Since the days of Adam Smith, economists have been trying to produce accurate models and theories, concerning the value of labor and its share in the overall product of the economy. When compared with the other factors of production, the real value of a laborer’s wages has been following a consistent downward trend. In various sectors of the economy, governments have joined the league of the corporate. A few things I remember are that govt. is a big spender and the goal of economic science is the betterment of the condition of people in their ordinary lives. Governments whether in centrally planned economies or almost free market economies are in vogue only because of their social programs and societal control.
What sets apart labor from other factors of production is the human content embedded in it. Labor force is the only community more widespread than poverty in LDC’s, yet encompassing such a large populace and dwelling in the midst of dilemmas, is hard to comprehend. The baffling question is why can’t a force that changes the whole structure of the economy, change its own face.
According to Karl Marx, the capitalist which includes most modern governments, pay wages that are determined by the exchange value of the workers. Exchange value is determined by the socially necessary labor time (labor inputs) required to produce the worker. However, in return, the capitalist receives the laborer’s use value. The value of the laborer to the capitalist who uses him is greater than the value the capitalist pays in exchange for his services. Marx calls this difference as ‘surplus value’. Only labor yields surplus value. The question of a separate position held by an entrepreneur in the realm of factors of production is one open for social debate. Without taking anything away from an entrepreneur who starts an economic activity, yet it is the labor force keeps the wheels of the economy moving. The innovative strength of a human brain is a thing of beauty; still it is not immune to the magnetic effects of the veiled world. What start as initiatives for the common good soon turn into bog where commoners sink.
The million-dollar question is why governments in developing countries support deep scientific researches involving huge sums of money and are miserably failing to satisfy even the basic, socially legitimate desires of their workers. Why are workers especially in the public sector being paid subsistence level wages and what is the rationale behind this feckless behaviour of the godly government. Easily the best thing would have been to keep the laborer happy and so stay secured in power. There must be some motive in keeping the laborer in an endless pursuit.
With better wages, comes leisure. At X income you are bound to help your kid solve sums at home, but at 2X you may, arrange a tutor for him. Thus with higher earnings you have earned yourself leisure. Leisure is the garden of mind. Leisurely pursuits may include listening to music, mountaineering, reading classics, writing poetry, and sometimes-political indulgence. Nay, the last one is not by any means for a laborer, it is a politicians domain. Instead, a laborer should enter blood-donating campaigns, plant trees, discuss about shattered order of the society, but only discuss, debate…… As long as a laborer/commoner keeps away from politics, the politician is a happy man. Mere talking never hurt anybody neither made hens lay more eggs. People’s indifference towards politics is the lifeblood for politicians.
An honourable thing to be done to a laborer is, not to give him bonus, but to give him the fruit of his sweat. The scorching sun has dried the dripping sweat of a laborer on earth and left it white. Perhaps, it needs some dirty red. After centuries of being trampled upon, has labor seen enough destruction to mount its lost throne? According to Rumi, destruction precedes renewal.
If you don’t subject wheat to the grinding millstone
How will bread ever come to decorate your table
Yasir Yousuf Bhat
[Image courtesy: http://www.gelman.gwu.edu/eckles-library/news/free-economics-tutoring-now-available/image]