“But even regarding History as the slaughter-bench at which the happiness of peoples, the wisdom of States, and the virtue of individuals have been victimized — the question involuntarily arises — to what principle, to what final aim these enormous sacrifices have been offered.”
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831), Philosopher
Marx would no doubt see us as the exploited class of this time period. If we are the exploited class who is the ruling class? This answer may vary based on opinion. You might hear this and say “that’s funny I don’t feel exploited. I wake up and I love my job. I have food, water, and shelter. Where is the exploitation?” See you hear the word exploitation and you think of it as a dirty word. You think of them treating you as your pack mule, just abject misery.
But what Marx would say is that that doesn’t mean you are not exploited. Just because you’ve grown fond of the chains that you’ve had around your legs, doesn’t mean they are not there. You may love your job, it may be incredibly rewarding for you. You may get $50,000 a year. But one thing is clear if that is the case. You are making the company you work for a lot more than $50,000 doing the stuff that you do for them every year. If you didn’t it wouldn’t be very profitable for them to pay you $50,000 year. The company would go out of business. So in the sense that the company is paying you not what you’re actually worth but what you expect, in that sense, you re being exploited for your labor. Now you may think it’s in your self interest to work for them, that job may help you realize every dream you’ve ever had in your life, you may think you’re not going without anything your entire life. The point that Marx is making is a broader one. Why does the system need to be this way? Why does the system need to have this dynamic of one party getting rich off of other parties being paid less than they are producing? An he would continue if this is really the case why would we ever be satisfied with that arrangement?