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Marxism and the workers

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Buzz Killington posted on Sun, Apr 29 2012 11:37 AM

What does everyone here think of Marxism? Doesn't Karl Marx make a good point about capitalists and the workers?

I.e. the capitalist does nothing but sit around and give the workers only a portion of the value that they produce?

"Nutty as squirrel shit."

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The price of factors of production are determined via supply and demand. Thinking that workers receive a share of their factorites profits is like thinking that the iron that goes into the car receives a share of the cars selling price.

For more, check out Böhm-Bawerk's Marginal pairs: http://mises.org/daily/5903/

After learning what they are, see them applied to labor economics: http://mises.org/daily/5934/The-Irrelevance-of-Worker-Need-and-Employer-Greed-in-Determining-Wages

Finally, some stuff I just found that might be of interest as well:

http://mises.org/daily/1680

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOzotWrHheU

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By "value" I mean how much money a certain item will bring. An example would be if I was hired by Willy Wonka to make chocolate, I create the "value" (the chocolate) through my labor, yet he only gives me a portion of the money that results from him selling the chocolate on the market.

 

That's a common misconception of the origin of value.  Your labor did not create the value; the buyers' desire did.  That is, your labor created chocolate.  The buyers' desire for chocolate made that chocolate valuable.  In your example, then, Mr. Wonka paid you an amount based on his desire to own the chocolate you produced and your unwillingness to produce the chocolate without compensation.  He purchased the output of your labor with a fee agreed upon by both of you.  After the transaction, why is it any of your business what he does with it, either eating it himself, or selling it to someone else?


faber est suae quisque fortunae

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Laotzu del Zinn:

Yep.  Property does the same thing.  Are you going to assume a right to property in order to prove a right to property?

Property is inherent to people.  Most, if not all, animals behave this way too (e.g. nests, dams, territory in general).  Many of us here claim that first use (i.e. homesteading) is the best initial claim to any specific piece of property.  After that, it's up to the owner.  The concept of property is not circular.  The "rights" regarding the use of property are not circular.

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Property is inherent to people.

Nobody is born with a hammer in their hand... but what you are really talking about is possession and control, not the specific legal status of property.

 Most, if not all, animals behave this way too (e.g. nests, dams, territory in general).

I'm not sure hornets have court systems...

 Many of us here claim that first use (i.e. homesteading) is the best initial claim to any specific piece of property.  

Then all property in the world is illegitimate.  Show me a plot of land which can be traced through legitimate sale from its original homesteaders to now, without some kind of theft or appropration along the way.

In States a fresh law is looked upon as a remedy for evil. Instead of themselves altering what is bad, people begin by demanding a law to alter it. ... In short, a law everywhere and for everything!

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Then all property in the world is illegitimate.  Show me a plot of land which can be traced through legitimate sale from its original homesteaders to now, without some kind of theft or appropration along the way.

Quite possibly. Good thing most of the affected parties are gone, or there would be a large mess. After the parties in conflict are gone, the property is up for homesteading again.

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The comparison of human beings to pieces of iron is completely absurd. It's this kind of crap that gives libertarians a bad name.

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Laotzu del Zinn:
trololol

Laotzu, you chose to omit the most important sentence in my post. I suspect because it is the one you don't really have an answer to.

The truth of the matter is that all of socialist theory completely disregards the need for coordination. Factories do not simply appear in the countryside at regular intervals, to build them we need prices to tell us when it will be feasible to expend which resources to build what factories. And for prices we need private property. This is evidenced by the fact that any country on earth that did not manage to get secure private property rights going does not have factories that the workers could be exploited in. E.g. most of Africa. The formation of capital requires coordination. That's why all experiments in history that came close to implementing your "real" socialism pretty quickly led to starvation and some strongmen taking over. At least when the gubment runs things there's some coordination.

Marx avoided this by starting his analysis in the middle, with capital already in place. Sure, at that point you can claim that the capitalists are taking something from the workers that they would have had either way. But monopolization is necessary for factories to exist in the first place. That's why their monopolization by capitalists is different than the monopolization of land by a nation state. It monopolizes a recourse that humanity could have used anyways.

"They all look upon progressing material improvement as upon a self-acting process." - Ludwig von Mises
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Nobody is born with a hammer in their hand... 

Thus?

but what you are really talking about is possession and control, not the specific legal status of property.

Not quite.  Possession and control are certainly inherent to people and other animals, but the concept of what belongs to whom is also inherent to people.  Infants seem to think that everything is theirs, but as they grow older they understand that other people have claims to property too.

I'm not sure hornets have court systems...

