Communist/Socialist morality is outdated in a modern context? - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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Do you think communist morality is outdated?

Yes
7
33%
No
8
38%
Other
6
29%
#14976120
I know this is a bit confusing title so I will elaborate.

To get it started, what do i mean by morality in this case. The view of communism/socialism that the means of production should belong to the working class. In a sense of industrialisation of the late 19th century and the 20th century that view is understandable. People did produce things in mass, especially in less intellectuall intesive fields like coal, steel, grain, cars, planes, machinery etc. All mostly done through standardised means of production or the assembly line. Or something similar even before the assembly line was invented. All was done for meagar pay with less than desirable working conditions mostly. So from that view point common ownership of means of production is understandable to say the least.

Now i am not sure when the situation changed greatly. I guess it happened over time through out the 20th century and 21st century. Nowadays when we view a products that we consume then it is a bit different. First of all, our economy shifted from industry based economy to a services based economy. Also the economy requires more intelectual approach in general to the products that we produce and consume. It is a bit hard to explain but Ill try to do it with examples. So the question is, are the workers deserving of the common ownership of the means just because they are the one that produced it? Also who exactly are the workers/working class in the case of different products?

So let us take an example:
Mobile Phone:
1 ) The mobile phone needs to appear as a "Good Idea" in someones head. (Let's say Steve jobs for example)
2 ) The mobile phone needs to be implemented from the "Good Idea" stage to reality in some shape or form. (Collective effort of many high ranking people in a corporation)
3 ) The mobile phone needs to be invented in a certain shape or form hardware wise.
4 ) The mobile phone needs to be invented in a certain shape or form software wise.
5 ) The mobile phone needs to be marketed so the people will be aware that it exists.
6 ) The mobile phone parts need to be produced by different enterprises or the enterprise that invented it.
7 ) The mobile phone needs to be assembled somewhere.
8 ) The mobile phone needs to be shipped somewhere.
9 ) The mobile phone needs to be sold somewhere.

So as we go through the steps then the communist/socialist common ownership of the means of production starts falling apart. So let us start with the obvious ones.

Who is the worker/working class in this case?

There are so many people involved in this and they do so many different things in different enterprises scattered all across the world so the meaning worker becomes vague. In the 20th century you could usually take a factory and see the workers themselves. They usually produce everything on site but that is just not the case anymore. Theoretically it is possible but that would only be possible in the very largest countries like China, Russia, US but not other smaller countries in this context. So how will it work if production is scattered between different countries? World revolution? (We all understand that is not possible)

Are the workers even deserving of the common ownership?

What i mean by this is that there are definitely people that do the production itself physically. But the people higher on the chain enable it and without steps 1,2,3,4,5 there would be no production. The numbers of people involved in 1,2,3,4,5 are usually a LOT less than the people involved with everything else below. But if 1,2,3,4,5 do not do their job then the production is not possible. There is simply no product to produce. So it begs the question, why would the people involved in 1,2,3,4,5 be compensated on the equal grounds as 6,7,8,9?

The dependency is top to bottom and not the other way around because if 6,7,8,9 do not want to do it then 1,2,3,4,5 can do it themselves theoretically. The working class is technically needed for up-scaling or cutting cost because it is possible to do it with machinery if required. (If the working class doesn't want to produce it for example). Also i doubt people will argue that 1,2,3,4,5 have a harder job because it requires a certain level of professional knowledge/know-how that is not easily accessible. So again why would the workers in a classical sense be compensated the same as the people whos work is harder, on whom they are dependant and whos work enables the production in the first place?


Another problem stems from the fact that our economy shifted from industry to services. To make the common ownership possible we need to identify the product itself which can't exist inside common ownership. When we talk about services then the service/product provided is usually is a vague brand like McDonalds, Starbucks, etc which separates them from common coffee shops or restaurants for example.

So right now if for example McDonalds will get "Expropriated" then will McDonalds even exist as we imagine it right now. Theoretically this prosses of expropriation will turn it in a standard burger joint of some sort. McDonalds is a large enterprise that is much more than just making burgers although that is their main product. I mean Communists will argue that there is no point of seperate burger joints but this argument is pretty much a no-go zone which basically will kill any hope of communism/socialism appearing. (I mean really? Who will even want to live in a world without McDonalds! You get the point)
#14976238
This is an excellent discussion topic. I voted ‘yes’ since most communists mean ‘international communism’ and ‘worker ownership’. These are indeed outdated and should be replaced by an emphasis on ‘community’. The inequality today is not from ownership, but how centralized the ownership is.
So, I am not deprived by McDonald’s ownership unless it results in unfair competition in my community. I will accept franchises but not corporate ownership of local stores. These major retail outlets eliminate the distribution centers by becoming their own distribution centers. Denying corporate ownership locally reduces them to wholesale distributors which are necessary for small business.
So, we should strive to own our communities rather than the means of production. Outside ownership and centralized control are the real problem imo. If you own your own community, then socialism is achieved even if it has a capitalist mentality, because you still own control over the capitalists.
#14976285
One Degree wrote:This is an excellent discussion topic. I voted ‘yes’ since most communists mean ‘international communism’ and ‘worker ownership’. These are indeed outdated and should be replaced by an emphasis on ‘community’. The inequality today is not from ownership, but how centralized the ownership is.
So, I am not deprived by McDonald’s ownership unless it results in unfair competition in my community. I will accept franchises but not corporate ownership of local stores. These major retail outlets eliminate the distribution centers by becoming their own distribution centers. Denying corporate ownership locally reduces them to wholesale distributors which are necessary for small business.
So, we should strive to own our communities rather than the means of production. Outside ownership and centralized control are the real problem imo. If you own your own community, then socialism is achieved even if it has a capitalist mentality, because you still own control over the capitalists.



So you advocate for a kind of socialist model within the capitalist framework. Does it mean that you are okay with people being compensated unequally for their work? In a sense you acknowledge that not all work is equal?

Also McDonalds example is a bit hard to circumvent. The reason McDonalds is so popular is not just because they make decent food on average (I know it is hard to admit for some). But also because they are cheap compared to most other sources of food you can get. You can get bored of only eating McDonalds and it has health risks but simply speaking in economic terms eating at McDonalnds is cheaper than eating in a restaraunt of any other sort usually.(In all Western/EU countries) In many western and European countries home made food is pricier than eating at Mcdonalds(Not to mention you need to cook yourself). So in that sense it does damage local distribution simply because it is more efficient in its own way.
#14976293
So you advocate for a kind of socialist model within the capitalist framework. Does it mean that you are okay with people being compensated unequally for their work? In a sense you acknowledge that not all work is equal?

I am not sure what ‘unequal pay’ means. If two people have the same job and one produces more than the other then being paid more is not unequal imo. I also accept the necessity of paying plumbers more than professors if you have a greater need for plumbers. My socialism would come in the form of having control over making these decisions. If the community is making the final decisions, then this is Socialism imo, whether those decisions support Capitalism or a equal distribution of profits is irrelevant. I understand you can apply different terms to this than Socialism, but isn’t ‘control by the people’ the basic goal? The distribution of profit should be determined by the best interests of the community and not on an idealistic concept.
Also McDonalds example is a bit hard to circumvent. The reason McDonalds is so popular is not just because they make decent food on average (I know it is hard to admit for some). But also because they are cheap compared to most other sources of food you can get. You can get bored of only eating McDonalds and it has health risks but simply speaking in economic terms eating at McDonalnds is cheaper than eating in a restaraunt of any other sort usually.(In all Western/EU countries) In many western and European countries home made food is pricier than eating at Mcdonalds(Not to mention you need to cook yourself). So in that sense it does damage local distribution simply because it is more efficient in its own way.


