‘Proletarians and Communists’ by Karl Marx
Karl Marx explains the industrial revolution and the resulting impact of the industrialization as ‘fedual system of industry’ due to its exploitative features. Marx explains the Boergeoise of modern industrail world as more powerful and controlling in comparison to previous dominating classes. The labor class, proletriate, is meeting the ends and unable to escape poverty. The Marxist critique of modren industrialized society has transformed the capitalist world in a positive way as it managed to provide recommendations of improvement. The term ‘bare existence as a laborer’ is referred to by Marx as the permanent status of the labourer throughout there lives due to lack of capital and lack of capacity to accumulate capital.
Marx state, ‘The average price of wage-labour is the minimum wage, i.e., that quantum of the means of subsistence which is absolutely requisite to keep the labourer in bare existence as a labourer’ (23). In other words, Marx explains tht the labor class is paid the minimum wage as the average price as wages for their labor. The moral argument surrounding the statement is a strong critic of the industrialization which employs labor on mimimum wage which they need to meet there basic needs. There are two major flaws in such a policy towards, that is, lack of surplus income to raise capital, and lack of surplus income to invest in gaining technology, skills, and educaiton. No doubt the income class is broadly divided into two groups, though it is equally contradictory with the fact that the future decades of industrialization revealed that there are more than two classes, that is, lower-income, middle-income, and upper-income. The income classes are further divided into lower, middle, and upper. The creation of multiple income groups worldwide has been a strong argument nagating the fact that the industrialization has trapped lower-income groups into permanent poverty. Many immigrants across the world from developing or under-developed world has migrated to developed and industrialized world for higher wages and has turned up well. East Asians in United States have gained there reputation for intelligence and achieved higher income within a single change of generation. The generation which migrated in post World War II has received incomes lower then the average income of White people, though the next generation to follow has accomplished the required skills and educaiton to compete with majority.
Marx points out by stating, ‘What, therefore, the wage-labourer appropriates by means of his labour, merely suffices to prolong and reproduce a bare existence’ (23). This significantly contirbutes to the fact that the first generation of labor without proper government regulations will not be able to meet the needs of their generation, and probably will remian in the same income for next couple of generations. The marxist critique have ended up well for the majority because the government policies and generation intelligence level of labor unions have used these arguments to raise the general welfare of labor class. Marx also used the term ‘appropriation’ to signify the importance of average set as the mimumum wage to be offerred to the labor. Marx states, ‘All that we want to do away with is the miserable character of this appropriation, under which the labourer lives merely to increase capital, and is allowed to live only in so far as the interest of the ruling class requires it’ (Marx 23). In other words, the interest of the ruling class is not in raising the standard of living of lower income group, stated as proletariate; instead, the purpose of appropriating a price which barely meets the basic needs for suriviving is to retain the labor for suprlus income.
The ruling elite, or boergeoise, aims at extracting surplus capital out of the existing resources and one of the inputs required for output is the labor. As per Adam Smith, there exists four basic factors of production, that is, land, labor, capital, and orgnaization. Land and capital are acquired by the organization (ruling class, boergeoise) in a way that the labor is used and reatined. Providing a minimum wage to the labor will deprive the labor of the opporutnity to accumulate wealth and remain laborer for the boergeoise. The last two centuries have revealed that the minimum wage has depried labor class of the opporunity to enhance and raise there standard of living. In order to increase the standard of living of lower-income class, government introduces programs to uplift the general state of their living, though not all the people across the world has the same level of government policies and regulations. Though, history reveals that the Marxist critique of industrialization and class based society has provided voice to the lower income class who are mainly laborer living a life to meet the basic ends of their lives. Despite the fact that the industrial revolution has entirely changed the way we organize our lives today, it has deprived many of the opporutnity to live a healthy life provided by the nature to man.
The element of appropriation explained by Karl Marx in Communist Manifesto is considered as voice of the proletriate and it has resulted in multiple interpretation. One of the dominant interpretation has resulted in a bi-polar world during cold-war era whereby USSR has set a system of governance that so-callled aimed at creating class-less society. Marxist ciritique of mimimum wage and creating an exploitative system has benefited the capitalist in a way that it has tranformed it system. Today, there are multiple opporutnities available to people to escape poverty and raise their respective standard of living. Last, but not the least, economists like Joseph E. Stiglitz argues that the income gape between rich and poor is widening with each passing year (14). As per one estimate, more than ninety percent of the world capital is accumulated by less then ten percent of the world poulation. The Marxist critique is as relevant today as it was in nineteenth century, though much have improved during the two centuries and capitalist system is improving itself. In other worlds, Marx was not absolutely true about the future of the industrialization and developed world, but it has managed to provide the other side of the story which benefited the society.
Marx, Karl. Manifesto of the Communist Party. Hyweb Technology Co. Ltd., 2011. Retrieved 20 January 2020, from https://ttu.ee/public/m/mart-murdvee/EconPsy/1/Karl_Marx_Frederick_Engels_1848_Manifesto_of_the_Communist_Party.pdf
Stiglitz, Joseph E. The price of inequality: How today’s divided society endangers our future. WW Norton & Company, 2012.