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Explain what Marx meant by "abstract labour". Me too unga bunga to understand.
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This is wrong.
> Along with the useful qualities of the products themselves, we put out of sight both the useful character of the various kinds of labour embodied in them, and the concrete forms of that labour; there is nothing left but what is common to them all; all are reduced to one and the same sort of labour, human labour in the abstract.
This is from Capital, first chapter.


"If then we leave out of consideration the use value of commodities, they have only one common property left, that of being products of labour. But even the product of labour itself has undergone a change in our hands. If we make abstraction from its use value, we make abstraction at the same time from the material elements and shapes that make the product a use value; we see in it no longer a table, a house, yarn, or any other useful thing. Its existence as a material thing is put out of sight. Neither can it any longer be regarded as the product of the labour of the joiner, the mason, the spinner, or of any other definite kind of productive labour. Along with the useful qualities of the products themselves, we put out of sight both the useful character of the various kinds of labour embodied in them, and the concrete forms of that labour; there is nothing left but what is common to them all; all are reduced to one and the same sort of labour, human labour in the abstract."

Abstract labor exists as an abstraction of concrete labor, labor towards creating value from a commodity. Concrete labor is the labor that creates use-value from a commodity, it creates a commodity's physical properties. Abstract value, however, is ABSTRACTED from concrete labor, it is the labor of the entire productive labor of a human society as a whole rather than labor for the purpose of creating value out of a commodity. We can use abstraction of the concrete labor used to create two commodities (Marx uses corn and iron) to be able to compare the use-value and exchange value of a commodity. Concrete labor is socially necessary labor, it is fundamentally required to create value in a commodity, whereas abstract labor contains a multitude of labor that may not directly correlate with the value of a commodity, because it contains the entirety of labor. Concrete labor creates use-value, value on the basis of the expenditure of labor and the physical properties of a commodity, whereas abstract labor creates through the totality of labor the exchange value of a commodity, through comparing the concrete labor put into any commodities, and the labor required to create them, compared with the total abstract labor.


Abstract labor is how society derives how it should exchange two products based on their use-value, their exchange value. Concrete labor is the actual labor used to create use-value.


To give a concrete (har har) example, think of a car. A car is a commodity produced to make a profit. When Toyota directs its workers to make a car, they're utilizing a tremendous array of different kinds of labor - some of which is directly employed by them, like the assembly line workers and the engineers, and some of which is indirect, such as the labor required to extract minerals from the earth or to create specialized parts that Toyota order from other firms rather than makes itself.

We can think of this mass of labor as a certain quantity - as a homogenous quantity once we *abstract* away from the particular kinds of acts people do - and if a firm finds a way of making a similar product with less of this amount, they can produce it more cheaply in real terms and undercut Toyota. So this is why abstract labor regulates prices under markets - we can, and firms do, compare different amounts of qualitatively different employed labor to guide decisions about what gets produced and what prices they exchange at.

Now consider a hobbyist who repairs their own car for convenience or to mod it for fun. When they spend time understanding the how the car works, attaching and removing components, diagnosing a problem with it, and so on, they're performing various kinds of concrete labor that are, as concrete labor, similar to what employed workers in the Toyota supply chain are doing.

But although all abstract labor is also various kinds of concrete labor, not all concrete labor is abstract labor. The hobbyist's creating mods for himself or his friends is not regulated by the market in the same way.


Marx distinguishes between concrete labor that produces use values and abstract labor that produces value.

Concrete labor is the labor that is actually performed. The real problem in Marxist value theory is to determine how actual concrete labor—real world human labor—is converted through the process of exchange of the products of that labor into abstract human labor.

One person can produce far more of a commodity of a given quality in a given amount of time than another person. People produce commodities with different use values involving different types of labor. No two people labor in exactly the same way or with the same productivity. Nor do they labor with the same productivity at all times. Some people work better in the morning than they do in the afternoon.

Does a person who takes more time than average to produce a given commodity of a given quality produce more value than a person who can produce the commodity in the average amount of time?

The case of a lazy shoemaker is often given to illustrate this point. Suppose in a given epoch under average conditions of production a shoemaker of average skill and industriousness can make one pair of shoes per hour. Assuming the workday is eight hours, the average shoemaker can make eight pairs of shoes per day.

But our lazy shoemaker makes only one pair of shoes every two hours, or only four shoes in an eight-hour workday. Does a pair of shoes of a given quality that takes two hours to produce by our lazy shoemaker represent twice the value of a pair of shoes made by an average shoemaker?

