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karl Marx.docx

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karl Marx: the Communist Manifesto 01/28/2014
Labor theory of Value and surplus Value
Of all Marx’s thought relies on his notion of surplus value: for a capitalist to make a profit “the value of the
wages the laborers are paid must be less than the value of the out put of their labor
Thus laborers receive less than they have warned as such they are exploited
Worse then they go out and buy with their own pitiful wages frivolous commodities produced by the
exploitation of their neighbors. A vicious cycle
Marx says in “the Manifesto” “the laborer lives merely to increase the capital and is allowed to live only
insofar as the interest of the ruling class requires it.
Exploitation or Opportunity
Also underscoring all of Marx’s thought is his view that capitalism degrades the workers spirit by essentially
using him/her as another “lifeless tool of production”
Consider Marx “Owing to the extensive use of machinery and to division of labor, the work of the
proletarians has lost all individual character and consequently all charm for the workman. He becomes an
appendage of the machine and it is only the most simple most monotonous and most easily required knack,
that is required of him (handout)
A possible objection is who said work should be charming
Another objection is workers buy labor too! We often labor for someone else (a boss) in order to buy labor
(a plumber) to save ourselves labor (fixing the drain ourselves)
Marx Against Locke
Consider Locke on property (you can own yourself no one else can own you. Unclear whether you own your
own labor for Marx)
Now Marx might argue “if people are entitled o all the products of their labour then why should I profit from
the labour of my servants whom I treat like my horse”
The workers should profit no less than the employer. The problem is that there are already entrenched
systems of power/property that make al labor itself a property and the product becomes alien
It would therefore taka revolution to abolish property/ownership rights so then those who were heretofore
the bourgeoisie would become workers and those who were workers would become owners.
Marx’s Goal
Marx’s ultimate goal is a classless society that is a society in which all people become workers and where
the means of production are socially owed, and which all participate equally in making the decisions that
shape their lives
We identify our lives with our labor instead of oscillating between jobs as we choose. Hunt in the morning
fish in the afternoon herd cattle and criticize in the evening without ever becoming a hunter fisherman
shepherd or critic
The “Controversial” Passage and Marx’s “Uncomfortable Legacy”
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