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GER150 Lecture 4

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Willi Goetschel

January 28 2014 GER150 Lecture 4 Readings Marx, “Wage Labour and Capital” (Tucker 203-217) - on Portal Marx, Capital, “The Secret of Original Accumulation” (294-297) fromWage Labour and Capital • Marx explores the modern definition of slavery (and serfdom). If you are treated like property, you are actually treated well because you have been paid for.This was often the case for classic slavery as well...Why are the proletarian laborers treated so poorly. Another difference is that you can’t run away or escape, with “modern” slavery, you will just end up in the same situation. • You might be an “accomplished” laborer, and paid well, you are still dependent on this salary.We have turned our life into a means of production, rather than enjoying it. • Labour power becomes a commodity, can be bought, and thevalue of it is determined by the clock. Capitalists look for ways to use his workers in the most efficient way, especially using machinery. • No matter how many machines you have, there has to be some sort of human factor.The better the machines, the faster the products can be made... all capitalists have to keep up with the technology or else you can’t compete. Capitalism and labour are intertwined. • Laborer sells his life activity in order to continue existing, to survive. Sells his dignity/ humanity in order to live... the weirdness of this. • The more money you make, the more difficult it is to meet your needs, since expenses go up. Running in a hamster wheel.You don’t seek purpose of life in life activity, but in reproduction. Going to bed, having a drink, etc.This isn’t because people are stupid, but they have to compensate for loss of life. • Free labour is totally unfree. Liberalism says you can do whatever you like, but there isn’t much choice. • The free laborer sells his labour, as a separate piece. and then you don’t treat yourself like a whole human being, which is worse than slavery where you sell your whole self. • Everything in capitalism is commodified. Bodies are commodified - that feeling you get when you go to the interview.Trying to sell yourself. • Talks about minimum wage - wage min. doesn’t hold good for the individual but for the the population as a whole. • Money or gold isn’t a capital unless it exists within a special framework. Black slaves are only slaves within a certain framework. Being in a classless society doesn’t mean you will no longer have money, but it wouldn’t work as a means of produc
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