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Ask a Red III

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Cheezy the Wiz, Feb 6, 2012.

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  1. Hygro

    Hygro soundcloud.com/hygro/

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    What's wrong with trying to offer a technical answer when last time it got passed up?
     
  2. Cheezy the Wiz

    Cheezy the Wiz Socialist In A Hurry

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    The question is presumably being asked to a Red, and thus a Red's answer is presumably sought. Else it would not have been asked in Ask a Red. There is a certain amount of leeway involved, certainly, but we reserve the right to determine how much that is. There are some non-Reds who we feel do a good job of representing our position or understanding of things, who we permit to contribute on our end of things. There are others who we do not. This may not be entirely fair to the perhaps existent expertise of some people, but I'm not really concerned with fairness here. It is a socialist maxim, after all, that confidence is good, but control is better.
     
  3. dutchfire

    dutchfire Deity

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    Thanks Cheezy. If you don't mind, I have some follow-up questions that might be a bit naive too.

    This all seems to suggest that if I can make a very nicely polished turd with X hours of work, or a car, that a car and a polished turd are worth the same. That seems non-nonsensical to me. Clearly a car is worth more than a polished turd.

    Is there anything in the theory accounting for different 'costs' of labour? The labour of a trained expert might be considered more valuable than that of an uneducated man, though I suppose you communists disagree. Even so, an hour of my labour the morning after I went to a bar is clearly worth less than an hour of my labour when I'm sober. How does the theory cope with that?

    As was somewhat touched upon in the Twinkie thread, I was wondering which professions also fall in this category. Barbers? Teachers? Architects? Inventors? Physicians? Scientists?
     
  4. Cheezy the Wiz

    Cheezy the Wiz Socialist In A Hurry

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    It is up to the purchaser. His purchase is what deems the object to be socially necessary. A polished turd might appear to be valueless if no one buys it, but is a finely-cut diamond also valueless if no one will buy it? I think so. Engagement in the marketplace is a social transaction, not merely a monetary one.

    Well, labor value is the manifestation of human labor-power in an object. But the ability of a worker to produce something in a certain amount of time is also a social force, since it sets a standard for others. If it takes one man an hour to make a chair leg, but it takes another 20 minutes, they will obviously not be paid the same, as one man is producing three times the amount of products as the other. We could thusly describe the hour-taking man as inefficient compared to the other. Traitorfish should probably finish answering this part of the question, as my knowledge doesn't cover how labor value relates to time, whereas I know his does.

    I think, under Smith's definition, strictly speaking, yes. But I also think that, in the case of an architect or designer, the cost of employing them is an aliquot cost of production. They themselves produce nothing, but they do help to produce something of value.

    And, of course, society may deem something necessary and desirable as it wishes. This definition doesn't mean that something is without use or purpose, merely that something doesn't create new wealth.
     
  5. ace99

    ace99 Deity

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    Yo sup

     
  6. Agent327

    Agent327 Observer

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    The Black Panthers weren't Communist FYI.

    You have a personal beef with me or are you just deliberately ignoring all other posters? The question I answered was a repost and directed at "anyone". Literally.
     
  7. ace99

    ace99 Deity

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    They had Marxist inspiration or some manner of socialist thought. Look at some of the points of their ten point program, same stuff with racialist language:


     
  8. Domen

    Domen Misico dux Vandalorum

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    That data was from the newspaper not from my father and/or teacher.

    If everybody was using this maxim, then noone could say anything true about, for example, murderers. Or about, for example, the Stalinist regime. Why should we say only nice things about something which simply was not nice (like, for example, the Soviet Communist regime?).
     
  9. Mouthwash

    Mouthwash Escaped Lunatic

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    Under your system, are the leaders chosen or are they elected by the public?
     
  10. potatokiosk

    potatokiosk Deity

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    I have a question for people of the Communist persuasion. It may have been asked before, because I haven't read every post in all three "Ask a Red" threads. If workers are being exploited, why don't they just seek employment elsewhere? Maybe find another employer who will agree to exploit them less? I'm at a loss as to how workers can be exploited in a competitive market. I'd like to learn what Communists think on this matter.
     
  11. ace99

    ace99 Deity

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    Because:

    http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/manuscripts/needs.htm
     
  12. Hygro

    Hygro soundcloud.com/hygro/

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    The same reason that a business in a competitive market can't charge whatever it wants, can't pay its owners whatever it wants, can't magically just do anything.

    Competitive market does not equal fair market. It means a market that forces everything (aka profit) towards equilibrium. Equilibrium in capitalism doesn't really care much one way or the other about the people that make the system.
     
  13. potatokiosk

    potatokiosk Deity

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    But it's not considered exploitation when a business doesn't profit as much as it would like to.
     
  14. Hygro

    Hygro soundcloud.com/hygro/

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    I know we gave corporations personhood but that doesn't mean we have to care about their feelings...
     
  15. Cheezy the Wiz

    Cheezy the Wiz Socialist In A Hurry

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    I have no idea, honestly. Many of those people were part of a far more interesting time than ours. Activism today isn't as much centered around Black issues any more. One could ask today why far more homosexuals are liberal or leftist than are conservative, and the answer will be the same: those are the groups advancing the cause of those people. DuBois and Keller had a justified belief in their time that liberal politics and capitalist society could never fully liberate Blacks or females, and they were obviously not alone. I don't think that's an incorrect statement, even today, but back then it was far more "in your face" that the softer approach to the issue wasn't getting very far.

