anticlimacus wrote:How so?
You wrote "And we do have laws about property--it is only that they are collectively owned.
In other words, if I, an individual, start with my personal property (which you accept as legitimate) and then start using it as private property (i.e. means of production), according to your statement above, it will have to be collectively owned
, i.e. no longer owned just by me, its original owner.
Somewhere along the line from it being solely my individual property to it being collectively owned, it had to be expropriated, right?
My point is that capitalism separates capital from labor, and therefore labor must sell itself to capital for the production of profit, which goes towards the interests of those who own the capital.
Actually, labour under capitalism is a collaborative enterprise. It involves cooperation between capital-owners and labourers (and typically many others, like land owners, entrepreneurs, managers, customers, raw-material providers, etc.).
The nature of voluntary and collaborative enterprises is that they serve the interests of all involved. Otherwise, those involved would opt out. So the statement "Labour must sell itself to capital for the production of profit, which goes towards the interests of those who own the capital" is wrong on several accounts.
First, labour isn't compelled to sell itself. It can acquire its own capital. It can choose less capital-intensive occupation. It can borrow the money required to obtain capital. It can rent the capital equipment required. Etc.
Second, profit is the hoped-for
consequence of the entrepreneur. Enterprises are almost as likely to result in a loss as in a profit.
Third, the profit doesn't go to the owners of capital, but rather to the owners of the equity in the business. Those may be capital owners, or could be employees, managers or entrepreneurs. For example, when a business funds its capital purchase through a bank-loan, capital owner is the bank. But the bank doesn't get the profit - it only gets fixed interest.
Finally, the statement is highly misleading. One could just as appropriately say "Capitalism separates capital from labour, and therefore capital must rent the services of labour for the production of wages, which go towards the interests of the labourers". See?
Labor then becomes a product of capital production and serves capital accumulation.
Capital becomes a tool in the hands of labour and serves for wage accumulation.
they must work for those who seek to make a profit off of their labor.
They choose to work for those who agree to pay them wages regardless of whether the enterprise is profitable or not.
This creates social dynamics of illegitimate authority, such as political disenfranchisement of the poor, and an excess of political power for those who own more capital and surveillance and control of labor by state.
At what point does the authority become illegitimate, and why?
In an anarchy, there is no "political enfranchisement" of either poor or wealthy. Nobody has political power as the state, the organ of political authority, does not exist.
Within working life, this tends to create power dynamics of managerial control of labor to work as those who control the capital would see fit--somewhat like slavery, only instead of being bought, one is rented out for a day (and of course, part of the social battle is what constitutes a 'working day').
No, it factually doesn't tend that way at all. The stability and security of a wage-earner (often enjoying monthly wages, annual bonuses, and multi-month notice period before dismissal) is far greater than that of the self-employed or subsistence farmer.
In fact, wage earning is so unlike
slavery that rather than taking arms to liberate themselves, workers, more often, take arms when they are being forcibly liberated! It would be like Souther slaves taking arms alongside the Confederacy to fight the Northerners who threaten to liberate them!
Regardless of what one particular industry does or does not do, capitalism depends on a pool of wage labor, which really should not be a controversial point (particularly if you have no problem with wage labor)--it's just a fact of capitalism.
How do you know that capitalism depends on a "large mass" of wage labour? Through most of its history, capitalism operated such that unemployment was only a few percent of the work-force, and most of the unemployed have only been so for short periods of time.
Capitalism obviously requires labour, as well as capital. But then socialism also requires labour. So do all economic systems.
If he/she wants to gain private profit through cooperation with labor, then our capitalist ceases to be a capitalist and makes labor a part owner of the capital--then he/she truly cooperates.
There is more than one way to cooperate. I cooperate with my local supermarket. When we transact, both sides benefit. There is no exploitation involved. Yet I don't expect to become part-owner in the supermarket.
See I view the whole entire wage system in capitalism--generally speaking--as a sort of bargain to which labor has no choice but to 'cooperate': You can either sell yourself to this or that capitalist or be reduced to poverty.
Take these three statements:
1. Labour has no choice but to sell itself to this or that capitalist or be reduced to poverty.
2. Consumer have no choice but to buy their food from this or that supermarket or starve.
3. Capitalists have no choice but to hire this or that labourer or be reduced to bankruptcy.
In fact, the first statement is the weakest, as labourers often do have a choice - to become self-employed or to join forces and form a cooperative.
