Only a particularly demented Marxist could have written this

No courses at Yale troubled Yellen or myself with any analyses of how exploitation lies at the core of capitalist production. We were never taught that the majority of industrial workers produce more value for employers than what employers pay them.

The difference between the value created and what is paid to the workers is called “profit”.

You might need to be a Marxist to whine about it but you certainly don’t need to have studied any Marxist economics to know of its existence.

11 thoughts on “Only a particularly demented Marxist could have written this”

  1. As they used to say in Singapore:
    There’s only one thing worse than being exploited by some multinational capitalist…
    And that’s not being exploited by some multinational capitalist.

  2. “Dick Wolff is a communist professor at the polytechnic of yadda yadda yadda…”

    Sometimes it’s very difficult not to sympathise with General Pinochet’s offer of free one way plane tickets to these arseholes.

  3. And when the worker pays for a pint of beer, he’s making a profit because the beer is worth more to him than its price. This bloody profit business sneaks in everywhere.

  4. “We were never taught that…”
    Of course not, because Yale assumed that anyone applying to take an economics course there already knew that. How on earth did he get to 18 without realising that no-one is going to give you a job unless they get some net benefit from it?

  5. “The difference between the value created and what is paid to the workers is called “profit”.”

    Value according to who?

    In any free and honest trade, the value of the goods each participant receives is greater than the value of the goods they give, for *both* participants. They trade because they value the goods differently, and so can *both* gain from the exchange.

    An employee values the money more than they do their own labour. The employer values the labour more than they do the money. So *both* receive more value than they give, and there are two different differences.

    The other thing to bear in mind the the product bought from the employee may not be quite the same product being sold to the company’s customers. The company adds such intangibles as market information, reputation, brand awareness, economies of scale, capital assets, tools of the trade, premises and utilities, financial and management services, and so on. A company can sell your labour to customers for more than you could sell it direct, because if you had to do it, you’d also have to handle all those auxiliary issues that companies normally do for you (or if you’re normally employed providing those auxiliary services, you’d have to produce and provide a product, too. So part of the difference between what it is bought and sold for the employer put in.

    The fundamental test to see if employees are being exploited is to have them try to bypass the company and do it for themselves. If they can sell it direct for the same price and so get paid more, then they’re being exploited and they should set up on their own. If they can’t, and this is usually the case, then they actually gain from working for the company. Far from exploiting them, the company offers them benefit over and above the simple value of their labour on the open market. The relationship is, of course, mutually beneficial.

    Companies are made up of other people – the vast majority of them are simply all the other employees. There is a tendency to impersonalise companies as “the other”, as a faceless machine or as fat-cat plutocrats. But mostly, companies are *us*. We are the employers. We are the shareholders (through our pension funds and savings). What we take from big companies we take from ourselves, when we hurt big companies we hurt ourselves, when we accuse companies of exploitation we accuse ourselves.

    “The spear in the Other’s heart is the spear in your own; you are he. There is no other wisdom, and no other hope for us but that we grow wise.”

  6. By the time my kids were 12, they had often heard from me that no company can afford to pay you what you are “worth” because if that’s how they pay their employees, they won’t make any money.

    I also reminded them often enough that if it’s important for you to be paid what you are “worth” aim to start your own business.

    And I also told them that working for a private company or a government agency is not necessarily a bad deal. If the job offers e.g., greater job security, or entails fewer management headaches, or allows more personal time, being an employee might be “worth it” to you.

    One of the kids is now is at NASA, one teaches, and one has her own business – and all are satisfied with their life choices.

    Am I surprised none of this is taught at Yale? No. Should one need an elite college education to know these things? No, yet remedial courses are clearly necessary.

    But it is always interesting to hear self-styled elites shout “exploitation.” Interesting because of other questions that can arise. In this instance, is it the “industrial worker” who is exploited for making career choices, or is it the student who receives an elite degree from say Yale, without actually understanding, you know, basic things about economics?

    And besides, how many jobs in the modern economy are there for “industrial workers” anyway? None I should imagine that graduates of Yale would find worthy of their skills.

  7. NIV, your deployment of remorseless reason and logic reveals you as a capitalist running dog. Off to the Gulag with you!

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