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Why the anti-capitalism focus?

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mrfoo
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Jun 24 2009 09:11
Quote:
That would at least be a substantive discussion, if the original poster had written something in those terms. Instead, he wrote this:
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But perhaps the more perplexing thing is that we don't live under a capitalist regime anyway, so being anti something we don't have seems a little redundant.

In other words, the original poster thinks that communists are opposed to a word, rather than the concrete social relationships that they describe with that word. The only two conclusions I can draw from this are:

To clarify, I don't think that communists are opposed to a word, not for one moment have I ever thought that communists spent their time debating mear words. I thought it would be assumed that when I was talking about capitalism I was refering to what the word represents in the real world, rather than a collection of 10 letters - as is conventional when discussing anything with anybody.

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1) he's just a propertarian trolling on a communist forum, trying to prove to us that our definition of "capitalism" doesn't match his definition of "capitalism". This is about as meaningful a conversation as trying to convince English speakers that their word "boot" to describe a type of footwear is incorrect, because in German "das Boot" refers to a vehicle that floats on water.

I'm not at all trying to prove that our definitions of capitalism differ, or that mine is more correct than yours, part of what I'm trying to understand (by asking questions) is what exactly your anarchist definition of capitalism is.

I came to this form from the Anarchist Federation web site, thinking mistakenly that I was an anarchist because I oppose the state and other forms of authority, I didn't realise that anarchism required that I be an anti-capitalist too.

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2) Or he's just an incredibly naive idealist who thinks that words refer to absolute Platonic entities, rather than merely being a convenient shorthand for referring to concrete entities.

Nope, I'm used to words refering to concrete entities.

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I'm not even adverse to propertarians posting on Libcom to argue for their "ideal" society, though I suspect the moderators have a low tolerance for that sort of thing, since there are probably an abundance of forums on the internet better suited for that. But the originator of this thread simply wants to engage in semantic games. If it looks like a troll and acts like a troll...

I don't want to engage in semantic games, but agreement semantics is crucial if meaningfull debate is to be had. An example above was my incorrect labeling of the states management of money being 'socialist', because I understood the meaning of 'socialism' to be the ownership and control of the means of production by the state - but it turns out there is no money under socialism.

Can you provide me with definitions of capitalism, socialism & communism that are commonly accepted amoungst this community so I can avoid these mistakes in the future?

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flaneur
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Jun 24 2009 09:17

Slothjabber did, last post on page 1.

slothjabber
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Jun 24 2009 09:24

"Anarchism" is a very broad label and can include anyone opposed to the state. This is not an "anarchist forum" in those terms. It is a class-struggle Anarchist or Libertarian Communist forum. Likewise the AF is not "anarchist" in those terms, it is a class-struggle Anarchist (even Anarchist-Communist) organisation.

The fact that the word "communist" has popped up twice there in those definitions should start ringing bells.

There isn't a convenient definition that everyone on LibCom follows, but there would be few here I think that generally disagreed with the ideas that communism and socialism are the same thing, neither has anything to do with the state, and capitalism is the exploitation of the working class by the owners of the means of production (forms of market and ownership of corporations being entirely secondary matters).

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Jun 24 2009 09:31
mrfoo wrote:
Are you suggesting that there is some magical world where everyone is happy in their job all the time? How does your alternative economic system ensure the perfect match between a workers desires and the job they do better than their own self interest and motivation?

Of course it is impossible to ensure that everybody is happy all of the time, I don't think anybody thinks that is achievable. However, what anarchist or libertarian communists would argue is for a system where work is a social activity, rather than something people must do in order to survive.

There's some disagreement as to how socially necessary labour (street cleaning, sewer maintainance, etc.) would be managed, some anarchists argue that people would do these things because they are socially acceptable, others argue that some degree of compulsion would be necessary (say, by the community organisations that manage the distribution of goods withholding luxuries from people who refuse to take part in socially necessary labour of some form). But generally speaking, the non-essential parts of the economy would be managed by the people who want to work in them.

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Chilli Sauce
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Jun 24 2009 10:05

I, for one, don't think MrFoo is a troll. Foo, this is from a pamphlet entitled "What is Libertarian Socialism" that I wrote sometime back:

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Libertarian? Is that like the Libertarian Party?

The short answer is a resounding no. The term “libertarian” has been used by the anti-statist left for over 150 years. It was not until the 1970s that a group of pro-capitalist extremists, seeking to co-opt the language of the revolutionary left, began to use the term. The Libertarian Party, as well a so-called “anarcho-capitalists,” are in no way libertarian. They merely want the state to function solely for the benefit of the capitalist class. Contrary to liberals, who believe the working class is more easily kept in line when the state curtails the worst aspects of capitalism, the Libertarian Party denies that government should have any role in protecting workers and consumers from even the most flagrant injustices committed in the name of a market economy.

True libertarians oppose all hierarchy and authority, beginning with capitalism and the state. The Libertarian Party, on the other hand, does not oppose the state as an institution, despite the fact government is objectively and irreconcilably authoritarian. The party seeks only to dismantle any social functions (public housing programs, public employment, progressive taxation, universal healthcare, unemployment benefits, etc) that social movements have forced upon the state, often having faced violent opposition from the government to do so. At the most basic level, the Libertarian Party fully supports the state in protecting private property (the police), defending national capitalist interests (the military), and maintaining class society (social control enforced by the police, the courts, and capitalist legislation). A truly libertarian world would be one entirely free of hierarchy and coercive authority. By supporting unfettered, unregulated capitalism and the most repressive aspects of the state, the Libertarian Party program, if ever put into effect, would increase the amount of hierarchy and authoritarianism present in society.

....

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Libertarian socialists believe that every individual has the ability to make every decision that affects his or her life. However, we also recognize that many decisions are of a social nature. As such, all that are affected by a particular decision should have an equal say in the outcome. Related, libertarian socialists realize the economy is objectively social. In other words, one couldn’t do his or her job effectively if millions of others didn’t do their job effectively as well. For example, if sanitation workers didn’t clear the streets of trash, disease would spread so quickly that doctors would be too overwhelmed to handle the amount of patients who need care. Likewise, both doctors and sanitations workers need folks to grow their food, build their houses, make their cloths, and keep society’s transportation systems in working order. Those people, in turn, need health care and trash removal. Moreover, in our jobs, we all use products, inventions, and ideas inherited from previous generations. Knowledge itself is social, as it is built up and passed on from person to person and generation to generation.

