I meant "command" in a metaphorical sense, in the same way someone might "command" respect.
The option to opt out of work (subject to prevailing conditions) does sound pretty great, honestly. I think that society is only getting a very miniscule amount of actual value from the work that I do in test automation, or negative value. It's all so that lenders know what interest rate to charge so that people can buy cars they really can't afford. In cities that are set up so that you are forced to drive everywhere.
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.)
I'm pretty confident I could provide more social value as a thinker, philosopher or musician. We have an economy of utility consumption machines - providing what people think they want, but where those desires are conditioned by the social economic system.
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.
I think that the value of labor can no longer be measured in utilitarian or economic terms in a post-industrial, consumer desire based economy. Because what we want is killing us, like a heroin addiction. Perhaps the value of the new form of labor in post-capitalism can't be measured at all, whether in labor hours or anything else.
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 -- ?
But something like this labor credits system could help us share the burden of generating socially necessary value, which perhaps can be measured, so that we are freed up to generate the kind of value that no one knew they needed, which can't be measured.
'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 that we could collectively designate a set of goods which are deemed "necessary" and which are more or less interchangeable commodities. Like let's say, toothbrushes, rice, toilet paper. We could just have a giant communist walmart where there are piles of these things and everyone gets a certain number of monthly vouchers to take from the piles (not vouchers in the Marxist labor value sense, but vouchers determined democratically as representing how much of a thing people actually need).
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.)
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 where we may differ, is that I think the bulk of this liberated labor should occur in microspheres, in small scale production. I don't think you would be automatically contributing to a big pile that anyone could take from. Because something made for everyone in many cases diminishes its value in an artistic sense. Although nothing is stopping you from doing that if you like, if you like residing solely in the common macrosphere.
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.
A major advantage of these microspheres is that their organization is left up to the participants. You don't have to specify in advance how they would work. Some may be more individualist or market oriented, others may operate more like a commune. They may or may not operate with monetary units, or labor credits or vouchers or some other system. These are spaces for social and political-economic experimentation. So whatever generalized common system that the macro sphere operates on, would not be the product of purely hypothetical armchair theorizing, but would have a basis in real world social systems, and their effectiveness (or lack thereof) could be demonstrated, before a common system is determined democratically.
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?
Although we are naturally happier and find more meaning on a local scale with face to face interaction, we feel forced to participate in the vast economic machine precisely because we need the kind of bundle of necessities that you would get at a place like walmart.
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.)
A voucher or labor credit system could allow people residing in the microspheres to obtain that bundle of necessities by taking from the centralized macro pile, and therefore enable them to produce small scale artisan/immaterial value in environments which they custom design to nourish the particular kind of value that they and other like minded people determine is most worthwhile, and which cannot be slotted into any kind of grid or macro plan. But which nonetheless enriches society on a macro scale when the micro happens to give birth to something larger than itself.
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.)
I think that a central authority could probably coordinate resources so that supply in the various piles matches organic demand for them. You could even have automatic adjustment of labor credit valuation according to the size of the queues of people waiting in line for an item.
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 -- ?
But that's what makes most sense to me - again the advantage of my system is its indeterminacy. There could be any number of possible economic coordination systems that we might agree on for the macrosphere. And we can use the results of socioeconomic experimentation in the microspheres as a basis for that collective decision.
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.
The more I think of this as a decentralized Walmart, the more sense it makes to me. You don't go to Walmart to satisfy your most fanciful and "boutique" consumer desires, you just go in there because you need a bundle of stuff and you try and get in and out as fast as possible before the place depresses you.
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.
If the production and distribution of necessities can be injected with any more worker-directed energy, that would be a very good thing. I don't know how anyone works there longer than 6 months before dying inside.
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:
At present, in consequence of the existence of private property, a great many people are enabled to develop a certain very limited amount of Individualism. They are either under no necessity to work for their living, or are enabled to choose the sphere of activity that is really congenial to them, and gives them pleasure. These are the poets, the philosophers, the men of science, the men of culture – in a word, the real men, the men who have realised themselves, and in whom all Humanity gains a partial realisation. Upon the other hand, there are a great many people who, having no private property of their own, and being always on the brink of sheer starvation, are compelled to do the work of beasts of burden, to do work that is quite uncongenial to them, and to which they are forced by the peremptory, unreasonable, degrading Tyranny of want. These are the poor, and amongst them there is no grace of manner, or charm of speech, or civilisation, or culture, or refinement in pleasures, or joy of life. From their collective force Humanity gains much in material prosperity. But it is only the material result that it gains, and the man who is poor is in himself absolutely of no importance. He is merely the infinitesimal atom of a force that, so far from regarding him, crushes him: indeed, prefers him crushed, as in that case he is far more obedient.
https://www.marxists.org/reference/arch ... /soul-man/
If you think about it, isn't our economy more and more resembling a combination of Walmart and Amazon? Walmart contains all the common "piles of stuff" that everyone generally needs. Whereas Amazon carries a truly staggering variety of goods to fit any conceivable consumption niche.
I think that for a post-capitalist system to be viable, it has to do what Walmart and Amazon do at least as well.
Yes, I agree with this premise.
