Perspectives on Labor Studies

Perspectives on Labor Studies

Marx on Worker’s worth

According to Marx, at a particular point in history, certain factors transformed a person’s capacity into some form of an article of trade. This commodity, as he suggested, referred to the time and effort lent or sold to an employer in exchange for an agreed amount. This theory presented the person’s skills and abilities as common goods or services, making the laborer some form of company. After employment, the employer gains possession of the human’s capacity for the agreed period for the production of other products and services. He or she, however, does not own the worker as after the completion of the task assigned, the laborer reserves their right to pay mind to other positions of employment.

Marx goes on to suggest that the aspect that makes labor unique is its ability to generate more value when consumed. Additionally, he posited that a person’s lifestyle and general living standards define the value of the workers capacity. In a bid to maintain their lives, these individuals have to seek employment and get returns to satisfy the needs of their families. During an agreement with an employer, at a particular moment of exchange, it is safe to say that a worker gets paid their exact worth. At this point, Marx argues that the relationship between the owner and the worker is healthy, characters by equality since the laborer received what the market can pay.

However, Marx goes further on to bring light to the borne of strife, the point that denies worker’s their capacity’s worth. He says that, during the company’s possession of the labor power, it produces more value, but the company pays the laborer for the present value of the commodity. Marx posits that while the employee gets paid in current rates, the employer stands a high chance of making much more than is within the range of acceptable. This situation, according to Marx’s theory is where the exploitation comes in, where the market determines who the slave is and who the master. Thus, according to Marx, the worker sown not get the full value of their labor.

I find it hard to agree with Marx’s proposition. Firstly, it is evident that the question of calculating the future value of a commodity at the present times is challenging. With that, Marx’s expectation of the worker to determine the present and future value of the labor is absurd at best and impossible at worst. All a worker would want to do is attract as many employers as possible and get paid according to the strength of the market at that particular point in time.

Secondly, I don’t find it prudent to give a general conclusion of the worth of the labor, which is, grouping every individual under a single numerical value. I observe that every employee has a lifestyle different from that of another, and for that would need an amount not similar to the other workers as well. This observation, thereby, means that Marx’s generalization that a company will be exploiting everyone might be faulty since other employees might be meeting their needs adequately.

Block’s Argument

Fred Block comes in strong by saying that all that the free market advocates are doing is present ideas that are dangerous to a people’s living conditions in the long run. According to him, the impracticability of these ideologies infuriates him since these utopian principles cannot hold for long and will facilitate a society to slip into dystopia eventually. Block begins by saying that these concepts are deceitful and their advocates pretend not to be aware of this fact. For instance, Hayek posits that, unlike governmental interferences, his suggested conditions of healthcare tax and policies among other suitable interventions campaign for free markets and the promotion of individual freedoms. However, Hayek forgets much like the administration interventions he does rebukes, his conditions also, indirectly or directly, affect the outcomes of the markets, thereby robbing the whole idea of its ‘free’ aspect.

Block further argues that the advocates for these risky policies are not ignorant as they hide their true nature and politics behind the curtain of naturalism. With a comparison to the epoch of Malthus, he continues to contend that what these individuals want is to eradicate those unhealthy regulations that hinder members of the society from wanting to offer their services as laborers. They then exercise the political power they yield and control the markets. Those who believe in this system eventually end up supporting a collective force of some sorts, something they swear not to be doing.

Another significant point that makes these ideologies dangerous is the fact that these free markets for which these individuals aggressively fight, is that they fail to consider the non-contractual factors essential for the survival of all communities. If free markets actively fight against interventions from a collective power that might regulate these factors, how are workers supposed to get access to education, clean water, and safe air? These question significantly exposes the danger posed by these ideologies.

I tend to agree with the arguments so fittingly presented by Block. Unlike in free markets, an established collective power will be instrumental in fighting for the rights of employees and in ensuring that they don’t get treated only as commodities. This environment would also reduce the effects of reductions and lay-offs because companies would have protection against the risk of collapse. Additionally, I find the argument by Block as very reasonable since it interests itself with the welfare of the workers. I also find it dangerous that free markets do not cover the issue of non-contractual elements such as water, education and clean air, which determine the survival of all human societies.

Hayek on Individual Freedom and Governing Society

Hayek’s argument insisted on the creation and maintenance of free markets. Friedrich Hayek began by first posing that it is within the nature of human beings for them to compete in all levels of society. It is this same drive that led them to find means of achieving those materials that they did not have through bartering. He then followed through by saying that, as individual won freedom upon freedom in their ways of living, they suddenly found the confidence to get involved in matters market relations. However, he emphasized that collective powers do not act in favor of individual members of a community, in turn, they only highlight the privileges of one group against those of the others (Hayek, 2014). To support his propositions on why free markets were the best ways with which to govern society, Hayek gave two suggestions.

He posited that price played an immense role in the empowering freedom in members of society. Hayek suggested that the people can use price as a measurement of their exchanges, whether in product or service form. This measurement could allow them to create fairness and a reference point when conducting transactions. Also, this element would be able to voice out the needs and interests of society. However, the market should exist without restrictions so that if individuals find charges too expensive, it will remain in their ability to choose other cheaper articles of trade and still satisfy their interests. In this fashion, the market provides benefits to both the society and the businessperson at an individual level. A happy community is easy to govern, and it is evident that it is only achievable if personal freedom is the priority.

However, the restrictions imposed by collective powers would only work to benefit a small number of the community thereby robbing people of choice by determining beforehand what they need, based on biased reasons. The environment created as a result of this situation would not allow consumers would not be able to enjoy a wide range of products and services as the free market would not be in the position to set the prices.

I agree with Hayek’s perspective on this matter. A free and competitive market allows an environment where individuals can be in control of the affairs of their lives. Members of a community are free to raise their children, choose between products and services and satisfy their interest at their convenience and in the order, they dim feet. It is without a doubt that a society such as this would involve minimal conflicts concerning matters government. Which, therefore, means that a market without restrictions of any kind would be the best possible way to govern a people.

Additionally, this kind of marketplace would be instrumental in respecting the nature of humankind, as spiritedly advocated for by Hayek. Maintaining this environment would mean the prioritization of the interests of both the market and the individual members, which, is a factor that matters the most. However, workers or labor providers should not seek the advancement of their self-interests to an unhealthy extent, as this will, in a counterproductive manner, reduce the numbers of employers who are eager to employ them. It is vital that the number of employers stays high to ensure a wide variety of labor charges and packages.





Hayek, F. A. (2014). The constitution of liberty. Routledge.