What Knox fails to explain is that, although gold had properties which distinguished it from other commodities, it was able to fulfil its role in relation to money and exchange because, like other commodities, it was the product of socially necessary labour. As the ratio between constant capital and variable capital shifted in favour of constant capital, this led to the associated tendency for the rate of profit to fall, as evidenced in lower extraction of gold per unit of labour-power from mechanised mining than from surface mining.
Generally speaking, as one decade followed another, variable capital drained out of the mining industry into the manufacturing, pastoral, agricultural and service industries, so that, for instance, whereas in 1903 Australia produced 24% of the world's gold, by 1929 this had fallen to 2% due to competition especially from South African mines where the cost of socially necessary labour was much lower than in Western Australia and Queensland.
Where possible, the author chooses to represent mostly women and people of colour in strong and active positions, such as protesting for justice and doing all socially necessary labour
(from farming to breastfeeding).
Competition between capitals makes sure it is only the socially necessary labour time embodied in commodities which will exchange in the market place.
This law of value is not just the idea that 'the exchange of commodities [is] in proportion to the socially necessary labour time involved in their production,' (42) or more prosaically that labor produces value, (43) or more accurately, that it is 'the whole panorama of forces exposed in the metamorphosis of value, in which the equation of labor with value is the underlying assumption.' (44) The creation and then transformation of value into profits, rent, interest and taxes are part of the dynamic of this law.
Instead, if we accept that all people are equal then all socially necessary labour
is also equal.
(1) Ironically, even though the school led an irreconcilable ideological fight against Marx's economic theory and particularly against his labour theory of value, its adherents unknowingly advanced research on its central category, that is, 'socially necessary labour'.
In this case the labour that manufactured the bulk of the corn that had been grown forty miles from London's population was perceived as socially necessary labour because it determined the market price of corn.
To explain value in terms of socially necessary labour
time seems fine to me, as far as it goes, for it puts class relations at the centre of value.
In summary Marx's abstract labour is the substance and quality of value, its magnitude or quantity is socially necessary labour
time and its form in the commodity as exchange-value might be categorised as a qualitative quantum.
He began to reframe his vision of social transformation around the minimization of the obligation to purchase the right to live by performing socially necessary labour
, as well as the liberation of time for the purpose of activities that are ends in themselves - from love and artistic creation to the craft production of use-values.
In capitalist society the allocation of social resources including the expenditure of available labour power is determined objectively through the logical operation of the capitalist market such that goods are produced in socially necessary quantities by what Marx terms socially necessary labour
. That is, investment decisions on the part of capital are based on objective, quantitative criteria: rational capitalists must assess market conditions to ensure first, that commodities, the production of which they are interested in investing in, are in demand, and second, capitalists must gauge the competitive business environment to ensure that the technologies and work processes they adopt are the most advanced.