- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Setting 'Social Value' Straight

Posted by: Joel Jacobson ( none, USA ) on March 29, 1999 at 16:17:31:

In Reply to: Lickspittle. posted by Red Deathy on March 25, 1999 at 13:16:15:

: : What an amazing point!!! You've pointed out that Marx's 'means of production' were a idealized simplistic definition. Anything involved in the production process is a means of production. And having access to another's time is exactly what Deathy is decrying.

: The means of production are the *material* assets required for production,

No anything involved in the production process is a means of production, production of social value. This includes allocation of material and labor, distribution of the commodity, evaluation of consumers desires, etc. Your whole "means of production" analysis is an incomplete analysis of the whole situation. You are separating production from the benefits people receive from the production. As I've said before, a commodity that no one wants is valueless regardless of the material resources used in its production. When you say "means of production" and simply refer to materials and capital you have atomized the process and separated it from its full social meaning.

This whole unfortunate misunderstandin was handed down to Marx from the classical Ricardians. Production isn't a process of applying labor to materials. It simply means production of social value. Arts, dancing and singing, etc. are not products in the sense that Marx and the Ricardians viewed them as. But they definitely are socially valuable. "Production" refers to anything that individuals in society find valuable.

Your analysis of "the means of production" relate to some world where we make widgets and "social value" is assumed. But, in the real world, "means of production" relate to the creation of social value in all its myriad of personally subjective forms.

: be they a field a factory or, a screwdriver, they are any object which, when human labour and skill is applied to them, they can help produce other objects.

See above. Your analysis of production incorrectly (at least incompletely) analyzes all the factors relating to a socially valuable commodity. Labor is as much a means of production as are materials, asset allocation, distribution, etc. You can keep on referring, as did the classical economists (who were entirely incorrect), to the "means of production" as just the capital and materials used in the process of creating widgets. However, this analysis is incomplete and unable to explain the factors of creating social value in all the forms to which individual choices give meaning.

=========snipping a very serious topic I'll discuss on a separate post============

: : This does not follow and displays the whole force of Deathy's arguements as the moralizign it really is.
: : I am not denying moralizing as I do it as well. However, the whole Marxist historical dialectic was expressly for the purpose of avoiding simply applying morality to economics. Stuck in all their verbiage and theories Marx, and Deathy, are just applying their moral outlooks to an economic analysis.

: No, the working class understood and experienced the exploitation, and felt it, Marx merely described how it happened, and how it works.

Well, obviously you disagree with the working class, or at least a good portion of us, and that's your value judgement. The above is your particular moral opinion and valuable for discourse; but your opinions on the whole M-C-M thing are nothing more than products of your particular viewpoint. A view you are perfectly willing to foist upon the rest of us. Some of us feel "exploited" and some of us don't. If I can choose between producing ten apples and keeping nine for myself, or producing one apple and keeping it for myself, then I'll do the former, "exploitation" be damned (and I think its pretty obvious taht most 'working class' agree).

: Might I ask, BTW- how the sick and disabled would be cared for under anarcho-captitalism?

The same way as they are now; through voluntary and collective action. As I've said before "all values are based upon opinions" and not upon some preplanned and prepared system. And no one has ever shown me differently.

McSpotlight: Joel, an irrelevant thingy, but putting double quotes (") in the title field means that the parser tries to read it as a non-visible character and blanks out anything after them; it would be appreciated if you put quoted words in single quotes (') rather than double ones...

Follow Ups:

  • Queer. Red Deathy Socialist party Uk March 30 1999 (0)

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