I'm a Marxist. Are you? Why/Why not?

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This topic contains 72 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  Unseen 1 month, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #38676

    TheEncogitationer
    Participant

    Robert,

    COVID-19 didn’t exist back then, and who knows?  If it did, maybe Lucy could be one of the investors in the companies that made the vaccine if it wasn’t for all the other Peanuts characters wanting to pilfer from her rightful fortune.

    #38679

    TheEncogitationer
    Participant

    Unseen,

    I thought I made clear that I don’t think Marx saw labor’s value as expressed in dollars in the marketplace of even usefulness to the end purchaser, but rather as a percentage of the labor exerted to produce a product.

    By that Marxist standard, the labor of the worker who presses buttons and 3-D prints housing components in mere hours is worth less than the decades of work of slaves who stomped clay with their bare feet to make bricks for a ridiculous pyramid so that a Pharoah may travel in peace to an alleged hereafter.

    In a free-market economy, it works just the opposite…and hurray that it does!

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 4 weeks ago by  TheEncogitationer. Reason: Spelling and an addendum
    #38681

    Unseen
    Participant

    Unseen,

    I thought I made clear that I don’t think Marx saw labor’s value as expressed in dollars in the marketplace of even usefulness to the end purchaser, but rather as a percentage of the labor exerted to produce a product.

    By that Marxist standard, the labor of the worker who presses buttons and 3-D prints housing components in mere hours is worth less than the decades of work of slaves who stomped clay with their bare fet to make bricks so that a Pharoah may travel in peace to an alleged hereafter. In a free-market economy, it works just the opposite…and hurray that it does!

    I do think it’s insane to have bronze statues in praise of traitorous Southern generals when there are no bronze memorials to the many slaves who actually built a good deal of the country and its economy for the first couple hundred years.

    How do you measure labor? Calories expended? Are workers no more than a source of energy to you? It would seem so.

    #38682

    TheEncogitationer
    Participant

    Unseen,

    It is not my intention to give you another heart attack or trouble you in any way, but you may want to give the criticisms and controversies of GoodWill Industries a good, long read:

    GoodWill Industries–Wikipedia

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goodwill_Industries

    Also, there’s some contradicting information on the very origins of GoodWill Industries.  The Wiki page for the organization says it was founded by Methodist Minister Rev. Edgar J. Helms in 1902.

    Yet the Wiki page for “The Fellowship” (documented in the informative Netflix series The Family which you recommended once) has it that Abraham Vereide founded GoodWill Industries in 1916 and the page linked to the GoodWill Industries Wiki page:

    The Fellowship–Wikipedia

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fellowship_(Christian_organization)

    Well, whoever founded GoodWill Industries, I say before anyone points to the splinter in the eye of Free-Market Capitslism, they need to take out the 84 Lumber store in the eye of non-profits.

    These non-profit ladies not only doth protest too much, methinks, but they are on a Sodium Pentathol IV drip and won’t shut up!

    The blind have a better chance with any for-profit IT industry firm than with GoodWill Industries.  All they’d need is a Braille keyboard and they’re set for a better life.

     

    #38683

    TheEncogitationer
    Participant

    Unseen,

    I do think it’s insane to have bronze statues in praise of traitorous Southern generals when there are no bronze memorials to the many slaves who actually built a good deal of the country and its economy for the first couple hundred years.

    Local governments shouldn’t be in the business of commemorating and curating anyone or anything.  Let those who have the clay and Crayolas to do that sort of thing do it on their own time and Dime and their own premises.

    As for the the role of slavery in creating U.S. wealth, if what you say is true, why was the Industrial Free North wealthier than the Agrarian, Feudal Slave South?

    How do you measure labor? Calories expended? Are workers no more than a source of energy to you? It would seem so.

    You got it wrong.  It was Marx who evidently thought that labor was no more than a Duracell for The Matrix and the only source of value.

    As far as I see it, creation of a product or service ultimately starts with an idea of a rational mind and imagination putting together two or more things never previously put together before to achieve a goal, such as this example and it’s never-ending spin-off products:

    Labor and materials give the idea tangible form and are important and deserve reward and respect, but without the idea, the product or service wouldn’t exist at all and you’d just have two Early Woke foodies fighting in the street.

    #38684

    Unseen
    Participant

    @Enco

    The controversies surrounding Goodwill are well-known to the employees. To me, the worst is the top management compensation. Just way too high for a charity.