Socialism traditionally being more about providing necessities to the least well-off, I think is viable in the Walmart dimension. In the Amazon dimension, I'm not so sure. I think you need a very elaborate cybernetic system with some centralized direction but which can account for extremely niche demands. Socialism has never been about positive pleasure from consumption, which is the thing people are most addicted to with capitalism.
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.
Puritan ascetism and excessive concern with the necessary as opposed to the frivolous and excessive / unnecessary, I think ultimately will doom any attempt to radically remake society to address our common needs. There is a common need for joy in life after all.
That is one reason behind my microsphere politics. Because people can define what that means for themselves and do not have to rely on the tastes and preferences of the masses. Whatever is for the masses is by definition common, paraphrasing Nietzsche.
Which doesn't mean that production for and by the masses or the commons is a bad thing at all. Only it is an incomplete politics. And I think its a major flaw in the very concept of communism, which seeks to subsume all under a single plan or vision.
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'.
Or all the private jets could be distributed equally among the microspheres, and each of them could figure out what to do with them based on their own systems.
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.
So luxury production is basically an afterthought, not even "worthy" the main communal system of production?
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 think that effectively it will be denounced as bourgeois to even want something remotely luxurious, and won't be produced at all.
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.
for which life is something to be suffered through like Christ on the cross. It is not a life-affirming doctrine. It hasn't even begun to transform itself to the postmodern reality that god is dead. That people are going to choose the ability to select from a zillion different goods in a capitalist hellscape over the noblest ideals of communal solidarity.
You're thinking of *historical Stalinism*, which followed the Allies invasion of the October Revolution.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allied_in ... _Civil_Warhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Left_Opposition
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.
The paradox is that for such solidarity to even have a chance, it must incorporate and embrace the opposite principle, of difference and individuality. That is why we need at the very least a dual system, not a monolithic one.
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.
Okay, as with any luxury / specialty production, higher-quality goods and services would require higher-skilled work roles, which would require more years of education / training / experience, which would attract higher rates of labor credits per hour for those kinds of liberated labor.
And, yeah, I'll readily admit that there would be a 'breaking point' for *anything*, where the labor / funding required, at some point, just wouldn't be *worth* it, for the product, and so the product / machine / whatever just wouldn't be produced, given the larger prevailing social norms, social politics, and attentions / efforts / labor.
What this system of *labor credits* does, in part, is to provide a *universalization* of forward-flowing-efforts, so that any outstanding / unmet 'projects' may reach the *whole world* (over the Internet) to inform everyone that work role 'x' is needed right now, for those who may want to *relocate* to work on that project personally.
Why does everyone in the whole world have to agree to something to incentivize its production?
They *don't* -- please recall the 'landscape of piles of stuff' premise. You're using the Stalinist central-bureaucracy 'blueprint' premise again, erroneously.
Talk about too many cooks in the kitchen - that's like 7 billion cooks. Producing the blandest possible food, if its even edible. The diversity and variety that makes life worth living is that which thrives in an environment separate and distinct from all the rest. It is that which then can be appreciated by all, if they so choose.
Great, I'm all for artistic culture, too, but the *politics* right now needs to be focused on *mass needs*, as regarding *global warming*, particularly.
The masses are never "ahead of the curve" when it comes to culture, fashion, technology, philosophy, art, or anything. They are always behind the curve. You can't blame them for it - no one can be an expert at everything. Allowing spaces free from their control, for these things to flourish by those who think differently and who devote everything to their craft, is in their interest. Even if they don't understand it.
I think that the "Amazon" side of my macroeconomy could coordinate the specialty artisan goods created by microspheres so that they are available to those residing in different microspheres. There need not be any specific plan to produce them on a large scale, as particular communities can decide on their method and scale of production themselves.
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.
They would be purchased with credits, vouchers, monetary units, or whatever economic value unit is determined democratically to be held in common in the macrosphere.
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' -- ?
Well, just as you're asserting / contending here that there would be *no* social dynamism, I'll assert and contend that there *would* be social dynamism. People could certainly use social media, then as now, to say what they think should be produced, and to get others who share that sentiment to 'join' and express that sentiment as well.
Omg, an economy determined by social media would truly be a nightmare. You would replace dominance by financial capital with dominance by social capital / number of followers and "influence."
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.
You'd be free to try such a thing in its own microsphere though of course. Then we can see how well a Twitterverse economy works out in practice.
Strawman. I'm not indicating anything *like* this.
It's a deficiency of any communal or democratic system really. It magnifies those with social power and those who understand how to play its Machiavellian game of symbolic exchange.
'Social power' doesn't necessarily apply to actual *social production*, though -- if we're talking about *rice*, or whatever, people could say *all sorts of things* about rice, which isn't the same thing as *producing* rice.
This is why we need a right to exit the communal macrosphere. You can't avoid democracy unfortunately, when dealing with communal matters. But you can do your best to ensure that it does not totalize every aspect of life, and that there are nooks and crannies free from the communal Eye of Sauron.
*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 -- ?