Because the economy is objectively social, anyone who claims to “own” the fruits of the economy (i.e. a corporation or an individual capitalist) is effectively stealing from the workers who created such wealth in the first place. Instead of an economy driven by profit and greed, an ethical and rational economic system would be based on fulfilling human need (including the needs of luxury, rest, and relaxation) with the least amount of effort. In this socialist economy all individuals would engage in socially productive labor and all jobs would be recognized as equally valued and equally important.

Libertarian socialists believe that for socialism to truly thrive we must establish democratic control of every aspect of the economy. Workers must begin by democratically controlling their immediate workplace. Instead of managers appointed by profit-driven corporate bosses or government bureaucrats, workers must exercise self-management. Decisions concerning everything from what is produced to how it is produced can be made in regular meetings in which every worker has a vote. In short, workers will exercise worker control.

....

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On a practical level, libertarian socialists, after expropriating the owning class and all its property, would seek to abolish all unproductive toil. This means that all positions that do not actually create wealth (think managers, landlords, real estate agents, corporate executives, the entire marketing industry, bankers, salespeople, police officers, politicians, bureaucrats, etc.) would be eliminated. All individuals could then gravitate toward the work they find most rewarding. Likewise, cooperation is always far more productive than competition. Engaging in productive labor within a democratic environment would encourage much greater efficiency. The stress, both individual and social, associated with the capitalist work regime would disappear. Moreover, with the profit motive removed, technology could be applied to the larger social good. Instead of advances in technology being one more excuse to cut jobs, it would help decrease the workload for everyone. Plus, with all engaged in productive work and the parasitic capitalist class abolished, the amount of work required from each member of society to would be drastically reduced. If, after all of this, ‘undesirable’ work still existed, it could be democratically divided between all able bodies.

If you're interested--and I think you will be--PM me your e-mail and I'll send you the entire pamphlet. It's a quick read and I think it will address many of your points/concerns.

Oh, quick other point: socialism is based on the notion "From each according to ability, to each according to their need." Certain socialists, those of us on Libcom would call them authoritarian socialists, equated that with state control of the economy. We believe in Libertarian Communism (hence the name of the site) in which workers are in direct democratic controls of their individual workplaces and the larger economy. See the difference?

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jaocheu
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Jun 24 2009 11:55
juozokas wrote:
here is your answer: i don't like working a shithouse job for most of my life to make someone else rich. being able to 'trade freely' is meaningless to me.

In some versions of anarcho-capitalism I've heard of they accept the Lockean principle of you must mix your labour with nature to claim ownership. This means no-one can get rich off anyone else's labour, its strickly what you manually do yourself. Of course someone may make something of higher value than another to sell so be wealthier. Whenever I see licom objections to libcap I never see them criticise this version. So I would like to know what the objection is.

slothjabber
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Jun 24 2009 12:25

Because if there is "selling" then there is a market, if there is a market there are commodities, and if there are commodities there is capitalism. As this is a Libertarian Communist forum the objection is that capitalism is not, nor can it ever be, communism. "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need" (a principle that both the Marxist Communists and Anarchist Communists that frequent LibCom can agree on, I think) is fundamentally incompatable with money.

I would disagree with ncwob about "authoritarian socialists" though. The problem is that the term "socialist" (and "communist" has suffered a similar problem) has become very confused. "Socialism" is the classless communal society of free access. Because some parties that advocated this came to see an interventionist state as a means to implement it, "socialism" came to be used to refer to these "means to an end" - the policies of a party called "Socialist" must equal "Socialism", right?

Unfortunately not. Any more than Barak Obama defines what "Democracy" means. He's the Democratic Party candidate, whatever he does must be "Democracy" mustn't it?

Eventually, the end and the means were completely divorced in some of the so-called Socialist parties, and now "libertarians" and right-wingers use "socialism" to mean an interventionist state. It's not, and it never has been. It's just a (failed) tactic that some socialists adopted.

There are no "authoritarian socialists" in my opinion. There are socialists, and there are capitalists who use the rhetoric of socialism (Chavez, Castro, etc).

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Jun 24 2009 13:24
petey wrote:
the big opinion difference, whether implicitly or explicitly stated, is about the degree of personal autonomy provided by laissez-faire. he thinks it's maximized, we think it's very highly restricted

Exactly. As anarchists/libertarians, we are opposed to coercive force, and we see wealth as something that can be used to coerce people. We also think that in order to have any meaningful personal autonomy, you have to have certain material needs met, which 'anarcho-capitalism' can't guarantee, but anarcho-communism does.

mrfoo wrote:
So you're claiming that all nations are capitalist, I'm not sure Hugo Chavez for one would agree with you.

As is noted above, Hugo Chavez talks a lot of crap. As an anarchist, you've surely noted that politicians promise lots of things they can't deliver. Those on the right are more likely to talk about freedom (while denying it through use of repressive state power, and so on, and so forth), those on the left are more likely to talk about equality or even socialism, but they can't deliver genuine socialism any more than Bush or Obama managed to promote genuine freedom.

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I thought that capitalism was also otherwise known as the 'market economy', and I'm using the prefix 'free' to indicate the removal of influence and control of the state.

See slothjabber's definition. Even if the state has some control over the market, the market is still there, and so it's still capitalism.

Angelus Novus wrote:
Let me illustrate the troll-like nature of the original post with another example.

Imagine going onto a discussion forum devoted to discussion of American "football", the game where they attempt to carry an oblong ball in their hands across a field into the opposing teams end zone... But quibbling about the use of the word football is trolling pure and simple.

Because football is definitely an obscure subject that only a small minority of the population currently show an interest in and one which is systematically misrepresented by the media whenever it's discussed, isn't it? Foo seems genuine enough to me, and I've got much more patience for people new to anarchism trying to improve their understanding of it than for the tedious blatherings of the likes of Principia Dialectica, f'r instance.

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Chilli Sauce
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Jun 24 2009 13:34

Point taken Sloth (although I don't think the Obama example is analogous), but I do think this could really just comes down to semantics. I agree that the state is inherently capitalistic, but I do think some legitimate socialists really do believe "public" ownership under the state can be a form of socialism. I disagree with them and so do you, but there are people who believe both in "from each according to their ability, to each according to their need" and who also believe a "classless communal society of free access" can be achieved via the state. Their socialist beliefs have authoritarian implications. Hence, they are authoritarian socialists. [Note: Chavez and Castro are power-hungry opportunists, I think we can both agree on that. I'm talking more about the rank and file of Socialist parties.]

