It is often stated that, “Capitalism exploits workers! Capitalism takes unfair advantage of the poor!” Before we address this fallacy, an elucidation of terms is in order. defines Capitalism as “an economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporations.” The emphasis here should be on “private” and “ownership” for these are the real incentives for excellence and conservation as illustrated by the Tragedy of the Commons. This is the economic theory that a given natural resource is more apt to be protected and nurtured when it is privately owned because the owner has a vested interest in maintaining it in order to ensure future productivity. Conversely when such a natural resource is publicly owned by “government” it is plundered and ravaged by all who seek to extract as much value from it as quickly as possible, without concern for future productivity.

Another resource to which this may be applied is human capital or human labor. Like any other resource, human labor is battled over and vied for. It is this incessant competition for human capital amongst businesses that ensures its maximum value. By this natural mechanism a “greedy capitalist” cannot pay a worker less than his skill level warrants for then he would be outbid by the offer of another company that would attract such undervalued workers. Therefore the wage value of a particular worker is determined by the extent to which he can meaningfully contribute to a company. The more skills a worker possesses, the more he will be paid as his market value is proportionately increased. By this logic there is no such thing as a “greedy capitalist”. If an employer decides to pay a worker significantly below his market value, the worker will simply leave and go to where his skill level will be more appropriately compensated. We all work at our present jobs because we believe that to be the best possible use of our time and labor. If this were not so we would not be working there. This is the nature of voluntary employment. Therefore the phrase “wage slavery” is a contradiction in terms.
If you are not happy with your present wage, you always have the option to learn new skills and thereby increase your market value. Blame always falls on you for the dissatisfaction of your present income. We must be grateful for employers and entrepreneurs as they facilitate the transfer of labor into monetary value. Without the technological advancements of the past few centuries that have improved human productivity and market efficiency, we might all still be laboriously working the land today. Furthermore having maintained the human population at 1 billion people many of us might not have been born at all. Thank your local business and entrepreneur for your existence and that of your ancestors.
Just do good things
Danilo Cuellar,