Price is the main factor. This is done by combining distribution and retail. If you eliminate local ownership then their profits must be realized on the distribution side which will drive up the retail price making other restaurants more competitive. Their other advantage is buying in quantity. This too is made possible partly due to owning the local retail outlets. Without this ownership, other distributors can compete with them for that store’s business. I also believe our laws should place severe restrictions on the different prices a supplier can charge. This is changing anyway due to the internet encouraging ‘supplier to consumer’ selling.
#14976297
I haven't yet fleshed out what Marx foresees for the future but I worry about the idea of common ownership merely being private property given a general form which Marx considered the crude sense of communism.
https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/manuscripts/comm.htm
n its first form only a generalisation and consummation of it [of this relation]. As such it appears in a two-fold form: on the one hand, the dominion of material property bulks so large that it wants to destroy everything which is not capable of being possessed by all as private property. It wants to disregard talent, etc., in an arbitrary manner. For it the sole purpose of life and existence is direct, physical possession. The category of the worker is not done away with, but extended to all men. The relationship of private property persists as the relationship of the community to the world of things. Finally, this movement of opposing universal private property to private property finds expression in the brutish form of opposing to marriage (certainly a form of exclusive private property) the community of women, in which a woman becomes a piece of communal and common property. It may be said that this idea of the community of women gives away the secret of this as yet completely crude and thoughtless communism.[30] Just as woman passes from marriage to general prostitution, [Prostitution is only a specific expression of the general prostitution of the labourer, and since it is a relationship in which falls not the prostitute alone, but also the one who prostitutes – and the latter’s abomination is still greater – the capitalist, etc., also comes under this head. – Note by Marx [31]] so the entire world of wealth (that is, of man’s objective substance) passes from the relationship of exclusive marriage with the owner of private property to a state of universal prostitution with the community. This type of communism – since it negates the personality of man in every sphere – is but the logical expression of private property, which is this negation. General envy constituting itself as a power is the disguise in which greed re-establishes itself and satisfies itself, only in another way. The thought of every piece of private property as such is at least turned against wealthier private property in the form of envy and the urge to reduce things to a common level, so that this envy and urge even constitute the essence of competition. Crude communism [the manuscript has: Kommunist. – Ed.] is only the culmination of this envy and of this levelling-down proceeding from the preconceived minimum. It has a definite, limited standard. How little this annulment of private property is really an appropriation is in fact proved by the abstract negation of the entire world of culture and civilisation, the regression to the unnatural || IV ||IV| simplicity of the poor and crude man who has few needs and who has not only failed to go beyond private property, but has not yet even reached it.

https://www.marxists.org/archive/fromm/works/1961/man/ch04.htm
Labor is the self-expression of man, an expression of his individual physical and mental powers. In this process of genuine activity man develops himself, becomes himself; work is not only a means to an end -- the product -- but an end in itself, the meaningful expression of human energy; hence work is enjoyable.

Marx's central criticism of capitalism is not the injustice in the distribution of wealth; it is the perversion of labor into forced, alienated, meaningless labor, hence the transformation of man into a "crippled monstrosity." Marx's concept of labor as an expression of man's individuality is succinctly expressed in his vision of the complete abolition of the lifelong submersion of a man in one occupation. Since the aim of human development is that of the development of the total, universal man, man must be emancipated from the crippling influence of specialization. In all previous societies, Marx writes, man has been "a hunter, a fisherman, a shepherd, or a critical critic, and must remain so if he does not want to lose his means of livelihood; while in communist society, where nobody has one exclusive sphere of activity but each can become accomplished in any branch he wishes, society regulates the general production and thus makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticize after dinner, just as I have a mind, without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, shepherd or critic." [57]

There is no greater misunderstanding or misrepresentation of Marx than that which is to be found, implicitly or explicitly, in the thought of the Soviet Communists, the reformist socialists, and the capitalist opponents of socialism alike, all of whom assume that Marx wanted only the economic improvement of the working class, and that he wanted to abolish private property so that the worker would own what the capitalist now has. The truth is that for Marx the situation of a worker in a Russian "socialist" factory, a British state-owned factory, or an American factory such as General Motors, would appear essentially the same. This, Marx expresses very clearly in the following:

"An enforced increase in wages (disregarding the other difficulties, and especially that such an anomaly could only be maintained by force) would be nothing more than a better remuneration of slaves, and would not restore, either to the worker or to the work, their human significance and worth.

http://libcom.org/files/marx,%20marginalism%20and%20modern%20sociology%20-%20clarke.pdf
Within a capitalist society the anonymous rule of the market and inequalities of wealth tend to secure the dominance of the economic sphere, so that value conflicts tend to be resolved in favour of economic rationality. Political and hierocratic organisations, writers, artists and intellectuals, have to have as much regard to their economic viability as does the capitalist enterprise, while the power and patronage of the rich helps them to secure the dominance of their interests in all social spheres. However socialism, far from resolving the contradiction between the formal rationality and the substantive irrationality of modern society, threatens to develop this contradiction to its ultimate limits in supplanting the dominance of economic rationality by the dominance of bureaucratic rationality, sacrificing the economic rationality and relative political freedom of capitalism for the ultimate nightmare of a totalitarian bureaucratic tyranny.


And I should note that the idea of workers deserving common ownership because it's labor sounds more like a ricardian socialist than Marx. Such an assertion is still essentially a capitalist notion rather than a socialist/communist in that Marx wants to overcome the alienation he asserts as inherent in private property.
http://libcom.org/files/marx,%20marginalism%20and%20modern%20sociology%20-%20clarke.pdf
Far from adopting the labour theory of value to ‘prove’ the exploitation of the working class, Marx’s critique of Ricardo undermines any such proof, both philosophically, in undermining the liberal theory of property which sees labour as the basis of proprietorial rights, and theoretically, in removing the immediate connection between the expenditure of individual labour and the value of the commodity, so that the relationship between ‘effort’ and ‘reward’ can only be constituted socially. Thus Marx was harshly critical of ‘Ricardian socialism’ which proclaimed labour’s entitlement to its product, arguing that such a ‘right’ was only a bourgeois right, expressing bourgeois property relations.4 For Marx what was at issue was not ethical proofs of exploitation, whose existence requires no such proof since it is manifested daily in the contradiction between the growing wealth created by social labour and the relative impoverishment of the working population, but ‘to prove concretely how in present capitalist society the material, etc., conditions have at last been created which enable and compel the workers to lift this social curse’ (Marx, SW, p. 317)

http://d-scholarship.pitt.edu/10867/1/VWills_ETD_2011.pdf
in the preamble to The Programme of the French Workers' Party, Marx writes that “the producers cannot be free unless they are in possession of the means of production” (Preamble to the Programme of the French Workers' Party, MECW 24:340). This type of freedom, the freedom of the majority of society to appropriate the means of production, is of course not a realization of bourgeois freedom at all, but rather a distinctly socialist freedom in which workers would exercise direct control over the raw materials, tools, machinery, infrastructure, and so on that are required in order for production to be carried out at the level of efficiency to which it has been developed under capitalism. This substantive freedom would be directly at odds with the capitalist mode of production that depends on the forcible separation of the producers from the means of production (cf. Marx's discussion of primitive accumulation in the first volume of Capital).

The implementation of such a genuine, substantive freedom of course would require “despotic inroads117 on the rights of property, and on the conditions of bourgeois production,” something Marx already wrote earlier, in The Communist Manifesto (Manifesto of the Communist Party, MECW 6:504). It would neither be a realization of bourgeois freedom nor would it even be commensurate with, or justifiable on the basis of, bourgeois freedom and equality, even as it is bourgeois production which makes this substantive freedom first possible.

https://www.marxists.org/archive/kamenka/1962/ethical-foundations/ch14.htm
[I]n the economic magnum opus of his mature period—Das Kapital—he does not rely on the term 'alienation' at all. Was it, then, one of the casualties of his tendency toward economic reductionism? Had it been dropped as a 'philosophic' or 'ethical' concept having no place in his new objective and scientific historical materialism?

The answer is no. The positive content which Marx gave to the term 'alienation' remains central to the position he is expounding in Capital. The mental process of objectifying one's own product and allowing it to dominate one Marx now calls the fetishism of commodities; it remains the same process. Man's loss of control over his labour power Marx calls his dehumanisation; it, too, is the same process—a process which for Marx remains of central importance to the understanding of capitalism. Man's loss of control over the product of his work Marx now calls exploitation; a term which does not mean that Marx thinks the capitalist is getting too much—more than is 'reasonable', but which underlines his insistence that what belongs to one man, or to men in general, is being appropriated by others, or by some men in particular. Exploitation is made possible by the creation of surplus value; but its basic ground for Marx remains the alienation of man from his labour power, the fact that man's activity becomes a commodity.

