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 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,  
 http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm  
 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,  
 http://bea.gov/newsreleases/national/gdp/gdpnewsrelease.htm  
 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  
 http://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsaat39.pdf  
 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].