I'm not sure they do either, though they certainly have a hierarchy of power.  What's your point?

Then all property in the world is illegitimate.  Show me a plot of land which can be traced through legitimate sale from its original homesteaders to now, without some kind of theft or appropration along the way.

This is incorrect for two reasons.  The first, as Wheylous pointed out, is that property can be abandoned, thus making it possible to homestead it.  The second is that property can be traded.

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z1235 replied on Mon, Apr 30 2012 10:02 PM

Laotzu, how many times do you need your sorry behind carried out in a stretcher in this same debate over and over again before you actually learn something? Or is your motivation more of the masochistic sort? 

 

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Laotzu, you chose to omit the most important sentence in my post. I suspect because it is the one you don't really have an answer to.

I chose to omit because it's meaningless trolling, and what I found to be the least important part of your post. 

The truth of the matter is that all of socialist theory completely disregards the need for coordination.

I'm sure it does.  Ya, those central control addicts really don't care about coordination, right? 

Factories do not simply appear in the countryside at regular intervals, to build them we need prices to tell us when it will be feasible to expend which resources to build what factories.

Do we?  So what you're proposing, if we were to postdict history, is that money and price came before any technical progress?  Or is this just for factory systems? 

And for prices we need private property.

True.

This is evidenced by the fact that any country on earth that did not manage to get secure private property rights going does not have factories that the workers could be exploited in. E.g. most of Africa.

Ya, let us all forget about those factories in China and the USSR... or all the factories and mines in Africa for that matter.  Yup, factories are older than capitalist property rights, but require capitalist property rights....

The formation of capital requires coordination.

Yup

That's why all experiments in history that came close to implementing your "real" socialism pretty quickly led to starvation and some strongmen taking over. At least when the gubment runs things there's some coordination.

What expirments would that be?

Marx avoided this by starting his analysis in the middle, with capital already in place.

True or false; Marxist economics (as opposed to Marx's political activism) has anything to do with socialism?

Sure, at that point you can claim that the capitalists are taking something from the workers that they would have had either way. But monopolization is necessary for factories to exist in the first place.

Only elite and intelligent ubermensche could ever think of coming together to build things?

That's why their monopolization by capitalists is different than the monopolization of land by a nation state. It monopolizes a recourse that humanity could have used anyways.

It meaning property, or statism?

 

 

Not quite. Possession and control are certainly inherent to people and other animals, but the concept of what belongs to whom is also inherent to people. Infants seem to think that everything is theirs, but as they grow older they understand that other people have claims to property too.

Exactly; infants think everything belongs to them.  So the community (namely in this case, their parents) comes together and stifles his individual rights.  Oh the terror!  He's just homesteading things that were abandoned, like other kid's toys.

People make claims to possession and control ("regular" people just as much as theifs) and the community or state decides who's claim is legitimate.  In feudalism it was basically whoever had the deepest bloodline and/or benefitted the king the most.  In capitalism it is basically whoever has the most wealth, or benefits the production of wealth the most.  I.E. banks lend money to profitable businesses, not homeless shelters.

I'm not sure they do either, though they certainly have a hierarchy of power

I'm not sure they do.

What's your point?

That private property is not simply possession and control, as a theif holds the same status, is my point.  Private property is a specific type of legal title.

This is incorrect for two reasons. The first, as Wheylous pointed out, is that property can be abandoned, thus making it possible to homestead it. The second is that property can be traded.

Ok.  Now show me one small tract of habitable land that can be traced from its original homesteaders to its current owner through abandonement or trade, without any kind of violent appropriation.  You can't.  There is no metaphysical justification for property.  It basically goes; for thousands of years people just claimed property regardless, and if you had more swords at your hire, your claim was just.  Then the merchant and capitalist class gained the economic power to threaten the pre-capitalist (feudal if you will) class dynamic, and became the ruling class.  Now we search for any reason we can to justify a concept which basically started with "this is mine now.  I'll hit you with a stick if you disagree."

In States a fresh law is looked upon as a remedy for evil. Instead of themselves altering what is bad, people begin by demanding a law to alter it. ... In short, a law everywhere and for everything!

~Peter Kropotkin

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z1235:

Laotzu, how many times do you need your sorry behind carried out in a stretcher in this same debate over and over again before you actually learn something? Or is your motivation more of the masochistic sort? 

 

 

Maybe if you were Filc or Esuric this would carry some weight.  I've actually been trounced by them, and learned things.

I can tell you this tho; "I won a debate therefore my position is true" is highly illogical.

In States a fresh law is looked upon as a remedy for evil. Instead of themselves altering what is bad, people begin by demanding a law to alter it. ... In short, a law everywhere and for everything!

