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Capitalism vs Communism: What’s missing in this picture?

with one comment

I’ve seen this cartoon posted on the internet a few times.

This pro-communism image shows how, in Capitalism, the worker’s labor results in a benefit to the rich.  In communism, labor results in benefit to the person performing the labor.  “Man alienated from his labor” … “workers not owning the means of production” … standard Marxist doctrine.

But this cartoon leaves out some important details:

  1. Where did the machine come from?
  2. Where did the investment (risk) capital come from to build the machine and the factory?
  3. Who had the idea for the machine in the first place?
  4. Who manages the resources for the factory?
  5. Who determines what product should be produced and how much of it?
  6. Who charts the life cycle of the product and when to retire the old and bring in the new?
  7. … and dozen’s more tiny details like the above.

In the second image above, I don’t see the entrepreneur/business-owner present at all – just the factory workers.

What came first – the job or the company?

Workers work and operate the means of production.  If workers imagined, got it right, took the risk, found the capital, built the factories, managed the resources, and the product lifecycle… then they would own the means of production.

So what’s stopping them?

Related: The Purpose of Spectacular Wealth

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Written by frrl

September 3, 2012 at 6:39 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with ,

One Response

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  1. Certainly the ones who have the ideas, take the risk and make it all happen deserve more reward than the routine worker. But the question is how much more. In the 50s and 60s, during America’s highest growth period, the ratio of highest to lowest pay in a company was about 100. During the past decade, during one of America’s lowest growth periods, the ratio is more than 1000. Is it possible that with proportionately less income, the common worker has less aggregate spending power and thus creates lower demand, causing growth to spiral downward? Or consider productivity. The American worker is more productive today, in terms of units of goods or services per hour of work, than ever before, yet his pay, and hence disposable income to purchase those same results, is the same as it was thirty years ago. Is it possible that Henry Ford was correct when he believed higher worker pay would result in more sales and hence growth that spirals upward?

    Elwood Downey, WB0OEW

    September 5, 2012 at 3:32 pm


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