    As for lower pay for handicapped workers, there are defenses for it. Many of them are far less productive than the fully-able workers and their “work” at Goodwill can be viewed as training, not regular work. Also, many of the disabled do have outside sources of income. It does allow them to get away from home and be around other people which would be a benefit to them even if they were volunteers.

    Goodwill uses techniques like quotas and contests pitting one area against another to get “better numbers,” but these are generally not applied to the handicapped workers.

    But that is a contentious topic with seemingly good arguments on both sides.

    BTW, I used to try to coach my newer younger workers about trying to meet assigned quotas. “What do you think will happen if we meet the quota?” “Hmm… I don’t know.” “They’ll come back with an even higher quota. Just do your job well and don’t even think about the quota.” Less stress, which was artificial anyway, since, as far as I can recall, nobody ever got fired over quota matters. Just being lazy or stealing or violent could get one fired. However, that happened only rarely. We all got along well, generally, even though we were a mix of African and Caribbean blacks, East Indians, Native Americans, and others. White folks were less than half the workers. It was a great workplace in that regard.

    #38686

    Unseen
    Participant

    @Enco

    Let’s return to the first video. It’s brief and Prof. Wolff explains his interpretation of Marx’s labor theory of value:

    #38687

    _Robert_
    Participant

    I would like to know how the labor theory of value (labor creates surplus value) applies to handguns in the US? Seems to me American society would gain value if all the handguns ever made were smelted down and cast into frying pans. Or how about cigarettes? Where is all that surplus value in a pack of smokes?

    #38693

    Unseen
    Participant

    As I understand the theory, labor creates value over and above what the laborers who produce the product receive in exchange for their efforts after other costs are taken into account, of course (raw materials, tools, machines, marketing efforts, getting the products to market, etc.). Unfortunately, this is where price does enter in because price determines profit and profit is just another word for surplus value.

    That being so, I don’t think there’s a way to answer your question. Indeed, I think it’s rhetorical.

    #38792

    TheEncogitationer
    Participant

    Unseen,

    . In a taxation environment, you owe taxes from the start. It’s the governments as you accrue value. Conservatives like to frame it as “They come and take MY money” whereas the taxes never were your money even though they were in your possession. You can have taxes deducted from your paycheck, which is a tacit recognition of that fact. You are earning money that belongs to the government in parallel to the money you earn that belongs to you.

    Are you meaning to say that ultimately, all wealth ultimately belongs to government and that if government is not taxing you, it’e doing you a favor?

    I think you have things exactly in reverse.  First came man, then came property, then came government created by men to protect men and their property.

    The Declaration of Independence effectively says as much: “To secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”

    And the Ninth and Tenth Amendment of the Bill of Rights also effectively say that individual rights, including property rights, pre-exist governments.

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by  TheEncogitationer. Reason: Spelling
    #38803

    _Robert_
    Participant

    How about some actual economic facts for a change?

    The top 1% of the population by wealth owns 89% of stocks; the bottom 50% hold 0.5%.

    https://www.cnbc.com/2021/06/23/how-much-wealth-top-1percent-of-americans-have.html

    The United States’ $28T national debt is relatively small in comparison to the $42T in wealth held by the top 1%, and especially small in comparison to the $91T held by the top 10%. In fact, the top one percent alone holds more wealth than the entire US middle class. One may be surprised that Govt spending to GDP ratio has barely budged since WW2, especially if you consider our aging population. With birth rates declining, the only way to fuel the economy is immigration. Of course scores of trailer park republicans and assorted others have no clue about all of this. They think of Govt debt as borrowed money. It is not. Inflation may hit 3% this year…COVID  shortage based inflation. Again, thank you republicants. Many economists believe 3% is a good number. We can do so much better at managing the wealth so that all Americans live a decent life.

    Inflation

    2010     1.6%
    2011     3.2%
    2012     2.1%
    2013     1.5%
    2014     1.6%
    2015     0.1%
    2016     1.3%
    2017     2.1%
    2018     2.4%
    2019     1.8%
    2020     1.2%

     

     

    #38804

    jakelafort
    Participant

    Robert those numbers are alarming. It is amazing so many permit so few to gorge. Crumbs to the untermensch. Historically those are disparities that cause revolution. Perhaps the influence created by the wealth is the decisive difference between then and now. Many Americans act against their interests/have beliefs against their interest. Some even refuse stimulus checks.

    #38809

    Unseen
    Participant

    @_Robert_

    To hear Republicans talk, you’d think multibillionaires are a downtrodden group of oppressed people. I found the following chart at AmericansForTaxFairness.org.

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by  Unseen.
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