Capitalism, Surplus Value & Labor
Introduction: According to Jim Miller in an essay on the Marxists.org website online, Karl Marx wrote that capitalism causes alienation. This alienation results from the fact that capitalism as an inherently unjust economic system in which those who own the means of production exploit the people who must sell their labor in order to survive. Marx wrote that in the capitalist model, workers are treated as a commodity and as an expense by employers. As a result, employers are constantly looking for ways to eliminate as many workers from their payroll as possible. Employers also exploit their current labor force by requiring individuals to work as hard as they possibly can, by demanding specific productivity targets be met and by terminating workers who do not meet their employer’s productivity goals. Employers also exploit workers by making certain that the wages paid are just high enough to ensure that the company’s profits do not suffer because the company is unable to hire enough workers to meet production demands based on their current compensation and fringe benefit programs (Miller).
Jim Miller suggests that a capitalist is someone who owns capital in the form of the means of production. To be a capitalist, one must earn some or all of one’s living by investing money in business enterprises managed by themselves or others — or by working for a capitalist. The term capitalism refers to an economic system in which most of the means of production are privately owned and operated for a profit. Capitalism is an economic system in which investments, production, prices and quantities bought and sold are determined through the operation of supply and demand in a free market economy (Miller).
Karl Marx wrote that profit equals the rate of explotation of workers. According to John Miller in Das Kapital Review online, this statement results from the following analysis: The value created in production typically exceeds the daily valu…