~Peter Kropotkin

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Laotzu del Zinn:
According to this metric the US Constitution is a voluntary contract because you can go live somewhere else.

Except it isn't, because I never signed the US Constitution. The few men who signed it presumed to speak on behalf of everyone in the United States, both living and yet to be born. That's fallacious in the extreme, if you ask me.

What you're talking about is akin to me living next to a factory and being dragged out by the factory owner's goons one morning to work there. When I protest and ask what the meaning of this is, the factory owner tells me that he put up a sign that says, "Everyone within five miles of this factory must come to work at it from 8 AM until 8 PM every day." Then he says that, by not moving outside of that five-mile radius, I've therefore agreed to the terms he provided. If I don't agree to the terms, then I must move more than five miles away.

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Ok.  Now show me one small tract of habitable land that can be traced from its original homesteaders to its current owner through abandonement or trade, without any kind of violent appropriation.  You can't. 

Perhaps you could respond to my argument, which addressed your issue with this.

Except it isn't, because I never signed the US Constitution.

Ouch. You fell into the trap.

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Exactly; infants think everything belongs to them.  So the community (namely in this case, their parents) comes together and stifles his individual rights.  Oh the terror!  He's just homesteading things that were abandoned, like other kid's toys.

Are you trolling me?  No rights have been stifled, and no toys have been abandoned.  The infant just isn't aware of the possibility of other people having a claim.

People make claims to possession and control ("regular" people just as much as theifs) and the community or state decides who's claim is legitimate.  In feudalism it was basically whoever had the deepest bloodline and/or benefitted the king the most.  In capitalism it is basically whoever has the most wealth, or benefits the production of wealth the most.  I.E. banks lend money to profitable businesses, not homeless shelters.

Non sequitur.  It does not follow that because there is capitalism that whoever owns the most wealth decides who gets what.  What's your point about banks lending money to profitable businesses?  They also lend to unprofitable businesses, but when they do, they lose money.  This is good because it shows that people don't care for the products and services of that failing business.  But what does this have to do with people's claims to property?

I'm not sure they do.

 

You're not sure that hornets have hierarchies?  So they don't have queens, workers and drones?

That private property is not simply possession and control, as a theif holds the same status, is my point.  Private property is a specific type of legal title.

You got this all from hornets not having courts?  But this is true, nonetheless, that private property does have to do with legal status.  But so what?

Ok.  Now show me one small tract of habitable land that can be traced from its original homesteaders to its current owner through abandonement or trade, without any kind of violent appropriation.  You can't.

Let's work with this chunk first.  If something has been abandoned, there is no need to trace it to the original homesteader.  So why does it matter if something cannot necessarily be traced to it's original homesteader.  It certainly doesn't matter to me.  Why does it matter to you?

There is no metaphysical justification for property.  It basically goes; for thousands of years people just claimed property regardless, and if you had more swords at your hire, your claim was just.

The justification for property comes not from violence but from peaceful dispute resolution (i.e. argumentation).  If someone has the ability to just take whatever he wants from anyone and does so, then there really isn't any legal status of property.  It's when people agree to peacefully settle disputes that property (and other things such as law) arise.

Then the merchant and capitalist class gained the economic power to threaten the pre-capitalist (feudal if you will) class dynamic, and became the ruling class.

Economic power is not the same as violent power.

Now we search for any reason we can to justify a concept which basically started with "this is mine now.  I'll hit you with a stick if you disagree."

No.  This is how animals behave.  They fight over any dispute they may have, whether it's territory, alpha male status or whatever.  But even animals do some posturing to avoid conflict sometimes.  But none of this has to do with the human concept of property.  Property arises from the peaceful resolution of disputes.  We can argue to resolve our disputes, something that other animals cannot do.  This is where private property comes from.

It seems that you prefer that we abandon argumentation as a method to resolving disputes.  But this would put us into the world of violence as the only means to solving our problems.

I can tell you this tho; "I won a debate therefore my position is true" is highly illogical.

That would be true, but I don't see where z1235 made that claim.

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Laotzu del Zinn:

The truth of the matter is that all of socialist theory completely disregards the need for coordination.

I'm sure it does.  Ya, those central control addicts really don't care about coordination, right?

Yea. They know a lot about planning, but very little about coordination. You can't plan your way out of the calculation problem.

Laotzu del Zinn:

Factories do not simply appear in the countryside at regular intervals, to build them we need prices to tell us when it will be feasible to expend which resources to build what factories.

Do we?  So what you're proposing, if we were to postdict history, is that money and price came before any technical progress?  Or is this just for factory systems?