Marx's want is to establish human labor as free and human rather than reduced to a tool for the self-expansion of capital. This is compelling ethically from Marx's perspective of what human nature is.
http://isj.org.uk/marxism-and-ethics/
Just as Aristotle sought to base his ethics on a model of human essence, Hegel insisted that ethics must start from a model of “what human beings are”. It is only when they are so grounded that it is possible to say “that some modes of life are suited to our nature, whereas others are not”.39 He followed Aristotle in assuming that the goal of life is self-realisation, but he broke with him by arguing that it is only by way of freedom that this is possible. Whereas Aristotle insisted that happiness is the end of life, Hegel believed with Kant that the end of life was freedom.40 But unlike Kant, who counterposed freedom to necessity, he insisted that to act freely was to act in accordance with necessity.41 He thus criticised “Kant for seeing dichotomies in the self between freedom and nature…where he ought to have seen freedom as actualising nature”.42 Moreover, he believed that moral laws, far from being universal in some transhistoric sense, are in fact only intelligible “in the context of a particular community”, and can be universalised only to the extent that “communities grow and consolidate into an international community”.43

Hegel thus provided a social content to the concept of freedom by relating it to the movement of “a living social whole”.44 In so doing, he simultaneously worked a dramatic change on Aristotle’s concept of happiness. For if human nature evolves with the cultural evolution of communities then so too does the meaning of self-realisation. His ethics is therefore best understood as a form of “dialectical or historicised naturalism”.45 It was this historical understanding of human nature that provided Marx with the basis from which he went beyond existing materialist (Hobbesian) and idealist (Kantian) models of agency.


So although you mention Marx and there are other variations of socialists and such than those derived from Marx's work, I think it still relevant to clarify due to his significance and the work that has followed him. So in a sense I guess I would say the USSR generalization of private property and thus it's alienation via state ownership is outdated in the sense that it was a failure and reproduced the alienation Marx was critical of in a different form. Which may well be the way capitalism is heading in some places with China being an exemplar of capitalist production at the moment.

And where I would fundamentally disagree with O.D. is in regards to it being about the decision process of workers. Co-ops and such are nice examples that workers themselves can run production but within a capiatlist system it is still founded on private property and commodities which have exchange value.
This isn't the emancipation, it is merely a shuffling of the chairs on the deck, it changes form but isn't essentially different as it would still be capitalism as a mode of production in realizing the self-expansion of capital.
As such it wouldn't avoid the crisis that occur with the inability to realize exhcange-value nor would it alleviate the asserted facets of Alienation.

May well claim Toyotism is the embryo of global socialism because it takes in greater input from workers.
The most illustrious pioneer of Japanese industrial methods was Ohno Taiichi (1912 – 1990), Toyota’s production-control expert, who devised the just-in-time system (kanban) of manufacture, which raised Toyota from near bankruptcy in 1952 to become the third largest automobile maker in the world, behind General Motors and Ford. Under the unique conditions of post-war Japan, Taiichi was able to take Mayo’s theories further and workers’ involvement in developing production methods went beyond the “feel good” effect for which it was designed and gave a genuine measure of autonomy to the Japanese worker, autonomy of course that was predicated on his absolute loyalty to the company.

These methods allowed automation to be used in a quite new way: instead of the production workers’ role becoming more and more abstract, workers were responsible for the final product and small numbers of highly skilled workers could achieve very high levels of productivity, subjecting production methods to continuous improvements. It is this kind of labour, and its complement in the labour of the casual contract labourer outside the corporation’s core of permanent employees, which began in the Toyota factory in Japan and provided the basis for the “knowledge worker” of the postmodern world.

This kind of labour process generates its own class structure: a working class divided between a mass of very poor, utterly alienated workers who have no job security or on-going relationship with their work on one side, and a core of skilled workers with relatively satisfying work and good employment conditions on the other. At the same time, the boundaries between commerce and production, manufacture and service, worker and manager, all become very murky.


So real existing socialism is outdated and obsolete, it has shown itself to be a failure and not necessarily for a lack of economic performance either.
And the idea of a worker isn't any more vague than it was back in the day unless one arbitrrily thinks physical labor is more real in terms of being a worker than other types of labor.
https://www.marxists.org/reference/subject/philosophy/help/value.htm
One point which may need to be made about Marx's theory of value arises because Ernest Mandel, who was regarded by many as the foremost expert on Marx's political economy, held that for Marx, a commodity could only have value unless it was a tangible "material" object. This is completely false. If it were true, the whole of this work would of course fly in the face of Marxism.

In Chapter One of Capital, Marx points out that (exchange-)value has no connection with the physical properties of a commodity, and value is "the very opposite of the coarse materiality of their substance". The most important commodity of all, labour-power, is a "service" not a good. In the Grundrisse, Marx deals with a wood-cutter, a porter and a wandering tailor, all of whom are stated not to create value, because, as self-employed contractors, they sell not labour power but the product.

In discussing the lot of a school teacher, Marx says:

"So far as the labour process is purely individual, one and the same labourer unites in himself all the functions, that later on become separated. When an individual appropriates natural objects for their livelihood, no one controls them but themself. Afterwards they are controlled by others. A single person cannot operate upon Nature without calling their own muscles into play under the control of their own brain. As in the natural body, head and hand wait upon each other, so the labour-process unites the labour of the hand with that of the head. Later on they part company and even become deadly foes. The product ceases to be the direct product of the individual, and becomes a social product, produced in common by a collective labourer, i.e., by a combination of workers, each of whom takes only a part, greater or less, in the manipulation of the subject of their labour. As the co-operative character of the labour-process becomes more and more marked, so, as a necessary consequence, does our notion of productive labour, and of its agent the productive labourer, become extended.

"In order to labour productively, it is no longer necessary for you to do manual work yourself; enough, if you are an organ of the collective labourer, and perform one of its subordinate functions. The first definition given above of productive labour, a definition deduced from the very nature of the production of material objects, still remains correct for the collective labourer, considered as a whole. But it no longer holds good for each member taken individually.

"On the other hand, however, our notion of productive labour becomes narrowed. Capitalist production is not merely the production of commodities, it is essentially the production of surplus value. The labourer produces, not for themself, but for capital. It no longer suffices, therefore, that they should simply produce. They must produce surplus-value.

"That labourer alone is productive, who produces surplus-value for the capitalist, and thus works for the self-expansion of capital. If we may take an example from outside the sphere of production of material objects, a schoolteacher is a productive labourer, when, in addition to belabouring the heads of their scholars, they work like a horse to enrich the school proprietor. That the latter has laid out their capital in a teaching factory, instead of in a sausage factory, does not alter the relation. Hence the notion of a productive labourer implies not merely a relation between work and useful effect, between labourer and product of labour, but also a specific, social relation of production, a relation that has sprung up historically and stamps the labourer as the direct means of creating surplus-value. To be a productive labourer is, therefore, not a piece of luck, but a misfortune." [Capital Volume I, Part V, emphasis added]


Thus makes it abundantly clear that it is not the material (or immaterial) form of the product, but the prodcution relations within which it is produced that invest a commodity with value.

To which Marx's definition in relation to production is still essential, rather what people typically do is identify the differences within a class via stratification.
https://www.sociology.cam.ac.uk/research/srg/cs14
In effect, through identifying the extraction of a skill-based and organisation-based “rent”, Wright is trying to give a Marxist account of the closure strategies used by professional and skilled workers, as well as by supervisors and managers, to strengthen their position on the labour market, which had already been analysed by “Weberians” like Parkin (1979), among others. However, he has made a welcome modification of his position by suggesting that what “this relative vagueness in the link between skill exploitation and class relations may imply is that the expert-versus-nonexpert distinction should perhaps be treated as a form of stratification within classes rather than a class relation itself. This could, for example, define a type of class fraction within particular classes“ (Wrights, 1989, 22-23).

Because class is defined essentially, whilst stratification is more an arbitrary continuum of differences which are quite real but do not superscede class.
https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1894-c3/ch52.htm
The first question to he answered is this: What constitutes a class? — and the reply to this follows naturally from the reply to another question, namely: What makes wage-labourers, capitalists and landlords constitute the three great social classes?

At first glance — the identity of revenues and sources of revenue. There are three great social groups whose members, the individuals forming them, live on wages, profit and ground-rent respectively, on the realisation of their labour-power, their capital, and their landed property.

However, from this standpoint, physicians and officials, e.g., would also constitute two classes, for they belong to two distinct social groups, the members of each of these groups receiving their revenue from one and the same source. The same would also be true of the infinite fragmentation of interest and rank into which the division of social labour splits labourers as well as capitalists and landlords-the latter, e.g., into owners of vineyards, farm owners, owners of forests, mine owners and owners of fisheries.

It might be that people at the top of their class stratification are least class conscious, like the Toyotism example of the highly stable and engaging work for few workers contrasted with the mass of precarious contract workers.

