- Capitalism and Alternatives -

For gee.

Posted by: Red Deathy ( Socialist party, UK ) on November 26, 1999 at 12:51:48:

: Its not ducking - its simply not falling for LTV as the be all and end all of what 1 means. Its usefulness in creating nice economic models does not translate into effective explanations for what is actually happening in the wide world of trade.

But you're not providing any credible alternative, and are instead happy to assume that X =1 doesn't express any comparison between teh two commodities - if you could just tell me on what basis that equation makes sense, then i'll let it go, but as it is, you're stone-walling, knowing that once you accept that equation, LTV follows.

:I'll grant this - LTV is 'cleaner' and less 'fuzzy' than any one STV model, or atleast more comfortably 'concrete' feeling - but its not enough to explain whats going on in the analysis - its jumping the gun on a 'unified economic theory'.

Its cleaner, only that we talk about it, and prune away subjective factors, I had in fact found a stack of Marx quotes from Capital Three I was going to bring along, which dealt with monopoly prices, and a few otehrs, but I forgot it - monday then :) Could LTV not be the basis for the merely empircal subjective variations...?

: There are several reasons why they are not - one of which you'll like and the others you wont. lets start with the one you like - yes it takes up more labor time to make cars.

It in fact costs more to make cars - something your model has failed entirely to account for.

: Now - bog rolls have more easy substitute goods whilst cars are limited to walking for days, horses,trains all of which are very different from the car. Further to this bog rolls dont enhance one's life as much as a car can so you get more utils for a drive (for most people),

I dunno, I find bog roll enhances my life quite considerably... :)

:Cars are important to many people as expresions of individuality, privacy and 'show' as well as a means to travel - Ive never met a person who utilises bog rolls to the same effect, they perform a less interesting role (pun!) That list goes on almost ad infinitum - in most cases you'll be arguing why cars are more desirable to a person than bog rolls and evidencing this with observations of behaviour and people's aspirations (I want to go accross 12 states, carry stuff home, pull a caravan, go miles every day etc etc = car, I want to wipe clean = roll. which one do you think people will give more for?).

But you have just rendered market economics entirely pointless. how do we measure desire, where may I find a util, and how do utils relate to 's stirling?

:You might hold that the only constant factor is labor - but doing so disregards all those variables and that would be a mistake. As a conglomerate effect they are also a constant influence on that actual decision to exchange.

I'd hold that the constant factor, and the basis upon which all those otehr factors may work, is labour - aren't cars status symbols because they are expensive?

: I do know what youre getting at. I accept the philosophical position that all value is created by mankind - you can argue that because of this all else is follow-on detail which misses the point - but as I said before - my argument was not to bury LTV but to argue that its just not good enough for the kind of analysis needed to show exploitation. The best effort was the 'throw it all in a bag and count em up' argument explained by SDF - and that cant tell me how many $/bananas/gold nuggets I was exploited by, or why my neighbour chose a nissan truck over a dodge.

But in order to be able to explain the economy, we must understand what money is. Individual choices are irrelevent to teh investigation of the *logic* of the market. I can show exploitation easilly - I must be employed, to employ means to use, to use is to exploit, my employer exploits my labour power, I work to make someone else rich. Dead fucking easy.

: How do you know it isnt? because the factory owner is getting richer?

Because I can't see any other way for them to make a profit. Me and my co-workers are not being paid the market value of our produce, that much is plain, the point then is to explain how that happens.

:What if the labor you were contributing wasnt much when compared the the 'labor' of organising the factory. The best we can end up arguing for using this approach is a kind of meritocracy with inheritance/gifts barred (which means you don't really own 'your' property as you can't give it to anyone). Hardly socialist.

I can look at the sum of what all the workers in teh facory are paid, compared with the market value of its total produce, and deduce that the difference re[presents our rate of exploitation.

: If you want 'from each according to ability...' to happen then dont argue in terms of labor contributed, but out of ideological egalitarianism.

The point is not to show that we are ripped off, from a moral [point of view, but to show how we find ourselves in our conditions.

You have strayed from teh point. your argument implies that you can't beat the logic I was presenting, but on a utilitarian basis, prefer not to accept it. really, Gee, I had more respect for you than to think you'd behave such.

Follow Ups:

The Debating Room Post a Followup