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Tags socialism , worker cooperatives

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Old 7th September 2017, 02:09 AM   #241
JJM 777
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If people are starving to death in the society, that would be a reason to proclaim national emergency, and temporarily confiscate all food etc. necessities, to be compensated to their current owners later. Such a scenario is not a meaningful example for assessing the correct behaviour of businesses.

Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
Not really.
A bit more neutrality would be welcome. Profit motives surely do exist, but they are not the only reason why businesses exist. Actually a large number of small businesses exist without any realistic hope of giving a meaningful return on the invested money (putting the same money on a high-interest bank account would return more), they simply exist to keep the owner and maybe a few other people employed. It is called "self-employment", owning a company just to employ yourself.

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Old 7th September 2017, 02:58 AM   #242
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As I already mentioned, context matter a great deal. I suspect outrage about food-dumping would happen even before the situation is such that a national (or global) emergency is proclaimed. It seems to me that you assume grocery stores will go bankrupt if they gave away food intended for the dumpster (or engaged in systematic discounting concerning foodstuffs about to expire). That assumption seems unfounded.

Originally Posted by JJM 777
A bit more neutrality would be welcome. Profit motives surely do exist, but they are not the only reason why businesses exist. Actually a large number of small businesses exist without any realistic hope of giving a meaningful return on the invested money (putting the same money on a high-interest bank account would return more), they simply exist to keep the owner and maybe a few other people employed. It is called "self-employment", owning a company just to employ yourself.
Neutrality? I'm simply not willing to conflate two analytical notions: (a) a defining characteristic with (b) an assumption about what makes an economy sustainable or not. Not without further clarifications.

But sure, if you by "sustainability" mean something like an imperative for reproducing this particular mode of production (*b*), i.e., the capitalistic mode, I might agree.

So: Businesses that cannot generate an operating surplus in money form (profit) tend to dissolve in the long run. Hence profit-seeking is not simply about generating a meaningful return to investors, but about survival (especially small businesses). With that in mind, it's going to be interesting to see if, for example, Twitter Inc. will survive another 10 years if it cannot begin to generate profit.
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Old 8th September 2017, 02:33 AM   #243
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Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
It seems to me that you assume grocery stores will go bankrupt if they gave away food intended for the dumpster (or engaged in systematic discounting concerning foodstuffs about to expire). That assumption seems unfounded.
Whether the assumption is founded or not, depends on how high above waterline the grocery store has its nose economically, especially if the donation is made to locals.

While this grocery store example is appealing and dramatic, and brings a tear in my eye-corner, groceries are by no means the only product which gets thrown away without first trying to donate it for free. Practically nothing is donated for free.

If the food goes to some use, for example to pigs, it is OK for me, under circumstances where all citizens have a fair income, and can be expected to pay a fair full price for their own food. Which obviously are not the circumstances that we live in.

Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
So: Businesses that cannot generate an operating surplus in money form (profit) tend to dissolve in the long run. Hence profit-seeking is not simply about generating a meaningful return to investors, but about survival (especially small businesses).
Surplus may not be necessary, but avoiding deficit is. An option exists between these two: +/- zero. Investors will take their money away from stock that does not produce surplus, but self-employers or family businesses might not want to saw the branch they are sitting on.

Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
it's going to be interesting to see if, for example, Twitter Inc. will survive another 10 years if it cannot begin to generate profit.
Social media has also other uses than generating money. For example, generating population data for NSA. Money is not the only motive for keeping a business alive.

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Old 8th September 2017, 03:56 AM   #244
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Originally Posted by JJM 777
Whether the assumption is founded or not, depends on how high above waterline the grocery store has its nose economically, especially if the donation is made to locals.

While this grocery store example is appealing and dramatic, and brings a tear in my eye-corner, groceries are by no means the only product which gets thrown away without first trying to donate it for free. Practically nothing is donated for free.

If the food goes to some use, for example to pigs, it is OK for me, under circumstances where all citizens have a fair income, and can be expected to pay a fair full price for their own food. Which obviously are not the circumstances that we live in.
Right, that's not the circumstance we live in… and that's also one of the reasons outrage about food-dumping can come about. The further away from your ideal, the more there seems to be grounds for outrage.

Look, the situation is no different from any other regulations that impinge on profit-making. We have had numerous of them throughout history. Some businesses at the margin may perhaps not cope, while others will. That's how it has always been. That does, however, not mean privately owned grocery store business in general will become extinct. But if they do, it's surely a clear signal such service is better suited for the public sector. (I don't think that's relevant right now anyhow.)

The profit-motive, despite being a defining feature, is not sacrosanct with regards to encroaching social and political norms.

Originally Posted by JJM 777
Surplus may not be necessary, but avoiding deficit is. An option exists between these two: +/- zero. Investors will take their money away from stock that does not produce surplus, but self-employers or family businesses might not want to saw the branch they are sitting on.
Salaries paid to one self (for self-employers) in a non-deficit scenario is pretty much what we mean by a surplus. Either they (A) make a surplus and live out of that surplus, or (B) they pay themselves a salary and produce a zero result (+/-). Basically A = B in this regard.

Originally Posted by JJM 777
Social media has also other uses than generating money. For example, generating population data for NSA. Money is not the only motive for keeping a business alive.
Yes, there can indeed be heterogeneity regarding uses. But notice how you refer to an institution (NSA) that is not required to produce surplus (it's not even expected to). That's the difference between private and public institutions, also under capitalism.

I'm however mainly talking about imperatives for private businesses. Within the private sphere, a company like Twitter could also be kept alive by other private companies, provided those other companies can somehow make profit from supporting it. But if that support means that those other companies also make losses, then it's bound to be dissolved at some point in time.
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Old 9th September 2017, 10:19 PM   #245
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Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
The profit-motive, despite being a defining feature, is not sacrosanct with regards to encroaching social and political norms.
It is not sacrosanct in European-style Social democratic politics, but a lot more sacrosanct for the political powers that govern USA. USA routinely monitors any law changes in other countries that cause trouble for profit motives, in the name of the common good. For example, when Finland made a law 10 years ago that pharmacies are legally obliged to tell the customers about cheaper medicine brands with the same medicine content, if a doctor's prescription contains other than the cheapest brand. USA publicly expressed "concern for this new law", and said that they will "closely monitor this worrying developent".

If one word describes US domestic and foreign policy, "profit-motive" comes close to perfection.

Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
Salaries paid to one self (for self-employers) in a non-deficit scenario is pretty much what we mean by a surplus. Either they (A) make a surplus and live out of that surplus, or (B) they pay themselves a salary and produce a zero result (+/-). Basically A = B in this regard.
This is not a valid argument by any political theory that I know. A person working full-time and getting an economic compensation equal to a full-time salary is not "surplus", it is simply a fair salary. Be it technically a salary or profit for ownership. (Besides, in many countries it would be illegal to work without salary and then pick all of it as owner's profit, because owner's profit tends to be taxed less heavily, so the state has a motive to ban such taxation-surfing.)

Marx etc. criticise the owning class for making excessive profit without much or any work contribution. This scenario does not fulfill that idea, no matter how you twist it, if the economic compensation is equal to a fair salary (in many cases self-employers actually earn significantly less than a hired professional would), and also the work contribution is at least equal to (and in many cases: much beyond) what a hired worker would do for the same money.

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Old 10th September 2017, 03:13 AM   #246
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Originally Posted by JJM 777
It is not sacrosanct in European-style Social democratic politics, but a lot more sacrosanct for the political powers that govern USA. USA routinely monitors any law changes in other countries that cause trouble for profit motives, in the name of the common good. For example, when Finland made a law 10 years ago that pharmacies are legally obliged to tell the customers about cheaper medicine brands with the same medicine content, if a doctor's prescription contains other than the cheapest brand. USA publicly expressed "concern for this new law", and said that they will "closely monitor this worrying developent".

If one word describes US domestic and foreign policy, "profit-motive" comes close to perfection.
And yet that is exactly what was implemented in Finland. Throughout history, different kinds of regulations impinging on profit-making have been implemented. The U.S. is no exception in this regard. That, I suspect, will also continue.

Originally Posted by JJM 777
This is not a valid argument by any political theory that I know. A person working full-time and getting an economic compensation equal to a full-time salary is not "surplus", it is simply a fair salary. Be it technically a salary or profit for ownership. (Besides, in many countries it would be illegal to work without salary and then pick all of it as owner's profit, because owner's profit tends to be taxed less heavily, so the state has a motive to ban such taxation-surfing.)
It's valid in all macroeconomic paradigms that use the national accounts as a source for empirical data. Which is pretty much any that wishes to be taken seriously. Also, "fairness" does not play any role in this matter.

So, this is why in the national accounts you often see a line called: …operating surplus and mixed income. That is to say: for unincorporated enterprises, where owners pay salaries to themselves (and/or relatives) it's called mixed income… and is threated as the equivalent to incorporated enterprises' operating surplus.