Yes, market allocation came before any technical progress.

Laotzu del Zinn:

This is evidenced by the fact that any country on earth that did not manage to get secure private property rights going does not have factories that the workers could be exploited in. E.g. most of Africa.

Ya, let us all forget about those factories in China and the USSR... or all the factories and mines in Africa for that matter.  Yup, factories are older than capitalist property rights, but require capitalist property rights....

Factories in the USSR were almost exclusively build by the capitalist west in return for oil money. Before the 70's, China and Africa had negligible capital development compared to the US and western Europe.

Laotzu del Zinn:

That's why all experiments in history that came close to implementing your "real" socialism pretty quickly led to starvation and some strongmen taking over. At least when the gubment runs things there's some coordination.

What expirments would that be?

You know, like Leninist Russia in the early days. Or isn't that "real" socialism either. If you can't point out a single example where "real" socialism has ever been attempted, even though half of humanity is constantly obsessed with implementing it, you gotta wonder whether it is more than a theory.

Laotzu del Zinn:

Marx avoided this by starting his analysis in the middle, with capital already in place.

True or false; Marxist economics (as opposed to Marx's political activism) has anything to do with socialism?

So even Marx is not pure enough now?

Laotzu del Zinn:

Sure, at that point you can claim that the capitalists are taking something from the workers that they would have had either way. But monopolization is necessary for factories to exist in the first place.

Only elite and intelligent ubermensche could ever think of coming together to build things?

It's not about what people do, it's what markets do between people. Democratic workers councils can't efficiently allocate resources. They're bound to make worse decisions than Stalinist planers.

Laotzu del Zinn:

That's why their monopolization by capitalists is different than the monopolization of land by a nation state. It monopolizes a recourse that humanity could have used anyways.

It meaning property, or statism?

Statism monopolizes a recourse that humanity could have used anyways.

"They all look upon progressing material improvement as upon a self-acting process." - Ludwig von Mises
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Wheylous:
Ouch. You fell into the trap.

I don't see how. An employer-employee relationship is an explicit agreement, is it not?

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Except it isn't, because I never signed the US Constitution.

I never signed any contract making me a part of the legal property system.

The few men who signed it presumed to speak on behalf of everyone in the United States, both living and yet to be born. That's fallacious in the extreme, if you ask me.

Yet you're willing to make this exception for property itself.

What you're talking about is akin to me living next to a factory and being dragged out by the factory owner's goons one morning to work there. When I protest and ask what the meaning of this is, the factory owner tells me that he put up a sign that says,

It's more akin to you waking up living next to a factory and realizing if you want to eat and live with dignity, and since you don't have any arable property of your own, you must prostrate yourself before the glorious factory owner and beg for a job.

"Everyone within five miles of this factory must come to work at it from 8 AM until 8 PM every day." Then he says that, by not moving outside of that five-mile radius, I've therefore agreed to the terms he provided. If I don't agree to the terms, then I must move more than five miles away.

If he owns the factory and all the property within 5 miles, is he not perfectly within his rights?

 

 

Perhaps you could respond to my argument, which addressed your issue with this.

I did.  You added that it could be traded or abandoned and homesteaded.  Let's put aside the arbitrary nature of property abandonement.  The simple fact is that it wasn't.  At one time or another all property was violently appropriated from its original "owners."  Not only that, but it took an act of violent appropriation to make it "property" in the first place.

 

 

Are you trolling me?  No rights have been stifled, and no toys have been abandoned.  The infant just isn't aware of the possibility of other people having a claim.

How long must a property go abandoned before it can justly be homestead?  5 years?  5 minutes? You say it makes a difference that the infant is unaware of his friend's claim to that toy.  But if I come upon a piece of land that is someone else's property, are the courts going to care if I say, "but I didn't know it was owned?"

Property is definitionally a social affair (it's really anti-social, but nevertheless it is a thing recognized between two or more people, not a thing in itself.  If it were a thing in itself, the theif would have just as much right to your property as you.)

It does not follow that because there is capitalism that whoever owns the most wealth decides who gets what.

It doesn't necessarily follow.  Alas, it is often how it works out.

What's your point about banks lending money to profitable businesses?  They also lend to unprofitable businesses, but when they do, they lose money.  This is good because it shows that people don't care for the products and services of that failing business.  But what does this have to do with people's claims to property.

When they invested in that failed business they did so because they thought they could make a profit; any positive needs or wants fulfilled by this system is an afterthought.  If a certain need is not profitable, it will not get investment (charity maybe, not investment).  The point is that the fulfilling of needs under the profit system is not a cost/benefit analysis, but a "how much can I siphon for myself" analysis.

