ckaihatsu wrote:I hear ya -- I have to note that your labor is *internal* to the business itself, since it regards the machinations of capital ownership specifically. (A past discussion revolved around the topic of whether a janitor at an office building does *productive* labor, or not.)
Of course they do. Productivity of the office workers would go to shit if they had to work in filth. Productivity is more like a network or web than a linear input/output. The belief that it is linear I think implicitly assumes assembly line style factory production.
It is kind of impossible to measure the value added by any one worker. Without cashiers, a store wouldn't be able to sell anything. Without programmers, a software company wouldn't have anything to sell. You can't isolate any of the variables without the whole thing falling apart. That indicates you're dealing with a holistic web.
This also means there is no justification for paying people less than a living wage. Everyone is an essential worker. If they weren't, a capitalist most definitely wouldn't cut out any percentage of their profit to hire them.
Now within each role, there are definitely workers who are more or less productive than others. I find that in order to be productive at all, I have to take on the identity of the "good employee" that the capitalists expect me to be. Perhaps this is something like Althusser's "interpellation" theory of ideology - having been addressed by the Other, merely in responding you are caught in their web of symbols.
This is a dimension that is missed by orthodox Marxism. If you are a factory worker, you don't have to compromise your proletarian identity. Maybe it is the case you have "nothing to lose but your chains." But with immaterial professional labor, in a major sense you are selling a whole identity of yourself. This is what I meant when I said "we are becoming what we hate" and the "bourgeois no longer exists" - the capitalist ideology is internalized, the bourgeois conception of self becomes deeper rooted every day you work in the capitalist system.
This is one reason why the cause of worker liberation often falls on deaf ears - except for those who are most desperate and exploited, the service industry workers making less than a minimum wage.
If there is any revolutionary subject, it would be janitors, sex workers, the unemployed, etc. All those who don't create value according to the Marxian schema. Marx was always wrong about that. That's why Marxist-Leninism was more successful in less developed, peasant based societies.
Everyone else is just bought in enough to the game to have something to lose if they back out. That is the tragedy of it.
Radical leftism is most naturally at home among the most marginalized, whether you're talking about within a nation or between nations.
The ideal of Marxism to encompass all of the working class in solidarity is a noble ideal, but it is always aspirational. There are concrete differences in the interests of different types of workers that it must take into account if it is to have any chance of such a thing.
ckaihatsu wrote:Undoubtedly, and, yes, the decision-making / empirical process for what's provided to consumers is an interesting one, because it's not purely markets and it's not purely corporate diktat, either.
The interest of capital is strictly to *exploit labor*, at *something*, but it turns out it helps if that 'something' is also popularly economically demanded, to *extend* the period of labor being exploited, producing those things.
The interest of capital is to generate profit. Whether it obtains that by exploiting labor, or by exploiting for example a legal arrangement, makes no difference. I believe Zizek is correct that contemporary capitalism is characterized more by intellectual rent than classical labor exploitation.
ckaihatsu wrote:Yeah, I think we can directly attribute this socio-economic dynamic (of 'affluenza') to *commodification* itself -- we're *politically* (officially) *disempowered*, but some of us are empowered as *consumers*, and what kind of "empowerment" is it, really, to just collect a bunch of stuff, financially and/or with material items -- ?
I believe it is empowering, within certain limits, and partially as a substitute for the lack of power we have in other dimensions such as in politics and the workplace.
ckaihatsu wrote:'Socially necessary' would be *very* tricky in a post-capitalist context.
By default, as you mentioned previously, 'socially necessary' is conventionally accepted as a *given* in the revolutionary political culture. The consumer would be 'king' even moreso than *now*, under capitalism, which obviously occurs to one as being *problematic*.
If there's *no* formal value, then I think everyone would become stuck in *localism* since there'd be no established way to *generalize* material-economically across localities:
Rotation system of work roles
And what would it mean to 'share' value, as an input to the production process, if all production processes everywhere were 100% automated and human-labor-free, but still *finite* altogether -- ? (Meaning that society doing more of 'this' means that it then has to do less of 'that'.)
You're indicating that even the *consumer* needs some kind of societal 'information' about what can be procured, and what can't -- this would be 'the kind of value that no one knew they needed', from your wording.
Capitalism's money-and-pricing regime is *not that bad*, technically, from the consumer's point of view, given sufficient spending power, which *isn't* a given, of course. Many would readily argue that use-of-money beats standing in line for a strictly in-person, 'cafeteria' method of government-rationed access, and I would tend to agree, though the critical variable is *what's available*, exactly, at this cafeteria of availability. Maybe it would be *worth* waiting in line for.
Capitalism used its 'primitive accumulation of value', and socialism needs something similar -- my labor credits model uses the mass-aggregated daily individual prioritized lists of 'organic-demand', to formally provide society with a mirror reflection of what its needs are at any given moment. The post-capitalist society could then *socially organize* itself in line with that total formal expressed organic-demand -- to delineate the liberated-labor-value that's empirically required of itself. (Does society need a new building? Which type of building, etc.? Where? Any objections? Plan 'A' or Plan 'B' (etc.) -- ? Then we need 500 laborers, doing these work roles, at this schedule.)
I think capitalism excels at providing for consumer demand, provided you have the money and that your demand is utilitarian or hedonistic in nature. That's why I'm not against money per se, only its hegemony and elevation above everything else in the capitalist system.
What we are starved for in capitalism is artistic and spiritual value, since these things make no sense for profit maximization.
These higher forms of value I believe develop naturally in the proper organic social environment. It is not only capitalism, but modern (post) industrialized society which is their enemy. What is rational from a utilitarian point of view ends up being a giant grid of identical-looking rectangular structures. Capitalism and 20th century state socialism are no different in that regard.
