Notes on Work Super-Exploitation: A Study on the Topicality of the 'Tendency of the Rate of Profit to Fall'

8 Pages Posted: 8 Aug 2019

Date Written: June 30, 2019


It is intended, into the scope of this work, to analyze the Marxian categories presented in the Capital, Volume III; and analyze the case of the mass dismissals occurred in the USIMINAS steel mill in Cubatão (SP) between 2015 and 2017 based on them. Marx argues that the price of the merchandise falls as the productivity grows (Tendency of the rate of profit to fall). This happens because only the living labor is able to add value to the merchandise. The fall in the rates of profit of the capitalists happens because, as the variable capital in the productive process diminishes, less value is created in the productive process; therefore, the unitary value of the merchandise falls. Marx presents some anti-cyclical measures that defer, for a while, this tendency of the rate of profit to fall. Among the six anti-cyclical measures presented by Marx, attention will be given to the two first: I) Elevation of the degree of exploitation of the work force: as the work hours are augmented and the rhythm of work intensified, the capitalist appropriates greater rates of surplus work and surplus value. II) Compression of salaries under their value. In the case studied, USIMINAS (Cubatão) has not offered a real salary increase since 2010. After the company has applied afore mentioned measures between 2015 and 2017, it has presented significant growth in its profit rates.

Keywords: Tendency of the rate of profit to fall, countermeasures, work super-exploitation, value

Suggested Citation

Santos Valenzuela Toro, Vitorio Felipe and Ranieri, Jesus, Notes on Work Super-Exploitation: A Study on the Topicality of the 'Tendency of the Rate of Profit to Fall' (June 30, 2019). RAIS Conference Proceedings - The 13th International RAIS Conference on Social Sciences and Humanities, Available at SSRN: or

Jesus Ranieri

UNICAMP/IFCH ( email )


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