Moral Reflections on Economics

Marx, Labor Rights and Reform in Capitalism


Ever since the critique of Marx on capitalism, a lot of reforms have taken place in the practice of capitalism. These measures include i) fixing working hours, 2) avoiding discriminatory practices, 3) allowing gender diversity, and 4) providing suitable working environment. Governments had also devised laws to ensure minimum wages, non-discrimination, safe working environment and different schemes of social security, insurance, pensions and unemployment benefits.

The field of human resource also has had a paradigm shift where humans are now looked at as active partners and stakeholders rather than as substitutable factors of production. They have various needs beyond physiological survival and require fair treatment.

Nonetheless, when it comes to health insurance, coverage and compensation for accidents, ailments is a function of income. Due to wage inequality, the coverage and compensation also becomes unequal. There could be valid reasons for wage inequality due to difference in skills, education and experience. However, at the human level, the basic physiological needs stay the same. If the employees can drink the same water, wear the same protective equipment in certain conditions and have same sanitation facilities, then why poor workers cannot be compensated the same way if an ailment, accident and natural catastrophe make them lose their bodily potential and life?          

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