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Capitalism, Class, Labor movement, Marxism, Work

Letting the Cat Out of the Bag

About an imaginary conversation that originally appeared in the October 1937 issue of The United Automobile Worker.

by World Socialist Party US



1 min read

The following imaginary conversation originally appeared in the October 1937 issue of The United Automobile Worker:

“What did you tell that man just now?”

“I told him to hurry.”

“What right do you have to tell him to hurry!?”

“I pay him to hurry.”

“How much do you pay him?”

“Four dollars a day.”

“Where do you get the money?”

“I sell products.”

“Who makes the products?”

“He does.”

“How many products does he make in a day?”

“Ten dollars’ worth.”

“Then, instead of you paying him, he pays you $6 a day to stand around and tell him to hurry.”

“Well, but I own the machines.”

“How did you get the machines?”

“Sold products and bought them.”

“Who made the products?”

“Shut up. He might hear you.”

In a recent Facebook discussion of this conversation, some insisted that the worker does have a way out:

A: There is a simple solution if things are that simple! The worker can buy his own machine, make his own product, and reap 100% of the profit. I love American capitalism! Where else can a person be his own boss and take home all of the profits?

B: It’s still sort of a free country. If that man don’t like being told to hurry he can go start his own company and make his own products.

Others pointed out that while many people may try to go into business on their own account very few of them succeed,

C: Market saturation and utilization are HUGE factors in how many “owners” can exist. In current society that equates to between 1–5% owners, where only the top 20% of owners are not crushed by higher level capitalist firms.

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Standing for socialism and nothing but.

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