The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Labour Process

  • William Lazonick
Reference work entry


The labour process is a Marxian term that refers to the ways in which labour and capital combine to produce goods and services. The emphasis on the role of labour in the production process derives from Marx’s (1867) distinction between labour-power and labour. Labour-power is the capacity to work that the capitalist purchases for a wage on the labour market; labour is the effort actually expended by a unit of labour-power in the production process. Given wages and prices, the surplus-value that the capitalist extracts from the production process depends upon the amount of labour services that he can elicit from the labour-power that he has purchased.

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • William Lazonick
    • 1
  1. 1.