Sociology Index


In Marxist theory surplus value is the value created by individual labour which is left over, or remains in the product or services produced, after the employer has paid the costs of hiring the worker. Surplus value is the additional value or surplus value which the worker produces but does not get paid for, allowing the capitalist owner to expand their capital.

Absolute and Relative Surplus Value
Absolute surplus value is the surplus value generated by increasing the length of the Working day, thus increasing the surplus labour time. Relative surplus value is the surplus value generated by cutting wages or reducing the cost of living, thus reducing workers’ Necessary labour time in proportion to the surplus value extracted.

The Counterfactual Method of Marx's Theory of Surplus value - Author: Perri S.
Source: Review of Political Economy, Volume 15, Number 1, 1 January 2003, pp. 107-124(18)
Abstract: The aim of this paper is to show that Karl Marx supports his theory of surplus value by developing a counterfactual argument, that is, by comparing the 'normal' state of a capitalist economy against a hypothetical state in which no surplus is produced.

Marx then divides his analysis of value into three successive steps. The first deals with the production of new value in the sphere of production; the second with the process of creation of surplus value, both in the sphere of production and in the sphere of circulation; and the third with the process of equalisation of the rate of profit, which is accomplished via capitalist competition in the sphere of circulation.

Social process of production, pumps a definite quantity of surplus-labour out of the direct producers, or labourers; capital obtains this surplus-labour without an equivalent, and in essence it always remains forced labour. This surplus labour appears as surplus value, and this surplus value exists as a surplus product.

In a capitalist society, surplus value, or surplus product, is divided among capitalists as dividends proportionate to the share of the social capital each holds. In this form surplus value appears as average profit which falls to the share of capital, an average profit which in turn divides into profit of enterprise and interest, and which under these two categories may fall into the laps of different kinds of capitalists. - Abstract from: The Trinity Formula -

Estimates of the Rate of Surplus-Value in the Postwar United States Economy 
Fred Moseley, Economics, Colby College, Waterville, Review of Radical Political Economics, Vol. 18, No. 1-2, (1986)
One important prediction of Marx's theory is that the rate of surplus-value will increase as a secular tendency. This paper subjects this prediction of Marx's theory to an empirical evidence test, by deriving annual estimates of the rate of surplus-value in the United States economy over the period 1947-1977. These estimates show that the rate of surplus-value in the United States economy increased significantly over this period, as predicted by Marx's theory. These estimates are then compared with other estimates of the rate of surplus-value in the postwar United States economy which are based on different interpretations of the main theoretical issues involved in the estimation of the rate of surplus-value. This comparison shows that the theoretical issue which makes the most difference in the estimated trend of the rate of surplus-value is whether or not Marx's distinction between productive labor and unproductive labor is taken into account in the definition of the rate of surplus-value.

Surplus Value, Unemployment and Industrial Turbulence 
A Statistical Application of the Marxian Model To Post-War Japan 
Yoshio Sugimoto, Department of Sociology La Trobe University, Australia 
Journal of Conflict Resolution, Vol. 19, No. 1, 25-47 (1975)
The paper examines in quantitative terms how powerful such Marxian concepts as the amount and rate of surplus value and the size of the industrial reserve army of labour are in accounting for levels of industrial turbulence.

Emotional labour and surplus value: the case of holiday 'reps' 
Authors: Panikkos Constanti; Paul Gibbs
Source: The Service Industries Journal, Volume 25, Number 1, January 2005, pp. 103-116(14)
Abstract: The employee's behavior requires 'emotional labour' [Hochschild, 1983] where the front-line employee has to either conceal or manage actual feelings for the benefit of a successful service delivery. The implication is not necessarily of equality or mutual benefit but of satisfaction for the customer and profit for the management. The article discusses whether the service employee is being exploited in this three-way relationship, and how surplus value accrues and its benefit distributed.

Marx's Value, Exchange and Surplus Value Theory: A Suggested Interpretation 
JEAN CARTELIER, The Jerome Levy Economics Institute; Université Paris X Nanterre - General 
Abstract: The concept of commodity society based on a specific division of labour (opposition between private and social labour) and that of surplus-value are the most prominent achievements of Marx's intellectual efforts in dealing with the economy of capitalism. This paper attempts to evaluate the consistency of the theoretical propositions inherent in these concepts. The main contention is that an internal criticism of Marx's theory of exchange value and surplus-value leads one to restate it in a different framework. This framework. which mas be called monetary approach represents an alternative to value theory. 
The first section of the paper is devoted to Marx's value theory, especially to the form of value analysis. We suggest that Marx did not succeed in deriving money from commodity. As a consequence, money, if any, has to be presupposed at the same time as the specific division of labour. The second section points out the logical inconsistencies which make the surplus value theory unsuitable for its purpose.

Theories of Surplus Value, Marx 1861-3
The first section “Production Process of Capital” to be divided in the following way:

1. Introduction. Commodity. Money.

2. Transformation of money into capital.

3. Absolute surplus-value. (a) Labour-process and the process of producing surplus-value. (b) Constant capital and variable capital. (c) Absolute surplus-value. (d) Struggle for the normal working-day. (e) Simultaneous working-days (number of simultaneously employed labourers). Amount of surplus-value and rate of surplus-value (magnitude and height?).

4. Relative surplus-value. (a) Simple co-operation. (b) Division of labour. (c) Machinery. etc.

5. Combination of absolute and relative surplus-value. Relation (proportion) between wage-labour and surplus-value. Formal and real subsumption of labour under capital. Productivity of capital. Productive and unproductive labour.

6. Reconversion of surplus-value into capital. Primitive accumulation. Wakefield’s colonial theory.

7. Result of the production process.

8. Theories of surplus-value.

9. Theories of productive and unproductive labour. |XVIII-1140|.