You're not sure that hornets have hierarchies?  So they don't have queens, workers and drones?

I'm not sure, in the case of bees, that it constitutes a heirarchy.  They can't overthrow the queen.  She doesn't give them any orders.  There's no legal enforcement of her will... no, I'm not sure bees have a heirarchy.  Wolfs maybe, some primates... not bees.

You got this all from hornets not having courts?  But this is true, nonetheless, that private property does have to do with legal status.  But so what? 

You brought up the bees, friend, not I.

If something has been abandoned, there is no need to trace it to the original homesteader. 

Are you considering murder a type of abandonement?

So why does it matter if something cannot necessarily be traced to it's original homesteader.  It certainly doesn't matter to me.

Yes, no surprise.  When someone is trying to justify the ruling class they are willing to let go their ideals in certain circumstance... I'm not surprised.  We could say that property must be traded or abandoned for its claimant to have legitimate title.  But that is impossible to do, so we're willing to let go that ideal as long as the descendants are long gone or too marginalized to fight.

Why does it matter to you? 

Further illucidation of how property works out when you step out of the realm of hypothesis, and into actual fact.

The justification for property comes not from violence but from peaceful dispute resolution (i.e. argumentation)

The claim to property starts with a violent call; this is mine and I will hit you with a stick if you disagree.  Then after that comes peaceful dispute resolution, for the good of the community.  So you're right, the "justification" for property is social dispute resolution, but the original claim was a violent appropriation.

 

Economic power is not the same as violent power.

My right hand isn't the same as my left hand.  

No.  This is how animals behave.

All of them?  No, that's silly.

They fight over any dispute they may have, whether it's territory, alpha male status or whatever.

What about bonobos?

 But none of this has to do with the human concept of property.  Property arises from the peaceful resolution of disputes.  

Not really, dispute resolution arises from the peaceful resolution of disputes, whether it has to do with property or not.  You do know when lord invaded and conquered lands, they considered it their property, and the courts agreed with them.  Property may sometimes arise from peaceful resolution, but not always.  Most of the time it's just guys with weapons taking what they want.  If they succeed, their claim becomes just.

It seems that you prefer that we abandon argumentation as a method to resolving disputes.  But this would put us into the world of violence as the only means to solving our problems.

No, I'm suggesting we abandon the monopoly status over possession and control granted by private property.

We can argue to resolve our disputes, something that other animals cannot do.  This is where private property comes from.

It's also where feudalism and slavery come from as well.  Animals don't have those.

 

 

Yea. They know a lot about planning, but very little about coordination. You can't plan your way out of the calculation problem.

I can either plan my way out of a straw man, or dismiss it as a straw man.

Yes, market allocation came before any technical progress.

Gobekli Tepe, is my answer to that.  Or the bow and arrow, the housing complex, fire, the plow, farming, etc etc etc...

Factories in the USSR were almost exclusively build by the capitalist west in return for oil money. Before the 70's, China and Africa had negligible capital development compared to the US and western Europe.

The oldest known production facility that might be called a factory was discovered at Blombos Cave, a cave on the south coast of South Africa some 200 miles (320 km) east of Cape Town, where 100,000-year-old tools and ingredients were found with which early modern humans mixed an ochre-based paint.[1]

You know, like Leninist Russia in the early days.

You show me one place where Lenin... or even Stalin for that matter... ever claimed to have achieved anything but capitalism.

Or isn't that "real" socialism either.

By their own admission, no.

If you can't point out a single example where "real" socialism has ever been attempted, even though half of humanity is constantly obsessed with implementing it, you gotta wonder whether it is more than a theory.

You could wonder that, and it would be fair.  I wonder it myself often.  We could also wonder if the proletariat was ever in a position to break its chains in the first place.  A Connecticut Yankee is a great book, sure.  But I'm not sure you could be transplanted to the past and build capitalism simply with ideas.

So even Marx is not pure enough now?

Answer the question, plz.

It's not about what people do, it's what markets do between people. Democratic workers councils can't efficiently allocate resources. They're bound to make worse decisions than Stalinist planer.

Yet somehow CEO's still have to use a democracy in and amongst themselves and the investors... and this works out fine.  People can only weigh whether the benefits outweigh the costs to resources, and if consumers desire the products, with money?  Why?

 

Statism monopolizes a recourse that humanity could have used anyways.

As does property.

 

 

An employer-employee relationship is an explicit agreement, is it not?

Only if we assume a right to property.

In States a fresh law is looked upon as a remedy for evil. Instead of themselves altering what is bad, people begin by demanding a law to alter it. ... In short, a law everywhere and for everything!

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