Thursday, 26 February 2009
Value, Price And Profit:
The wage system that we must all adhere too as workers because of economic necessity is a brutal and savage trap. I was reminded of this when reading about the shy and polite; Jolanta Bledaitem, who was said to be one of the most conscientious of eastern European migrants who toiled in the daffodil fields and vegetable farms up and down the country, diligently saving as much as she could from the miserly £100 she took home every week. The 35-year-old was close to fulfilling her dream when two fellow Lithuanians concocted and then executed a plan to kill her, chop up her body and dump it in the North Sea so they could get their hands on the few thousand pounds she had saved for a better life back home. Jolanta was exploited for her labour and murdered for her money; her hard earned cash, hardly a fortune but was her passport to a better future. The murders of Jolanta Bledaitem, were eventually caught tried and jailed for this most horrid crime, but what of her exploiters and the capricious system that allows the violent manipulation of workers wherever they hale from: it remains in tack and throughout the world, squashing and squeezing people, like the cogs in a machine, forcing us all into a lifetime of drudgery and useless toil. Capitalist employers as always will act with almost complete ruthlessness in pursuit of maximum profits; they will take advantage of unemployment and encourage immigrant workers to work for reduced wages as was evidently the fate of Jolanta and many thousands like her, it wasn’t long ago that the full catalogue of intimidation and exploitation of some migrant workers was revealed to the public when 21 Chinese cockle pickers drowned at Morecambe Bay in 2004. It is believed that two more also died, but their bodies have never been found. The pickers came to Britain full of aspiration and hope for a better life but died cold and lonely, thousands and miles from their families.
Each of the victims paid £12,000 to be smuggled across borders into the country. They were then paid a pittance wage by their gangmaster in the UK who would reduce their money with deductions for housing and travel.
A bag of cockles picked by the workers would fetch £15, but gangmaster Lin Liang Ren, later convicted of 21 counts of manslaughter, would take £10 of that. The cockle pickers would receive £5, but it was enough to see them easily exceed the average £40 a month income back home in the rural provinces of China.
"Yet the whole history of modern industry shows that capital, if not checked, will recklessly and ruthlessly work to cast down the whole working class to this utmost state of degradation." Karl Marx: Value, Price And Profit:
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