1930s >> 1931 >> no-318-february-1931

Letter: Are workers worse off?

Mr. W. Jennings (Harringay) quotes from Marx’s “Capital” the following passage (page 661, Glashier edition): –


 Accumulation of wealth at one pole is, therefore, at the same time accumulation of misery, agony of toil, slavery, ignorance, brutality, mental degradation, at the opposite pole.

Mr. Jenning’s asserts, without evidence, that the workers are getting better off and that “they do take a greater share of the wealth produced.” On the strength of this he writes: “Perhaps, after all, Marx was not infallible.”


Marx was not infallible, but Mr. Jennings has yet to show Marx wrong on the point at issue. If Mr. Jennings had looked further into Marx’s writings, he would have seen that Marx made it perfectly clear that he was referring to the worker’s position relative to that of the capitalist. Thus, on page 631 of the Glaisher edition he dealt with the increase in the workers’ purchasing power and added :—


  But just as little as better clothing, food, and treatment, and a larger peculium, do away with the exploitation of the slave, so little do they set aside that of the wage-worker.

Secondly, a moment’s reflection should have shown Mr. Jennings that the workers can, as Marx explained, receive a larger amount of the necessaries of life without receiving “a greater share of the wealth produced.”


Editorial Committee