The full force of capital is not opposed to labor, because labor now controls capital.
This is a false dichotomy. Capital and labour cooperate. You don't need to control something to cooperate with it. Not controlling something doesn't imply opposing it. Again, I don't feel like food producers "oppose" food consumers, even though food consumers do not control food production.
The other point is that you implicitly assume that all capital has to have a single form of control. Where, in your analysis, does a mixed system fit? A system in which some
capital is owned (and controlled) by capitalists, some capital is owned by savers, lent out to capital-less entrepreneurs in exchange for interest, while still more capital is controlled directly by employees.
You would have a mixed system in which the statement that "labour has no choice but to sell itself" is patently false. Would that fact make your concerns about the exploitation inherent in the capitalist system go away?
So if you want to 'hire' me, your leverage is no longer that you can at least 'give me a job' so that I can survive. You can no longer hold capital as a ransom against my capacity to work. I can work productively and meaningfully elsewhere, under conditions of my own choosing. Under capitalism, individuals are on their own and so the consolidated power of capital can confront isolated individuals and use their isolation against them--hence labor often tries to unionize so workers no longer stand alone.
And nothing in my system prevents labour from unionising. Better yet, labour can say "the hell with you" to capitalists. That doesn't mean using violent means to expropriate their property (permanently, as in a socialist revolution, or temporarily, as in labour union violence). It simply means ignoring
exploitative capitalists and securing capital independent of them
Remember - nobody "monopolises" capital. Capital is easily and readily available from any number of sources, from savings to bank loans. A capitalist can refuse to give you a job, but cannot prevent you from obtaining your own capital and starting your own, competing business.
I responded to your claim that where there are tolerable property rights, capitalism will necessarily emerge. I argued that that is patently false. To me it sounds more like the difference between collectively owned or privately owned property.
Capitalism as a comprehensive system of exploitation (the way you see it) will not necessarily emerge.
However, particular capitalist enterprises may
arise. I get a mixed message as to your attitude towards such enterprises.
Wage labor, it seems to me, occurs where there are no better options except to work for somebody else.
Sure. And syndicates occur where there are no better options except to work for a syndicate. And self-employment occurs where there are no better options except to work for yourself. And?
Besides, the expression "work for somebody else" is ambiguous. You are in the employ of somebody else, but you equally work for yourself in the sense that the purpose of your work, from your perspective, is to further your own goals. As noted above, wage labour is a collaborative enterprise which benefits both sides.
This means that we have a society based on a fundamental inequality in power between those who have the capacity to release and withhold the means of production, and those who must seek out the means to gain employment, and so exist.
Again and again you make technically-correct statements in highly misleading ways.
I could equally say: we have a society based on a fundamental inequality in power between those who have the capacity to release and withhold labour, and those who must seek out the means to get employees, and so exist.Employers need employees much more than employees need employers
. An employee can typically find self-employment opportunities. An employer can very rarely operate his business without employees.
You are yet to show why you think employers' ability to fire and hire gives them any more power than employee's ability to quit.
Either way I'm caught within an involuntary conundrum. What do you think needs to be explored further here?
Characterising wage employment as "involuntary" is factually-contingent. It isn't inherent in the employment relation, but depends on the factual circumstances regarding alternatives open to the employee. In the presence of viable alternatives, you cannot reasonably characterise the relation as "involuntary".
Instead what we continually find in capitalism (and I speak generally here) is that individuals can only live so long as they work for others, not themselves.
If I am a self-employed artisan, making shoes and selling them in the market, do I work for myself, or for my customers?
If I am an entrepreneur who works very hard to build a business, seeing most of my sales proceeds go to pay the wages of my employees, do I work for myself, or for them?
Or wouldn't it by more appropriate to say that individual labourers work for both
themselves and their employers? Or simply that they work to feed their families, and having the stability or wages, coupled with the knowledge, reputation, experience, customer base and infrastructure provided by the employer more than compensate for any marginal reduction in freedom associated with the relationship?
Free men are not equal and equal men are not free.
Government is not the solution. Government is the problem.