Labor Vouchers

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FS98
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Jun 22 2016 13:03
Labor Vouchers

In an anarcho-collectivist anarcho-syndicalist society how are businesses started up and grown? Also, how is it decided how much each person will be paid. As I understand it, labor vouchers cannot be used to purchase means of production, and are not circulated. If this is so, businesses will not make money to pay their workers, and new businesses will never be started. I've seen a number of anarcho-syndicalists that are also anarcho-collectivists, but I'm not quite sure how these two ideologies are compatible.

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Khawaga
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Jun 22 2016 13:59

There are no businesses in a communist society. And if there are wages, it's still capitalism.

FS98
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Jun 22 2016 14:38

I'm not talking about a communist society, I'm talking about an anarcho-collectivist one. I think wages can exist in a socialist economy as long as they are decided in a given company by the workers themselves and workers aren't being exploited by an employer taking a share of their profit without consent.

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Khawaga
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Jun 22 2016 14:46

What you are describing is capitalism.

Gulai Polye
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Jun 23 2016 00:41
Quote:
In an anarcho-collectivist anarcho-syndicalist society how are businesses started up and grown?

Well the thing is socialism doesnt have to worry about this because capitalism has done this work for us already. All we have to do is just take over the means of production. Which, after the state has been smashed will be a no brainer

Quote:
If this is so, businesses will not make money to pay their workers, and new businesses will never be started.

Why would you start new business? Are you not happy with what already exist?

Of course there is still expenses associated with maintaining the means of production. So lets say in a factory with 4 workers in combination producing goods worth 400 units of economic value (EV). Then lets say 50 EV are needed to maintain the means of production. Well. Then all the workers needs to do is pool together 50 EV of their 400 EV income and put it back into the factory.

drakeberkman
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Jun 23 2016 02:31

"Anarcho-collectivist" sounds an awful lot like something an anarcho-capitalist would say.

FS98
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Jun 23 2016 02:45
drakeberkman wrote:
"Anarcho-collectivist" sounds an awful lot like something an anarcho-capitalist would say.

Everytime you say something on this website someone accuses you of being a capitalist. Anarcho-collectivism is a well known anarchist school of thought. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collectivist_anarchism

radicalgraffiti
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Jun 23 2016 03:07
FS98 wrote:
drakeberkman wrote:
"Anarcho-collectivist" sounds an awful lot like something an anarcho-capitalist would say.

Everytime you say something on this website someone accuses you of being a capitalist. Anarcho-collectivism is a well known anarchist school of thought. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collectivist_anarchism

maybe you should stop promoting capitalism then.

collectivism was a tendency within anarchism but its completely archaic now.

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Chilli Sauce
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Jun 23 2016 04:19

Man, libcom has just been weird lately.

So, for new posters, it's totally cool to have questions, but this is a libertarian communist site, so don't be surprised when non-communist ideas are rejected. On top of that, there have only really been three organized anarchist tendencies in the past hundred years: anarcho-syndicalism, anarcho-communism, and platformism (who consider themselves anarcho-communists anyway).

The other competing ideas - collectivism, individualism, mutualism - they've been rejected as failing theoretically and practically lacking the ability to overcome capitalist social relations. And for good reason.

Anyway, without trying to be a dick, the idea of "businesses" within socialism or anarchism, it totally misses the idea of the collective and democratic control of the means of production.

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Noah Fence
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Jun 23 2016 06:02

What Chilli said.

FS98 - I've read all of your posts and they pretty much all have their roots in capitalism. Is it so hard to make the leap from the assumption that people are set on controlling commodities and extracting what they can from them rather than freely giving and receiving. In fact, I hardly see it as giving even, I mean, in communism we all win - we play our small part and have the reward of a free life and provision of all our needs. Just think about that - isn't that both a sensible and beautiful idea?

Anarcho
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Jul 2 2016 11:24
Khawaga wrote:
There are no businesses in a communist society. And if there are wages, it's still capitalism.

Oh, come on. You know what was meant -- how do new workplaces get formed in a free society...

