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View Full Version : Right vs Left and who donates what to who.



fettpett
02-24-2011, 09:36 AM
With all the debate going on in WI, the Koch (pronounced "Coke") brothers (David and Charles) have become the center of the libtards latest conspiracy theories about who "controls" the right and the different movements. Well the libtards need to start looking at their own pocket books and see who is donating what.

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/assets_c/2011/02/Donors00681.php
http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2011/02/028438.php
http://www.commieblaster.com/george-soros-fund/index.html

I'm sure many of you have much more information and links pertaining to this topic, but I'd thought I'd get it started.

Wei Wu Wei
02-24-2011, 11:32 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CuuUV94bOW0

Apache
02-24-2011, 11:41 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CuuUV94bOW0

Your point?

Wei Wu Wei
02-24-2011, 11:44 AM
I love the right's obsession with George Soros. It's almost as if for a brief moment everything becomes illuminated and they understand how wealth is political power yet somehow they forget about every other billionaire in the country.

noonwitch
02-24-2011, 11:46 AM
I love the right's obsession with George Soros. It's almost as if for a brief moment everything becomes illuminated and they understand how wealth is political power yet somehow they forget about every other billionaire in the country.

You mean like Rupert Murdoch?

Wei Wu Wei
02-24-2011, 11:52 AM
I mean the guys who's names we don't know off the top of our heads.

Rockntractor
02-24-2011, 11:58 AM
I love the right's obsession with George Soros. It's almost as if for a brief moment everything becomes illuminated and they understand how wealth is political power yet somehow they forget about every other billionaire in the country.

Looks like Wei will be occupied for the day, Good idea fett, this will work better then Lego's.:D

fettpett
02-24-2011, 12:19 PM
Looks like Wei will be occupied for the day, Good idea fett, this will work better then Lego's.:D

hey, no dissing the LEGO's....go bash K'nex or something, but leave my LEGO's alone :D :p

Lager
02-24-2011, 06:22 PM
I love the right's obsession with George Soros. It's almost as if for a brief moment everything becomes illuminated and they understand how wealth is political power yet somehow they forget about every other billionaire in the country.

Who's denying that wealth equals political power? Most of us just enjoy shooting holes in the assertion that only one side benefits from it.

malloc
02-24-2011, 07:20 PM
Who's denying that wealth equals political power? Most of us just enjoy shooting holes in the assertion that only one side benefits from it.

Also, in America, the corollary is untrue, lack of wealth does not equate to political impotence. Left wingers ignore this fact in their vilification of the rich. The left would like us to believe that the relative poor are only so because they are 'oppressed' by the 'rich' gaming the system. Except rich leftists like Soros, of course, they never do any wrong. The left rallies their money grubbing, clueless followers to support laws like the progressive income tax, which attempt to strip the 'rich' from their money and distribute it amongst those who support the left's causes. In effect the left hopes to install mob rule. Since the rich get fleeced to payback the welfare queens for their votes, and the rich can't do anything about it, who has the political power?

Money can help one's political power by helping to disseminate the message. In the end, political power is still derived from consent of the governed, and that doesn't require one to be wealthy.

Wei Wu Wei
02-25-2011, 10:32 AM
Who's denying that wealth equals political power? Most of us just enjoy shooting holes in the assertion that only one side benefits from it.

Both sides benefit from it if you are looking at this from the framework of "liberal vs conservative", but if you're looking at this in terms of Capital vs Exploited Labor then it is one sided.

Wei Wu Wei
02-25-2011, 10:35 AM
Also, in America, the corollary is untrue, lack of wealth does not equate to political impotence.

YEs it does. The only political power that is considered legitimate (not counting strikes or government-shutdown-protests) that working-class people have is voting. That's it. Simply being able to cast a vote does not equal political power.


Left wingers ignore this fact in their vilification of the rich. The left would like us to believe that the relative poor are only so because they are 'oppressed' by the 'rich' gaming the system. Except rich leftists like Soros, of course, they never do any wrong.

Yes they can and do.


The left rallies their money grubbing, clueless followers to support laws like the progressive income tax, which attempt to strip the 'rich' from their money and distribute it amongst those who support the left's causes.

This argument presupposes that "those who support the left's causes" are not the rich.


In effect the left hopes to install mob rule. Since the rich get fleeced to payback the welfare queens for their votes, and the rich can't do anything about it, who has the political power?

Money can help one's political power by helping to disseminate the message. In the end, political power is still derived from consent of the governed, and that doesn't require one to be wealthy.

I think you are being a little naive here

fettpett
02-25-2011, 10:45 AM
Both sides benefit from it if you are looking at this from the framework of "liberal vs conservative", but if you're looking at this in terms of Capital vs Exploited Labor then it is one sided.

yeah, when you consider that Unions are the ones Exploiting the labor of their members and throwing HUGE sums of money at Democrats and Liberal organizations, then throw in the biggest Capitalist in the world, Buffet, Gates and others.

NJCardFan
02-25-2011, 10:56 AM
Name me one person who's labor is being exploited?

Odysseus
02-25-2011, 01:12 PM
Both sides benefit from it if you are looking at this from the framework of "liberal vs conservative", but if you're looking at this in terms of Capital vs Exploited Labor then it is one sided.
And if you look at it as unicorns vs. dragons, it's equally exploitive.

The simplistic dichotomy of capital and exploited labor is one of the most basic falsehoods in Marxist dogma. An employer is in the business of providing a service to his customers. An employee is in the business of providing a service to his employer. Both persons are selling something, but in the case of the former, it's more obvious, since a product is changing hands along with the money, but in the case of the latter, labor is the product. An employer no more exploits his employees than his customers exploit him. To see the absurdity of the dichotomy, look at a self-employed person. An independent contractor doesn't exploit himself.

To say that concentrations of wealth are exploitive is equally ignorant, since it is the investment of wealth (capital) that makes employment possible. A capitalist puts his capital into a business in order to provide goods and services, and creates jobs that produce those goods and services. If the business fails, he loses his investment. His employees may suffer if the business fails, but the jobs that they lose were created by the capitalist, and his loss is greater than theirs. An employee of a failed company is not liable for its debts or ruined, but can almost always find other work (assuming that Obama or someone like him isn't trying to reorganize the economy to suit the Marxist model of failure). It is the capitalist who is assuming the risks, and who therefore reaps the lion's share of the rewards. If anything, the employees are exploiting the employer's wealth and his willingness to risk it.

Name me one person who's labor is being exploited?

Any parent who pays taxes to send a kid to the school that employs Wei as a teacher.

Wei Wu Wei
02-25-2011, 01:59 PM
And if you look at it as unicorns vs. dragons, it's equally exploitive.

The simplistic dichotomy of capital and exploited labor is one of the most basic falsehoods in Marxist dogma. An employer is in the business of providing a service to his customers. An employee is in the business of providing a service to his employer. Both persons are selling something, but in the case of the former, it's more obvious, since a product is changing hands along with the money, but in the case of the latter, labor is the product. An employer no more exploits his employees than his customers exploit him.

Then where does profit come from?

Before you mention the exchange of the goods, where does Value come from (that is, the value of any given commodity)?


To see the absurdity of the dichotomy, look at a self-employed person. An independent contractor doesn't exploit himself.

You're focusing too hard on the concept of "employer" (anyone with a lemonade stand is an employer) rather than Capital (dead surplus labor itself)


To say that concentrations of wealth are exploitive is equally ignorant, since it is the investment of wealth (capital) that makes employment possible.

Only within the confines of this system. It's not the concentration of wealth that is exploitative, it is how that concentration of wealth occurs.

If a company produces goods, and a worker can make 10 units per hour on average, this means that the produced good is worth 1/10th of an hour of average labor force.
Money exists because there is something which is the same between any two commodities such that they can be traded for each other.

Even if you don't know the currency rate, you can see that a Television set is worth X lbs of corn, or Y liters of gasoline. You can trade one for another for another, at constant rates. This is because even though these products have very different qualitative use values, they share a common exchange value (however much they cost such that so many lbs of corn is worth so amny televisions). So what is this common something that they share that enables them to be traded? It is the human labor that it takes to produce the good. The one thing that all commodities have in common is that they are products of human labor (even natural commodities that require labor to obtain them from mines, wells, ect.).

So the value of a thing (the exchangeable value not the use-value) comes from the amount of labor which it represents in an exchange with another product of labor.

So where does profit come from? It comes from a worker being compensated for less than the value of his labor, so that when the product is sold on the market, the surplus labor (labor that isn't being paid to the worker) is taken by the capitalist. The worker, in producing the good, produces his own labor value worth of product, but he is not compensated for all of it, if he was, there would be no profit and thus no capitalist class. This is why the capitalist mode of production is inherently exploitative, and the more complex antagonisms that develop within a society are rooted in this primary antagonism.



capitalist puts his capital into a business in order to provide goods and services, and creates jobs that produce those goods and services. If the business fails, he loses his investment. His employees may suffer if the business fails, but the jobs that they lose were created by the capitalist, and his loss is greater than theirs.

An employee of a failed company is not liable for its debts or ruined, but can almost always find other work (assuming that Obama or someone like him isn't trying to reorganize the economy to suit the Marxist model of failure). It is the capitalist who is assuming the risks, and who therefore reaps the lion's share of the rewards. If anything, the employees are exploiting the employer's wealth and his willingness to risk it.


