Socialist Studies Socialist Studies

Who Are the Wealth Creators?

When Boris Johnson gave his recent speech setting out his "New Deal", many commentators missed his reassurance that he was not a "communist". Why the reassurance? He was worried because some of the more wild free marketeers in his Party see Roosevelt's New Deal as a "communist" reform and Keynes as a "socialist".

Roosevelt had no intention of ending capitalism in the US. Neither did Keynes. Keynes was a Liberal. He did not like Marx. Keynes described Marxian economics as:

"not only scientifically erroneous but without interest or application for the modern world" (SHORT VIEW OF RUSSIA 1925).

Johnson suggested "wealth creators" should receive an NHS-style clap for their work in the economy. He did not mean the working class. We are not going to get any applause. Instead he meant the capitalist class, the employers. He went on to say:

"Yes of course we clap for our NHS, but under this government, we also applaud those who make our NHS possible, our innovators, our wealth creators, our capitalists and financiers". (GUARDIAN 1 July 2020).

The capitalist class should get no applause. They do not work. They produce no wealth. They are a class of parasites living off the unearned income of rent, interest and profit.

Wealth is in fact produced by the working class. Workers are exploited as a class.

The key to class exploitation under capitalism is that workers have to sell their labour power as a commodity to the capitalist class in exchange for a wage or salary.

The value of labour power or the worker's ability to work is determined, like any other commodity, by the socially necessary labour time required to produce it.

The value of labour power depends upon the amount of socially labour necessary to produce the basic necessities of life. This includes food, clothing, housing, transport and the ability to raise children for a future labour market.

Workers cannot see exploitation. That is because they are paid wages and salaries straight into their bank accounts according to the hours they have worked.

However, the working class as a whole receives wages and salaries less than the amount of social wealth they have created.

Suppose a worker works eight hours a day for five days a week. If it take six hours to produce for themselves and their children they still have to work a further two hours for nothing.

The first part of the day working for themselves is necessary labour time. The additional time the workers work for free for the employer is surplus labour time.

During surplus labour time workers are contributing to a pool of surplus vale. Surplus value is the source of profit. It is also forms the taxes which go to pay for the police, the army and politicians.

There is nothing to clap the capitalist class for. We do not need them. They are socially useless. Instead workers should organise democratically and politically to get rid of capitalism. The working class should not clap anyone until they have abolished capitalism and established socialism.

Once the means of production and distribution are commonly owned and democratically controlled by all of society then socialists can give a round of applause for freeing themselves and future workers from class relations and class exploitation.

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