From: paul bullock (paulbullock@EBMS-LTD.CO.UK)
Date: Thu Aug 23 2007 - 16:38:43 EDT
Of these 2 points: Clearly you are speaking of a different type of choice/distribution mechanism to a capitalist market. For a start the products would not contain surplus value, ie a proportion of price appropriated by the capitalist class. Both your conception of 'price', and 'market' seem to me to be radically different to those currently existing. The problem has yet to present itself historically to us in Britain since there has been no seizure of power by the working class and its allies. Marx of course was, insofar as he allowed himself to comment about the future in this way, referring to the early stages of socialism. Certainly, the actual way the problems of planning in all the 20th century attempts to build socialism seem to me to have to be studied much more carefully to extract lessons. With the second point you seem to feel that the process of valuation of human labour in its socially abstract form, viz money, is in fact a continuously present feature of all societies, by viewing 'value' as a the general (comparative?) feature of all concrete human labour, which for me completely denies value as a specific social characteristic of commodity production , in its real development, capitalist society. Of course human labour in a socialist society will have to be organised, decided upon, accounted/budgeted for. Who could deny that? Of course the issue of allocation, training etc have to be dealt with... but all of this will be done, has to be done, by considering the concrete skills of labour and the agreed needs of the society alone. Labour's use value will only be its capacity to produce use values, and if decided upon in all particular cases, more use values than are currently consumed in the reproduction of the society. Labour's use value, if it is capitalistically unproductive, which presuming the destruction of capitalism, it would be, will NO longer be the production of value and surplus value. It does not concern me so much that you see human labour as of 'value', only that this sort of observation distracts us from understanding the role of the market, thus commodities, as a form without which homogenous human labour can be conceived. Without this we will have simply, a rich diversity of practical labouring skills, and a need for direct and immediate appreciation of our activities in relation to building socialism. The basis of budgeting for the use of this labour however cannot be 'money' in any capitalistic sense. This raises real problems for those thinking about planning in such circumstances... the manipulation of quantities of 'money' as some sort of index of 'value' has to give way to other measures and constantly changing priorities. 'Price', some sort of weighting of social priorities really will be come a tool of a different sort of rationing system. regards paul b. ----- Original Message ----- From: Paul Cockshott To: OPE-L@SUS.CSUCHICO.EDU Sent: Tuesday, August 21, 2007 10:48 PM Subject: Re: [OPE-L] A startling quotation from Engels Paul B In a communist society the usefulness of labour, its employment will depend directly on the needs of the masses. Its employment will not depend on that particular use value that labour power presents to the capitalist, the production of surplus value. The market mechanism would not exist. Value as a social category will be superceded. The relative usefulness of labour will be recognised directly for its beneficial results, not the production of profit. Surplus labour time will be expressed not uniformly, but in its diversity of real output, all appreciated for its own sake, its contribution to the development of humanity beyond its 'pre-historical' stage. ___________________________ Paul C 2 points here 1. You say that the market mechanism would not exist. With respect to means of production I would agree with you. I am doubtful that this would apply to consumer goods. Marx envisaged people purchasing from society consumer goods up to the value of the labour that they had performed ( after tax to support social provision). Whilst this is not a market mechanism in quite the same sense as a capitalist market, it is a means by which the population can express its desires about the compostion of output. If the plan has 'got it wrong' with respect to the ratios in which people want different consumer goods, then shortages or surpluses will occur. One then either has to accept queueing for goods in short supply, and other goods being wasted, or it may be an idea to mark up the 'labour commanded' by goods in short supply. The divergence between labour used to produce the goods and the labour vouchers people are willing to pay can then be used to guide plan targets - to shift the direction of the 'Kantorovich Ray'. 2. You say that value as a social category will be superceded, well that would only be the case if human labour ceased to be a limiting resource on production, which in turn would only be true if fully anthropomorphic robots were available. So long as labour is a limiting resource, any society has to husband it. The difference, according to Engels, is that this will now be explicit with accounting done explicitly in hours of social labour rather than in the monetary expression of social labour as is now the case. ----- Original Message ----- From: Paul Cockshott To: OPE-L@SUS.CSUCHICO.EDU Sent: Monday, August 20, 2007 1:03 PM Subject: Re: [OPE-L] A startling quotation from Engels Paul B I am aware that you might say that because exchange-value does not arise, does not mean that the use values have no latent/hidden value. But that this value is no longer commonly measureable. In this case 'value' has no function, and the law of value no place. The wide range of concrete human labour will be appreciated for itself, variously, but no longer in the way that allows self interest to direct social life. Paul C Why is value no longer measurable under these circumstances? Surely it is measurable but directly in time, rather than indirectly in money.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Fri Aug 31 2007 - 00:00:10 EDT