As for "wages", you mean payment according to work done rather than distribution according to need? Many anarchists have accepted that -- not least Proudhon, Bakunin and others. The notion that this is "capitalism" is just a joke -- next thing you will be saying an artisan is a "capitalist" or stone-age tribes bartering products is "capitalism" or a slave-economy is "capitalist".

If workers sell/exchange the product of their labour to other workers then it is not capitalism -- as that needs workers to sell the labour itself to an owner. That does not mean it is the best system (I agree with Kropotkin) it is just to be clear that it is a form of socialism.

I should also note here that Proudhon did not advocate "labour-notes" -- that is an invention by Marx (indeed, the only one of the two to actually advocate payment by hours work). Sure, Kropotkin also accused Proudhon of this but he was just repeating the standard narrative.

Anyway, oppose "to each according to their deeds" by all means but do not call it "capitalism".

Anarcho
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Jul 2 2016 11:48
Chilli Sauce wrote:
So, for new posters, it's totally cool to have questions, but this is a libertarian communist site, so don't be surprised when non-communist ideas are rejected.

If it is a libertarian communist site, then why are "left-communists" posting things here? I've seen plenty of non-libertarian "communist" nonsense here... but people seem only bothered by non-communist libertarians... strange.

And there is a big difference between disagreeing with other libertarians for the right reasons and "rejecting" them based on confused notions and frankly self-contradictory positions. Rejecting, say, mutualism because distribution according to needs to better is fine. Rejecting it by calling it "capitalism" is not -- it just suggests you do not understand mutualism or capitalism.

Quote:
The other competing ideas - collectivism, individualism, mutualism - they've been rejected as failing theoretically and practically lacking the ability to overcome capitalist social relations. And for good reason.

Given that mutualism and collectivism overcome the key "capitalist social relation", namely wage-labour, it is just nonsense to dismiss them as "capitalist". There are good arguments against "distribution according to deed" but calling it "capitalist" is not one of them.

Just like the ideological defenders of capitalism, such a position ends up making every society "capitalist" -- after all, artisans and peasants sold the product of their labour, slave economies likewise were based on buying and selling. So all "capitalist"... as if.

Quote:
Anyway, without trying to be a dick, the idea of "businesses" within socialism or anarchism, it totally misses the idea of the collective and democratic control of the means of production.

If you think every economic decision will be made by everyone then you are wrong. There will be extensive workplace and community autonomy in a free society -- if it is to function at all. individual workplaces will decide to invest (to expand) and so on, groups of people will seek to create new workplaces, etc. and it will not be decided upon by everyone. because it cannot be!

So "collective and democratic control of the means of production" requires genuine autonomy, it requires federal links, etc. Which means asking how collectives form is valid (regardless of the actual words used) because that will be something which needs to be worked out.

The flawed legacy of Marx with regards "planning" seems to be wider than Marxist circles... which is a shame. The two or three paragraphs on planning in that dishonest work The Poverty of Philosophy just showed (like the rest of that work) Marx's ignorance of economics and economic theory. Anyway, I discuss this here:

Review: "Democracy at work: A cure for capitalism"

Same with the likes of Bordiga -- I remember reading him proclaim workplace autonomy was "capitalism" and would be abolished under his "communism", which just showed he had no idea how any real economy functions...

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jef costello
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Jul 2 2016 12:42
Anarcho wrote:
And there is a big difference between disagreeing with other libertarians for the right reasons and "rejecting" them based on confused notions and frankly self-contradictory positions. Rejecting, say, mutualism because distribution according to needs to better is fine. Rejecting it by calling it "capitalism" is not -- it just suggests you do not understand mutualism or capitalism.

Quote:
Given that mutualism and collectivism overcome the key "capitalist social relation", namely wage-labour, it is just nonsense to dismiss them as "capitalist". There are good arguments against "distribution according to deed" but calling it "capitalist" is not one of them.

