: This process not only reduces skilled workers into semi- and unskilled workers, but reduces their wages as well.
I am familiar with you argument through the process, but thanks for repeating it here. On the above I remain unconvinced - the reason being is in comparing skills used throughout history and those used now (did serfs require knowledge of mental arithmatic and abiltiy to interact with people, machines and systems to the degree that even a low paid bank cashier has to now? Given that these can be considered equivalent in 'class'), and in peoples actual lifestyles measured in terms of their ability to feed and shelter themselves and supply their own entertainments etc.
: As a matter of fact, following the rigor of Marxian logic, one could easily assert that it is capital---the accumulation of surplus expropriated by workers---that needs fresh labor (daily) in order to keep from drowning.
Again - this makes a nice argument against the lazy inheritor - but what does it say about the creative fellows (those that do design goods and systems to produce them) who are the birthpoint of value who may desire to *own* the product of their mind (which isnt, to my knowlegde, 'Randian terminology')? They might employ others to repeat actions taught to them but this is no way makes the worker the creator of value - that implies they could do without the creative fellow which they couldn't. In a socialist society it would be hoped that 1) more people will be like those innovators and 2) that those who are like them will not desire to keep for themselves more than the person who simply repeats actions in the creation of something they did not and could not have conceived of themselves.
That, I believe, is a grossly unrealisic hope - and its pretty much the basis for my disagreement with socialism.
: Capital is not the provider of ability; ability is what makes use of and creates capital.
: Labor is.
Is *not* discerning between the conceiver of the wheel and the person who repeats the action necessary to make one something central to socialism's apparently blanket view of 'labor'?
Who makes the worker's job possible? The innovator / inventor (whatever), not the other way round. the chicken does come before the egg in this case. So if the worker is threatened with starvation who does he need more than anyone? Someone to conceive of the wealth that he may have a part in producing and beneffiting from (likewise the inventor - he needs himself to conceive of it, because not doing so leaves no wealth to be produced). The capitalist (if someone who just owns money but isnt a 'creator' himself) is likewise reliant upon him.
As you have pointed out - much invention and innovation is done on tax money, much is otherwise messed about with by the crooked intellectual property laws, including the fantasy that a corporation can invent something when really they can only share that with the employees who did it. Gates is better about this (as far as I understand), his programmers get some 'rights' to (and financial benefit from) their work independant of their salary. This in no way means I agree with the current set up in law does it?
Thats a simple model. I dont believe there are 10 'creators' to every million others or some specific ratio, and the roles are interchangeable and complex, but I do think it describes the causal relationship of who relies upon whom for wealth.
I can see why some people think I hail from the 18th century though when one see how rich the likes of Al Gore and George Bush Jnr are and how poorly they fit into my 'ideology'.