Monday, September 05, 2011

A Laborious Post

On Labor Day we recognize the important contribution of labor to our economic well being.

In classical economics, labor is one of the primary elements of production. Other elements include land, management and capital.

Karl Marx was a dialectician in the school of Hegel who despised the merchants and manufacturers who were rising to prominence in the industrial age. His goal was to unite the ruling class with the workers in a revolution against the bourgeoisie.

Hegelian dialectics claims that history evolves through thesis/antithesis conflicts that resolve (usually in violent ways) with a catharsis.

In the work Das Kapital (1867), Marx presented a wildly unbalanced view of economics in which capital owners were in some sort of death struggle with labor. Marx encouraged his followers to fan the flames of discontent with hopes of rising labor in violent revolution against management and owners. He believed the revolution would resolve in a catharsis called Communism … a workers' paradise.

Apparently, the fantasy was compelling. Activists and community organizers around the world led the people in revolutions that took hundreds of millions of lives and impoverished billions.

Even worse: A large number of intellectuals took to arguing Marx's antithesis in favor of an economic system that overemphasized the role of capital.

Yes, Karl Marx is the father of modern Capitalism. Intellectual twits poured over every word of Marx to create the modern top-heavy, unstable financial system.

In a sound economy, capital and labor are factors in production. If one realizes that labor is a resource owned by the laborer, then one can develop a holistic approach to the economy that sees capital and labor working together.

The American Labor Day was set aside on the first Monday of September. Internationally, labor groups gather on May Day.

I hope that some future generation rejects the false dichotomy of Marx and the dialecticians and return to seeing labor as a component of production and reject the false dichotomy that labor is in a death struggle with capital.

I wish that we might someday reject this top-heavy system that overemphasizes capital and pits labor against the companies they work for.

Happy Labor Day to all.

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