Good morning. I'm away on my annual Wildacres Writer's Retreat atop Pompeii's Point in North Carolina. I've been reading Fred Goldstein's Low-Wage Capitalism and thought his "Why the bosses need Walmart" is instructive. Enjoy Part 9:
But another way the bosses can get more surplus value, without making the workday longer, is to lower wages. However, wages have to be high enough to keep workers alive, so there's a limit to how low the bosses can push them and still retain the labor forces without a mass rebellion. The limit of how low wages for the majority of workers can go is what Marx calls the price of necessary labor. Necessary labor time is the hours it takes a worker to earn the wages necessary to sustain himself and family. Let's assume the worker is paid by the week. As soon as the worker puts in the hours on the job needed to produce a value equivalent in money to his or here weekly wage, then the rest of the time worked, and the value the worker adds to the product or service during that time, the boss gets for free. This is the source of all profit. The value added to the product, or to the service rendered, during this time is unpaid labor time.
Previously... Yes, I realize that Goldstein as leader and member of the secretariat of the Workers World Party has a point of view anathema to the majority of people in the United States, but he consistently raises points that I think important and worthy of deep discussion concerning our present economic hierarchy in general and Walmart in particular. I sincerely hope that when I return from my retreat I'll find the beginning of discussion that brings a thoughtful, large and varied voice to The Writing On The Wal. Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.

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