This is why I stress the existence of these independent microspheres so much. While rational organization of society according to what is socially necessary is - necessary - it is not sufficient for a social structure worthy of human beings. Who are more than a set of needs to be satisfied. After they're satisfied, then what? People need more than that. Growth, development, the opportunity to positively shape their environment and establish meaningful relationships with a stable purposeful community.
ckaihatsu wrote:Oh, this is 'rationing', but I've recently argued *against* any and all 'rationing' approaches, mostly because such would require a *state* / bureaucracy / government / administration, which means that those specialist standing administrators / bureaucrats would *not* themselves be producing commodities for society, like toothbrushes, rice, and toilet paper. (And, of course, there'd be nothing to guarantee their *accountability*, by economics alone.)
I'm leaving it open the degree to which the macroeconomy would be centrally planned verses decentralized and emergent. People would vote on the precise combination they deem optimal. I don't think it should be assumed either that we need complete centralization or complete decentralization. There are advantages and disadvantages to each and I think it is their interplay which is what is desirable.
ckaihatsu wrote:"The whole point of this would be that we wouldn't have to think about it, and we would be free to devote our liberated labor to immaterial or artisan purposes. Which I think is kind of like what you're saying. "
I appreciate that we have the same kind of politics in mind.
I think we definitely have a shared interest in liberated labor.
ckaihatsu wrote:Okay, but your 'localism' isn't a valid approach -- like rationing -- because consumer items like toothbrushes, rice, and toilet paper *shouldn't have to be* produced by each and every locality for localist self-sufficiency. The *redundancy* of effort, over the whole, would be *socially* / socio-politically intolerable, because everyone would *know*.
And, regarding *production*, a post-capitalist social order would have a collective interest in *automating* all production so that *no one* would have to do it. (Consider present-day *messaging* / communication, for example, over the Internet, with *no labor required* for such -- only infrastructure.)
Do people really need toothbrushes, rice, and toilet paper to be 'artistic' -- ? No, these are intrinsically *mass-production* and *mass-consumption* items that *can* be standardized and mass-produced, while people could still use individual artisanal techniques to make *their own* customized toothbrushes, rice, and toilet paper *if they choose*, but they would still be able to brush their teeth, eat, and wipe their ass *regardless*, *without* having to commit *any* work, because of present-day technologies of computerized automated mass industrial production -- that make toothbrushes, rice, and toilet paper with *minimal* human-labor work inputs, for *millions* of people.
Another way to phrase it is that if people *couldn't* brush their teeth, eat, and wipe their ass, then they wouldn't have the personal *means* to artisanally make customized toothbrushes, rice, and toilet paper.
Intrinsically mass production/consumption items would be produced in common in the macrosphere, not in each of the microspheres. So there would be no duplication. The microspheres would be dedicated towards producing items and services of artistic or spiritual value. Or perhaps - if they value the production of a good for its own sake even though it can be mass produced. Like you could say, have blacksmiths making horseshoes in an Amish-type sphere. Even though they can be made more cheaply on a mass scale, the blacksmith may value being able to produce them and not being out of a job from industrial technology. In that case, the sphere might decide to ban importation of mass produced horseshoes from the common macrosphere so that the blacksmith is producing actual value - relative to his locality.
People in other spheres might think this is absurd and not have any protectionist measures like that, only focusing on production of what can't be mass produced.
I think in general we would want to automate the mass-scale production in the macrosphere as much as possible, so that more people could spend time in microspheres. Some people however might prefer the macrosphere, as it will be inherently more cosmopolitan and diverse. That has its own appeal, like New York City. So there should still be jobs for them to do there. I think they will be increasingly technical as automation progresses - there will be more and more jobs creating and maintaining the automation (kind of like what I do).
This is yet another reason for protected microspheres. Not everyone has the interest or inclination for technology type jobs. Not everyone wants to learn to code. Yet increasingly those will be the only jobs available. But people need meaningful work, or there will be mass anomie and suicide. A life of 100% leisure is not desirable.
Microspheres provide exactly what is necessary to remedy that problem. They will allow us to work in organic jobs which humans have done for millenia which suit our evolutionary need for organic work.
ckaihatsu wrote:Yeah, except that all of this isn't some kind of *mystery*, that empirically calls for the 'experimentation' that you're describing. Do people need toothbrushes, rice, and toilet paper? Can it be *mass-produced* -- ? Then it can be *automated* so that no one has to *labor* for the production of it. Any objections?
No objections. Except for if a group of people wants to make those things. I can imagine a microsphere of people who love ancient asian history, and recreate it in a microsphere including the growing of rice in rice paddies by hand.
You think these people would be better off just handing them a giant bag of industrially cultivated rice? So that then they can play Farming Simulator 19 in virtual reality? I think that would be an overly utilitarian perspective and would completely ignore the artistic and spiritual dimensions involved in that kind of labor and how it is integrated with everything else in such a society, as well as the health benefits of experiencing actual sunlight.
Well, *some* people do, and they're mostly in China.
Do *you* 'participate in the vast economic machine [for] [the] bundle of necessities that you would get at a place like Walmart' -- ? No, you don't. I don't. *Most* people don't, but *someone* has to do it, somewhere on the globe, possibly at *your* local area, but possibly *not*.
So how does (global) society determine exactly *which people* are to dedicate their labor over *years* of their lives to the production of socially-necessary commodities, for others -- ? Presently, for historical reasons, it happens to be millions of people in *China*, but why *China*, or wherever-else -- ?
Should it based on *heredity* -- ? Or *property ownership* -- ? Or *race* -- ? Or *gender* -- ? (Etc.)
You're right, most of that labor is outsourced to China. And now that they are becoming more wealthy, they're outsourcing it to poorer nations.
I think at some point you run out of poor nations where capitalists can get dirt cheap labor - at that point automation becomes even more attractive.
I don't think anyone should be forced into menial or less-desirable labor based on an accident of birth. In that sense I am a Rawlsian - that would not be a just state of affairs decided on in the "original position."
Again, I have to *object* to my 'labor credits' being treated like *money*, because it's *not* -- it's *never* exchanged for goods because 'exchanges' implies *commodification*. As soon as there are economic *exchanges* there's *exchange value*, and then it's basically *capitalism*.
