1 definition by Economic Liberal

Top Definition
Another word for working class. Often used in a derogatory sense for people who sell their ability to work, rather than a finished or half-product. The means of production which they use are owned by someone else, they work for a set wage rather than a profit. Proletariat (litt. 'those who only have their children') is usually associated with factory workers. Working under dismal circumstances. But in many non-industrialised countries, those working in a factory and referred to as 'proletariat' regard this work as a huge step up from working on the farm, which in turn is a huge improvement over subsistence farming.
This example deals with the Eurorean Union, in particular the Euro area. Some character sets do not display the euro symbol corretly. You will see '€' in its stead.

A shirt is sold for €12. The sales tax is between €2 and €3 depending on the country, the shopkeeper doubles or even triples his/her purchase price to arrive at the sales price. He tells us that this is to cover his costs, which include his director's salary and perks. At best, €5 is available for the earlier steps in the production chain, at worst €3.

The middle man tries for as high a margin as he can get.

Workers - deemed 'the proletariat' - are paid €0.50 per shirt made, the cotton costs another €0.50 a shirt. The garment boss spends €1 on shipping, €0.50 on protecting his business (includes bribes where needed), and €0.25 on premises and admin. The boss makes €0.25 a shirt, double that if he is 'well-connected'.

Ironically, the shop with the higher margin must buy lower priced goods to compete on price with more efficient shops. These are likely goods which the middle man must have found harder to sell at a higher price.

Something may well be wrong here, but please, don't ask me to point out what ... the workers are free to remain farm hands, or subsistence farmers, yet choose the factory, thus keeping the cost of labour low; planned systems where appointees decide how many shirts people want and what these will look like do not seem to have been all that successful?
by Economic Liberal October 04, 2005

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