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Canadian income growth
Are you in the top 1%
Uh, no:

In 2011, the average family-adjusted after-tax

income was $16,000 for families in the
bottom 20% income group, $39,833 for
families in the middle 60%, and $87,100 for
families in the top 20%.

Karl Marx
Perhaps the single most
person of the past 200 years

100 million dead.

Life of Marx
b. 1818
Went to University--became a bit of a boozer
Became a ‘Hegelian’
• Saw history as a conflict between two forces
• Kind of cyclical
At 25 became a radical and journalist
Moved to London
Was supported by Engels (who owned a cotton
Perhaps had a kid by the housekeeper
Marx’s main ideas
Before, things were OK, but not good.
• Lived in the country
• Most people are bakers, farmers, candlestick
makers, tinsmiths, shoemakers
• People specialize a little at what they do
• They trade as equals
• The landowner is wealthy. The rest are not
rich. They are equally poor.
This was OK.
Not bad.
– Good work
• Sell things we made
– Good communities
• Equal relationships with each other

But things changed…

Capital is the
machinery used
to make other things,
like shoes, or cars,
or clothing.
Capital divides us

Some got it
Some don’t.
Marx’s main ideas
There are two classes:
Proletariat (don’t got it)
1) Sell their labour
2) Work for a living
3) Earn small wages in exchange for work

Bourgeoisie (got it)

1) Do not sell labour
2) Own capital
3) Receive profits of others’ work
Proletariats work for bourgeoisie
– Money they earn: wage
Bourgeoisie compete against each other
– Money: profit
Competition and profit
These are the essence of capitalism.

And they will and must destroy it:

• Profit gets recycled into capital
• Capital makes jobs worse and worse
• And wages smaller and smaller
• Companies get bigger and bigger
• Employees get fewer and poorer

The capitalist system wins

Division of labour:
– Makes things very efficient
• Very profitable

– Puts the peasantry out of business


The problem?
Peasants lose good work

The factories are They work in the factories

More proletariats lose work

Drives down wages


The rich get richer.

The poor get poorer.
• Instead of living on a farm, surrounded by
your community, living peacefully,
integrated with your work....

• You work on an assembly line

• Until:
And notice:

Proles never get ahead.

• The middle class gets squeezed

• Not able to invest in capital
• Proles get larger
• Proles get poorer

And now
Bangladeshi garment wage is $60 a month

This is (1)
The crisis of capitalism
Capitalism MUST lead to these effects

Profit + competition = capitalism

Capitalists must compete
Capitalists must (try to) turn a profit

So some capitalists lose

And some win.

Big deal?
• Proletariats get more numerous and poorer
• Bourgeoisie get fewer and richer

You succeed
You invest employees,
You own it: worse jobs
You fail
Capitalism You do not
You work:

You fail

Now you
compete for
work! 29
This is (2): the crisis of capitalism
You work for Walmart
– You must produce more value than you get paid
Otherwise there would be no...

Companies go bankrupt
You cannot purchase
everything you make

Profits fall
Neither can anybody else

Surplus of stuff
The CoC
Total wages < total product

So we end up with stuff that can’t be sold.

Prices fall, business go out of business and…

Now you compete for work!

Crisis of capitalism
Once we are mostly robots, there is nobody left
to buy our work.

And thus, capitalism must be destroyed.

But there's been no crisis? Why?
On the one hand by enforced destruction of a mass of
productive forces; on the other, by the conquest of
new markets, and by the more thorough exploitation
of the old ones. That is to say, by paving the way for
more extensive and more destructive crises, and by
diminishing the means whereby crises are prevented.
The need of a constantly expanding market for its
products chases the bourgeoisie over the entire
surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle
everywhere, establish connexions everywhere.
In other words
Capitalism left by itself leads to disaster
• Most firms go bankrupt after crises
• Most people are poor
• The whole world gets covered with the
same companies
Alienation of labour
• Marx says that most contemporary workers
are alienated from their work.
Alienation of Labour
Owing to the extensive use of machinery, and
to the division of labour, the work of the
proletarians has lost all individual character,
and, consequently, all charm for the
workman. He becomes an appendage of the
machine, and it is only the most simple,
most monotonous, and most easily acquired
knack, that is required of him.
It’s nice to work
Marx thinks:
• Working is nice
• Producing stuff is human
• Exchange and mutual dependence are good
• Working together is good.
That’s not what happens in the capitalist
 Your work is taken away from you and
 You receive money in exchange
 You relate to other people as ‘means’, not
The bourgeoisie, wherever it has got the upper hand,
has put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic
relations. It has … left remaining no other nexus
between man and man than naked self-interest,
than callous “cash payment”. It has drowned the
most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervour, of
chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine sentimentalism,
in the icy water of egotistical calculation. It has
resolved personal worth into exchange value, and
in place of the numberless indefeasible chartered
freedoms, has set up that single, unconscionable
freedom — Free Trade.
You sell your labour to the capitalist.
The capitalist sells your labour for a profit.
You do all the work.
She does none.
She reinvests profits in more machinery.
Your job gets easier and easier, more boring and
more boring.
Wages are driven down to the lowest level possible--
to mere subsistence.
Women and children will work for less.
She gets richer and richer!
This is history
According to Marx, this is how history works.
History is not about Einsteins, Washingtons,
and Gandhis--
It’s about the rich screwing the poor and the
poor fighting back

• This is ‘class struggle’; this is ‘dialectical

This is history 2
• Who are the 'historical figures'?
• Who are the great people of history?
• Who makes history?
• What is history?
Marx says, it's not what you think
• Gandhi
• Mao
• Hitler
• Stalin
• Reagan
• Bush
• Obama
These dudes are not history.
Real people are history
• The real history is the way people have
worked and lived.
• It is the struggle between the rich and the

• This struggle makes 'great' men.

• This is 'dialectical materialism'.

• Back and forth, right and wrong. Each fights
it out.
• Nobody wins—both sides are destroyed.

• Thesis
• + Antithesis
• Synthesis
So, what does he want?
Abolition of land ownership
A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
Abolition of all rights of inheritance.
A national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.
State controlled communication and transport
Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State
Equal ability of all to work.
Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s
factory labour in its present form. Combination of education with
industrial production
The proletariat will use its political supremacy to
wrest, by degree, all capital from the bourgeoisie,
to centralise all instruments of production in the
hands of the State, i.e., of the proletariat organised
as the ruling class; and to increase the total
productive forces as rapidly as possible.