From: Paul Cockshott (wpc@DCS.GLA.AC.UK)
Date: Sat Aug 18 2007 - 17:51:02 EDT
There was also of course Lange's mid 60s stuff on computers and planning, but I am sure Alejandro has read that. Can you give us any links to the publications by the IWC that dealt with this? Paul Cockshott www.dcs.gla.ac.uk/~wpc -----Original Message----- From: OPE-L on behalf of paul bullock Sent: Sat 8/18/2007 8:15 PM To: OPE-L@SUS.CSUCHICO.EDU Subject: Re: [OPE-L] A startling quotation from Engels Alejandro, I certainly am in a hurry to liquidate the law of value, but I fear that larger scale demand for this will be required first, which will be blunted by those who want both capitalist markets AND socialism! I certainly recognise that accounting by labour time has been discussed since Ricardo. Before C&C discussed the matter, the use of computers to measure the time it took to produce goods and services, was well discussed eg by the late 1960's the Institute of Workers Control ( Nottingham UK) was already proposing such technical solutions to the problems of production and distribution by state owned operations. Measuring the time taken to produce goods is not at all new. Every one knows that FW Taylor was producing sophisticated labour time and motion measuring systems before the First World War. But such direct measures can only be applied as the universal basis for social decisions, if the market, production by and for capital, is 'removed'. Actually you are discussing the problem of how to get from 'advanced' ( decaying) capitalism and socialism, and this is a political question first. regards Paul ----- Original Message ----- From: Alejandro Agafonow To: OPE-L@SUS.CSUCHICO.EDU Sent: Saturday, August 18, 2007 9:40 AM Subject: Re: [OPE-L] A startling quotation from Engels But you have to recognize, Bullock, that until the appropriate development of computation technology back to the 80's and the theoretical analysis about how to make the accounting of labour time in a feasible way made by Cockshott and Cottrell, «fighting» was the unique formula proposed by those Marxists that were hurry for liquidating the law of value. Another group of Marxists had the pragmatic point of view of using the law of value in favour of socialism. I don't know neo-Kantianism unless you were speaking of kantian-constructivism. Here 'value' sure has an a-historical, natural character but it requires a sort of universal scale of preferences, a «social welafare function» useful to define a constitutional framework. But this form of value is useless to deal with the individual welfare functions of people that have to choose among goods to satisfy their preferences. If we equate labour value with this sort of meta-consumption devise it is like treating a group of consumers like only one individual. Only a dualist theory of value could integrate coherently both sides of human societies. Kind regards, Alejandro Agafonow ----- Mensaje original ---- De: paul bullock <paulbullock@EBMS-LTD.CO.UK> Para: OPE-L@SUS.CSUCHICO.EDU Enviado: viernes, 17 de agosto, 2007 22:29:29 Asunto: Re: [OPE-L] A startling quotation from Engels So from this we can see that for Jurriaan 'value' in Marx is an a-historical, natural, characteric of all production, a sort of neo-Kantianism. Consequently it will continue into socialism, somehow or other. For Alejandro 'value' is a 'philosophical conception', which is not very helpful. What happened to the specific social relations of capitalism, which gives an historically specific form and content to exchange relations, and is the 'value' that Marx analyses? With a socialist planned economy, private property and markets will be squeezed out and capitalistic exploitation abolished, 'value' as Engels says will then be removed as an economic category; it is abolished as humanity reaches that level of self consciousness and collective responsibility, of a new moral state, that Che understood to be necessary. The transition from one society to another is is objectively necessary and but achieved subjectively, by fighting. Paul Bullock ----- Original Message ----- From: Alejandro Agafonow To: OPE-L@SUS.CSUCHICO.EDU Sent: Friday, August 17, 2007 11:23 AM Subject: Re: [OPE-L] A startling quotation from Engels Hello all! Bendien: «We live in the "age of the manager", and the social ideal is, a manager who takes it upon himself to exercise "creative responsibility and stewardship" over a bunch of people and resources with due integrity. To be emancipated these days, is thus to be a manager. But point is, this manager may not privately own most, or even any, of the resources he takes responsibility for. His strength is only his personal capacity to relate, in a way that provides power. Consequently, the employee gets graded according to how well he is able to relate, vis-a-vis the goals of the manager, who tries to reshape the world and his employees after his own image.» It is the core argument of the cuasi-market trend of Market Socialism, to which I belong to. We just need to complement it with an incentive system like that proposed by Evsei Liberman, to let the managers exercise its entrepreneurial function responsibly. If we link part of their remuneration to the achievement of goals, we are des-encouraging an irresponsible risk taking. Scarcity doesn't let us to explore all risky enterprises unless we have a good reason to do so and it has to be judged by those closer to specific productive function. So, the efficient side of a just economy needs an incentive devise of two levels: one operating outside the firm to compare the profitability of all firms, which is rivalry. The other operating inside the firm and letting managers to know that they have to take risks but take it responsibly, otherwise they have to pay for the bad outcomes. I agree with many of Bendien's insights, but he keeps stuck to labour value. As I'm going to show below, this produces some pitfalls if you accept a market devise for the allocation of resources. Jurriaan, have you read Wlodzimierz Brus? He is one of the few Market Socialists that keeps loyal to labour value. I send herewith one of his papers: "On the Role of the Law of Value in Socialist Economy", Oxford Economic Papers, Vol. 9, Nº 2 (Jun., 1957). (1)Bendien: «It's just that I think that in the Marx/Engels theory, the products of human labour have a "value", irrespective of whether they are sold or not sold [.] The point of a socialist or communist allocation system is not "equal exchange", but