For example, see:
Originally Posted by UNSTATS manual
For household unincorporated enterprises, as business accounts are not kept, their value added can only be measured indirectly as residuals similarly to the production approach. In addition, for household unincorporated enterprises, it is not possible to distinguish between compensation of employees paid by the owners to themselves and their relatives and net operating surplus, therefore the concept of mixed income is used instead to represent the sum of compensation of employees and net operating surplus.
---

Originally Posted by JJM 777
Marx etc. criticise the owning class for making excessive profit without much or any work contribution. This scenario does not fulfill that idea, no matter how you twist it, if the economic compensation is equal to a fair salary (in many cases self-employers actually earn significantly less than a hired professional would), and also the work contribution is at least equal to (and in many cases: much beyond) what a hired worker would do for the same money.
What Marx criticized or not is not really relevant here. But sure, any discussion regarding the classical authors in political economy (i.e., Smith, Ricardo, Mills, Marx etc.) is always interesting. Although, maybe as a separate discussion from the current one?
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Old 12th September 2017, 11:46 AM   #247
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Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
And yet that is exactly what was implemented in Finland. Throughout history, different kinds of regulations impinging on profit-making have been implemented.
That is the little that the modern political left is capable of achieving. Better than nothing though, certainly much better than nothing.

Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
for unincorporated enterprises, where owners pay salaries to themselves (and/or relatives) it's called mixed income… and is threated as the equivalent to incorporated enterprises' operating surplus.
Whatever reasons the statisticians may have for mixing these two into one figure, for me the relevant thing is that a worker is worth his wages, regardless of his position in the owner-employee spectrum, and actual profit for invested money should be calculated after these costs have been reduced, when doing any ideologically motivated analysis of the economy.

Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
any discussion regarding the classical authors in political economy (i.e., Smith, Ricardo, Mills, Marx etc.) is always interesting. Although, maybe as a separate discussion from the current one?
Some Marx-bashing is always welcome, with all due respect to his noble intentions, which so seldom are sufficient to achieve noble results.
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Old 13th September 2017, 12:53 AM   #248
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Originally Posted by JJM 777
Whatever reasons the statisticians may have for mixing these two into one figure, for me the relevant thing is that a worker is worth his wages, regardless of his position in the owner-employee spectrum, and actual profit for invested money should be calculated after these costs have been reduced, when doing any ideologically motivated analysis of the economy.
So that's part of your ideology then. In principle, I don't see much of a difference in retaining a surplus of, say, €24 000… or simply paying oneself €2 000 in monthly increments. (Assuming the accounting period is 12 months.)

Originally Posted by JJM 777
Some Marx-bashing is always welcome, with all due respect to his noble intentions, which so seldom are sufficient to achieve noble results.
Before we bash, we should probably know what we're bashing? If you're alluding to assumptions about a worker owned and managed economy (or firms), it's probably J.S. Mill rather than Marx who should take the hit. It was, after all, Mill who thought that it would be a matter of natural evolution of the market to transform capital management into labor management – for labor management is, at least in theory, as or even more efficient. Marx, on the other hand, was much more skeptical about Mill's postulate. For Marx, (A) such forms were to be considered merely as transitional forms and (B) when deployed within the capitalist context, they were bound to produce the same defects as well – i.e., Marx simply treated co-operatives on par with joint-stock companies.
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Old 13th September 2017, 03:20 AM   #249
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Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
I don't see much of a difference in retaining a surplus of, say, €24 000… or simply paying oneself €2 000 in monthly increments. (Assuming the accounting period is 12 months.)
Do you see a difference between:

- paying oneself a typical salary, while making zero surplus

- paying oneself a typical salary, while also earning an equal amount of surplus as company owner

- not working at all, while earning as company owner a surplus equal to a typical salary

Socialists have traditionally paid a lot of attention and moral outrage to the differences between these.

Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
Before we bash, we should probably know what we're bashing?
Marx is a well-known figure, for me and the greater audience. Evidently we should bash someone who is widely regarded as an authoritative ideological leader, otherwise it will be a waste of good bashing, as nobody will care.

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Old 13th September 2017, 04:44 AM   #250
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Originally Posted by JJM 777
Do you see a difference between:

- paying oneself a typical salary, while making zero surplus

- paying oneself a typical salary, while also earning an equal amount of surplus as company owner

- not working at all, while earning as company owner a surplus equal to a typical salary

Socialists have traditionally paid a lot of attention and moral outrage to the differences between these.
Remember, the original setup was:
(A) Paying oneself a salary, while making zero surplus (e.g., 12 x 2 000)
(B) Earning as a self-employed company owner an equal amount as surplus (i.e., 24 000)

Hence, I find your notion about a "typical salary" irrelevant for this particular exercise. But in any case, regarding your examples, the second is different from the others in that there the owner earns more; salary + surplus > salary or surplus. So yeah, there's a difference at least in the magnitude of remuneration. The first and last option seems to amount to the same figure.


Originally Posted by JJM 777
Marx is a well-known figure, for me and the greater audience. Evidently we should bash someone who is widely regarded as an authoritative ideological leader, otherwise it will be a waste of good bashing, as nobody will care.
Well, since you're well acquainted with Marx, we could go back to your example above and see what he perhaps wrote in regards to what you allude to as a moral outrage among socialists.

Originally Posted by Marx, Capital I, the production of surplus-value
The owner of the money has paid the value of a day’s labour-power; his, therefore, is the use of it for a day; a day’s labour belongs to him. The circumstance, that on the one hand the daily sustenance of labour-power costs only half a day’s labour, while on the other hand the very same labour-power can work during a whole day, that consequently the value which its use during one day creates, is double what he pays for that use, this circumstance is, without doubt, a piece of good luck for the buyer, but by no means an injury to the seller.
(In some translations the term "injustice" is used instead of "injury".)
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Old 14th September 2017, 09:51 AM   #251
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Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
The first and last option seems to amount to the same figure.
They do, but only the first one works all day, the last one gets a free ride, which is one of the favourite (and easiest) targets of criticism in traditional Socialist ideology or propaganda.

Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
Well, since you're well acquainted with Marx, we could go back to your example above and see what he perhaps wrote in regards to what you allude to as a moral outrage among socialists.
The quote hardly represents what ideological legacy Marx attempted to leave, and indeed did leave. I doubt that it is a doctrinal statement at all, sounds more probably like a description of how the Capitalist world functions, and what the values and opinions are in Capitalist system, after which I would expect Marx to go on explaining how the world should rather function, in his opinion.
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Old 14th September 2017, 10:53 AM   #252
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Originally Posted by JJM 777
The quote hardly represents what ideological legacy Marx attempted to leave, and indeed did leave. I doubt that it is a doctrinal statement at all, sounds more probably like a description of how the Capitalist world functions, and what the values and opinions are in Capitalist system, after which I would expect Marx to go on explaining how the world should rather function, in his opinion.
Well, he doesn't.

He does however, somewhat later, discuss the limits of surplus-labor and catalogs cases where legal restrictions about exploitation were absent. After all, he did write at a time when working conditions we're quite appalling (compared to current western standards).
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Old 14th September 2017, 11:33 PM   #253
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Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
Well, he doesn't.
Well, he wasn't perfect.

Wiki says: Marx's dual view of capitalism can be seen in his description of the capitalists: he refers to them as vampires sucking worker's blood, but at the same time[202] he notes that drawing profit is "by no means an injustice"[78] and that capitalists simply cannot go against the system.

Now I remember that he had a deterministic theory of how the society "must" evolve. The inevitable future end point was the moneyless final stage of Communism, wasn it? No need to discuss then, if Communism will come inevitably upon us. Just sit back and wait.
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Old 15th September 2017, 02:06 AM   #254
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Originally Posted by JJM 777 View Post
Well, he wasn't perfect.

Wiki says: Marx's dual view of capitalism can be seen in his description of the capitalists: he refers to them as vampires sucking worker's blood, but at the same time[202] he notes that drawing profit is "by no means an injustice"[78] and that capitalists simply cannot go against the system.

Now I remember that he had a deterministic theory of how the society "must" evolve. The inevitable future end point was the moneyless final stage of Communism, wasn it? No need to discuss then, if Communism will come inevitably upon us. Just sit back and wait.
Maybe the thing that is inevitable is that people will struggle to improve their lot, and the final outcome of that process will be Communism. I suppose that what activist Marxists believe.

Otherwise they would indeed be tempted to sit back and wait. There are quietist groups of that kind, I think. The Socialist Party of Great BritainWP may have been one, though I must admit I have never managed to understand its doctrines, and I may be mistaken about it.

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Old 15th September 2017, 02:24 AM   #255
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Originally Posted by JJM 777
Wiki says: Marx's dual view of capitalism can be seen in his description of the capitalists: he refers to them as vampires sucking worker's blood, but at the same time[202] he notes that drawing profit is "by no means an injustice"[78] and that capitalists simply cannot go against the system.
Yes... which shouldn't come as a surprise since the basic method of investigation is dialectical, thus analysis of how contradictions rise and are resolved is prevalent throughout.

Mind you, that Marx is careful not to make any direct conclusions about whether capitalism is unjust and/or communism just.