My question for your formulation here would be 'Who actually produces the necessities'? Why would they even *bother*, if they could just get their vouchers-worth of necessities, from society, *without* having to work, like most everyone else -- ? (Like *today*, with private property ownership, and rent / interest payments on that capital.)
Apologies - monetary systems make the most sense to me so I keep mistaking it for one.
I am not opposed to commodification as such. I don't believe there is anything inherently wrong with exchanging money for a toothbrush - provided that no one is excluded by virtual of having no money. I think a monetary system combined with UBI remedies a great deal of the worst aspects of a monetary / commodity based system.
For me that would be a viable option which people could democratically select on a macro scale. There may be an inherent bias to it because we already have experience with monetary systems. But if a non-monetary system such as yours were demonstrated to work in one or more microspheres, perhaps enough people would vote to implement it on a macro scale.
Labor credits are *not money*, so their 'valuation', so-to-speak, is strictly in terms of labor-hour *multipliers* -- that one work role, say, work-from-home mattress-testing, is only 'worth' a *tenth* of the kind of labor that *produces steel*, for example.
You're revealing your Stalinism in being so dependent on a *central authority* -- again, such a standing bureaucracy is inherently *problematic*, mostly because those of the bureaucracy make their living from *administrating over others*, which is generally accepted as 'valid' and 'socially necessary' -- but *is* it socially necessary, like consuming whatever consumer items, or could society actually do its own political economy *without* money, private property, *or* a standing bureaucracy -- ?
I think there are good reasons to suppose that some kind of central authority is necessary. I don't think its a coincidence that every large-scale society hitherto existing has had one. Or rather, the organic necessity for one coincides with the willingness of certain types of people to exploit it and use it for domination. That is why I think that ultimate democratic control of the state makes the most sense, because it sets up a dialectic between the rulers and the ruled where the former can't just unilaterally dominate the latter.
But I'm willing to grant the possibility that it is not necessary. So I think that we should experiment with it on a small scale first.
ckaihatsu wrote:No, again, political economy *doesn't lend itself* to this kind of mish-mash approach. The *political* side of things, for example, as for *civil society*, *has* to be consistent, so that people aren't unfairly treated or singled-out. The same goes for *basic needs*, which currently *aren't* consistently catered-to, for everyone, based on universal biological and social needs, as for food and housing, etc.
A *post-capitalist* approach needs to be strictly *non-exchange-value*, meaning no money, no capital, no finance, no exchange values, no exchanges. As soon as there's *exchange*, there's *exchange values*, meaning that such takes on a life *of its own*, yielding a 'realm' of exchange values that people can benefit from, from trading, to the detriment of actual *production*, as for universal basic needs and wants.
All of people's basic human needs would be provided for on a macro level in my system - it is agnostic as to the precise economic formulation necessary to achieve that. That's for people to judge in a democratic manner.
Politics is by necessity "mish mash" because it involves the relations of humans, and humans are messy and imperfect. I believe my system is the cleanest way to organize the mess - different types of people can sort themselves into different spheres so they don't clash and cause unnecessary antagonism.
At the macro level, there will by necessity be antagonism because we all have to live in or under it. While there may be general agreement on basic needs (unfortunately that is still a matter of debate in some respects), when it comes to everything beyond needs, the number of possibilities is only limited by the number of people with different values and personalities in existence. Yet we are forced to share a world. So there will always be conflict, and there will always be politics.
Every liberatory politics which mediates antagonism on one level just opens the door to antagonism on another level. If we all were as rich as Kanye or the Kardashians, you can bet that we would have a lot to fight about still.
Do you understand that Walmart is one of the *most centralized* economic social organizations existing today, due to the corporate aggregation of capital -- ? A 'decentralized' corporation or government or other social entity is a *contradiction of terms* because then there wouldn't be any interconnected supply-chains, as we have under capitalism.
Is it a contradiction - or a dialectic?
You're being contradictory *again* -- should there be more 'worker-directed energy' in products for consumption, or shouldn't there -- ? Should workers 'die inside' in 6 months, or should it be within *5* months, or even less -- ?
It's inherently a material trade-off, because more 'organic composition' of capital -- 'worker-directed energy', for example -- requires more 'personal-death', using people / workers as mere *work inputs*. Here's from Wilde:
I think that a Walmart with more empowered workers would look a lot different and would be relatively more joyous (although of course not the most fun or enlightening place in the world). Workers even under capitalism today (perhaps not in Wilde's time, or in China today) do have different degrees of autonomy and ability to make their own decisions (within the limits of what is profitable). A centrally planned socialist macroeconomy would have the much more amorphous goal of social utility, and therefore the scope for worker autonomy even under central direction is potentially large. Of course, within limits. They couldn't write poetry on the job probably. But who knows. What if this communist walmart had a designated poet or musician to keep worker morale up and mitigate against the inherently soul-crushing nature of the work?
In this case I'd say then that 'Walmart' should be nationalized, and then socialized (by the workers themselves), while 'Amazon'-type *specialty* supply could / might be better on the 'market' system. Just keep in mind that all means of mass industrial production would be *collectivized*, so market-based production could only take place wherever as a *secondary* priority, after the collectivized machinery has been used for *majority*, *mass* needs for production, for the primary *gift* economy (socialism).
Also, I *still* don't agree with your / any 'blueprint' approach, as with your 'very elaborate cybernetic system' here.
Generally, sure, needs should be prioritized first. But once those are satisfied, people are going to want a vast array of goods. And many people under capitalism can already access them with Amazon. If we want a socialism of the 21st century, we aren't going to want to go backwards. So we better figure out how to do socialist Amazon as a major priority, I'd say.
We've already *prioritized* these respective types of production, into your 'Walmart' (necessities), and your 'Amazon' (specialty goods).
Production for and by the masses, for the commons, is *not* 'incomplete'. We're covering this topic in detail on this thread.
Your 'single plan or vision' is becoming a *strawman*, because, yet-again, I'm *not* a Stalinist, and my politics doesn't *call* for any central bureaucratic administration, nor for any kind of 'single' 'blueprint'.
