Marx's Concept Of Wage Labor

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This essay will explain and discuss Marx's concept of wage labor and the worker's relationship with the capitalist as he describes in in 'wage labour and capital'. It will elaborate on Marx's definitions on such topics such as what wages really and labour really are.

What are wages?

To Marx wages are the sum of money a capitalist paid by the capitalist for a particular labour time or for a particular output of labour. On the outside it would seem the capitalist buys the workers labour with money but in fact this is in appearance only. The worker isn't selling him their labour for money but in fact they are selling the capitalist their labor power. Marx describes this labour power as a commodity which its processor will sell to whatever
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As stated beforehand the sole source of livelihood for the worker is their labour power thus they may leave an employer but cannot leave the whole class of purchasers that is the capitalist class without renouncing their existence. The worker may not "belong" to their employer like a slave belonged to their master but they are a "slave" to the capitalist system as they do not own what they produce and depend on the capitalist who is in possession of means of making a livelihood - the factories, mines etc. and the worker is compelled to work for them for their continuing existence. This is why the worker sells their labour power to the capitalist, In order to live. Marx then exposes the reality of work under capitalism in a way which has great resonance even today: "The exercise of labour power, labour, is the worker’s own life activity, the manifestation of his own life" (Marx-Engels pp 204). But they have to sell it to another person to obtain means of subsistence. Life activity is just a means to enable existence. They work in order to live. Labour is not even reckoned as part of normal life, it is rather a sacrifice of their life. Work has no meaning other than as…show more content…
What we are being informed is that any society at any specific point in history will display at what stage of development mankind is at " Ancient society, feudal society, bourgeois society are such totalities of production relations, each of which at the same time donates a special stage of development in the history of mankind" (Marx-Engels pp207).

In conclusion Wage Labour and Capital while complicated and very demanding to understand to a novice reader is very insightful. Marx uncovers the flaws, as he sees them, not only of the capitalist system but also on how we and the worker perceive the relationship between worker and employer. Marx was an obvious communist and it is interesting to read his perception of the capitalist

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