George Walford: Working Class Poverty

The 229 technicians employed by the TV-am studio went on strike at the end of December 1987. At that time only 60 of them, and those mostly trainees and junior assistants, were expected to earn less than £30,000 during the coming year. 42 were earning at above £35,00, 64 at over £40,000, 34 at over £50,000, 4 at over £60,000, and one senior cameraman stood to make over £70,000. (Sunday Times 24 Jan 88).

This does not have to mean they were not exploited; their employers may well have sold their services for even higher figures. But it does suggest that when Marx tells us, in Wages, Price and Profit, that capitalism sets no upper limit to wages (and no lower limit to profits), he grasps a point overlooked by many of his epigones.

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THE DOCTRINE of the prosperous, ‘that the rich need their wealth increased to induce them to work effectively while the poor need their wages reduced in order to make them do so.’ (Ronald H.Preston, quoted in TLS 11-17 Dec 87)

THE GRAFFITISTS in our local Tube station have been accusing the IRA of racism. Presumably because West Indians, Africans and Asians play no great part in it.

from Ideological Commentary 32, March 1988.