Under capitalist ownership, the capitalists make profits by keeping as much as they can, and paying out as little in wages as they must. They pay the workers the smallest wage they can bargain them down to. On the average, that amounts to a wage which is just enough to get along on, the smallest amount a worker can afford to work for. Even, for a large part of the workers, it amounts to “not enough … to raise healthy children or maintain their own vigor.” And this is the case even in the most prosperous capitalist country. It is the very system of capitalist ownership and wage labor which sets this ceiling on the standard of living. This same system prevents production of abundance. To force the workers to work for low wages the capitalists need a permanent group of unemployed workers as a threat. Every worker must know that there is a man out of a job that the boss can put in his place if he demands higher wages. This ever-existent unemployed group under capitalism Marx named the industrial reserve army.
The fact is that the capitalists not only want profits, but are in a bitter struggle with other capitalists for profits, a struggle in which the loser is destroyed. If there is any surplus the capitalist must spend it on merchandising and advertising to swell the sales of his product. The system doesn’t give the capitalist freedom to pay extra wages to the workers, even if he wanted to. Capitalism will not tolerate even a gesture to lessen the workers’ fear of unemployment which is part of the essential mechanism of the system. They know they have to keep the reserve army of unemployed, the low standard of living for all employed workers that goes with it, and the low level of production and the chronic crisis that follows from it. Capitalist employers are in business and must be, to make money for themselves, and not to make goods for society. They can afford to start production only when they can sell their goods and end up richer than they started. If production will not increase their wealth they don’t permit any production. It is better to close down and keep what they have, rather than spend money producing what they cannot sell. For sales to increase their wealth they need a market; but they can’t get richer by passing out their own money to make the market for their own goods. They wouldn’t be ahead a penny. Therefore, they have nothing to gain by paying any wages above the least that they can bargain the workers down to. The more they have to pay the workers, the less is left for profits. As long as capitalism remains capitalism, surplus capital will never be used for the purpose of raising the standard of living of the masses, for this would mean a decrease in profits for the capitalists.
If the capitalists merely hoarded their profits, the system would run into a crisis at once because all this vast buying power would be withdrawn from the market. To keep the system running the capitalists must be able to keep their profits and spend them too. They do that by spending their increased money-capital for capital equipment, additional machines and factories. Thus their accumulation of wealth can really grow, and only such growth can avoid a crisis for the system. Yet capital investments through the building of new factories is possible only as new markets are found for the increased output. The growth of the home market is soon used up; and the capitalists must look abroad as areas for growth. Once there is no profitable use for capital at home, it will be used to increase profits by exporting the capital.
Rickets is a disease of poverty, preventable by proper food – of which there is plenty in the world and of which, under a socialist system, there could be even more. The reason for that is that under socialism food would be produced for use, for the good of all humanity. Under capitalism, food is produced primarily for profit; needs are completely secondary. Today in this modern world the return of rickets is a testimonial of social injustice. For today there could be plenty for all the world. Mankind has learned the secrets of the air, the sea, the surface and the bowels of the earth. Mankind knows its way around atoms and electrons. We has fashioned machines which are miracles of production. The world is teeming with millions of able hands willing to build and operate those machines for production of abundance. Wonderful means of transportation by air, sea and land are here for the people and for their mutual benefit to share according to their needs.
The profit-grubbing obstructionism by the capitalist class must be ended. The working people will finally to oust the capitalists and establish a socialist world. Only the working peoples of the world can cure the problems of the world. For the peoples of the world to arrive at the longed-for destiny of humanity to produce the things of life in abundance, we must rid ourselves of the motives of capitalist profits. Humanity needs a socialist world!