A labour voucher is distribution according to deed, ie hours worked, but if someone is selling something then surely that is distribution according to the market?
Let's say I make something out of steel that looks pretty, people really want them and exchange a lot of whatever money you're proposing , so I make all that money, what do I do with it? Assuming I can't buy any means of production what do I do? I suppose I can buy luxury goods, say high thread-count egyptian cotton sheets. People making useful products, say scalpels, can either have crappier stuff than me or switch to making knickknacks like me. So the price of medical equipment goes up, some people can no longer afford medical care, obviously with my fat stacks of whatever I still can. I can also buy up steel creating a shortage in the scalpel market, I could even stockpile it and speculate on even greater price rises. This seems to me to be obviously not a communist society.
It seems to me that if you have currency and a market you allow accumulation (and speculation, investment etc) which creates an unequal society very quickly.

Quote:
Just like the ideological defenders of capitalism, such a position ends up making every society "capitalist" -- after all, artisans and peasants sold the product of their labour, slave economies likewise were based on buying and selling. So all "capitalist"... as if.

Artisans are capitalists and peasants can be too, depending on the definition. Our current society could very easily incorporate slave labour and informally already does.

Quote:
If you think every economic decision will be made by everyone then you are wrong. There will be extensive workplace and community autonomy in a free society -- if it is to function at all. individual workplaces will decide to invest (to expand) and so on, groups of people will seek to create new workplaces, etc. and it will not be decided upon by everyone. because it cannot be!

Not everything is decided by everyone, that's why we have delegates to coordinate etc. Individual workplaces will have autonomy but there would need to be some mechanism in place to make sure useful stuff got made and a market which often rewards non-essential production more highly isn't always the way to do so. A system where accumulation isn't possible would naturally encourage people to produce useful stuff (I suppose that I might still produce my trinkets just for the praise of my comrades but that would probably dry up if that were having a negative impact on the production of necessities)
To go back to my example earlier, would I be able to use my earnings for new equipment for my workplace and to expand it, would I then be allowed to decide who could work there? Let's say that the rice harvest failed, would I be able to walk over to a wheat farm and 'join' and take a share? I would imagine not, so I'd probably have to pay some kind of fee or contribute something which would mean existing members were benefiting from the ownership of capital...
I'm sorry if I have over-simplified your position but it seems to me that these are the logical consequences of having a currency and a market.

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Noah Fence
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Jul 2 2016 12:53

Jeff, had this conversation with a comrade last week. They thought labour vouchers were worth consideration whilst I came to precisely the same conclusion as you. Unfortunately, as ever, I was unable to vocalise my position as well as I would have liked. I will now plagiarise your ass and use your words to spank hers.

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Chilli Sauce
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Jul 2 2016 13:52
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If it is a libertarian communist site, then why are "left-communists" posting things here? I've seen plenty of non-libertarian "communist" nonsense here... but people seem only bothered by non-communist libertarians... strange.

Man, if that's your experience, I suggest you find basically any thread about the ICC. Seriously, put "decadence" into the search bar and tell me people don't bother with non-libertarians communists...

Quote:
Just like the ideological defenders of capitalism, such a position ends up making every society "capitalist" -- after all, artisans and peasants sold the product of their labour, slave economies likewise were based on buying and selling. So all "capitalist"... as if.

So, no one has said anything like this but you.

And I'd add that same point to basically the entire second half of post #12. Most posters on this site - certainly me - have pretty well-developed ideas of how production and distribution would be organized post-capitalism. It's probably best to find out their ideas before before crafting arguments about whatever incorrect legacy they've inherited from Marx.

Anyway, as Jef has skillfully pointed out, attempting to run the society we inherent from capitalism through payment by deed and market exchange will result in a society of inequality and competition. "Workplaces" will be attempting to garner more return on the products they create than they put into it. That excess - or lack thereof - will have to be distributed amongst the workforce somehow.

You don't want to call that "self-managed capitalism" or "self-managed wage labour", fine. But it seems a pretty f*cking far cry from socialism to me. It looks more like an attempt to democratize the economy we have now as opposed to overcoming the social relations that underpin it.