So in conclusion, the diversity of jobs and labour doesn't undermine Marx's notion of class.
Value isn't dependent on the materiality of one's labor.
And Marx argues for the end of exchange-value which disciplines workers through the socially necessary (average) labor time of production as opposed to simply ownership or worker control of production. The essence being to change the mode of production, but the sense of ownership in such a context would presumably be radically different like how a tribesman belongs to his land and community/people and didn't have the modern day sense of private property. So to would ownership in socialism/communism.
But I tied Marx's idea to the sense of production once again being directly social as it wouldn't be in contradiction to human needs and development but aimed at such.
https://kapitalism101.wordpress.com/2014/07/02/indirectly-social-labor/
To execute such an organization of labor it would be necessary for production to be owned and planned by society and not by individual capitals competing in the market. A society of directly social labor would entail different property relations and a different organization of production. In such a system labor-certificates would not circulate independently as money nor would alternative monies emerge spontaneously. This elimination of money would not be the result of political fiat. It would be a result of the organization of the mode of production. Directly social labor has no need for money. Money does not have a role in measuring socially necessary labor time. There is no need for a money commodity to measure the abstract labor content of commodities. The products of labor do not function as commodities with values. Without money and commodities there is no capital.

https://www.marxists.org/reference/subject/philosophy/help/value.htm
Recognising that value is a social construct, we have to socially construct a new system of production-consumption relations in which human time is consciously allocated in accordance with a person's need to live humanly, without the aid of commodity exchange, without concern for efficiency or profit margins; at the same time, we must eschew the notion of centralised planning which is a step backwards, but unleash the full potential of complexity of 4,000,000,000 human wills acting under their own creative direction towards collective ends. This means terminating exchange-value altogether: to each according to her needs, from each according to her ability.

It is a daunting task, but it is the only task worth doing. I don't know just now how that can be done, but I believe this defines the problem to be solved, for the moment.

So what ever this planning is meant to be in reality, it's not the centralized state.
https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/smith-cyril/works/millenni/smith3.htm
Those who accept the ‘Marxist’ version of ‘proletarian dictatorship’ may be surprised to hear that Marx favoured the Communard notion of decentralised government, in which

the rural communes of every district were to administer their common affairs by an assembly of delegates in the central town, and these district assemblies were again to send deputies to the national delegation in Paris, each delegate to be revocable and bound by the mandat impératif [formal instruction of his constituents]. [Civil War in France]

In The Civil War in France, Marx is careful never to refer to the Commune as a state, but as a form of government which had tried to take over the functions of the state. Indeed, in an earlier draft of the ‘Address’, he put it like this:

The Commune – the reabsorption of the state power by society as its own living forces instead of as forces controlling and subduing it, by the popular masses themselves, forming their own force instead of die organised force of their suppression – the political form of their social emancipation, instead of the artificial force (appropriated by their oppressors) (their own force opposed to and organised against them) of society wielded for their oppression by their enemies. [Civil War in France]

Considering what the Commune might have achieved, he speaks of

all France organised into self-working and self-governing communes ... the suffrage for the national representation not a matter of sleight-of-hand for an all-powerful government, but the deliberate expression of organised communes, the state functions reduced to a few functions for general national purposes. Such is the Commune – the political form of the social emancipation, of the liberation of labour from the usurpations (slave-holding) of the monopolists of the means of labour, created by the labourers themselves or forming the gift of nature. As the state machinery and parliamentarism are not the real life of the ruling classes, but only the organised general organs of their dominion, so the Commune is not the social movement of the working class and therefore of a general regeneration of mankind, but the organised means of action. [Civil War in France]

These words show why Marx never used the term ‘workers’ state’, later so widely employed by ‘Marxists’ to describe a particular form of centralised state power. When Bakunin asks, sarcastically, ‘There are about 40 million Germans. Does this mean that all 40 million will be members of the government?” Marx, in 1874, answers directly: ‘Certainly! For the system starts with the self-government of the communities. ... When class rule has disappeared, there will be no state in the present political sense.’

In his controversies with Proudhon, with Stirner and with Bakunin, what was at stake was not so much their call to ‘abolish the state’, but their refusal to consider what was the basis of the state. Only when private ownership of the means of labour, and thus the alienated form of labour, disappeared, would the state dissolve into the community. The socialist revolution was simply the way this historical process would be organised. In view of the distorting experience of the Russian Revolution, I believe these ideas of Marx are among his most relevant for our time.
#14976300
Okay, I think Marx and I agree ‘labor’ is not the natural state of man, but being able to choose our labor is what is essential. We seem to also agree on the importance of communities (communes) as the basis of government.
Where I would disagree is this rules out choosing a specialty for life. This is still a choice, and should not be denied. I doubt Marx would disagree with this, but wanted to point it out.
Then we get into the discussion we have had before about what the role of the centralized government should be. This is where I feel Marx abandons his own ideals to justify centralized control. Cooperation between communes should be all that is necessary without any higher government or centralized decision making. A higher government is simply the ‘transfer of ownership’ from the commune to a higher authority. The argument of ‘efficiency’ is a contradiction to material and economic concerns being prioritized. That is exactly what a higher government does. So, the argument ‘community ownership’ is not socialism must also be applied here to higher authority.
Someone must own (control) and that can only be argued as the local community should. Nationalism and internationalism is in conflict with his basic goals imo.
#14976316
One Degree wrote:I am not sure what ‘unequal pay’ means. If two people have the same job and one produces more than the other then being paid more is not unequal imo. I also accept the necessity of paying plumbers more than professors if you have a greater need for plumbers. My socialism would come in the form of having control over making these decisions. If the community is making the final decisions, then this is Socialism imo, whether those decisions support Capitalism or a equal distribution of profits is irrelevant. I understand you can apply different terms to this than Socialism, but isn’t ‘control by the people’ the basic goal? The distribution of profit should be determined by the best interests of the community and not on an idealistic concept.


Price is the main factor. This is done by combining distribution and retail. If you eliminate local ownership then their profits must be realized on the distribution side which will drive up the retail price making other restaurants more competitive. Their other advantage is buying in quantity. This too is made possible partly due to owning the local retail outlets. Without this ownership, other distributors can compete with them for that store’s business. I also believe our laws should place severe restrictions on the different prices a supplier can charge. This is changing anyway due to the internet encouraging ‘supplier to consumer’ selling.



That is indeed what i meant by unequal pay. That not all work will be paid equally. So you do agree with that. Your solution is okayish of sorts until you reach the part of actually implementing it. How are you going to decide "what is best for the community" and who is going to decide it. (Saying whole community is not really an answer because in reality nobody will do a referendum on each separate work)

Also this creates the so dreaded value(Added value?) but in a distorted form. Lets say a community consists of coal miners mostly. It is a small coal mining town. Now it is in the interest of the community to pay more to the coal miner instead of the 5 researchers that research new kinds of generating electricity. It would be in the best interest of the community to stop their work for example, if we talk about it in the context of global warming. This essentially would mean that the community will have a self-interest to themselves(Same way as a corporation has a self-interest to itself) and they will value their own industries/services higher than anything new that might arise. This is kind of value to reinforce stagnation in my opinion and moderate research.(Arguably the strong points of modern capitalism which is constant change and accelerating research) This also doesn't answer the question of what to do with the coal that those miners produce. If there is no need for it outside the community then how can you increase the wages of miners in a rational way for the system not to collapse on itself. Even if there is need for it inside, unless it is a community of the size of USA/Russia/EU/China, i do not see how can it work.(As i understand by communities you mean something smaller like a town) Also it begs the question if the community should decide this value instead of the market because of that? (Community is probably not gonna be rational and not gonna make the correct decisions. There will be preferential treatments. Market is more rational and tries to take factors within and outside in to account. Market has very few preferences unless we are dealing with something akin to a monopoly.)

As for getting value on the distribution side of things for companies. This kinda leads to the same issue of protectionism and stagnation. Again, the community blocks local retail and sells things with "added value" not to damage the community. Added value is still there but it is decided by the community instead of the company. And this decision is not necessarily rational nor driven by any factors besides short term benefit of the community. In this situation the same story from above happens.

@Wellsy

The text in itself still doesn't answer the questions of implementation. I understand the theory to a degree. I understand the difference of opinions to a degree. But i do not understand how that theory can be implemented in to practice/real life in the modern world.

Morality can usually bridge that in a sense from theory to practice. It is kind of an incentive to actually move from capitalism to communism but in case of communism/socialism it is very vague when we look at the modern world. Yes, communism/socialism wants to free the worker/working class from added value and to organise itself for the benefit of the community. Your text describes this process as getting rid of money and added value on products/labour but then i think contradicts itself saying that community/society must organize and plan itself. What makes it worse is that you are not considering this to be central planning so i assume smaller communities again. This will lead to the same problems as i wrote to OneDegree
1) Protectionism for the community.
2) Self-interest of the community.
3) Stagnation.

