The Concept of Exploitation in Capitalist Societies in Capital Volume I by Karl Marx

In Capitol Volume I by Karl Marx, he explains the idea of labor as a commodity, which allows him to further develop the concept of ‘exploitation’ in capitalist societies, previously, we viewed exploitation simply as the relationship between the bourgeoisie and the working class, without necessarily associating it with a negative connotation. This was useful in helping to understand Marx’s theory of class and solidify the concept of exploitation in order to realize that the laborers were not receiving the full value of what their labor was worth.

However, in Capital, Marx goes into even more detail to explain this relationship when he says, “Capital is dead labor, that vampire-like, only lives by sucking living labor, and lives the more, the more labor is sucks” (342). Here, Marx uses the perfect metaphor to expose the parasitic nature of capitalism revealing that it could not thrive without the labor of the workers.

In fact, without the labor of the workers, the cycle of MCM’ would cease to exist, because the commodity of ‘labor’ would not be available for the capitalists to purchase.

Thus, all the money that the capitalists accumulated would be useless, since they would not be able to generate more money, ending the MCM’ cycle. Here, Marx reveals a significant weakness of the capitalists. Even though the capitalists have the ability to exploit the working class, this situation could also be looked at in reverse, meaning that the working class could easily realize the power that they have and revolt against the capitalists, which could be the revolution that Marx believed would happen.

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However, the cycle of CMC, which the working class is susceptible to, keeps the working class from breaking the cycle. As long as they have the desire to buy material goods and commodities the CMC and MCM’s cycle will continue to feed off of each other, which is how capitalism works as stated by Marx.

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The Concept of Exploitation in Capitalist Societies in Capital Volume I by Karl Marx. (2023, Jan 15). Retrieved from

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