From: Paul Cockshott (wpc@DCS.GLA.AC.UK)
Date: Wed Jun 13 2007 - 04:47:28 EDT
> >Paul C >------ >I would prefer to express it slightly differently: it is only in >commodity producing societies that socially necessary labour time >takes the *form* of money or exchange value. > >The technology available to a society will always define how much >labour is necessary to perform a task - we can not get away from that, >but we can reckon it directly rather than in the form of money. Yet if a completed productive task represents to and rewards the laborer only that portion of abstract labor time which society on average or normally needs to complete it--that is early communism maintains the bourgeois logic of value-- then it will have abstracted away and remain alienated from the real laboring activity of individuals who are irreducibly qualitatively different in ability and need. But isn't this exactly what Marx is criticizing in the name of an emancipatory communist ethic in the Critique of the Gotha Program--from each according to his abilities to each according to his needs? It seems that Marx is criticizing the abstract and alienated nature of value from the point of real laboring subjects. For this reason, Marx seems to want to do away with not only the form of value but its logic as well. ---------------- Paul C I think that one can put a somewhat simpler interpretation on it. I interpret the difference in needs as being due to things like family size or disabilities. If payment is just based on labour performed, the childless who have fewer needs will live better than those with families. Thus as society advances these needs come to be recognised by society and compensation is made for them. Marx was correct in foreseeing this as the welfare state of the 20th century started to introduce these principles. For example since 1948 in Britain, the principle of distribution according to need has applied to medical care. Similar principles have been applied to education. Special credits are made to those with children to meet the additional needs. These measures have been introduced by social democratic governments, influenced, even if indirectly by the idea that certain things should be distributed according to need. I don't see that one has to read in anything about alienation into the text.
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