Can you explain the difference between labour and labour-power

I've recently been troubled by this concept of labour and labour-power. As I've come to understand, labour-power is one's capacity to work, quantitatively measured by time. Labour is, on the other hand, is the physical act of working itself. However, I wonder if you could explain how labour and labour-power are exchanged as commodities and the significance of the differentiation of such concept.

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  • Kevin Leary
    commented 2017-07-29 12:05:35 -0400
    I have also thought about this. Capitalists buy labor power for a wage which is paid to the worker after a given amount of labor is performed. The worker is living labor in the productive process and adds value to commodities, goods and services, which are subsequently sold. Capitalists buy labor power at its exchange value (wage) and get its use value (living labor). Since they get the value of the wage back ,plus profit, capitalists are able to make what is called in finance a “spread”. For example, if a worker is paid $15 in wages per hour and produces $20 ,the capitalist gets to keep the 5 dollar profit. This is equivalent to saying, assuming the work day is 8 hours long, 6 hours are paid and 2 are unpaid. This is how Marx proved that even assuming that commodities exchange at their value, exploitation occurs. I hope this helps!
  • Kevin Leary
    tagged this with Important 2017-07-29 12:05:34 -0400
  • John Lock
    tagged this with Important 2017-07-18 15:06:08 -0400
  • John Lock
    published this page in Ask Prof. Wolff 2017-07-18 15:05:28 -0400