However, if the workers collectively owned the business, then every worker would have a stake in the success or failure of the business. There are ways to structure collective ownership that are not SOVIET GULAGS. There could still be higher-paid employees such as managers or skiled workers but your criticisms are only valid if you first presuppose the capitalist mode of production as a given. Of course there's no way out of the problem if you don't recognize the source of the problem.

Apache
02-25-2011, 02:13 PM
Quit being an impotent turd and move to NORK or CUBA...;)

Gingersnap
02-25-2011, 02:20 PM
Then where does profit come from?

Before you mention the exchange of the goods, where does Value come from (that is, the value of any given commodity)?

(snip)

So the value of a thing (the exchangeable value not the use-value) comes from the amount of labor which it represents in an exchange with another product of labor.


No, the value of a thing comes from the desire of others to obtain it. If I don't watch TV, your TVs are useless to me as valued objects. The exchangeable value of anything depends on desirability.

In purely labor terms, having 15-minute sex for money beats working for a wage yet the "labor" of sex is truly minimal in most instances. A textbook that is the work of a lifetime costs no more than pair of sports shoes even though the shoes are mostly machine-made.

We've made it out of the 19th century.

malloc
02-25-2011, 02:21 PM
YEs it does. The only political power that is considered legitimate (not counting strikes or government-shutdown-protests) that working-class people have is voting. That's it. Simply being able to cast a vote does not equal political power.

This statement isn't true. I don't think you were being deceptive, I just think you don't see the big picture. I know for a fact that I directly my friends, coworkers, and family. I do this through conversation, and I wouldn't consider myself 'rich' by any stretch of the word. What about organizations like Campaign for Liberty, Contract From America, the hundreds of Tea Party groups which survive without Koch's backing? Campaign for Liberty is a coalition of Ron Paul supporters, not of them that I know of billionaires, a couple of them might be rich, but they are mostly just folk who organize, pool resources, and deliver their message. The same goes with Contract From America. CFA has literally millions of members, so I doubt any of them are Bill Gates or Soros rich, and they made a huge impact on the Republican party recently. So a rich person might be able to gain political power through his wallet, but us laymen aren't without means and we can equal and surpass the agenda of the a rich man through a coalition.

The primary process itself is a great example of normal, working class folk exerting their political power. A candidate to represent the party as a whole is chosen from battling factions and coalitions with the party itself. The richest candidate, or the the candidate with the richest backers, don't win every time, or even a majority of the time. Look at John McCain taking the '08 primary, and his campaign was almost bust, he had begun flying commercial by that time.



Yes they can and do.

I'm glad at least one of you admits it.




This argument presupposes that "those who support the left's causes" are not the rich.


Not necessarily. The rich plays this game too, paying off politicians to protect themselves from the fleecing while ensuring their competition, either economic or ideological, is up to receive the fleecing.



I think you are being a little naive here

How so? If political power and is derived from money, and not people or coalitions of people, then why isn't every congresscritter a puppet installed by some billionaire? Oh, I'm sure that some are in the monied pocket of others, but certainly not all. The point I'm getting at is that the system still works, and it's working class people who decide which people shall govern them. Soros, Koch, Murdock, etc., have influence, but without their organizations containing working class folk, their influence is nothing.

Wei Wu Wei
02-25-2011, 02:36 PM
No, the value of a thing comes from the desire of others to obtain it. If I don't watch TV, your TVs are useless to me as valued objects. The exchangeable value of anything depends on desirability.

In purely labor terms, having 15-minute sex for money beats working for a wage yet the "labor" of sex is truly minimal in most instances. A textbook that is the work of a lifetime costs no more than pair of sports shoes even though the shoes are mostly machine-made.


You're talking about a different sort of value, and focusing on the individual level only. There's a distinction between personal value (how much you desire something), use-value (the valuable function that a thing has), and it's exchange value (the fact that 1 Item A and a dozen package of Item B both costs $20 is another way of saying that, even if the two items are qualitatively different in their use-values [they can be any commodity], there is something equal between the two commodities). You can exchange 1 Item A for a dozen Item B's and vice versa, and the dollar value represents this "common something" that is commensurable between the two items.

Even if you have no personal value for a television if you don't watch television, that television still retains it's exchange value in that you can exchange the television for a given amount of some item you do want.

The common something that all commodities of exchange have is the amount of abstract human labor it takes to produce them.

If I say 5 gallons of gasoline = 1 Jacket, the jacket stands purely for the amount of value that the gasoline has, the jacket represents exchange value. This is like when you use measured Iron weights to represent the amount of weight something else has (if you were to put Iron and something else on a scale, the iron doesn't represent iron in it's use-form, but as a property within it, namely it's weight - that is, the iron represents how much weight the other item on the scale has). You cannot have pure weight by itself because it doesn't exist by itself, you must have an item with weight (iron) to represent the weight of other items. Likewise, you cannot see value in acommodity itself, but only when it's given in relation to another commodity ( 5 gallons of gasoline = 1 Jacket).

So, looking at exchange value - the common something that all commodities share such that they are commensurable in their exchange is their being products of human labor, where abstract human labor is measured in terms of labor hours (with skilled labor being comparable to multiplied simple labor, and thus 'worth' more).

With this in mind, the main question: where does profit come from? becomes clear, it comes from the capitalist expropriating surplus labor that is not compensated to the workers who's labor created the product.



We've made it out of the 19th century.

Yes well it's about time we try making it out of the 20th.

txradioguy
02-25-2011, 02:47 PM
Originally Posted by Wei Wu Wei
Both sides benefit from it if you are looking at this from the framework of "liberal vs conservative",

No the only logical way that you can argue that "both sides" benefit is if you look at how Labor Unions and the Democrat Party are tied together as a mutually beneficial organization.

In essence...especially in the case up Public Service unions...they literally get to elect their own bosses.

Conservatives don't benefit one bit...and neither do the 85% of Americans that aren't Union members from this unholy alliance.





but if you're looking at this in terms of Capital vs Exploited Labor then it is one sided.

Yup Capital takes it in the shorts every single time.

Wei Wu Wei
02-25-2011, 02:50 PM
Poor Capital always getting stiffed! http://i.imgur.com/7fONn.gif

txradioguy
02-25-2011, 02:53 PM
Poor Capital always getting stiffed! http://i.imgur.com/7fONn.gif

If you actually knew how the system worked and didn't rely on propaganda to fuel your arguments...you'd understand whythis is so.

Instead you mock that which you have no clue about.

Wei Wu Wei
02-25-2011, 02:57 PM
There are surely problems with the current situations with regards to Unions, and there is a history of other problems too. In fact, often times Union leaders end up more closely resembling the capitalist class they claim to fight against as they rake up dues and have a history of corruption. often times they end up serving to pacify workers and are more concerned with buying politicians for their own benefit. I admit to knowing all of this.

However, failures on the part of Unions in no way erase the problems that unions were developed to solve. the issue of labor and workers rights is much bigger than Unions.

Apache
02-25-2011, 03:03 PM
There are surely problems with the current situations with regards to Unions, and there is a history of other problems too. In fact, often times Union leaders end up more closely resembling the capitalist class they claim to fight against as they rake up dues and have a history of corruption. often times they end up serving to pacify workers and are more concerned with buying politicians for their own benefit. I admit to knowing all of this.

However, failures on the part of Unions in no way erase the problems that unions were developed to solve. the issue of labor and workers rights is much bigger than Unions.

If you paid for your education, get your money back. You didn't learn shit...:cool:

Wei Wu Wei
02-25-2011, 03:04 PM
This statement isn't true. I don't think you were being deceptive, I just think you don't see the big picture. I know for a fact that I directly my friends, coworkers, and family. I do this through conversation, and I wouldn't consider myself 'rich' by any stretch of the word. What about organizations like Campaign for Liberty, Contract From America, the hundreds of Tea Party groups which survive without Koch's backing? Campaign for Liberty is a coalition of Ron Paul supporters, not of them that I know of billionaires, a couple of them might be rich, but they are mostly just folk who organize, pool resources, and deliver their message. The same goes with Contract From America. CFA has literally millions of members, so I doubt any of them are Bill Gates or Soros rich, and they made a huge impact on the Republican party recently. So a rich person might be able to gain political power through his wallet, but us laymen aren't without means and we can equal and surpass the agenda of the a rich man through a coalition.


Even organizations that are not directly funded or run by the corporate elite still function to serve them.

For example, the Tea Party seemed to be all about working and middle class backgrounds fighting against Big Government who apparently wanted to restore Capitalism. So what ever happened to Too Big To Fail? Major banks didn't follow the rules of capitalism, if they fail they are supposed to fail, not be bailed out by the tax payers? Yes lots of Tea Party people voiced opposition about this and right-wing pundits used "bailouts" as a reason to get angry, but why did it never materialize into action? Why did all of the "grassroots" right wing momentum end up focusing on trying to stop working people from having health care benefits and protecting tax cuts for the wealthy?

If everything the Tea Party says is true, they should be OUTRAGED at the idea that some companies and institutions are "too big to fail", and are to be bailed out by the tax payer every time they fuck up. So what has happened? I may be wrong but I cannot think of a single republican lawmaker or Tea Party leader who pushed for dealing with this "Too Big TO Fail" issue, and in fact, most of those banks that got bailed out are now even BIGGER than they were back then.

