# Is skills or abilities of the worker taking in consideration in Marx law of value?

Is skills or abilities of the worker taking in consideration in Marx law of value?

I know about the subjective theory of value, but I want to know how Marx takes this in consideration

As far as I have been reading the law of value only takes the labour hours work to produce a commodity.

the more labour it costs to make a product, the more it is worth, and inversely the less labour it costs to make a product, the less it is worth

let's say

• product A
• takes 10 hours
• you need specially skills that are a hard to learn
• only 14% of population already have those skills to build that product
• product B
• takes 10 hours
• you do not need special skills
• 90% of the people already have those skills to build that product

A value = B value ? I'm not taking about money price

In a real example

• A web developer takes 10 hours to make a fancy custom bio web page.
• A woodworker takes 10 hours to make a chair.

the chair value = the web site value?

Is the worker him or her self taking in consideration at all?

since worker1 might build a much better web site in 10 hours than worker2

Labour power is a commodity like any other. Its value is consequently a function of the labour embodied in it.

• product A (a webpage)

• takes 10 hours

• you need special skills (those of a webdesigner) that are hard to learn

• only 14% of population already have those skills to build that product

Versus

• product B (a chair)

• takes 10 hours

• you do not need special skills (you do; those of carpenter. But those are easier to learn, compared to those of a webdesigner)

• 90% of the people (probably an exageration, but certainly more people have the skills of a carpenter than those of a webdesigner) already have those skills to build that product

A value = B value ? the chair value = the web site value?

No.

While each of them requires 10 hours of labour, the labour embodied in each has a different value.

The labour of the webdesigner is more valuable.

Why?

Because it takes - say - 1,000 hours of labour to turn an unskilled labourer into a webdesigner, while it takes - say - 200 hours of labour to turn an unskilled labourer into a carpenter.

Yes. Via the wage as the price of reproduction of labour power.

In order to modify the human organism, so that it may acquire skill and handiness in a given branch of industry, and become labour-power of a special kind, a special education or training is requisite, and this, on its part, costs an equivalent in commodities of a greater or less amount. This amount varies according to the more or less complicated character of the labour-power. The expenses of this education (excessively small in the case of ordinary labour-power), enter pro tanto into the total value spent in its [labour-power's] production.

If the owner of labour-power works to-day, to-morrow he must again be able to repeat the same process in the same conditions as regards health and strength. His means of subsistence must therefore be sufficient to maintain him in his normal state as a labouring individual. […] On the other hand, the number and extent of his so-called necessary wants, as also the modes of satisfying them, are themselves the product of historical development, and depend therefore to a great extent on the degree of civilisation of a country, more particularly on the conditions under which, and consequently on the habits and degree of comfort in which, the class of free labourers has been formed. In contradistinction therefore to the case of other commodities, there enters into the determination of the value of labour-power a historical and moral element.

Capital 1 6

Thus, to the extent that a wage differs from the social average, it represents the class conflict over the value of past training, and the general class conflict over the value of workers as human beings,

We stated […] that in the creation of surplus-value it does not in the least matter, whether the labour appropriated by the capitalist be simple unskilled labour of average quality or more complicated skilled labour. All labour of a higher or more complicated character than average labour is expenditure of labour-power of a more costly kind, labour-power whose production has cost more time and labour, and which therefore has a higher value, than unskilled or simple labour-power. This power being higher-value, its consumption is labour of a higher class, labour that creates in equal times proportionally higher values than unskilled labour does. Whatever difference in skill there may be between the labour of a spinner and that of a jeweller, the portion of his labour by which the jeweller merely replaces the value of his own labour-power, does not in any way differ in quality from the additional portion by which he creates surplus-value. In the making of jewellery, just as in spinning, the surplus-value results only from a quantitative excess of labour, from a lengthening-out of one and the same labour-process, in the one case, of the process of making jewels, in the other of the process of making yarn. [18]

But on the other hand, in every process of creating value, the reduction of skilled labour to average social labour, e.g., one day of skilled to six days of unskilled labour, is unavoidable. [19] We therefore save ourselves a superfluous operation, and simplify our analysis, by the assumption, that the labour of the workman employed by the capitalist is unskilled average labour.