to ensure normal human needs are met efficiently for everybody [.]» (2)Cockshott: «The contrast is between a commodity producing economy in the first instance and one with social ownership and planning in the second.» (3)Laibman: «Rejecting utopian schemes to simply implement that which can only emerge gradually over time, through purposeful action, the question still remains concerning *how* commodity-money relations are to be transformed, and eventually transcended [.]» I agree that the conception of an operationally meaningful devise to record the labour time content in every commodity is substituted in Engels for a historicism faith. The allegedly inevitable destiny of Capitalism is its liquidation and the emergence of Communism. So, Engels could be blamed for one of Rodbertus' sins: the lack of a feasible labour value accounting devise. But in "Anti-Duhring" Engels seems to loose the brilliant insight that showed in the cited Preface. That is: market mechanism depreciates the labour content of commodities when they show to be useless. There is an objective interpretation of labour value, which Bendien summarizes, that lacks the indispensable link that would let "Labour Accounting Socialism" to meet real human needs. That is a subjective seed. Cockshott and Cottrell have surpassed this problem when agree with the need of reallocate labour to match preferences that always go one step forward. The "Money Accounting Socialism" of Bendien operationally surpasses the shortcomings of the objective interpretation, because the "law of value" continues operating, but it keeps a conceptual contradiction. It is not a fault of Bendien but of an entire generation of Marxists that interpret labour value as a fact and no as philosophical conception, which really is. Kind regards, Alejandro Agafonow ----- Mensaje original ---- De: Jurriaan Bendien <adsl675281@TISCALI.NL> Para: OPE-L@SUS.CSUCHICO.EDU Enviado: jueves, 16 de agosto, 2007 22:52:34 Asunto: [OPE-L] A startling quotation from Engels Hi all, It's just that I think that in the Marx/Engels theory, the products of human labour have a "value", irrespective of whether they are sold or not sold, and it has evidently been like that, ever since human beings produced anything with their work. They have that value, simply because it takes a quantity of labour-time to make them or replace them. Otherwise, Engels's statement that commodities can be "depreciated below their value" in the trading process doesn't make sense. I obviously distinguish here between value and exchange-value. Morover, a product has that value, irrespective of its perceived utility. To replace money with labour-tokens (a form of rationing) is to regress to a more primitive, and less efficient allocation method in most cases. Much more advanced techniques of giving and receiving credit are possible nowadays. In Cap. Vol. 2, Marx distinguished between three great forms of economic allocation: natural economy, money economy and credit economy. Globally, we are increasingly moving towards credit economy now, as far as economic exchange is concerned. Credit economy is concerned with estimated future potential, specifically future earning power. The point of a socialist or communist allocation system is not "equal exchange", but to ensure normal human needs are met efficiently for everybody, in a way that maximises liberty, justice and equality for everybody. For this purpose, a wide range of allocation principles can be used, most of which are already present in capitalist society, though possibly with more restricted applications, given the ruling property forms. If the most human beings can imagine, is that they make the allocation of resources more "efficient" by privatising their ownership, then that's a serious impoverishment of economic thought. It is true only in some cases, but not all cases. It overlooks the main modern problem of capitalist regulation: the growing intermediation between the private ownership of an asset and its actual use, i.e. that private ownership in practice doesn't resolve much anymore, as regards the actual management of resource use. When I lived in New Zealand, the real estate millionaire Bob Jones frankly admitted this - he said (paraphrase) whether an asset is state-owned or privately owned does not necessarily imply anything about the efficiency or wisdom of its management. He supported privatisation only because then he could do more business, and make more money. He wanted a better society for capitalists, believing that this is better for everybody. We live in the "age of the manager", and the social ideal is, a manager who takes it upon himself to exercise "creative responsibility and stewardship" over a bunch of people and resources with due integrity. To be emancipated these days, is thus to be a manager. But point is, this manager may not privately own most, or even any, of the resources he takes responsibility for. His strength is only his personal capacity to relate, in a way that provides power. Consequently, the employee gets graded according to how well he is able to relate, vis-a-vis the goals of the manager, who tries to reshape the world and his employees after his own image. Part of the sickness of modern capitalist society, is precisely that the traditional close connection between private ownership of resources, and the responsibility for the use of those resources, has been broken. That is why you get woolly concepts such as "governance" - this means neither real government, nor real ownership, but an enforcable or voluntary contract pertaining to the use of resources by "stakeholders". But the very concept of a "stakeholding" refers to "any party which can affect, or is affected by, the activities of a company or institution" or who has a "legitimate interest" in it. A legitimate interest is primarily political, not necessarily legal. In law, a stakeholder is a third party who temporarily holds an asset "while its owner is still being determined". There you can already see, the ambiguities of modern private property. It is, as Marx suggested, "the socialization of property within capitalism". Jurriaan ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sé un Mejor Amante del Cine ¿Quieres saber cómo? ¡Deja que otras personas te ayuden! . ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Sé un Mejor Amante del Cine ¿Quieres saber cómo? ¡Deja que otras personas te ayuden! .
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