Now I do believe that there are a lot of genuine people in the Tea Party movement who believe what they say, but that this movement has been conveniently corralled away from any issue that might harm corporate America.

txradioguy
02-25-2011, 03:07 PM
There are surely problems with the current situations with regards to Unions, and there is a history of other problems too. In fact, often times Union leaders end up more closely resembling the capitalist class they claim to fight against as they rake up dues and have a history of corruption. often times they end up serving to pacify workers and are more concerned with buying politicians for their own benefit. I admit to knowing all of this.

The biggest champions on the left of Labor unions all said that there was no need for labor unions in the Public Sector.

The labor big wigs continually take dues from the workers and use them to influence and support politicians that the rank and file detest.


However, failures on the part of Unions in no way erase the problems that unions were developed to solve. the issue of labor and workers rights is much bigger than Unions.

The problems the Unions were designed to solve disappeared a generationa go. The leadership of the union no more resembles the rank and file member than you resemble the Pope.

txradioguy
02-25-2011, 03:10 PM
Even organizations that are not directly funded or run by the corporate elite still function to serve them.

For example, the Tea Party seemed to be all about working and middle class backgrounds fighting against Big Government who apparently wanted to restore Capitalism. So what ever happened to Too Big To Fail? Major banks didn't follow the rules of capitalism, if they fail they are supposed to fail, not be bailed out by the tax payers? Yes lots of Tea Party people voiced opposition about this and right-wing pundits used "bailouts" as a reason to get angry, but why did it never materialize into action? Why did all of the "grassroots" right wing momentum end up focusing on trying to stop working people from having health care benefits and protecting tax cuts for the wealthy?

If everything the Tea Party says is true, they should be OUTRAGED at the idea that some companies and institutions are "too big to fail", and are to be bailed out by the tax payer every time they fuck up. So what has happened? I may be wrong but I cannot think of a single republican lawmaker or Tea Party leader who pushed for dealing with this "Too Big TO Fail" issue, and in fact, most of those banks that got bailed out are now even BIGGER than they were back then.

Now I do believe that there are a lot of genuine people in the Tea Party movement who believe what they say, but that this movement has been conveniently corralled away from any issue that might harm corporate America.


Too Big To Fail is an idea pushed by the left.

Conservatives would let them fail.

It's not up to tax payers to fund bailouts of companies that get themselves into the situations that the Friends of Obama did.

Wei Wu Wei
02-25-2011, 03:10 PM
The problems the Unions were designed to solve disappeared a generationa go. The leadership of the union no more resembles the rank and file member than you resemble the Pope.

History is not a simple march towards progress that all parties must consent to, it is a perpetual struggle.

That's like saying conservatives need to stop crying about their Freedom because the Declaration of Independence was signed hundreds of years ago and the struggle for freedom is settled.

Wei Wu Wei
02-25-2011, 03:13 PM
Too Big To Fail is an idea pushed by the left.

Not by me, nor by any leftist I know.



Conservatives wold let them fail. It's not up to tax payers to fund bailouts of companies that get themselves into the situations that the Friends of Obama did.

So why did the Tea Party never organize a mass resistance against Too Big To Fail like they did against Health Care or for tax cuts for wealthy people?

I agree that according to the conservative ideology as I understand it, they should be upset about Too Big TO Fail, but somehow it never materialized into anything.

I submit it is because the heavy influence by wealthy corporatist drowned out any opposition that may have hurt their portfolios.

Apache
02-25-2011, 03:21 PM
Not by me, nor by any leftist I know.




So why did the Tea Party never organize a mass resistance against Too Big To Fail like they did against Health Care or for tax cuts for wealthy people?

I agree that according to the conservative ideology as I understand it, they should be upset about Too Big TO Fail, but somehow it never materialized into anything.

I submit it is because the heavy influence by wealthy corporatist drowned out any opposition that may have hurt their portfolios.

You know, it's really hard to see things with your eyes closed...

Odysseus
02-25-2011, 03:40 PM
Then where does profit come from?
Profit = Revenues - costs.


Before you mention the exchange of the goods, where does Value come from (that is, the value of any given commodity)?
Value, in the Marxist sense, is nonexistent. The value of a good or service is what somebody else is willing to pay for it. There is no such thing as intrinsic value, because the parties in a transaction attach different value to their goods. If I didn't value the thing that I was buying more than the money that I was spending, I wouldn't buy it, and if the seller didn't value the money more than the item, he wouldn't sell it.


You're focusing too hard on the concept of "employer" (anyone with a lemonade stand is an employer) rather than Capital (dead surplus labor itself)
ROFLOL! A person with a lemonade stand is self-employed. Capital is money or equity invested in a project with the intent of receiving a return on the investment. It isn't dead surplus labor. That's just a Marxist trope that equates capital with vampirism. Does anyone still believe in that drivel? Really?


Only within the confines of this system. It's not the concentration of wealth that is exploitative, it is how that concentration of wealth occurs.

In any system. There are only two ways to concentrate resources in order to accomplish something, either voluntarily or involuntarily. Voluntary investments require that the investors have a reasonable expectation that their investment will come back to them with sufficient gain (profit) to be worth the risk. Involuntary investment eliminates the need to be productive. The investors have no choice in the matter, and cannot hope to be compensated directly. This is why whenever a state enterprise does something that ought to be done by the private sector, the amount of waste and loss is always greater.


If a company produces goods, and a worker can make 10 units per hour on average, this means that the produced good is worth 1/10th of an hour of average labor force.

Only if you ignore all of the other costs associated with producing that good beyond labor. Advertising, for example, distribution, storage (especially for perishable products), sales (the sales force costs money, even at the wholesale level, since someone has to convince retailers to buy the product for resale) and a host of other factors that Marx, never having been in business, couldn't conceive of. And, you're missing the point yet again. The value of the labor is what the employee and the employer agree on. The laborer values his salary more than his time and effort, and the employer values the time and effort more than the cost of the laborer. The value of the good is determined by what the market will pay for it, and it therefore determines the value of the labor to the employer.


Money exists because there is something which is the same between any two commodities such that they can be traded for each other.
Money exists because both sides of a transaction are willing to convert their commodities into something else, which means that money only exists as long as both sides acknowledge the existence of unconsumed goods or services that they want to purchase in the future. That's what you don't understand, that money isn't simply a medium of exchange, but a medium of savings. It's a way of exchanging current goods for future goods without having to store the current goods.


Even if you don't know the currency rate, you can see that a Television set is worth X lbs of corn, or Y liters of gasoline. You can trade one for another for another, at constant rates. This is because even though these products have very different qualitative use values, they share a common exchange value (however much they cost such that so many lbs of corn is worth so amny televisions). So what is this common something that they share that enables them to be traded? It is the human labor that it takes to produce the good. The one thing that all commodities have in common is that they are products of human labor (even natural commodities that require labor to obtain them from mines, wells, ect.).
But they do not share a common exchange value, much less a constant one. If oil supplies are reduced, then the value of the remaining oil increases, unless the demand decreases. If the demand remains the same, then the cost of the oil increases, as does the cost of those items which depend upon oil. A liter of gasoline becomes worth more than a TV, especially if the cost of electricity decreases interest in big screen TVs. A bad harvest increases the cost of the corn, as does the diversion of corn into ethanol, another function of a sudden oil shock. In other words, values, in commerce, are not constant. And the value of labor isn't constant, either. Scarcity of skills affects the cost of labor. A computer programmer is worth more to Bill Gates than a grape picker.

So the value of a thing (the exchangeable value not the use-value) comes from the amount of labor which it represents in an exchange with another product of labor.
Wrong!!! The value of a thing comes from the demand for it. A laborer who produces great buggy whips hasn't created value in an automotive economy. The decisions to produce certain products, or to market them certain ways, or to retool and follow a new type of manufacturing process are management decisions that are far more decisive to the value of a product than the laborer on the assembly line. You're still following a nineteenth century model of manufacturing, in a 21st century economy.


So where does profit come from? It comes from a worker being compensated for less than the value of his labor, so that when the product is sold on the market, the surplus labor (labor that isn't being paid to the worker) is taken by the capitalist. The worker, in producing the good, produces his own labor value worth of product, but he is not compensated for all of it, if he was, there would be no profit and thus no capitalist class. This is why the capitalist mode of production is inherently exploitative, and the more complex antagonisms that develop within a society are rooted in this primary antagonism.
Wrong again. Profit doesn't come from a worker being paid less than the value of his labor, because the value of his labor is what he had agreed to take in return for it. His labor is one fraction of the costs of a given product, and a factor in the final price set for it, but to claim that profit comes from exploiting labor is absurdly simplistic. Profit comes from the demand for a product exceeding the supply.


However, if the workers collectively owned the business, then every worker would have a stake in the success or failure of the business. There are ways to structure collective ownership that are not SOVIET GULAGS. There could still be higher-paid employees such as managers or skiled workers but your criticisms are only valid if you first presuppose the capitalist mode of production as a given. Of course there's no way out of the problem if you don't recognize the source of the problem.

But capitalist models allow for collective ownership through stock distribution. In fact, just about every publicly traded company in history has offered stock to its employees in one way or another. But, the kind of collective ownership that you are espousing lacks one critical factor, which is that sometimes, companies must gain more cash than they have on hand in order to expand or retool. When that happens, they can issue or split stock in order to make ownership more attractive, or issue bonds (a means of borrowing). In the former case, a company owned solely by employees that refused to expand ownership beyond its immediate circle would never be able to expand or innovate, because of the limited pool of funds available to it. In the latter case, nobody will lend money to a company without expecting a return on their investment. The lending of money for interest is the basic building block of any functioning economic system, and those systems that bar it inevitably stagnate.

