labour power

(redirected from Labor-power)

labour power

  1. a general term for those employed within an organization.
  2. (MARXISM) the capacity to work which is bought and employed by capitalists and from which the capitalist extracts SURPLUS VALUE (see also LABOUR THEORY OF VALUE). The distinction made by MARX between labour’ and ‘labour power’ is an important one in Marx's economics and his theory of CAPITALISM AND CAPITALIST MODE OF PRODUCTION (see ALTHUSSER and Balibar, 1968; Hodgson, 1982). Unlike labour, labour power can be traded in a market and is an object of possession. Under capitalism, the hiring of labour power, involves an agreement by the worker to submit to the employer's authority for a set period of time. The employer then has freedom to use this labour power, and the surplus product created, as he wishes. It is this labour power which is the source of surplus value.
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