Marx’s Political EconomyJune 27, 2021
According to Marx, man’s alienation from his own labor (the process that turns into commodity fetishism) is one of the most distinctive features of capitalism. Before capitalism, producers and merchants bought and sold goods in the markets that existed in Europe. With the development of the capitalist mode of production, labor itself has become a commodity. Man no longer sells the product he has made, but his own labor power by agreement for a certain fee. Labor power has become a tool that provides the continuity of the system, which can be completely bought and sold, by becoming independent of the human creation feature. Those who have to sell their labor power are called the proletariat, and those who buy this labor power and generally own property and production technology are called bourgeois. The proletarians are outnumbered and inevitably outnumbered by the capitalists.
Marx says that industrial capitalists differ from merchant capitalists. A trader buys a good in one market and sells it at a higher price in another market, subject to the laws of supply and demand in the market. Thus, it creates an arbitrage. On the other hand, capitalists benefit from the difference between the labor market and the market, regardless of the goods produced. Marx says that for every successful industry there is a difference between the unit cost input and the unit price output. This difference is called surplus value, and it derives its source from the surplus labor produced by the worker, this confiscated surplus value forming the essential part of capitalist profit.
In the Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels say that the bourgeoisie played a revolutionary role that has never been seen before in history, but this does not show that they are able to completely prevent the crises of the capitalist production process. The constant development of technology, the fact that the economy is growth-oriented and the necessity of increasing profits condemns capitalism to periodic crises. This growth will face a serious crisis at the end of the crisis and regrowth process, at the same time the capitalist will try to get richer and the worker will become weaker and weaker (because it is the surplus labor that creates the surplus value). Eventually the proletariat will seize the means of production and distribute them equally to all. The possibility of reconciliation is not possible, because in the capitalist system this compromise has no chance of eliminating class difference. On the contrary, capitalists will resort to violence to maintain their previous advantageous position. In this transition period, a well-organized revolutionary force must emerge and take over.
In his Critique of the Gotha Programme, Marx writes:
“Between the capitalist society and the communist society, there is a period of revolutionary transformation from one to the other. This corresponds to a period of political transition, in which the state cannot be anything but the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat.”