Saturday, September 06, 2008

Karl’s Quotes

On the Value of labour-power, “ What, then, is the value of labouringpower? Like that of every other commodity, its value is determined by the quantity of labour necessary to produce it…A certain mass of necessaries must be consumed by a man to grow up and maintain his life. But the man,like the machine, will wear out and must be replaced by another man. Beside the mass of necessaries required for his own maintenance, he wants another amount of necessaries to bring up a certain quota of children that are to replace him on the labour market and to perpetuate the race of labourers. Moreover, to develop his labouring power, and acquire a givenskill, another amount of values must be spent…As the costs of producing labouring powers of different quality do differ, so must differ the values of the labouring powers employed in different trades. The cry for an equality of wages rests, therefore, upon a mistake, is an inane wish to be fulfilled…Upon the basis of the wages system the value of labouring power is settled like that of every other commodity; and as different kinds of labouring power have different values, or require different quantities of labour for their production, they must fetch different prices in the labour market. To clamour for equal or even equitable retribution on the basis of the wages system is the same as to clamour for freedom on the basis of the slavery system. What you think just or equitable is out of the question. The question is; What is necessary and unavoidable with a given system of production?”
(from “Value, Price andProfit” pp39/40. In other words, inequality is part of the capitalist modeof production and can only be rectified by an end to the wages system.

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