An Analysis of Karl Marx’s Theory of Value on the Contemporary Capitalist Economy

Anthony Imoisi Ilegbinosa


The paper examines Karl Marx’s theory of value and its implications on the contemporary capitalist economy. By doing this, the paper critically reviews the principles of Marx’s value analysis by extrapolating from the writings of Karl Marx and Neo – Marxists which fits into the Marxian theory of value. The study indicates that capitalism does have an overall tendency to extract surplus value from labour provided by the workers, since it is the most malleable (influenced) of things within the confines of capitalism in the production process as noted by Marx. According to Marx, a system like capitalism, where people are coerced or forced to sell their labour in order to survive is unjust and that in the modern capitalist economy, the rate of profitability or success in production is determined by the ability to produce surplus value. In contemporary capitalist economy, during the production process, the worker uses his/her labour to produce adequate goods and services, but only receive wages enough for subsistence, hence making a surplus for the capitalist. However, the question still remains whether the labourers/workers/proletariats have a choice of selling their labour or not in order to survive in the contemporary capitalist economy as it were in orthodox capitalism?

Keywords: Capitalism, Socialism, Communism, Surplus Value, Exploitation, Bourgeoisie, Proletariat, Means of Production, Modes of Production, Profits, Wage

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