In short, Wei, you are wrong, again, and your prescriptions will lead to economic failure and decline. The stagnation of the British economy in the 1970s is a prime example of what this economic model will look like, at best, until the outflux of productive people forces a government to either back off of the failing model, as Britain did in the 80s, or it imposes harsher and harsher controls, as we are now seeing in Venezuela. Eventually, it really does come down to a choice between economic freedom and the gulags.

malloc
02-25-2011, 03:55 PM
Even organizations that are not directly funded or run by the corporate elite still function to serve them.

What kind of leap of logic brought you to this conclusion. Wouldn't a teacher's union be an organization that isn't directly funded funded or run by 'corporate elite'? Do they exist to 'serve' the corporate elite? Pipe down on the B.S., you are just confusing yourself. Organizations exist to serve the function of the organization, if that function happens to coincide with the interest of some 'corporate elite' then so be it, but if you think organizations are controlled by some shadow government corporate elite mind control overlords, you need prescription grade help.



For example, the Tea Party seemed to be all about working and middle class backgrounds fighting against Big Government who apparently wanted to restore Capitalism. So what ever happened to Too Big To Fail? Major banks didn't follow the rules of capitalism, if they fail they are supposed to fail, not be bailed out by the tax payers? Yes lots of Tea Party people voiced opposition about this and right-wing pundits used "bailouts" as a reason to get angry, but why did it never materialize into action? Why did all of the "grassroots" right wing momentum end up focusing on trying to stop working people from having health care benefits and protecting tax cuts for the wealthy?

If everything the Tea Party says is true, they should be OUTRAGED at the idea that some companies and institutions are "too big to fail", and are to be bailed out by the tax payer every time they fuck up. So what has happened? I may be wrong but I cannot think of a single republican lawmaker or Tea Party leader who pushed for dealing with this "Too Big TO Fail" issue, and in fact, most of those banks that got bailed out are now even BIGGER than they were back then.



Okay Wei, now you are being outright dishonest again. I thought you were some sort of revolutionary of the people, fighting against the "man". At least in your own mind, anyway. Then you turn around and parrot exactly what your Democrat Party overlords tell you to parrot. Way to stick to the man dude. :rolleyes:

The bailouts were sure as hell *NOT* the only issue the Tea Parties were about. You just demonstrated how completely and utterly clueless you are about the Tea Parties. Why did the biggest rallies take place on tax day? Because of bailouts? I think not. Bailouts are just one link in a huge chain tea partiers have to be angry about. You know this, but it doesn't fit your argument today does it? BTW, the Tea Parties don't see "Too Big To Fail" as the issue to attack, or name the issue that way. The issue they are attacking is the audacity of Big Government giving away public money to private entities on the back of taxpayers. You rail and wail and gnash teeth constantly about the oppressiveness of 'corporate elite' and the evil corporations, yet it is government who is the oppressor. Democrats DOUBLED the money supply to bail out their friends on Wall Street. That stole the purchasing power of every dollar in a savings account, and pushed huge debts on future generations of Americans. You set there and actually believe that Wall Street was to blame for taking the money, and not the government for offering it?

Now Wei, I think you know exactly what came of "Too Big To Fail" and other issues. 2010 Elections came. Remember my little intellectually dishonest person, the Democrats had control of this country lock, stock & barrel until last month.



stop working people from having health care benefits and protecting tax cuts for the wealthy?


Oh, please. You didn't really just try this B.S. did you? You must be desperate.

You know damn well the Tea Partiers weren't trying to stop anyone from receiving health care benefits. You know they were trying to stop Big Government from taking the wealth of one to give to another. You know they were against Big Government forcing citizens to buy a product. You know damn well they didn't want a tax hike for anyone poor and wealthy alike. You know all of this, you are just lying. With all your disingeniousness and dishonesty, do you get a little queasy when you confront yourself in the mirror. I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I had to lie about my ideological enemies in order to make their positions appear to be in the wrong.



Now I do believe that there are a lot of genuine people in the Tea Party movement who believe what they say, but that this movement has been conveniently corralled away from any issue that might harm corporate America.

Corralled away? The Tea Partiers didn't have an issue with corporate America. They have an issue with crony capitalism, and the target in this little exchange is, and has always been, the government, not corporate

Oh this is priceless. Just last night I watched a clip of George Soros saying nearly the exact same thing during an interview on CNN. For a radical man of the people you sure take your cues from your overlords well. Since the racist thing backfired for the left against the Tea Parties, they are now trying the misguided and stupid yokel approach. "The Tea Partiers are good people at heart, they just don't know what's best for themselves." I am a Tea Partier and I out-debate you in every exchange I choose to get involved in. That's not subjective, it's just a fact that you rarely know what you are talking about. That very fact puts your whole, "Tea Partiers are misguided" idea right out the window, because if I didn't know what's best for me, you wouldn't know how to tie your shoes properly.

Wei Wu Wei
02-25-2011, 04:28 PM
Profit = Revenues - costs.


Value, in the Marxist sense, is nonexistent. The value of a good or service is what somebody else is willing to pay for it. There is no such thing as intrinsic value, because the parties in a transaction attach different value to their goods. If I didn't value the thing that I was buying more than the money that I was spending, I wouldn't buy it, and if the seller didn't value the money more than the item, he wouldn't sell it.

You are using the different meanings of the word "value" interchangeably. I made the distinction for a reason, if you have a problem with that distinction elaborate on what that problem is but everyone know there are different kinds of "value" and throughout this post you conflate them all and use them interchangeably when it isn't appropriate.



ROFLOL! A person with a lemonade stand is self-employed. Capital is money or equity invested in a project with the intent of receiving a return on the investment. It isn't dead surplus labor. That's just a Marxist trope that equates capital with vampirism. Does anyone still believe in that drivel? Really?

Capital is a vampire because it represents abstract labor itself, and it is only sustained by exploiting living labor (expropriated surplus labor value) from workers. Capital doesn't mean "The Capitalist", even though it works through capitalists.




In any system. There are only two ways to concentrate resources in order to accomplish something, either voluntarily or involuntarily. Voluntary investments require that the investors have a reasonable expectation that their investment will come back to them with sufficient gain (profit) to be worth the risk. Involuntary investment eliminates the need to be productive. The investors have no choice in the matter, and cannot hope to be compensated directly. This is why whenever a state enterprise does something that ought to be done by the private sector, the amount of waste and loss is always greater.

Again you are working within a predefined framework where the investors are not the workers themselves.





Only if you ignore all of the other costs associated with producing that good beyond labor.

No because all of the "other costs" are the result of labor, even if you are not paying a salary, when you pay for a good or service, the price you are paying is the cost of the labor to provide your business with that good or service.



Advertising (labor), for example, distribution (labor), storage (labor)(especially for perishable products), sales (the sales force costs money, even at the wholesale level, since someone has to convince retailers to buy the product for resale) and a host of other factors that Marx, never having been in business, couldn't conceive of.

What you are doing is commodity fetishism, you keep looking at the thing itself and referring to it as if the value comes from that, rather than understanding that the value comes from the social relations which the product represents.

Yes you have other costs besides labor costs directly, but those other costs cost what they do because they require human labor to get to you and your business.




And, you're missing the point yet again. The value of the labor is what the employee and the employer agree on. The laborer values his salary more than his time and effort, and the employer values the time and effort more than the cost of the laborer. The value of the good is determined by what the market will pay for it, and it therefore determines the value of the labor to the employer.

Again you're conflating the various meanings of the term "value".




Money exists because both sides of a transaction are willing to convert their commodities into something else, which means that money only exists as long as both sides acknowledge the existence of unconsumed goods or services that they want to purchase in the future. That's what you don't understand, that money isn't simply a medium of exchange, but a medium of savings. It's a way of exchanging current goods for future goods without having to store the current goods.

This is what I was saying, let me break it down for you in your own words

"Money exists because both sides of a transaction are willing to convert their commodities into something else, which means that money only exists as long as both sides acknowledge the existence of unconsumed goods or services that they want to purchase in the future." - Yes exactly, money exists as as representing some amount of goods that you may want, or more precisely, the value of a certain amount of goods.

When you say that a Jacket costs $20 and a Blender costs $10, that's another way of saying that the exchange value of the Jacket is equal to that of 2 Blenders. You can say: 1 Jacket = 2 Blenders, this is why you can take the same $20 and buy either one, because they are equal in terms of exchange value.

In fact any commodity can be exchanged for any other commodity, as long as you get the proportions correct, which means there is something that is the same in every commodity, but just in different amounts: that "something" is what money represents , it's value, and that value is exchange value (which is why money can and is exchanged for all commodities).

Every time you buy something with money, you accept that the commodity's value is equal to that which is represented by your dollar value, and is also equal to all other commodities of an equal value, which means that all commodities share something which money comes to represent. That something is abstract labor, it is the one "pure commodity" from which all others are derived. Everything of value has value because of the labor it requires to get it.

Let me further clarify the difference between use-value and exchange value. Water is one of the most value substances in existence to humans, each and every one of us depends on lots of water to live, so in that sense water is of very high use-value, but it is worthless in exchange value is you live in a rainforest because it requires almost no labor (on average) to acquire it. Water thus has high use-value but low exchange value, because the source of exchange value (which money represents) is labor.

