The Socialists: Capital of Economic Process

The views of Karl Marx were in the same direction, but bet­ter grounded in theoretical economics. Modern capital came into being in the 16th century in the form of money to be used for commercial purposes. Through the process of appropriating the surplus value produced by the worker in the form of goods which were then sold on the market for cash, the employer was able to purchase additional means of production. This process is con­tinued, as Marx says, "by incorporating living labor with their dead substance" and the employer continues to convert a "ma­terialized and dead labor into capital ... a live monster that is fruitful and multiplies." This new capital is then used to exploit labor further. As additional machinery is added from the sur­plus value already appropriated by the employer the produc­tivity of labor is increased. The worker does not share in it, as we have noted before, for his wages can never rise above a sub­sistence level. The net result of this process is the increasing im­poverishment of the working class and the increase of capital (the means of production) in the hands of the employer. Marx did not condemn capital as such, only the fact of private owner­ship which enabled the employer to appropriate for himself sur­plus value created by labor with the aid of capital. There is no doubt that Marxian capital was the old Ricardian concept of stored-up labor.