## The poor and Capitalism?

• 93
If you read Karl Marx Manifesto about the extra surplus that workers make, why do the rich AND working class feel they deserve it? Isn't it for the poor? Who speaks for the poor?

I've read some Anarchy philosophy too and they claim during the Renaissance, when Capitalism was born, that Capitalism's surplus would go to the poor and solve the lower class problems. Do we do this at all in America (not tax money)? Has it fallen short of its promise?
• 2.5k
Who speaks for the poor?Drek
Smith & Wesson sometimes, Kalashnikov, Ruger, Glock, SIg Sauer. And I wish the need of it weren't so.
• 93
And I wish the need of it weren't so.
Ain't that the truth!
• 199
If you read Karl Marx Manifesto about the extra surplus that workers make, why do the rich AND working class feel they deserve it?Drek

Do you think capitalists play no role in the profits that are made?

If you are a marxist, then I imagine you believe in Marx's theory of value?
• 3.3k
I have some good news and bad news.

The good news is capitalism affords equal opportunity to everyone (the poor and rich included)

The bad news is all people are not created equal. Some are smarter than most. It's the smart ones that invent products and services that hit off in the market and the rest of us have to spend our money on.
• 93
Say I made apples, and at the end of the production cycle I have some unsold apples that will depreciate quickly (given it is on good productive days). What's the capitalist's interest in hording the apples when he can give them to the government to distribute to those in need instead of automatically trading them off for more money? Apples = computers (outdated ones for example) = any product at the end of it's life cycle.

Capitalist do play a role but their salary is included already when a company breaks even. IF they do not break even or just break even then nothing gets distributed at that company.

And, I am assuming Marx had a point or else it wouldn't be, but no not a Marxist. The people of the Renaissance herald Capitalism about that fact. I am just asking "What happened?"
• 10.2k
If you read Karl Marx Manifesto about the extra surplus that workers make, why do the rich AND working class feel they deserve it? Isn't it for the poor? Who speaks for the poor?Drek

An incorrupt state under socialism and its supporters would speak for the poor. The state would be in control of the surplus to distribute fairly to society, meaning, in theory, those who were poor under capitalism either shouldn't be poor or should be less so. It wouldn't go directly to the rich or the workers or the poor, whether they feel they deserve it or otherwise. If the surplus went directly to the poor, then the poor would become the upper class, and everyone else would become a lower class. The formerly poor would be privileged to do what they please with the undue wealth they privately own.
• 93

Damn right Capitalism affords us great things. It lifts all boats.

People are good at different things you betcha.

I'm saying that there is all that in the lower class disabled, terminally ill, etc. I'm not talking dollars here but material goods that may be a generation behind or will depreciate. Or "I have so many I don't know what to do with them" Which happens doesn't it?
• 3.3k
Those who've succeeded in capitalism were once poor. They made their start from the lowest rung in society didn't they?

So, it's quite sad and odd that the rich don't feel a sense of responsibility for the poor. I guess, it's poor vs poor in the end.
• 93
It would get rid of the lower class though. More workers and capitalists... rinse and repeat...
• 3.3k
just that the rich and workers, assuming there is this "Surplus", think they are entitled to it. Why not the poor?Drek

They worked for it, so it's theirs.
• 93
Well, it would get rid of taxes too. So workers keep more of their labor. The only one losing materials is the ruling class.

Instead of giving tax money for them to buy things... we just give them the things in the first place.

It would help because they might waste the tax money.
• 7.8k
One of the reasons that the poor stay poor is that poverty is useful in the capitalist system. Having a batch of poor folk around serves as a labor reserve. should the need for greater production arise, the poor can be hired, solving the labor shortage. We are in that situation now, sort of: Unemployment is very low. (Of course, official unemployment figures should always be taken with a hefty dose of salt.)

A second reason for keeping the poor poor is that they are a living warning to the working class:
A) See that line of unemployed people out there? Demand too much and you will be joining them.
B) Step out of line and you'll be fired -- because you can conveniently be replaced.

why do the rich AND working class feel they deserve it? Isn't it for the poor?Drek

Who the hell told you that surplus value was for the poor? Nothing could be further from the facts! Surplus value is what capitalists live for: Surplus value makes up the income stream of the rich. (Marx's short work Value, Price, and Profit elaborates how surplus value is accumulated.

