It’s an excerpt from A People’s Guide to Capitalism: An Introduction to Marxist Economics (Haymarket Books, August 2020), which I’ll be purchasing.
Concurrently, I’m trying to make a decision about Thomas Piketty’s most recent book, Capital and Ideology. Do I try to read it before the election, or after? It might not seem to matter, but somehow does.
Capital and Ideology is an astonishing experiment in social science, one that defies easy comparison. In its ambition, obsessive testimony and sheer oddness, it is closer to the spirit of Karl Ove Knausgård than of Karl Marx. It alternates between sweeping generalities about the nature of justice and the kind of wonkery that one might expect from the Institute for Fiscal Studies, often in the same paragraph. It is occasionally naive (it will bug the hell out of historians and anthropologists) but in a provocative fashion, as if to say: if inequality isn’t justified, why not change it?
Now, to Thier.
Under Capitalism, There’s No Such Thing as a “Fair Day’s Wage for a Fair Day’s Work”, by Hadas Thier (Jacobin)
We’ve got some bad news for you on Labor Day: your boss is exploiting you. Karl Marx explains how.
… Inequality has long been built into the core fabric of the American business model. Pitting black workers against white workers against immigrant workers has been a particularly potent, tried-and-true tactic of employers to drive down all wages. But the cursory sketch laid out here does not even begin to discuss the very many oppressions — of immigrants, of people with disabilities, of gay people, of transgender people, of Native peoples, of elders, and more — that play an integral role in upholding the profitability of US capitalism.