Philosophy, June 28th

“The great beauty of capitalist production consists in this – that it not only constantly reproduces the wageworker as wageworker, but produces always, in proportion to the accumulation of capital, a relative surplus-population of wageworkers. Thus the law of supply and demand of labor is kept in the right rut, the oscillation of wages is penned within limits satisfactory to capitalist exploitation, and lastly, the social dependence of the laborer on the capitalist, that indispensable requisite, is secured; an unmistakable relation of dependence, which the smug political economist, at home, in the mother-country, can transmogrify into one of free contract between buyer and seller, between equally independent owners of commodities, the owner of the commodity capital and the owner of the commodity labor. But in the colonies, this pretty fancy is torn asunder. The absolute population here increases much more quickly than in the mother-country, because many laborers enter this world as ready-made adults, and yet the labor-market is always understocked. The law of supply and demand of labor falls to pieces. On the one hand, the old world constantly throws in capital, thirsting after exploitation and “abstinence”; on the other, the regular reproduction of the wage laborer as wage laborer comes into collision with impediments the most impertinent and in part invincible. What becomes of the production of wage-laborer’s, supernumerary in proportion to the accumulation of capital? The wageworker of to-day is to-morrow an independent peasant, or artisan, working for himself. He vanishes from the labor-market, but not into the workhouse. This constant transformation of the wage-laborer’s into independent producers, who work for themselves instead of for capital, and enrich themselves instead of the capitalist gentry, reacts in its turn very perversely on the conditions of the labor-market. Not only does the degree of exploitation of the wage laborer remain indecently low. The wage laborer loses into the bargain, along with the relation of dependence, also the sentiment of dependence on the abstemious capitalist. Hence all the inconveniences that our E. G. Wakefield pictures so doughtily, so eloquently, so pathetically.” – Karl Marx, Capital

In the 19th century, the very memory of the connexon between the agricultural laborer and the communal property had, of course, vanished. To say nothing of more recent times, have the agricultural population received a farthing of compensation for the 3,511,770 acres of common land which between 1801 and 1831 were stolen from them and by parliamentary devices presented to the landlords by the landlords?” – Karl Marx, Capital

“Miracle or no miracle, let every man take care how he speaks or writes of honest people, and not set down at a venture, the first thing that comes into his jolterhead.” – Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote

“In all these movements they bring to the front, as the leading question in each, the property question, no matter what its degree of development at the time.” – Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto

“A greater equality than is compatible with liberty is undesirable. The moment we invade liberty to secure equality we enter upon a road which knows no stopping-place short of the annihilation of all that is best in the human race. If absolute equality is the ideal; if no man must have the slightest advantage over another – then the man who achieves greater results through superiority of muscle or skill or brain must not be allowed to enjoy them. All that he produces in excess of that which the weakest and stupidest produce must be taken from him and distribute among his fellows. The economic rent, not of land only, but of strength and skill and intellect and superiority of every kind, must be confiscated. And a beautiful world it would be when absolute equality had been thus achieved! Who would live in it? Certainly, no freeman.” – Benjamin Tucker, Instead of a Book

“Sir, I am a quiet, meek, peaceable man, and can digest any injury, be it never so hard; for, I have a wife and small children to maintain and bring up: wherefore, let me also apprize, (though’ I cannot lay my commands upon your worship) that I will in no shape whatever, use my sword against either knight or knave; and that henceforward, in the fight of God, I forgive all injuries, past, present, or to come, which I have already received, at this present time suffer, or may hereafter undergo, from any person whatsoever, high or low, rich or poor, gentle or simple, without exception to rank or circumstance.” – Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote

Published by jim

Curator of things...

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