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I know that in the first part of The Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engles discuss at length the relationship between the Bourgeois and the Proletarians. The former being the owners of the means of production and the latter being the working class that is engaged in a struggle against said owners.

However, after reading the first part of the manifesto I can't figure out where "Professionals such as doctors, layers, accountants, nurses, etc. fit into this model. While they aren't the owners of the means of production for physical goods they posses special knowledge that allows them to charge a premium for their services. As such, members of the professional class generally aren't viewed as struggling workers.

Why wasn't this class of worker included in the Communist Manifesto and where do they fit in with Marx and Engel's theory?

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    $\begingroup$ Their theses were targeted at despondent laborers under harsh residual-claimants, so it wasn't part of the narrative that the communist manifesto was pushing. $\endgroup$ – VCG Sep 13 '16 at 17:56
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    $\begingroup$ You can find some discussion of the professional classes in Engel's Anti-Dühring. His solution was the rotation of jobs to remove the division of labour and the distinction in class, power and pay between the the proletariat and professionals. $\endgroup$ – Henry Sep 13 '16 at 20:52
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An interesting point to your question might be that Marx is writing before there is such a thing as a "Doctor." The AMA won't establish medical schools for almost half a century. Anyone can sell any service and personal reputation is about all the customer has to choose his care.

Legal, of course, set up licensing standards much earlier. But the "professional class" about which you're asking is small to non existent when Marx wrote.

The shopkeeper and farmer would be the largest group I can think fitting the profile you're seeking.

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Marx's discussed struggle had less to do with your income-position in society and more to do with how you derive income, whether through profits, wages, or rents. You bring up a fascinating issue with his analysis and the solution is all about framing. Even doctors end up selling their labor on the market (in increasingly specialized components). While the labor of a doctor is different than say a machinist, their income is fundamentally different than that of someone who owns the means of production. The 17th century putting- out system would be maybe the clearest split between the two. Keep reading Marx! Eric Fromm has some great essays that explain the nuance in Marx's world view. Hopefully this answer helps

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  • $\begingroup$ What are the names of the essays that you would recommend? $\endgroup$ – j.jerrod.taylor Sep 15 '16 at 0:04
  • $\begingroup$ Erich Fromm - Marx's concept of man. $\endgroup$ – bdempe Sep 15 '16 at 12:32
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Why wasn't this class of worker included in the Communist Manifesto and where do they fit in with Marx and Engel's theory?

Quoting from the Communist Manifesto:

"Our epoch, the epoch of the bourgeoisie, possesses, however, this distinctive feature: it has simplified the class antagonisms. Society as a whole is more and more splitting up into two great hostile camps, into two great classes directly facing each other: Bourgeoisie and Proletariat."

and

"The lower middle class, the small manufacturer, the shopkeeper, the artisan, the peasant, all these fight against the bourgeoisie, to save from extinction their existence as fractions of the middle class. They are therefore not revolutionary, but conservative. Nay more, they are reactionary, for they try to roll back the wheel of history. If by chance they are revolutionary, they are so only in view of their impending transfer into the proletariat, they thus defend not their present, but their future interests, they desert their own standpoint to place themselves at that of the proletariat."

The first passage alludes to a comment made, that the professional class did not fit the communist narrative. The second passage is the only one in the manifesto where the professional class, lumped together with other classes, is briefly mentioned and discussed, rather dismissively I would say.

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The relationship of the proletarian to capital is that of the sale of labour power.

Professionals are a cultural category of people who exert intellectually, in the context of certification mechanisms.

As Gramsci amply points out some workers work by hand and others by mind.

Professionals may therefore also be wage labourers if they are paid to sell their working by mind.

To the extent that the additional training received by professionals both embodies past labour and allows the exertion of labour power that is compounded and requires exceptional exertion the labour power of working class professionals is complex: an hour of it is proportionally greater in the production of value than that of the standard average hour of socially necessary labour time. It would take more engineers longer to perform an hour of nursing than a nurse. It would take more nurses longer to perform an hour of engineering than an engineer. This in part is reflected in a higher price for labour in professions, through intermediating processes such as the political contest of labourers with capital regarding the specific price of their labour.

However, some professionals exert themselves as petite-bourgeois, selling services that they nominally control.

Some professionals take on management positions and end up with class relationships on the scale of class traitor (foreman style managers) through to effectively stipendiary capitalists (CEO and paid Director style managers).

Yet other professionals control capital, and even should they engineer or nurse on the side they are primarily engaged in controlling others labour through higher management, directorial duties, or investment.

In some societies professionals have sought to control capital in general without receiving personal profit, and only receiving minimal social stipends above the average worker (ie 7-10 multiples of the average wage.) These attempts have been political, and, due to the claim that they portended an end to profit maximisation in capital movement, Veblen’s Engineers, Djilas’ New Class of nomenklatura, and Ehrenreich’s Professional Managerial Class have been considered as the possible nucleus for a post-capitalist non-socialist ruling class. All three of these theories point to use-value maximisation as the interests of this purported “class,” and Djilas almost goes so far to purport a bearer of social worth other than “exchange value,” in the form of relationships of cultural control over absolute labour time (ie the meetings will continue until morale improves). This account is weakly received in Marxism.

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