BY JANET SURMAN
We humans have always worked to support our life; worked to catch, grow and produce our food, to make our shelter, our clothes and our tools, in general to satisfy our needs. In groups tasks were shared and communities developed by dividing labour cooperatively according to expertise and free will. All worked both for themselves and the common good whist partaking of the benefits accrued.
We still work to support our life but now money is a crucial factor, an artificial intermediary between labour and the satisfaction of needs, enabling labour to be exchanged indirectly for all manner of goods and services. We now require money whether working within the community or outside it. We do our work as farmer, builder, designer, cook or computer operator using our particular skill, the difference now being we are probably working away from our community and contributing little to it except socially in our spare time and often it isn’t the precise community of our choice but the one we can afford in monetary terms. Moreover, we work most of our life for an employer or series of employers who pay us more on paper than our net salary or take home pay with the remainder being passed on to various government agencies which, in turn, give us some back as health care, unemployment pay and various benefits and pensions as time, situation or entitlement dictate.
Without workers there is neither a product nor a service to sell and therefore no money is generated for the system, no money is generated to produce profit for the capitalists. Also, without worker input neither national nor local governments have money of their own. They are financed only by what they collect from employers in direct taxation and deductions for employees gross pay and from indirect taxes. The tax on employers comes from profit remaining after paying their bills and invoices for utilities, goods, raw materials, other overheads and the wages bill, all of which profit has been generated by the workforce. The deductions from employees’ pay also comes from the surplus generated by the workers but it forms a part of the overall sum that the employer is prepared to pay for the labour rendered.
Net pay is what is deemed sufficient and appropriate according to the type of employment. The difference in amount between gross and net pay, that which is utilised as deductions, (all of which is paid by the employer), is a deal struck between government and employers with some negotiation by trades unions on behalf of the employees – the employee always striving for a larger remuneration in opposition to the employer looking to reduce it as much as possible.
-to be concluded
-the writer is a member of The Socialist Party of Great Britain
-by arrangement with countercurrents.org