Diamonds on the other hand, are not so easy to get. They are very difficult to find because of their rarity and it takes a lot of hard work to extract it from the ground. Even if in some places it is easy to come across a diamond, on average, requires an extremely high amount of labor to acquire. They are functionally useless though. With the exception of some scientific uses or industrial uses for it's hardness, for the most part diamonds have very little use-value but they have an extreme exchange-value. This is because, again, exchange value comes from labor.



But they do not share a common exchange value, much less a constant one. If oil supplies are reduced, then the value of the remaining oil increases, unless the demand decreases. If the demand remains the same, then the cost of the oil increases, as does the cost of those items which depend upon oil. A liter of gasoline becomes worth more than a TV, especially if the cost of electricity decreases interest in big screen TVs. A bad harvest increases the cost of the corn, as does the diversion of corn into ethanol, another function of a sudden oil shock. In other words, values, in commerce, are not constant. And the value of labor isn't constant, either. Scarcity of skills affects the cost of labor. A computer programmer is worth more to Bill Gates than a grape picker.

Right, while the average labor time needed (and thus the exchange value) is a given in my examples, in reality they are constantly changing. This is something that Marx goes into depth in the very first chapter of Capital.

Changes of technology are another example of things which may change the exchange value. There tends to be fairly consistent prices between gas stations even if the prices are not as consistent over time.



Wrong!!! The value of a thing comes from the demand for it. A laborer who produces great buggy whips hasn't created value in an automotive economy. The decisions to produce certain products, or to market them certain ways, or to retool and follow a new type of manufacturing process are management decisions that are far more decisive to the value of a product than the laborer on the assembly line. You're still following a nineteenth century model of manufacturing, in a 21st century economy.

You are espousing the views of 18th and 19th century Mercentalism but I'm not gonna write it off just because of that.

The problem I will point out, again, is your conflation of the different meanings of the term "value", which seems crucial to your position.



Wrong again. Profit doesn't come from a worker being paid less than the value of his labor, because the value of his labor is what he had agreed to take in return for it. His labor is one fraction of the costs of a given product, and a factor in the final price set for it, but to claim that profit comes from exploiting labor is absurdly simplistic. Profit comes from the demand for a product exceeding the supply.

Value. Meaning. Conflating.

Wei Wu Wei
02-25-2011, 04:29 PM
But capitalist models allow for collective ownership through stock distribution.

That's a collection of wealthy people who don't work at the company owning it, that's not "collective ownership".

What I'm talking about is the workers owning the company. For example, in our current corporate world, a collectively owned company could be one where the workers of the company collectively own 51% of the stock, to be divided up between them equally or according to how the workers see fit (allowing managers or skilled workers to be paid more). The other 49% can be for whoever can afford it.


In fact, just about every publicly traded company in history has offered stock to its employees in one way or another.

Scraps to keep them pacified, it's not the same as the workers owning the company.


But, the kind of collective ownership that you are espousing lacks one critical factor, which is that sometimes, companies must gain more cash than they have on hand in order to expand or retool. When that happens, they can issue or split stock in order to make ownership more attractive, or issue bonds (a means of borrowing). In the former case, a company owned solely by employees that refused to expand ownership beyond its immediate circle would never be able to expand or innovate, because of the limited pool of funds available to it. In the latter case, nobody will lend money to a company without expecting a return on their investment. The lending of money for interest is the basic building block of any functioning economic system, and those systems that bar it inevitably stagnate.

Cooperatively owned business models already exist. There are procedures in place just for investment, where either banks or the state can determine if you have a good business model worth investing in (as private banks already do here in the states) and provide funding and even go the extra mile to provide income to worker/owners while their business starts up (because business are rarely profitable right off the start) because their government recognizes the benefit for the economy to support small businesses.



In short, Wei, you are wrong, again, and your prescriptions will lead to economic failure and decline. The stagnation of the British economy in the 1970s is a prime example of what this economic model will look like, at best, until the outflux of productive people forces a government to either back off of the failing model, as Britain did in the 80s, or it imposes harsher and harsher controls, as we are now seeing in Venezuela. Eventually, it really does come down to a choice between economic freedom and the gulags.

Yes it's freedom or the gulags you win buddy

Odysseus
02-25-2011, 06:14 PM
You are using the different meanings of the word "value" interchangeably. I made the distinction for a reason, if you have a problem with that distinction elaborate on what that problem is but everyone know there are different kinds of "value" and throughout this post you conflate them all and use them interchangeably when it isn't appropriate.
You make the distinction because you assume that they are different. They aren't. The value of a commodity is what someone else is willing to pay for it. Anything else is Marxist idiocy.


Capital is a vampire because it represents abstract labor itself, and it is only sustained by exploiting living labor (expropriated surplus labor value) from workers. Capital doesn't mean "The Capitalist", even though it works through capitalists.
First, vampires are creatures of myth. So are Marxist utopias. Confine the discussion to reality.


Again you are working within a predefined framework where the investors are not the workers themselves.
Who says? A worker can voluntarily get together with other workers and establish a company, pooling their resources, which may be their labor ("sweat equity") or funds. Microsoft started that way. In fact, Microsoft repeatedly issued equity to employees as the company grew.


No because all of the "other costs" are the result of labor, even if you are not paying a salary, when you pay for a good or service, the price you are paying is the cost of the labor to provide your business with that good or service.
Then you are defining labor so loosely as to lose all meaning.


What you are doing is commodity fetishism, you keep looking at the thing itself and referring to it as if the value comes from that, rather than understanding that the value comes from the social relations which the product represents.

Yes you have other costs besides labor costs directly, but those other costs cost what they do because they require human labor to get to you and your business.
Wrong again. Different commodities have different values for reasons completely independent of labor. It takes the same effort to mine gold and copper, but one is worth far more than the other, due to the supply of that commodity (gold is rarer) and the demand (gold, in addition to being currency, is also a more effective electrical conductor than copper and has more industrial uses). By your logic, gold and copper should be the same value, since the labor involved in extracting, refining and transporting both is the same. Similarly, a painting by a master that took a few days should be worth less than a painting that an amateur labored over for years. This isn't fetishizing commodities, it's recognizing reality.


Again you're conflating the various meanings of the term "value".
No, I'm ignoring the various Marxist interpretations of it, just as I would ignore an alchemist's understanding of a periodic table of elements that only included Earth, Water, Fire and Air.


When you say that a Jacket costs $20 and a Blender costs $10, that's another way of saying that the exchange value of the Jacket is equal to that of 2 Blenders. You can say: 1 Jacket = 2 Blenders, this is why you can take the same $20 and buy either one, because they are equal in terms of exchange value. In fact any commodity can be exchanged for any other commodity, as long as you get the proportions correct, which means there is something that is the same in every commodity, but just in different amounts: that "something" is what money represents , it's value, and that value is exchange value (which is why money can and is exchanged for all commodities).

Every time you buy something with money, you accept that the commodity's value is equal to that which is represented by your dollar value, and is also equal to all other commodities of an equal value, which means that all commodities share something which money comes to represent. That something is abstract labor, it is the one "pure commodity" from which all others are derived. Everything of value has value because of the labor it requires to get it.
No. A jacket may sell for $20 (but cost less to make) while a blender may sell for $10, but that doesn't mean that I can trade two blenders for a jacket. The seller of the jacket may already have a blender, and not need or want two more, in which case, the value of the blenders is negligible to him. The idea that he can trade them at some other time simply means that he has to expend more effort to do so, and therefore the value of the blenders is futher diminished, because the jacket seller has no demand for them. Value is subjective. Neither item has a fixed price relative to the other.


Let me further clarify the difference between use-value and exchange value. Water is one of the most value substances in existence to humans, each and every one of us depends on lots of water to live, so in that sense water is of very high use-value, but it is worthless in exchange value is you live in a rainforest because it requires almost no labor (on average) to acquire it. Water thus has high use-value but low exchange value, because the source of exchange value (which money represents) is labor.

Diamonds on the other hand, are not so easy to get. They are very difficult to find because of their rarity and it takes a lot of hard work to extract it from the ground. Even if in some places it is easy to come across a diamond, on average, requires an extremely high amount of labor to acquire. They are functionally useless though. With the exception of some scientific uses or industrial uses for it's hardness, for the most part diamonds have very little use-value but they have an extreme exchange-value. This is because, again, exchange value comes from labor.
I understand the concept (and it comes originally from Locke, not Marx), but it still fails, because it doesn't take into account the issues of supply and demand. In the middle of a desert, a thirsty man will gladly trade diamonds for water. The value of either commodity is not based on the labor or exchange values, but is relative to the supply and the demand. The use-value and exchange-value change with the supply and the demand, and are therefore not fixed, and cannot be calculated in absolute terms, which is why Marx's theories failed.

Odysseus
02-25-2011, 06:14 PM
Right, while the average labor time needed (and thus the exchange value) is a given in my examples, in reality they are constantly changing. This is something that Marx goes into depth in the very first chapter of Capital.

Changes of technology are another example of things which may change the exchange value. There tends to be fairly consistent prices between gas stations even if the prices are not as consistent over time.

