Social Labor

Social Labor

 

(1) Human activity directed toward the satisfaction of the economic needs of society. Within the concept of social labor, separate treatment is given to the category of socially organized labor, that is, activity included in the social division of labor. Social labor that does not come under the social division of labor has the purpose of meeting its own needs; it constitutes a reserve for the future expansion of the social division of labor. Socially organized labor is the foundation of social production and the national economy. Its result is the aggregate social product. The main spheres of application of social labor are material production, the nonproduction sector, and the household economy.

(2) Social labor describes one of the essential attributes of labor: the inseparable link between purposeful human activity and the social form of human existence. As Marx wrote: “And lastly from the moment that men work for one another in any way, their labor assumes a social form” (see K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 23, p. 81).

Labor is always social, because individual workers or producers’ collectives can only set goals that reflect their position in society and can only engage in production by using accumulated social resources, for example, means of production and labor power.

Different modes of production give social labor different forms. In the primitive-communal stage, the social nature of labor and its results were manifested directly in the form of joint labor, which subsequently became typical of the patriarchal economy also. In slaveholding and feudal societies the social character of labor was expressed in other forms, but as a rule these were still directly collective forms of labor. In regard to feudalism, Marx wrote: “Here the particular and natural form of labor, and not, as in a society based on the production of commodities, its general abstract form, is the immediate social form of labor. … No matter, then, what we may think of the parts played by the different classes of people themselves in this society, the social relations between individuals in the performance of their labor appear, at all events, as their own mutual personal relations” (ibid., pp. 87–88). Consequently, one cannot speak of direct forms of social labor at these stages of development without making allowance for the fact that the social division of labor and the cooperation of labor within society were still relatively undeveloped, and economic links within national economies and between peoples were not sufficiently strong. In an economy based on commodity production, the social character of labor is masked because the various types of labor are so differentiated from each other that they appear at first hand to be private forms of labor, and their social interconnection is expressed only indirectly, through the sale and purchase of commodities.

Under capitalism the contradiction between the social essence of labor and its private form of organization becomes extremely acute. Advances in production make the private capitalist form of appropriation (exploitation of wage labor) an unacceptable form of social labor and objectively create a demand for the replacement of private ownership with social ownership. Social ownership imparts a planned character to money-commodity relations, and this predetermines the fundamental qualitative difference between social labor under socialism and social labor under capitalism.

As production becomes truly socialized, social labor is gradually transformed once again into direct social labor. This process culminates under communism, when social labor becomes fully and unqualifiedly social: “The social relations of the individual producers, with regard both to their labor and to its products, are in this case perfectly simple and intelligible, and that with regard not only to production but also to distribution” (ibid., p. 89).

REFERENCES

Marx, K. Kapital, vol. 1. In K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 23.
Engels, F. Anti-Dühring. Ibid., vol. 20. (Section entitled “Political Economy.”)

B. V. RAKITSKH

References in periodicals archive ?
Brazil's steep social labor cost and complex bureaucracy are causing a drop in foreign investments.
investigates the deeply intertwined histories of carbon-based fuels, workplace organizing in the context of new kinds of social labor aimed at extracting and converting them into useable energy, and through all of these the emergence of modern democracy in the last two hundred years.
In both cases, the value of the premises is maintained by unseen work: the tasks of the groundskeepers, the gallerist's private sales, the material and social labor of the artist carried out in advance of the show.
Dakar, Rabi'II 1, 1433, Feb 23, 2012, SPA -- Saudi ambassador to Senegal Abdulaziz bin Mohammed Al-Aifan delivered to the Senegalese Minister of Social Labor and National Solidarity amina Lo 100 tons of dates as gift from the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The workers of the ministries of Oil, Social Labor and Education were asked to leave their office and join the demonstrations.
8 %, health and social labor 10 %, public administration with 9.
Also, such companies as Bishkek Combined Heat and Power Plant, Social Labor Ministry, Mailuu-Suu electric bulb factory have big gas debts.
The courting of communities" that Glass both explores and attempts to activate in this book, one might say, involved then and requires now "a fluid form of social labor that was [and remains] both limiting and liberating" (71).
This she finds in Karl Marx's definition of the value of a commodity as the social labor expended in its production.
Political and social relationships required high-intensity investments of social labor, but they were investments shaped by patriarchy and patriarchal connectivity.
The exchange of goods based on the social labor they embody (the law of value), the market, and capitalist exploitation are different phenomena, even if they overlap in capitalism.
She describes how upper-class women servants performed domestic labor as social labor at court and other aristocratic houses, and among the common people, socially productive work was performed by wives and children.

Full browser ?