Yeah, everyone could just decide to be 'rock stars', post-capitalism, favoring their own life and interests almost exclusively to the abandonment of everything-else / everything social, but I think that, in reality, this wouldn't be the case. As long as *some* people wanted to do the gruntwork for everyone else's benefit, then *enough* would get done, preferably on labor-leveraging computerized automated mass industrial production, for everyone to get the things they most needed, and maybe even some of what they *want*, too -- the most-common items, anyway.
Maybe such a society would mandate *some* rudimentary revolving work roles as a bare minimum for everyone, so that the most critical stuff doesn't get *overlooked* by everyone.
Hmm, sounds great, we *might* just get some of what we want. If there's time leftover after everyone in the world decides whether or not you deserve it or it deserves to be produced at all.
Again, this is *another* strawman -- I'm not saying *any* of this, and you're simply *imputing* it onto me.
I think that communists most naturally would gravitate towards the macrosphere in my system, where they would be concerned with coordination of all the social necessities common to all spheres. That's great, to have people motivated to do that.
Your 'macrosphere' political economy uses *exchange values*, though, which is definitely non-communistic.
Where communism goes wrong is in drafting every last person to the task of maintaining the commons.
You're *imputing* this, though -- no one ever indicated that 'every last person' would have to 'maintain' the commons, in some kind of *top-down*, *prescribed* way. This is your Stalinism again.
Not everyone is suited for that, or can be their full liberated self in the context of mass politics. It is a very particular type of person who is drawn to that.
Instinctively, a large number of the masses realize this flaw in communism, which is why they aren't attracted to it. Meanwhile, our communal problems fester and aren't addressed. All because those concerned with the communal have the massive ego that everyone in the whole world must sign up to participate in the good (quasi-"Christian") cause. Generally everyone's political philosophy is a reflection of themselves and that which they personally esteem in terms of value, and projecting this onto the world. We have not matured collectively to the point where to allow something means to ban the opposite, or vice versa. The Christian dogmatism of slave morality runs deep.
This is some kind of a *rant*, based on some sense of historical Western Civilization.
My concern is with the *logistics* of a potential feasible post-capitalist political economy, and you can *philosophize* about the same all you like.
I am correcting my position here. I think that people should be able to "hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, and debate philosophy in the evening" and they should have space to construct a microsystem where those are the priorities.
But the communal macrosystem should be a lot harder and more utilitarian in its orientation towards solving global problems.
Things will work out better when you allow different sorts of people to sort themselves into a pluralistic system allowing for contradictory values.
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
...Some of the readily apparent *checks-and-balances* dynamics enabled with the labor-credits system are:
- (Already mentioned) One could work for personal material-economic gains -- the amassing of labor credits -- instead of having to 'like' *both* the socio-political aspect *and* the personal-material-economic aspect of one's work within a strictly-voluntaristic, non-labor-credit, communistic-type political economy. (Individual vs. socio-political realms)
- The contribution of one's potential liberated labor to societal objectives would always be fully optional, since the premise of a communist-type social order is that no one could ever be *actually* coerced for their labor since the ubiquitous norm would be that no productive machinery or natural resources in the world could be used on a *proprietary* / private-accumulation basis, while all the material necessities for life and living would always be in readily-available, sufficient quantities for all. Collective social productivity would be *very good* using post-capitalist, communist-type liberated-labor self-organizing, leveraged with full automation of all productive processes, for *huge* ratios of industrial mass-production output, per hour of liberated labor input. (Individual vs. socio-political and material realms)
- Mass demand, as displayed publicly, per-locality, by the daily mass-aggregated tallied rank positions (#1, #2, #3, etc.), will always be an existing social-pressure, specifically regarding liberated labor contributions to the general social good for varying qualities of public consumption. Such active liberated labor may or may not receive labor credits for their valid efforts, depending on such general *implementation* of circulating labor credits, or not, and the specifics of any active policy package. (Socio-political and material realms vs. individuals)
- Active liberated-labor would control all *ultimate* ('point-of-production') productivity for society, but *not-necessarily-working* people of any intra-voluntary collective 'locality' (or localities) could make and agree-on proposals and final policy packages that contain great *specificity*, as over *exactly* who (which persons) are to be included as active liberated-labor, and also their respective rates of labor credits per hour per discrete work role, and each worker's particular work schedule, as a part of the overall project scheduling. (Consumers vs. liberated-labor)
- Any intra-voluntary 'locality' could collectively develop and agree-on any particular proposal or final policy package, with specifics over staffing, rates of labor credits per included work role, and work schedules for all work roles / liberated-laborers, but if the liberated-labor-internal social process *did not approve* of the terms for any given proposal or policy package they would not *forfeit* their collective control over the implements of mass industrial production as a result -- realistically the result would most-likely be a *devolving* of larger-scale work organizing, since no agreement was reached between mass-demand and self-organized liberated-labor. Production could still take place on any ad-hoc basis, with liberated labor always getting 'first dibs' on anything they themselves produce, but it would be far more small-scale, localized, and balkanized than if larger-scale, multi-locality proposals and policy packages could be realized, for material economies of scale. (Liberated-labor vs. consumers)