You've obviously never been to two gas stations in the middle of a price war. Marx saw the price of a commodity as an absolute, based on the sum of all labor that it took to produce it, but he never understood the variables of supply and demand. Adam Smith, OTOH, had a much more effective grasp of the concept:


The real price of every thing, what every thing really costs to the man who wants to acquire it, is the toil and trouble of acquiring it. What every thing is really worth to the man who has acquired it, and who wants to dispose of it or exchange it for something else, is the toil and trouble which it can save to himself, and which it can impose upon other people.
Thus, the value of a commodity is based, not on the labor that goes into it, but what we expect to get out of it.


You are espousing the views of 18th and 19th century Mercentalism but I'm not gonna write it off just because of that.
Hardly. Mercantilism was dead long before the 19th century. It held that the prosperity of a nation is dependent solely upon its supply of capital because the global volume of international trade is fixed, and therefore one party may benefit only at the expense of another. It sees international trade as a zero sum game and fails to see the value of specialization. If anything, I am espousing the anti-mercantilist positions of Adam Smith and the Austrian School of economics.


The problem I will point out, again, is your conflation of the different meanings of the term "value", which seems crucial to your position.
No, I am simply not buying into Marxist theories of value. No commodity has intrinsic value. Its value is based on the demand for it and the supply of it. A carpenter will pay more for a specialized drill bit than a hobbyist, because he believes that he can do more with it and increase the value of his output. His demand is greater, so he is willing to pay more. An artist will pay for a sable brush, while a kindergartner is happy with a rough sponge, for the same reason.



That's a collection of wealthy people who don't work at the company owning it, that's not "collective ownership".
Who says that they are wealthy? Bill Gates is wealthy now, but when he and his pals founded Microsoft, they weren't. And, a corporation is collective ownership. In fact, the word "corporate" is synonymous with "collective."


What I'm talking about is the workers owning the company. For example, in our current corporate world, a collectively owned company could be one where the workers of the company collectively own 51% of the stock, to be divided up between them equally or according to how the workers see fit (allowing managers or skilled workers to be paid more). The other 49% can be for whoever can afford it.
Let's go back to Microsoft, for a moment. When it started out, the founders, who were the workers, owned the entire company. Eventually, they went public and sold part of their holdings, resulting in the expansion of the company. The fact that Gates and the other founders no longer own more than 50% of the stock suddenly turns the company from a collectively owned (i.e., "good") company to an evil, soulless corporation?


Scraps to keep them pacified, it's not the same as the workers owning the company.
No, it's equity to give them a stake in the company. Should Gates have given every employee of Microsoft the same percentage of the company that he owns? Should a new hire at a long established firm get the same amount of the company that the founder has, even though the company wouldn't exist without his efforts for years before the company became profitable?


Cooperatively owned business models already exist. There are procedures in place just for investment, where either banks or the state can determine if you have a good business model worth investing in (as private banks already do here in the states) and provide funding and even go the extra mile to provide income to worker/owners while their business starts up (because business are rarely profitable right off the start) because their government recognizes the benefit for the economy to support small businesses.
I asked for examples and you provide generalities. And the state can no more determine whether someone has a good business model than it can predict the future. The validation of a business model is how it works when it competes with other businesses. You are proposing that government, either directly or through regulated proxies such as banks, pick winners at the starting gate. If central planners could do that, then the current US unemployment rate would still be in single digits.


Yes it's freedom or the gulags you win buddy
Only so long as I have a choice between the two.

Wei Wu Wei
02-25-2011, 07:11 PM
You make the distinction because you assume that they are different. They aren't. The value of a commodity is what someone else is willing to pay for it. Anything else is Marxist idiocy.

They are different and I will elaborate more on the topic of rare metals.




First, vampires are creatures of myth. So are Marxist utopias. Confine the discussion to reality.

lol



Who says? A worker can voluntarily get together with other workers and establish a company, pooling their resources, which may be their labor ("sweat equity") or funds. Microsoft started that way. In fact, Microsoft repeatedly issued equity to employees as the company grew.

Yes workers can do that but the picture changes when non-owner employees are hired.





Then you are defining labor so loosely as to lose all meaning.

No I'm not, I'm just reminding you that when you purchase a product of labor, you are still paying for the labor it takes to produce it, even if you only want the product.





Wrong again. Different commodities have different values for reasons completely independent of labor. It takes the same effort to mine gold and copper, but one is worth far more than the other, due to the supply of that commodity (gold is rarer) and the demand (gold, in addition to being currency, is also a more effective electrical conductor than copper and has more industrial uses). By your logic, gold and copper should be the same value, since the labor involved in extracting, refining and transporting both is the same.

No the value is not the same. The fact that copper is found in more abundance means that it is easier to obtain. You skipped over the labor process that it takes to find the metals, and only focused on the labor required to extract, refine, and transport it.

There is considerable labor time put into finding these metals, and that is where the difference is. Yes you might get lucky and stumble across a nugget of gold but the exchange value of gold represents the average labor time needed to get it. So, on average, it takes far more labor time to 'produce' gold (including the labor time needed to find it, and extract it, refine it, ect.) than it does to 'produce' copper, even though the mechanical processes are similar.

If you are claiming that the use-value makes it cost more, in that gold is more effective electrical conductor, look at Iron. Iron has far more wide ranging uses, and is used in a far greater amount, but again it takes less average labor time to obtain iron than it does gold.




Similarly, a painting by a master that took a few days should be worth less than a painting that an amateur labored over for years. This isn't fetishizing commodities, it's recognizing reality.

Also, I mentioned this before and so does Marx (in Chapter 1 which I assume you should know since you post as if you are so familiar). Skilled labor can be counted as multiplied simple labor. This is why for example the value of a jacket costs more than the materials required to make it (and those materials themselves costing the value of the labor to produce those), because the skilled labor of a tailor is worth more in terms of labor time than the lesser-skilled weaving of the cloth. This is why a dinner prepared by a chef is worth more than the total labor needed to obtain the food materials. so on and so on.



No. A jacket may sell for $20 (but cost less to make) while a blender may sell for $10, but that doesn't mean that I can trade two blenders for a jacket.

It sort of does. I mean sure a store may have a policy against taking blenders in exchange for jackets but the fact that they are the same price means that they share the same exchange value.



The seller of the jacket may already have a blender, and not need or want two more, in which case, the value of the blenders is negligible to him. The idea that he can trade them at some other time simply means that he has to expend more effort to do so, and therefore the value of the blenders is futher diminished, because the jacket seller has no demand for them. Value is subjective. Neither item has a fixed price relative to the other.

The money-form arises only after commodities have been taken into exchange with one another so that they obtain relatively consistent exchange values.

Money is just paper but it represent the common "something" that all commodities share, which allows money to be exchanged for roughly any commodity at roughly consistent quantities. That something is crucial.





I understand the concept (and it comes originally from Locke, not Marx), but it still fails, because it doesn't take into account the issues of supply and demand. In the middle of a desert, a thirsty man will gladly trade diamonds for water. The value of either commodity is not based on the labor or exchange values, but is relative to the supply and the demand. The use-value and exchange-value change with the supply and the demand, and are therefore not fixed, and cannot be calculated in absolute terms, which is why Marx's theories failed.


This is just another way of describing the average labor time necessary to obtain the commodity. In the desert, water is hard to obtain. It exists, but it's deep under the sand or in tiny amounts within plants. If there were a society in the desert and water was very hard to come by, then yes the exchange-value would increase dramatically so as to reflect the increased average labor needed to find, extract, clean, ect. the water.

A thirsty man would gladly trade diamonds for water because the only value that diamonds have (primarily) is exchange-value while water always has high use-value but because of it's extremely high-abundance (it literally falls from the sky), it generally has low exchange value but this exchange value would certainly change if the average labor time needed to get the water increased.

In your image of a man exchanging diamonds for water, where is this water coming from? If the water is pouring out of the ground he doesn't have to exchange anything for it. If the water is sitting around in jugs he also doesn't have to exchange anything for it. He only has to exchange something for it if someone else has the water and offers it to him in exchange. If Person B brings water to him to trade, then obviously that took labor to obtain in the first place. Even if Person B got the water from a rainforest and brought it into the desert, the labor needed to transport it is where the value it. If Person B squeezed the water out of plants and dig it out of the sand then the high exchange value would be that labor time. What I mean when I say commodity fetishism is believing that the exchange value (not the use-value) is a property inherent to the thing itself. Use-values are properties in the physical thing itself (nutrients, materials, ect), but exchange values only arise when commodities are brought into relation to each through exchange, where they represent labor as the commensurable substance they share.

Wei Wu Wei
02-25-2011, 07:27 PM
You've obviously never been to two gas stations in the middle of a price war. Marx saw the price of a commodity as an absolute, based on the sum of all labor that it took to produce it, but he never understood the variables of supply and demand. Adam Smith, OTOH, had a much more effective grasp of the concept:

First it's the total average labor time needed to produce it, and second Marx repeats over and over that these are processes that occur in-motion, they are not fixed.




The real price of every thing, what every thing really costs to the man who wants to acquire it, is the toil and trouble of acquiring it. What every thing is really worth to the man who has acquired it, and who wants to dispose of it or exchange it for something else, is the toil and trouble which it can save to himself, and which it can impose upon other people.
Thus, the value of a commodity is based, not on the labor that goes into it, but what we expect to get out of it.

I don't think you are understanding that quote.

"What you expect to get out of it?" no, it's pure abstract labor. If I have something I can exchange it, and it's value as an exchangable commodity is how much labor it would cost me to produce whatever other thing I want.

