Arbeter Fraint, December 14 1888, page 3
(NB A satirical lampoon was omitted.)
balsam and lotus, which they were carrying to Egypt. Let’s say that one of the gang, the merchant Yerubel, went to a peasant in Gilead and said to him: “Sir, you have so much spice in your field; give me 10 pounds of spices, and I will give you a silver coin. The peasant doesn’t understand what one could do with the spice, and, in any case, he has too much. He doesn’t know that it is of use in Egypt, and thinks that a silver coin is quite enough for 10 pounds of spices. The merchant Yerubel needs this [peasant’s] ignorance and takes the ten pounds of spices from him and brings it to Egypt, where there is a lack of spice, and once again the ignorance of the residents is useful. [They do not need to know] how much the spices cost and one pound of spice costs 10 coins. In Egypt one can also get by means of deception very fine merchandise (Egypt cotton) for practically nothing: for example, one can pay 20 coins for one cubit [of this material] and then take it back to Gilead. So one cubit of Egyptian cotton costs the merchant Yerubel 200 pounds of spice. However, when he returns to Gilead, he goes back to the same peasant and shows him his fine merchandise, for which the peasant develops a desire. The peasant now pays 100 coins for one cubit and uses it to buy 1,000 pounds of spices. Yerubel becomes richer by 800 pounds of spices. Let’s say that he deserves 200 pounds for his efforts, so he has speculated on 600 pounds of the ignorance of the peasant in Gilead and in Egypt, and then he says that he has “earned” it honestly.
Another example. America has just been discovered. All of the common young people and Spaniards went to America to bring back money. Pedro the bootblack had just polished Alphozo’s boots, which took him 15 minutes to do. For that he received 25 centesimos. For 25 centesimos Pedro bought a string of glass beads and traveled to Peru. Once in Peru, he showed the beads to a “wild person,” who gave him gold coins• for it. (That’s how it went.) Our Pedro returns to Spain, sells the gold and buys himself a nice house, and Pedro the bootblack becomes the great Don Pedro!
In brief, one could expand these examples for miles. [sic] Even today, one can see enough example of how fortune seekers deceive native peoples in Central Africa and the Congo getting great treasures for a drink of whisky, or how the Dutch merchants do the same thing in Java and Sumatra and other such places. I give these examples not because they are more of a swindle than the fine, civilized business dealings of civilized people in civilized countries. No! It is just because in the dealings with indigenous natives• one clearly sees the raw swindle and deceit, which in civilized dealings is nicely decorated and camouflaged, so that one must look deeper into the machine [sic] before one sees the deception.
In short, from this one sees that doing good business simply means doing a good swindle and taking [the results of] someone’s hard work by fraud. The honest wages for the efforts of a businessperson (in so far as it is necessary for the business deal) should not be more than what is deemed sufficient, enough to be content, but not millions [of dollars]. Today the basic principal of the world’s economy is that the price of something depends on how many people are interested in it and what they offer—that means: when something is more desired than what is offered, it becomes expensive; however, when there is more of something than is desired, it becomes inexpensive. This shows very well, that not everyone is sufficiently paid for his work. Indeed, one’s work is rewarded by whatever the market brings—however the cards fall. Whatever one can get for his merchandise, that’s what he takes. And how little he has to pay for someone else’s hard work, that’s how little he gives for it. The question never even occurs to anyone: what right does anyone have to do this?
And this is how things will remain as long as business is conducted freely and privately. As long as society is not organized so that everyone brings his work into the community (the Jewish community) and everyone gets from the Jewish community everything that he needs, not too much and not too little, there can be no honest exchange of service and reciprocity.
And those, who many times have the opportunity to get others into their hands, they have often grabbed and exchanged other’s toil without compassion and without justice and have become wealthy, have become Capitalists—from someone else’s labor!
In summation and what we can “extrapolate” from all these articles is that money came into the hands of those who did not work for it from the hands of workers who earned it by their labor: it happened via the following injustices: 1) simply by stealing, as the knights and noblemen did in olden days; 2) by means of slavery; by forcing people to work for others. 3) by the cost of someone’s work being unregulated, permitting abuse of this situation by exploitation of someone else’s work; that means, via a business scam (the manufacturer’s bait-and-switch tactics are the same thing, since the workers’ abilities are also a [kind of] merchandise for which the manufacturer is underpaying due to the poverty and necessity [?] of the worker. This is exactly the same as the dealings of other merchants.
According to justice, however, everything in the world belongs to the worker, who created everything, and the merit of capital as an aid in the creation of new products, also stems only from the worker. And when the person, who has attained the capital via thievery and swindling, says that all the merit goes to him, this is nothing more than [another example] of stealing and swindling.
Workers, consider this well and also stand up for your sacred rights!