RE: [OPE] labor tokens and efficiency

From: Paul Cockshott <>
Date: Wed May 06 2009 - 17:13:18 EDT

Why would there be an incentive to greater efficiency?

Because capitalist estimates of production cost do not include the whole labour cost of an item. They include the full labour costs of means of production, but because the capitalist firm only pays for the necessary labour time not the whole working day, the amount of living labour used is systematically underestimated. Thus a production process that requires less living + dead labour can actually appear more expensive than one which requires more.

If labour is recompensed at a full rate of 1 hour per hour rather than at a rate of 30 mins in the hour there is a greater incentive to use labour saving machinery. This is the fundamental reason why payment in labour hours is likely to accelerate the development of the forces of production.

From: [] On Behalf Of GERALD LEVY []
Sent: Wednesday, May 06, 2009 4:50 PM
To: Outline on Political Economy mailing list
Subject: RE: [OPE] labor tokens and efficiency

Assume there is a 'labor token' economy where for each hour
you work you get a token which allows you to buy a good
produced with one hour of labor.

Now, since the question of 'efficiency' has been raised in
a recent thread, please tell me why more efficient methods of
production would be developed? Other things being equal -
since everyone knows that one hour of labor producing one
good is equal in terms of purchasing power to one hour of
labor producing any other good - why would workers in
enterprises introduce any method which raises productivity?

The only non-coercive reason might be if they viewed the
society as their society and willingly adopted more efficient
processes of production because it was in the interests of
the socialist project. In other words, moral incentives.

Other incentives would lead to increased inequalities within
this society. And, who would decide what would be more
efficient methods? If it's not the workers themselves but
rather bureaucrats and technocrats then other types of social
problems and class and/or caste differentiation can arise.

The same dilemma happens if enterprises are in competition
with each other: there is a conflict, in this case, between
the partial interest and the general interest.

In solidarity, Jerry_______________________________________________
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Received on Wed May 6 17:20:32 2009

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