No, what Marx called the individual value of a pair of shoes made by the lazy shoemaker represents two hours of labor, but its social value is still only one hour of labor. In the marketplace, our shoemaker can’t sell the pair of shoes for twice the price simply because he or she is lazy. Therefore, over an eight-hour workday our lazy shoemaker is wasting four hours out of every eight hours worked. Of every 40 hours of concrete labor our lazy shoemaker performs, 20 hours consists of socially unnecessary labor.

Things would be no different if instead of a lazy shoemaker we had a lazy gold miner who produces the commodity whose use value is to serve as the money commodity. Suppose an average gold miner working under the average conditions of production of a given epoch can produce two ounces of gold in a 40-hour workweek. If a lazy gold miner produces one ouncPost too long. Click here to view the full text.

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Explain, in your opinion, from a Marxist standpoint, which held the more important change to humanity's social organization, technology, and relationship to Nature; was it the Agricultural Revolution with the start of animal husbandry, settlements, and war? Was it the Urban Revolution with the start of social classes, states, philosophical inquiry, and writing? Or was it the Industrial Revolution with the start of modern warfare, modern agricultural, globalization, modern science, and the population boom?


within marxism itself there is a distinct early modern agricultural revolution which drove the birth of capitalism in the 16th and 17th centuries by what became the earliest capitalists, farmers. the technological early modern agricultural revolution led to the creation of the wage laborer in the 18th century and these are the laborers that went on to be the primary commodity in the industrial revolution.

from a marxist standpoint, i think its clear that the industrial revolution led to the single most increase productive ability in humanity, and therefore has the single most impact (good and bad) on our history and society


Hmmm, I guess honestly this makes sense. It wasn't until the Industrial Revolution that mankind even had a collective expectation of constant technological and social progress, before humans assumed all was static, they didn't even realize that there was a time before classes and even agriculture. It wasn't until the Industrial Revolution that mankind believed that an existence away from their world was not only POSSIBLE but even INEVITABLE

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I'm interested in non-marxist historiography. Where should I start?


please bros i need help




Non-marxist theorizing of the craft of history: Hayden White, John Gaddis

Non-Marxists with big theories of history: Peter Turchin, Michael Mann, various New Institutional Economics types

Historiographies of specific subjects: any collection with a name like "[blackwell|cambridge|etc] [guide|handbook] to [subject] history," there's almost always a chapter with a good overview of the historiography

keeping up with the discipline in general: reviews in AHR, especially those related to theory and method

a nice primary source collection: fritz stern's "varieties of history" collects, essentially, the introductions to leading popular works of history over the last two and a half centuries; most aren't esp *individually* interesting but you get to see certain trends develop in their own words, which is valuable, rather than taking some meta-historiographer's word for it


Incidentally, I was wondering about the Whigs today. What would the world be like if Whigs had become hegemonic rather than Libs?


Not sure what you mean by this - the Whigs were THE prototypical libs, and "Whiggish history" is a putdown term for history that uncritically celebrates the victory of liberalism.

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Frankfurt School Thread.
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Is that Yoko Onna?




Based Frankfurt Schoolians:
>Walter Benjamin
>Erich Fromm
>Herbert Marcuse
>Ernst Bloch
did I forget someone?


"Repressive tolerance" was kinda cringe, tbh

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I made these charts recently, if you have any ideas of new charts or charts of your own drop them here.
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let's revive and add to this thread instead of reeeeeing and screeching "read theory" all the time


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>Read theory
&ltWilliam James
Who the fuck made that second one


reddit is for cringe Zionist Neolibs, anon.


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does this still have value?

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What is your process?
Do you use reading charts?
Do you decide based on Recommendations?
Aside from the obvious Leftist ones, which are the good and which are the bad Publishers?
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Well when I had to start somewhere it was lists and recs from boards. Like one time I came across a quote from Hesse's Siddhartha on 420ch and ended up reading a bunch of his work. Or I'd visit what I've heard is canon/classic, so I did that and would then see where the text ramifies out to, like contemporaneous or within the same nation (e.g. enjoyed Dostoyevsky, went on to Tolstoy and Gogol). It's much easier to decide where to go next when it comes to philosophy and theory.


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He's not even considered a good writer in Russia. No, in fact he's an atrocious writer and his pretentious attempts at inventing his own neologisms, meandering prose with no rhyme or rhythm, and endless exposition dumps with ambitions of a wannabe 20th century Leo Tolstoy constantly fall flat on their face. All the bullshit aside. Don't know what to think of the rest of the list from this.


