Stoller: If you look at this post you will see that I follow Lenin's Maxian analysis of skill, acknowledging that there is not absolute equality of ability between people...
: Fine. However, my original assertion that this was the case was met with derision and hostility. Now we have come (by a very circuitous route) to the acceptance of differeing native abilities, we can move forward. It seems as if something that, as intelligent people you all know intellectually (native ability) exists, produces an instinctively hostile response because it has the ring of political incorrectness.
My posts (in response to yours) have not been very thorough or very carefully phrased.
I acknowledge 'native ability.'
However, you value 'native ability' much more than I (and in support of capitalist ideology); consequently I have emphasized my contention that ability is discouraged by capitalist society (and with much of the proper detail missing).
My recent post here gives the topic a much deeper presentation (please read it).
Nonetheless you bring up some details still of interest...
: I suppose you mean that the means of production are controlled by those with capital.
: This is true - however, that capital can be acquired by anyone and is not inviolate.
Not possible. The whole capitalist mode of production requires an uneven ratio of owners to workers. If everyone was an owner, capital could not exist.
: Universal education gives us all an equal a chance to acquire it...
You live in a country that provides universal secondary education (unlike the U.S.). This fact, however, supports my beliefs more readily than yours.
Noting that 75% of all (American) jobs require no education above a high school (primary) level, I have consistently maintained that if miraculously everyone 'pulled themselves up by the bootstraps' and became skilled workers, there would not be one single additional skilled job available. There would simply be a lot of educated people doing unskilled work. The reason: capital's mode of production itself necessitates unskilled work.
Unless you wish to tell me that there's a skilled position available for everyone in the U.K. who has completed their secondary education---and, if that's the case, then RD must be the sole exception...---then I will request a credible citation to back up your claim.
Marx: 'The use of products is determined by the social conditions in which the consumers find themselves placed, and these conditions themselves are based on class antagnonism'(The Poverty of Philosophy, International n.d., p. 54).
: How does control of wages control the desires of the public?
Summarizing points presented here, wages determine what workers can afford.
If a capitalist pays someone $1 and asks whether they'd prefer a Happy Meal or medical care (remember, U.S. health care is private), the worker can only opt for the food (needing food first and not having enough for medical care in any case). This is not to suggest---as capitalist apologists do---that workers prefer shitty food over health care. Only if BOTH were $1 would the 'free market' really register 'effective demand' (in terms of needs, which come from people; not dollars, which come from capitalists).
: If capitalists control desires, why do commercially launched products often fail to sell?
Last I heard, food, housing, heat, and clothing were all going strong...
: Wages are based on the value of one's labour to whomever is to pay them.
Those who own the means of production can dictate to those who don't own the means of production the terms of accessing the means of production.
: Supply and demand dictates that a sought after and unusual skill (such as that of a baseball player) will attract higher wages than that of a teacher, say (which, although a skill invaluable to society a whole, is capable of being perfomed by a much greater percentage of the popluation).
The 'supply and demand' myth has been dealt with above (happy meal v. health care).
Your contention that teacher's skills are more common, more abundant, than baseball player's skills is a meretricious one.
Only a few hundred professional baseball players are required to entertain a nation. Many million teachers are required to educate a nation.
On the surface it would seem that there would be great competition in the world of professional baseball and less in the world of teaching---forcing up baseball player's wages.
The opposite occurs.
Because there are so few openings available for professional ball players, few people receive much encouragement to pursue professional baseball. On the other hand, because so many teaching positions need to be filled, many people receive encouragement to become teachers. As always, the more workers there are (for a particular profession) the more competition there will be amongst themselves (which lower wages).
: Also, you seem to have backed off from the assertion that McD's workers / barmen etc have lost their sentience and are sub-human morons.
No, I never said that.
I said the work they are required to do (in order to 'make a living') requires no sentience.
The fact that sentient beings must live under conditions of insentient activity a great majority of their lives is a primary reason I get so upset when the topic is mentioned...