    Initially they were not, but they fairly quickly switched to a more orthodox Marxist-Leninist platform.

    That's great and all, but this is a thread for questions to communists, which communists shall answer. I've given my justification for allowing certain other people to post "on our side," after being vetted by us. Most I do not.

    This is not a debate thread. Please stop responding to posts in this thread, unless directed specifically at you.

    Democracy is to socialism as oxygen is to the body. It's not my system, it's the socialist system. An egalitarian society founded upon principles of cooperative enterprise can only exist and function democratically.

    It's not the specifically low wage that one person gets screwed into taking, it's the system itself that is exploitative.

    Follow me for a second. Companies make money by selling objects of value to people who value them. The price they sell at is derived from two things: 1, covering all the costs of production, and 2, a speculative price based upon perceived demand. The costs of production are literally every expense required to turn the object from a bunch of raw materials into the finished product that someone wants. Included in that cost are the costs of obtaining the raw materials, obtaining the machines required to change the raw materials into their finished product, the wear on the machines while they change that product, the cost of transporting the finished product to the market, and most importantly of all, the cost of the labor required to make all of this happen. It's the labor that matters the most, because it's the only human element involved. All those costs contribute value to the object, but it's the human interaction in the production process that changes the proverbial pile of building materials into a house.

    And this is where the exploitation occurs. So the worker used the machines to turn the raw materials into the finished product, right? That describes a unique effort on his part. He did that. Just as the machine gave the object a small part of its value while it was used to make the object (when a machine is used, it wears, and that lost value must be imparted to whatever it's wearing on), so did the worker, his "value" being his capacity to perform labor. Where the problem lies is that, when this object gets sold, the worker is not reimbursed for his exertions. The capitalist, so named because he owns the capital [machines] used to make the object, and employs the workers [human capital,or labor capital] to work the machines, derives by virtue of property rights the right to the profits as well. He owns the machines and the labor, so he owns the profits, yet he contributed in no way to the creation of value of which he has reaped the rewards. He simply owns things, it's a piece of paper that gives him this right to as much of the profits as he cares to keep, and gives the miniscule rest to his workers as "compensation." Since the laborer has no capacity to own his own capital, he has no choice but to accept this tainted bargain. Thus, exploitation. The capitalist uses the laborer's need for money to extract as much labor from him as he can, and pays him as little as possible so as to maximally enrich himself.

    Now, you might say that the worker should start his own business. Well I say: and do what? Let's suppose for the sake of argument that this worker did have the money to start his own business (which the vast, vast majority simply don't). What would he do? He would simply recreate the process, except with himself at the top, and some other people who were in the same position he was before, working for him. It simply recasts the same exploitative relationship but with a change of cast.

    Now you might say to those workers, why not go start a business or work for yourselves? Again, ignoring the fact that most of them can't, let's say that they do. And let's continue that process again and again, until we've gone through the entire human race. What are we left with? We are left with a society in which no one works for anyone but himself, and everyone owns property. There is no mass-production, and there has been, by necessity, a massive redistribution of wealth. All this is decidedly uncapitalistic. So we can tell, then, that capitalism is by necessity both exploitative and creates inequality. Within that system, both are inescapable for humanity as a whole.

    That is why we socialists believe in destroying this institution. It is not a matter of selfish escapism and hatred of "hard work," or jealousy of the rich and powerful, or anything else: it is a matter of liberating all of humanity.
     
  16. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    What system?
     
  17. Takhisis

    Takhisis Free Hong Kong

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    Commusocialism. I actually think that by 'your {our} system' he means 'whatever form of socioeconomic organisation you think should replace the current one'.
     
  18. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    As a rule, I don't. That implies the ability to stand outside of history, to alienate ones perspective from ones historical being, which is really more of a Kantian than Marxian way of approaching these issues. Marx was insistent upon the necessity of historical perspective, and although he did argue that we in capitalist society enjoy a certain epistemological privilege in that we are able to look backwards upon previous societies with some degree of accuracy, this was understood as very much a one-way street. What he claims to see isn't a realised communist society, but rather the forces within capitalism that make communist society necessary.
     
  19. potatokiosk

    potatokiosk Deity

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    How can you say labor is the only human element involved when humans obtained the raw materials, humans build and maintain the machines, and humans transport the finish product to the market? Humans provide the capital that workers use.


    And how did the capitalist become owner of capital? By investing his money. When people invest, they make a decision that instead of using their purchasing power to consume now, they will consume later. But for the market for savings and investment to clear, it is usually necessary for one unit of present consumption to be valued at more than one unit of future consumption. Therefore investors receive a chunk of a firm's revenue instead of all of the revenue going to production costs.

    Let's say a worker saves his/her money and invests, becoming a capitalist to a small degree. What happens? Well the supply of savings is larger, so the real interest rate should fall, and profit margins across the board shrink.

    What is so bad about a system that rewards saving and investment with profit that you would feel the need to liberate all of humanity from it? It looks to me like your complaint is that labor gets paid its marginal product, when you think it is also entitled to capital's marginal product minus the cost of capital depreciation. But if we enforce a real interest rate of zero, and insist no one profit from investment, then investment will dry up and everyone will be poorer.
     
  20. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    Are you claiming that these processes do themselves constitute labour? :confused:

    Dictatorship of dead labour over living labour. Like having a political system where only corpses get to vote. It's not possible for people to pursue an authentic, fulfilling existence in that sort of set-up.
     
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