Communist Manifesto

Money system is a derivation of land, upon which constructed capitalism. In the first part of the manifesto, Bourgeois and Proletarians, Karl Marx talks about the “oppressor and oppressed” relationship between the two classes. Capitalization of property and lands has changed the social classes from clear division of clergies, aristocracy and peasants into solely two classes, one with capital and the other without. The money system accompanying capitalism set up the ground for “egotistical calculation,” which “has transformed personal worth into mere exchange value.” Money derives from the land but it is not the land; instead, it is an alienation of land. Capital, or private property, can be understood as the transformation and alienation of land, which people work hard for. Because money only has the exchange value but not productive value, proletarians can only earn what is enough for their subsistence. As industry thrives, competition arises between capitalists, for gaining more customer and profit means more private property for the bourgeois. Wages decline as a result of competition, proletarians live a worse life while bourgeois live a better life. When the situation comes to a point, when the majority of the society, proletarians, are so poor that they cannot afford to buy the commodities they produce, the epic of over-production will happen, according to Marx. The suffering of poor and hard life, the fact that working hard doe not pay back proportionally, eventually brings proletarians everywhere together to fight against  the bourgeois. Revolution is inevitable.

Marx and the Communist Manifesto

Marx delved into the many details describing why the current system was failing and was always bound to fail. He repeated the themes of antagonism and struggle. The proletariat was always in a losing battle against the bourgeoisie. He pointed out that the free market had gotten out of hand. A candle lit by the bourgeoisie had turned into a wildfire, which burnt down cities. The destruction did not stop at borders or coasts. The  system caused barbaric nations to be dependent on civilized ones just as the workers were dependent on the ruling class. After listing the problems he claimed he had a solution: communism. He outlined his plan in ten points which included abolition of private property and centralization of industry and credit to the state among others.

As in any quality piece of writing, Marx addressed a few potential counterarguments. He stated that the proletariat already were stripped of everything to be abolished in his plan, so only the bourgeoisie would be hurt. He claimed that workers gained nothing. He forgot to consider however that in the current system, the proletariat did not even gain the most basic human needs of food, water, and shelter if they did not work. In communism, one could not become wealthy through laziness, but neither could he become wealthy though hard work. If he was lazy, he would at least not die of starvation, dehydration, or lack of shelter for the most part because all of that was provided by the state. Therefore, the easiest option with the highest benefits was to work very lightly. Human nature always causes people to seek the lowest cost highest benefit option.

Interchangeable Parts

“These workers, forced to sell themselves piecemeal, are a commodity like every other article of commerce, and are consequently exposed to all the vicissitudes of competition, and all the fluctuations of the market.”

I chose this passage because it relates directly to the readings and class topics that have been discussed over the past week. It expresses very similar ideas to those of Oastler and Heine, and the tones are very similar to Marx’s estranged labor.

Marx notes the differences between classes and the shifts between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. The lower tiers of the middle class, the tradespeople, morphed into the proletariat as technology made their trades obsolete. Marx argues that capitalism is inherently unstable and unsustainable because it wears down the proletariat and continues to exhaust its resources with no sign of slowing down. The members of the working class, regardless of age and sex, are treated as interchangeable parts in the capitalist system; they are a “commodity like every other article of commerce.” They are susceptible to all the uncertainties of the market and the demand for labor. Technology was improving rapidly and replacing human workers with gears and steam; not only was the worker treated as a disposable commodity in the market, he was also not guaranteed any security in his job whatsoever.The worker was paid barely enough wages to maintain his life. He did not earn enough money to acquire any personal property; he had to live under the roof of a landlord who exploited him further. This is Marx’s main argument for the abolition of private property rights. The vast majority of the population was already absolutely unable to acquire any private property, so this is in reality not a right at all, but a privilege reserved for the upper classes.