I can exchange a few gallons of cooking oil for a pair of gloves, so those gallons of cooking oil to me are not valuable in their ability to cook, but rather in the amount of labor it would cost me to make gloves. I can get gloves because the commodity that I have is worth the labor needed to make them, so my own commodities then serve to relieve me of having to expend my own labor, because they represent labor in themselves.





Hardly. Mercantilism was dead long before the 19th century. It held that the prosperity of a nation is dependent solely upon its supply of capital because the global volume of international trade is fixed, and therefore one party may benefit only at the expense of another. It sees international trade as a zero sum game and fails to see the value of specialization. If anything, I am espousing the anti-mercantilist positions of Adam Smith and the Austrian School of economics.

Okay cool.





No, I am simply not buying into Marxist theories of value. No commodity has intrinsic value.

It has intrinsic use value but it does not have intrinsic exchange value that can be determined on it's own. It only gains exchange value when brought into relation with another commodity, which (the second commidity) serves as a representation of the value of the first commodity.


Its value is based on the demand for it and the supply of it.

Again "demand" is just another way of saying use-value and "supply" is just another way of saying average necessary labor time.



This is precisely A carpenter will pay more for a specialized drill bit than a hobbyist, because he believes that he can do more with it and increase the value of his output. His demand is greater, so he is willing to pay more. An artist will pay for a sable brush, while a kindergartner is happy with a rough sponge, for the same reason.

No not really. The exchange value of a brush is the same whether an artist buys it or a truck driver, what you are referring to here is personal-value or use-value, in which case a brush has more personal use-value for a painter than it does for a truck driver. This is what I mean by conflating the various meanings of "Value".

Otherwise people would be paying different prices for the same goods depending on what they plan to do with it.




Who says that they are wealthy? Bill Gates is wealthy now, but when he and his pals founded Microsoft, they weren't. And, a corporation is collective ownership. In fact, the word "corporate" is synonymous with "collective."

Collective ownership amongst the workers, not amongst a group of investors.

Or, you can have both, so long as the workers own 51%



Let's go back to Microsoft, for a moment. When it started out, the founders, who were the workers, owned the entire company. Eventually, they went public and sold part of their holdings, resulting in the expansion of the company. The fact that Gates and the other founders no longer own more than 50% of the stock suddenly turns the company from a collectively owned (i.e., "good") company to an evil, soulless corporation?

No it is the fact that they appropriate surplus labor off of their employees which makes them inherently exploitative. Evil, Soulless? Well I don't know everything souls but I'm going to guess corporations don't have them, but this isn't an argument based in morality.

There are other problems with Microsoft (the pandora's box of software which unlike all previous commodities can be endlessly replicated for almost no labor at all), but I'll save that for another discussion.




No, it's equity to give them a stake in the company. Should Gates have given every employee of Microsoft the same percentage of the company that he owns? Should a new hire at a long established firm get the same amount of the company that the founder has, even though the company wouldn't exist without his efforts for years before the company became profitable?

Let the workers own the company, let the workers invest in the company, let the workers take on the risk associate with the company, and let the workers decide who's jobs deserve to have higher pay.





I asked for examples and you provide generalities. And the state can no more determine whether someone has a good business model than it can predict the future.

Neither can a bank. Banks evaluate their investments all the time and the state has a vested interest in keeping small businesses competative because they can drive our economy.


The validation of a business model is how it works when it competes with other businesses. You are proposing that government, either directly or through regulated proxies such as banks, pick winners at the starting gate. If central planners could do that, then the current US unemployment rate would still be in single digits.

No I'm saying make it very easy through loans and other financial means for workers to collectively start businesses and the competitive nature of these businesses would be good for the economy.

txradioguy
02-26-2011, 02:36 AM
That's a collection of wealthy people who don't work at the company owning it, that's not "collective ownership".


I own stock. I make about 50K a year.

Please explain how I'm a part of that collection of "'wealthy" people.




Let the workers own the company, let the workers invest in the company, let the workers take on the risk associate with the company, and let the workers decide who's jobs deserve to have higher pay.


This already happens. You act like it doesn't.

Oh wait...what you're pushing for is the complete Communist myth of "ownership" where the "People" own the company...the factory...the (insert government run business here).

In your Communist mind the "people" and Government are interchangable. They are one and the same.

Constitutionally Speaking
02-26-2011, 01:50 PM
You're talking about a different sort of value, and focusing on the individual level only. There's a distinction between personal value (how much you desire something), use-value (the valuable function that a thing has), and it's exchange value (the fact that 1 Item A and a dozen package of Item B both costs $20 is another way of saying that, even if the two items are qualitatively different in their use-values [they can be any commodity], there is something equal between the two commodities). You can exchange 1 Item A for a dozen Item B's and vice versa, and the dollar value represents this "common something" that is commensurable between the two items.

Even if you have no personal value for a television if you don't watch television, that television still retains it's exchange value in that you can exchange the television for a given amount of some item you do want.

The common something that all commodities of exchange have is the amount of abstract human labor it takes to produce them.

If I say 5 gallons of gasoline = 1 Jacket, the jacket stands purely for the amount of value that the gasoline has, the jacket represents exchange value. This is like when you use measured Iron weights to represent the amount of weight something else has (if you were to put Iron and something else on a scale, the iron doesn't represent iron in it's use-form, but as a property within it, namely it's weight - that is, the iron represents how much weight the other item on the scale has). You cannot have pure weight by itself because it doesn't exist by itself, you must have an item with weight (iron) to represent the weight of other items. Likewise, you cannot see value in acommodity itself, but only when it's given in relation to another commodity ( 5 gallons of gasoline = 1 Jacket).

So, looking at exchange value - the common something that all commodities share such that they are commensurable in their exchange is their being products of human labor, where abstract human labor is measured in terms of labor hours (with skilled labor being comparable to multiplied simple labor, and thus 'worth' more).

With this in mind, the main question: where does profit come from? becomes clear, it comes from the capitalist expropriating surplus labor that is not compensated to the workers who's labor created the product.



Yes well it's about time we try making it out of the 20th.


Sorry, Ginger had it EXACTLY correct. You are talking COST not value. Profit comes from the difference between the two.

To address your point though, labor DOES have a value. That value though, is whatever someone is willing to pay for it.

The product was not "CREATED" by labor, it was assembled. In most instances, that assembly is not a particularly unique ability, and thus (due to the laws of supply and demand) it is not worth as much as the CREATION of the item - which required a fairly unique set of abilities to envision, assemble the raw material, coordinate the assembly and create a market for the product.

Labor gets paid exactly what it is willing to sell itself for - what values itself at. It gets paid EXACTLY what someone is willing to pay for it - what that person values it at.

Labor's problem is NOT that they are getting taken advantage of by management. Their problem is that the product they supply is abundant and easily replaced. If they wish to change this, the people can make themselves more unique, and thus beat the laws of supply and demand by becoming something where demand is higher relative to it's supply. This can be accomplished via education or training in an area that is in demand, OR they can put themselves in the position of creation - and if they posses the UNIQUE abilities to coordinate all of the inputs AND combine that with the unique ability to create a market, they can reap the rewards for that.

NJCardFan
02-26-2011, 02:08 PM
Name me one person who's labor is being exploited?

I'm still waiting for a list of names who are being exploited.

Constitutionally Speaking
02-26-2011, 02:09 PM
To further prove my point. Star athletes, entertainers etc. are the "labor" in their prospective fields and because they posses an ability that is unique and has a demand, they get paid extremely well.

AmPat
02-26-2011, 03:22 PM
You mean like Rupert Murdoch?
OR:
Democrats Top Republican Fund-Raising on Wall Street (Update1)


April 24 (Bloomberg) -- Democrats outdid Republicans last year in attracting political donations from investment banks, brokerages and fund managers for the first time since 1994, helped by support from hedge funds and companies such as Merrill Lynch & Co. http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=ann7KHncBOdc&refer=us


http://www.nytimes.com/2000/03/23/us/trial-lawyers-pour-money-into-democrats-chests.html (http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=ann7KHncBOdc&refer=us)
http://blogs.wsj.com/health/2008/05/28/health-industry-donations-favor-democrats-over-republicans/
http://abcnews.go.com/Business/largest-hedge-fund-donors-show-bipartisan-support-democrats/story?id=10425809
http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2010/07/09/dems-sound-the-alarm-on-gop-spending/?fbid=AvEm5V49XoI)

Corporate Contributions Shift to the LeftThe shift includes backers of the Republican Party in the insurance, pharmaceuticals and tobacco industries, such as American International Group Inc., Wyeth, and Reynolds American Inc., according to PoliticalMoneyLine, a nonpartisan tracker of campaign contributions.
http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/0619-05.htm

Still wanna play?:rolleyes:

Odysseus
02-27-2011, 05:15 PM
They are different and I will elaborate more on the topic of rare metals.
Whenever you're ready...


lol
Yeah, Marxism would be funny if not for the horrific results.


Yes workers can do that but the picture changes when non-owner employees are hired.
So, you're saying that an employee who is hired decades after the beginning of a company is entitled to a percentage of ownership? Lt's take a look at intellectual property. Marvel Comics owns Spiderman. The original creators leave the book after several years, during which time they establish a product and build a market. Subsequent teams work on the book, some for long runs, some for one-shot fill-ins or back up features. Should every one of those subsequent workers get a share in the character in perpetuity? If Spiderman appears in X-Men, does the guy who drew a fill-in issue now own a piece of X-Men? Does that guy own a piece of Superman when the companies do a crossover?