Originally Posted by JJM 777
Now I remember that he had a deterministic theory of how the society "must" evolve. The inevitable future end point was the moneyless final stage of Communism, wasn it? No need to discuss then, if Communism will come inevitably upon us. Just sit back and wait.
Now you're referring to his theory of history. And no, there's no inevitable path history must follow. That's not the kind of determinism historical materialism refers to. Since we're using wiki now, let us take a quick look:

Originally Posted by Wikipedia, Historical materialism
It is principally a theory of history according to which the material conditions of a society's way of producing and reproducing the means of human existence or, in Marxist terms, the union of its productive capacity and social relations of production, fundamentally determine its organization and development.
Originally Posted by Wikipedia, Marx's theory of history
In contrast to many of his followers, Marx made no claim to have produced a master key to history, but rather considered his work a concrete study of the actual conditions that pertained in Europe. As he put it, historical materialism is not "an historico-philosophic theory of the marche generale imposed by fate upon every people, whatever the historic circumstances in which it finds itself."
Although it's true that, having the perceived contradictions of capitalism in mind (one of them you already quoted), he predicted they would be resolved via transformation into another mode of production (mirrored in socialism >> communism as organizational principles). But of course, only if the material conditions of production actually are (or become) such that they support the outlined social organization. Here I would personally add a caution or two: this is not to imply that (even utopian) communism would by necessity be without its own contradictions.
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Old 18th September 2017, 06:51 AM   #256
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Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
Mind you, that Marx is careful not to make any direct conclusions about whether capitalism is unjust and/or communism just.
This thought is new to me, since Marx is mainly quoted in the context of heavy moral criticism of Capitalism. I have taken it for granted that their moral outrage is inspired by, and shared by, Marx himself.

Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
Maybe the thing that is inevitable is that people will struggle to improve their lot, and the final outcome of that process will be Communism.
It is inevitable that people will dream of improving their lot. How much they will "struggle" for it, depends on how severely and effectively the government is able to punish them for it. Communism as a final outcome is not inevitable, say I.
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Old 19th September 2017, 01:05 AM   #257
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Originally Posted by JJM 777
This thought is new to me, since Marx is mainly quoted in the context of heavy moral criticism of Capitalism. I have taken it for granted that their moral outrage is inspired by, and shared by, Marx himself.
Well then, for a more nuanced view, see for example Marx's critique of the Gotha program:

Originally Posted by Marx
I have dealt more at length with the "undiminished" proceeds of labor, on the one hand, and with "equal right" and "fair distribution", on the other, in order to show what a crime it is to attempt, on the one hand, to force on our Party again, as dogmas, ideas which in a certain period had some meaning but have now become obsolete verbal rubbish, while again perverting, on the other, the realistic outlook, which it cost so much effort to instill into the Party but which has now taken root in it, by means of ideological nonsense about right and other trash so common among the democrats and French socialists.

Quite apart from the analysis so far given, it was in general a mistake to make a fuss about so-called distribution and put the principal stress on it

...
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Old 19th September 2017, 04:52 AM   #258
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Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
Well then, for a more nuanced view, see for example Marx's critique of the Gotha program:
I read the whole paragraph (Critique of the Gotha Programme - I), and I think you greatly misunderstand and misrepresent what Marx thinks and wants to say.

You suggest that Marx shows contempt for the popular Socialist moral idea of "equal distribution" of well-being -- as if he thinks that inequal distribution would be just OK. "Laissez-faire, it is not a problem if some people are rich and some others are poor."

This is not what Marx says here. Quite the contrary, Marx criticizes Lasalle for not being perfect enough in his designed distribution of well-being. Marx is not less radical than Lasalle in his desire for equal distribution of well-being, but rather, yet more radical. But also annoyingly obsessed with splitting of hairs and fine-tuned interpretations of the meaning of words.

That paragraph is not an easy read. This is how I understand the thinking and reasoning of Marx, in this paragraph:

Half-way in the paragraph, Marx quotes his beloved Communist Manifesto, "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs", as the method of distribution that he favours and believes in. Basically Marx uses the whole paragraph for defending that position, and criticizing Lasalle for failing to reach that objective perfectly and purely enough.


> Lasalle: "the proceeds of labor belong undiminished with equal right to all members of society"

This phrase looks Communist enough, but Marx attacks it on all sides -- not because it calls for fair distribution of welfare, but because in the opinion of Marx, it fails to reach it perfectly enough.

"Undiminished": Marx takes the liberty to interpret that Lasalle does not understand that 100% of work output cannot return back to individuals. So he explains that a part of the output must go to various purposes, such as restoring and expanding the means of production, health care and schools, non-working parts of population, etc. An excellent list, by the way. But it was probably unfair to assume that Lasalle didn't understand this too. His text was just a pragmatic simplification, designed to be easy for the great masses to understand.


> 1) Any distribution whatever of the means of consumption is only a consequence of the distribution of the conditions of production themselves.

> 2) Within the co-operative society based on common ownership of the means of production, the producers do not exchange their products

> 3) If the material conditions of production are the co-operative property of the workers themselves, then there likewise results a distribution of the means of consumption different from the present one.

> 4) Vulgar socialism ... has taken ... the presentation of socialism as turning principally on distribution

These four quotes from the paragraph sum up what Marx believes in and stands for, what comes to distribution of well-being. I have added numbers 1-4 to them, for ease of referencing.

Quotes 1 - 3 reveal some surprisingly misleading and unsophisticated beliefs that Marx has, what comes to the reality of mass-producing something and then mass-consuming it. These three beliefs combined could have been reasonable in the stone age, but not in the modern world of highly specialised mass-production, and not in the era when Marx lived either.

In these quotes 1 - 3, Marx explains the reasons for his contempt for such Socialists who focus mainly on fair distribution of work output: Marx believes that fair distribution of work output is not an issue at all, and nothing to be specifically focused on. All we need to do is to fairly distribute the role of people in production, and that will automatically lead to fair distribution of work output.

Wrong, wrongety wrong. Because:

> 2 - CORRECTED) The producers DO exchange their products, because effective mass-production of high-tech products is highly specialized. Nobody produces everything what he needs in life. Exchange of products is the only way to get everything what we need in life. What a stone-age production-consumption model Marx envisions here.

> 1 & 3 & 4 - CORRECTED) Equal distribution of the conditions of production DOES NOT GUARANTEE that the products will even locally be distributed equally. So a factory has 100 workers, and it produces 50 Acme products per year. Who will get them, and in which order? Fight until death, and the winner takes it all. Distribution MUST BE PLANNED AND ORGANIZED, it will not happen "automatically" laissez-faire.

Whoa, I never realized that Marx could have been so silly, what comes to his beliefs in practical small details of production vs. consumption. His moral ground is as high as it can be, "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs", but he simply misunderstands in profound ways how the market of production and consumption had started to function already in his time, and much more so functions today.
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Old 19th September 2017, 05:44 AM   #259
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So you think I "greatly misunderstand and misrepresent what Marx thinks and wants to say"… by introducing assumptions and suggestions that I don't have or make. Really?

But of course, if you want to keep your preconceptions intact without corrections (like in #251, #253, #256 etc.), then by all means do.
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Old 19th September 2017, 08:34 AM   #260
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Enter preconceptions about stone-age at #258!

Originally Posted by JJM 777
> 2 - CORRECTED) The producers DO exchange their products, because effective mass-production of high-tech products is highly specialized. Nobody produces everything what he needs in life. Exchange of products is the only way to get everything what we need in life. What a stone-age production-consumption model Marx envisions here.
Well, Marx is certainly not suggesting that any individual producer produces everything.

By the conventional notion of producers exchanging their products, we mean that it's the individual producers that own their means of production, thus by extension, they own the products they produce with the intent of exchanging them (for money and other products). In capitalism the producers, hence owners of what is to be exchanged, are predominantly private entities.

Now that the assumption is changed so that it is society at large which owns the means of production, and by extension, the products that are produced are collectively owned before they are distributed… it follows that it's not the individual producers who engage in the system of distributing the products via exchange. Why should you exchange something you do not directly own?

Originally Posted by JJM 777
> 1 & 3 & 4 - CORRECTED) Equal distribution of the conditions of production DOES NOT GUARANTEE that the products will even locally be distributed equally. So a factory has 100 workers, and it produces 50 Acme products per year. Who will get them, and in which order? Fight until death, and the winner takes it all. Distribution MUST BE PLANNED AND ORGANIZED, it will not happen "automatically" laissez-faire.
What makes you think distribution will occur without planning or organizing?

Originally Posted by JJM 777
> 1 & 3 & 4 - CORRECTED) Equal distribution of the conditions of production DOES NOT GUARANTEE that the products will even locally be distributed equally. So a factory has 100 workers, and it produces 50 Acme products per year. Who will get them, and in which order? Fight until death, and the winner takes it all. Distribution MUST BE PLANNED AND ORGANIZED, it will not happen "automatically" laissez-faire.
If the material conditions are different in one mode of production from another mode, it simply follows, according to Marx, that the distribution of the means of consumption will also be different between the two. This is, after all, a rather obvious conclusion.

What Marx is simply doing here is criticizing vulgar socialist for having fallen into the same analytical trap as bourgeois economists; i.e., they treat the issue of distribution as independent from the mode of production. For example, you can't have socialist distribution if the mode of production is capitalist.

Originally Posted by JJM 777
Wrong, wrongety wrong. Because:
you did not understand the Stone-age?
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Old 20th September 2017, 04:27 AM   #261
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Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
So you think I "greatly misunderstand and misrepresent what Marx thinks and wants to say"… by introducing assumptions and suggestions that I don't have or make.
Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
Well, he doesn't.
Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
Marx is careful not to make any direct conclusions about whether capitalism is unjust and/or communism just.
This seems to be a misrepresentation of what Marx said and taught. I think he obviously dedicated his life and writings for promotion of a Communist future, because the current one is irreconcilably morally unfair in his opinion.

Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
Well, Marx is certainly not suggesting that any individual producer produces everything.
Sounds rational. Any quote where he elaborates on the topic?

Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
Why should you exchange something you do not directly own?
Ownership is supposed to become irrelevant, but in that case, possession becomes the new ownership. I possess, therefore I enjoy. If someone else wants what I possess, I refuse because I enjoy it. The other person cannot make any claims of ownership either, so it remains mine.

Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
What makes you think distribution will occur without planning or organizing?
Distribution without careful rationing and planning would be very disappointing for the last ones in queue. Any quote of Marx elaborating on the topic of fair distribution of well-being? Other than the laissez-faire that we already have quotes of.

Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
If the material conditions are different in one mode of production from another mode, it simply follows, according to Marx, that the distribution of the means of consumption will also be different between the two. This is, after all, a rather obvious conclusion.
Gaetan and one other guy have been busy trying to explain in their own threads, how a moneyless society would function. They have not been very convincing so far. I am not at all convinced that well-being would automatically become distributed as equally and fairly as I would like to see, simply because ownership of factories is common. People without children would still use all of their political power to make parents pay for their own children, making parents relatively poorer compared to childless persons. Working class is a selfish lot, equal distribution would require a strong hand forcing many selfish individuals to follow a legally obligatory distribution plan. And that plan would first need to be politically agreed upon.

Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
they treat the issue of distribution as independent from the mode of production. For example, you can't have socialist distribution if the mode of production is capitalist.
Socialist distribution within a Capitalist environment is probably the best that we can ever get, so it is wiser to bet on it and win something, than bet on pure Marxism and never win anything. Political theories are useful and relevant only to the extent that they can be implemented in real life. I don't see any force that could bring the Communist age envisioned by Marx into existence.
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Old 20th September 2017, 06:47 AM   #262
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Originally Posted by JJM 777
This seems to be a misrepresentation of what Marx said and taught. I think he obviously dedicated his life and writings for promotion of a Communist future, because the current one is irreconcilably morally unfair in his opinion.
As already pointed out to you, Marx does not make any such direct conclusions. That's why it's generally, among academics, considered a conundrum. For example:

Originally Posted by Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Marx & morality
The issue of Marx and morality poses a conundrum. On reading Marx’s works at all periods of his life, there appears to be the strongest possible distaste towards bourgeois capitalist society, and an undoubted endorsement of future communist society. Yet the terms of this antipathy and endorsement are far from clear. Despite expectations, Marx never says that capitalism is unjust. Neither does he say that communism would be a just form of society. In fact he takes pains to distance himself from those who engage in a discourse of justice, and makes a conscious attempt to exclude direct moral commentary in his own works. The puzzle is why this should be, given the weight of indirect moral commentary one finds.
Also, for example, from the document you already quoted:
Originally Posted by Marx
What is "a fair distribution"?

Do not the bourgeois assert that the present-day distribution is "fair"? And is it not, in fact, the only "fair" distribution on the basis of the present-day mode of production? Are economic relations regulated by legal conceptions, or do not, on the contrary, legal relations arise out of economic ones? Have not also the socialist sectarians the most varied notions about "fair" distribution?
Whatever you wish to speculate in regards to Marx "true" position seems rather irrelevant here. Make at least the effort to separate your own (preconceived) projections from the existing empirical record.

Originally Posted by JJM 777
Sounds rational. Any quote where he elaborates on the topic?
So, let me get this straight, your preconceived idea is that Marx assumed a single producer has the capacity to produce every single product needed; like a utopian "Star-Trek machine/factory"?

Originally Posted by JJM 777
Ownership is supposed to become irrelevant, but in that case, possession becomes the new ownership. I possess, therefore I enjoy. If someone else wants what I possess, I refuse because I enjoy it. The other person cannot make any claims of ownership either, so it remains mine.
Nope, obviously ownership of the means of production is relevant for Marx. Also, you seem to conflate ownership of products before and after distributions?

Originally Posted by JJM 777
Distribution without careful rationing and planning would be very disappointing for the last ones in queue. Any quote of Marx elaborating on the topic of fair distribution of well-being? Other than the laissez-faire that we already have quotes of.
Well, show us the actual laissez-fair quote first.

Originally Posted by JJM 777
Gaetan and one other guy have been busy trying to explain in their own threads, how a moneyless society would function. They have not been very convincing so far. I am not at all convinced that well-being would automatically become distributed as equally and fairly as I would like to see, simply because ownership of factories is common. People without children would still use all of their political power to make parents pay for their own children, making parents relatively poorer compared to childless persons. Working class is a selfish lot, equal distribution would require a strong hand forcing many selfish individuals to follow a legally obligatory distribution plan. And that plan would first need to be politically agreed upon.
Neither am I convinced. But that's neither here nor there considering Marx's assumption is about different modes of production implying different modes of distribution.

Originally Posted by JJM 777
Socialist distribution within a Capitalist environment is probably the best that we can ever get, so it is wiser to bet on it and win something, than bet on pure Marxism and never win anything. Political theories are useful and relevant only to the extent that they can be implemented in real life. I don't see any force that could bring the Communist age envisioned by Marx into existence.
I think you missed the actual analytical point being made in that context.
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Old 21st September 2017, 02:14 PM   #263
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Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
As already pointed out to you, Marx does not make any such direct conclusions.
At least your academics agree with me that Marx seems to be driven by moral concerns. Why does he abstain from verbally expressing that? Maybe he was sick of seeing emotionally loaded intellectually worthless propaganda. He could have his reasons for acting calm, and still have a burning passion in his heart.

Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
Also, for example, from the document you already quoted:
What is "a fair distribution"?

Do not the bourgeois assert that the present-day distribution is "fair"? And is it not, in fact, the only "fair" distribution on the basis of the present-day mode of production? Are economic relations regulated by legal conceptions, or do not, on the contrary, legal relations arise out of economic ones? Have not also the socialist sectarians the most varied notions about "fair" distribution?
This is what makes Marx a difficult read. Here Marx seems to deny that "fair" has any definable meaning at all. (Is he even arguing anything, defending any of these notions?) Yet he passionately criticizes the way how means of production are distributed in Capitalism. What he struggles for is obviously definable as "more fair" distribution of the means of production (to begin with). Marx doesn't like that word, he would like to use some other word, or none at all. But he doesn't own the human language. Just because Marx dislikes the word "fair", doesn't mean that what he struggled for cannot be described as "pursuit of a fairer world".

Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
your preconceived idea is that Marx assumed a single producer has the capacity to produce every single product needed
> Within the co-operative society based on common ownership of the means of production, the producers do not exchange their products

Without any preconception, that quote made me think that Marx speaks here of co-operatives of a limited size, which he assumes to be self-sufficient without a need to exchange products with any other co-operative of a limited size. Which in turn sounded like stone-age level of what variety of products could be expected to get produced. Stone-age, not Star Trek.

Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
obviously ownership of the means of production is relevant for Marx.
So "relevant" is the word, but "fair" is not. Hmmm.

Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
Also, you seem to conflate ownership of products before and after distributions?
The world is becoming such that distribution is a constant flow, soon a car never gets parked, it circulates day and night. If such a thing has existed as "before vs. after distribution", that line in the water will fade and disappear into the waves. It would be cool not to "own" clothes. Just walk into a local clothery and select something for the day. Dispose into the laundry box in the evening, at the hotelish apartment that is yours today, someone else's tomorrow, as you stay the next night in some other interesting city.

Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
Well, show us the actual laissez-fair [sic] quote first.
1) Any distribution whatever of the means of consumption is only a consequence of the distribution of the conditions of production themselves.

3) If the material conditions of production are the co-operative property of the workers themselves, then there likewise results a distribution of the means of consumption different from the present one.

Here Marx argues that distribution of work output is not necessary to focus on, only distribution of production capacity is. If he elaborates on that topic somewhere else, here he is satisfied with only attacking those who would like to organize distribution of work output, without explaining what he would do about it.

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Old 22nd September 2017, 01:47 AM   #264
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Originally Posted by JJM 777
At least your academics agree with me that Marx seems to be driven by moral concerns. Why does he abstain from verbally expressing that? Maybe he was sick of seeing emotionally loaded intellectually worthless propaganda. He could have his reasons for acting calm, and still have a burning passion in his heart.

This is what makes Marx a difficult read. Here Marx seems to deny that "fair" has any definable meaning at all. (Is he even arguing anything, defending any of these notions?) Yet he passionately criticizes the way how means of production are distributed in Capitalism. What he struggles for is obviously definable as "more fair" distribution of the means of production (to begin with). Marx doesn't like that word, he would like to use some other word, or none at all. But he doesn't own the human language. Just because Marx dislikes the word "fair", doesn't mean that what he struggled for cannot be described as "pursuit of a fairer world".
I don't think Marx is that difficult to read (once one actually engages in that activity). You might want to consider that what Marx is simply conveying, is that such notions as "fair" or "moral" are closely related to the material conditions determining the way of life in a society; hence the pointlessness of talking about such concerns ("fair distribution") independently of the mode of production. It is right there, quoted and mentioned here a few times already. Moreover, such stance should not come as a surprise since Marx already turned Hegel upside down by turning idealistic dialectics (Hegel) into a materialistic one (Marx).

Although, I don't think the principal moral struggle he might have had was so much about distribution (effect) rather production (cause). After all, during the time he wrote the working conditions in early industrialism were grim. And in fact, much of the explicit ethical concern or commentary in Das Kapital I is about the dehumanizing character early industrial capitalism had on workers and organization of work in general.