Anyway, about this statement:

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There is no 'economic management' in socialism because there is no 'economy', no money no commodities... are you getting it? If you want to 'manage' the economy you're a capitalist. If you want to abolish the economy (along with the state, exploitation, commodity production, money) you're a socialist.

The economy is simply the distribution of goods and services. I'm a socialist and I want to abolish money and commodities. I also certainly want to keep goods and services flowing and distributed according to need. The economy needs to be managed to function. The key is how it is managed. Under libertarian socialism it will be managed directly, democratically, and horizontally. But it's still an economy and it's still managed.

slothjabber
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Jun 24 2009 14:01

OK, semantics again.

Some people probably do believe that socialism (free-access classless communal society without states or borders) can be brought about through the state.

But is their belief important? God doesn't exist because people believe in it; believing you're going to the dentist's even though you're (objectively) going in the wrong direction doesn't make the dentist's surgery appear; so though they define themselves as socialists (they believe they are on the right road to socialism) are they 'really' socialists? Or like the people heading the wrong way to the dentists are they just terribly wrong?

On "the economy"... without wages, prices, profits, and markets, I don't think it's meaningful to talk of "the economy". "Production" and "distribution" I think are meaningful. These will be managed. But "the economy"? I don't think so.

mrfoo
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Jun 24 2009 14:08
slothjabber wrote:
EDIT: Ah well, possibly all redundant, I do tend to agree with the idea that if it looks like a troll and smells like a troll... On the other hand, the OP may not be a conscious troll; perhaps they are just naive, and arrogant enough to assume that we are all going to go "ah of course! All these years we thought the problem was capitalism and the class systtem, but now the scales have been lifted from our eyes we can see that we need more capitalism not less!".

I'm not trying to convert anyone, I'm just trying further my own understanding, if that means I look like a 'troll' then so be it. Anyone I discuss these things with 'in real life' either doesn't care or doesn't have a coheesive argument either way, so I thought this forum might be a good place to start. I'm really supprised by the hostility I've received from some posters, I appologise if I've offended you or anyone else by my seemingly troll'esq questions.

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mrfoo wrote:
... I was taking socialism to mean the state/public ownership and control of the means of production. I had no idea that socialism involved the abolition of money, what does it use instead? Barter?

"After you've cured cancer, what will you replace it with?"

There is no "instead". Are you honestly telling me you've never heard "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need"?

I have indeed heard of that principal. But how is it incompatible with money?

I also didn't think there was anything controversial about the definition of socialism I was using, maybe I was being naive, but I was following http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socialism, which doesn't mention the abolition of money.

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On the state, Engels said the state is "armed men organised in defence of private property". Now I'm not sure what your beef with the state is, whether it's the "armed" bit (I doubt it, if you're an American libertarian), or the "men" bit (ditto), or the "organised" bit, which seems a little more likely, or the "defence" bit, which seems doubtful, or the "private property" which given what you said before doesn't seem credible.

I'm not an American libertarian, in so much as I'm not American - but I do follow the libertarian axiom of non-aggression, which, in my interpretation at least means you can't have a state. I don't think it's true that all states defend private property or that the defence of private property requires a state.

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But as class-struggle Anarchists and Communists, most of the posters on LibCom (the forum of Libertarian Communism is what it stands for unless I've been doing it wrong all these years) would see the problems as being both the armed organisation and the defence of private property. Capitalism and the state go hand in hand.

So you don't believe that individuals own their own labour (private property)?

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The state ownership of the means of production is no different to the private ownership of the means of production. Joint stock companies rendered the 'individual capitalist' pretty much an anachronism 130 years ago. It doesn't matter whether the collective nartional capitalist is in a private or a state corporation.

The two are quite different. 1. State ownership requires the use of force by the state over the indivudual, 2. There is a large body of evidence to suggest that decentralisation is a far more efficient means of providing for societies needs than centralisation.

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And I'm supposed to give a monkey's what Hugo Chavez says? How is that relevent? I can call myself The Pope, does that mean I am? Socialism means no countries, no leader, no money, no working class.

Ok, if you define socialism as that, then I agree, capitalism is all pervasive and has been in place since around 3000BC. I don't want to be accused of playing with words again, but I was basing my comment on a more widely accepted definition of socialism (from wikipedia).

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...There is no 'economic management' in socialism because there is no 'economy', no money no commodities... are you getting it? If you want to 'manage' the economy you're a capitalist.
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If you want to abolish the economy (along with the state, exploitation, commodity production, money) you're a socialist.

I'm not sure how to debate this as your intepritation of socialism and capitalism seem to be so different to my previous understanding, I had, perhaps naively, considered Wikipedia to contain the concensus opinion on these.

My intepritation of (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capitalism) : "Capitalism is an economic and social system in which trade and industry are privately controlled for profit rather than by the state.[1][2] The means of production, which is otherwise known as capital and includes land are owned, operated, and traded for the purpose of generating profits, without force or fraud, by private individuals either singly or jointly."

Precludes the state control of the money supply.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socialism :

"Socialism refers to any one of various theories of economic organization advocating state or cooperative ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods, and a society characterized by equal opportunities/means for all individuals with a more egalitarian method of compensation based on the full product of the laborer."

Based on these commonly used definitions the state control of the money supply is an artifact of a socialist approach to the economy not a capitalist one. But if you define socialism as meaning "...no countries, no leader, no money, no working class" or where "the economy (along with the state, exploitation, commodity production, money)" has been abolished, I can see how this argument is meaningless.

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What does "efficiently exchange" mean? There is no "exchange" in socialism. Therefore there is no "means of exchange". There are only goods - social goods, manifested in products that store socially-useful labour. "Value" is not stored, "value" is only "value" if it used.

Who decides what is 'socially-usefull' labour, what is a 'social good', does that require an authority?

How do you know how many of each social good is required if there is no price mechanism to communicate people's needs and desires? If I wanted a television how would I save up over time to buy one? How would producers of televisions know to increase production of televisions without money and a price mechanism?

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Capitalism doesn't need the 'free market', who told you it did?

I didn't say it did. I was using the prefix 'free' to imply free of authoritarian/state control and influence.

