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labour power

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Is a term coined by Karl Marx in Capital and refers to the capacity of workers to work. Marx held that when employers hired workers in the labour market they were effectively buying this capacity to work rather than work itself. For this reason, the employment relationship is indeterminate and the actual amount of work produced for each unit of wages is variable and dependent on the success of the employer in managing workers within the labour process. [See porosity and Marxism.]

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