- Any given finalized policy package will include a formal announcement of key proponents, politically responsible for that project's implementation, if satisfactory participation to cover all the necessary components of it is present. There is never any *standing*, *institutional* administration over everything, as we're used to seeing historically at the nationalist level. If a project *isn't* performing up to formal expectations (as detailed in its policy package), the proponents can be replaced with a mass-approved (exceeding in ranking over the initial policy package) proposal that 'tweaks' those details that need changing, such as which personnel, exactly, are deemed to be the formal 'proponents' of that project. (Consumers vs. administration)
- Proponents of any given active finalized policy package would have considerable logistical social latitude for administrating over its implementation, depending-on / limited-by its finalized detailed terms. In some instances, for example, proponents over *several* localities, of several *similar* policy packages -- say, over agriculture -- or even at regional, continental, and *global* scales -- may cross-coordinate to *generalize* production across many similar policy packages, for the sake of greater efficiencies of scale. (Administration vs. consumers)
- Proponents are meant to represent the exact terms of an active finalized policy package, and by extension, to also represent popular demand for certain material production and/or socio-political initiatives. Proponents may bring attention to certain aspects of the active finalized policy package in the course of its implementation, as with any possible differences on the part of active liberated-labor on the project. (Administration vs. liberated-labor)
- Liberated-labor will always be able to physically organize internally, without external interference. Depending on each active finalized policy package's provisions, liberated laborers may decide on their own the details of *how* they collectively supply their labor, to meet the objectives of that policy package -- as with specific personnel of their own, which work roles are absolutely necessary, the scheduling of work shifts and personnel, what geographical location(s) are to be used, how machinery is to be used, what the supply chains with other factories are, how the bulk-pooled labor credits funding is to be divided-up, if any additional funding of labor credits is needed, or even if locality debt issuances for additional labor credits are to be called-for, what maintenance may be needed on infrastructure / machinery, what education or training may be required for certain workers, etc. (Liberated-labor vs. administration)https://web.archive.org/web/20201211050 ... ?p=2889338
Yup. I think the average person is *mature* enough to act accordingly, and post-capitalist collective work roles would be socially reasonable, especially once freed from having to work for the aggrandizement of private property.
I think that's far from the case actually. People are far more determined by the depths of their irrational unconscious, and capitalism has been extremely successful at harnessing that towards its own ends. Capitalism has already been postmodern for decades. Meanwhile, socialism is stuck in a 19th century modernist rationalist framework.
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.
Edward Louis Bernays (/bɜːrˈneɪz/ bur-NAYZ, German: [bɛʁˈnaɪs]; November 22, 1891 − March 9, 1995) was an American pioneer in the field of public relations and propaganda, referred to in his obituary as "the father of public relations". Bernays was named one of the 100 most influential Americans of the 20th century by Life. He was the subject of a full-length biography by Larry Tye called The Father of Spin (1999) and later an award-winning 2002 documentary for the BBC by Adam Curtis called The Century of the Self.
His best-known campaigns include a 1929 effort to promote female smoking by branding cigarettes as feminist "Torches of Freedom", and his work for the United Fruit Company in the 1950s, connected with the CIA-orchestrated overthrow of the democratically elected Guatemalan government in 1954. He worked for dozens of major American corporations including Procter & Gamble and General Electric, and for government agencies, politicians, and non-profit organizations.
Of his many books, Crystallizing Public Opinion (1923) and Propaganda (1928) gained special attention as early efforts to define and theorize the field of public relations. Citing works of writers such as Gustave Le Bon, Wilfred Trotter, Walter Lippmann, and Sigmund Freud (his own double uncle), he described the masses as irrational and subject to herd instinct—and outlined how skilled practitioners could use crowd psychology and psychoanalysis to control them in desirable ways. Bernays later synthesized many of these ideas in his postwar book, Public Relations (1945), which outlines the science of managing information released to the public by an organization, in a manner most advantageous to the organization. He does this by first providing an overview of the history of public relations, and then provides insight into its application.
We *should* have a rational approach to our collective problems. But I contend that this is done against the grain of people's "natural" tendencies. This is one major reason why you need a centralized authority in the macrosphere. And you need a filtering process to ensure that the most rational and "mature" people are assigned to these problems. They are simply too important to delegate to people who are more concerned with the latest TikTok trends or the million other trivial things most people concern themselves with.
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.
Communism in the 20th century "solved" this problem by delegating absolute power to a revolutionary vanguard, acting in the name of the people.
That is not the way forward. We need abstract filtering mechanisms - decided on democratically - to ensure that people are slotted in to the roles which they are most suited to. People who are most motivated to solve the world's problems should not be blocked from doing so as they are under capitalism, where you have to have money to play the game. The filtering mechanism should ensure that they get to work in the productive roles they find the most fulfilling.
There is no implied hierarchy here of "mature and serious" over "immuture and unserious." The latter actually may play a vital role - as any society worth living in will have people who know how to play (Nietzsche - the seriousness of a child at play). But neither should unserious people block those are really are serious about the big technical, scientific, philosophical and organizational problems confronting humanity. It is a win-win for there to be room for all kinds of people in a pluralistic society.
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*.
Your localities ~~ my microspheres?
Must all localities operate in the same fashion?
