is quantitatively identical to surplus-value, of which it is a modified form. This is not the case with the rate of profit and the rate of surplus-value. The latter is the relation between the surplus labour time and necessary labour.

Keywords: labour-power; production cost; surplus labour time; surplus-value; wages



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