The indicated passage is from the Communist Manifesto, written by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels,
German philosophers and communists. This document was written in 1848 as propaganda to declare what the Communist Party believed in and to convince others that capitalism was hurting the working class, the proletariats. This passage is from Section 1, titled Bourgeois and Proletarians, which gives the background and brings the reader current on what has happened to bring this war between classes.
In the highlighted passage, Marx emphasizes the struggles of society and the working class, or the proletariat. The bourgeois, or upper class, is keeping the common folk in a form of slavery. This class struggle has been happening for generations. With the modern times, which was the start of the Industrial Revolution, the modern laborer is becoming poorer, while the rich bourgeois get richer. Although there is growth in many areas, such as technologically and culturally, Marx only concerns himself with the economic disparity between the classes. The bourgeois are the only class benefitting from growth of technology and their benefit is economic. Marx states, the proletariat “are instruments of labour, more or less expensive to use, according to their age and sex”.
In addition to the additional work the proletariat accomplishes, he then must turn around and compensate the bourgeois for everything necessary to produce the wages earned for their labor. Marx is using this logic to emphasize the difference. Factory owners make money from the workers. The workers then pay the shopkeepers for food and groceries, essentially paying to live.
This passage is important because Marx came at a time when things were changing around the world. Because of the industrial revolution people were becoming more aware of their communities. Technology made working easier, yet less safe, people richer and the workers w...