You used my 'landscape of piles of stuff' premise, above, but that's *not* the same thing as a '[centralized] [administrative] single [blueprint] plan or vision'.
It is an incomplete political vision, because production of material goods - whether necessary or specialty - is not sufficient for a society worth living in. It must center the artistic and spiritual and purposefully create spaces for its cultivation. Often material goods are only a substitute for a religion, or a purpose. Materialism is just as much of a reason for our unhappiness as capitalism.
Marxism deifies the material. Not everyone is down with that.
This is your *Stalinism* again -- why do you presume that a 'microsphere [locality]' would make any better decisions, or would somehow be better at resolving material-quantities supply-and-demand *bureaucratically* / administratively -- ? Why should they really even *give a shit*, when it doesn't matter *to them* what happens in the (non-administrative) material economy -- ? They're not affected by it.
They wouldn't necessarily. It was just an offhand suggestion to distribute the planes to all the microspheres. Perhaps the macro level would use them more effectively. My system doesn't assume one way or the other. What pertains to the local versus the global would be a constant matter of unresolved dispute. And that is okay because there is no ultimate answer to that question.
ckaihatsu wrote:Correct. Now you're getting it. This is the entire basis and motivation of a socialist-type politics, because *basic human need* needs to be socially prioritized.
I agree with you philosophically and morally. However, I don't think that practically we're going to get a society which prioritizes needs without also putting a pretty high priority on satisfying people's varied non-need desires. People want to satisfy their needs so that they can move on to what they really want. De-prioritizing the ultimate object of desire makes no sense psychologically and people will not consent to it.
Strictly speaking, all you "need" is water, rice and beans and a place to put your two feet. Everything else is a desire - its all relative. So I think it makes a great deal of sense to plan ahead for production of the next several levels of desire after the most basic ones are met.
Well, post-capitalism, people could have *all sorts* of opinions, but, for matters of luxury-goods material-quantities supply-and-demand, what would matter is if there was enough *skilled labor* to *produce* those custom / specialty luxury goods, or not.
Remember, luxury good production would be *secondary* and would have to find whatever it could that was unused, for its own, 'internal' type of economics. And, being on the market system, by definition, either such 'supply' (of skilled labor) would exist, or else it wouldn't, and would be *scarce*.
Socialism at root is a Christian doctrine"
No, it's not. Here's what happened historically:
• All private property was nationalized by the government.
• All Russian banks were nationalized.
• Private bank accounts were expropriated.
• The properties of the Russian Orthodox Church (including bank accounts) were expropriated.
• All foreign debts were repudiated.
• Control of the factories was given to the soviets.
• Wages were fixed at higher rates than during the war, and a shorter, eight-hour working day was introduced.
None of that means that socialism isn't fundamentally Christian. The Russian Orthodox and other religious organizations are just competition.
It's pretty obvious when you take the most zoomed out view of socialism's development. It developed in Christian Europe as an ultimate product of a long like of explicitly Christian philosophers, evolving towards the mystic-rational like Hegel, sprouting up with various branches of those concerned with the poor and disadvantaged, and then finally to "atheist" Marx.
It has as the overriding central value providing for the needs of the dispossessed and powerless. It preaches a revolution (Second Coming) where the wrongs will be made right, and communism (kingdom of Heaven on earth) where everyone lives happily ever after.
This does not make it inherently bad or wrong - I happen to think we have a very deep need for religion and spirituality, and as somewhat of an atheist myself, deifying the material is really kind of the only thing left you can do.
But I also think more socialists should read Nietzsche and understand that theirs is very much a slave morality. That is not the only kind of morality that exists. And they would be more successful if they were aware of their partial perspective on life.
You're thinking of *historical Stalinism*, which followed the Allies invasion of the October Revolution.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allied_in ... _Civil_War
What's happening in society *now*, though, are social and political *movements*, like Black Lives Matter, and other populist-type movements, that cut *against* your 'ability to select from a zillion different goods in a capitalist hellscape', *for* 'the noblest ideals of communal solidarity'.
In other words even cash-backed runaway consumerism itself isn't 'pure', and some people may use their free time for *politics*, instead of for *consumerism* -- as we're doing here, right now.
Ok, that's fair. But I venture to say that the black community has already gone through postmodernism and out the other side. Just look at all the materialism of hip hop culture in the 80s-00s. The dream of revolution represented by the Black Panthers was thoroughly dead, and survival in the capitalist hellscape by any means became the ideal. It is only on that foundation that now a new value is asserted, a new rebellion asserting a "No" with an ideal of solidarity. Because of that, it was able to speak and connect to the masses in the current cultural moment in an unprecedented way.
By contrast, orthodox Marxism is stuck in a time capsule where it is only really taken seriously in humanities classes at universities. It doesn't speak or connect to people in the same way it once did.
I think that is because it clings to its increasingly quaint metanarrative, it hasn't obliterated it with postmodernism, in order to be able to reconstitute it anew in a culturally relevant way. To the extent that Marxism is culturally relevant, in small circles online, it is the postmodern content which people are appropriating to express the reality of class struggle right now.
You're speaking about two different *aspects* of society -- one is anti-monarchical, bourgeois-type '[civil] rights', as for general social tolerance of difference and individuality, and the other aspect regards that of the *material world*, meaning socially-necessary goods and services, for general public consumption. Mass production *is* monolithic by nature, since industrial processes are *mechanically* consistent and uniform, for resulting cookie-cutter identical products, which is *fine* for fulfilling people's basic common human biological and social needs and wants, like for food and housing, etc. No paradox. You're *conflating* civil society with industrial mass production.
I agree that mass production is monolithic. It provides for our basic needs economically. But there is no way it can provide everything we need for satisfying life, either in the material or immaterial sense. Once you get beyond basic needs, people's desires and values become increasingly more diverse and not only social tolerance of difference but explicit concern for difference makes more and more sense.
The *political* issue is what's the *material base* of social production.
If Amazon is based on *private capital ownership* -- which it *is* -- then it's going to be operating to *valorize* that investment capital, primarily, to the detriment of *distributing* the goods to meet unmet human *need*, as for food and housing for everyone.
