Marx's 1st argument that the common element of commodities for exchange is being products of labour - Page 3 - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

Wandering the information superhighway, he came upon the last refuge of civilization, PoFo, the only forum on the internet ...

Discourse exclusively on the basis of historical materialist methodology.
Forum rules: No one line posts please. This forum is for discussion based on Marxism, Marxism-Leninism and similar revisions. Critique of topics not based on historical materialism belongs in the general Communism forum.
#15174935
ckaihatsu wrote:Hmmmm, well, I'll just note that the subject matter is about the real world, so varying approaches to it (TSSI vs. value-form) are either *correct*, or they're not.

I think people on the net these days are mature enough to know what to look for -- that which is veracious -- no matter *who* it's coming from: from you, or Marx, or me, or a commentator on Marx.

I don't think that information and knowledge is so interpersonal- and group-dependent, as you're making it out to be.

I guess I find it somewhat strange or odd that you're *providing* accurate descriptions of 'value', from Marx and Marxist commentators, but then you demur on subscribing to it yourself.

My epistemology takes it that even things which aren't wrong aren't entirely wrong and without some basis in reality.
Rather they tend to be truths stretched too far in their generalization or incomplete.
For example, if I posed mechanical materialism and subjective idealism against one another, they captured something true but were also incomplete and resolved only with the point of human activity, where man is mediated by nature and particularly as a social being primarily.
https://www.marxists.org/glossary/terms/a/g.htm
But in the second place, for Marxists, human beings are not primarily individuals, but social beings. Consequently, people make history in the various social formations which constitute humankind as a species-being.

For example, Marx says:

“But also when I am active scientifically, etc. - an activity which I can seldom perform in direct community with others - then my activity is social, because I perform it as a man. Not only is the material of my activity given to me as a social product (as is even the language in which the thinker is active): my own existence is social activity, and therefore that which I make of myself, I make of myself for society and with the consciousness of myself as a social being. [Private Property & Communism]

https://www.marxists.org/glossary/terms/c/o.htm#constructivism
Constructivism was an Art movement centred in Moscow in the 1920s, which emphasised the constructed character of the world. Subsequently, constructivism has come to indicate a very broad school of psychology which asserts that meaning is “constructed” by the subject out of material provided by the external world, rather than “discovered”.

The Marxist School of psychology including Lev Vygotsky, Georges Politzer, Lucien Séve, A R Luria, A N Leontyev and others, is ‘constructivist’, emphasising the social-historical and collaborative character of human activity. On the other hand, relativist constructivism emphasises the voluntarism and autonomy of an individual subject in constructing personal meaning.


Indeed people inevitably have to judge for themselves, however I think sharing pathways is helpful. I certainly have found it helpful to have my attention directed towards something. Whether it's the name of a particular person, theory, explanation of something. Doesn't hurt any to share.


Well what you're sensing is the gap between what I know and can argue for and areas where I do not know and have not made something my own. I am sympathetic to Marxism and would struggle to dissociate my thinking from it. But that doesn't mean I have a comprehensive understanding from which to argue everything and anything, I hold faith that there are answers for somethings based on my experience with some Marxist thinkers who synthesize things greater than people give credit for. However, I do not pretend to know everything and do enjoy the spaces particularly where there is lively debate rather than dogmatic assertion. Where things are too complacent, there is an ease to rely on habits/stereotypical thinking rather than active thought. It is when there is doubt, when things no longer work or there is an obstacle that we're forced to confront things and think them through.
http://lchc.ucsd.edu/MCA/Mail/xmcamail.2015-06.dir/pdf9UQ7dqv45X.pdf
To be educated is also a process of which becoming free is intrinsically a part, for to be educated is not to ‘know’ a range of positions and perspectives but to understand the reasons for holding particular beliefs and rejecting others.