No I'm not, I'm just reminding you that when you purchase a product of labor, you are still paying for the labor it takes to produce it, even if you only want the product.
Always? What if you buy it used? Or the supply outstrips the demand and it's sold at a loss? Or a new version comes out and the older models are now discounted?


No the value is not the same. The fact that copper is found in more abundance means that it is easier to obtain. You skipped over the labor process that it takes to find the metals, and only focused on the labor required to extract, refine, and transport it.

There is considerable labor time put into finding these metals, and that is where the difference is. Yes you might get lucky and stumble across a nugget of gold but the exchange value of gold represents the average labor time needed to get it. So, on average, it takes far more labor time to 'produce' gold (including the labor time needed to find it, and extract it, refine it, ect.) than it does to 'produce' copper, even though the mechanical processes are similar.

If you are claiming that the use-value makes it cost more, in that gold is more effective electrical conductor, look at Iron. Iron has far more wide ranging uses, and is used in a far greater amount, but again it takes less average labor time to obtain iron than it does gold.
But, as I pointed out before, the value of gold is not only based on the supply, but the demand. Oil is becoming easier to extract, and we're finding it in more places than ever before, but the price continues to rise because of factors that are completely unrelated to the labor involved in extracting it. Instability in the Middle East, combined with moratoriums on extraction here serve to restrict the supply, while the demand continues to rise. The labor involved in extracting it hasn't changed, in fact, it's become more and more automated. It's demand that has increased, while the amount of labor involved has decreased. By the same token, a wide-screen TV is exactly as labor intensive as it was a year ago, but when energy prices rise, the demand for that TV drops. Supply and demand determine costs, and there is more to them than labor.


Also, I mentioned this before and so does Marx (in Chapter 1 which I assume you should know since you post as if you are so familiar). Skilled labor can be counted as multiplied simple labor. This is why for example the value of a jacket costs more than the materials required to make it (and those materials themselves costing the value of the labor to produce those), because the skilled labor of a tailor is worth more in terms of labor time than the lesser-skilled weaving of the cloth. This is why a dinner prepared by a chef is worth more than the total labor needed to obtain the food materials. so on and so on.
This is another area where Marx breaks down. He cannot (nor can anyone else) quantify labor, even among skilled laborers, to determine absolute values of that labor. A great chef may or may not be in demand, as his style of cooking may go out of popular taste. A tailor may do a great zoot suit, but fashions change, and the demand for his products will rise or fall. Marxist theories of labor value ignore demand.


It sort of does. I mean sure a store may have a policy against taking blenders in exchange for jackets but the fact that they are the same price means that they share the same exchange value.
No, the only have the same price. If I don't need or want a blender, nothing that you say is going to make me take two of them in return for a jacket.


The money-form arises only after commodities have been taken into exchange with one another so that they obtain relatively consistent exchange values.
To say that two blenders equals one jacket assumes that someone has the same need for two blenders as he has for one jacket. If you're calculating the money that a store has spent to create its inventory, then you can lump apples and oranges, jackets and blenders, but even if the price of the two commodities is the same, that doesn't mean that you can exchange them as if they were currency. The value of the commodity is determined by the demand for it vs. the supply.


Money is just paper but it represent the common "something" that all commodities share, which allows money to be exchanged for roughly any commodity at roughly consistent quantities. That something is crucial.
That something is called "stored value". Money represents the idea that there are unconsumed goods that can be purchased. The first forms of money were just receipts for grains that were stored in a common silo in Sumer. Rather than exchanging the grain, one exchanged the receipts. But it is the storage of value that defines money. In other words, money is a means of documenting savings, in order to allow trade between current goods and future goods, regardless of the amount of labor involved.

Odysseus
02-27-2011, 05:16 PM
In your image of a man exchanging diamonds for water, where is this water coming from? If the water is pouring out of the ground he doesn't have to exchange anything for it. If the water is sitting around in jugs he also doesn't have to exchange anything for it. He only has to exchange something for it if someone else has the water and offers it to him in exchange. If Person B brings water to him to trade, then obviously that took labor to obtain in the first place. Even if Person B got the water from a rainforest and brought it into the desert, the labor needed to transport it is where the value it. If Person B squeezed the water out of plants and dig it out of the sand then the high exchange value would be that labor time. What I mean when I say commodity fetishism is believing that the exchange value (not the use-value) is a property inherent to the thing itself. Use-values are properties in the physical thing itself (nutrients, materials, ect), but exchange values only arise when commodities are brought into relation to each through exchange, where they represent labor as the commensurable substance they share.
It doesn't matter where it comes from, as long as someone else has it and someone else wants it. It could be in an oasis, which is under the control of another person. It could be piped in, or it could be flowing in a river on privately owned land. Person B doesn't have to do anything except control access to it. This, BTW, is another form of revenue, which Adam Smith refers to as "rent", or the control of something without labor or investment.


I don't think you are understanding that quote.

"What you expect to get out of it?" no, it's pure abstract labor. If I have something I can exchange it, and it's value as an exchangable commodity is how much labor it would cost me to produce whatever other thing I want.

I can exchange a few gallons of cooking oil for a pair of gloves, so those gallons of cooking oil to me are not valuable in their ability to cook, but rather in the amount of labor it would cost me to make gloves. I can get gloves because the commodity that I have is worth the labor needed to make them, so my own commodities then serve to relieve me of having to expend my own labor, because they represent labor in themselves.
Unless, of course, you want to cook something. Then the cooking oil is worth more to you than the gloves at that time. Demand, again.


No not really. The exchange value of a brush is the same whether an artist buys it or a truck driver, what you are referring to here is personal-value or use-value, in which case a brush has more personal use-value for a painter than it does for a truck driver. This is what I mean by conflating the various meanings of "Value".

Otherwise people would be paying different prices for the same goods depending on what they plan to do with it.
Which they do all of the time. Ever been to an auction? That's a roomful of people with divergent demands for the same commodity, each one deciding how much he or she can get out of what is for sale and how much they are willing to pay for it. The labor-value of the auction item is no different to anyone in the room, but the use-value is radically different. The supply is a constant, the demand is elastic.


Collective ownership amongst the workers, not amongst a group of investors.

Or, you can have both, so long as the workers own 51%
Gates and his initial group were the workers. Eventually, they became management and delegated the scut work of writing code and developing marketing plans to employees. Why should those employees suddenly own 51% of the company? The initial investment wasn't cash, but sweat, but the principle is the same. If I come up with an idea for a new way of refining steel, and I find an investor who is willing to lend me the money, which I repay with interest, why should the people that I hire have a greater share of the company than I do? But, loans are generally not longterm in business, and the cost of starting a company from scratch is usually far greater than most people are willing to lend, except at exorbitant rates, which would bankrupt the company before it would be able to get started. What if, instead, I get several financiers, who see the value of the idea, and are willing to front the money in exchange for a share? They are putting up the money, I am providing the management and skills. Why should the secretaries, data entry clerks and loading dock workers have 51% of the company? They aren't selling anything but their labor, and when they are done. they can take it elsewhere. The investors and I are the only ones committed.


No it is the fact that they appropriate surplus labor off of their employees which makes them inherently exploitative. Evil, Soulless? Well I don't know everything souls but I'm going to guess corporations don't have them, but this isn't an argument based in morality.
A term such as exploitation cam only be valid in terms of morality.Otherwise, why get bent out of shape about it? And they aren't appropriating anything. They're paying for labor. Again, why should an employee who shows up ten years after the start of the company, who didn't risk anything when it was an impoverished startup, but


There are other problems with Microsoft (the pandora's box of software which unlike all previous commodities can be endlessly replicated for almost no labor at all), but I'll save that for another discussion.

Intellectual property is more easily replicated, but it is still property. Henry Ford started his business on a shoestring, as well. So did John D. Rockefeller. Andrew Carnegie was an impoverished immigrant from Scotland. All of them started out with an idea, found others willing to invest, and made fortunes. Why should people whose only contribution is a few hours of labor per day have the same consideration as the men who built the companies up from nothing? Why should a group of workers who arrived long after the company was started have a greater share than the people whose exposure to risk, vision and perseverance was what made the company great in the first place?


Let the workers own the company, let the workers invest in the company, let the workers take on the risk associate with the company, and let the workers decide who's jobs deserve to have higher pay.
If they start the company, then no one is stopping them. But if the company is already in existence, then how are they to come by ownership?


Neither can a bank. Banks evaluate their investments all the time and the state has a vested interest in keeping small businesses competative because they can drive our economy.
Wrong. The state has no interest in keeping small businesses competitive. In fact, the state finds larger businesses easier to regulate and extract money from. This is why governments that get involved in the marketplace invariably restrict competition and raise the bar to entry for small competitors. And banks approach IPOs by looking at the track records of the people involved and weighing the risks and the merits, while governments look at political expediency. They try to pick loan recipients by everything but the risks and rewards. Government loans are based on race, sex, influence, connections, a whole litany of criteria completely at odds with the merits of the project.


No I'm saying make it very easy through loans and other financial means for workers to collectively start businesses and the competitive nature of these businesses would be good for the economy.
You mean like in the case of YouTube, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Ford, Chrysler, General Electric, AT&T and every other corporation that started out as an idea, accumulated capital and expanded to become huge? Those businesses were all started by people who worked for themselves, started small and gradually expanded until they had enough of a track record to attract investment and expand.