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Karl Marx and the Gender Wage Gap
December 9, 2003
by Carey Roberts

In 1875, Karl Marx set out his famous prescription: "From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs." Marx was saying that workers should be paid the same, regardless of their hard work or productivity.

Flat wages, administered by a centrally-controlled economy, were tried in the Soviet Union, China, and elsewhere. Farmhands, blacksmiths, and university professors -- all were to be paid the same.

And everywhere, the result was economic and social disaster. This is how economist Helen Hughes described the Soviet debacle:

"The comparative worth wage-setting in centrally planned economies was part of the framework that led to the collapse of these economies. Comparative worth wage determinations broke the linkages between renumeration and productivity."

But now, radical feminists have seized upon the well-known fact that women earn 74% of what men earn. Using Karl Marx's discredited economic theories, feminists have launched a holy war on the gender "wage gap."

The fact is, the "wage gap" disappears when you take into account such factors as training, years in the workforce, travel requirements, degree of physical labor, and risk to life and limb.

And truth be told, men essentially have no choice -- they are expected to be the primary breadwinner in order to support their wives and children. So they accept the high-paying, dangerous jobs that women are unwilling to accept.

In contrast, women have a broad range of options: Be a full-time mom, take on a part-time job, or do volunteer work.

So the so-called "wage gap" is really a "choices gap." And the feminist campaign to level wages really amounts to equal pay for unequal work.

But evidence and reason do not deter the feminist mindset.

And now, the UN-backed International Labor Organization has taken up the cause. In a recent report, the ILO claims that women have been victims of what it calls "occupational segregation." That explains the outrageous fact that "Truck drivers, for instance, are usually men."

Honestly, I don't know a single woman who aspires to be a truck driver. But maybe the ILO believes that with suitable indoctrination, that problem can be solved, as well.

And if there is any doubt about the socialistic aims of the ILO, read this statement from page 51 of the ILO report: "The growing prevalence of wage-setting systems based on workers' productivity or performance instead of on the content of the job raises new challenges for achieving pay equity."

It's easy to understandable that socialists disdain free market economies. But why the feminist contempt for capitalism?

The answer requires a basic understanding of feminist ideology. Feminists believe that capitalism is just another example of oppressive patriarchy. In 1981, socialist Azizah Al-Hibri penned these words in her feminist manifesto:

"Conceptually, capitalism is an advanced stage of patriarchy... Strategically, then, the struggle against capitalism, racism, imperialism, and any other attempt of man's attempt at domination of the Other must be based on their basic patriarchal nature."

So the socialists and radical feminists have cooked up an amazingly simple strategy: Promise women equal pay for unequal work, destroy the linkage between productivity and income, destabilize free market economies, and cripple patriarchy.

That's revolutionary.

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