What if some of them decide to operate with your labor credit system, if they all agree upon it - while others, not so convinced that a society without private ownership of goods of any kind is a good or desirable way to live, set up a different or more hybrid system of the public and private?
Wouldn't you agree there is only limited value in hypothesizing the ideal society, since people are not mechanistic and their actions cannot be determined as if in an equation?
Therefore, is it not more likely that the ideal society will emerge through multiple forms of experimentation rather than theorization - and so, the ideal society *right now* is to ensure that people have as much freedom to experiment with social systems as possible?
On a macro level, people might democratically decide among an array of options, delegating relative importance to the public and private. Since the macro is by definition what is held in common, experimentation can only be serial instead of parallel.
But on the micro level, you could have a great deal of parallel, simultaneous experimentation which would vastly increase the amount of data available to make an informed choice on the macro level.
Rather than relying on pure hypothesization of what "homo politicus" in theory should or should not do, you're basing your decisions on how to structure the macroeconomy on what real people have done and are doing, and the emergent systems they come up with in an organic fashion.
Regardless of how "airtight" your theory of how the macroeconomy should be is in your mind, I think we are beyond the point where everyone can consent to the same system.
In the past, in a theocratic society, you had one religion which had to serve as the basis of everything. The 20th century modernist period secularized this, and supposed that one civic religion (communism) could serve that role. In the postmodern period, where god has died (both in religious and secular forms), you have to make room for a plurality of religious and political views.
Assuming that everyone is going to get on board with banning all private property I think is the surest way to doom your politics to irrelevance. No one person or group of people's vision should rule. Everyone gets their say, that is democracy.
If you are confident your system is the best, then prove it. You should be given the space to implement it on a small scale, and if you can convince people to democratically embrace it on a macro level then you would have that opportunity as well.
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 -- ?
consumption [demand] -- Every person in a locality has a standard, one-through-infinity ranking system of political demands available to them, updated daily
consumption [demand] -- Basic human needs will be assigned a higher political priority by individuals and will emerge as mass demands at the cumulative scale -- desires will benefit from political organizing efforts and coordination
consumption [demand] -- A regular, routine system of mass individual political demand pooling -- as with spreadsheet templates and email -- must be in continuous operation so as to aggregate cumulative demands into the political process"
https://web.archive.org/web/20201211050 ... ?p=2889338
I don't think its impossible for that to work. Effectively the capitalist monetary system does the same thing with aggregate consumer demand, but in a very unequal fashion. Because the rich's demands count more since they have more dollars.
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?
That's a lot of "maybes." I think that you're relying too much on spontaneous emergent order. While I don't doubt that there would be some such thing - and it is present in capitalism too, as Hayek pointed out - without centralized organization there's going to be some very massive gaps and deficiencies in this order, just like with capitalism. The order which emerges is most likely to serve that only of the local participants, at best. Any externalized costs such as to the environment or to the larger social body as a whole, are unlikely to be accounted for.
What if there is a town D which is down the river from C, and after A,B, and C all work out the production of x for themselves, they receive the runoff from the pollutants involved in producing x?
Yeah, well, then, that's a *political* issue, and would have to be discussed by everyone in all towns, and taken-care-of.
It really allows your theory to relax when it leaves spaces for indeterminacy and local decision making, right?
I actually never said *otherwise* -- you keep erroneously ascribing *Stalinism* to me, when my politics is more accurately described and illustrated by my labor credits model, and *this* diagram:
Emergent Central Planning
What about the fish in the river, do they get an input in how much x is produced also?
Sure -- maybe technology would enable fish to participate on PoFo, and they could post their experiences, in words, as well.
The spheres approach inherently recognizes that it concerns itself only with what is appropriate to that sphere. Otherwise, it leaves it alone. So it is ecological, because the anthropic sphere is only one among many.
"Wouldn't towns A and B then competitively bid to attract the star liberated laborers from town C to the projects benefiting their locality? "
Sure -- where's the problem with that?
Nothing, from my perspective. I thought it sounded a bit too much like a monetary auction for your approach.
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.
Hmm, I've never been to France but it does seem they are quite a bit further advanced in worker consciousness than we are in the US. As in, we are only just seeing it after decades of being dormant from capitalist propaganda.
I think the abortion stuff can be traced more to the US's puritanical religious history than aristocracy. I believe that some of the early colonists were probably escaping domination from landlords and capital in Europe, to establish communities where they were free to practice their religious beliefs. (almost like establishing their own sphere?)
Of course they just ended up replicating the aristocracy. Didn't France as well, to an extent?
I won't quibble, because class society is class society, no matter the scale of the portion being examined.
I do think that the critical aspects of political economy should be determined by those who do the work, not those who live off of it.
Okay, and I think your politics is more 'orthodox' with this distinction, while I've come to look at the structure *logistically*, and prefer to emphasize the 'human need' / 'organic-demand' aspect as the independent / determining variable, plus I have an eye on current *technologies* that would serve to *highly leverage* human labor power in the conceivable present-day-based post-capitalist political economy.
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?
