Surplus Value

What We Think About Surplus Value

Marx didn’t create dialectical materialism. Dialectical materialism created Marx.

Rather than defining ourselves by attaching the three letters “ism” to the end of any fellow scientist’s name, no matter how famous or long dead, we would prefer simply to directly practice dialectical materialism ourselves in our own time, while also affirming that many others, including Karl Marx, have achieved great breakthroughs in knowledge by practicing it in their times.

We believe that by far Marx’s most important contribution to the practice of dialectical materialism, and particularly to its practice by and in the interests of the laboring classes, was the development of the economic concept of Surplus Value, a concept which did not pre-exist his contributions in any recognizable form, and which he developed and refined over several long decades. Like any complex concept, it can never fully be finished so long as the universe itself remains larger than any model built by humans to further our constant goal of understanding this universe. (This is why ALL scientific knowledge is referred to by scientists as “theory”, rather than as “prophecy” or “scripture”, which belong to an entirely different arena of human endeavor.) For us, the fact that dialectical materialists still have arguments and disagreements and must struggle for unity around precisely how to interpret and apply the concept is a good thing. This indicates to us that the science is still a live ongoing process, rather than a stagnated dogma.

What makes Surplus Value such an important concept for us is that it enables us to concretely identify and study (to hopefully influence and transform) the primary material human conflict underlying the historic and ongoing events of our epoch: the conflict of labor versus capital. The better we understand Surplus Value, the better we will understand this conflict, and the better we will understand these events.