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What you are talking about is laissez-faire capitalism, free market capitalism, neo-liberal capitalism. There are many forms of capitalism, more than are dreamt of in you philosophy Horatio. Mercantile capitalism developed through the Crown Monopolies. But no, that's not capitalism is it, it's "socialism" for you because of the nasty ol' state intervention.

Correct. As per the consesus definition of the terms.

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Starting a war to protect trade interests? That must socialism too. Having an army run by the state? Socialism. NASA? Socialism. In fact, everything that the state does is socialist, according to your bizarre definition.

If you're refering to my definition of 'state control of the means of production' I don't think there is anything bizarre about that definition - I didn't come up with it and it's widely used. That definition does not lead to the conclusion that war, the army or NASA are socialist at all, and I wouldn't suggest that. My point was only refering to the control of the money supply.

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Money invested in commodity production; commodities which are sold to be turned into money; money which, hopefully for the one doing the selling, is more than the original amount, re-invested in commodity production; at what point in that cycle does the money ask "hang on, am I being used by a private corporation or by the state? I need to know if I'm 'socialist money' you know"?

My point relating to money was that it is the over production of money by the state that causes so many economic problems from inflation to boom and bust. And the monopoly the state assumes in money production falls under the remit of 'state control of the means of production' not private control of the means of production.

But, since I doubt we'll agree on definitions, perhaps we can move on, I'm curious to know what life would be like without money or an economy. Is there any literature you can point me to that would describe how society would work, there are lots of questions... would you let people trade with each other using money if they wanted to, or would authoritarian force be used to prohibit it? How would life without a price mechanism work? How would we all decide what to produce and how much?

mrfoo
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Jun 24 2009 15:14
slothjabber wrote:
... capitalism is the exploitation of the working class by the owners of the means of production.

Is the worker's exploitation of the factory owner's need for labour any different to the factory owners exploitation of the workers need for money?

Do anarchists have any time for the argument that trade enables the division of labour which allows people to specialize (in areas such as medicine, science etc.) without having to produce everything they need themselves?

I'm quite glad that I can trade my knowledge of computers for money with which I can buy food, it saves me having to be a farmer. But this requires trade, and all trade is exploitative.

Or have I missed the point again and trade would be outlawed anyway?

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Farce
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Jun 24 2009 16:04
mrfoo wrote:
slothjabber wrote:
... capitalism is the exploitation of the working class by the owners of the means of production.

Is the worker's exploitation of the factory owner's need for labour any different to the factory owners exploitation of the workers need for money?

Are you not familiar with the whole profit thing? Where the value produced by the worker's labour is greater than the money the employer gives them in return? (Sorry if that sounds more sarcastic than it was meant to. As I said, I don't think you're a troll, and it is annoying how some posters automatically take such a negative attitude towards new people asking questions.)

Quote:
Do anarchists have any time for the argument that trade enables the division of labour which allows people to specialize (in areas such as medicine, science etc.) without having to produce everything they need themselves?

I'm quite glad that I can trade my knowledge of computers for money with which I can buy food, it saves me having to be a farmer. But this requires trade, and all trade is exploitative.

Or have I missed the point again and trade would be outlawed anyway?

That's society, not trade. We don't call for everyone to be self-sufficient, which'd be pretty impossible, we just want production for the common good, with the products of labour being available to all. I think.

slothjabber
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Jun 24 2009 17:03

Where to begin?

Mrfoo, I hope you have learned several things from this.

Firstly, Wiki is not to be trusted. Certainly not as your only homework before throwing yourself into a political forum - people might consider it rude that you turn up having made only the sketchiest attempts to understand what you're arguing against. And while the level of hostility may have shocked you, I think most of us who frequent LibCom have over the years had to endure a good many trolling attacks from anarcho-capitalists or so-called libertarians, and your questions fit very well into that pattern.

Unfortunately perhaps, you'll be judged to some extent on the company you keep, and if you continue to espouse capitalism, you will be treated with hostility on a communist website, even a libertarian communist one. If your protestations that you are in fact coming here to learn have any truth, then it's unfortunate that you introduction to this site has been on a thread that has aroused such hostility. Here is something else that you can learn - capitalism and communism are not compatable and espousing one will annoy the partisans of the other.

It may be better if you ask particular questions in the forums. "Are there any good texts on non-market socialism/free-access society?" might be one. "How would agriculture work after the revolution?" might be another. Suggestions for works you could read on Anarchist and Communist theories in general would also be useful.

To continue somewhat randomly:

The "need for labour" of a capitalist and "need for money" of a worker are utterly different. Firstly, a worker needs money to survive, because the state says that he or she needs money for food. Most people cannot grow their own food as the state says that they cannot own or use land unless they can pay for it. Nor can they take it (capitalist property being what it is). So they must buy it, therefore to survive they must be paid.

A capitalist, however, if he or she requires labour, can provide labour. If their machine needs someone to run it, they can run it themself. If they do not wish to do this, they can divest themself of their machine. Problem solved, unlike the problem of the worker, who can neither produce money himself (it's against the law again) nor divest himself of his stomach.

Therefore, because it's not necessary to be a capitalist, but it is necessary to eat, the two cases don't really equate.

Capitalism has not 'been around since 3000BC'. No archaeologist, historian, anthropologist or economist that I've ever heard of, of any political persuasion, would agree with that. Perhaps you are confusing the concept of 'capitalism' with that of 'class society'. Capitalism is a class society. It is not the only form of class society.

Capitalism, as production of commodities for profit, has been a world system for approximately 100 years. Before that it was a local system in Europe and some other places; 400 years ago it was a local system in England and maybe Holland and a few other places. Elements of capitalism, not generalised into a local system but still present in other systems, can be seen perhaps as far back as 500BC. But they existed in societies where the predominant forms of social production were a directly-appropriated peasantry, slaves, and other forms of extraction of social labour.

And lastly for now, can you really not see that there is no necessity for money in a system organised on the basis of "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need"? I work 24 hours a week, doing a day of a bit of a shitty job like cleaning the sewers every 2 two weeks or so, because that's how much socially-necessary labour I reckon healthy people would be required to do, and I in return continue to enjoy my house, rent free, I can get a free bus into "town" (which has been completely transformed BTW), the electricity still comes through the wires, the phone and the water still work, but I don't have to pay for them. Where does the money come in?

petey
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Jun 25 2009 15:19
Angelus Novus wrote:
petey wrote:
he's not a troll. i know this because i came in a libcommish direction from right-libertarianism myself

This is a non sequitur. Just because you are a former propertarian who has become a communist does not mean that every propertarian who posts on a communist forum is doing so in good faith.

i'm not basing my comment on his good faith or otherwise, i'm basing my comment on the content of what he says, which is stuff i recognize. i think he's just not had the exposure to an extended debate where he gets the chance to understand our terms.