It's the difference between trying to use Marx's distinction of class and understanding the basis of such reasoning and why it's correct.
#15175103
Wellsy wrote:
My epistemology takes it that even things which aren't wrong aren't entirely wrong and without some basis in reality.
Rather they tend to be truths stretched too far in their generalization or incomplete.
For example, if I posed mechanical materialism and subjective idealism against one another,



Yeah, I have a diagram for that -- 'mechanical materialism' could be termed 'objective social reality' (and/or 'objective natural reality'), while 'subjective idealism' could be 'subjective social reality' and/or 'subjectivity / individuality':


Worldview Diagram

Spoiler: show
Image



[6] Worldview Diagram

Spoiler: show
Image



So, to address your approach, I'd say that one needs to consider some complex combination of these four radially-extending spatial 'zones', outward from the individual.


---


Wellsy wrote:
they captured something true but were also incomplete and resolved only with the point of human activity, where man is mediated by nature and particularly as a social being primarily.
https://www.marxists.org/glossary/terms/a/g.htm

https://www.marxists.org/glossary/terms/c/o.htm#constructivism



Wellsy wrote:
Indeed people inevitably have to judge for themselves, however I think sharing pathways is helpful. I certainly have found it helpful to have my attention directed towards something. Whether it's the name of a particular person, theory, explanation of something. Doesn't hurt any to share.



Yup. (Ditto.)


Wellsy wrote:
Well what you're sensing is the gap between what I know and can argue for and areas where I do not know and have not made something my own. I am sympathetic to Marxism and would struggle to dissociate my thinking from it. But that doesn't mean I have a comprehensive understanding from which to argue everything and anything, I hold faith that there are answers for somethings based on my experience with some Marxist thinkers who synthesize things greater than people give credit for. However, I do not pretend to know everything and do enjoy the spaces particularly where there is lively debate rather than dogmatic assertion. Where things are too complacent, there is an ease to rely on habits/stereotypical thinking rather than active thought. It is when there is doubt, when things no longer work or there is an obstacle that we're forced to confront things and think them through.
http://lchc.ucsd.edu/MCA/Mail/xmcamail.2015-06.dir/pdf9UQ7dqv45X.pdf

It's the difference between trying to use Marx's distinction of class and understanding the basis of such reasoning and why it's correct.



Okay, but I'll argue that *parts* of Marxist theory aren't necessarily / really *experiential*, and really pertain more to *macro-scale*, *objective*, *emergent* social dynamics, like that of this 'value' stuff that we've been kicking around, particularly on that other thread.

Of course much of Marxism *is* / happens-to-be experiential for the individual, such as exploitation and alienation, which only goes to confirm its validity, person-by-person, unfortunately. But I don't think that any given worker would really be able to describe Marx's theory of 'value' after being in the workforce for a number of years, from experience alone.


History, Macro-Micro -- simplified

Spoiler: show
Image



I'll suggest, based on my exchanges with wat0n, that bourgeois economics is only concerned with the *consumer* side of things -- the post-production fluctuations of market pricing due to the balance of exchange-rate supply-and-demand.


Components of Social Production

Spoiler: show
Image
#15175527
ckaihatsu wrote:Even if workers were magically granted full pass-through revenue value, minus capital depreciation, as you're indicating, with all capitalist-type white-collar corporate social-organization functions being normatively regular corporate salaried positions (no entrepreneurial 'ownership' and control), I think CEO-dom would still find a way to inevitably reassert itself somehow.


The only reason I argue from this point of view is because that is the assumption behind the labour theory of value.

Maybe a Marxist would say there's the reserve army of unemployed, but why would that persist in a competitive market anyway? Workers will be "bid down" their wages until full employment is achieved just as capitalists will "bid down" their profits until they are zero.
#15175534
Rugoz wrote:
The only reason I argue from this point of view is because that is the assumption behind the labour theory of value.



No, I don't think that the labor theory of value is *prescriptive*, or *ideological* in any kind of way itself -- it's *empirical*, and one can draw one's own political conclusions from its veracity.

Wellsy included some material that said that Marx didn't advocate for 'equal wages', or parity with the employer in any kind of way, since Marx saw the whole capitalist system as being rigged -- which I agree with, by the way.


Rugoz wrote:
Maybe a Marxist would say there's the reserve army of unemployed, but why would that persist in a competitive market anyway?



And yet it does, and here we are.


