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surplus value

noun
1.
(in Marxian economics) the part of the value of a commodity that exceeds the cost of labor, regarded as the profit of the capitalist.
Origin
1885-1890
1885-90
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for surplus value
  • Those firms are then forced to create extra surplus value by way of innovation in order to stay in business.
  • The total social surplus value can be divided into producer surplus and consumer surplus.
Encyclopedia Article for surplus value

Marxian economic concept that professed to explain the instability of the capitalist system. Adhering to David Ricardo's labour theory of value, Karl Marx held that human labour was the source of economic value. The capitalist pays his workers less than the value their labour has added to the goods, usually only enough to maintain the worker at a subsistence level. Of the total worth of the worker's labour, however, this compensation, in Marxian theory, accounts for only a mere portion, equivalent to the worker's means of subsistence. The remainder is "surplus labour," and the value it produces is "surplus value." To make a profit, Marx argued, the capitalist appropriates this surplus value, thereby exploiting the labourer.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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