Originally Posted by JJM 777
> Within the co-operative society based on common ownership of the means of production, the producers do not exchange their products

Without any preconception, that quote made me think that Marx speaks here of co-operatives of a limited size, which he assumes to be self-sufficient without a need to exchange products with any other co-operative of a limited size. Which in turn sounded like stone-age level of what variety of products could be expected to get produced. Stone-age, not Star Trek.

So "relevant" is the word, but "fair" is not. Hmmm.
Well, you're quite off the mark here. In order to grasp the quote, you must first understand what Marx means by (A) commodity, (B), use-value vs. exchange-value, (C) money …and so forth. Otherwise you'll just stumble blindly around making straw-man conclusions. Capital volume I is the place to go for such elucidation; he actually starts out with defining and explaining their interrelated character.

To keep it short, (maybe too short?): According to Marx, it's in capitalism where exchange-value dictates the logic of the process, eventually culminating (for the purpose of the particular subject matter in our discussion) in private producers meeting each other on the market exchange, and money – being a further manifestation of that kind of social relation – ultimately expressing all commodities' relative exchange-value in a universal (abstract) sense. Exchange in capitalism = the abstract relation of private property to private property according to their abstract exchange-value.

Once the logic of the system is assumed to be different, i.e., once another mode of production takes hold, where use-value dictates the process, then according to Marx, it necessarily follows that such value-relation has a counterpart in a different kind of organizing principle both in terms of production and distribution. That's it. It doesn't mean any single producer can produce everything; it simply means that they do not produce with the principal aim of exchange (in the sense of the aforementioned capitalist kind); instead they produce with the principal aim of use. Or in other words, the necessary transfiguration of use-value into exchange-value so eminent in the capitalist mode makes little sense in the communist mode.

So yeah, ownership of the means of production is relevant for differentiating different modes of production. That's the way, I suggest, you should interpret the term "relevant" here.

Originally Posted by JJM 777
The world is becoming such that distribution is a constant flow, soon a car never gets parked, it circulates day and night. If such a thing has existed as "before vs. after distribution", that line in the water will fade and disappear into the waves. It would be cool not to "own" clothes. Just walk into a local clothery and select something for the day. Dispose into the laundry box in the evening, at the hotelish apartment that is yours today, someone else's tomorrow, as you stay the next night in some other interesting city.
Why is this relevant here? If you work in a shoe factory, do you own the shoes you produce or is it the company that owns the shoes before they are sold (produced in order to be exchanged)? But when you buy shoes from the company, do you not own them thereafter? Ora are you suggesting we are moving towards deepening rentier capitalism?

Originally Posted by JJM 777
1) Any distribution whatever of the means of consumption is only a consequence of the distribution of the conditions of production themselves.

3) If the material conditions of production are the co-operative property of the workers themselves, then there likewise results a distribution of the means of consumption different from the present one.

Here Marx argues that distribution of work output is not necessary to focus on, only distribution of production capacity is. If he elaborates on that topic somewhere else, here he is satisfied with only attacking those who would like to organize distribution of work output, without explaining what he would do about it.
Regardless of what he may say somewhere else, nothing in your quotes suggests that Marx assumes distribution of products somehow will happen by itself (your term: laisses-fair) without planning or organizing. I don't even understand what you mean by "laisses-fair" in this context.
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Old 22nd September 2017, 01:09 PM   #265
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Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
use-value dictates the process (...) it simply means that they do not produce with the principal aim of exchange (...) instead they produce with the principal aim of use.
I don't think these concepts differ from each other much, really. Exchange value in Capitalism is based on use-value. What is useless, does not sell, and is therefore without exchange value. Exchange value and use-value are so closely related that their difference will not revolutionize much in the distribution of work output. Maybe use-value is a cleaner concept, free from third parties buying and selling for profit. Use-value is maybe a bit cheaper than exchange value, but otherwise very similar.

Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
If you work in a shoe factory, do you own the shoes you produce or is it the company that owns the shoes before they are sold
In Capitalism, the company owns it. In Communism, Idunno. Depends on who designed the Communism, I guess.

Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
Ora are you suggesting we are moving towards deepening rentier capitalism?
Capitalism or not, we are moving towards shared ownership and consumption, what comes to reusable commodities.

Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
nothing in your quotes suggests that Marx assumes distribution of products somehow will happen by itself (your term: laisses-fair)
Laissez faire is French for "let them do what they want". Marx writes a lengthy criticism of distribution-planners, without offering any thought how he would organize distribution. Refraining from setting guidelines for action is the dictionary definition of "laissez-faire". Unless he gives such thoughts somewhere else. If that is the case, let us hear some quotes where Marx discusses how to distribute of work output. I have asked this before, but no such quote has been seen yet. Do they even exist?
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Old 23rd September 2017, 07:44 AM   #266
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Originally Posted by JJM 777
I don't think these concepts differ from each other much, really. Exchange value in Capitalism is based on use-value. What is useless, does not sell, and is therefore without exchange value. Exchange value and use-value are so closely related that their difference will not revolutionize much in the distribution of work output. Maybe use-value is a cleaner concept, free from third parties buying and selling for profit. Use-value is maybe a bit cheaper than exchange value, but otherwise very similar.
Nope, really. First of all, it makes little sense to say that "use-value is cheaper than exchange-value" because you are dealing with completely different categories – a potential category mistake. Exchange-value has some common measurable unit by which it's quantifiable. That's not the case for use-value as understood by the classics from at least Adam Smith onwards (including Marx). Smith, of course, already gives us the example of comparing water with diamonds; the former having "infinitely" more use-value than the latter, yet of course the latter expressing far more exchange-value.

But in any case, secondly, whatever reason you have for conflating the two categories, that is certainly not what Marx does. Thus, if you are going to try to understand Marx point of view on what follows, we must treat them as different analytical categories. Obviously, Marx also points out that if a commodity is to have exchange-value at all, it needs to be useful in at least some respect. But what follows from that, is not parallel paths for the two categories.

Originally Posted by JJM 777
Laissez faire is French for "let them do what they want". Marx writes a lengthy criticism of distribution-planners, without offering any thought how he would organize distribution. Refraining from setting guidelines for action is the dictionary definition of "laissez-faire". Unless he gives such thoughts somewhere else. If that is the case, let us hear some quotes where Marx discusses how to distribute of work output. I have asked this before, but no such quote has been seen yet. Do they even exist?
Yeah, I know what laissez-fair means, and I'm also aware of its history and normal use. That's why I had to ask, because you appear to use it in a highly unconventional manner. For example, see how Wikipedia defines the term.

To say that something is determined by something else, in this case distribution being determined by conditions of production; does not mean that distribution as per physical delivery will somehow manage itself. It only means that the logic of how distribution functions must be congruent with how production functions.

You are criticizing Marx for what he does not write. I'm not sure how meaningful that is, really. Yes, we know Marx's writings on utopian communism and how it ought to function at a detailed level is sketchy at best. He only delivered a vague blueprint published here and there. We don't know if he even wouldn't have had it in in any other way… as a kind work in progress as things change? Obviously his main occupation was to write about the actual system in a detailed way. That is, capitalism. We also don't know what was in the pipeline since Das Kapital was originally outlined as six bands but he only lived to see part I of the first finished (Capital vol. II and III is put together by Engels based on some manuscripts and notes Marx left behind).

In Capital II & III there's however some vague mentions (as well as in the Gotha critique). So, for example:
Originally Posted by Marx, Capital II
With collective production, money capital is completely dispensed with. The society distributes labour-power and means of production between the various branches of industry. There is no reason why the producers should not receive paper tokens permitting them to withdraw an amount corresponding to their labour time from the social consumption stocks. But these tokens are not money; they do not circulate.
And:
Originally Posted by Marx, Gotha critique
Accordingly, the individual producer receives back from society—after the deductions have been made—exactly what he gives to it. What he has given to it is his individual quantum of labour. For example, the social working day consists of the sum of the individual hours of work; the individual labour time of the individual producer is the part of the social working day contributed by him, his share in it. He receives a certificate from society that he has furnished such and such an amount of labour (after deducting his labour from the common funds), and with this certificate he draws from the social stock of means of consumption as much as costs the same amount of labour. The same amount of labour which he has given to society in one form he receives back as another
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Old 23rd September 2017, 11:40 AM   #267
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Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
Exchange-value has some common measurable unit by which it's quantifiable. That's not the case for use-value
Then that's a problematic limitation, and it is better to use the value system that does not include problematic limitations. In a world of natural resources, whose rarity and cost of excavation vary, and a variety of possible job skills and production mechanisms and energy-effectivenesses, we can produce an endless variety of spare parts, which in turn can be combined into an endless variety of products. It is indeed necessary to manage the production and consumption of these with a value system that can reasoably quantify and compare all the listed things.

Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
Smith, of course, already gives us the example of comparing water with diamonds; the former having "infinitely" more use-value than the latter, yet of course the latter expressing far more exchange-value.
When water is abundantly available, but diamonds not, some humans value the rare beauties, as a source of esthetic and mental pleasure. It is rational to value pleasure, after the basic necessities of life have been met. In circumstances where water would be very scarce, also these persons who now value diamonds over water, would pay diamonds for water to secure their own survival. That would be rational too. So the valuation of diamonds is rational, nothing to complain.

Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
To say that something is determined by something else, in this case distribution being determined by conditions of production; does not mean that distribution as per physical delivery will somehow manage itself.
What is the theory then, post-Marx if Marx didn't leave a blueprint? How should distribution be done?

Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
You are criticizing Marx for what he does not write. I'm not sure how meaningful that is, really.
I think the focus of what one chooses to write (firstly or mostly) vs. what one chooses to remain silent about, reveals quite much about a person's thinking, priorities and objectives.

Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
There is no reason why the producers should not receive paper tokens permitting them to withdraw an amount corresponding to their labour time from the social consumption stocks. But these tokens are not money; they do not circulate.
"Paper tokens" and "social consumption stock". I am perfectly happy with the terms "money" and "shops".

Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
Accordingly, the individual producer receives back from society—after the deductions have been made—exactly what he gives to it. What he has given to it is his individual quantum of labour. For example, the social working day consists of the sum of the individual hours of work; the individual labour time of the individual producer is the part of the social working day contributed by him, his share in it. He receives a certificate from society that he has furnished such and such an amount of labour (after deducting his labour from the common funds), and with this certificate he draws from the social stock of means of consumption as much as costs the same amount of labour. The same amount of labour which he has given to society in one form he receives back as another
That quote is a miss, as it is nearly identical with the Lasallean doctrine, which Marx so enthusiastically criticises. A few lines further Marx calls this above-quoted principle as "still constantly stigmatized by a bourgeois limitation", "defects ... inevitable in the first phase of communist society". This underlines the unfairness of his ferocious criticism of Lasalle: he practically admits that the first stage of Communism must inevitably be imperfect, rather Lasallean indeed. So why crucify Lasalle for trying to achieve something imperfect, if imperfection is inevitable?

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Old 23rd September 2017, 01:07 PM   #268
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Originally Posted by JJM 777
Then that's a problematic limitation, and it is better to use the value system that does not include problematic limitations. In a world of natural resources, whose rarity and cost of excavation vary, and a variety of possible job skills and production mechanisms and energy-effectivenesses, we can produce an endless variety of spare parts, which in turn can be combined into an endless variety of products. It is indeed necessary to manage the production and consumption of these with a value system that can reasoably quantify and compare all the listed things.
Regardless of what we use as a common measure for exchange-value (money or labor time of whatever) it would still be different from the utility we get from a commodity (use-value)… whatever the price may be. Why do you insist on equating a quantitative measure with a qualitative one – that makes no sense to me; a kind of menu-meal mistake?

Originally Posted by JJM 777
When water is abundantly available, but diamonds not, some humans value the rare beauties, as a source of esthetic and mental pleasure. It is rational to value pleasure, after the basic necessities of life have been met. In circumstances where water would be very scarce, also these persons who now value diamonds over water, would pay diamonds for water to secure their own survival. That would be rational too. So the valuation of diamonds is rational, nothing to complain.
Why should I complain? You just illustrated an example for why use-value is not the same as exchange-value (in fact, they can be quite the opposite from each other, depending on circumstances). Rationality is however redundant for this argument.

Originally Posted by JJM 777
What is the theory then, post-Marx if Marx didn't leave a blueprint? How should distribution be done?
You probably should ask a "post-Marxist". But I would assume they ought to have warehouses, distribution centers, and information processing nodes tracking demand and supply and so forth. It seems to boil down to information processing capacity – that's also the case for capitalist exchange btw.

Originally Posted by JJM 777
I think the focus of what one chooses to write (firstly or mostly) vs. what one chooses to remain silent about, reveals quite much about a person's thinking, priorities and objectives.
Ok, sure. Marx focused extensively on giving a detailed account of the current economic mode of production he lived in, i.e., industrial capitalism. What does that say about him?

Originally Posted by JJM 777
"Paper tokens" and "social consumption stock". I am perfectly happy with the terms "money" and "shops".
Thus you might also be working with a slightly different definition of money than Marx.

Originally Posted by JJM 777
That quote is a miss, as it is nearly identical with the Lasallean doctrine, which Marx so enthusiastically criticises. A few lines further Marx calls this above-quoted principle as "still constantly stigmatized by a bourgeois limitation", "defects ... inevitable in the first phase of communist society". This underlines the unfairness of his ferocious criticism of Lasalle: he practically admits that the first stage of Communism must inevitably be imperfect, rather Lasallean indeed. So why crucify Lasalle for trying to achieve something imperfect, if imperfection is inevitable?
Yeah, a motive for critique. He explicitly says such a first stage will be imperfect because it grows out of the previous one:
Originally Posted by Marx
What we have to deal with here is a communist society, not as it has developed on its own foundations, but, on the contrary, just as it emerges from capitalist society; which is thus in every respect, economically, morally, and intellectually, still stamped with the birthmarks of the old society from whose womb it emerges.
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Old 24th September 2017, 01:52 AM   #269
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Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
Regardless of what we use as a common measure for exchange-value (money or labor time of whatever) it would still be different from the utility we get from a commodity (use-value)… whatever the price may be.
Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
they ought to have warehouses, distribution centers, and information processing nodes tracking demand and supply and so forth.
Is there a reason for not simply accepting that they would have an analogous production-supply-distribution system and payment tokens as Capitalism has -- which can also be called with their currently known names: factory, wholesale, retail shop, money? Why does everything need to be called with a different name than they have now?

Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
Marx focused extensively on giving a detailed account of the current economic mode of production he lived in, i.e., industrial capitalism. What does that say about him?
He must have believed that such detailed analysis of the current circumstances somehow is the most helpful thing that he can possibly do (or the most interesting subject for him personally). Or then he simply got the most enthusiastic and praising feedback for such research, and positive peer review motivated him to focus on what his audience most expected, what appeared to be in highest demand.

In politics and religion, such a cycle of public demand and your earlier reputation easily becomes an intellectual prison that you never have the courage to break free from.

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Old 24th September 2017, 05:18 AM   #270
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Originally Posted by JJM 777
Is there a reason for not simply accepting that they would have an analogous production-supply-distribution system and payment tokens as Capitalism has -- which can also be called with their currently known names: factory, wholesale, retail shop, money? Why does everything need to be called with a different name than they have now?
For example Marx defines money and exchange his way. Therefore, since for Marx exchange means a distinct contextual relation of private property to private property, it naturally follows that, if the means of productions are collectively owned, exchange as previously defined will also be ruled out per definition.

The same goes for "money": He lays out a description of money (in Capital I), as among other things, a circulating instrument. Now then, if other paper tokens, according to Marx, do not circulate, money may not be the best term to use.

Originally Posted by JJM 777
He must have believed that such detailed analysis of the current circumstances somehow is the most helpful thing that he can possibly do (or the most interesting subject for him personally). Or then he simply got the most enthusiastic and praising feedback for such research, and positive peer review motivated him to focus on what his audience most expected, what appeared to be in highest demand.

In politics and religion, such a cycle of public demand and your earlier reputation easily becomes an intellectual prison that you never have the courage to break free from.
Isn't there a more simple explanation also available: That is what an economist with a scientific interest primarily ought to do; i.e., to study the actual and present system rather than fictions?
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Old 24th September 2017, 01:45 PM   #271
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Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
For example Marx defines money and exchange his way. Therefore, since for Marx exchange means a distinct contextual relation of private property to private property, it naturally follows that, if the means of productions are collectively owned, exchange as previously defined will also be ruled out per definition.
Even if factories gave out everything they produce for free, or for tokens, a second-hand market of used items would exist. So collective ownership of factories does not "rule out" exchange, not in the market of second-hand items. The factory once produced a house for me. Without exchange of second-hand items, I would be forever doomed to live in that same house, even if I want to move to a different suburb or a different city. My kids grow and their clothes become small. Without exchange, I would have no other option than throwing the old clothes to garbage, as I buy new bigger sizes.

Not to speak of my earlier vision of a not so distant future consumption model, based primarily on renting and ephemeral possession, rather than owning and permanent possession.

It simply does not follow that an ownership model of production rules out all exchange of products in the society. That might be the case if all products are ephemeral and disposable, but they are not.

Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
Isn't there a more simple explanation also available: That is what an economist with a scientific interest primarily ought to do; i.e., to study the actual and present system rather than fictions?
Is that the role of Marx? Simply observe, without trying to tell where we should go next? Then why so fierce criticism of Lasalle, and I bet many others too? He was not a mere observer, he passionately attempted to influence people's thinking and actions, rather than merely observe them.

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Old 25th September 2017, 12:49 AM   #272
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Originally Posted by JJM 777
Even if factories gave out everything they produce for free, or for tokens, a second-hand market of used items would exist. So collective ownership of factories does not "rule out" exchange, not in the market of second-hand items. The factory once produced a house for me. Without exchange of second-hand items, I would be forever doomed to live in that same house, even if I want to move to a different suburb or a different city. My kids grow and their clothes become small. Without exchange, I would have no other option than throwing the old clothes to garbage, as I buy new bigger sizes.

Not to speak of my earlier vision of a not so distant future consumption model, based primarily on renting and ephemeral possession, rather than owning and permanent possession.

It simply does not follow that an ownership model of production rules out all exchange of products in the society. That might be the case if all products are ephemeral and disposable, but they are not.
Yes, a second-hand market is not ruled out, and neither is the exchange of words and ideas… or any other "exchange" of such kind. The more precise point being, as already laid out previously in #264: private production with the principal aim of private exchange (as in exchange-value) rather than use (as in use-value) is assumed to loose its logical foundation, hence producers do not exchange what they produce as they are not even theirs to exchange to begin with. That does not mean individuals cannot exchange items they own with each other.