Rugoz wrote:
Workers will be "bid down" their wages until full employment is achieved



You're implying that full employment can only be achieved if all workers agree to work for free -- ?


Rugoz wrote:
just as capitalists will "bid down" their profits until they are zero.



Since when do capitalists 'bid down' their profits -- ? If anything, there's an executive tier of professionals / executives who are *very* competitive in the executive positions field, in the corporate sector. Most often their perks and bonuses are tied to executive *performance*, as in getting the company to higher share value, bigger market capitalization, etc.
#15182702
Rugoz wrote:
To this day it remains a mystery to me how Marxists think capitalists are supposed to make a profit in competitive markets.

The workers will get the entire output minus the cost of maintaining and replacing the machines. It can't be otherwise, because if a capitalist makes a profit, another capitalist will hire the worker at a slightly higher wage to capture the market and profit. A process that will continue until profits are zero.


I don't quite get your argument, but I'll try to reconstruct it.

A capitalist hires a worker and provides materials and tools, brings the products to market, and rakes back in money in excess of the cost of the outlays (the worker, materials and tools).

Another capitalist thinks "I can steal this pie", pays the worker more, pays the same for the other outlays let's assume, and sells at the same price, lets assume, making a slightly smaller profit.

You're right that if this continues, then eventually no capitalist makes a profit. However, this is just to lay out a situation in which the capitalists as a whole end up evaporating their profits through wage inflation. I wouldn't say this scenario can't happen, but, to begin, it is manifestly not what happens all the time in the real world, as the economy has been profitable, overall, at least some of the time.

What Marxists claim is that this situation is an anomaly - for the most part, capitalists are in a position where 1) they can get away with paying their workers such that they can make a profit and, 2) they don't raise their wages to such a degree that they eliminate their profits.

(So the Capitalists are that clever. However, they are not clever enough, according to Marx, to realise that the only source for profits overall in the economy is the workers, and that as they invest in labour-saving devices, they boost their productivity per worker, but together cut the basis of their profits. Its interesting to ask why he thinks - if he does - that the Capitalists pick up on the first pit fall but not the second. Maybe they do pick up on the second, some of them, but are forced to reduce labour costs how they can anyway to compete with rivals who are doing the same. It doesn't matter how smart you are, sometimes, if your opponent is dumb, you have to react to their stupidity)
#15182707
ckaihatsu wrote:The key concept missing here is *productivity* -- we have to look at North vs. South in terms of which side prevailed in *volume*.

Industrial production (the North) is obviously far more productive than physical animal or human labor, and we saw the results of that productivity prowess in the U.S. Civil War, regarding the sheer force of industrially-made armaments.

Animals and slaves should be seen as *rentier*-type capital, meaning that they're paid-for raw *resources*, or assets, economically, like land or money. What does one do with a resource like land, money, or lemons -- ? One *squeezes* it to get as much use-value and/or exchange-value out of it as possible, because that's all there is to owning it. Once it's done, it's done -- it's squeezed out and hopefully you've gotten your money's worth.

Wage labor, on the other hand, is more like *equity* capital, and the labor-power being purchased can fluctuate and be undervalued or overvalued on a day-by-day basis, like any *other* leveraged commodity. There's no outright ownership of the underlying laborer / labor, so the focus shifts to working wage labor-power like any other commodity, to be bought low, and its productive values -- the finished product -- to be sold high, without regard to this-or-that actual wage worker as an individual person.

Wellsy notes that as the global market developed there was a constant circulation of exchange values, meaning that productivity could always find markets worldwide, no matter the sourcing, subject to capitalism's boom-and-bust cycle, of course.


Good - so that's an argument about how wage labour and slavery-based economies differ in how how dynamic they are when it comes to the market.

My question was a bit different, though - I was wondering why wage-labourers make Value (in the Marxist sense) but slaves don't. They are both exploited - they receive less than the total of the labour they put in. I'm assuming he does think this, of course.
#15182714
So how do you equally compensate labour if the input of that labour from every individual in to the finished product is different?