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the big opinion difference, whether implicitly or explicitly stated, is about the degree of personal autonomy provided by laissez-faire.

That would at least be a substantive discussion, if the original poster had written something in those terms. Instead, he wrote this:

yes, he's written argumentative stuff. note i said "implicitly or explicitly stated."

ps - i'm not at all sure i'm a communist, but how people use that word is stuff for another thread.

mrfoo
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Jun 24 2009 19:19
slothjabber wrote:
Firstly, Wiki is not to be trusted. Certainly not as your only homework before throwing yourself into a political forum - people might consider it rude that you turn up having made only the sketchiest attempts to understand what you're arguing against.

To be fair, I entered the forum not arguing against socialism but trying to understand why the Anarchist Federation was anti-capitalism (hence the title of the post). I've read multiple sources, and I didn't find the Wikipedia definition to be controversial or unique. I can't find any other sources that define socialism as you have, but I will keep looking.

If you define socialism as you do, why do you need the term 'anarchist'? If the your correct definition of socialism means no-state - ("If you want to abolish the economy (along with the state, exploitation, commodity production, money) you're a socialist.") - then surely using the term anarchism is redundant. Perhaps you could let the anarco-capitalists run with it ;o) (joke).

Quote:
Here is something else that you can learn - capitalism and communism are not compatable and espousing one will annoy the partisans of the other.

As I've stated before, I didn't realise that this forum was a communist one, I thought it was an anarchist federation one, I didn't realise that anarchism requires socialism/communism. The last thing I would have done is knowingly go onto a communist forum and ask them why they don't like capitalism!

Quote:
The "need for labour" of a capitalist and "need for money" of a worker are utterly different.

They may be, but they both involve exploitation.

Quote:
Firstly, a worker needs money to survive, because the state says that he or she needs money for food.

Most people cannot grow their own food as the state says that they cannot own or use land unless they can pay for it. Nor can they take it (capitalist property being what it is). So they must buy it, therefore to survive they must be paid.

In order for the species to survive, work must be done to produce food, this much is unavoidable and doesn't change between capitalism or socialism. On aggregate people are 'forced' to work in order to survive - this is just nature - whether that work is exchanged for money which is then used to buy food, or whether work is done within the commune that then provides the food they need, or whether they farm the land directly doesn't change anything.

If I want to be a grower of food, I can put up with a crap job, or maybe even one I enjoy for a year or two, buy some land and grow my food.

Quote:
A capitalist, however, if he or she requires labour, can provide labour. If their machine needs someone to run it, they can run it themself.

I think you're taking a rather simplistic view of the needs of an employer. If you've ever tried to do your own accounts you will know how it feels to be exploited by your accountant.

Quote:
Capitalism has not 'been around since 3000BC'.

That was in response to your definition of socialism as : "Socialism means no countries, no leader, no money, no working class."

The full sentence was "Ok, if you define socialism as that, then I agree, capitalism is all pervasive and has been in place since around 3000BC."

That was a reference to when the first evidence of the use of money has been found (although the source for that was Wikipedia - so it's probably wrong.) It was also a reaction to what I perceived to be your definition of capitalism to be bascially the negation of socialism, perhaps it's more accurate to say that we haven't had socialism since at least 3000BC.

Quote:
Capitalism, as production of commodities for profit, has been a world system for approximately 100 years...

Interesting stuff, do you have references I can follow up on?

Quote:
And lastly for now, can you really not see that there is no necessity for money in a system organised on the basis of "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need"?

I struggle with the practicalities. Who decides what my abilities are? Who decides what my needs are?

Can we walk through a few scenarios?

We'll start with one I'm sure you get all the time : 'Lets say I'm lazy and don't want to do any work. What happens then?'

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Armchair Anarchist
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Jun 24 2009 20:16
mrfoo wrote:

We'll start with one I'm sure you get all the time : 'Lets say I'm lazy and don't want to do any work. What happens then?'

I.4.14 What about the person who will not work?

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Jun 24 2009 20:30
Quote:
can't find any other sources that define socialism as you have, but I will keep looking.

I think you'll be very interested to see this then:

http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/articles/whatissoc.html

Quote:
We'll start with one I'm sure you get all the time : 'Lets say I'm lazy and don't want to do any work. What happens then?'

For discussion on the human nature issue etc see here:

http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/articles/its_a_nice_idea.html

http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/articles/do_our_genes_make.html

Interestingly, over a hundred years ago these issues were covered by William Morris in "How We Live and How We Might Live" and Paul Lafargue in "The Right to be Lazy":

http://www.marxists.org/archive/morris/works/1884/hwl/hwl.htm

http://www.marxists.org/archive/lafargue/1883/lazy/

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Jun 24 2009 21:59
mrfoo wrote:
Is the worker's exploitation of the factory owner's need for labour any different to the factory owners exploitation of the workers need for money?

every day i go to work, because it benefits me more to give 8 hours of my time for a wage than to sit at home. every day my boss pays my wages because it benefits him more to hire me than to lay me off. so we have a mutually beneficial, free exchange in a (for the sake of argument) completely free and equal marketplace.

but what happens at the end of the day? i go home to eat and sleep, with my wages in my pocket. my boss has a pile of commodities to sell. he has to make more money selling those commodities than he paid out in raw materials, wages and overheads, or he would be wasting his time. the value of the output - finished commodities - is therefore greater than the inputs. this is how capitalists make a profit, an uncontroversial feature of capitalism.

so over time, my boss accumulates (and re-invests) wealth, while i return to work everyday. perfect freedom and equality in the marketplace leads to hierarchic class divisions and rising inequality in society. how is it that one class of people permanently sell one commodity - labour power - while another class permanently buy it? this is because of who owns/controls the capital.

