New PDF release: Ethics and Marxism

By Lewis S. Feuer

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VALUE, PRICE AND PROFIT PRELIMINARY CITIZENS, Before entering into the subj ect matter, allow me to make a . few preliminary remarks. There reigns now on the Continent a real epidemic of strikes, and a general clamour for a rise of wages. The question will turn up at our Congress. You, as the head of the International Association, ought to have settled convictions upon this para­ mount question. For my own part, I considered it, therefore, my duty to enter fully into the . matter, even at the peril o f putting your patience to a severe test.

Higher than ever before. The American crisis came, and those aggregate wages were . sud­ den1y reduced to about one fourth of their former amount. This would have been in the opposite direction a rise of 400 per cent. If wages rise from five to twenty, we say that they rise by 300 per cent ; if they fall from twenty to five, we say that they fall by 75 per cent but the amount of rise in the one and the amount of fall in the other case would be the same, namely, fifteen shillings. This, then, was a sudden change in the rate of wages unprecedented, and at the same time extending over a number of operatives which, if we count all the opera­ tives not only directly engaged in but.

Stitute, for example, five shillings weekly low, and twenty sh1l1mgs weekly high wages ? If five is low as com­ �come ! pared with twenty, twenty is still lower as compared with two hundred. If a man was to lecture on the thermometer, and commenced by declaiming on high and low degrees he would impart no knowledge whatever. He must first tell e how the freezing-point is found out, and how the boiling-point and how these standard points are settled by natural laws, n t by the fancy ·of the sellers or makers of thermometers.

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Ethics and Marxism by Lewis S. Feuer

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