If we exclude centralized state then this also doesn't answer the issue of global cooperation. This would literally mean that production of the mobile phone would not be possible in any shape or form. On top of that, how are the actors in different parts of the world gonna exchange for the services if they are not gonna use money. I understand the concept of moneyless society within a community but i do not understand then a moneyless cooperation between different communities. The communities will have different needs.

This also doesn't answer the question of how McDonalds can exist within your community. OneDegree has an answer for that at least. As i said, answer that it shouldn't is not really acceptable.
#14976317
That is indeed what i meant by unequal pay. That not all work will be paid equally. So you do agree with that. Your solution is okayish of sorts until you reach the part of actually implementing it. How are you going to decide "what is best for the community" and who is going to decide it. (Saying whole community is not really an answer because in reality nobody will do a referendum on each separate work)

Good point, but the problem is no different than what already exists. Someone has to make decisions. I am just limiting the decisions to the local community. I suppose my solution would be citizens could call for a referendum on anything. Computers should make this workable.
Also this creates the so dreaded value(Added value?) but in a distorted form. Lets say a community consists of coal miners mostly. It is a small coal mining town. Now it is in the interest of the community to pay more to the coal miner instead of the 5 researchers that research new kinds of generating electricity. It would be in the best interest of the community to stop their work for example, if we talk about it in the context of global warming. This essentially would mean that the community will have a self-interest to themselves(Same way as a corporation has a self-interest to itself) and they will value their own industries/services higher than anything new that might arise. This is kind of value to reinforce stagnation in my opinion and moderate research.(Arguably the strong points of modern capitalism which is constant change and accelerating research) This also doesn't answer the question of what to do with the coal that those miners produce. If there is no need for it outside the community then how can you increase the wages of miners in a rational way for the system not to collapse on itself. Even if there is need for it inside, unless it is a community of the size of USA/Russia/EU/China, i do not see how can it work.(As i understand by communities you mean something smaller like a town) Also it begs the question if the community should decide this value instead of the market because of that? (Community is probably not gonna be rational and not gonna make the correct decisions. There will be preferential treatments. Market is more rational and tries to take factors within and outside in to account. Market has very few preferences unless we are dealing with something akin to a monopoly.)

I guess my best way to answer this is I expect some communities to fail. The whole idea behind local autonomy isn’t to guarantee success, but to experiment to find out what works. If the community doesn’t have buyers then they adapt, become self sufficient, or fail.
I have refrained from establishing a definite size for communities and decided my knowledge only allows me to come up with a minimum and a maximum. No smaller than 10,000 people and no larger then 1 million. I will leave it to more knowledgeable planners to decide if this can be narrowed further. I believe the size should be reduced as technology allows.

As for getting value on the distribution side of things for companies. This kinda leads to the same issue of protectionism and stagnation. Again, the community blocks local retail and sells things with "added value" not to damage the community. Added value is still there but it is decided by the community instead of the company. And this decision is not necessarily rational nor driven by any factors besides short term benefit of the community. In this situation the same story from above happens.

The economics should not be the deciding factor. ‘Protectionism’ is a given with any kind of autonomy. The benefit of the community is all that matters, and this means not allowing economic considerations to compromise ownership of the community. I don’t see why ‘added value’ is a big concern. Besides, everything is produced locally now. It just isn’t owned locally. I don’t see how this creates a greater chance of stagnation than a global company closing their local facilities. I don’t see a problem with them creating a cellphone either.
#14976325
I wish to note at the outset that I really don't have the answers and doubtful any one really does if one is to avoid utopianism. There might be some thinkers out there but I'm still at the basics of Marxism in trying to comprehend what Marx was getting at.
I could contribute to Marx's sense of morality/ethics, but what I see with the thread subject is more what the communist mode of production and relations are meant to be like and the possible avenues towards it.
JohnRawls wrote:@Wellsy

The text in itself still doesn't answer the questions of implementation. I understand the theory to a degree. I understand the difference of opinions to a degree. But i do not understand how that theory can be implemented in to practice/real life in the modern world.

Morality can usually bridge that in a sense from theory to practice. It is kind of an incentive to actually move from capitalism to communism but in case of communism/socialism it is very vague when we look at the modern world. Yes, communism/socialism wants to free the worker/working class from added value and to organise itself for the benefit of the community. Your text describes this process as getting rid of money and added value on products/labour but then i think contradicts itself saying that community/society must organize and plan itself. What makes it worse is that you are not considering this to be central planning so i assume smaller communities again. This will lead to the same problems as i wrote to OneDegree
1) Protectionism for the community.
2) Self-interest of the community.
3) Stagnation.

If we exclude centralized state then this also doesn't answer the issue of global cooperation. This would literally mean that production of the mobile phone would not be possible in any shape or form. On top of that, how are the actors in different parts of the world gonna exchange for the services if they are not gonna use money. I understand the concept of moneyless society within a community but i do not understand then a moneyless cooperation between different communities. The communities will have different needs.

This also doesn't answer the question of how McDonalds can exist within your community. OneDegree has an answer for that at least. As i said, answer that it shouldn't is not really acceptable.

Well one has to be careful from merely building castles in the sky in terms of theorizing what is beyond comprehension for the lack of foreseeable practice.
This is where Marx didn't go past the bounds of what he saw and understood, he did indeed leave a very abstract sense of communism (generally such an abstract concept emerges before it becomes more concrete, eg sexism for feminist movement) but he did give some markers based on what it would entail based on what it would have to emerge from.

At the present stage, I think the left is struggling to find the means of organization let alone posit solutions of struggle for the next world.
But I do think morality or the ethics is something important to it coming about and why I see some sense in the Marxist theorist Andy Blunden with his 'ethical politics' as something to emerge from a political landscape of alliance politics.
Here is his effort to outline an ethical politics: https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/pdfs/For%20Ethical%20Politics.pdf

Anyway, In regards to your statement
Your text describes this process as getting rid of money and added value on products/labour but then i think contradicts itself saying that community/society must organize and plan itself.

I take it you don't think society can be organized without money but only within a community. I would also wonder what you take from Marx's analysis of the commodity as a unity of opposites (use-value and exchange-value) which is the basis for the very the form of money as the universal commodity today. I haven't much too much of a study of Marx's critique of the political economy but his sense of capital tends to differ from that of others in it's emphasis of it being a social relation among human beings. But at present there is the real commodity fetishism which mistakes the power of people's activity for that of money but the power is very real in terms of it being practically realized in money due to our present relations. Fetishism is a real illusion of human consciousness throughout history.
Spoiler: show
https://www.marxists.org/archive/fromm/works/1961/man/ch05.htm
Alienation (or "estrangement") means, for Marx, that man does not experience himself as the acting agent in his grasp of the world, but that the world (nature, others, and he himself) remain alien to him. They stand above and against him as objects, even though they may be objects of his own creation. Alienation is essentially experiencing the world and oneself passively, receptively, as the subject separated from the object.

The whole concept of alienation found its first expression in Western thought in the Old Testament concept of idolatry.[59] The essence of what the prophets call "idolatry" is not that man worships many gods instead of only one. It is that the idols are the work of man's own hands -- they are things, and man bows down and worships things; worships that which he has created himself. In doing so he transforms himself into a thing. He transfers to the things of his creation the attributes of his own life, and instead of experiencing himself as the creating person, he is in touch with himself only by the worship of the idol. He has become estranged from his own life forces, from the wealth of his own potentialties, and is in touch with himself only in the indirect way of submission to life frozen in the idols. [60]The deadness and emptiness of the idol is expressed in the Old Testament: "Eyes they have and they do not see, ears they have and they do not hear," etc. The more man transfers his own powers to the idols, the poorer he himself becomes, and the more dependent on the idols, so that they permit him to redeem a small part of what was originally his. The idols can be a godlike figure, the state, the church, a person, possessions. Idolatry changes its objects; it is by no means to be found only in those forms in which the idol has a socalled religious meaning. Idolatry is always the worship of something into which man has put his own creative powers, and to which he now submits, instead of experiencing himself in his creative act. Among the many forms of alienation, the most frequent one is alienation in language. If I express a feeling with a word, let us say, if I say "I love you," the word is meant to be an indication of the reality which exists within myself, the power of my loving. The word "love" is meant to be a symbol of the fact love, but as soon as it is spoken it tends to assume a life of its own, it becomes a reality. I am under the illusion that the saying of the word is the equivalent of the experience, and soon I say the word and feel nothing, except the thought of love which the word expresses. The alienation of language shows the whole complexity of alienation. Language is one of the most precious human achievements; to avoid alienation by not speaking would be foolish -- yet one must be always aware of the danger of the spoken word, that it threatens to substitute itself for the living experience. The same holds true for all other achievements of man; ideas, art, any kind of man-made objects. They are man's creations; they are valuable aids for life, yet each one of them is also a trap, a temptation to confuse life with things, experience with artifacts, feeling with surrender and submission.


