- Capitalism and Alternatives -


Posted by: Red Deathy ( Socialist Party, UK ) on June 01, 1999 at 10:07:32:

In Reply to: kirk posted by Gee on May 28, 1999 at 08:03:21:

: Management are essential to production, even in 'self managed teams' the role of managing is an essential. 'productive labor' does not exist unless organised by a managerial dynamic. Hence it does create value - it is a primary engine, away with the materialism that says only the physical hand that moves is the value creator!

No, the management can draw up as many plans as they like, without Labour to carry it out its meaningless- Thought Experiment: Take a management team, and give them money to draw up a plan. When they have drawn it up, do you have more tradeable wealth than before (Assume their plan is so specific to one firm thaqt it can't be sold as intelectual property, btw). Give some money to workers- they carry out the plan- at the end of their turn there is more wealth (exchange value) than there was before- to the Capitalist, Labour is productive. Management is necessary, it has to happen, but it is not valorizing(doesn't add value in and of itself).

: It does have individual components and however difficult to evaluate each component is part of the value adding process. When you buy an ice cream you buy the company accountants time as part of its value, even though you dont need to 'demand' any more than an ice cream.

No, the accountant's Value/Labour Time is paid for out of Profits (just as, say, a supermarket check-out staffer is paid out of profits- they don't add to value, they only manage the value already created and restrict access). I agree that production is a holistic process, that was my cricket argument in fact, but also, for the capitalist, they don't see it that way.

: It does according to Marxist morality, if what you gain by labor value is yours by right then investing this is yours by right. The value is gained, created by merit (incidently, this also means that giving it to your heirs is also legitimate, however lazy they might become)

1:Marxist 'morality' makes no such claims, Marxism only shows how two camps have competing interests, and how one exploits/lives off teh surplus value of the other- and then extrapolates this contradiction into a social/political contradiction which can be shown to be deliterious to society.
2: One cannot 'earn' a million pounds through Labour (of your own), because teh value of Labour is its cost of living (although some might scrimp and save). You could only accumulate that much money by extracting surplus value from others.

: Most, when viewed via their savings & investments with agent financial companies.

But thats a mere few thousand, and they can't live solely off that investment (it thus becomes a sort of illusory ownership- as has been found out when small shareholers tried to pass a motion at the Then British Gas, and found that the big shareholders were really in charge...).

: Then you deny that a worker get his labor value, because you would be denying his choice in what to do with it. the investment sum equates to the effort of whoever created it, the value doesnt vanish - its still there however distant it is from the individual who made it and has it as savings or investments. It isnt 'cheating'

No, because any return on investments is the un-earned expropriation of the Labour of others. The only way to make significant amounts of investable capital is through either cheating (more ocmmon than you'd suppose), business sharking (v common, especically ye olde worlde back stab), or through old fashioned primative accumulation (i.e. owning a growing small firm, and saving the expropriated labour value of your workforce). Capital is not earned value- when workers use shareholdings as a savings device its just the same as them putting it in a bank.

: Think about this, it means each person (however small their savings) is gaining from investments they make as well as work they do (labor). Instead of being 'exploitated' they are directing their labor value into investments in order to yield higher return. Willingly.

No, because they are not getting the full value of their labour, and any returns made off investments will not equal that full value of their labour (if it did, there would be no millionaires). Also, there are more and more people without bank-accounts or share investments at all. Buying 1,000 worth of shares is no different (if they are a safe bet) from putting that money in a building society, and amount to little more than an attempt to store up wealth for the time when you are deemd surplus to requirements (retirement).

: Thats always amused me, how anyone who is gaining signicantly more than the average is said to be 'creaming off' whilst anyone at average of below is said to be engaged in 'hard graft'. Such outmoded stereotypes. Where are those stats?, I suspect you would find the 1% figure more indicative. The 10% includes doctors, accountants, airline pilots, deep sea divers and other professions which can hardly qualify for the exploitative 'lazy capitalist pig' stereotype.

Indeed, no, I would agree, but as long as much of their wealth is coming from either:
1: Investments solely.
2:through services to the stinking rich (i.e. a Harley Street Doctor).

Anyone who's wealth is dependant upon suplus value extraction is of teh capitalist class (or is one of their privelleged lackies). I doubt Doctors et al. make up much of that 10%.

: You'll note that very few people do earn a million pounds, so the proposal that they require "incredibly rare skill" sounds a very possible explanation. Following your earlier points about some activities not being value adding I can see where you are coming from, however as noted, I have already disagreed with this.

Hmmm, some of those people, it should be noted (like CEO's and the like) are not actually earning 1million, often top people get 'inflated salaries' as their way of sharing surplus value.

: They take bigger risks, but taken (as I said) as being threatening to their ability to buy food and shelter most would seek to limit their risk exposure (a good way being to share it in a limited company with willing participants).

They take bigger (total wealth risk) but less, is suspect, proprtion of wealth risk, or at the most its equal (everything).

: Why is that wrong, remember the owned money represents the values already created which then goes into an opportunity to create more jobs. Others arent workign for free, their working for their part and your moeny (which represents your work) is working for its part.

Well, because much primitive accumulation, certainly here, came from things like the slave trade, land snatched during the revolution, pushing Opium in China, illicit windfalls, either that or it came from Land ownership. Its not invested earnt wealth.

Remember, its not a moral thing about earned and unearned wealth, its a social thing about class interest, surplus value extraction means that there is an inevitable clash of interests between capital and labour, those few workers who own shares only can do so on the basis of their continued sale of labour. Where there is class you cannot have democracy. Where there is exploitation there is inevitably extreme poverty. The wages system is opposed to freedom.

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