If Amazon is fully *collectivized* then those who produce the actual goods and services that it coordinates would use 'Amazon' like the Internet itself, to get the word out about whatever's been produced.
Let me ask you -- what would / should happen if there happened to be *mass demand* from millions and billions on all seven continents, perhaps for toilet paper -- ? Should every 'microsphere' locality have to produce its own toilet paper, requiring redundancy-of-labor, or should 'Amazon', or 'Walmart', or whatever, do mergers-and-acquisitions so as to *scale up* that production, with *less* organic composition of labor, for efficiencies-of-scale -- ?
Better-yet, shouldn't 'Amazon' / 'Walmart' *fully automate* all steps of its toilet-paper production, so that *no one* has to spend part of their life for the production of *toilet paper* -- ? Then *no one*, in *any* microsphere locality, would have to do it, yet everyone could get the toilet paper they needed, due to machines and mechanical production.
I agree with you, that the communalized Amazon / Walmart should be taking care of toilet paper production and distribution. I very much doubt that anyone in any microsphere would want to produce it. Not even an Amish one - I'm sure they have some other "solution."
One advantage of producing such things communally rather than for profit, is that it opens up the potential to make a more collectively rational decision of what to produce. Instead of being caught in game theoretic sub-optimal choices when things come down to individual choice. It may be optimal to install bidets in everyone's toilet rather than produce any TP at all, for example. Especially when environmental concerns are factored in.
Again, labor credits do not function like money -- no exchanges.
In your formulation what if someone, somewhere, one day said to themselves 'All of this artisanal production is *too expensive*. I'd rather have some *generic* toilet paper, at a cheaper price, than pay someone to individually *plane wood* to produce my toilet paper for me.'
Would your 'macrosphere' political-economy *respond* to this kind of consumer demand? Would prices be pushed *downward*, at the behest of the consumer for more *purchasing power*, at the expense of specialized 'luxury' -- ?
It would have to, because people only perform liberated labor in microspheres and it is highly unlikely anyone wants to voluntarily spend their time making TP, when it can be mass produced.
I think we are overestimating the differences in our positions in some respects. Liberated labor is a priority in both our systems, the difference I believe is that yours occurs all in one big communal space, whereas in my system it is separated out into a bunch of small spaces. But also it may exist in the big space as well.
No -- you're erroneously conflating 'social dynamics', with 'determinism' / determination.
There's a difference between 'mass popular sentiment', as on the Internet / social media, and *material production* itself.
You're *imputing* something other than my framework, onto me -- I developed the labor credits model framework for the sake of *consistency*, so you can address all socio-political-material concerns of political economy to *the labor credits model* itself.
This subtopic is about how to address *novelty*, or the social need for a new *kind* of product / item, and I'm simply indicating that people could *communicate*, post-capitalism, as on social media, through journalism, etc., and also in the labor credits framework to explicitly mass-call for a new kind of item to be produced.
*Or*, better-yet, why remain *confined* to these Stalinistic localist communalist geographies, if social production could be *generalized* to computerized automated industrial mass production, for *universal* distribution, for unmet human need -- ?
Why confine production to either the local or the global, when you could have both? And explicitly optimize the political economic space so that things which are produced more efficiently on the global scale are produced in that fashion, and likewise for local?
I think communism has a bias against the local and particular. Because it goes against the mythology of the global proletariat all uniting together as one. It is more collectivist than dialectical.
ckaihatsu wrote:I'll suggest that you're addressing two different 'spheres', or 'realms', of society and social reality -- that of '[personal] lifestyle', and that of 'political economy', respectively.
History, Macro-Micro -- politics-logistics-lifestyle
Yes, not everyone is going to *want* to be 'more utilitarian' and be 'towards solving global problems' -- maybe most people just want to 'hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, and debate philosophy in the evening'.
This is an analogue to my aforementioned 'rock star' archetype, which implies that *some* kinds of labor are *personal / internal*, while other kinds of labor are *social* / for-the-common-good / collectivist.
Yes, this *is* a fundamental intrinsic *difference* of material interests, as you're identifying, and even my *post-capitalist*, communist-type model framework approach has to *acknowledge* these fundamentally differing material interests:
Components of Social Production
So you account for macro vs micro in your system as well. I think that you are implicitly establishing a hierarchy though where macro supercedes and is more important than the micro. I think that creating a system which optimizes equally on both levels is ideal.
Either that, or your localities and my microspheres are playing kind of the same role in our respective systems, and the difference is in the degree of autonomy granted to the local / micro to implement its own political vision, rather than a component that meshes perfectly with the macro vision.
Okay, I think you're indicating *Bernays* here -- nonetheless there's no sidestepping actual *political economy*, as in capitalism or a post-capitalist worker-collectivist political economy.
I recall learning about Bernays from Adam Curtis' Century of the Self. Good film.
Why is everything just "political economy"? What about the "libidinal economy" that Lyotard theorizes about? Critical theory for the past century has regarded Freud as at least as important as Marx. Unconscious desires are just as integrated into the political-economic-libidinal system as systems for material production. They determine what gets produced, and how we relate to our exploitation symbolically. And it explains why the proles haven't risen up.
How about this -- can we agree that some people will simply, of-their-own-volition, take more of an *interest* and seek-out more *involvement* in such matters of political economy? (I don't subscribe to your Stalinist standing-bureaucracy 'centralized authority' politics, though.)
In the context of my labor credits model anyone could go their entire life without making a single demand, or doing a single hour's worth of work for society, and yet they would still have the necessities for simply living their life that way. Such a particular lifestyle *wouldn't* be anti-social / problematic, because society *already* has sufficient productive capacity for readily providing to such populations, due to automation and industrialization.
There's nothing inherently 'complicated' about how to match material-quantity 'supply', with material-quantity 'demand' -- again, just think of the 'landscape-of-piles-of-stuff' premise.
