- Capitalism and Alternatives -

You misunderstand

Posted by: Barry Stoller on February 08, 19100 at 00:24:41:

In Reply to: Marx himself castigated capitalism for commodifying EVERYTHING, not just labor. posted by NJ on February 07, 19100 at 16:11:32:

Stoller: As I see it, religion would be a service and service is a product.

: That is precisely the problem and precisely the reason for detesting capitalism. I mean, come on. Marx himself castigated capitalism for commodifying EVERYTHING, not just labor...

You misunderstand. I used the word product, not the word commodity.

According to Marx, a ('mere') product is a use-value whereas a commodity is a 'use-value which has a certain exchange-value' (Theories of Surplus-Value volume one, Progress Publishers 1963, p. 399). A product (say, produced in a socialist economy) is 'merely' a useful thing that people need or desire; a commodity, on the other hand, is something that can be exchanged for profit. So, relax, NJ, I'm not suggesting 'commodifying' anything here.

Stoller: Therefore, the allocation of religious services would follow the general line of allocating any other service, such as music concerts or pizza preparation.

: To reduce [religion] to the level of a Bob Dylan concert or a Domino's delivery trivializes religion...

No it doesn't. It simply means that the ALLOCATION of social productiveness (labor) to provide religious services will follow similar lines. Just because labor providing religious services provides religious services does not in any way change the labor. And labor, as I see it, should be determined democratically.

I specifically do not want any individual or any group to SEPARATE or SUPERATE the allocation of religious labor from the rest of society's allocation of labor. That would recreate the social division of labor; next thing you know, someone would argue that state services should also be separated or superated from society's allocation of labor...

: If we understand job rotation in this light, which you sort of implied in a past post (i.e. everyone does ONE skilled job and ONE unskilled) then the presence of priests isn't a problem. If, however, the government begins ALLOCATING priests, and PRESCRIBING the number for priests, that IS a problem. The problem fundamentally being that religion is an INDIVIDUAL covenant between each man's soul and his God, not a SOCIAL deal.

But I'm not talking about religion, I'm talking about the labor used for religious services, buildings, etc. It IS a 'social deal' when it comes to socialized labor. If society does not allocate ANY type of labor democratically, pray tell, who will have the privilege of making such decisions? A minority, a special body? If we were talking about the publication of Lenin's collected works here, you'd be the first one to set me straight on what democratic production really means. It means: all the workers determine their consumption priorities democratically. What other way could there be?

: [W]hat about if the atheists wanted NO resources to be diverted to Catholic priests?

What if pizza lovers wanted no resources to be diverted to hamburger joints? What if music lovers wanted no resources to be diverted to movie houses? Unless we abandon the democratic conception of production, then we must all abide by the proportional allocations of resources according to common vote. Otherwise, it would not be democratic, it would be the beginning of the social division of labor...

: Religion is a unique field.

This is where your objectivity fails you. Religion is unique to YOU. It is not unique to me. Lenin's collected works is unique to ME. There's only one way to deal with our DIFFERING preferences democratically: allocate resources according to proportional vote.

To jockey for advantage is NOT democratic---no matter how 'unique' you feel your preference may be.

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