With it being a social relation and fetishism of commodities being a product of our present mode of production, I don't see money as something necessarily inevitable should there be the possibility for such a fetishism to actually be overcome as opposed to merely developed to a more abstract form.
But it does seem that there is a sense of price within socialism according to this fella.
https://kapitalism101.wordpress.com/2014/07/02/indirectly-social-labor/
Marx lays out, briefly, a way to make labor directly social, breaking with capitalist value production, in his Critique of the Gotha program. In Marx’s concept of directly social labor he advocates a system which breaks with the disciplining of production by socially necessary labor time. Producers in this post-capitalist society will not be compensated according to the social average but instead compensated directly for the actual amount of labor time they expend in production. If I spend 2 hours making a widget I get a labor-certificate entitling me to purchase consumption goods equal to two hours of labor. If you spend 3 hours making the same widget you get a certificate entitling you to 3 hours of consumption goods. Regardless of productivity our labors are directly social because they are compensated in full, considered part of the total labor of society, no matter what.11

Careful readers may ask how such a society would determine the labor-content of consumption goods (the ‘prices’ at which workers ‘buy’ them with their labor-certificates) in the absence of socially necessary labor time. This calculation would be based on the average social labor-time that it took to make a commodity. The calculation could be done simply by adding up all of the concrete labor times that go into making widgets and dividing this by the number of widgets. Such a calculation would allow society to continue to make production plans and to ‘price’ commodities. But the compensation of laborers would not be done through such a process of averaging. So such a system would not eliminate the role of average labor time as an accounting unit. What it would eliminate is the role of average time in the compensation of workers.12

So it seems that it retains a capitalist element of production but changes the compensation of labour.

But to be perfectly frank I don't yet fully understand the proposals of those who speak of displacing the socially necessary labor time which compels people to work more than they need to for the sake of profit. Somehow one has people paid for their actual labor instead of the average and I don't know what the implications of such an attempt would have or what attempt one would make to realize this.

But the nature of capitalism is that people are practically concerned with their self interest even though the capitalist system is irrational in nature and doesn't harmonize with human needs and development.
So when you say things like the market is rational, I think you're mistaken according to the position of Marx whose work Das Kapital is meant to be an illustration of how irrational it is in the pursuit of profit to the detriment of human beings in their ability to labor as well as satisfying even basic needs.
https://critiqueofcrisistheory.wordpress.com/crisis-theories-underconsumption/
The underconsumptionists point out, correctly, that if capitalist production was production for the needs of the workers, there would not be any crises of overproduction. Capitalist overproduction is overproduction of exchange values, not overproduction of use values. A crisis of overproduction of exchange values breaks out when there is still very much an underproduction of use values, especially use values that the workers themselves need.

The market would be rational if it was a system which adequately satisfied human needs, but it's primarily a system of profit which at best overlaps with human needs but isn't essentially govern by the production of use-values but in the realization of exchange-value.
The rationality of the market requires ideological obscrufication of how things work, which isn't that they're entirely false but they're one sided, partial truths that don't get to the essence of things. Which is why we end up with ridiculous things like the barter illusion in neoclassical economics.
But might like Simon Clarke's work in articulating the irrationality of capitalism.
Here's a summary of him: https://kapitalism101.wordpress.com/2011/09/30/marginal-futility-reflections-on-simon-clarkes-marx-marginalism-and-modern-sociology/

But the idea is that labor is indirectly social, one labours but it only becomes social upon going onto a market and being exchanged. People see money as inevitable means for goods and services being exchanged which is the typical origin story for money as more efficient than bartering, although money merely generalizes the inconvience of barter which is the uncertainty of being able to trade the item for something else in the future. With money, one isn't guaranteed money will be worth the things one wants in the future as capitalism is prone to crises with its increased distancing between value and it's realization.
Spoiler: show
http://libcom.org/files/marx,%20marginalism%20and%20modern%20sociology%20-%20clarke.pdf
The implications for the marginalist analysis of exchange become clear as soon as we turn to the explanation of money. For the marginalists money is simply a means of avoiding the inconvenience of barter, which has no substantive implications. However, barter cannot be reduced to the elementary form of immediate exchange, for in barter the individual acquires things through exchange with a view to their subsequent exchange for other things. The ‘inconvenience of barter does not lie in the mediated character of the exchange relation, which requires the individual to enter two exchange relations instead of only one, for this is as much the case when money serves as the mediating term in the exchange as it is when any other commodity plays that role. The ‘inconvenience’ of barter lies in the fact that the first exchange is conditional on the outcome of the second, the results of which cannot be known with certainty. I may wish to exchange corn for meat, but the butcher may want not corn but cloth. The butcher may be willing to accept my corn in exchange for her meat, with a view to subsequently exchanging the corn for cloth with somebody else. In this event neither of us wants the corn in itself, but only as the means of exchange for something else: corn serves in this exchange not as a use-value, but as a value. However, in exchanging meat for corn the butcher runs the risk of not being able to make the subsequent exchange on the anticipated terms, and this is where the ‘inconvenience’ of barter lies.

The use of durable, infinitely divisible commodities, with a high value in relation to their volume, as means of exchange certainly removes some of the physical inconvenience attached to less suitable commodities, but it does not solve the fundamental problem of barter, that exchanges are made conditional on an uncertain outcome. If corn is not in general demand the butcher will be unwilling to accept corn in exchange for meat, but the introduction of money does not solve this problem, for if corn is not in general demand I will no more be able to exchange my corn for money than I was able to exchange it for meat. On the other hand, if I am able to sell my corn for money, the rationality of this exchange is not determined by the conditions of this exchange alone, but also by my uncertain expectation of the future price of meat. It is the uncertainty of the outcome of particular exchanges that disqualifies particular commodities from serving as the means of exchange, and gives rise to money as the universal equivalent. However money does not remove the uncertainty attached to particular exchanges, it merely expresses that uncertainty in a universal form. Money does not resolve the inconvenience of barter, it generalises it. Far from expressing the rationality of exchange, money expresses the irrationality of a system of social production in which provision for human need is achieved only through the alienated form of commodity exchange.

The explanation of money presents problems of a different order from those raised by recognition of inequalities of wealth and power, because the existence of money cannot be explained without abandoning the most fundamental assumptions of the marginalist model. In the elementary act of exchange the agents of exchange knew with certainty the range of opportunities available to them, expressed in the reciprocal offers of each party to the exchange. If the exchange-ratios of all commodities, in the present and the future, are generally known, the results achieved in the analysis of the elementary act of exchange can be generalised to a system of indirect exchange. However, in the absence of uncertainty as to future exchange-ratios, every commodity can serve indifferently as means of exchange, and there is no need for one commodity to serve as a universal equivalent. On the other hand, if we recognise the existence of ignorance and uncertainty we can explain the emergence of money, but it is no longer legitimate to generalise the results achieved in the analysis of the elementary act of exchange

http://college.holycross.edu/eej/Volume14/V14N4P299_318.pdf


In regards to
What makes it worse is that you are not considering this to be central planning so i assume smaller communities again.

I suspect One Degree's idea of communities isn't compatible with that of Marx. When I read One Degree's thoughts, it seems isolationist, as if we could break up the world into such small entities and be left to our own devices. But capitalism has already brought an international intercourse between mankind through trade and one would have to destroy our mode of production and send it backwards (causing significant loss of life) to return our production to such a state as to make many different communities who don't trade so much and keep to themselves possible.
Marx seems to want things decentralized and the state dissolved, but I don't know exactly Marx's conception on this either, because communism is clearly on a global scale otherwise it wouldn't have overturned capitalism which is global in nature. But based on the summary from Cyril Smith, I don't take it that governance is considered erased, but only the state as the state isn't equivalent to government.
As such it's not that there no longer exists authorities and representation which has problems of it own, especially in the modern day where apparently a summary of votes constitutes modern politics for the general population.
https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/pdfs/On%20Political%20Representation.pdf
The problem of representation does not arise from the diversity of people; it arises even when I represent myself. (See Hegel, 1821, §115) I have innumerable different needs and desires, but at every given moment I nonetheless form an intention and act according to that intention. My intention furthers a purpose which resolves the contradictions between my various desires and the constraints imposed by those of others. I cannot act at all other than through momentarily resolving the contradictions between my various desires, and formulating a purpose, even while I take myself to be an single, independent human being – I cannot do two things at once, nevertheless, I must act. So in representing myself I face the same contradiction that confronts the representative who acts on behalf of a group. In selecting a representative and instructing the representative, the group implicitly resolves these contradictions and thereby forms itself into a subject, a personality

It is by acting in the world that an individual makes themself into a personality and in just the same way, by choosing and mandating representatives, a group transforms themself from a collection of individuals into a subject, an actor on the stage of history. There is no implication in this that internal differences are dissolved, overridden or ignored, but they are transcended.

