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By Karl Marx

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Extra resources for Wage-Labour and Capital & Value, Price, and Profit

Sample text

It is perfectly true that if a rise in the general rate of wages should take place today, that rise, what­ ever its ulterior effects might be, would, by itself, not immedi­ a tely change the amount of production. It would, in the first instance, proceed from the existing state o f things. But if before the rise o f wages the national production was variable� and not fixed, it will continue to be variable and not fixed after the rise of wages. But suppose the amount of national production to be constant instead of variable.

Apart from the immense increase in the value and amount of commodities circulated, in 1862 the capital paid in regular transactions for shares loans etc , for the railways in England and Wales amounted alone to £3201000,000, a sum that would have appeared fabulous in 1842. Still, the aggregate amounts of currency in 1862 and 1842 were , . • pretty nearly equal, and generally you will find a tendency to a progressive diminution of currency in the face of an enor­ mously increasing value, not only o f commodities, but of mon­ etary transactions generally.

Dismissing friend Weston's fancy rise o � 100 per cent, I propose calling your attention to the real nse of wages that took place in Great Britain from 1849 to 1859. You are all aware of the Ten Hours Bill, or rather Ten and a Half Hours Bill introduced since 1848. This was one o f the greatest economic changes we have witnessed. It was a sudden and compulsory rise of wages, not in some local . trades but in the leading industrial branches by whlch England ' sways the markets of the world. It was a rise of wages un�er circumstances singularly unpropitious.

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