Sorry for this short answer Barry - the post deserved more, but you'll see why above.
:. A solitary individual has been reduced due to the mode of production, not the social relations that control it.
Yes I can follow your reasoning, it seems to be 'take it or leave it' either way. Ofcourse leaving it need not mean leaving economic activity.
: And where profit once meant millions and a controlling stake in the nation-state, profit has expanded to mean billions and a stake in the global economy. (We shall return to pleasant mary, indeed.)
So in proportion to their equivalents both have grown together, but in absolute terms to volume of 'cash' differential is greater.
: If you want to call mindless data processing ('IT tools') a quantum leap in the evolution of human skill, be my guest. Using a computer in an office is no more advanced than farm work---it's just less physical. Skills change, yes; but does capital 'raise' skills? Only in the sense that capital decides what's a skill in the first place. And there's plenty of reason to suspect that technology lowered skills---wiping out all (precapitalist) artisan skills---promiscuously.
Because you have linked the value of a skill to whom values it (a kind of STV incidently) then all we can say is that skills are changing, unless we try to apply some objective measure.
: I suspect 'equity theory' is a neoliberal argument against equity (rational redistribution).
The studies were done on various people working in the US in the sixties (I think) and repeated since. I don't think the aim was to produce evidence in support of one ideology or another, but that it came out the way it did will tell you something about how people perceive, atleast within the context of current society.
: People may behave this way with jobs they hate, jobs with no status, but they would never behave that way with jobs they loved, jobs with high status.
I imagine that would depend upon how their peers in the same roles are rewarded, observe the apparent arrogance of dismayed footballers only getting 70% of their colleagues enormous salaries - we think its crazy, but they see it from a different viewpoint.
: As I suggested here, there's a whole range of incentive techniques open to communists that are closed to capitalists---such as distributing both types of works among all people, or (again) letting people vote on what they want to produce.
What motivates people is a key issue and as we know the jury is still out regarding a definitive universal theory of motivation. So I can only forward theories here.
: Marx considered it flawed, transitional. He was no utopian dreamer, he knew that communism must emerge out of the capitalist society, with much of the capitalist ideology intact. Hence, the 'first phase.'
I think he is right about that with regard to relatively fast revolutions, bt how about a (genuine) cultural revolution over time? That seems to be a pre-requisite for RD.
: You omitted the best part. Some manufacturing jobs are just too big and expensive to be left to the market anarchy of competition: railroads, highways, defense. In these areas, capital agrees a planned, centralized economy is required. That 'socialist,' FDR put 80% of the New Deal expenditures into roads and construction,(2) which made the Fords and the Rockefellers very happy about 'socialism'...
Actions I am not in agreement with - as we can see it is that which results in the 'unholy marriage' of the economically powerful and the kind of coercive power I oppose. At a smaller scale, observe the various stadium scandals. What people don't realize is that once its considered ok to have government run their lives in any way, or demand largesse from the tax bucket, they have also invited anyone to do so by discarding the principle which would have barred government, and can no longer bar anyone, from doing so.
: Labor-power is different, bigger if you will, than labor.
Accepted, I interpreted your argument as regarding the labor in itself.
: Only 25% of American jobs require any skill above a high school level.
What was it 50 years ago and hat will it be 50 years from now? Its not a static proportion.
"....English historians up to 1850 are the proof that it was being striven for, and the discovery of the same conception by Morgan proves that the time was ripe for it and that indeed it had to be discovered.(3)"
This still implies the principle I stated above, and its consequence - that determinism, that notion that if you removed enough people then the village idiot would have to become Einstein - plainly impossible. I am sure one could simply put forward the timescale - but thats too easy. One only knows after the event those people who came into being and changed things. As this conception of history has not shown the future to satisfaction. It can remain only a hindsight theory, forever beyond proof (just as its opposite is). I would say the greater risk is in assuming 'someone will do it' rather than not, though.
: Then you can (theoretically) envision an economic system seceding capitalism.
: If environment was EVERYTHING, then socialists could simply sit back and wait for the socialist transformation. That tact has been taken before (Eduard Bernstein). Revolutionaries believe in the power of people to affect history, their history; however, they also believe in acting when historically-determined ('objective') conditions are favorable. It is on this point that the Bolsheviks ultimately failed.
Indeed, and I did make an earlier post suggesting that the time was still too soon. Capitalism is not out of breath yet - if indeed it will become so at all.
:: Will you make room for variation in the form of genetic identity and a 'chaos' factor which has a multitude of choices make for outcomes which cannot be wholly attributed to social determination?
: Sure, but don't expect me to take it up as a religion (like many neoliberals do)...
I would rather we avoid faith as we would avoid walking off a cliff (perhaps this is why Marx broadly rejected religion?). I can see that the above is simply an issue of how much 'weight' this factor has in causing social change.
: No conception? You deny Mary control over her investment and her rate of profit.
Not me, perhaps it is denied to her by fact of her non conception (of that which is innovated).
: Would capitalists accept the same terms? How about I, the worker, telling the capitalist that he /she will receive the sort of work I want to do, maybe they have no 'conception' today what that may be just yet? No? Then why expect it of Mary?
They do accept it. They have to accept it whenever new innovations are made - commercial history is littered the with bodies of those who thought themselves to big to need to accept it.
: I agree that ability becomes capital (through alienation). I don't agree that the person selling the ability to the capitalists necessarily becomes a capitalist.
I trust there was not the implication that necessarily become one, but that he may (and is more likely to). Also add that those with ability can become capitalists, and that this may be one of the ptimary motivations for many.
: The wannabes are a small ratio, too; soon they go back to the working world (perhaps as substitute teachers).
I see the distinction, they carry on being wannabes whilst working.