Yes, I agree that there will be some sorting in your system as well based on what people are interested in, to varying degrees of social / asocial. And I appreciate that aspect of it, as someone who has been rather asocial at points in my life.
I think this sorting is necessary though in large part because the organization of mass production on a global scale to account for both needs and a variety of desires will be anything but easy. And addressing environmental problems on top of that. Surely we should do everything possible so that people motivated to solve those problems are given the collective opportunity to do so.
I think you're running into entirely-expected problems of *personnel* -- which is an issue endemic to such 'administrative' approaches, such as capitalism's *bourgeois-class nation-state*, or Stalinism's *standing bureaucracy*.
In the context of my labor credits model I have socio-political involvement being entirely self-determining, so that those individually proactively involved in social projects over time will be more experienced at such, and probably socially *recognized* as such, as well.
It's the *projects* that would be in competition for popularity and possible labor-credits funding, *not* any personnel in official state-type positions of power / privilege, because communism is *moneyless* and *stateless*.
I think that being able to build social power to solve collective problems like that from the bottom up is an advantage, and I would want to incorporate that in my system as much as possible.
I just don't think its possible to do that except in dialectical relation to a central authority.
This isn't *clinical science*, as you're making it out to be -- one's position on the social practice of *private property* is *binary* -- either one is *for* private ownership of the means of industrial mass production, or else one *isn't*.
I'm not writing and posting on PoFo for the sake of 'trying stuff out' -- I'm using my labor credits model for the sake of illustrating how a post-capitalist / post-private-property political economy *could* realistically function, since I've been personally interested in the 'how-to' of such.
You note that 'the macro is by definition what is held in common' -- why not *enlarge* that social sphere to include the means of mass industrial production, as well -- ?
Why "industrial mass production" specifically? I just can't get with this imagery of factories and assembly lines. That has nothing to do with my experience as a worker.
I don't view private property as a binary. It is a continuum, from personal possessions on the lowest level, all the way up to the super rich with their yachts and space rockets. I don't think it matters one bit how they accumulated hundreds of billions of dollars, I think the obscenity lies in the very fact of anyone owning that much wealth.
I draw a lot fewer hard lines in my politics in general - so that when I do draw a hard line, it is more meaningful. For instance, a capitalist paying you less than a living wage so that you can't even afford rent is absolutely wrong. I don't have to put this in the same category of exploitation that I experience as a professional tech worker where I am paid a satisfactory wage with benefits like being able to work from home during a pandemic.
This is why Marxism could benefit from a thorough confrontation with postmodernism. It allows you to deconstruct the non-essential, so that you can center the essential.
Correct. If you have no objections to this part of the model, then you're favoring *organic [individually self-expressed explicit] demand*, over the capitalist monetary system.
Such doesn't lend itself to a 'hybrid', *combined* approach -- either someone procures what they need by non-monetary '[organic] consumer demand', or else they have to work for a boss to earn a wage / dollars to make a *purchase*, for what they need.
Which is it going to be, according to you?
What if everyone just receives a fixed amount of monetary units as with a UBI, which they can use to purchase whatever they want at the "communist" walmart?
No bosses involved, everyone gets the same amount of cash every month.
ckaihatsu wrote:The model hinges all (post-capitalist) social 'value' on (liberated) *labor*, so this is the result.
Could some configuration of my model, and/or a post-class political economy allow rates of labor credits for any given work role to *soar*, to trillions of labor credits for *one hour* of a particular, specialized task -- ?
Conceivably, sure, but then no one person *has* a trillion labor credits to themselves, anyway (necessarily-earned, by their own personal efforts / labor). If it's about someone wanting to travel to the moon, it would materially / economically have to be a *socially organized* thing, regardless, for *those* specialized roles, for that *expensive*, *risky* kind of endeavor.
Wouldn't it operate kind of like a monetary system where you can only "buy" one thing: liberated labor? I think the economics of supply and demand pricing would apply. You just wouldn't call it a price of course.
You could imagine, couldn't you, a labor equivalent of Bezos who comes up with social work projects so popular, that he accumulates a great percentage of the available labor credit supply - and with that, is able to "purchase" a trip to the moon? (by people willingly supplying their labor to create the rocket and such in exchange for his labor credits)
Presumably this person wouldn't get as much hate as Bezos does - they might even be a hero among the laborers and they're happy he can go to space.
ckaihatsu wrote:"I'm with you on that - I meant generalized worker control in terms of determining which logistics and technologies should be deployed on a macro level. "
Oh, okay -- given this, then, why are you hesitant when it comes to doing-away with private property?
Because I don't think that workers as a whole actually want that. They also view private property as a spectrum, which becomes more objectionable and anti-social the more is accumulated. Especially when they aren't able to accumulate very much themselves - although they would like to.
So the only remaining thing here, then, perhaps, is your own used definition of 'labor' -- are you implying the inclusion of *all three* kinds of wage labor: white collar, pink collar, and blue collar -- ? Is this what you mean with your postmodernism? That not all modern-day production is tangible objects off of an assembly line -- ?
Yes, all of those count as labor in my book. I believe that postmodern theory most definitely critiques the factory-oriented approach of traditional Marxism. For example Deleuze writes about the transition from a disciplinary society (factories, schools, mental institutions, prisons) to a control society (free flowing information which is used to "nudge" you in the direction desired by power). And Baudrillard critiques Marx for not accounting for how signs are part of political economy and that this is central to a consumerist system.
ckaihatsu wrote:It's due to capitalist *commodification*, where even official professional political power / clout, is up-for-sale -- on the whole this is termed the 'bourgeoisie'.
Without commodification or class things could just be treated as means-to-humane-ends, with no private valuation component (finance) requiring servicing, whatsoever.
It would definitely help with the feeling of alienation if the interests of capital didn't override every other consideration.
'Outvoted' -- ? Isn't this rather *fatalistic*, as though you're somehow an ideal anti-hero, forever rebuffed by polite society -- ?
Yeah, sure, obviously most everyone's thoroughly *disempowered*, and especially those who should be *empowered*, the workers themselves.