A person who designed the software or the hardware ultimately put a lot more labour in to the product compared to the assembly person. The simple fact of the matter is also that assembly or manufacturing of parts can be automated while design, engineering, coding, architecture theory, prototyping and so on can't be. And the difference in input is not simply 2x or 3x. Without the core design of software, hardware, architecture and so on, any product especially IT products can't exist in the first place.

Also I am pretty baffled on how to apply Marxist theory to purely software products.
#15182732
The Young Wizard wrote:
Good - so that's an argument about how wage labour and slavery-based economies differ in how how dynamic they are when it comes to the market.

My question was a bit different, though - I was wondering why wage-labourers make Value (in the Marxist sense) but slaves don't. They are both exploited - they receive less than the total of the labour they put in. I'm assuming he does think this, of course.



From what I can surmise I'd say it's because of *productivity*, or the productive process.

The material *inputs* are paid-for and owned already, so in terms of *value*, they're just pass-through values of rentier-type capital (assets / resources).

Sure, of course I can appreciate that human slaves are doing work, and are producing goods -- in economic terms, though, I think that the *mass* of input values (land, slaves, farm implements, etc.), are still all *assets* (rentier values), and so there's *no change* in value, just a 'rearrangement' of materials / values in that productive process. The slave laborer doesn't receive *wages*, so there's no hour-by-hour accounting for slave labor by the capitalist / slaveowner -- the person, as chattel, was a *fixed* cost, paid upfront, as for any other asset or resource.

Since 'free' labor isn't owned outright it *does* have to be accounted-for on an hour-by-hour basis, and so is relatively more of a 'gamble' / investment, since the capitalist *has* to realize an hour-by-hour *profit* (give-or-take) on that 'investment'.

So the *dynamic* is different, slave-labor vs. free-labor -- one is 'squeezed' as one likes, while the other is far more market-dependent, with no guarantees of 'value' / profits through the production process.
#15182736
JohnRawls wrote:
So how do you equally compensate labour if the input of that labour from every individual in to the finished product is different?



I, for one, do not champion *any* rewards-for-labor political economy, because of such an approach -- as under capitalism -- just being *too* problematic.

I'm *critical* of Marx's 'labor vouchers', for example, for only taking *time* into account -- though it *would* be an incremental improvement in political economy -- because it *doesn't* take into account that work roles are different from one another, and people do their jobs at different *speeds* in relation to one another.

The lack of addressing these empirical / real-world factors with any kind of formal components or variables -- for varying hazard / difficulty / distastefulness from one work role to the next, and the varying rates of *productivity* per person, per work role, per hour, means that *the commons* gets cheated (in a post-capitalist context) by not taking these factors / variables into account.


JohnRawls wrote:
A person who designed the software or the hardware ultimately put a lot more labour in to the product compared to the assembly person.



This statement *assumes* a lot, though -- perhaps the 'design' part itself has been highly proletarianized, and parceled-out in pieces to *many* different people, for various aspects of the whole design. Also these white-collar workers may have many *historical* resources to draw-upon, meaning the past, 'dead labor' of their predecessors, so that nothing is ever truly 'from scratch'.

You're trying to make a schism between blue-collar and white-collar workers, when *none* of them -- presumably -- has any say-so over *management* decisions, or has any significant share ownership in the company.


JohnRawls wrote:
The simple fact of the matter is also that assembly or manufacturing of parts can be automated while design, engineering, coding, architecture theory, prototyping and so on can't be.



This actually isn't true anymore -- GPT-3 can create *programs* simply from its massively parallel analysis of *similar* program types from the past, for any given request.

We could readily ask the *political* question of why *haven't* these companies gone to full-automation yet, if such would be more profitable than keeping workers around at all. (I think it's related to the political question of why doesn't the ruling class do *full employment*, since such would be more profitable, by volume alone.)


JohnRawls wrote:
And the difference in input is not simply 2x or 3x. Without the core design of software, hardware, architecture and so on, any product especially IT products can't exist in the first place.

Also I am pretty baffled on how to apply Marxist theory to purely software products.



No, the baffling part is how to apply *capitalist commodification* to purely software products, since any given piece of software is functionally a *service* -- the programming of it -- while the *sales* of it is as a *good*, like a tangible table or a chair.

