50 Years Ago: Ford v. Marx

Two or three months ago, one of our contributors had occasion to criticise the illusions of the Editor of the “Observer” concerning the respective intellectual merits of the notorious exploiter of motor-car producers and the author of “Capital” and other works of economic criticism. Now it appears that the editor of the “New Leader” shares some, at least, of his Conservative colleague’s fantasies.


In a recent article under the above heading, Mr. Brailsford emulates Mr. Garvin in seeking to delude his readers with the belief that Marx’s analysis has (once more) been exploded, and his predictions falsified, because, forsooth, American capitalists have discovered how to make huge profits while paying high wages. We are told that the fundamental principle of capitalism according to Marx has been discarded. The new capitalism has got rid of poverty, and Mr. Brailsford’s sole objection to it is that it is autocratic!


Now the object of capitalist production is profit. Marx dealt fairly exhaustively with this fact, and no one has yet demonstrated the alleged error in his reasoning. He also showed that wages, like the prices of other commodities, were an extremely variable factor. Nowhere did he suggest that they could never rise: while he indicated, with exceptional clarity, the part played by machinery in intensifying the exploitation of higher-paid labour-power and reducing the proportion of the workers’ share in the fruits of their labour.

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Elsewhere in his article, the “New Leader’s” editor refers to the fact that one-third of the American workers are below the poverty line! Marx, therefore, would appear to have been exploded only in the imagination of Mr. Brailsford, and those who think like him.


(From an article “Ford v. Marx” by Eric Boden, Socialist Standard, December 1926)