The main point one final time: It's about recognizing the difference between
(A) Production with the principal direct purpose of exchange, vis-à-vis
(B) Production with the principal direct purpose of consumption.

Originally Posted by JJM 777
Is that the role of Marx? Simply observe, without trying to tell where we should go next? Then why so fierce criticism of Lasalle, and I bet many others too? He was not a mere observer, he passionately attempted to influence people's thinking and actions, rather than merely observe them.
We can only speculate about his passions or "true" motives. The fact still remains that Marx spent an awful lot of time trying to write and publish a comprehensive theory explaining the actual economic system of his time, i.e., industrial capitalism.
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Old 25th September 2017, 03:11 AM   #273
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Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
exchange-value ... use-value
How would this "use-value" be measured, anyway? For a person who needs a car to drive around a bit, a Rolls Royce made of gold has quite much the same use-value as a Fiat 500, but their exchange values differ dramatically. Should we start mass-producing Fiat 500s or golden Rolls Royces to the general population? Exchange value gives a very rational answer: NO. An imaginary use-value might not give this (correct) answer, if it indeed is based entirely on "usefulness value", and not at all on "material and production costs".

Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
is assumed to loose its logical foundation, hence producers do not exchange what they produce
Objection: Nobody produces everything. And at a closer look, hardly anyone produces ANYTHING from the beginning to the end. To build a computer, you need 50 factories producing the various metals, plastics and other raw materials. These factories exchange their products into the hands of 50 other factories which manufacture electronic spare parts out of the pre-processed raw materials. Then these exchange their products into the hands of a factory which assembles computers.

Valuing and budgeting all of this with traditional tools, such as money, is very handy, and understood by everyone from a layman to expert. Assuming such a universally known and used system to be dropped out, just because the smartest 0.01% of humans philosophically doubt its logical foundation, is a lot assumed. More than probably would happen.

Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
That does not mean individuals cannot exchange items they own with each other.
True story: Currently I have ads at online marketplaces, trying to sell a bed sofa for 100 EUR, an office chair for 25 EUR, an office desk for 50 EUR, and a worn-out and dog-bitten garden table and 4 chairs for 1 EUR.

Do you suggest that we mere humans would enjoy trading our stuff by asking the buyers to offer what useless trash they have in garage to give in exchange for my second-hand furniture? Don't you have the realism to acknowledge that we mere humans rather enjoy the ease of pricing our jumble sale stuff in exchangeable money, and then we can buy anything what we want with that money. This tool of exchange was invented for the purpose of liberating the buyer and seller from the need of mutually having such products to offer, which the other party is interested in. I don't even know what a devilish origin and soul Marx imagines money to have. The way I see it, money is a crucially useful and important tool for simplifying and indeed enabling the selling and buying of products, such as the furniture which I no longer need.

Central banking, banking, loangiving for interest etc. are a story of their own. If something evil is found in them, then those would be the problems to be corrected. Without ending the use of exchangeable money as a measure unit in allocation of production resources and distribution of work output.

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Old 25th September 2017, 05:34 AM   #274
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Originally Posted by JJM 777
How would this "use-value" be measured, anyway? For a person who needs a car to drive around a bit, a Rolls Royce made of gold has quite much the same use-value as a Fiat 500, but their exchange values differ dramatically. Should we start mass-producing Fiat 500s or golden Rolls Royces to the general population? Exchange value gives a very rational answer: NO. An imaginary use-value might not give this (correct) answer, if it indeed is based entirely on "usefulness value", and not at all on "material and production costs".
It's not a quantifiable measure as such, thus you wouldn't. That does not, however, mean that demand and supply for products cannot be determined. Notice how you, once again, acknowledge them being different categories after all. Use-value is not imaginary, far from it. The use of a spade is hardly imaginary: its usefulness (use-value) is manifested in actually using it for some tangible purpose. On the contrary, exchange-value is an abstract category, hence far more imaginary in the ordinary sense. It needs a system of an abstract universal equivalent so that any commodity can be considered on equal footing to any other commodity. I.e., that can only be done at a higher order of abstraction.

Material and production costs (in money form) can only be calculated once we know the quantities of (physical) material and labor time necessary to produce a given output. So the primary problem seems to be, how much needs to be produced. After that, it is a second order issue to calculate the money price, and as Marx points out, far more idiosyncratic to the capitalist mode of production.

Originally Posted by JJM 777
Objection: Nobody produces everything. And at a closer look, hardly anyone produces ANYTHING from the beginning to the end. To build a computer, you need 50 factories producing the various metals, plastics and other raw materials. These factories exchange their products into the hands of 50 other factories which manufacture electronic spare parts out of the pre-processed raw materials. Then these exchange their products into the hands of a factory which assembles computers.

Valuing and budgeting all of this with traditional tools, such as money, is very handy, and understood by everyone from a layman to expert. Assuming such a universally known and used system to be dropped out, just because the smartest 0.01% of humans philosophically doubt its logical foundation, is a lot assumed. More than probably would happen.
Indeed, no individual body produces everything… unless we consider society as a whole as one single body. And once again, the foundation for every calculation of such "valuing and budgeting" can be done by using actual physical quantities of necessary material and labor. You need to do that in any case even though you use money as a valuing tool. And as we discussed earlier, valuing in monetary terms is far more intrinsic to capitalism with private producers because they need to make a profit (or, if you like, avoid deficits). In contrast, if the means of production are collectively owned, such profit-logic drops away. Although, if one wants production to grow, surpluses are needed – but it's about surpluses pertaining to physical output rather than money.
Originally Posted by JJM 777
True story: Currently I have ads at online marketplaces, trying to sell a bed sofa for 100 EUR, an office chair for 25 EUR, an office desk for 50 EUR, and a worn-out and dog-bitten garden table and 4 chairs for 1 EUR.

Do you suggest that we mere humans would enjoy trading our stuff by asking the buyers to offer what useless trash they have in garage to give in exchange for my second-hand furniture? Don't you have the realism to acknowledge that we mere humans rather enjoy the ease of pricing our jumble sale stuff in exchangeable money, and then we can buy anything what we want with that money. This tool of exchange was invented for the purpose of liberating the buyer and seller from the need of mutually having such products to offer, which the other party is interested in. I don't even know what a devilish origin and soul Marx imagines money to have. The way I see it, money is a crucially useful and important tool for simplifying and indeed enabling the selling and buying of products, such as the furniture which I no longer need.

Central banking, banking, loangiving for interest etc. are a story of their own. If something evil is found in them, then those would be the problems to be corrected. Without ending the use of exchangeable money as a measure unit in allocation of production resources and distribution of work output.
Yes, I agree that money (as a common numeraire; unit of account) is handy. But notice how the assessment has much to do with money being handy once we consider private ownership of items about to be traded.
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Old 25th September 2017, 11:47 PM   #275
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Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
If the material conditions are different in one mode of production from another mode, it simply follows, according to Marx, that the distribution of the means of consumption will also be different between the two. This is, after all, a rather obvious conclusion.
In my opinion, the conclusion is far from obvious that common ownership of production would necessarily, or even with any significant probability, motivate people to abandon the money-based budgeting and pricing methods which are currently in use. Personally I wouldn't change it.

Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
It needs a system of an abstract universal equivalent so that any commodity can be considered on equal footing to any other commodity.
For me, that system is money.

Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
Use-value is not imaginary, far from it. The use of a spade is hardly imaginary: its usefulness (use-value) is manifested in actually using it for some tangible purpose. On the contrary, exchange-value is an abstract category, hence far more imaginary in the ordinary sense.
Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
calculation of such "valuing and budgeting" can be done by using actual physical quantities of necessary material and labor. You need to do that in any case even though you use money as a valuing tool.
By using money, I have the advantage of having one measuring unit for everything. Your system sounds like having at least two units which apparently cannot be compared with each other: material and labour [and energy]. Money-based system is easier to use, having two incomparable units seems to create an unacceptable blind spot. We cannot have "apples and pears which cannot be compared with each other". Everything must be reasonably and easily comparable with everything, mathematically. Money is a compromise, but an excellent compromise.

Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
private producers because they need to make a profit (or, if you like, avoid deficits). In contrast, if the means of production are collectively owned, such profit-logic drops away. Although, if one wants production to grow, surpluses are needed – but it's about surpluses pertaining to physical output rather than money.
Marx himself explains in the Lasalle critique that production must provide enough surplus to regain its own immediate production capability (which the production constantly depletes), and for future investments (the factory will one day be obsolete technically or just worn-out, and a new one needs to be built with resources basically "earned" by the factory itself over time), and for design & research & product development, and for expanding the production capacity (economic growth).

Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
it's about surpluses pertaining to physical output rather than money.
This sounds like someone contacting me about my second-hand furniture for sale, and offering some old women's clothes of size 52 and a boxful of fishing equipment. Too sad that I have no use for either of them. Forget physical output, what we need is figures reported in a universal exchangeable measuring unit. Such as money.