The capitalist owner, who paid for the programmer's service labor, keeps the difference, of course, which is a *highly* objectionable economic practice.

Marxist theory would say that any and all services -- even for software and any and all infrastructure -- would be for the good of the *commons* and would not need to be commodified whatsoever into exchange values.
#15182757
ckaihatsu wrote:I, for one, do not champion *any* rewards-for-labor political economy, because of such an approach -- as under capitalism -- just being *too* problematic.

I'm *critical* of Marx's 'labor vouchers', for example, for only taking *time* into account -- though it *would* be an incremental improvement in political economy -- because it *doesn't* take into account that work roles are different from one another, and people do their jobs at different *speeds* in relation to one another.

The lack of addressing these empirical / real-world factors with any kind of formal components or variables -- for varying hazard / difficulty / distastefulness from one work role to the next, and the varying rates of *productivity* per person, per work role, per hour, means that *the commons* gets cheated (in a post-capitalist context) by not taking these factors / variables into account.





This statement *assumes* a lot, though -- perhaps the 'design' part itself has been highly proletarianized, and parceled-out in pieces to *many* different people, for various aspects of the whole design. Also these white-collar workers may have many *historical* resources to draw-upon, meaning the past, 'dead labor' of their predecessors, so that nothing is ever truly 'from scratch'.

You're trying to make a schism between blue-collar and white-collar workers, when *none* of them -- presumably -- has any say-so over *management* decisions, or has any significant share ownership in the company.





This actually isn't true anymore -- GPT-3 can create *programs* simply from its massively parallel analysis of *similar* program types from the past, for any given request.

We could readily ask the *political* question of why *haven't* these companies gone to full-automation yet, if such would be more profitable than keeping workers around at all. (I think it's related to the political question of why doesn't the ruling class do *full employment*, since such would be more profitable, by volume alone.)





No, the baffling part is how to apply *capitalist commodification* to purely software products, since any given piece of software is functionally a *service* -- the programming of it -- while the *sales* of it is as a *good*, like a tangible table or a chair.

The capitalist owner, who paid for the programmer's service labor, keeps the difference, of course, which is a *highly* objectionable economic practice.

Marxist theory would say that any and all services -- even for software and any and all infrastructure -- would be for the good of the *commons* and would not need to be commodified whatsoever into exchange values.


GPT3 can do some basic coding and tasks. It can not complete full products nor can it accomplish complicated tasks also. Construction of software and IT hardware, architecture and so on is much more complicated than just coding also. Not to mention the code has to answer to specifications that GPT3 will unlikely to be able to fulfil.

But yes, it can create a button object and make it clickable or copy paste a Dikstra algorithm as well as any developer who has access to the internet or archive of stackoverflow or github.

Before you start arguing about this, understand that I have access to GPT3 through openAI api so i might know a lot more than your average person on the subject.

Edit: The problem with software is that it is the 90% of the value of the modern product. The hardware has existed for god knows how long and has been improving steadily over the decades. So the majority of improvements is basically software that provides functionality, usability, accessibility, profitability and so on.

I am not sure how software can be measured in any way by marxist theory since it is a collection of indeed open source technology on top of paid technology on top of some development by whoever is making it. Then add to that also the marketing somehow and that most of the activity is "brainpower" and "idea" related. It is hard to judge whos value add here is more important?
#15182771
JohnRawls wrote:
GPT3 can do some basic coding and tasks. It can not complete full products nor can it accomplish complicated tasks also. Construction of software and IT hardware, architecture and so on is much more complicated than just coding also. Not to mention the code has to answer to specifications that GPT3 will unlikely to be able to fulfil.

But yes, it can create a button object and make it clickable or copy paste a Dikstra algorithm as well as any developer who has access to the internet or archive of stackoverflow or github.

Before you start arguing about this, understand that I have access to GPT3 through openAI api so i might know a lot more than your average person on the subject.



Jesus, I'm *shaking* -- !

No, I think you're *downplaying* the capabilities, so, yes, even *white-collar*, 'creative' terrain is on the chopping block now.


JohnRawls wrote:
Edit: The problem with software is that it is the 90% of the value of the modern product.