That is a correct assessment of my ideal self image, yes lol. I'm in pretty good company in Texas though in that regard.
The ants are with you.
Well, the worker ants are definitely more on my side than the ant royalty, that's for sure. At least the ones who are also at least somewhat class conscious - not sure about the other ones. They may want to kill a godless liberal like myself given the opportunity. I don't think Austin would be the ideal place for me to ride out Civil War 2.
ckaihatsu wrote:They're not typical 'votes', as for electing *representatives*, they're for *actual policy*, meaning that with no bosses or politicians to serve, people can then, post-capitalism, just directly *effect* things in the real world, as we can't today. Given any specific geographic spot, maybe there'd really, real-world, be *zero* objections to it happening. Why *not* build a gazebo right there, with you and your buddies? (Etc.) (Minecraft-style, I guess.)
Well, the problem is when an equal number of others also don't want the gazebo there. Not everyone can get what they want, and that's why politics exists. You need institutions to mediate these conflicts.
I think that there should be more things opened up for direct democratic vote. Marijuana would have been legalized decades ago probably.
ckaihatsu wrote:This is highly *debatable*, socio-philosophically. Consider the 'rock star' -- is the world somehow *less off* due to a particular musician doing well and becoming famous and getting rich -- ? (The rock star would argue otherwise.)
Sure, and that was fun for a few decades while it lasted. After all the ideas that rock stole from the blues - which was developed in organic local communities with shared systems of meaning - dried up.
Now there is virtually no outside to music as a commodity form - no wonder music sucks so much now.
*Or*, it's being *imposed* on us, from without, due to bourgeois *militaries*, police, government, etc.
It's both. Power operates most effectively when the threat of violence is held in reserve. And ideology does the rest for it. That's why the ruling class devotes so much effort to co-opting any ideologies which challenge it, and promoting a "reasonable, practical" ideology of just adjusting things a little bit, without the radical change which is actually necessary.
ckaihatsu wrote:Communism *isn't* anti-consumerist, but it *is* collectivist.
Roughly speaking you *should* be able to access and procure the things you need, now and in the future, while under active usage, for whatever humane personal reasons, but perhaps you wouldn't be chasing after *every little* thing that happens to be spit-out, under capitalist *commodity* production -- but who knows, really, maybe you *would*, and the total number of consumer collectibles would be *even greater*, post-capitalism, since that would be the first global *fad*, or something....
I think that any communism which did follow capitalism could do nothing less.
ckaihatsu wrote:What the hell -- !
You're ascribing a *lifestyle* to a form of *political economy* -- ?
I think you're not-understanding that the abolition of private property has to do with *social production* (industrial mass-production), rather than any given person's choice of how to live their life, or humanity's combined footprint on nature.
'No privately owned goods' really means that all goods are produced for explicit, discrete formalizations of expressed organic demand, and not as financial speculation after *profits*. It's like a political-*legal* distinction. It doesn't *prescribe* anything regarding the *individual*, so go ahead and let out that breath.
Not being able to own and accumulate private property wouldn't affect people's lifestyle?
The bourgeois adversary is *not* gone -- what in hell gave you *that* idea -- ? Looked at a newspaper lately?
I meant that it is gone in terms of being on the other side of a clear dividing line. I think that class is a spectrum as well, and bourgeois-ness is distributed along it. I am probably more bougie in a lot of ways than someone working for less than a living wage in the service industry. How could I not be? I can afford certain things. I still live in a tiny box though, so there's that.
ckaihatsu wrote:Would you consider this to be an example of that -- ? It sounds like you're indicating *co-optation*.
Planet of the Humans | Full Documentary | Directed by Jeff Gibbs
If that's anything like Naomi Klein's Capitalism vs the Climate, then yeah, similar idea. Capitalism co-opting the green movement for the ends of profit.
Thanks -- that's high praise. In those sentiments, then, yes, I guess that's what my aim has been with the whole 'labor credits' model thingee. I think it's more a scientific-minded / cohesive *model*, and *framework*, though, rather than a 'meta-narrative', but I won't quibble.
Fair, yeah I do see it as more model-like. I think that Marxism in general is more of a metanarrative, organizing history as a procession from feudalism to capitalism to socialism.
There are pessimists who don't think history is leading anywhere. Except increasing dystopia perhaps. But it doesn't seem helpful to posit that.
You're conflating consumerism with commodity-labor -- just because the overall standard of living has developed rather *positively* for the average consumer over time, doesn't mean that the 'base' / mode-of-production / private-property social relations, for production of such consumer items, have *changed* at all -- they *haven't*, and the class divide still remains, bourgeoisie and proletariat. It's now in China, primarily.
So you're a third worldist? Citizens of developed countries are bourgeoisie and those of developing are proleteriat?
China is also basically a developed country now. I think the proletariat is in the process of shifting.
It's a *bad metaphor*, then, because in this, your 'biological' scenario, the sharks will always *exist* since the fish have *zero* agency over the sharks' social existence as *predators*.
Capitalist ruling class exploitation and oppression isn't quite the same as fish-and-sharks. I'd say it's more about a particular class-based *invention*, and *convention*, of equity capital, that uses *wage labor* instead of *slave labor*, thus realizing the independence of explicit, formal *financial vehicles* -- corporate finance, basically.
Finance will always have a politically co-opting effect, since its interests are well-funded and it can fund the representation of its economic interests, in meatspace, as over commerce and lobbying, etc.
It is a bad metaphor for the specific historical arrangement of capitalism. But I think a good metaphor in general for the persistence of predatory classes and preyed upon classes throughout history, and the continual re-emergence of this dynamic in different forms - even when we explicitly tried to overthrow it.
Fish have millions of years to optimize a strategy against certain specific kinds of predators (before they are replaced by new ones). We've only had some 200 years to try to defend our interests from capitalists. Even if capitalism persists another 1000 years, we will get better at it.
ckaihatsu wrote:Let me rephrase -- notice how consumer prices tend to *fall* over the years and decades -- ?
