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By Karl Marx

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Sample text

The relations between the supply and demand of labour undergo perpetual changes -and with them the market prices of labour. If the demand ove shoots the supply wages rise ; if the supply overshoots the demand wages sink, although it might in such circumstances be necessary to � � � VALUE, PRICE AND PROFIT WAGES AND PRICES test the real state o f demand and supply by a strike, for ex­ ample, or any other method. But i f you accept supply an(1 demand as the law regulating wages, it would be as childish as useless to declaim against a rise of wages, because, according to the supreme law you appeal to, a periodical rise of wages is quite as necessary and legitimate as a periodical fall of wages.

They may amount to one half, one third, one fourth, one fifth, or any other proportional part of th(! one quarter of corn or the one ounce of gold. Their wages can, of course, not exceed, not be more than the values of the commodities they produced, but they can be less in every possible degree. Their wages will be limited by the values of the products, but the values of their products will not be limited by the w<;lges. And above all, the values; the relative values of corn and gold, for example, will have been settled without any regard whatever to the value of the labour.

We know nothing at all about value. Accepting thIS premtse, all � . � � , � � � �! reasoning about the general laws o f political economy turns into mere twaddle. It was, therefore, the great merit of Ricardo that in his work On The Principles of Political Economy, pub­ lished in 1817, he fundamentally destroyed the old, popUlar, and worn-out fallacy that

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