At the heart of capitalism’s impressive economic dynamic there is a dirty secret. And it’s a BIG secret.
Capitalism comes into the world “dripping from head to foot, from every pore, with blood and dirt”. So concludes Marx after a lengthy account of the transition from feudalism to capitalism near the end of Capital, Volume I.
Do you ever feel undervalued at work—like you contribute much more than your pay packet suggests? Karl Marx gets you. In the mid-nineteenth century, he argued that the whole working class is exploited by the capitalist class. This isn’t just a hyperbolic flourish, but an economic fact. The entire point of capitalist enterprise is to accumulate more wealth by systematically stealing a portion of the value workers create. This process is called exploitation.