labor expended by the workers engaged in material production, to create the surplus product.
The distinction between necessary labor and surplus labor originated at the stage in the development of the productive forces of society when it became possible to produce more goods than were necessary to support the existence of the worker and his family. In slaveholding society, where the worker was the property of the slaveholder, all labor was for the benefit of the exploiters. In feudal society the distinction between necessary and surplus labor was sharper. The peasant worked for himself during part of his labor-time and for the feudal lord during the other part (the corvée), or he gave the feudal lord part of his labor without compensation, in the form of payments in kind or in money.
Under capitalism, surplus labor became the source of surplus value. The appropriation of the results of surplus labor is possible because legally free wage workers are compelled to work for economic reasons. The distinction between necessary and surplus labor is concealed in the form of wages, which create the impression that the wage workers are paid for all of their labor. In reality, only the value of their labor power, or necessary labor, is compensated in the form of wages. Surplus labor is appro-pr’ated without compensation by the capitalist. An increase in the proportion of surplus to necessary labor is characteristic of capitalism. In their pursuit of profits the capitalists do their utmost to increase surplus labor-time by lengthening the workday, by the intensification of labor, and by reducing necessary labor-time. As a result, the rate and mass of surplus value increase, as does the degree of exploitation of wage labor.
Under socialism, the socioeconomic significance of surplus labor changes qualitatively. Surplus labor becomes one of the most important means for satisfying the growing material and intellectual needs of the associated producers and for making possible the comprehensive development of all members of socialist society. Under the conditions of socialism, surplus labor is labor expended in the production of material goods intended for social consumption (administration, defense, and the support of disabled members of society). Surplus labor is also labor expended for the creation of additional means of production and consumer goods, which serve as the material foundation for expanded socialist reproduction. Thus, under socialism, surplus labor is used in the interests of the workers.
A. A. KHANDRUEV