Marx’s exploitation theory relies in part on the so-called crime of primitive accumulation, without which one struggles to explain the class dichotomy between the haves and the have-nots so crucial to the exploitation theory. The secret of primitive accumulation posits that the economic sins of some people have condemned them and their progeny to the hell of labor, whereas the economic virtues of the others have placed them in a situation far superior to that of the former, viz., in accordance with their virtues, the virtuous have become vicious and themselves worthy of condemnation:.
In times long gone-by there were two sorts of people; one, the diligent, intelligent, and, above all, frugal elite; the other, lazy rascals, spending their substance, and more, in riotous living. The legend of theological original sin tells us certainly how man came to be condemned to eat his bread in the sweat of his brow; but the history of economic original sin reveals to us that there are people to whom this is by no means essential. Never mind! Thus it came to pass that the former sort accumulated wealth, and the latter sort had at last nothing to sell except their own skins. And from this original sin dates the poverty of the great majority that, despite all its labour, has up to now nothing to sell but itself, and the wealth of the few that increases constantly although they have long ceased to work.
This condemnation neglects to account for entrepreneurial failure in a competitive economy, rather, it assumes that capital itself is self-perpetuating: having become possessed of capital one need only sit back and watch wealth multiply (violating the laws of thermodynamics, the idea of self-perpetuating capital is so patently absurd as to deserve no further consideration).
Marx ignores competition between capitalists in a free market (the type of place no “Capitalist” wants to be!), the basis of which should tend towards generally less “exploitative” working conditions, as it would be in any individual capitalist’s best interest (economically speaking) to deviate from the oligopoly’s practices, and therefore even in light of primitive accumulation, one must question how the the oligopoly came to exist, in the absence of a state or pseudo-state. Both Marx and Rodbertus before him observed that some members of the working class will accomplish success, and that these successes are occasionally to be tolerated by the capitalists in order to preserve the illusion of freedom, but as a general rule, he neglects the possibility of entrepreneurship among the proletariat, by means of which they may lift themselves from the alleged depths of poverty they are forced to endure.
And yet we know from experience, that individuals of humble backgrounds have created fortunes with little more than an idea, and that capitalists do fail: fortunes are squandered, resources mis-allocated, projects undertaken which never fulfill their plans of grandeur, etc.
In other news: Marx is damn near unreadable.