The phrase time is money is more appropriate for capitalists than we care to think sometimes.
The idea that capitalists are always interested in our time working making sure they get every bit of productivity out of us as possible is one of their driving factors.
Going back to my blogpost a few weeks back Karl Marx’s theory of surplus value is where the profit of the rich comes from. Effectively the unpaid labour of the workers. As Marx explains workers work half the time for them calling that socially necessary labour time the other part for the capitalist, his or her boss. It is this figure that is the surplus value that is the profit of the capitalist.
The capitalist as a result looks to take more and more of the workers time to themselves to increase the rate of profit or exploitation depending on which side of the class fence you sit on.
So when you take a toilet break or take longer for lunch your boss is constantly monitoring you and your actions it is not because they are curious about your actions it is because any lost time in work and productive labour is a dent in their surplus labour, their profits ultimately.
If you imagine a cake divided up with the cake halved the capitalist is always looking to increase his share and the worker is increasingly trying to increase theirs. This is what we’d define as the class struggle, the struggle for wages and a higher rate of profit. It is a constant battle which will never end unless the wage labour system is ended resulting in the end of a class based system. This can only be achieved under socialism, democratically of course where the need for profit is removed for good.
The idea of strikes and collective bargaining has been fought for decades to improve the wages and conditions of ordinary workers. There are strikes on the other side where the capitalist refuses to invest his or her capital preferring to sit on it until he or she sees a gap in the market to make a profit.
So time is a key factor in the capitalist mode of production as Karl Marx explains in das capital his works of uncovering this secret method of capitalism is the one idea that cracks the system. Explaining this to people isn’t easy as people feel the more they work they more money they receive which is true to an extent, but this also benefits the boss’s the capitalists more so as they can increase their profits also. A double edged sword if you like.
This is where the transitional demand of a shorter working day with no loss of pay stems from. As socialists this would mean a greater proportion of the cake being kept with the workers, leading to a sliding scale of wages as a transitional method to moving across to ending the wage labour system and ultimately capitalism as a system.