So we have two concepts here of what constitutes a person and what constitutes a representative. On the one hand, a person is seen as someone with a certain gender, age, education, experience, nationality, etc., etc., and on the other, a person is someone who pursues certain purposes, has commitments, a life. The former is the object of surveys of voter preferences, the passive object of political policy and action. The latter is the active subject, who pursues ends collaboratively with others and changes the world.


The state for Marx seems to be a manifestation of an illusory community in the same way we imbue commodities with our activity instead of realizing it as originating from ourselves (fetishism/alienation)
https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/smith-cyril/works/millenni/smith3.htm
Marx showed how the state, among other institutions, exemplified the estrangement of social life, the antagonism between the interest of the individual and that of the community, which is actually more basic than that between classes.

The state is based on the contradiction between public and private life, on the contradiction between general interests and private interests. [MECW Vol 3, p 198]

[The community] takes on an independent form as the State, divorced from the real interests of individual and community, and at the same time as an illusory communal life. ... On the other hand, too, the practical struggle of these particular interests, which constantly really run counter to the communal and illusory interests, makes practical intervention and control necessary through the illusory ‘general’ interest in the form of the State. [MECW Vol 5, p 46]

So the state is a form of community, but an illusory form, in contrast to the real, human community: ‘In the real community the individuals obtain their freedom in and through their association.’

Marx wanted to discover the basis of the illusion which is involved in this ‘illusory community’ and, above all, how the illusion is to be dispelled and the true community released.

Seen from inside estranged social forms, the state seems to speak with the voice of God Almighty, even to those of us who are quite well aware that – like the Deity – it is actually the product of the activities of all too human mortals. Explanations in terms of individual will are futile, declaring no more than that ‘people behave like this because they want to’. Neither the goodwill nor the malevolence of those who control the functioning of the state apparatus provide a solution to the riddle of the state. Nor is the mystery of the state and its power explained by talking in terms of ‘might’: ‘They would be killed if they did not obey.’

The bourgeois state, and its separation from its economic base, are shown by Marx to arise necessarily from the atomisation of individual life within that base. Estrangement and fetishism mean that the lives of individuals are controlled by powers which they themselves have made, but which lie outside themselves. Like money and capital, the political form simultaneously links people together by separating them:

The contradiction between the purpose and goodwill of the administration, on the one hand, and its means and possibilities, on the other hand, cannot be abolished by the state without the latter abolishing itself, for it is based on this contradictions. [MECW Vol 3, p 198]
This occurs when matters have changed in such a way that man as an isolated individual relates only to himself, but that the means of positing himself as an isolated individual have become precisely what gives him his general and communal character. ... In bourgeois society, eg, the worker stands there purely subjectively, without object [objectivlos]; but the thing which confronts him has become the true community, which he tries to make a meal of and which makes a meal of him. [Grundrisse]

Take, for example, the worker who faces a new piece of technology. The law says that it does not belong to her, but to her employer. It will dominate her isolated life until either it or she is worn out. And yet it is actually her connection with the world of global technical development.
...
The state, along with religion, law and philosophy, can now be seen as exemplifying humanity in inhuman shape. Political, legal and scientific forms arise as illusory stand-ins for community and the collective experience of humankind. These substitutes are necessary so long as that experience is atomised. While we are cut off from the ‘true community’, they will appear as external, enforced, superhuman powers and our consciousness of each of them will invert their real relationship to us. Thus they accurately express the upside-down nature of the world they seem to dominate.

They are superstructural, not the basic problem. They appear in history so long as production of human life takes the form of the production, not of the ‘real wealth’ of socialised humanity, but of the private property of certain individuals. This is the basis of our dehumanised lives. The false conceptions which accompany these forms are constituted by our own activities, which are our own enemies.

To which this isn't necessarily a problem with governance if it really does reflect the projects of people and the people see themselves reflected/represented within their government.
Though the USSR of course failed, it still has some interesting ideas in regards to things like the Soviets as an attempt to achieve a radical kind of democracy. But the historical example even with the unfavorable circumstances of the USSR and the failure for a cascade of revolutions of across Europe does certainly pose challenges to the ability of such a democracy.

But what is clear is that private property within the capitalist economy makes self interest incompatible with the general human interest and Marx sought to show how one's human self interest as embodied in the interests of the working classes emancipation were compatible in a rational way. The working class is meant to be both a particular group but also universal in the implications of it's project should it dissolve itself as a class and thus class as a reality at all.
http://d-scholarship.pitt.edu/10867/1/VWills_ETD_2011.pdf
Marx distances himself from the issuance of moral injunctions as a way, in and of itself, to close the gap between what “is” and what “ought” to be. Because scientific communism is not opposed to the needs of individuals, but rather is theorized as a means of recognizing and satisfying those needs, and because it identifies as the revolutionary class the class that, because of its position in production, is already brought into conflict with the forces of capitalism through its struggle for its own continued existence, it does not share the same difficulties as “true” or utopian socialism when it comes to the question of rational motivation. This further informs Marx's hostility to calls for sacrifice. Calls for sacrifice become necessary for a political theory when the link between rational self-interest and the prescribed ends can no longer be demonstrated through reason.
#14976522
I don’t want to distract from the Marxist arguments, but wanted to keep this thread active and comment on a common misconception.
The idea local autonomy would reduce trade or production or be isolationist has no basis. This seems to me to come from a belief only large centralized governments can do anything. This is simply accepting the arguments of authoritarians as gospel.
We don’t ship goods from the US, we ship them from a local port. China does not make products, businesses in local communities do. Everything is done locally right now. None of that needs to change and centralized control can be replaced by cooperation. Podunk, USA will still make the bearings and sell them to a wheel maker in medium city, China. They will still be shipped out of New Orleans because the community of New Orleans would still want to profit from shipping when autonomous. All that happens is every community has a greater number of communities to deal with. This greatly benefits everyone being able to deal on their terms without compromising ownership of their community. The large centralized governments restrict the community’s options meaning they effectively lose ownership of their community. The same thing must happen under international communism or large nation communism. As soon as the decisions and planning leave the community, you no longer have socialism in that community.
#14976572
Just popping this thread back into ‘new posts’. It seems to me @JohnRawls has asked a very interesting question and I was looking forward to the ‘thinkers’ responses. Tell us what communism/socialism should look like today.
#14976583
I wouldn't say Socialism/Communism morality is outdated at all. Everyone should earn exactly what their labor warrants. But your example of the Mobile phone has been explained some much better by Adam Smith in the "wealth of nations" as to how competition and the buyer dictate the market and self interest drives it forward. It explains why the Soviet Union created basic commodities while America had evolved design. It explains why the Soviet Union had bread lines while America became obsese. And it also explains why Gorbachev tried to free his country to the open market before it collapsed as a last resort.

So in layman terms, for socialism to work, the government would actively need to invest in R+D and design in things that are not only in the interest of the state, but to the consumer, opens up its markets to the rest of the world and review customer behavior to see what it is they want to possess, and most definately make sure it can feed its nation - even if that is at the expense of the nation's self interest. In other words, advance the things that are required in an evolving society that normally would have advanced itself within a self interest environment. So it isn't the morality that would need changing but the strategy.
#14977556
Wellsy wrote:I haven't yet fleshed out what Marx foresees for the future but I worry about the idea of common ownership merely being private property given a general form which Marx considered the crude sense of communism.
https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/manuscripts/comm.htm

https://www.marxists.org/archive/fromm/works/1961/man/ch04.htm

http://libcom.org/files/marx,%20marginalism%20and%20modern%20sociology%20-%20clarke.pdf


And I should note that the idea of workers deserving common ownership because it's labor sounds more like a ricardian socialist than Marx. Such an assertion is still essentially a capitalist notion rather than a socialist/communist in that Marx wants to overcome the alienation he asserts as inherent in private property.
http://libcom.org/files/marx,%20marginalism%20and%20modern%20sociology%20-%20clarke.pdf

http://d-scholarship.pitt.edu/10867/1/VWills_ETD_2011.pdf

https://www.marxists.org/archive/kamenka/1962/ethical-foundations/ch14.htm

Marx's want is to establish human labor as free and human rather than reduced to a tool for the self-expansion of capital. This is compelling ethically from Marx's perspective of what human nature is.
http://isj.org.uk/marxism-and-ethics/


So although you mention Marx and there are other variations of socialists and such than those derived from Marx's work, I think it still relevant to clarify due to his significance and the work that has followed him. So in a sense I guess I would say the USSR generalization of private property and thus it's alienation via state ownership is outdated in the sense that it was a failure and reproduced the alienation Marx was critical of in a different form. Which may well be the way capitalism is heading in some places with China being an exemplar of capitalist production at the moment.