Really -- and yet it's *so difficult* to valuate.... (See your next segment.)


JohnRawls wrote:
The hardware has existed for god knows how long and has been improving steadily over the decades. So the majority of improvements is basically software that provides functionality, usability, accessibility, profitability and so on.

I am not sure how software can be measured in any way by marxist theory since it is a collection of indeed open source technology on top of paid technology on top of some development by whoever is making it. Then add to that also the marketing somehow and that most of the activity is "brainpower" and "idea" related. It is hard to judge whos value add here is more important?



Nope, you're *projecting* -- it's *you* with the valuation problem, because of that commercial-*cultural* practice I outlined earlier, producing a (software) service and selling its electronic clones like individual handcrafted items.

Yeah, if you want to slice up the white-collar *management* (overhead) roles, then it's obviously up to *them*, whoever 'they' may be in that joint-stock business organization.

In a post-capitalist ('Marxist') context, everything would be a *service*, regardless, because there would no longer be any (commodified) 'goods' -- everything would be free-access and would have no exchange-value / price.

That said, I'll mention that my *own* approach to a post-capitalist political economy *does* allow for ratios / measurements from one liberated-labor *work role*, to the next, per hour. The ratios are called 'multipliers' per distinct work role, for every hour of actual pre-defined, pre-agreed-upon liberated-labor performed, necessarily for the common good / 'the commons'. (No rewards-for-labor -- instead it's a *gift economy*.)

A 'baseline' work role of 'work-from-home mattress testing' would be the functional *baseline* in this multiplier-indexed political economy, meaning that it would have the default 'valuation' of a multiplier of '1' -- 1 hour of work at 'mattress testing' would yield one labor credit, for anyone.


labor credits framework for 'communist supply & demand'

Spoiler: show
Image


https://web.archive.org/web/20201211050 ... ?p=2889338
#15182854
ckaihatsu wrote:
I, for one, do not champion *any* rewards-for-labor political economy, because of such an approach -- as under capitalism -- just being *too* problematic.

I'm *critical* of Marx's 'labor vouchers', for example, for only taking *time* into account -- though it *would* be an incremental improvement in political economy -- because it *doesn't* take into account that work roles are different from one another, and people do their jobs at different *speeds* in relation to one another.

The lack of addressing these empirical / real-world factors with any kind of formal components or variables -- for varying hazard / difficulty / distastefulness from one work role to the next, and the varying rates of *productivity* per person, per work role, per hour, means that *the commons* gets cheated (in a post-capitalist context) by not taking these factors / variables into account.



---


ckaihatsu wrote:
In other words the *politics* of collectivism is lacking and taking a hit if the post-capitalist political economy isn't taking per-hour varying *productivity* into account, which these conventional labor-notes-type proposals / frameworks *don't*.

To be stark, if I work at the factory for 8 hours doing socially necessary work that produces 1,000,000 widgets, while the next person does 8 hours of the same but only produces 800,000 widgets, and we both get the same compensation, of an 8-hours-note, this is *not* equal productivity to *the collective*.

There would be a macro-level (socio-political) *societal* interest in all 8-hour-notes being issued to workers for work done with the same *productivity* resulting. Why should one person be off by 200,000 units compared to someone else, for the same compensation *from* the social commons?



viewtopic.php?p=15171952#p15171952
#15183901
ckaihatsu wrote:From what I can surmise I'd say it's because of *productivity*, or the productive process.

The material *inputs* are paid-for and owned already, so in terms of *value*, they're just pass-through values of rentier-type capital (assets / resources).

Sure, of course I can appreciate that human slaves are doing work, and are producing goods -- in economic terms, though, I think that the *mass* of input values (land, slaves, farm implements, etc.), are still all *assets* (rentier values), and so there's *no change* in value, just a 'rearrangement' of materials / values in that productive process. The slave laborer doesn't receive *wages*, so there's no hour-by-hour accounting for slave labor by the capitalist / slaveowner -- the person, as chattel, was a *fixed* cost, paid upfront, as for any other asset or resource.

