- Capitalism and Alternatives -

E-flat Perhaps

Posted by: Stuart Gort ( USA ) on December 15, 1999 at 13:19:12:

In Reply to: A note posted by Stoller on December 15, 1999 at 00:10:36:

:: Concerning Kevin and Jack and the LTV, Stuart likes to omit any reference to the concept of socially necessary labor time when assembling his straw men that 'prove' labor time is never averaged by society when deciding how much exchange-value the fruits of labor produce.

That's because I don't need to justify a moral judgment of capitalism, Barry. I simply don't have any moral objection to it. My understanding is that immoral people exist to trash any system. Greedy capitalists are an undeniable issue but greedy malcontents are equally culpable in the disintegration of any humanly constructed economic system. Socialism won't be any different and a revolution to impose it will hurt the people you mean to help.

:: Marx: 'The labor-time socially necessary is that required to produce an article under the normal conditions of production, and with the average degree of skill and intensity prevalent at the time' (Capital volume one, International 1967, p. 39, emphasis added).

Thanks for the scripture reference. I'll bow my head while you pray.

:: Is a guitar 'really' worth $4,500---or do some people simply think so (due to what Veblen called an 'imaginary monopoly'?)

Why go to the depths you do to dissect the transaction? Maybe a cigar really is a just a cigar and maybe a guy just wants to pay what Kevin is asking. The term "imaginary monopoly" is in two words, a moralistic spin carrying judgment. Are you wishing to force your morality on me with all this LTV crap?

:: Is Kevin REALLY one of the ONLY guys on the face of the planet who can make a $4,500 guitar? Or is he, in fact, one of the only guys on the face of the planet who has put the time and past exertion into making guitars with such a level of skill?

Yes, Barry. He is a world renowned luthier. Type his name into your browser and read about him. Come to grips with the fact that there are specialists, masters, virtuosos, savants, and all around winners in this world and your system will squash them like bugs due to their manifest genius. Or perhaps you believe that every father who starts his son on the piano at age three can have him turn out a full piano concerto at age five like Mozart's dad.

Kevin makes world renowned instruments at an age of 35 years old that old Jack most likely could only dream of making. I say most likely because his instruments didn't stay in my memory as so refined. I have noted local luthiers offering their work in the $1500 range and finding them not in the same league as Kevin. Say what you will, Barry but the world is certainly beating a path to our doors to buy our mouse traps.

:: And what about Jack?

:: Did he put as much time and exertion into HIS guitars? Maybe he did---but celebrities did not know of him, or his 'presentation' in selling his work wasn't as 'attractive' as Kevin's. . . Or maybe Jack didn't put as much time and exertion into his work as Kevin, maybe Jack's prior education didn't prepare him as well as Kevin's in some area (such as 'presentation').

:: We need MORE facts from Stuart before chucking the LTV away I think.

There's a catch 22. You need to chuck the LTV before you can process the facts. The fact is that Kevin is vastly more talented than Jack and a whole host of other luthiers. Same as is manifested in every facet of life. The only reason you argue this point with me is because a smart guy like you knows that these inequities cannot be controlled by an economic system without man evolving to a godlike state or a godlike state wielding tyrannical authority.

Take your pick, Barry. As for me, I'll live my life as I see fit. I'll continue to laugh at your moral code until you can justify it with anything more than references to Marx. I'll confront the infringment of my freedom as I see it happening.

Stuart Gort

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