- Capitalism and Alternatives -

What a lot of blather!

Posted by: Stoller on December 30, 1999 at 10:55:06:

In Reply to: Is a toaster a factor of production? posted by Loudon Head on December 29, 1999 at 10:35:51:

The difference between a proletarian and a capitalist can be quantitatively determined.

As a general rule,

: A QUANTITATIVE determination that has as its first premise a GENERAL rule?

General rules DO emerge from quantitative measurements. See SDF's post here.

A capitalist, on the other hand, buys items that are consumed productively.* For example: plant facilities, raw materials, machines, and labor are all things that, once consumed (in the production process), become items retaining their previous value as well as possessing added value (if not, why bother to be a capitalist?).

: It is not necessary to read any more of this post. It has already become nonsense, based on a faulty definition of "consume".

No, there are TWO types of consumption, final and productive.

: Anything, once it is consumed, is "gone and must be purchased again" whether it is food, clothes, plant facilities, or labor, and each of these goods produces something of value while it is being consumed. The only important difference among them is that some take a longer time to consume than others.

No, the important distinction is that some consumption eradicates a commodity and some consumption MAKES MONEY.

When I eat a sandwich, it's gone; when I make a sandwich to sell, I make enough money to make another sandwich PLUS have money LEFT OVER (for re-investment and profit). Otherwise, capitalism wouldn't bother to make ANYTHING.

: Food is consumed immediately. Clothes are consumed over a long time, (producing something of value each time they are worn,) as are plant facilities and labor.

You're leaving out the PROFIT-MAKING character of productive consumption here...

: Stoller would have us believe that plant facilities, raw materials, machines and labor all "retain their previous value as well as possessing added value." Again, obviously false. Each time any of these goods is used to produce something, they lose a little bit of their value. Otherwise, they'd last forever.

True, and any capitalist who plans to stay in business ADDS the costs of equipment wear and tear (constant capital) and plant depreciation (fixed capital) TO the overall price of the commodity being sold. Marx: 'Suppose a machine to be worth 1,000, and to wear out in 1,000 days. Then one thousandth part of the value of the machine is daily transferred to the day's product' (Capital volume one, International 1967, p. 204). Thus constant and fixed capital RETAIN their values in the M-C-M CIRCUIT.

: The only difference between these and the goods which Stoller would like to classify as proletarian goods are the span of time it takes to consume them.

Nonsense! It's M-C-M that counts.

: I'd like to pose a series of questions which I've asked many socialists in many arguments and to which I've never gotten satisfactory answers: Is a toaster a factor of production?

Silly question. A toaster cannot be a 'factor of production' UNLESS toasters are necessary for making something in the production sphere.

: (Or, in Stoller's terms, is a toaster a proletarian good or a capitalist good?)

It is a CONSUMER good (i.e. somethign consumed finally)---whether or not a capitalist OR a wage-laborer buys it. I guess you didn't read the * in my post, did you?---'Not necessary to read any more of this post' and all...

: If it's a capitalist good, then why do so many proletarians (yes, even the working class ones) own them?

Another silly question...

: If it's a proletarian good, then does it remain a proletarian good when I make toast for a friend? If not, why not?


: If so, then does it remain a proletarian good when I make toast for someone I don't know and give it to him for free? What if I give it to him in exchange for a spoonful of his homemade jam? What if I give it to him in exchange for a piece of paper which he, my other neighbors, and I have agreed is worth a certain amount of any item the neighbors might choose to exchange?

Silly, silly...

: What if I agree with my jam-making neighbor to help him make jam for 4 hours a day, if he helps me make toast for another 4 hours a day?

Are you the same fool who regaled us all with Lewis Carroll economics a while back, by any chance? You have that same imperious 'humor' + utter lack of familiarity with Marx (bad combination)...

The rest of your post in the trash where it belongs...

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