Distinguishing characteristics of concrete labour include:
- It is not any concrete labour that conveys value, but socially constituted concrete labour (i.e. labour must take on an abstract quality for value to emerge)
- Marx regarded the distinction between abstract and concrete labour as being among the most important innovations he contributed to the theory of economic value.
Example: The concrete labour of shoe-making makes a use-value in the form of a shoe.
"On the one hand all labour is, speaking physiologically, an expenditure of human labour power, and in its character of identical abstract human labour, it creates and forms the value of commodities. On the other hand, all labour is the expenditure of human labour power in a special form and with a definite aim, and in this, its character of concrete useful labour, it produces use values." [Karl Marx, Capital, vol. 1]
- (London: Penguin, 1990), p. 137.