This question <922¦922> overall <919¦921> Hans <890¦937>.  
 Question 667: Marx writes in 302:2: “The process of producing surplus-value is nothing but the continuation of the process of producing value beyond a definite point.” (This is not a literal quote, the sentence is rearranged for simplicity.) Does this mean that profits come from the capitalist producing beyond his break-even point?  2012fa 
 [920] Hans: Difference between value created and wage received by the laborer.   Marx's statement, that surplus-value simply comes from workers having to work too many hours every day, has nothing to do with the capitalist's break-even point. Rather, it means that after 4 hours the workers could go home without a decrease in pay, because in 4 hours they have produced a full equivalent of the wage they receive for an 8-hour day.  
 I said several times in class that your wage is roughly half of the value created by your labor. Here is a simple calculation to back this up. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics,  
 total employment in the US is presently 142,974 thousand. With 52 weeks in the year, this means that 142,974 × 52 = 7,434,648 thousand weeks, or 7.434648 billion weeks, are worked every year.  
 According to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis,  
 Gross Domestic Product in the third quarter of 2012 is at such a rate that for the whole year this would give $15,775.7 billion current dollars. Dividing this by the number of weeks worked per year, you get the value produced per person-week of $15,775.7 / 7.434648 = $2121.92 in current dollars.  
 Now the BLS gives the “median weekly earnings” as $760 per week. This comes from  
 Dividing this gives $760 / $2121.92 = 35.8 percent. Including benefits, and making all the other adjustments which need to be made here one gets probably that average wages are a little less than half of the value created by the worker. Low wages, such as those at MacDonalds, are probably only a third of the value created, because unskilled laborers are in a worse bargaining position than skilled workers.  
 In [2007SP:1090] I made a very similar calculation using the exact same source data for 2006. There I got a more favorable outcome for the workers: their earnings were 40.0 percent of value created. I think the difference can be explained by the speedup since the 2008 crash.  
 This message referenced by [922], [949], [2013fa:863].