Since 'free' labor isn't owned outright it *does* have to be accounted-for on an hour-by-hour basis, and so is relatively more of a 'gamble' / investment, since the capitalist *has* to realize an hour-by-hour *profit* (give-or-take) on that 'investment'.

So the *dynamic* is different, slave-labor vs. free-labor -- one is 'squeezed' as one likes, while the other is far more market-dependent, with no guarantees of 'value' / profits through the production process.



I'm not sure this can quite be right.

There is nothing to stop workers being paid a salary monthly, which is not tied to a particular number of hours, but on completing certain tasks. And any slave owner worth their salt is going to have some kind of estimate how many hours of work from the slaves the tasks allocated to them will need.

What Marx seems to think is that the Value (in his technical sense) of a product is determined by on the amount of labour time the average worker with the average level of technology would take to produce it. That amount of time is a quantity, which is equal to the quantity of value "in" the product.

From what I remember, you're right that there is some difference between products purchased by the capitalist, and the free labour purchased by the capitalist. The difference is that competition between capitalists drives down the prices of the items they buy to go into the production process, so that between them they can't make a profit in the long run. Some can win and some can lose, but that's just moving the profits and losses around while not increasing the overall profit. Presumably, this would happen for purchasing slaves as well. They make a profit on hiring wage workers, as they pay less for their labour than their labour is worth.

However, Marx thinks that the market rate of wages, and presumably slaves as well, in some sense, floats around how much a person needs to sustain them and their dependents in the society they live in. Once you have paid for that for the slave, why don't you simply get some free labour, much as you do with a wage worker?

I'd have to think a bit more, and that's probably enough for now. Marx definitely thought that a slave-based economy differed from a wage-labourer-based one. I feel I'd like to go back and try to read up on what exactly he said - but the books are just so f*cking long! And often lack a good index.

Now John Rawls ... he knew how to index.
#15183912
The Young Wizard wrote:
I'm not sure this can quite be right.

There is nothing to stop workers being paid a salary monthly, which is not tied to a particular number of hours, but on completing certain tasks.



Well, this, then, would be *piecework*, which is a different thing, at least economically. Colonialism in India and the Caribbean immediately comes to mind.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Putting-out_system


The Young Wizard wrote:
And any slave owner worth their salt is going to have some kind of estimate how many hours of work from the slaves the tasks allocated to them will need.



I was thinking about this some more myself, and some content from the 'First British slaves in America were Irish' came to mind -- someone noted that it's possible the Irish indentured servants were treated *worse* than African slaves, and essentially worked *to death* within a few years, because they were 'leased', in contrast to the slaves who were *purchased outright*, with all of the responsibilities and duties of ownership that ownership entails.

So, economically, maybe my metaphor isn't that accurate or correct, of ownership of slaves being like squeezing a lemon -- maybe it was more like *animal* ownership, as on a farm. I'm not an academic, so bear with me here.


The Young Wizard wrote:
What Marx seems to think is that the Value (in his technical sense) of a product is determined by on the amount of labour time the average worker with the average level of technology would take to produce it. That amount of time is a quantity, which is equal to the quantity of value "in" the product.



Correct.


The Young Wizard wrote:
From what I remember, you're right that there is some difference between products purchased by the capitalist, and the free labour purchased by the capitalist. The difference is that competition between capitalists drives down the prices of the items they buy to go into the production process, so that between them they can't make a profit in the long run. Some can win and some can lose, but that's just moving the profits and losses around while not increasing the overall profit. Presumably, this would happen for purchasing slaves as well. They make a profit on hiring wage workers, as they pay less for their labour than their labour is worth.



Good point -- I recall that the slave trade was most profitable early-on, when there was a high organic content of labor, meaning that they had to be purchased in Africa and brought over in the Middle Passage. This early profitability, as with *any* industry, spurred 'animal husbandry' of slaves, to produce more, for more bulk 'commodities', as-it-were. But the *value* went down, per slave, of course, because of the increased *supply* / availability.

You're indicating that the development and implementation of 'free' labor / wage-slavery may simply have been a ruling-class *economic* (financial) innovation, due to the decreasing commodity value of each slave, but with a bulk increased need for the labor power itself.


