[OPE-L:2496] The employment contract

From: Gerald Levy (glevy@PRATT.EDU)
Date: Wed Mar 08 2000 - 10:02:03 EST

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---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 08 Mar 2000 15:48:42 +0100
From: Ernesto Screpanti <screpanti@unisi.it>

Dear Jerry,

Here is the second problem with Marxian theory of capitalism I hinted at a
few weeks ago: *The class demarcation problem*.

Marx - In capitalism there are two typical social classes: the capitalists
and the workers.

Mrs Thatcher - Please define them.

Marx - The capitalists are the owners of the means of production, the
workers are the owners of nothing.

Mrs Thatcher - Why do you call them "workers"?

Marx - Because they are compelled (by their inability to control the means
of labour and the means of living) to accept the condition of wage labourers.

Mrs Thatcher - Why are they not able to accumulate their own wealth?

Marx - Because their income is a subsistence wage, so that their saving
propensity is nil.

Mrs Thatcher - Fine! You are ready to enrole in my party.

Marx - What is your party program?

Mrs Thatcher - I hold that in modern capitalism there are no longer any
social classes in your sense, or, at least, that there is a tendency to
abilish class differences. My party aims at accelerating the process.

Marx - How is it possible to abolish class differences in capitalism?

Mrs Thatcher - Very simple. Wages are no longer subsistence incomes. The
workers save and accumulate capital. Their income is made up of wages and
surplus value. Just like the capitalists. A manager, on the other hand,
receives a salary for his work in the firm and, possibly, some dividend
from his shares. Everybody is a capitalist and a worker at the same time.
The differences are in degree, in income brackets, not in quality. There
could be pure rentiers (as Keynes used to complain). But certainly this is
not a social class in your sense.

Marx - My pupil Vladimir used to speak of "worker aristocracy" ...

Mrs Thatcher- I would not dare making an aristocracy with the workers. I
would be quite satisfied with accelerating the historical process that
transforms all of them into capitalists.

Marx - Help!

Enters Engels - Karl you certainly did not read Capital, vol III.

Marx - Volume III? Who wrote it?

In solidarity

Ernesto Screpanti
Dipartimento di Economia Politica
Piazza S. Francesco 1
53100 Siena
tel: 0577 232784
fax: 0577 232661

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