: Conattennated post to cover a few points, coz i can only get here twice a week (£1 a time for half an hour!).
Ah but we're glad of it!
: Barry is right, we need struggle, voiting is not enough, a vote should simply be a statement of committment, a signal that you are determined, and ready to act for revolution, that you *are* a socialist, and not simply a supporter.
What socialism needs is for a vast majority of people to understand it, agree with it, agree with eachother as to its implementations, agree to the changes wrought upon them during and after the changes and go on agreeing on millions of matters and their consequences ad infinitum. I think you caught the key word there - "agreement"
: what do our capitalist friends think money expresses? When I say "half an hour of internet time is worth £1" what am I saying?
Youre saying that out of all the other things you could have done with the same 'package' of £1 and half an hour you chose to get on the net rather than pursue those other things.
So indeed you cant be saying "half an hour of internet time is as valuable to me as other things I could buy for one pound" - you are saying it is superior to those other things.
: x = £1 (arse) in some term or other. To be able to do this, I must have some common basis, a common feature to compare.
Do you have to? All you need is the extent of your knowledge regarding the other things you could have done with that £1 - you dont need that common basis.
: In the old days, money was fixed by the value of gold (hence Pound and lb, it was once a pound of gold), gold was the chosen commodity, x had a value, some feature, equal to that of a pound of Gold - surely, otherwise its a nonsense statement.
Those were the days! Now money's value does not rest upon a claim to gold - the 'promise to pay the bearer' as on those lovely British notes. Its objective link is severed, well more accurately its stretched to include all those 'what shall I do with my $' decisions. If everyone woke up tomorow and suddenly believed the currencies meant nothing there would be a crisis. If this happened in gold standard days the banks would have been able to say "aha my dear fellow, see this gold? there there everything is allright now'. What would be said now? It would have to be down to the federal reserve & central banks to try and regain the confidence of currency before other currencies (the famous pack of cigarettes, but also precious metals and various other things) started taking over along with barter.
: gee failed to answer the monetary calculation argument: of what value, economically, is it for me to know how many people want a commodity, as compared with a comparison of some relevent feature of the commodity.
Can you expand on this. As it looks above I would say simply that knowing how many people want something (I assume you mean demand in the economic sense) enables you to calculate revenue, costs and all that based on those jolly principles of accounting. Comparing some relavent feature is, um.. Comparing some relavent feature and no more.
: If we lived in a society, where *every* commodity contained oil, it would be rational to measure all commodities in terms of the amount of oil from the common stock is used in them: likewise, then, isn't it rational to measure all commodities in terms of the social effort involved in their production. What other common basis could there be?
I'm sure you could measure both - but what would that tell you about how many poeple wanted the product and how much they would be willing to exchange for it? After the exchange what would it tell you about the 'value' of the product and how would it assist in calculating the extent to which someone may have been 'exploitated'? it wouldnt.
: How could the economy function if it was mere whimsy, simple desire that determined prices
Because its not - its the relative exchange value of products to eachother that allows the economy to function. And the exchange value is determined by various incalculable factors such as 'simple desire', ability to exchange etc etc.
: how could we plan economically?
We couldnt without knowing 'live' every one of the above determinents for every person - and hence we shouldn't even try to plan economies.