Replace your "factory" / locality nodes with microspheres and that might not be too different from what I'm proposing. There would necessarily be some system involving economic coordination of the microspheres on different levels, where they can issue demands for goods and services and receive a supply, with an emergent central planning, but the precise form I am being agnostic about.
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 -- ?
I think that may work fine for necessities. But a political economy limited to providing necessities - or leaving "luxuries" to an afterthought - is by necessity, impoverished.
Philosophically I can only repeat what I already included, in a past post:
Now as the State is not to govern, it may be asked what the State is to do. The State is to be a voluntary association that will organise labour, and be the manufacturer and distributor of necessary commodities. The State is to make what is useful. The individual is to make what is beautiful.
https://www.marxists.org/reference/arch ... /soul-man/
Alienation is not due solely to capitalism, but to modern industrialized society where everyone is reduced to a cog. Your individual voice is drowned out in a sea of others. What does a single discussion accomplish, effectively, on a macro scale? Nothing -
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.
not even in a socialist economy. It doesn't matter what you think, you are outvoted by a million others by default. We can see this in how disillusioned people are with democracy itself - the few spheres that are somewhat democratic in our capitalist system are just as dysfunctional as everything else.
'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.
We are not worker ants. The human desire for meaning and recognition, and the feeling of power to shape one's environment, necessitate local spaces where small communities are free to do so.
The ants are with you.
It is simply not possible to achieve that sense of agency by submitting your one vote amongst a million or a billion others. Or by submitting your list of demands to some abstract system.
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.)
While there is nothing inherently wrong with democracy on a vast scale like that - in fact I think it is necessary - it is not sufficient for our vitality. If you want a thriving mass worker culture, that means that we must have a sense of agency particularly in the local domain. It would be an emergent culture from an array of diverse ones. Not a monoculture.
Yeah, no contention.
Incidentally, I'm not even arguing or polemicizing for any such 'thriving mass worker culture' -- I'm not into *culture* around the politics that I advocate. What's more-to-the-point, I would say, is whether society is *post-class-divide* yet, or not.
The producerism of Marxism isn't entirely wrong either though - we derive meaning from work. And a large part of that is its social connection. Automation of everything wouldn't necessarily be good.
We can only have meaningful social connections to what, 200 people? I think that means that if we want meaningful work, we should arrange it on a macro scale so that units roughly of that size have enough repeated interaction that they can form meaningful ongoing social relationships. If they are contributing to a common project, that would be ideal.
This is top-down / Stalinistic, and unnecessary. Workplaces are the way they are due to patterns of employment, over geography. Now imagine those workplaces controlled by their workers. And we're done.
It is impossible to address the schism between work for the faceless billions and work for oneself, without the intermediary of work for a meaningful social unit.
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.)
You're treating politics like it's a *popularity contest* -- no, the political economy doesn't shapeshift according to the whims of the electoral winners. I'll refer you to base-and-superstructure at this point.
Also you're conflating communism with liberalism, inadvertently, and the entirety of your critique of communism here rests on this characterization which you may want to *elaborate* on -- '[communism's] puritan attitude towards capital and markets'.
Communism is not a purely materialist doctrine, despite its pretensions. It was always a form of secular messianism fused into the prevailing 19th century rationalism and structuralism.
And politics always was a popularity contest - that is why communism offered an entire identity and sense of purpose, for the great cause and tradition of striving for liberation. It was a secular religion, operating under the alibi of materialist analysis.
Now, both the material and ideal components of Marxist communism are out of date. If political economy is a base-superstructure, then both have evolved far beyond what they were in Marx's time. This evolution has created a new consciousness in workers. The ideal component of Marxism no longer appeals to this new consciousness, on the whole. While it may still be successful in igniting the zeal of some, especially the young, this is bound to turn into a kind of doom and nihilism when it comes up against the fact of capitalist realism.
Wow -- where'd the sudden *fatalism* come from -- !
Marxists = doomed, huh -- ?
What happened to *this* sentiment, from earlier:
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.
We know very well what we're doing, but still we keep doing it - this is Zizek's formula for ideology today.
Why do we keep participating zombie-like in capitalism? I think it is because we have to revisit the formulation of the problem, and re-frame it. There is some need that is being satisfied by capitalism, that keeps us attached to it.
*Or*, it's being *imposed* on us, from without, due to bourgeois *militaries*, police, government, etc.
I think it is primarily on the consumption side. When it comes down to it, we like things. We like to own them. We like to accumulate them. And if we don't have them, then we wish we did.
The ideal component of communism is totally at odds with the fantastical imaginary we have developed under capitalism, the imagined paradise of consumerist luxury. This imaginary is part of who we are now. And communism threatens it, by trying to cut off and deny the objects of pleasure.
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....
So its demands of an economy with no privately owned goods, no accumulations, can only be perceived on a general level as a drive towards puritan ascetism.
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.
So far from leading to proletarian revolution, I see the symbols of communism being deployed because they are the available tools lying around, with which we can express our discontent. But ultimately I think they will prove inadequate
in constructing an alternative system that the working class as a whole will endorse.