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Old 26th September 2017, 02:45 AM   #276
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Originally Posted by JJM 777
In my opinion, the conclusion is far from obvious that common ownership of production would necessarily, or even with any significant probability, motivate people to abandon the money-based budgeting and pricing methods which are currently in use. Personally I wouldn't change it.
Take a look at simplified explanations of the national accounts (forget a separate public sector for simplicity): Now, the national output is divided between wages and operating surplus. Wages = workers income. Operating surplus (profit) = capitalist's income. These two categories, as simplified, constitute their respective share in the national product. It's obvious, that if all means of production are collectively owned, the distribution will also be different since one category falls away.

Whatever instrument used in how the national product is valued and designated among people will not alter that.

Originally Posted by JJM 777
For me, that system is money.
Sure, and since Marx thought about money as also having the property of circulating, a non-circulating token might not qualify for such a definition. Obviously we can have a unit of account even though we don't have a circulating means of exchange. Whether we call such a standard or numeraire money or not, is, I guess, a matter of preference.

Originally Posted by JJM 777
By using money, I have the advantage of having one measuring unit for everything. Your system sounds like having at least two units which apparently cannot be compared with each other: material and labour [and energy]. Money-based system is easier to use, having two incomparable units seems to create an unacceptable blind spot. We cannot have "apples and pears which cannot be compared with each other". Everything must be reasonably and easily comparable with everything, mathematically. Money is a compromise, but an excellent compromise.
No you don't. That's the point. Regardless of you having money as a valuing standard, you still need to use physical measures as well. How can you possibly produce any target quantity of physical output A, B, C, D… etc. with only money as a measure (especially since the value of the measure itself might vary for a number of reasons)?

Originally Posted by JJM 777
Marx himself explains in the Lasalle critique that production must provide enough surplus to regain its own immediate production capability (which the production constantly depletes), and for future investments (the factory will one day be obsolete technically or just worn-out, and a new one needs to be built with resources basically "earned" by the factory itself over time), and for design & research & product development, and for expanding the production capacity (economic growth).
Irrelevant here. Physical surplus is not the same as monetary surplus. In fact, you can produce a physical surplus but nevertheless end up with a monetary deficit.


Originally Posted by JJM 777
This sounds like someone contacting me about my second-hand furniture for sale, and offering some old women's clothes of size 52 and a boxful of fishing equipment. Too sad that I have no use for either of them. Forget physical output, what we need is figures reported in a universal exchangeable measuring unit. Such as money.
Again, no. If there are N steel factories in society … They need to produce more than the quantity necessary for their own consumption (reproduction). That is a physical surplus. Without that surplus they cannot supply steel to any other sector requiring steel. That is a fact independent of whether the steel factories display a monetary surplus/profit or not.

Quite the contrary to your contention then, we cannot forget physical surplus; for without physical surplus there's no point in talking about money to begin with.
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Old 26th September 2017, 05:54 AM   #277
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Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
if all means of production are collectively owned, the distribution will also be different since one category falls away.
Now I understand what you mean with "distribution will be different". Obviously collective ownership changes the way how the _profits_ get distributed, if any profit is made. Not necessarily how the products get distributed, except indirectly, as the purchasing power of individuals is more equal than before, so the poorest people are able to create demand for (by purchasing) products which they were unable to afford before. Likewise, the richest people no longer are able to create demand for outrageously expensive luxury items.

Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
Whatever instrument used in how the national product is valued and designated among people will not alter that.
True.

Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
How can you possibly produce any target quantity of physical output A, B, C, D… etc. with only money as a measure
Output should be as much as consumers demand with their purchasing power and consumption decisions. Money acts as a tool for rationing how much a person can consume, but within that limit, the person makes very precise choices, which product and which vacation travel he spends his money for. The demand is specific physical products and services, but their amount is rationed by a limited amount of money at the perusal of each person. For this rationing of consumption (and for budgeting of production) we need a flexible and simple measuring unit, easy enough for every below-average IQ person on the street to understand how to use it. Such as money.

On the production side, availability of raw materials and labour resources affect the price tag that a product or service gets. If we start to run out of a specific raw material, its price starts to rise, and consumers start to pick some cheaper product in shelf, which is made of more easily sustainable materials. Then large-scale use of the expensive raw material ends, but we can still "afford" to use it in small quantities, wherever it is needed in small quantities.

Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
Physical surplus is not the same as monetary surplus.
Physical surplus cannot even exist, and should not exist. By the laws of nature, the amount of physical matter that exits the factory line, will not exceed the amount of physical matter that entered the factory line. The factory does not create anything, it simply converts materials from one form into another (and probably burns some of it into energy in the process).

A factory should not produce more than buyers demand. Otherwise, where would we put the excess, throw to the trashbin?

Neither will such surplus help the factory to regain its production capacity. What it immediately needs is more raw materials, not the surplus stuff that it has produced into storage. And in the long term it needs resources for building another factory hall full of specialised equipment. Surplus stuff in the storage will not be very helpful for that need either.

The simplest way to think of it is that the factory needs to produce enough surplus _value_, monetary for example, to justify the ordering of more raw materials, and to justify ordering other companies to build a new factory hall and new machinery for itself. If such orders were accepted without such economic justification, the production system would soon retard into gross unproductivity. Ineffective factories, whose managers have "great ideas" and no economic oversight, would consume more than they produce, and that would painfully affect the GDP.

Last edited by JJM 777; 26th September 2017 at 05:58 AM.
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Old 26th September 2017, 07:56 AM   #278
lupus_in_fabula
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Originally Posted by JJM 777
Physical surplus cannot even exist, and should not exist…
Of course physical surplus can exist. A steel factory produces steel as its output, whatever the quantity of steel needed in production of steel is subtracted from output, and thus the left-over part is the surplus, i.e., that part of output which can be distributed to other industries/sectors. Definition of physical surplus: output of X minus consumption of X used in production of X. For another industry: output of Y minus consumption of Y used in production of Y.

On a societal level this can be illustrated in an aggregated physical input-output matrix. The row vector depicts a single industry/sector and how much it uses input (own use and material from other sectors). The column vector depicts how much of each sector's output is used in other sectors. Hence we have at the end of every row gross output. And at the bottom of every column gross input. The difference between gross output and input is net output, and that's what ultimately is stored, invested into (additional) production input or distributed to end consumers.

Even if you translate and present the matrix in monetary form, net output illustrating value added (aka GDP)… there would be no value added unless there's actually something to valuate.
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Old 27th September 2017, 10:57 AM   #279
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Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
whatever the quantity of steel needed in production of steel is subtracted from output, and thus the left-over part is the surplus
Not sure if that makes any sense. A steel creating factory is an impossible concept. They are steel processing factories, where you input more steel (in ore) than you get purified steel as output. As 100% efficiency is impossible.

How much you output something is not an interesting figure. A huge mega-factory with 1000 employees produces 10 ACME products per day. A small 1-person garage company produces 1 ACME product per day. The small garage is the more effective one.

More interesting is, how effectively you did it: How much or little you consumed resources of materials, energy, and human labour. A monetary budget would tell that, and focus on that. If you have some other budgeting method that takes essentially the same things into account, and gives basically the same kind of results, that would be fine too.

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Old 27th September 2017, 11:02 PM   #280
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Originally Posted by JJM 777
Not sure if that makes any sense. A steel creating factory is an impossible concept. They are steel processing factories, where you input more steel (in ore) than you get purified steel as output. As 100% efficiency is impossible.
You are descending into silliness, JJM. By common parlance a steel factory produces steel; a copper wire factory produces copper wire, a "widget" factory "widgets"… I have no idea why you mention 100% efficiency. A surplus on the level of a single producer (factory) is simply the output minus output which it might use as part of its production scheme (like in building, maintenance, equipment, even raw material and so forth.). Btw. the key raw materials in steel-making include iron ore, coal, limestone and recycled steel. Ironically enough, steel might be the most recycled material in the world.

Depending on method (blast furnace, oxygen furnace, electric arc furnace), something like this:

Blast furnace: 1 400kg iron ore + 800kg coal + 300kg limestone + 120kg recycled steel produces 1 000kg crude steel as output.

Electric arc furnace: 16kg coal + 64kg limestone + 880kg recycled steel (in combination with other iron sources) produces 1 000kg of crude steel.

Originally Posted by JJM 777
How much you output something is not an interesting figure. A huge mega-factory with 1000 employees produces 10 ACME products per day. A small 1-person garage company produces 1 ACME product per day. The small garage is the more effective one.
Why the ridiculous comparison? On a societal level it's not more effective to increase the number of ACME factories compared to increasing the magnitude as in production capacity of any single ACME factory. So if the daily demand for ACME products in society is, say one million ACME products, it's certainly not meaningful to have one million 1-person ACME factories to supply the society with the same ACME product. Manufacturing often show increasing returns to scale.

Originally Posted by JJM 777
More interesting is, how effectively you did it: How much or little you consumed resources of materials, energy, and human labour. A monetary budget would tell that, and focus on that. If you have some other budgeting method that takes essentially the same things into account, and gives basically the same kind of results, that would be fine too.
No, a monetary budget would not tell that as the price can in principle be anything. You cannot calculate the efficiency of material consumption in production unless you actually calculate the involved physical quantities. End of story. That's why we calculate physical quantities and that's why, for example, when examining externalities like pollution and the like, we also need to calculate physical quantities rather than money. Monetary value is a second order calculation.

But of course, in pure capitalism, a single private producer might start out with a monetary calculation in order to decide if production is profitable, and thus based on that, decide whether to produce at all. For society at large, such constraint does not exist: money is not scarce on the societal level; physical material and production capacity including labor and time is the real constraint, always.
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