Subject of labour, or object of labour, is a concept in Marxist political economy that refers to "everything to which man's labour is applied".[1] The subject of labour may be materials provided directly by nature like timber or coal, or materials that have been modified by labour. In the latter case, the subject of labour (e.g., yarn in a textile mill or semi-conductor chips in a computer assembly factory) are called "raw materials". This usage of the term "raw materials" is given in, for instance, in Capital, Part III.[2]

The "subject of labour" is one of three basic factors of the production process,[2] along with "human labour" and the "means of labour" (tools and infrastructure used to transform the subject of labour).

The subject of labour and the means of labour comprise the means of production of society.[1]

"Subject of labour" is sometimes called "object of labour".[3] In both cases, the term refers to what is being worked on.


  1. ^ a b Academy of Sciences of the U.S.S.R. (1957). Political Economy: A Textbook. London: Lawrence and Wishart.
  2. ^ a b Karl Marx (1867). "Chapter 7". Capital. Vol. Part III. p. 174.
  3. ^ For example, in Sheptulin, A. P. (1978). Marxist-Leninist Philosophy. Moscow: Progress Publishers.