Yeah, that's why *I* came along. (grin)
There is too much of capitalism in us, I'm saying, for us to discard it entirely. And from a standpoint of historical evolution, all of our discontent with it will not amount to a complete replacement with something else, but rather it will amount to a force vector pushing it in some new, unknown direction. Perhaps once we go far enough along that path, we will have reached a point which we can no longer call capitalism. But we won't recognize it - or ourselves - at that point.
Yeah, it's already there, due to the current hyper-valuation of non-productive (rentier-type) assets (think NFTs, etc.) -- I call it 'global medievalism'.
Sure, we could say that the *practice* of Marx's Marxism was an objective of *progressive taxation* at the time, which *would be* transformative, but also -- as with *all* political-minded fetishes / objectives -- was *fetishized* and wouldn't necessarily be the strategy-of-choice for *today's* situation.
Right, and what I'm saying is that applying the Marxist materialist method to Marxism itself, results in something very different. Marxism as a political doctrine is itself a kind of fetishized object.
From the Flisfeder paper:
The bourgeois adversary is gone. We have become the thing we hated. Now what? I think that any Marxism which is afraid to move into this new territory is not appropriate for today's situation.
The bourgeois adversary is *not* gone -- what in hell gave you *that* idea -- ? Looked at a newspaper lately?
Here are some pertinent passages we might discuss. Basically, what the paper is getting at, is trying to move beyond postmodern deconstruction and incredulity towards metanarratives. This leaves us paralyzed, unable to assemble ourselves as subjects to divert the dystopian course of capital. Essentially, this new dialectical materialism seeks to create a new symbolic fiction, a new utopia which can serve as a master unifying signifier to create positive change. Communism can be a kind of "common sense political unconscious" - a way of narratively unify around the reality of class struggle, which evades symbolization.
What I am saying in relation to this paper, is that any Marxism uninformed by postmodernism, is simply residing in the modernist mode of subversion for its own sake. Subversion that doesn't accomplish anything because it doesn't realize that subversion is now the dominant ideology. Capitalism constantly subverts itself.
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
It is only by going *through* postmodernism, that the other side of Marxism represented by Zizek and Jameson can be reached. We can dialectically produce a symbolic fiction which is appropriate to the times. A utopia which may never be reached - but that's not the point. Rather it allows us to symbolically orient ourselves so that we can overcome the paralysis of late stage capitalism and actually act.
I think that is kind of what you're doing already actually - let me know if you agree.
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.
But for me, I find myself moreso deeper into postmodernism. I might be more of a Deleuzian. I find it very difficult to accept any metanarratives. But I at least acknowledge the need for one, and the need for a kind of unifying symbolic utopia, so that's what I am trying to do in a way that makes sense to me. Doesn't necessarily have anything to do with what Zizek or Jameson would advocate, as they are Marxist and communist in a strong sense, whereas I am only those things in a weak sense at best.
I'll keep throwing *this* back in your face:
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.
This is exactly what Flisfeder / Zizek are attempting to address with their symbolic fictional utopia.
The fact that it is self-consciously fictional, means that we can constantly rewrite it according to our subjective needs.
The disappearance of a neat, easy division between proletariat and bourgoisie, represents the postmodern era. Street wear is high fashion. We all might be just a little "bougie."
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.
That's okay. Rather than a puritanical demand to reject this transformation and turn back the clock, we can re-invent the narrative to incorporate the capitalist consumerist imaginary that is in our heads - but in a more liberatory direction than what capitalism provides.
The only one who's been referencing top-down Stalinistic bureaucratic authority is *you*, not me.
I'm all for 'fully automated luxury communism'.
What if worker control is self-consciously a symbolic fiction then - and that symbolic fiction is a precondition to any kind of victory at all? We have to reconstitute ourselves as subjects of history, in order for liberatory change to be feasible.
Sure, and I don't mean to sound defeatist.
I understand the historic importance of the 'subjective factor'.
 Worldview Diagram
And yet that's what communism is -- a decisive *break* with bourgeois hegemony, history, norms, practices, culture, etc. (I would argue).
Collective workers control of social production *is* almost unprecedented.
A complete break which won't happen - but which we nonetheless advocate?
You have a crystal ball -- ?
Hmmmm, sorry to hear it -- do you think society could *potentially* be more meritocratic- / egalitarian-minded in a post-capitalist political-economy context, than it is now -- ? Would those of that society 'work' at it, consciously -- ?
I think that whatever systems we create, could certainly be more meritocratic and egalitarian. Never perfectly so. We will always be working towards it. There is no end to antagonism - if it does not appear in one form, it will appear in another. Such is life. And I think we like it that way - can you imagine stories with no drama? No conflict?
A utopia without struggle - where we can all peacefully lay down and die - is no utopia at all.
Utopia is relative to what appears within the scope of the collective imaginary. I agree that theorizing is important and vital - but if it strays too far from what is collectively imagined as possible, I believe it becomes impotent. It exists in a dialectical relationship to our scientific understanding of our place in the world.
Sure -- any theorizing has to be *feasible*, and *realistic*.
Perhaps, at one time, the utopia of an ocean without sharks will collectively galvanize the fish towards actions which lead to not being eaten.