Spikymike
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Jul 2 2016 15:33

A social system in which generalised commodity production and distribution is the dominant form, irrespective of the internal relations of co-operative worker enterprises that compete on any form of market is still capitalism by any reasonable definition, but of course there is much to argue about as to how any transition to a communist society might be achieved in practice by those of us committed to that objective.

Gulai Polye
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Jul 2 2016 19:56
jef costello wrote:
So the price of medical equipment goes up, some people can no longer afford medical care, obviously with my fat stacks of whatever I still can.

can be solved with charity

Quote:
I can also buy up steel creating a shortage in the scalpel market, I could even stockpile it and speculate on even greater price rises.

No you cant, that would be capitalism. Buying things you dont use. If you dont use what you have bought then someone else who can use it, can come and take it from you.

Quote:
It seems to me that if you have currency and a market you allow accumulation (and speculation, investment etc) which creates an unequal society very quickly.

- Accumulation, only on a small insignificant scale
- Inequality, only in possessions which would be in accordance to productivity not in means of production. In MOP there there would be equality
- Speculation, no because you can only posses what you use

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jef costello
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Jul 2 2016 22:16
Gulai Polye wrote:
can be solved with charity

No.

Quote:
No you cant, that would be capitalism. Buying things you dont use. If you dont use what you have bought then someone else who can use it, can come and take it from you.

What time frame exists before people are allowed to come and take 'my' things? Who decides? What hapens if I'm really big, know karate or have a gun? What if I pay a guy to watch my stockpile?

Quote:
- Accumulation, only on a small insignificant scale
- Inequality, only in possessions which would be in accordance to productivity not in means of production. In MOP there there would be equality
- Speculation, no because you can only posses what you use

If means of production are equal then how can there be investment?
What happens to the problem of production gearing towards profiting from my fat stacks rather than providing necessities?
Some other posters have raised the same questions.

Gulai Polye
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Jul 3 2016 01:10
jef costello wrote:
Gulai Polye wrote:
can be solved with charity

No.

yes

Quote:
What time frame exists before people are allowed to come and take 'my' things? Who decides?

Thats up for people to decide locally

Quote:
What hapens if I'm really big, know karate or have a gun? What if I pay a guy to watch my stockpile?

Does karate work against fire? Does a gun work against poison?

Quote:
If means of production are equal then how can there be investment?
What happens to the problem of production gearing towards profiting from my fat stacks rather than providing necessities?
Some other posters have raised the same questions.

Through unions and communes.
Well lets say there is a lack of food or water, and lets say i am running a steelmill. Well that steelmill couldnt do anything about it anyway. Well i guess i dont understand what your trying to say. You want to change a steelmill into making food?

radicalgraffiti
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Jul 3 2016 01:29
Gulai Polye wrote:
jef costello wrote:
Gulai Polye wrote:
can be solved with charity

No.

yes

Quote:
What time frame exists before people are allowed to come and take 'my' things? Who decides?

Thats up for people to decide locally

Quote:
What hapens if I'm really big, know karate or have a gun? What if I pay a guy to watch my stockpile?

Does karate work against fire? Does a gun work against poison?

Quote:
If means of production are equal then how can there be investment?
What happens to the problem of production gearing towards profiting from my fat stacks rather than providing necessities?
Some other posters have raised the same questions.

Through unions and communes.
Well lets say there is a lack of food or water, and lets say i am running a steelmill. Well that steelmill couldnt do anything about it anyway. Well i guess i dont understand what your trying to say. You want to change a steelmill into making food?

if these answers worked then capitalism would be perfectly fine as it is, if we cant't understand why these answers don't work then we don't understand why capitalism is the horrific exploitive murderous system it is

Gulai Polye
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Jul 3 2016 01:43

The problem with capitalism, is that in wage labour, in private property, there is exploitation.

A worker producing in 8 hours is only paid for 4 hours of work. The rest is surplus value. No - this is what makes capitalism not working.
And then there is the state and all that.

Take exploitation out of capitalism, and you would no longer have capitalism. This is the one thing capitalism can not survive.

