Marx’s Economic Manuscripts of 1861-63
2) Absolute Surplus Value by Karl Marx
Let us assume that the average necessary labour time = 10 hours, and that the normal surplus labour = 2 hours, hence the total daily labour time of the worker = 12 hours. Now assume that the capitalist sets the worker to work for 13 hours a day during 6 days of the week, hence 1 hour over the normal or average surplus labour time. These 6 hours amount to 1/2 working day in the week. Now one has to take into consideration more than this surplus value of 6 hours. In order to appropriate 6 hours of surplus labour, the capitalist would under normal conditions have had to employ 1 worker for 3 days or 3 workers for one day, i. e. he would have had to pay for 30 (3 × 10) hours of necessary labour time. With this daily extra hour of surplus labour he obtains half a day of surplus labour a week, without having to pay for the 3 days of necessary labour time he would have had to pay for under normal conditions, so as to appropriate the 6 hours of surplus labour. In the first case a surplus value of only 20%; in the second, one of 30%; but the last 10% of surplus value do not cost him any necessary labour time.