The Young Wizard wrote:
However, Marx thinks that the market rate of wages, and presumably slaves as well, in some sense, floats around how much a person needs to sustain them and their dependents in the society they live in. Once you have paid for that for the slave, why don't you simply get some free labour, much as you do with a wage worker?



Yes, free labor *value*, as for *any* rentier capital (land, housing, etc.), which has to come from *somewhere* -- in this case, from the slave themselves, with their life and their labors.

With typical everyday rentier capital, currently, the interest and rent that rewards rentier capital has to *also* come from somewhere, and it comes from either workers' wages (rent for housing), or as an expense to *equity* capital -- a fixed cost to the productive process that produces commodities.

In this way we shouldn't even call interest and rent proceeds as being 'profits', but rather there should be a different, distinct 'profit'-*like* term for such, since rent and interest are economically *reactionary* (historically backwards), compared to *equity* capital that necessarily goes for investment, for production, for commodities, for revenue, for profits -- which at least *produces* commodities that people need. Rentier capital, on the other hand, is non-productive of commodities, yet it extracts value from the remainder of the whole economic system, and also resembles *feudalism*.

This, then, is economic proof that slave labor is economically and historically *backward*, as with *any* rentier-type asset or resource, because an asset or resource only requires *maintenance* and *upkeep* -- nominal in-house, non-productive costs -- to enable it to be used to siphon value from the larger economy, and also, obviously at the cost of the person's own life, since they've been fully commodified into chattel.


The Young Wizard wrote:
I'd have to think a bit more, and that's probably enough for now. Marx definitely thought that a slave-based economy differed from a wage-labourer-based one. I feel I'd like to go back and try to read up on what exactly he said - but the books are just so f*cking long! And often lack a good index.

Now John Rawls ... he knew how to index.



We should probably draw up a chart for this -- pros vs. cons, for both owners and workers, for the slavery economy versus the wage-slavery economy (8 categories total).

Thanks for revisiting this -- good post.
#15183954
Was thinking some more about this....

It might be objected that, since the supply of slaves *increased* over the decades and centuries, with the *value* of each slave *decreasing*, wouldn't that be *great* for the capitalist slaveowners, since that means lower overall *costs*.

This is where the Marxism enters-in -- the *organic composition* of the resulting product, whatever it may be, becomes *so low* (the one-time cost of the slave laborer commodity, etc.) that the price of the resulting product was basically a *pass-through* value, and so became not-worth-the-effort on the part of *ownership*.

Again, this goes for *any* commodity, where capitalism inevitably speculates, on-the-whole overinvesting, causing *overproduction*, which yields an *abundance* of produced commodities, outstripping economic demand and causing each latter unit of the commodity to *decline* in price, resulting also in a declining rate of *profit*.

I can actually compare this economic development / phenomenon to that of *automation*, which features *zero* organic composition of capital -- imagine a farm that only uses robotic farm implements (fully automated). If the automated robotic machinery is simply a *one-time* cost -- like buying a slave -- then all resulting production has *no* surplus labor value -- because there's no labor value to *start* with -- and can't be *economically exploited*, as with wage-labor, because the competition would just do the same thing, and the race-to-the-bottom pass-through values wouldn't yield any *premium* / profit on the market, versus any given competitor, for the finished product.

In such a case, where anyone is having to spend time and effort *looking after* possessions (for no reward), instead of the possessions being an *asset*, they wind up owning the owner.
#15185265
Along these preceding lines of understanding / explanation on this thread, I'd like to get input on the following draft diagrammatic formulation -- the idea is that most values from capital's 'fixed costs' (non-labor), are *pass-through* values, to the finished product / commodity, for the consumer / buyer, no matter the quantity / scale, indicating that (almost) all -- or at least, *typically* -- almost all profit-making is squarely due to the exploitation of (wage) *labor* in the commodity-production process.


Components of Social Production

Spoiler: show
Image



---


material-economic exploitation DRAFT

Spoiler: show
Image

Democracy, Free Speech and the Rule of Law are the[…]

https://twitter.com/Partisangirl/status/1440524648[…]

The west needs to address this because it has po[…]

Mongols , in political - historical sense .[…]