Crisis is built into capitalism. The capitalist economic system was never invented to meet the needs of society. It intends to meet the needs of the class who replaced the royal lords of serfdom, but itt doesn’t even consistently meet the capitalists’ needs. Despite all attempts to portray capitalism as a sane system, it remains and will always be, irrational.
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This course provides a basic introduction to Economics from both sides. All basic concepts are covered in the twelve lessons.
Capitalists put very little effort into explaining unemployment. They expend even less in trying to remedy it. They like unemployment because it helps them drive down our wages and benefits. They use our jobless brothers and sisters against the rest of us as what Marx called an "army of unemployed."
Of the two small pamphlets that lead up to Marx's great dissection of capitalism, Capital, this is the more valuable. While "Wage Labour and Capital" was written earlier, the present work was written in 1865, while the author was completing his economic theories. Marx paused in writing Capital because he was asked to supply an argument against the simple theories of a man named John Weston, who was espousing the bosses' argument that workers have no reason to seek higher wages.
Labor power is a workers' potential to work, and it is the commodity that the capitalist actually contracts for, before any actual work is begun. This distinction between labor and labor power was a complete stumbling block for economists before Marx, and explains why they could never make sense of capitalism.
In the last lesson, we learned how to compute the rate of surplus value, or the rate of exploitation (same thing). We divided the surplus value created by the variable capital. In other words, the extra wealth created divided by the amount that the worker gets: s/v. We’re going to make it only barely more complicated to figure out the rate of profit.
Marx used the term “exploitation” to describe the process. Instead of asking a company for a job, we could ask them, “Will you exploit me, please?”
Karl Marx was the first to explain how capitalism works. His approach was to lay out the fundamental elements in detail, then proceed to dramatic insights. The painstaking attention to detail in the earliest part of the explanation has unfortunately stopped some people from continuing. So far, though, there is no better way to do it.
The first part of Griffin’s assertion, that the “free market” will “always” maintain stable prices, is laughable in light of the financial crisis of 2008, but the latter part of his statement confirms that he knows how gold, and all other commodities, get value – from what he calls “human effort” and what we call, more exactly, the average amount of socially necessary labor time required.
Labor power is the potential for humans to do work. Capitalists buy it from us, usually a week at a time, for what they call a week’s wage. As something that is produced for sale or trade, labor power clearly falls under our definition of a commodity.
Karl Marx was the first to discover how and why capitalism works, and we are going to reveal the secret in this little module.
On your first day in College Economics Class, your instructor will scribble a big "X" on the chalk board.