By Uhuru B. Rowe
December 15, 2017
In regards to our exchange of views on revolutionary political theory, surprisingly, I am learning quite a few things from you. So, thank you for this continued political dialogue between us.
I am in agreement with most of the arguments in your last email, dated 11/29/17, except for the following three: that 1) “while 3rd and 2nd World workers stand to gain the most from a socialist revolution, 1st world workers would also gain”; that 2) 1st World workers “are still exploited at the point of production”; and that 3) “wages and living standards of first world workers have been and likely will continue to decline.”
First, I am of the opinion that 1st World workers will lose, not gain, from a global socialist revolution. We both agree that 1st World workers enjoy a high wage and high standard of living as a result of the super-exploitation of 3rd World workers. After a successful global socialist revolution, this super-exploitation will no longer exist, and so the high wage and high standard of living of 1st world workers will decline.
Furthermore, a global maximum wage will have to be established in order to achieve parity between 1st and 3rd World workers which will benefit the third world proletariat ONLY because the wage of the imperialist country labor aristocracy, in the absence of a super-exploited class in the third world, will have to be reduced in order to achieve such a parity. What I am talking about here is the redistribution of wealth from the 1st World labor aristocracy to the 3rd World proletariat because the 3rd world is where a majority of this wealth came from in the first place.
Second, you said that 1st World workers are still exploited at the point of production, but you failed to mention non-productive workers like cops, lawyers, doctors, judges, firefighters, insurance adjusters, real estate brokers, jail/prison guards, etc. Are these blue collar/white collar workers “productive” workers or are they just engaged in the apportionment and distribution of the products of actual productive workers labor?
A common mistake that we on the Left tend to make is lumping all Amerikan workers — productive, non-productive, white collar, blue collar, [middle class] and minimum wage poor workers — together into one class, when clearly the political economy of each are different from the other. NAFTA and other trade deals have made it possible for most of the industries and factories in Amerika to relocate to Mexico, South and Central America, and overseas to extract super-profits by exploiting cheap/slave labor. Thus, most workers in Amerika are non-productive and so are not exploited at the point of production. There is even some questions that the few workers who are productive may be paid more than the value of their labor and labor power and so being productive doesn’t necessarily define one’s level of exploitation.
The bottom line is that the majority of workers in imperialist countries are what Marx called unproductive workers and have different goals than workers in 3rd World countries. The main agenda of the vast majority of imperialist country workers is to gain higher wages — even if this means greater exploitation of their counterparts in the 3rd world — and not the overthrow of capitalism and the institution of socialism. I challenge you, Comrade, to go out and ask the average worker what it is they desire the most — higher wages under capitalism or socialism.
Lastly, you said that the wages and living standards of first world workers are declining. However, according to an article written by Christopher Rugaber in the Business section of the December 9, 2017 Richmond Times-Dispatch, the opposite is true. In this article, titled “Worldwide economy is aiding U.S. job market,” Rugaber says that “In November, U.S. employers added a substantial 228,000 jobs, the Labor Department said Friday. It was the 86th straight month of gains, the longest on record, and a sign of the job market’s enduring strength in the economy’s ninth year of expansion.”
This shows that declining non-productive jobs in Amerika is a common feel-good myth among the Left meant to rouse workers to action. So why hasn’t it worked?
Rugaber ends the article by saying that “Stronger economies overseas have helped boost profits at U.S. multinational corporations…U.S. companies in the S&P index derive about half their revenue from abroad.” “Stronger economies overseas” is coded language for “greater exploitation of 3rd World workers.” Once you read it in that context you will see that this, too, bolsters my argument that workers in Amerika enjoy a relatively high wage and high standard of living as a result of the super-exploitation of workers (and consumers) in the 3rd World.
To be sure, in the same business section, in another article titled “U.S. jobs report helps S&P 500 hit record high,” it says that “Paychecks…have not been getting much bigger, and hourly wages rose less last month than economists expected.” This, too, shows that wages are not declining, but are in fact rising, although at a slow pace. And when wages rise, living standards tends to rise with it because low wage workers spend more money.