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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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Why?

"Nutty as squirrel shit."
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What difference does it make?  Can you answer the question please?

 

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Maybe watch this....

 

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[[Quote="John James"]]What difference does it make?  Can you answer the question please?[[/Quote]]

Yes, no.

"Nutty as squirrel shit."
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i.e. the capitalist does nothing but sit around and give the workers only a portion of the value that they produce?

Explain what you mean by "value".  That word is pretty important in all discussions of Marxian economic theory.

 

Are you asking whether or not value comes from labor?

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Williamloveseconomics:

Maybe watch this....

I've watched that before (though I just did again), how exactly does this video refute the exploitation theory?

It's a good case against minimum wage laws, ect. but I don't see how it is an answer to Marxism?

"Nutty as squirrel shit."
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Explain what you mean by "value".  That word is pretty important in all discussions of Marxian economic theory.

Are you asking whether or not value comes from labor?

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.

The only way he can make profit off me is if he witholds from me the value that I produce.

 

"Nutty as squirrel shit."
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Why work for him, in that case? Work by yourself.

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Buzz Killington:
By "value" I mean how much money a certain item will bring.

If the employer is only giving you a portion of the money that your labor will bring, then why are you working for him and not for someone who will give you the "full amount" of the money your labor will bring?  In other words, why are you not already working for the highest paying employer of your skill?

 

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Exploitation theory was refuted by marginal utility.

http://mises.org/Community/forums/p/23371/405734.aspx#405734

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.

"They all look upon progressing material improvement as upon a self-acting process." - Ludwig von Mises
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I decided to make this post into a bunch of three point responses... Why? For the lolz.

"What does everyone here think of Marxism?"

  1. I quite like the works of Karl Marx. They are exceedingly interesting and somewhat useful.
  2. The ultimate conclusions made by Marx, were incorrect in almost every major way. Marx was pretty obviously a megalomaniac who fudged his own methodologies and conclusions so as to lead to his desired conclusions. 
  3. Marxism, as in the traditional ideology that spawned from Marxism, is not only one of the most idiotic doctrines that has ever existed, but also the one responsible for the most tragedy.

Anyway if I had to think of three concise points which destroyed Marx's philosophy:

  1. Historical materialism just plain does not make sense, why is it that all human actions are a result of economic forces? It's not an answer and it defies the very laws of causality. "Well we have this world, and then humans originate, and both before and immediately afterwards their actions are determined based upon instinct, the environment, and random happenstance. Then, suddenly, man creates capital and the type of capital available becomes the thing that shapes all of his actions..." Yea... This theory is unscientific to say the very least.
  2. Capital accumulation in a capitalist society will almost certainly lead to an increase in overall employment either by immediately increasing the value of labor within a firm, or by giving the ability for new firms to expand or come into existence through labor cost-savings.
  3. There's no reason, material or otherwise, that after the fall of a capitalist society that the ignorant and impoverished proletariate to act in a harmonious manner, leading to one ultimate result which is perfect equality and material excellence... I call bullshit. 

"Doesn't Karl Marx make a good point about capitalists and the workers?"

Three points that show this is, usually, not so.

  1. Entrepreneurs, managers, and landowners all serve a very important purpose. Capitalists and landowners perform a similar service of ensuring that two of the factors of production: labor, capital and land, are put to their most ideal uses. Entrepreneurs and landowners take a loss if they do not sell these things to their most valuable uses, which will almost always be those which are more valuable and therefore receive a higher amount of profit. In this way they serve an essential function: They ensure that things are producing in the most effective and desired areas. It is also important to note that both of these services are extremely risky, and if you make a bad investment on one or another then you'll end up with a ton of debt, as opposed to the laborer who just needs to find a new job and who has had nothing but a net gain from his experience at the failed firm or endeavor. This ensures the best pay to laborers and the best deal to consumers. What part of this is not positive? Furthermore managers assure that labor reaches its maximum output potential, by using it intelligently wherever it needs to be allocated, which leads me to
  2. Labor is not inherently valuable. If I go and hit a stick against a barn for an hour, this does not make either the stick or the barn more valuable, indeed labor can oftentimes make things less valuable than they were. For this reason the labor theory of value is inherently bunk. It is brains, as much as brawn, which make labor a valuable commodity. If laborers weren't given the proper technical instructions or provisions then they could realistically create nothing of value. If the laborer's efforts weren't allocated properly, then they would not be able to create something of optimal value. In this way creation is dependent upon two things: ability to produce and ability to produce optimally. Traditional labor is only partially involved with the former. Capital, land, knowledge, and  time are all involved in the first process as much as labor. Without a proper capital supply the laborers could not have produced what they did, nor without the land, nor the proper technological knowledge, nor the ability to take time off from present production (production which produces results almost instantly) to produce something of greater output and value. If I couldn't get any more money from any source, then it would be irrelevant whether or not if by taking one month I could create something that would give me a net profit of a million dollars, because I would starve in the meantime. In this way loaned funds and money-capitalists are essential to any long-lasting production project. Meanwhile, as for ensuring that labor makes the thing of highest value, this is entirely performed through non-labor means.
  3. If workers are being exploited, and nothing other than laborers are needed, then why wouldn't laborers open up their own firms? They could easily undercut capitalistic firms because they can guarantee higher wages to the laborers, to steal away the labor supply available to the capitalists, and provide lower prices for the end result. If non-labor services serve no purpose, there should be no negative repercussions of this, AT ALL.

If you're really interested in the subject of Marxism, especially a criticism of it then I'd recommend any of the following (these are all world class works by the way):

The section on Marxism in "Theory and History" by Mises. You can get it on PDF from this site

The section on Marxism in "Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy" by Schumpeter. You can find a PDF of this online

Any section from "Karl Marx and the Close of His System" by Eugen Bohm Bawerk

 

If you're looking for nothing more than a description of all the general points of Marxism then any decent economic history can help you out there.

 

At last those coming came and they never looked back With blinding stars in their eyes but all they saw was black...
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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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If the employer is only giving you a portion of the money that your labor will bring, then why are you working for him and not for someone who will give you the "full amount" of the money your labor will bring?  In other words, why are you not already working for the highest paying employer of your skill?

Because I'd still be given only a portion of the money coming from the product that I produce. If I was given the full amount of money made from selling the chocolate the capitalist would have nothing (since he produces nothing).

"Nutty as squirrel shit."
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