Solzhenitsyn's One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich is an excellent book.
>…inventing his own neologisms, meandering prose with no rhyme or rhythm, and endless exposition dumps with ambitions of a wannabe 20th century Leo Tolstoy constantly fall flat on their face.
This does not describe the book at all.


>What is your process?
When I had access to a university library + a lot of time, I searched through the library catalog for certain topics then skimmed various books on a single subject, discarding the ones that didn't seem useful and noting the names of the rest for further study.

What I do now (since I only have access to what I can find on the internet) is to do the same thing by searching online using whatever platform is available, plus using authors sources and footnotes to find more books to read.

This is a good way of compiling info on specific topics.


Usually recommendation from friends. But if they got none, I go to boards that make recommendations I'm interested in and I start reading from there.

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The third (last) edition of the Great Soviet Encyclopedia was translated into English for a western publisher almost concurrently with the Russian encyclopedia's publication. Given its obvious significance, it's surprising that not a single volume has circulated online like many other books.


it should be noted however, that the encyclopedia edition is of the 70s




>Given its obvious significance, it's surprising that not a single volume has circulated online like many other books.
It's not surprising at all. Many "official" texts published in the USSR, especially the late USSR, were a mishmash of state-approved ideology and dogma. I tried reading Brezhnev's autobiography (or just biography?) and it was absolutely worthless. It was full of truisms like, "He always works well with others, and always asks for everyone's opinion before making a decision."

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Is there any Marxist historians you recommend?

>inb4 Grover Furr
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is it good I've been planning to read it


Jairus Banaji's Theory as History is very, very good; highly recommended if you want to understand the purpose of Marxist historiography in the 21st century.


Franz Mehring



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What are your opinions on this book? I'll keep mine to myself for now, I'm genuinely curious to see how it is viewed in leftist circles.
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Baby's first book in revisionism. But its an okay book but very over simplified and doesn't really go too much in depth. The author himself is a classic revisionist historian so keep that in mind.


More Marxist than Marx himself.


There was another thread that popped up about this, and it was fairly decent, so I will copy paste the replies here:

There are many critiques of this book, it's very controversial, but good read non the less. I think you should read it and then read some critiques. There are often threads on /his/ about it /lit/ and /pol/ also love to hate it.

You can find a bunch of reviews and critiques of it with a little bit of googling, so I recommend read it, think about it, and read some critiques.


The author himself is not a Marxist, but from what I can gather, the book is a decent layman introduction to the concept of historical materialism and how it can be applied as a lens to assess the comparative development of civilizations. Unfortunately, some of the claims made by the author are backed by research that's more than a bit shoddy, and reactionary critics love to pick on the book for that reason, but it's pretty clear most of their ire stems from the fact that they are uncomfortable with having their racial essentialist worldview attacked so directly.
Post too long. Click here to view the full text.


While I agree with the other posters here, I think that since no one else has posted about the problems with the book, I will do so briefly. I don't mean to dissuade anyone from reading it, and if memory serves most of the problems are concentrated towards the end:

Ultiamtely Jared Diamond works within a liberal paradigm/discourse, and this paradigm is enamored with competition conceptually. Ultiamtely this stems from liberalism being wedded to capitalism historically and ideologically.

Therefore, the book is rather myopic about imperialism and colonialism (which are logical consequences to coutnries competiting with one another, since being able to extract excess resources from a faraway third region that is colonized gives advantages in war, trade and domestic stability); That certain countries are poor because they have been plundered and continue to be plundered by others does not cross his mind all too much.

Further, that the totalizing nature of competition under capitalism can actually result in constraints on economic development, including on technogical discovery and innovation are mostly passed over.

And this is why the book is often accused of geographic determinism (though i nreality it isn't stricly); That is to say, in order to avoid outright racial or cultural chauvinism, he defaults to saying that the problem is the lack of liberal institutions in poor countries, and that this lack has near exclusive geographic determinants ultimately.

This is the consequence of not having an understanding of capitalism and imperialism as systems with internal logics, combined of course to middle class first world apologia.


I think he's too determinist and doesn't focus enough on economics apart from technology trade. Like sure, Europe based on geography will be in a much better spot than Subsaharan Africa but if we're just going off technology, resources and geography, China would have "won".

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recommend me books of underground socialist/anarchist movements, files and biographies of people who were involved.


Check'd, Nazi.

Bonnot Gang were just a bunch of gangsters and murderers.


the unseen by nanni balestrini


can anyone recomend books about asian (korea and japan) and western eruopean far left movements in the 70s and 80s


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