Damn right Capitalism affords us great things. It lifts all boats.Drek

Capitalism is good at cooking up new products, but that it lifts all boats is wishful thinking. Not everyone has a boat to lift. Most people will just have to swim or sink as the tide of capitalism rises. In fact, much of the income flowing to the richest segment of the world's population (the dozen or so very, very, very rich people that have more wealth than half of mankind) lifts only the boats of speculators. That is so because much of the super rich income comes from manipulating financial instruments, and these instruments have nothing directly to do with production.

The problem with all this cash flowing into the hands of a vanishingly small number of super rich is that the trillions of dollars in cash ceases to have a productive role in the world economy. Investing in credit default swaps, currency trading, and other esoterica doesn't generate new production, innovation, or better lives for anyone. (It doesn't do much for the super rich either, because they are already over the top. What more could they possibly want that they don't already have, other than more more and more of the same?)

Eat the rich!
• 93
Wouldn't it limit the wage gap between worker and capitalist while also lifting up the poor to be eligible to work? Then we can have more people contributing and not starving? I thought surplus value was the surplus of stuff that doesn't get sold (the article). Like, you make a bunch of bread, not all of it sells, but it goes bad. You aren't really going to make a killing selling day old cheaply why not give it to the government/church programs that can help get it to people that need it?

I thought when you are making a bunch of something, it's not always a 1 to 1 sale in inventory so some things don't get sold (that surplus). While things get outdated (product life cycle) or rot... so why not give the outdated/day old food aka no one wants to buy to people that could benefit. Like a computer, a 2018 model, sits in inventory for awhile it's past the point of no return no one wants it, they want new.

There are communication errors/delays between producer seller and consumer. when things become HOT then they ramp up their inventory When things cool down, you are left with a lot of inventory because there was a delay and no one is buying cause things cooled down. Another way that things get wasted. I'm not saying socialism is better, not touching the money supply. Our excess products.

If Marx was complaining that Capitalists made any profit at all then that's not good business sense.
• 419
If Marx was complaining that Capitalists made any profit at all then that's not good business sense.Drek

That was not the complaint. The surplus value argument was not about getting a fair share. Marx objected to collective bargaining because it accepted the terms of the deal as given.

Rightly or wrongly, the Marx idea was based upon changing the terms of the transaction.

Now that is either possible or not. But it is useless to read Marx in any other terms. That is the only thing he cared about.
• 7.8k
I thought surplus value was the surplus of stuff that doesn't get sold (the article). Like, you make a bunch of bread, not all of it sells, but it goes bad.Drek

"Surplus value" isn't the stuff that is left over after a sale. Here's a simple illustration.

In one pile is iron ore. In another pile is coal. Next to the coal and iron ore is a blast furnace. Iron ore, by itself, isn't worth a lot. It is basically red gravel. Coal by itself isn't worth a lot, nor is a cold blast furnace. But you own the ore, the coke, and the blast furnace, and you want to make some money. How do you do that?

You hire some iron workers to heat up the blast furnace with the coal and then add iron ore. It takes a lot of work and skill to run a blast furnace; to know how hot it should be; how long the ore will need to melt into slag and iron; to know how much oxygen to add, how and when to draw off the iron, and so on.

The workers have used their knowledge and energy to produce ingots of high quality iron. You own the
finished iron which is worth a lot more than the raw ore and coal. Where did the extra [surplus] value come from?

The surplus value came from the labor of the iron workers. By working the ore and coal into iron ingots, they greatly increased the value of the ore and coal. The greater value (of the iron ingots) less the cost of labor is surplus value.

Labor creates all wealth, because wealth depends on raw materials being worked up into finished goods by workers.

The workers are paid for the labor, not for the surplus value. The capitalist keeps the surplus value. Aren't the wages tied to the surplus value? No. Wages are tied to income from selling products (or services). Once the capitalist sells the iron ingots to Ford to make pickup trucks, he can pay the workers.

Farmers work the land and sell the crop. Garment workers take cloth (their raw material) and turn it into clothing. Butchers take cows (their raw material) and turn the cow into steaks, roasts, and hamburger. Tanners take cow hides and turn them into leather. Shoemakers take the raw material o leather and turn it into shoes. And so on.

