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Progressive Paradox

Marx and his modern day descendants firmly believe that workers are exploited. What do they mean? Well, without referring to the terminology in his text (Capital), workers are able to produce something of value (what we call today the marginal product of labor) but employers only pay the workers a fraction of this value. The difference is the “surplus” that capitalists suck from their workers.

To illustrate more simply, suppose I am employed in a car factory and I contribute $25 per hour in value toward the production of cars. In a free and competitive market we would expect that my wage would be competed up to $25 per hour. However, in the Marxian world, my wage would be lower, say $15 and the capitalist employer would gain $10 per hour in profits from my effort. Hence, workers are exploited.

Let’s not evaluate the argument on its own merits here (such as the value of time, such as the role of certainty, frictions, competition, etc.) but let’s think instead about a logical problem with such a worldview.

In order for a worker to be exploited, you would have to make the assertion that a worker is entitled to the value of his produce. However, this is an essentially Lockean and capitalist notion – that everyone is entitled to the full fruits of his productive activity! This stands diametrically opposed to the fundamental Marxist and Progressive doctrine that private property is theft or at least is unjust, and that there should be no private property. In other words, the Marxists espouse a doctrine which advocates that workers get only what they “need” not at all what they produce. If you produce a lot more than you need, you ought to share it, and if you do not produce what you need, you ought to get more. In other words, in the Marxian world, there can be no connection between your pay and your productivity – but this is essentially the criticism it makes of exploitive capitalism.

In addition to the poor economic reasoning behind Marxism, and the dreadful record of its actual application, ought not we look with extreme suspicion upon a system that has at its core a foundational fallacy? Hence, the religious zeal to which some people adhere to Progressive doctrine.

4 Responses to “Progressive Paradox”

  1. […] Professor Rizzo finds a logical fallacy in Marxism. The […]

  2. Harry says:

    Glad to see you have a challenger to your perverse logic, Wintercow. But the argument is, er, elliptical? He must be bothered, maybe after taking a hit.

  3. Speedmaster says:

    Wow, I’d never looked at it like that before. That’s a rather compelling point.

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