Karl Marx analyzed the difference between the value workers produce and their wages. Surplus value forms that difference. Marx saw a potential problem. Capitalism pressures workers who rent their labor to surrender that surplus. The more successful a capitalist is, the more surplus value they coerce from workers. If they didn’t, they’d be out of business.
Jeff Bezos is founder and CEO of Amazon.com. Bezos’ wealth takes the shape of shares and other forms of capital. Amazon workers generate the value of that wealth.For every dollar Bezos gains in share value, workers lose that amount when payday arrives. The total theft from workers improves his shares’s value. Bezos steals more in value every 11.5 seconds than he pays the lowest paid employees at Amazon in an entire year.
No, it’s working as intended. All capitalist relationships are like Bezos and Amazon warehouse workers. All bosses pressure workers to extract that surplus value. With only their labor to rent, the bosses possess tremendous leverage.
The capitalist class owns the means to produce value (land, natural resources, factories, etc.). Workers must sell their labor to survive. For workers, the choice is starvation or losing one’s home versus wages negotiated on the boss’s terms.
No fair “deals” exist between workers and bosses. It’s lopsided by design!
Bezos isn’t alone. A small shop owner can fire an employee if they speak up. All bosses know workers need to eat and find shelter. Necessities. Their possession builds on your dispossession.
Even a “benevolent” shopkeeper takes profit from the surplus value workers produce. If they don’t, they go out of business. Likewise, if work is not profitable to capitalists, the work of fulfilling human needs does not get done. This is why there aren’t houses for everyone. Food for everyone. Yet, the means exist to feed and house everyone.
Demanding only a larger piece of the pie just keeps workers always on the defensive. By reappropriating our wealth and ultimately replacing capitalism, we can organize the entire economy, with industries or companies run by and for workers. If we defeat the ruling class, workers can be free. Free to heal patients. Free to teach and develop curriculum. Free to retire and enjoy our waning years. I ensure your needs are met and vice versa.
Imagine a castle. The boss is king. You and your coworkers are peasants. No one person can breach the castle wall of capitalism. Together, workers storm it and demand better. Strength in numbers. This could be direct actions together. Or a union. What’s important is that those who do the work are united. Workers decide.
Humanity ended the reign of kings. We can build a future free from the tyranny of capitalists and landlords!