That's due to capitalism's inherent dynamic of *overproduction* -- a competitor will gladly come along and do 'x' for less in cost, for more people, if that translates to increased *market share*. Ditto for entire *nations*, *empires*, etc. So this *economic* dynamic means that, overall, the rate of *profit* tends to fall, as markets become saturated.
 A Business Perspective on the Declining Rate of Profit
I guess that makes sense. I think you could explain the same thing from a more or less neoclassical economic perspective. But costs have increased everywhere else. It could be that the tendency to declining rate of profit for commodities has pushed capitalism to become a more rent-seeking techno-feudalist system.
The forces of the *bourgeoisie* in Western European countries overcame the forces of *monarchy* and *aristocracy*, so certainly the world's *proletariat*, with collective interests over its own labor-power, could mass-internally reorganize how society's production takes-place. *That* would be the victory, so that no one is economically obligated to work for an employer / exploiter / oppressor, yet any work that *is* volunteered would benefit the post-class commons as a whole.
I agree - there will be a re-organization down the line of some kind, regardless of what it ends up looking like. Perhaps socialism will win - hopefully something like it. But I suspect that power / class dynamics will re-emerge in a different form, just like they did with 20th century communism. I think it is better to anticipate this happening and control the form the power dynamic ends up taking, instead of assuming it won't and then getting the worst possible form.
This is horrendously *misguided*, in case you haven't noticed it yourself -- if there's an 'antagonism' there (class-division), then what's the claimed 'emancipatory resolution', exactly -- ? It sounds important. (grin)
Why would the class-antagonism be left 'intact' -- ? Isn't it the point that the world's *proletariat* should prevail, in its collective interests, over the interests of the bourgeoisie to *exploit* and *oppress* that commodity-labor -- ?
The resolution would be in changing the form of the class antagonism. Well, maybe we wouldn't call it class antagonism. Some other kind of antagonism. We would have to at least promise victory over one type of antagonism.
Why should workers tolerate economic *exploitation* and divide-and-conquer *oppression* every hour of their working lives -- ?
It's getting rather old, admittedly.
Hardly. More bullshit from you -- Marx didn't investigate *money*, he investigated *capital*. MMTers are just *Keynesianists*, and they're *nationalists*, anyway.
Finance isn't *productive*, itself -- it can only aid *existing* economic positions, and not always for the better.
Empirically, without manufacturing / any commodity-production, there are no *commodities* -- like manufactured goods -- so then there are no *sales*, no *revenue*, and no *profits*. It's not capitalism anymore, so then what the hell are you talking about, even -- ?
When people buy stuff today, how was that stuff even *made* in the first place -- ? Commodity-production inescapably requires *wage labor*, and equity-capital *economic exploitation* of that wage labor. (Yes, commodity production can happen with blue-, pink-, and/or white-collar labor.)
Marx had a whole chapter on money. He just thought it was a particularly special commodity. He kind of had trouble anticipating the rise of paper money, much less completely virtual money where it is now numbers on a screen.
Perhaps Marxists could learn a thing or two from Keynesians. I recommend Anwar Shaikh - he's thoroughly familiar with the competing schools of thought and has a very empirically based version of Marxian economics. However I still don't think he gets money right. MMT may be way off in other areas outside its scope of analysis but it has a superior understanding of money.
Capitalism isn't essentially about commodities. Its about obtaining a profit in whatever way possible. For a time, Marx was correct with his M - C - M' formula. But with the advent of financial capital and other devices for profit accumulation, M - M' is now the more accurate formula.
Marxists are so stuck on the commodity thing. Capitalism is a totally different beast you're dealing with. How do you expect to overcome it if you insist that it is the same beast from 150 years ago?
ckaihatsu wrote:Well, what the fuck is it *for*, then -- ? Does the central body just, like, *hang out* and pose for photographs -- ?
*You're* the one, between the two of us, who's been describing a Stalinistic 'central authority', as here:
It has power but not absolute power.
ckaihatsu wrote:Okay, then in this central-decentralized-dialectic how would anything be *collectivized* -- ? How would people know to use factories in 'a', 'b', and 'c' only in respective localities 'a', 'b', and 'c' -- what if someone came along and wanted to *generalize* production *over* 'a', 'b', and 'c', *collectively* -- ?
If factories a, b and c are mass producing commodity x, and this could be done with a single factory d, then it would be in my system. Localities would only be producing things which aren't for mass production.
'Opportunity' -- ? Care to *explain* what this is, exactly -- ?
'Socialism' -- the 'lower form' -- is also the *most immediate* form. It's the proletariat's *workers state*, that it uses to oppress the *bourgeoisie*, so as to transcend private property ('class') relations.
With that accomplished society would be *liberated* from working for the bosses and politicians -- anyone could organize with others to wield *cutting-edge* technology / machinery, to produce for the common social good.
An opportunity like the opportunity to elect someone like Bernie Sanders. It was a lot more likely we could get that in 2016 or 2020 than a communist revolution.
If socialism is possible, then social democracy is a hell of a lot closer to it than whatever it is that Trump or Biden represent.
That's what I mean by utilizing a spectrum of utopias. It's as simple as not making the perfect the enemy of the good.
'Voting for workers power' -- interesting.
And a 'black box' AI, basically, for 'blueprint' central planning. I think you'd receive many *objections*, outright, starting with me.
Since your politics requires a 'central planning body', you're a *Stalinist*.
The ability to determine the optimal political system for itself, rather than the bourgeoisie deciding for it what political system it must exist in, is working class power.
Yes, this departs from the *a priori* logic of Marxism, which assumes that worker power can only exist in a particular kind of system. But, we kind of gave Marxism plenty of chances already. It didn't turn out like we expected.
I think democratic socialism makes total sense as a logical next step from our current state of affairs. Keep expanding the scope of what workers are able to control, globally as well.
Capital has already lost the ideological battle. It's only a matter of time before we're able to exert some real power pushing back on it. By all means we should keep debating the ideal society, but practically - let's keep our demands focused and realistic. Armor breaks by being repeatedly attacked in the same spot. Get too wild and you open yourself up to counterattack.