The Capitalist will say, "but I owned all the raw materials, the blast furnace, and the factories. I told the workers what to do. I bought machines to make their work easier. I am the one that created the wealth." Except: the raw materials (like iron ore) could sit there forever without becoming a product. Even if machines are used, other workers made the machines.

Now, the capitalist could kill a cow and cut it up and sell it. In which case he would be a butcher, not a capitalist. A capitalist could buy some cloth and make a suit for me. In which case he would be a tailor, not a capitalist.

Does this help? If not, read Value Price and Profit here. It's free.

DISCLAIMER: It has been a long time since I read Value, Price, and Profit. It is possible that I have not accurately represented what Marx said. Feel free to correct my report.
• 7.8k
Fanning the Flames of Discontent Department

According to a management consultant, “Employees can (and should) be underpaid, overworked, exhausted and then discarded.” The aim is to maximise the value of the company in the short term, with a view to cashing out when it is sold at an IPO.

Workers create surplus value, but don't expect gratitude from capitalists!

Quote from "Lab Rats by Dan Lyons and Seasonal Associate by Heike Geissler review – powerless at work" From Guardian Book Reviews. Read it and weep.
• 93
I'm glancing at Value, Price and Profit, definitely over my head. I'm giving it a valiant effort cause I'm curious.

Is he asking for a more variable wage one that's more in accordance to "true value"? Fixed to me would be good if your company can't sell shit or is starting out but the bad side is workers are only getting paid half, but if it becomes variable if doing well... wages should rise. OR is that what he's speaking against? (I'm saying the better the company does, the better the wage. And as the business cycle fluctuates so does the wage) (True value would be like what the actual equilibrium price is not some arbitrary price.)

If you have more efficient machines and producing 1000 yarns vs 10 yarns in a given hour, yarn should definitely be lower in price... but wouldn't the wage too? And the Capitalist would take a hit too?

