Capital and Labour: Can the Conflict be Solved?


  • Michael Kuur Sørensen Aalborg University



This article attempts to solve the contradiction or conflict between capital and labour, as formulated by Karl Marx, with the use of Johan Galtung’s theory of conflict transformation. It is concluded that, although solutions that are based upon the capitalist system are unstable, they can function for a given period of time where they are more favourable than the antagonistic structure between capital and labour. The reason for the instability of compromises and other solutions based on the capitalist system is the self-expansionary nature of the capitalist system that, over time, re-creates the antagonistic relations that Marx identified. The only solutions that are not undermined by the self-expansionary nature of the capitalist system are subsistence economies and experiments with socialist production relations, termed here as “labourism”– although the latter has not been (fully) realized in practice anywhere.

Author Biography

Michael Kuur Sørensen, Aalborg University

Graduate of the Master’s Program at the Research Centre for Development and International Relations