But at another time, when fish understand that there will always be sharks, or some other animal to fill that evolutionary niche, the fictional utopia must be rewritten, where the fish can unify to achieve their ends but with no final victory over their adversary.
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.
What appears as passivity from the perspective of one utopian vision, could be the exact opposite from an alternative vision. And in fact, a utopia too far removed from the symbolic understanding of the agents who are supposed to bring it about, virtually guarantees their passivity.
Interesting - I'm pretty much all British, on both sides. My great-great grandfather emigrated from Britain to Texas in the late 1800's I think because of a some sort of allergy condition that he thought the move would alleviate.
Interesting as well.
Um, it's *way* more serious than this -- Marx's Declining Rate of Profit indicates that capitalist employers may want to class-consciously *not* fully-automate because then there would be no organic labor value in the production process, and no profits for *anyone*, as a result. It's comparable to why the capitalists don't allow *full employment*, for consciously class-hegemonic reasons.
I'm not sure that full automation is even possible or desirable if it were. Generally you can only automate tasks which are repeated indefinitely. It is not holistic or syncretic. Machine intelligence, while extremely impressive in many domains, simply is of a different category than human intelligence. We won't be totally replaced. Well, most of us.
Car Factory - Kia Sportage factory production line
But yeah, what you're saying isn't unreasonable. Even though I'm not sure I agree with the necessity of a falling rate of profit - it's definitely in the interests of capitalists as a whole for labor to participate in the monetary and economic flow. Without that things would probably break down.
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
Oh, so you're fatalistically saying that Stalinism is inevitable. You're neither pro-working-class, nor pro-revolutionary, if you think that the working class can't organize social production for itself, on its own terms, independently of the capitalists, with this line of yours.
I'm definitely no Stalinist. What I'm saying is that there is no final victory. There is always struggle. That is only fatalist if you're coming from the perspective of a final unity.
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.
Again to quote Flisfeder
A realist utopia is one, conversely, that does not make any claim to the organic
composition of the collective unity of the community. In fact, its operation is to
pronounce fully the presence of the antagonism that prevents the collective unity of the
society, while simultaneously offering a glimpse of an emancipatory resolution to the
problem. It accomplishes, in other words, a mediation of the antagonism that leaves it
intact while simultaneously elucidating that which remains true on both sides of the
This is obviously a *derogatory* treatment of 'utopia', which is a fair topic for critique.
This characterization is the social equivalent of a politician speaking out of both sides of their mouth.
That's what I'm trying to do with my vision of utopia.
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 -- ?
Why do we have to completely transcend an antagonism to have agency? Doesn't agency lie in the drama and struggle itself, pushing back, overcoming blockages, being confronted with new problems which require a re-assertion of force?
Why should workers tolerate economic *exploitation* and divide-and-conquer *oppression* every hour of their working lives -- ?
Finance is a closed loop, a game with relevance only to itself.
Bullshit. Just remember the government financial bailouts of 2000, 2008-2009, 2019, 2020, and 2021.
We offshored manufacturing to China. Now China is financializing their economy and outsourcing manufacturing to Africa (I think). Finance I think is the critical dynamic of capitalism we must understand today. To the extent that Marxist analysis requires a manufacturing framework, it is woefully inadequate to the task. Marx's theory of money for example is very outdated. Modern Monetary theorists have had quite the time dissecting that.
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.)
I don't think that having a central organizing body in your politics makes you a Stalinist. That implies that the central body has total control over everything, a command economy.
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:
I think that a central authority could probably coordinate resources so that supply in the various piles matches organic demand for them.
A realist utopian vision which posits a dialectic between central organization and decentralized divergence is definitively not Stalinist. You think Stalin would have tolerated anything less than total control?
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* -- ?
I think that distinction between liberation and freedom may be more of a European thing. In the US they're synonymous. Regardless of whatever garbage historically has been attached to the signifier - but that's the case with any signifier. "Communism" too.
Sure. Nationalize the major industries, the banking system, etc. That should be the core of the macro economy. It could be something more like China's state owned enterprises though, where they have guidance from the state but are formally distinct entities.
So you favor China's 'Special Economic Zones', like Shenzhen -- ? That's *capitalism*.
What if this is interpreted as a spectrum of utopias, with various degrees of realism? The beauty in communism is precisely in the fact that it will not be realized - it is an organizing principle. Instead of a hierarchy, where communism is pitted against socialism as a lower form of worker consciousness, socialism could be seen as more towards the realist side. So sure - dwell all you like in the less realistic utopia. But don't forget that when an opportunity comes up to seize something a little closer to what is realizable, we should take it.
'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.
Hmmmm, global-Stalinistic -- that's a new one, though I can see the current pertinence, given today's 'global-medievalism' (my terming) of power distribution. You're saying 'nationalization', but at the *global* scale. Interesting.
It would not be Stalinistic, because the form of the macroeconomy would be determined democratically. But yes, significant authority would be delegated to some kind of central planning body. One that has significant control over the global parameters, but which leaves local spheres to their own devices. Essentially, they would be a kind of "black box" to the planners - they couldn't reach inside to manipulate them, but they could figure out how to fit them in the macroeconomy in terms of their inputs and outputs.
'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*.