Nowadays it takes something like 10 cents to make a shirt in India or whatever then it magically becomes a $50 shirt... that doesn't make sense either. I can't believe workers are getting paid half the efforts... I see the relation to Serfdom If his math is right... isn't 50% profit enough to be true to the workers instead of taking the 200% pure profits. Doing the hard thing for justice is good in and of itself and for the results.. no matter how profitable or pleasurable being unjust is? Capitalists are at odd with their consumers too who also probably happen to be workers. I'm trying... :cry: • 7.8k I'm trying...Drek You are doing fine. Nobody dipped into Marx and instantly got it all. I read it several times as part of a socialist study group. It takes time for these contrary ideas to sink in. Marx was describing how capitalism worked -- that's what Das Capital and Value, Price, and Profit is about. He wasn't interesting in specifying what the workers wages should be, because in his view, the workers should get it all--that is, the value of the goods they created. He hoped that at some point the capitalist would be done away with -- not by lining the capitalists up and shooting them, but by replacing capitalism and capitalists with socialism. Will it happen? I don't know. I can't believe workers are getting paid half the efforts... I see the relation to SerfdomDrek They are getting paid less than that! As a rule of thumb, the cost of producing a product is usually about 1/10th of the retail price. So, where does the rest of the products retail price come from? Take your shirt: Somebody has to design the cloth; somebody else makes the cloth. Somebody else designs the shirt; then somebody makes the shirt; then the shirt has to be washed, pressed, and put into a package; then the shirt has to be marketed; then the shirt has to be shipped to the various countries whose stores bought the shirt; then the shirt has to be transported to the warehouse of the buyer; eventually it gets to Walmart. Walmart advertises the shirt. You go buy it. You are paying for everything that happened along the way, and all the profit margins that each handling company tased on. That's why your$5 shirt ends up costing $50--or more. Maybe much more. Capitalists don't have it easy. If they make too much of something, the price of it drops and they may lose a lot of money. If they don't make enough of it, they lost opportunity to sell the stuff. Sometimes customers decide they don't like something and won't buy it -- and the company is screwed (sort of). Maybe the company went into debt buying up other companies and can't afford to pay the interest -- then it goes belly up eventually. Like Sears and Penney's. Some companies like Neiman Marcus cater to very rich customers and can afford less volume on merchandise that is marked up a lot. Manufacturers (or any other capitalist) pays no more to get workers to stay on the job that is necessary. Profitability doesn't determine wages. What determines wages is how much per hour it takes to get a worker to apply for the job. Here's an example: Hormel (bacon, ham, etc.) used to be a union shop and paid pretty good wages to the local almost all white workers in Austin, Minnesota. After Hormel cut wages, the workers went on strike and Hormel hired temporaries. Eventually the striking workers were replaced permanently and the plant became an all Mexican immigrant plant paying much lower wages for worse working conditions. White workers would not work for greatly reduced wages. Mexicans would because the average lower rate here is still higher than the much lower rate of wages in Mexico. Doing the hard thing for justice is good in and of itself and for the results.. no matter how profitable or pleasurable being unjust is?Drek There is nothing just about the Capitalist System. It is based on ruthless exploitation. • 93 Hormel (bacon, ham, etc.) used to be a union shop and paid pretty good wages to the local almost all white workers in Austin, Minnesota. After Hormel cut wages, the workers went on strike and Hormel hired temporaries. Eventually the striking workers were replaced permanently and the plant became an all Mexican immigrant plant paying much lower wages for worse working conditions. White workers would not work for greatly reduced wages. Mexicans would because the average lower rate here is still higher than the much lower rate of wages in Mexico. That's sad because I live near that place. A Mexican claimed to me that white people don't like that type of work. When how you explained it it's because it's way better than where they are at in Mexico. So coming from nothing anything looks good. Illegal immigration is an issue too... taking some of the bargaining power. I've seen Mexicans mail back money to Mexico too. Whatever that means. So like in India with the grain... their rich class feels there is no incentive to give to their own starving people? Want to sell it to deepen their pockets... I don't get it. Can a business owner say no to a profit incentive? They'll be the only class left though then they'll have to work themselves. I always thought the worker and the capitalist were important and we help the poor. The capitalist is in the best position to help the poor. We are all at each other's throats it seems. Maybe that's how the evil want it - divided we fall. The worst of both socialism and capitalism. I thought capitalism was suppose to prevent this when we are suppose to have a common bond with each other (brotherly love and the fellow American). Capitalism is suppose to harness greed "invisible hand", for everyone's benefit. What if it's not a a socialist or capitalist thing but a question of human nature? • 1.4k He hoped that at some point the capitalist would be done away with -- not by lining the capitalists up and shooting them, but by replacing capitalism and capitalists with socialism. Will it happen? I don't know. How about this? Capitalism in the middle, and socialism at the extremes. The goal should be to create a middle class society. The rich are taxed to bring them down in to the middle class, while the poor are subsidized (primarily through education) to bring them up in to the middle class. Within the middle class things work much as they do already, because we all need and benefit from incentives to improve our skills, advance our education etc. So the middle class would not be a single uniform category, but would contain within it a range of incomes, just as it already does. But nobody would have a billion dollars, and nobody would be sleeping in the streets. Bernie Sanders was on the right track with his proposal to make college free (like high school) paid for by the super rich. Crank is right, a tiny number of people are hogging a huge percentage of the wealth of modern society. That needs to end. Here's an article which addresses the subject... https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/12/06/the-richest-1-percent-now-owns-more-of-the-countrys-wealth-than-at-any-time-in-the-past-50-years/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.403c0d3a0313 A quote from the article: The top 20 percent of households actually own a whopping 90 percent of the stuff in America — Washington Post • 10.2k They worked for it, so it's theirs. That kind of thinking is very much inside of the box. It doesn't have to be theirs. In practical terms, it doesn't do enough to address the problem of inequality, and if you don't consider that a serious problem, then that is the problem. Nurses do more for society than many of the highest earners. How, for example, is making a profit from the labour of low paid workers, selling materialistic toot we don't really need, enabling a life of luxury, whilst nurses who perform an invaluable service to society to the benefit of everyone, yet struggle to get by, a fairer vision of society? • 3.3k That kind of thinking is very much inside of the box. In practical terms, it doesn't do enough to address the problem of inequality, and if you don't consider that a serious problem, then that is the problem. Nurses do more for society than many of the highest earners. How, for example, is making a profit from the labour of low paid workers, selling materialistic toot we don't really need, whilst nurses struggle to get by a fairer vision of society?S I understand but what is valued by society? A technician or a discoverer or inventor. A nurse is technician who only knows how to do something but s/he is valued less than the person inventor who made the nurse's job possible or easier. I'm not against equality. I'm just pointing out one of its causes. • 10.2k I understand but what is valued by society? A technician or a discoverer or inventor. A nurse is technician who only knows how to do something but s/he is valued less than the person inventor who made the nurse's job possible or easier. Well, if you actually ask society - and you can pick any society because you'll get the same result - most people say they value nurses more. There is a conflict between what people believe and what people accept, and what people think is ethical versus what people think is desirable. Inventors of materialistic toot are much less valuable then inventors of tools which aid public services. Yet under our current capitalistic model, that distinction doesn't matter in terms of the wealth you'll receive if successful. I think that it should. I'm not against equality. I'm just pointing out one of its causes. You were putting forward the bog standard reasoning of the bog standard capitalist, and I responded by pointing out a big problem with it, namely that it doesn't do enough to address the problem of inequality. • 1.4k A nurse is technician who only knows how to do something but s/he is valued less than the person inventor who made the nurse's job possible or easier. It seems reasonable that someone who makes all nurse's jobs easier should be compensated more than a single nurse. But the pay doesn't need to be 1,000X more to motivate that contribution. As example, Steve Jobs didn't invent Apple to become a billionaire, he did so because he had a huge ego and he wanted everyone to witness the impact he could have upon the world. He would have happily invented Apple for a million dollars, if society judged that to be an impressive sum (thus making Jobs an impressive person in the eyes of society), and if that was enough for him to continue doing what he enjoyed doing. We're never going to have pure equality, and we shouldn't have. People should have incentives to do their best work. We just need to dial back the wild excesses in the system. As example, according to Wikipedia... Bezos's wealth surpassed$100 billion for the first time on November 24, 2017, and he was formally designated the wealthiest person in the world by Forbes on March 6, 2018, with a net worth of \$112 billion. — Wikipedia

