Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Understanding Why The Working Class Are Cheap

Understanding ones place in material reality is never a light hearted experience. The moment it hit me like a ton of bricks that I  am indeed nothing more than a cog in a profit driven machine, and have been so from the time I was born, left me with a deep feeling of being cheap. Mind you, I did not feel cheap in the traditional emotional gray area of the word, but more in the sense that my value as a human being is judged simply by how much profit I generate for the benefit of so few. Removing all lofty ideas of the cute notions of all human life has high value, I reached a material realization that in capitalist economics I am viewed as cheap no matter how much `profit` my labor produces. When thinking about this profoundly, to hold the belief that the ethics of the whole situation is somehow moral and `good for me` translates into my acceptance that my value as a human being is cheap. All humans must engage in labor in order to survive. This is not something which can be avoided. So, if I am laboring just as hard as everyone else, regardless of the type of work others are doing, then why is my labor considered cheap and others considered not cheap?

The Libertarian stand point would simply say that it is due to demand and the will of the market. That I have no control over the amount of profit my labor affords me. The only thing which controls the value of my labor, and thus my life, is the demand of the market. Well, what is driving this `demand` in the market in the first place?

It appears, in my limited perspective as a worker, that what is really driving this magic thing called `demand` is people`s desire to have stuff. Some of the stuff people really need like food, medicines, soap, houses and even a car perhaps. Other stuff people don`t really need but they want, or at least they say they want, like T.V.`s, video games, action figures, designer clothes and even hardcore porn. Yes! It must be people`s desire to have stuff which is the driving factor behind the magic thing called `demand.`

So let me get this straight: We all go to jobs everyday because there are two things called profit and demand which a lot of people desire. The higher the demand the more value my labor, and effectively, my life has in the grand scope of things. The harder I work the more profit is generated due to the demand. Yet, I don`t seem to be getting more stuff nor profit despite how high the demand becomes. Only some people are getting more stuff and profit. Only some people are considered to be of high value in the grand scope of economics. Everyone is doing their best, or as best as they can when their own material conditions are considered, but only some people seem to be getting a large benefit at the end of the day.

Something clearly seems to be missing in my efforts to understand why I am still cheap after all this hard work and talk of demand and profit. Well, if my fellow workers and I are not getting the most benefit then who is reaping the majority of the benefit? Well, I think it is important to take a look at something called class struggle.

You know about class struggle; right? I read about it and it seems that it is key to understanding why I am cheap while others are not cheap.

Classes of people, based on economics, is basically a structure in which people benefit from production based on their ownership of the means of production. You know, like who owns the place you and I work at or who owns the materials and tools you and I use to make stuff. Who ever owns the most means of production gets the most benefit. There are many different classes of people, but from what I have learned, there are some basic classes which most people can fit into.

Three basics classes:
Bourgeoisie=They own and control big things like huge industrial companies, governments, banks, media and natural resources
Petty Bourgeoisie=They own and control smaller things; and sometimes work for the bourgeoisie
Workers=They do most of the work and turn out most of the production. They own and control none of the means of production.

Like I said, classes of people can be broken down into many more finer and smaller groups depending on the overall material conditions, but the above groups of the basis of what makes up class struggle.

In order for me better understand why I am cheap I need to be aware of which class I fall into. Well, I do not own any means of production and I do not directly work for anyone who does control means of production. I must be in the worker class. A worker is paid a wage based on a set standard of how much their labor is worth according to the market; or so says the Libertarians and Capitalist. Clearly the Petty Bourgeoisie and the Bourgeoisie are the ones getting the majority of the benefit from all the profit and production my labor produces. I think I am getting closer to understanding why I am cheap.

Simple logic says that the market can only generate so much demand because people can desire only so much stuff. Demand cannot be infinite because there is not a infinite amount of people who desire stuff.  Also, demand must go up and down depending on how much stuff people desire at any one time. With such realities in mind, there must only be a certain amount of profit to go around. Considering that I am cheap, and a worker, then all workers must be cheap while other classes must not be cheap. That seems to be a very strange situation to me. The people who are doing most of the work and turning out most of the production are getting the least amount of the profit simply because they do not own the means of production. So, I am cheap because I do not own the means of production. So, my value as a human being, in the scope of economics, is based on my ownership of the means of production.

This brings up a larger sense of wonderment for me. How is ownership of production determined in the first place? It would seem natural that those who use something daily would be the owner of said thing. If most of the production is coming from the workers, and these same people are the ones using the means of production daily, they should naturally be the owners and the ones getting the majority of the benefit. Yet, this is not true at all. So, it is the overall class struggle which more fully explains why I am cheap while those of the higher classes are not cheap.

Okay....so by understanding exactly why I am cheap while others are not it seems there is only one choice for, not only me, but for everyone in the worker class to benefit more from the profit of our labor; law of opposites and negation must happen. What is `Law of Opposites` and `Negation?`

Law of Opposites=When who different groups, who are interdependent, have a disagreement which they are unable to resolve. They will oppose each other, and all production can sometimes stop, until an agreement can be made which resolves the disagreement.

Negation=When there are two groups and one group controls the other. The lower group seeks to attain the benefit of the higher group. The lower group will take steps to destroy the higher group and become their replacement. This process can often repeat itself many times until there is no longer a lower group.

The worker class wants more of the benefit of the `extra value of labor` or profit so the worker class will oppose the bourgeoisie until an agreement can be reached in which the `extra value of labor` is more evenly distributed among the different classes. This could take many forms and express itself in any number of ways.

Overtime, the working class will learn all the ways in which the bourgeoisie maintain their control of the means of production and will seek to view the bourgeoisie as a useless class. Replacing the bourgeoisie as the owners of production with the working class will result in negation. Only when that happens no one in the working class will be cheap any longer.

How is all of this achieved? Well, that is something to be thought about another day.

*This is a restart of this blog of sorts. There are many ideas and concepts which I want to express a rethinking about. I hope you will go on this journey with me. 

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