[18]: The distinction between skilled and unskilled labour rests in part on pure illusion, or, to say the least, on distinctions that have long since ceased to be real, and that survive only by virtue of a traditional convention; in part on the helpless condition of some groups of the working-class, a condition that prevents them from exacting equally with the rest the value of their labour-power. Accidental circumstances here play so great a part, that these two forms of labour sometimes change places. Where, for instance, the physique of the working-class has deteriorated, and is, relatively speaking, exhausted, which is the case in all countries with a well developed capitalist production, the lower forms of labour, which demand great expenditure of muscle, are in general considered as skilled, compared with much more delicate forms of labour; the latter sink down to the level of unskilled labour. Take as an example the labour of a bricklayer, which in England occupies a much higher level than that of a damask-weaver. Again, although the labour of a fustian cutter demands great bodily exertion, and is at the same time unhealthy, yet it counts only as unskilled labour. And then, we must not forget, that the so-called skilled labour does not occupy a large space in the field of national labour. Laing estimates that in England (and Wales) the livelihood of 11,300,000 people depends on unskilled labour. … (S. Laing: “National Distress,” &c., London, 1844). “The great class who have nothing to give for food but ordinary labour, are the great bulk of the people.” (James Mill, in art.: “Colony,” Supplement to the Encyclop. Brit., 1831.)

Capital 1 7

As can be seen skill is just a variety of exertion difference, which is also paid. Marx's labour-power is socially necessary and averaged.

Turning to your example—for which advertising I'm forced to consume every day induces suspicion regarding the reduction of website design through mechanisation to more closely approximate simple labour (ha, ha)—we will need to refine your model so that it makes sense.

Let us postulate that the special skills require 10 years of education (such as a Lecturer in Graphic Design at a university, prior to the generalisation of higher education, say in 1970). Labourer "A" then embodies 10 years more of reproduction of actual living labour than the socially average "B." Given that education happens on a yearly scale, rather than an hourly, let's view the value difference in terms of yearly wages and production. Let us give the average years of work as 20-60.

A's product embodies 1 average wage's values plus 10/30ths of an average wage. B's product embodies 1 average wage's values.

A will be paid 1/3rd more than B, if the wage is solely determined by payment in full for the embodied commodities in A's labour (ha, ha). Based on my knowledge of historical relativities in Australian wages, this turns out to be pretty much on the ball, the chief difference today is that the 10 extra has been whittled down by an increase by 4 years in the general composition of standard labour.

In reality A and B's wages will be determined by social struggle. I've yet to see a real skills shortage, due to labour substitutability and mechanisation as the incorporation of previous human skill. Additionally, capitalists produce commodities, whose "use" is the speculative consumption under the belief by an purchaser that they will fulfil a desire. Namely, much like less skilled labour can be substituted, so can less useable commodities. The "historical and moral" element determining wages is often union strength, recent threats of viable revolution, craft resistances. "What is a skill," in terms of pricing labour-power is a matter of social brawling.

Marx clearly believes that skills are illusory "The distinction between skilled and unskilled labour rests in part on pure illusion," and that only past class war holds up skill's values for labour power, "[the division of labour into skilled and unskilled rests] on distinctions that have long since ceased to be real, and that survive only by virtue of a traditional convention." Moreover, that the only reason why the skilled can continue class war to maintain their enhanced wage is due to the "the helpless condition of some groups of the working-class, a condition that prevents them from exacting equally with the rest the value of their labour-power," namely that some of the unskilled are so physically and intellectually degraded that they cannot fight back. In this light, a consideration of the history of the Australian Builders Labourers Federation, and their movement from unskilled (less paid) to skilled (more paid) through fighting class war could be of value.