Ok, so Amazon is a pretty amazing service which provides great value, but wouldn't 100 Million be sufficient reward, instead of 100 Billion?
• 10.2k
Put an international cap on crazy excess of wealth, then redistribute anything over the cap to society in a more fair and proportionate manner, beginning with where it's needed most. That's at least the first step to solving the problem. Just need to get there.

If it's international, then the little weasels would have nowhere to scurry off to in order to avoid paying a fair share. And I don't believe for a second that there'd be a critical lack of innovators willing to cooperate. It would just filter out the less ethical ones, and it would be their loss anyway. They can suit themselves. If for them it's either crazy excess or nothing, then they can have nothing.
• 3.3k
We just need to dial back the wild excesses in the systemJake

You're right. The fault doesn't lie with valuation. Rather the degree of valuation is disproportionate.

See above.
• 1.4k
f it's international, then the little weasels would have nowhere to scurry off to in order to avoid paying a fair share.S

Of course we could simply stop buying their "materialistic toot", a great phrase which I intend to steal and re-license under my own name, making me an over night multi-trillionaire. Buh! Mere billions are for losers!!
• 10.2k
Of course we could simply stop buying their "materialistic toot", a great phrase which I intend to steal and re-license under my own name, making me an over night multi-trillionaire. Buh! Mere billions are for losers!!Jake

That's the spirit! Now, on to the next task: start wars with other countries? I feel there aren't enough wars right now. I love a good war.
• 318
I´ve never read any text by Karl Marx because he was so disappointing as a person; the way he did never get a bloody job, or look after his family, or even care for himself. He was the opposite of eudaimonia, and blamed it all on the owners of the factories where people did that mysterious thing called work. His self-hate and self-disgust was projected to upper classes. What can we learn from him? I guess there are bits that make sense, but you can not buy theories of the world from such a terrible father, spouse and citizen. What did he not end up in jail or hanged? Why did he not take his own life before any of his children died due to his lack of responsibility?

Or maybe I´m mistaken and he had a positive side for philosophy, like Freddie Mercury that was talented for music.
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