Capitalists have desired wealth through exploitation:
1. "It would be easier, where property is well secured, to live without money than without poor; for who would do the work? ... As they ought to be kept from starving, so they should receive nothing worth saving. If here and there one of the lowest class by uncommon industry, and pinching his belly, lifts himself above the condition he was brought up in, nobody ought to hinder him; ...but it is the interest of all rich nations, that the greatest part of the poor should almost never be idle, and yet continually spend what they get... Those that get their living by their daily labour... have nothing to stir them up to be serviceable but their wants which it is prudence to relieve, but folly to cure... To make the society happy and people easier under the meanest circumstances, it is requisite that great numbers of them should be ignorant as well as poor..". [Mandeville, Fable of the Bees]
2. "That mankind in general, are naturally inclined to ease and indolence, we fatally experience to be true, from the conduct of our manufacturing populace, who do not labour, upon an average, above four days in a week, unless provisions happen to be very dear... I hope I have said enough to make it appear that the moderate labour of six days in a week is no slavery... But our populace have adopted a notion, that as Englishmen they enjoy a birthright privilege of being more free and independent than in any country in Europe. Now this idea, as far as it may affect the bravery of our troops, may be of some use; but theless the manufacturing poor have of it, certainly the better for themselves and for the State. The labouring people should never think themselves independent of their superiors... It is extremely dangerous to encourage mobs in a commercial state like ours, where, perhaps, seven parts out of eight of the whole, are people with little or no property. The cure will not be perfect, till our manufacturing poor are contented to labour six days for the same sum which they now earn in four days". ["Essay on Trade and Commerce" (1770)]
3. "[E]very one but an idiot knows that the lower classes must be kept poor, or they will never be industrious." [Arthur Young]
4. "[Among] the greatest of evils to agriculture would be to place the labourer in a state of independence". [Gloucestershire Survey (1807)]
5. “According to other commentary in the Board of Agriculture reports of the time, Enclosures would force laborers 'to work every day in the year,' and cause children to 'be put out to labour early'; the 'subordination of the lower ranks of society... would be thereby considerably secured.'”
[Kevin Carson, Studies in Mutualist Political Economy, Fayetteville, Arkansas, Booksurge, 2007, chapter 3.]
6. “Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defence of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all.” [Smith, Adam. The Wealth of Nations. Book V, Chapter I, Part II, 775]
7. “Whenever the legislature attempts to regulate the differences between masters and their workmen, its counsellors are always the masters.” [Smith, Adam. The Wealth of Nations. Book I, Chapter x, Part II, pg.168]
8. “Monopoly of one kind or another, indeed, seems to be the sole engine of the mercantile system.” [Smith, Adam. The Wealth of Nations. Book IV, Chapter VII, Part Third, pg.684]
9. “What are the common wages of labour, depends everywhere upon the contract usually made between those two parties, whose interests are by no means the same. The workmen desire to get as much, the masters to give as little, as possible. The former are disposed to combine in order to raise, the latter in order to lower, the wages of labour.
It is not, however, difficult to foresee which of the two parties must, upon all ordinary occasions, have the advantage in the dispute, and force the other into a compliance with their terms. The masters, being fewer in number, can combine much more easily: and the law, besides, authorises, or at least does not prohibit, their combinations, while it prohibits those of the workmen. We have no acts of parliament against combining to lower the price of work, but many against combining to raise it. In all such disputes, the masters can hold out much longer. A landlord, a farmer, a master manufacturer, or merchant, though they did not employ a single workman, could generally live a year or two upon the stocks, which they have. already acquired. Many workmen could not subsist a week, few could subsist a month, and scarce any a year, without employment. In the long run, the workman may be as necessary to his master as his master is to him; but the necessity is not so immediate.
We rarely hear, it has been said, of the combinations of masters, though frequently of those of workmen. But whoever imagines, upon this account, that masters rarely combine, is as ignorant of the world as of the subject. Masters are always and everywhere in a sort of tacit, but constant and uniform, combination, not to raise the wages of labour above their actual rate. To violate this combination is everywhere a most unpopular action, and a sort of reproach to a master among his neighbours and equals. We seldom, indeed, hear of this combination, because it is the usual, and, one may say, the natural state of things, which nobody ever hears of. Masters, too, sometimes enter into particular combinations to sink the wages of labour even below this rate. These are always conducted with the utmost silence and secrecy till the moment of execution; and when the workmen yield, as they sometimes do without resistance, though severely felt by them, they are never heard of by other people. Such combinations, however, are frequently resisted by a contrary defensive combination of the workmen, who sometimes, too, without any provocation of this kind, combine, of their own accord, to raise the price of their labour. Their usual pretences are, sometimes the high price of provisions, sometimes the great profit which their masters make by their work. But whether their combinations be offensive or defensive, they are always abundantly heard of. In order to bring the point to a speedy decision, they have always recourse to the loudest clamour, and sometimes to the most shocking violence and outrage. They are desperate, and act with the folly and extravagance of desperate men, who must either starve, or frighten their masters into an immediate compliance with their demands. The masters, upon these occasions, are just as clamorous upon the other side, and never cease to call aloud for the assistance of the civil magistrate, and the rigorous execution of those laws which have been enacted with so much severity against the combination of servants, labourers, and journeymen. The workmen, accordingly, very seldom derive any advantage from the violence of those tumultuous combinations, which, partly from the interposition of the civil magistrate, partly from the superior steadiness of the masters, partly from the necessity which the greater part of the workmen are under of submitting for the sake of present subsistence, generally end in nothing but the punishment or ruin of the ringleaders.”
[Smith, Adam. The Wealth of Nations. Book I, Chapter VIII, Part I, pg. 27-28]