Gulai Polye
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Jul 3 2016 01:50
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The capitalist, to generate profits, must keep the working day at a certain length. Part of the day is spent generating value that keeps the workers fed and clothed, while the remainder is spent generating surplus value, which goes to the capitalist himself. This is the essence of exploitation

http://www.sparknotes.com/philosophy/marx/section3.rhtml

radicalgraffiti
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Jul 3 2016 01:54

explain why your solutions haven't solved these problems in capitalism

Fleur
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Jul 3 2016 02:00

Not to be snarky, well maybe a little bit, but your arguing about Marx with people whose knowledge far exceeds that of a sparknotes précis.

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syndicalistcat
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Jul 3 2016 04:56
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If it is a libertarian communist site, then why are "left-communists" posting things here? I've seen plenty of non-libertarian "communist" nonsense here... but people seem only bothered by non-communist libertarians... strange.

I tend to agree with Anarcho's comments here. What I've found is that libertarians who diverge from UK communist orthodoxy are subjected to snark & caricature.

This is why I don't post stuff here on economics.

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Auld-bod
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Jul 3 2016 08:24

Gulai Polye #17
‘jef costello wrote:
So the price of medical equipment goes up, some people can no longer afford medical care, obviously with my fat stacks of whatever I still can.

can be solved with charity’

To argue that any of societies needs can be solved by ‘charity’ is to return to Victorian values - paternalistic and moralizing nonsense. The welfare state is progressive compared to this right wing shite.

Gulai Polye
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Jul 3 2016 08:31
radicalgraffiti wrote:
explain why your solutions haven't solved these problems in capitalism

They would have long time ago if the state hadnt intervened

Gulai Polye
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Jul 3 2016 08:36
Auld-bod wrote:
Gulai Polye #17
‘jef costello wrote:
So the price of medical equipment goes up, some people can no longer afford medical care, obviously with my fat stacks of whatever I still can.

can be solved with charity’

To argue that any of societies needs can be solved by ‘charity’ is to return to Victorian values - paternalistic and moralizing nonsense. The welfare state is progressive compared to this right wing shite.

Communism would be null and void without charity. So please tell us more about how charity is right wing and make yourself look stupid.

Gulai Polye
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Jul 3 2016 08:40
Fleur wrote:
Not to be snarky, well maybe a little bit, but your arguing about Marx with people whose knowledge far exceeds that of a sparknotes précis.

Fine then there is no reason to disagree with me

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jef costello
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Jul 3 2016 08:46
Gulai Polye wrote:
Does karate work against fire? Does a gun work against poison?

What about guards? What happens when one person can buy the power to commit more violence and can use it? You either end up with a free for all where might makes right or some kind of regulation of violence...

Quote:
Through unions and communes.
Well lets say there is a lack of food or water, and lets say i am running a steelmill. Well that steelmill couldnt do anything about it anyway. Well i guess i dont understand what your trying to say. You want to change a steelmill into making food?

Let's say the steel mill stops making vital parts for hydroelectric power plants? Or go back to my example of scalpels? Or irrigation equipment? IT was a simplified example.

Let's ignore the example, what happens when people decide to produce items based on market value rather than need? What happens if someone/a commune is producing something that no-one wants?

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Auld-bod
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Jul 3 2016 09:10

Gulai Polye #28
‘..and make yourself look stupid.’

charity noun (GIVING)
a system of giving money, food, or help free to those who are in need because they are ill, poor, or have no home, or any organization that has the purpose of providing money or helping in this way.
charity noun (KIND)
the quality of being kind to people and not judging them in a severe way

You advocate a system which you admit generates the need for charity. Free communism by abolishing private property ends this affront to human dignity. I believe in mutual aid and abundance of good will, and an end to the benevolence of the better off.

You are not stupid, though I suspect you have never known the indignity of the charitable hand out. Several weeks ago after giving some groceries to a food bank collection, I annoyed some people as I replied I didn’t want thanks, I wanted an end to capitalism.