And where I would fundamentally disagree with O.D. is in regards to it being about the decision process of workers. Co-ops and such are nice examples that workers themselves can run production but within a capiatlist system it is still founded on private property and commodities which have exchange value.
This isn't the emancipation, it is merely a shuffling of the chairs on the deck, it changes form but isn't essentially different as it would still be capitalism as a mode of production in realizing the self-expansion of capital.
As such it wouldn't avoid the crisis that occur with the inability to realize exhcange-value nor would it alleviate the asserted facets of Alienation.




@Wellsy I think the premise of ethics and what that might look like with a true socialist, Marxist or communist would be the one I ascribe to. It is Erich Fromm.

If socialism and socialists adhere to this psychological and personal and social way of being ethical and loving others? Socialism has all the tools to transform the entire society and create an advanced system of economics, family life, technology, biological and physically healthy environment. It is the part Marx could not dedicate as much time to exploring. He was not an expert in psychology. Marx's historical time period had not delved into psychology as deeply as required then.
Here:

http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Erich_Fromm
#14977564
Tainari88 wrote:@Wellsy I think the premise of ethics and what that might look like with a true socialist, Marxist or communist would be the one I ascribe to. It is Erich Fromm.

If socialism and socialists adhere to this psychological and personal and social way of being ethical and loving others? Socialism has all the tools to transform the entire society and create an advanced system of economics, family life, technology, biological and physically healthy environment. It is the part Marx could not dedicate as much time to exploring. He was not an expert in psychology. Marx's historical time period had not delved into psychology as deeply as required then.
Here:

http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Erich_Fromm

It is Erich Fromm which I now refer to for a easy to understand aspect of Marx’s concept of alienation (later called commodity fetishism). If Fromm adheres to the humanism of Marx then I imagine he espouses the sense of rich individuality i see attributed to Marx which I tried to elaborate on to O.D. In regards to poverty being more than an economic metric but of how human one can be.

In regards to Psychology I refer to Lev Vgotsky and the radical current of Soviet thinkers who followed hos legacy which now informs a school of thought called Cultural History Activity Theory. Vygotsky is a genius and true inheritor to Marx’s legacy. His work Thought and Language is his own psychological Das Kapital as he just as consciously uses the dialectical method identified in Hegel and appropriated by Marx.
#14977623
Deutschmania wrote:I regard the Moral Code of the Builder of Communism to be an inspirational , foundational basis for a just and strong social order . But how to best best put such lofty principles into practice is a matter of public policy , subject to political debate .


I am glad you mentioned 'The Moral Code of the Builder of Communism'. The Soviet Union brought in ethics and returned religion into an economic system that was meant not to require them. It seems that even those who were influenced by Marx's work understood that Dialectical Materialism can also work against the system so tried to fix the superstructure so it didn't.

Nonetheless Marx was a fantastic economist but he didn't understand the systems or concepts that need to be in place to fulfil Communism as an end game. Only that it starts with revolution (which is debatable). Perhaps the morality of Socialism doesn't need updating. It just needs social acceptance in the form of an ethical code to be brought into society first. In other words a socialist government needs to get elected to transform a nation into a Socialist nation in which the inhabitants see the benefits of that system (change the base) and then the laws change to maintain the nation (fix the superstructure) with the will of the populous. And not as a resort to control the populous as that would cause dissent.
#14977634
This ⬆️ is what I see as the flaw also. Communism advocates evolution of society through eliminating choice by armed revolution if necessary. They claim to have figured out exactly what people need when they must admit we don’t know enough about ourselves to make such claims. Personally, I find it hilarious they decided what we need is an economic system. Society can not evolve if you eliminate choice.
If you truly believe in Communism, then you would not need to pressure people to accept it. It is suppose to be a natural result of our evolution. You sure won’t get there by eliminating the means of evolution which is choice. You will just get rebellion.
Any international system must result in stagnation and authoritarianism.
#14977641
It’s not clear to me the discussion as frame nor as it has progressed it about ethics/morality as what is discussed is practical application of things which I worry sound more like achieving something like the USSR/PRC as opposed to the basis of something of Marx’s condemnation of capitalism or the ethics of others. Which historically had used kantian ethics which reformed and confused the matter.

This is one of my favourite sources on the issue of whether Marx had an ethics.
[url]d-scholarship.pitt.edu/10867/1/VWills_ETD_2011.pdf[/url]
#14977642
One Degree wrote:They claim to have figured out exactly what people need when they must admit we don’t know enough about ourselves to make such claims. Personally, I find it hilarious they decided what we need is an economic system. Society can not evolve if you eliminate choice.


A society will always have an economic system if it to function. Nonetheless I think it is important to understand there has never been a communist state. We have had a variety of socialist states. And you can figure out what people want by just asking them. For example, ask anyone where the value of their surplus labor should go. Should it go to the landowner or to them? Is it fair that those born in wealth profit over those who don't have any? Most people would prefer a system of fairness where their labor does not line the pockets of the elite who contribute little to their own wealth. And Socialism provides a solution to this problem. Surplus labor goes to the state for us all to share and you have access to someone elses surplus labor in return.

But there is also a problem with Socialism. And it is a massive problem. It is a state run economy. How was it that a massive economy such as the Soviet Union created a black market and breadlines and eventually when bust? Because there was no invisible hand to guide the economy. It was an economy based on production for the interest of the state and not for the interest of the populous. Don't get me wrong I have no doubt that a socialist state is the correct way forward. It provides healthcare, education and living provisions for the entire society. But the state planning commission of that state needs to understand the limitations of a state run economy and manage production accordingly so it doesn't over create in some areas of it - and most definately never under creates in other areas.
#14977647
B0ycey wrote:A society will always have an economic system if it to function. Nonetheless I think it is important to understand there has never been a communist state. We have had a variety of socialist states. And you can figure out what people want by just asking them. For example, ask anyone where the value of their surplus labor should go. Should it go to the landowner or to them? Is it fair that those born in wealth profit over those who don't have any? Most people would prefer a system of fairness where their labor does not line the pockets of the elite who contribute little to their own wealth. And Socialism provides a solution to this problem. Surplus labor goes to the state for us all to share and you have access to someone elses surplus labor in return.

But there is also a problem with Socialism. And it is a massive problem. It is a state run economy. How was it that a massive economy such as the Soviet Union created a black market and breadlines and eventually when bust? Because there was no invisible hand to guide the economy. It was an economy based on production for the interest of the state and not for the interest of the populous. Don't get me wrong I have no doubt that a socialist state is the correct way forward. It provides healthcare, education and living provisions for the entire society. But the state planning commission of that state needs to understand the limitations of a state run economy and manage production accordingly so it doesn't over create in some areas of it - and most definately never under creates in other areas.


First, I don’t agree that everyone wants the full value of their production. I am not sure even the majority does, because this includes responsibility. I have known too many people who believe the secret to a happy life is 8 hours of work to enjoy the other 16 hours plus weekends without any responsibility. They actually enjoy being the workers rather than the owners.
I don’t have a problem with people accepting a socialist lifestyle. It is as good as an experiment as any, but it is an experiment. The problem is when they attempt to make it larger than a community, which can only result in a contradiction to the very basis of socialism/communism. How can people be owners if it is dictated what their economy/government must be. It is a contradiction I fail to understand. It seems to me Socialists/communists are simultaneously claiming to have it all figured out while claiming it is social evolution that they don’t know the end result of. This makes no sense to me.
The morality part is this same contradiction. How can you claim to understand human morality as an absolute while claiming it is evolutionary? How can you claim ownership of the means of production leads to the greatest moral Good when there are people who don’t want to be owners.
It comes down to academics deciding there is a natural morality and they are smart enough to figure out what it is despite the evidence we are capable of no such thing. Why does it allow for societal evolution if they already claim to know the answers?
I am sure they may have answers for these questions, so take my post as a request for further information on how they justify what I see as contradictions. To me, it just seems another attempt to create a humanistic quality of sameness to humans which is a contradiction to our uniqueness.
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