Marx - i'm assuming you haven't read him, but only the Austrian critiques - is very good on this. he opens 'Capital' with the observation that "the wealth of those societies in which the capitalist mode of production prevails, presents itself as an immense accumulation of commodities” and from this, works through until about 6 chapters later he enters the 'hidden abode of production' to uncover where exactly the boss' surplus value, his raison d'etre comes from.

on the state, Adam Smith is actually very insightful and honest, he wrote that law and governments are:

Adam Smith wrote:
"in every case (...) a combination of the rich to oppress the poor and preserve to themselves the inequality of the goods that would otherwise be soon destroyed by the attacks of the poor who, if not hindered by the government, would soon reduce the others to an equality with themselves by open violence."

that's why stateless capitalism remains an Austrian fantasy, unless one includes Somalia. it's also why for libertarian communists (i.e. anarchists as we see it), the struggle against capitalism and the struggle against the state are one and the same, because the market and state are two sides of one coin, and neither offer us freedom from rule or want.

slothjabber
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Jun 24 2009 22:38
mrfoo wrote:
... I've read multiple sources, and I didn't find the Wikipedia definition to be controversial or unique. I can't find any other sources that define socialism as you have, but I will keep looking...

Anything on socialism written between 1860 and 1900, I'd suggest, and most of the stuff written on socialism or communism between then and about 1945. And a good deal of that since. Instead of reading things by people who don't understand socialism or actively hostile to it, I recommend reading the works of socialists themselves. You could try Marx, Engels, Bakunin, Kropotkin, Morris, Wilde, Lenin, Luxemburg, Berkman, Goldman, Maximov, Sylvia Pankhurst, Guy Aldred, John McLean, or Trotsky as starting points. There are works by many of these in the LibCom library, or at the John Grey website, or some of them (and even more debates about exactly these subjects) at the SPGB website helpfully listed in another post.

mrfoo wrote:
...
If you define socialism as you do, why do you need the term 'anarchist'? If the your correct definition of socialism means no-state - ("If you want to abolish the economy (along with the state, exploitation, commodity production, money) you're a socialist.") - then surely using the term anarchism is redundant. Perhaps you could let the anarco-capitalists run with it ;o) (joke)...

Tactics. Not all socialists are anarchists. Some socialists are Marxists. Though socialists posit the same goal - the classless communal society - there are differences about how to reach that goal. Anarchists (anarchist socialists) tend to believe that communisation can begin instantly; Marxists tend to believe that needs to be a stage of society called the 'dictatorship of the proletariat' before the establishment of communism. Also, Marxists are more likely than anarchists to believe that the proletariat needs a political organisation ('the party') to provide leadership in the revolution (however this leadership is defined).

Not all anarchists are socialists. I thought I'd made that clear in an earlier post. This is not an "anarchist" forum. It is a "Libertarian Communist" forum. If you want to include the term "anarchist" in the definition, it a "class struggle anarchist" or possibly "anarchist-communist" forum.

The Anarchist Federation is not anarchist in the sense of merely being against the state. That too is a class struggle anarchist organisation, that was formerly called the Anarchist-Communist Federation.

Quote:
The "need for labour" of a capitalist and "need for money" of a worker are utterly different.
...

They may be, but they both involve exploitation.

No they don't. The capitalist has no 'need' of labour. Therefore they are not being 'exploited'. No-one is forcing the capitalist to be a capitalist. However, capitalism and the state force the worker to work.

Quote:
...
In order for the species to survive, work must be done to produce food, this much is unavoidable and doesn't change between capitalism or socialism. On aggregate people are 'forced' to work in order to survive - this is just nature - whether that work is exchanged for money which is then used to buy food, or whether work is done within the commune that then provides the food they need, or whether they farm the land directly doesn't change anything.

...

Of course it changes things. The whole notion of classes is predicated on relationship to the means of production, whether that is land that can produce food or machines, kilns, or any other bit of industrial kit that produce the necessities of life. If you own those means of production, you can dictate to other people how they live. If you do not - all you own is your labour power - then you must work for someone who does own those things, who pays you for a fraction of the work you have done for them. This is exploitation.

Ownership is crucial. If you are part of a society which owns the means of production - ie, socialism - you 'farm the land directly' - I don't know why you counterpose those two - along with the others in the 'commune', and the social product is distributed among society. This is a long way from working for someone else, who legally disposses you of the product of your labour, sells the product at the market, and gives you, in wages, less than you produced for them.

Quote:
...I think you're taking a rather simplistic view of the needs of an employer. If you've ever tried to do your own accounts you will know how it feels to be exploited by your accountant...

Someone having a skill you do not is not 'exploitation'. Someone owning a machine that you work for them, while they pay you 1/10 or 1/3 of what you have made for them is exploitation. This is all in Marx. It's called the labour theory of value. I'm surprised none of your economics texts have mentioned it.

Quote:
Capitalism has not 'been around since 3000BC'.
...

That was in response to your definition of socialism as : "Socialism means no countries, no leader, no money, no working class."

The full sentence was "Ok, if you define socialism as that, then I agree, capitalism is all pervasive and has been in place since around 3000BC."

That was a reference to when the first evidence of the use of money has been found (although the source for that was Wikipedia - so it's probably wrong.)...

I'm pretty sure. Money, as money, I'm not aware of in Europe before 500BC. Perhaps earlier in China. Oxen as 'currency' - a standard unit of exchange - then maybe earlier still. None of these mean capitalism however.

Quote:
... It was also a reaction to what I perceived to be your definition of capitalism to be bascially the negation of socialism, perhaps it's more accurate to say that we haven't had socialism since at least 3000BC...

"Primitive Communism" it was called by Marx and Engels. It survived in much of the world until long after 3000BC.

Quote:
Capitalism, as production of commodities for profit, has been a world system for approximately 100 years...

Interesting stuff, do you have references I can follow up on?

"Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism" by Lenin; "Imperialism and World Economy" by Bukharin; "The Junius Pamphlet' by Luxemburg; the foundation of the 3rd (Communist) International; the foundation of the SPGB (check their website). When capitalism became a world system at the beginning of the 20th, a society of abundance became possible, but only by overthrowing capitalism and instituting socialism. Some Anarchists believe this was possible earlier too.

Quote:
And lastly for now, can you really not see that there is no necessity for money in a system organised on the basis of "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need"?
...

I struggle with the practicalities. Who decides what my abilities are? Who decides what my needs are?

Can we walk through a few scenarios?

We'll start with one I'm sure you get all the time : 'Lets say I'm lazy and don't want to do any work. What happens then?'

