Comparing Marx and Smith

Topics: Karl Marx, Labor theory of value, Capitalism Pages: 2 (545 words) Published: April 24, 2014

Comparing Marx and Smith’s Theories

Throughout history, many social scientists have presented theories that are designed to help us understand our modern societies. Two of those social scientists are Karl Marx and Adam Smith. Karl Marx presents two theories: labor theory of value, and a theory of exploitation. Adam Smith brings forth a labor theory of value. Comparing those theories would help me decide on which I find more relevant to apply to the society we live in today. Staring off with Marx’s theory of value, one can directly see that he meant that a valuable or useful thing, a commodity, can be valued by the average number of labor hours it took to produce it. “The value of each commodity is determined by the quantity of labor expended on and materialized in it, by the working time necessary, under given social conditions, for its production” (Karl Marx The Capital. p 208). For example, let’s say it took an artist two years to complete a painting, and it took another one a few days. The painting in which the artist spent more time producing or working on will have a higher value and price. Even if we’re talking about two different objects, like a clock and a microwave for example, the one that has more hours of labor put into it will have a higher price. Marx theory of exploitation, however, is a little bit different. The profit is the result of employers exploiting their wage-earning employees. Marx states that the profits gained by Capitalists are the exploitation of a laborer’s efforts. According to him, profits are nothing but the ‘surplus value’ that the capitalist holds back from the laborer. He says that exploitation, however, is not evil, for without it, capitalists will no longer be capitalists and will be kicked out of the market. He says that labor power is regarded as a commodity. He also explains that there are two types of production: petty commodity production and capitalist mode of production. Petty commodity...
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