Turns out that on September 4, 2012 at least, the answer was the New York Times, which today published a startling demonstration by Robert Reich of the core Marxist principle of surplus value at work in the US economy:
Starting in the late 1970s, the middle class began to weaken. Although productivity continued to grow and the economy continued to expand, wages began flattening in the 1970s because new technologies — container ships, satellite communications, eventually computers and the Internet — started to undermine any American job that could be automated or done more cheaply abroad. The same technologies bestowed ever larger rewards on people who could use them to innovate and solve problems. Some were product entrepreneurs; a growing number were financial entrepreneurs. The pay of graduates of prestigious colleges and M.B.A. programs — the “talent” who reached the pinnacles of power in executive suites and on Wall Street — soared.
There’s a picture in the article that shows the striking expansion of productivity as wages remain flat. Compare that with the the “blunt” character of surplus-value as it is explained by Karl Marx in Theories of Surplus Value, based on his discovery of an old anti-capitalist pamphlet published in England in the 1820s:
This scarcely known pamphlet . . . bluntly describes surplus-value—or “profit”, as Ricardo calls it (often also “surplus produce”), or “interest”, as the author of the pamphlet terms it—as “surplus labour”, the labour which the worker performs gratis, the labour he performs over and above the quantity of labour by which the value of his labour-power is replaced, i.e., by which he produces an equivalent for his wages. Important as it was to reduce value to labour, it was equally important [to present] surplus-value, which manifests itself in surplus product, as surplus labour.
Or as Geologic of the Blue Scholars pithily puts it “It seems we never get paid what our labor is worth/That’s why we often in a daze on the way to our work.”
It is certainly interesting to hear this kind of Red thinking sound, even disguised as it is in the gauze of liberal capitalism, in the Grey Lady’s voice. Of course, Robert Reich has been talking like this for years and it hasn’t yet managed to penetrate the thick concrete bunker of false consciousness in which most Americans live. Still, the point is scored by the Marxists this time.
Latest posts by J.F. Quackenbush (see all)
- Rebecca Solnit On The Incoherent Left - Oct 15, 2012
- US Citizens Still Don’t Need To Worry About The NDAA Just Yet - Oct 5, 2012
- Brad DeLong v. Ludwig Von Mises: Ron Paul Better Watch Out! - Oct 3, 2012