Are you working "according to your ability"? I would suggest not.

Others have suggested a good many threads and topics on other sites where you can go into this. I have suggested that you start other threads on these forums with further questions. We can't explain the whole theory of communism in this one thread.

Alderson Warm-Fork
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Jun 24 2009 23:08

Mr.foo, I can empathise to some extent with confusion over words, as well as uncertainty over practicalities. It might be worthwhile to consider the meaning of the word 'anarchy' - to probably the majority of english speakers it means violent chaos, while to anarchists like you and me, it means non-coercive society. The tradition of people associated with the word, using the word to describe themselves, has at least some prerogative to spell out its meaning - even though someone unfamiliar with anarchism is liable to have trouble understanding people who long for anarchy, despite using only the 'standard' meanings of words.

So with that in mind, here's how I tend to use words, flagging up where I'm conscious of a gap between me and some other anarchist communists.

'Capitalism' means a class society (i.e. one with persistent, mutually antagonistic groups coexisting in veiled conflict with one another) in which the dominant class is 'capitalists'. There have been other class societies, dating back to around the beginning of recorded history. 'Communism' means a classless society, i.e. one without systematic conflicts (and, as the consequence, without the systematic oppression/exploitation of one class by another).

What distinguishes a 'capitalist' ruling class from a non-capitalist one (like the feudal aristocracy)? Their economic role is to invest capital to produce commodities for profit - that is, it's defined by a certain sort of economy, a rationalised reductive one where the need to increase capital indefinitely dominates all other needs. The definition of this might be disputed. For example, I'd argue that the ruling class of the USSR was 'state-capitalist' in that the officials of the Party were engaged in controlling the economy so as to build up the national capital of the Soviet state. The ruling class of most pre-modern societies wasn't capitalist because it didn't have that open-ended drive to maximise production of commodities (i.e. goods defined purely by their exchange value) but more towards keeping things the same, blowing any accumulated wealth of pyramids or feasts, etc.

'Communism', primarily defined as a classless society, is secondarily defined as society without money, property, or the state, since these are believed by communists to be inserable from class oppression, to re-create it by the mechanics of their operation.

The difference between anarchist communists and other communists (in particular, the majority of Marxists, and definitely all descendents of Lenin [assuming we take their self-descriptions in good faith, which we probably shouldn't]) is not in whether we think the ideal society towards which we work will be stateless, it's in whether we think that the struggle for and movement towards it must also be stateless (operating outside of the state, opposing all coercion, and abolishing state structures immediately as we become able to), or whether we think that state power should be used as a tool to work towards economic transformation (through the revolutionary "workers' state" or through gaining parliamentary control of the existing one) which will then 'wither away' (a phrase Engels used) once its task is done.

'Socialism' is trickier - some posters have said that it's synonymous with communism, and that's not an incorrect definition. But I'd define it more broadly as meaning collective ownership (which amounts to, no ownership) of the means of production. One might then be a socialist but not a communist (though not vice versa) if one believed in a society where the group controlled and directed production and distribution of goods, but then allocated to individuals some form of redeemable currency according to their needs or efforts, which was used to buy consumer goods.

This wouldn't be 'money' because it could only buy consumer goods, not capital - i.e. there's no possibility for people to get a lot of it and then acquire control over the economic process, deciding what to produce and who to distribute it to, hence becoming the new ruling class. This sort of non-communist socialism would aim for equality of power/influence, but not necessarily equality of consumption (or of right to consumption - obviously consumption itself can't be equal as long as some people have larger appetites than others).

You said that to you, capitalism simply meant 'a free market'. As I said, most anti-capitalists would define capitalist in terms a ruling class of people who are 'capitalists', and a market of some sort (an idealised space where all items are owned by someone and where exchange-value is entirely abstracted from use-value) is part of what defines a ruling class as 'capitalist'. The breadth of that notion of 'market' though is debatable - like I said, it might stretch to cover Kruschev.

'Free' markets, i.e. markets let free to be markets without interference, are a feature of the ideology of capitalism, but very rarely exist in actuality. Partly this is because they are self-destructive without 'interference' - they rest on assuming property rights, but they exacerbate any input inequality and thus inevitably generate large numbers of people with no incentive to respect property rights. Partly it's because by thus generating a class that controls the means of production, they produce a force with enormous social power who will inevitably distort that market for their own purposes.

There are (and my knowledge here is shaky) market-based ideologies that oppose capitalism, such as mutualism, which insists on distinguishing the operation of a market from the existence of a capitalist class.

On the final note (and apologies that this has balooned to such a long comment) you ask, understandably, what the mechanisms of a communist/socialist economy would involve - how the necessary information would be processed and decisions made. As I understand it, the standard idea is that each person participates in directly democratic councils with a small number of members that are based in their communities and/or workplaces. These make decisions at their local level, and then elect delegates to go to councils making larger-scale decisions. Those councils do the same for yet larger scales. The delegates are given binding mandates and can be recalled at any time, so they genuinely 'serve' their council, unlike our supposed 'representatives'. These councils form networks and federations and serve as the basic infrastructure of a socialist economy. Because they incorporate the whole population in an active role, they are arguably better able to take advantage of the dispersed or suppressed information that hierarchical systems, including capitalist price mechanisms, ignore - as well as better processing externalities etc.

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Jun 25 2009 08:34

Hey Foo, you seem to be a fan of Wikipedia, but mention that the definitions of socialism that you keep finding only reinforce a free market/state socialism dichotomy.

Here you go my friend, go to town...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarian_socialism

mrfoo
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Jun 25 2009 11:08
Alderson Warm-Fork wrote:
Mr.foo, I can empathise to some extent with confusion over words, as well as uncertainty over practicalities. ...

Many thanks for the time taken by yourself, Sloth and others to answer my questions and for the various links provided.

If it's ok with everyone I'll split out future questions into new topics when I meet stuff that I don't understand.

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Jun 25 2009 14:03
mrfoo wrote:
If you define socialism as you do, why do you need the term 'anarchist'? If the your correct definition of socialism means no-state - ("If you want to abolish the economy (along with the state, exploitation, commodity production, money) you're a socialist.") - then surely using the term anarchism is redundant. Perhaps you could let the anarco-capitalists run with it ;o) (joke).

Cos, as this discussion shows, there are massive massive misconceptions about what socialism is. Of course, as this discussion also shows, there are also massive misconceptions about what anarchism is, but at least using anarchist is usually enough to get across that we don't like the state and don't want to put everyone in gulags.

Quote:
They may be, but they both involve exploitation.

What definition of exploitation are you using here? According to the definition I'm familar with, if the worker and the boss both exploited the other, then the worker would have to get a wage that was greater than the value of the goods they produced, and the boss would have to get goods that were more valuable than the wage paid to the worker, which'd be a bit impossible.

mrfoo
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Jun 25 2009 15:11
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What definition of exploitation are you using here?

From the definition of exploit, i.e to utilise for profit, to use selfishly for your own ends.

When a trade occurs, such as my time for money, my money for a sandwich, or my work in a commune for the agreement of the rest of the commune not to eject me, each participant in the trade values what the other has more than he/she is giving up in return - or they wouldn't do the trade.

So, earlier today I exploited the fact that I know the sandwich maker values £3.50 more than he values the sandwich he produced (otherwise he wouldn't be willing to trade with me). And he is exploiting the fact that I value the sandwich more than the £3.50 I have in my pocket (I was hungry). I then apply the same logic to the trade between money for time/skills in employment.

I appreciate that many people wouldn't see this as exploitation, unless, say, the sandwich cost £20.00. Or maybe unless the trader had to produce it for £0.20 due to agressive competition.

If we take (what I understand to be) your definition, then if the company is losing money, as GM for example has done for years (selling cars for a few thousand less than the cost to make them), can we say that it's not exploitative? Or that the worker is exploiting GM as his wage is greater than the value of the goods produced, but GM is not exploiting the worker?

My definition is perhaps too narrow for use in the generally accepted sense, although as I've learnt recently, the generally accepted use of terms is often wrong, so I'm sticking with my more economic definition grin

Boris Badenov
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Jun 25 2009 15:19
Farce wrote:
don't want to put everyone in gulags.

speak for yourself. wink

Look mrfoo, if after reading the Anarchist FAQ and the posts (some very exhaustive and well-written I must say) in this thread, you're still not convinced that:
-global capitalism exists and it affects every aspect of our personal and community lives
-the capital-owning class is living off (i.e. exploiting) the labouring class, the latter which is forced to work simply to make a living in dehumanizing and alienating conditions
-the state, as a regulatory and legal body of statesmen and politicians, is not working against the interests of capital but for them
-money and private property are an integral and necessary part of class society and cannot be part of a free society based on cooperation, free association, and direct democracy
-this system is fundamentally unjust and must be done away with through an international workers' revolution

then you're either not allowing yourself to be sceptical enough about your entrenched "free market" beliefs, or you need to read some more texts (and far from wanting to sound obvious or condescending, the libcom library is an excellent resource).
Sorry for calling your a troll btw, the last "anarcho-capitalist" who started a thread here was a real douche who kept asking banal questions about the real meaning of this or that word (because ultimately free market idealism is based on trivial language problems, as revealed by the official Austrianist religion of "praxeology")

As for the best non-moralist definition of the word exploit, the best I can find in a dictionary :
"benefit unfairly from the work of (someone), typically by overworking or underpaying them" (Oxford-American)
Even if dictionaries are not usually great resources for political ideas, this definition comes much closer to what class exploitation actually means, than your own.
If a worker takes a job it is because he must make a living (beyond the meagre subsistence of the dole), not because he devilishly wants to take advantage of his employer, which he couldn't do anyway by virtue of his economic and social standing.
Also, your naive insistence that everyone has absolute free will that they can manifest whenever and however they like (within the limits of physical laws) runs counter to any materialist conception of reality; an individual's choices are determined by his social and economic role in society, not by some abstract philosophical standard of idealist "freedom."

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Rob Ray
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Jun 25 2009 15:56

A friend of mine works in a factory, but he wants to work with NGOs. There are however a number of problems with this.

1. He needs to raise/loan the money for expensive education (no easy process if you're the main bread winner and have two kids to look after).
2. He has to do his education around his work, meaning he is not only having to maintain a shit job he hates for several years regardless, he is having to do his course on top of it.
3. At the end of it, as with most skilled roles, he is expected to do a shitload of work experience to stand even the slightest chance of beating other people to the role. As explained above, he doesn't have the ability to do this, as he has to earn and can't afford to do a six month stint of being unpaid.
4. There are serious class issues involved - without the right background, it can be very difficult to get a highly-skilled role ahead of someone who knows etiquette, how to talk, can point to a rounded privately educated background etc etc.

Waving away this sort of stuff with 'you can just get another job' comes across as the worst sort of misunderstanding of how class and capitalism works and frankly, it's a phrase which implies a high degree of class privilege on your part.

What is also illustrated in this example is how in fact coercion is an everyday part of life under capital. He is being forced to work to keep his head above water while his ability to do what he wants to do - regardless of how useful it is to society - is being curtailed and forced onto his free time, impacting on his health, his ability to interact with his family etc etc.

One other thing, under the minimal responsibilities of the state he at least has some sort of option if he's made redundant in the recession. Under libertarian capitalism, he'd starve.

Boris Badenov
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Jun 25 2009 15:50
Rob Ray wrote:
He has to do his education around his work, meaning he is not only having to maintain a shit job he hates for several years regardless, he is having to do his course on top of it.

not only that, but workers who decide to change careers later in life will almost definitely experience age-based discrimination.
Added to that is the sexism/racism/nativism that prevents many workers from getting a job in the first place.

Hungry56
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Jun 25 2009 17:30

edit-double post, sort of. I wrote the whole post up twice cos it didn't show up.

Hungry56
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Jun 25 2009 17:28

Mrfoo for more info on capitalism's reliance on force, i.e the state, and the marxist analysis of capitalism in general, see the wiki article on "primitive accumulation" if you haven't already http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primitive_accumulation_of_capital

Also, in an anarcho-cap society, if I get fired from my job and therefore have no money, what's to stop me going to the supermarket, filling my bags with food and other stuff then making a run for it?

There will be no police to find me later right, or will there be privately owned police? (Which woud be even worse than the current police.) Or would there just be loads of security guards at every shop entrance?

If I stop paying the rent, will privately owned thugs come and evict me?

If the answer to those questions is yes, then it sounds like a pretty dismal authoritarian society. If the answer is no, then it sounds pretty awesome, even communist, considering I don't have to pay for food or housing or anything really.