Money and its abolition

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syndicalistcat
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Oct 4 2007 22:29

devrim:

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who speaks to people who believed the general line of the bourgeoisie in the US that the USSR was communist, and they agreed with you.

i didn't say i explain the coordinator class in terms of the USSR or the "Communist" countries. I said, if you pay attention, that i was talking about their own experience, and thus of the role of the coordinator class in mature capitalism.

I could say that you're a bullshit artist. but exchanging insults proves nothing either way.

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Oct 4 2007 22:39

one more point:

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So you are a little of a persuasive speaker, who speaks to people who believed the general line of the bourgeoisie in the US that the USSR was communist, and they agreed with you.

Here you are suggesting that i believe that the USSR was communist, or that my critique of communism, as people here understand it, and my critique of "Communism" (the coordinatorist societies, or Leninist politics), is the same. You're lying since you know this is false. In American English the word "communism" is in fact used to refer to the countries that were run by Communist Parties. It's the popular term for that mode of production. But i don't confuse that mode of production with what anarchists and other anti-capitalist radicals historically meant by "communism".

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Devrim
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Oct 4 2007 23:04
Quote:
Here you are suggesting that i believe that the USSR was communist, or that my critique of communism, as people here understand it, and my critique of "Communism" (the coordinatorist societies, or Leninist politics), is the same. You're lying since you know this is false.

Here you are calling me a liar. That is quite a serious accusation. I, after all, am only saying that your politics are confused.
Are you denying that you said that the economies in Eastern Europe were not capitalist, and were run by a coordinator class? Are you denying that you have also referred to this system as 'State socialism', or 'communism'?
Of course, I can dig out the references, but I'd rather you were honest about it than I had to bother with the work.

Quote:
In American English the word "communism" is in fact used to refer to the countries that were run by Communist Parties. It's the popular term for that mode of production. But i don't confuse that mode of production with what anarchists and other anti-capitalist radicals historically meant by "communism".

You know this is an absolutely nonsense argument. In Turkish, more than in English, the word 'anarşist' has the implication of chaos, and disorder. I often hear parents accuse their children of being 'anarşists'. I may even use it myself sometimes. I wouldn't use it in a political discussion with anarchists though.

Quote:
i didn't say i explain the coordinator class in terms of the USSR or the "Communist" countries. I said, if you pay attention, that i was talking about their own experience, and thus of the role of the coordinator class in mature capitalism.

I presume that we are talking about peple with a lot of experience of the 'communist' countries then.

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I could say that you're a bullshit artist.

Yes, of course you could. It would be a little impolite. However, I will let others judge on the truth of it.

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but exchanging insults proves nothing either way.

Please continue. I don't think that I have thrown any direct insults at your person so far, nor am I likely to do so.

However, in your defence you don't really understand what 'exchange' means anyway.

On the other hand you have accused me of being a 'liar', and a 'bullshit artist'.

Carry on though, at least it is slightly more entertaining than your second hand political garbage.

Devrim

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Oct 4 2007 23:15

devrim:

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Are you denying that you said that the economies in Eastern Europe were not capitalist, and were run by a coordinator class? Are you denying that you have also referred to this system as 'State socialism', or 'communism'?

I may have referred to the *politics* of state socialism. I generally do not refer to the system that existed in the USSR as "state socialism". And i don't believe i've referred to it as "Communism" on libcom either, except in contexts where I'm talking about the popular meaning of the term in the USA.

The system that existed in the USSR was certainly not capitalist. And it was indeed run by a coordinator ruling class.

Kotz and Weir's book "Revolution from Above" about the Russian transition to capitalism supports my view of the USSR. Their clear analysis of the old Soviet economy shows it be non-capitalist. They refer to the ruling class in the old USSR as "the Party/State elite" but their analysis of who they are and what the basis of their class power was fits in with the coordinator class theory.

What you seem not to understand is that the coordinator class existed not only in the old Soviet Union but in mature capitalism. It's just that its the dominant class in one mode of production and an intermediate class in the other, and the two systems also have different dynamics, and Kotz and Weir describe these differences very clearly.

petey
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Oct 4 2007 23:17
Devrim wrote:
Quote:
I could say that you're a bullshit artist.

Yes, of course you could. It would be a little impolite. However, I will let others judge on the truth of it.

i judge, dev, that you have mastered a from of insult that is not vulgar but still vicious. to tell a person that you won't bother to read their posts, that they rant on, that their ideas are quite ridiculous, that they don't deserve credibility, that nobody takes them seriously, is to call a person a bullshit artist without using the phrase. volin was right: s-cat has raised interesting ideas, why not parry them? perhaps this exchange has happened before and i missed it? is there a thread you could point to?

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Oct 4 2007 23:25
syndicalistcat wrote:
I may have referred to the *politics* of state socialism. I generally do not refer to the system that existed in the USSR as "state socialism". And i don't believe i've referred to it as "Communism" on libcom either, except in contexts where I'm talking about the popular meaning of the term in the USA.

So what you are saying is that you didn't refer to it that way except when you did. I would just remind you that only two minutes ago you called me a liar over this, which I personally think is very insulting.

Quote:
Kotz and Weir's book "Revolution from Above" about the Russian transition to capitalism supports my view of the USSR. Their clear analysis of the old Soviet economy shows it be non-capitalist. They refer to the ruling class in the old USSR as "the Party/State elite" but their analysis of who they are and what the basis of their class power was fits in with the coordinator class theory.

Well the case is obviously proven then. The fact that you can dig up two intellectuals who agree with you confirms this.

Quote:
What you seem not to understand is that the coordinator class existed not only in the old Soviet Union but in mature capitalism. It's just that its the dominant class in one mode of production and an intermediate class in the other, and the two systems also have different dynamics, and Kotz and Weir describe these differences very clearly.

You seem not to understand that there were not two modes of production, which sort of makes any other points you may have on this issue somewhat irrelevant.

Devrim

Mike Harman
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Oct 4 2007 23:26
newyawka wrote:
is there a thread you could point to?

There's a long thread on parecon here: http://libcom.org/forums/thought/parecon-0 - don't remember exactly how it went. Will come back on the rest of this later.

petey
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Oct 5 2007 00:13

cheers catch.

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Oct 5 2007 01:48
Quote:
So what you are saying is that you didn't refer to it that way except when you did. I would just remind you that only two minutes ago you called me a liar over this, which I personally think is very insulting.

Now you're trying to twist my words in a sneaky way. As should be perfectly obvious, i don't use the word "communism" to refer to the system that existed in the Soviet Union unless i am talking about the common American English usage, or using the word in that sense. But I have never used the word that way here on libcom. In American English, "communism" refers to the system that existed in the Soviet Union. Neither you nor I can do anything about that. You don't get to run your own language. And the meanings of words as used by a particular group of people is determined by the dominant use.

What you're trying to suggest is that I think that communism, as understood by people here, is what existed in the USSR, and that's a blatant lie. I've never said or implied any such thing. Dishonesty as a rhetorical method by left-communists is not unique to you in my experience.

You can assert that the Soviet Union was capitalist or that the moon is made of bleu cheese or any other crap you want...providing a cogent case for it is something else again.

thank you, newyawka.

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Oct 5 2007 02:09
Quote:
What you're trying to suggest is that I think that communism, as understood by people here, is what existed in the USSR, and that's a blatant lie.

No, it is not what I suggested at all. What I said was that you believe the USSR wasn't capitalist, and that you have referred to it as 'State Socialist', and 'Communist'. I believe all of this is true. To be honest, I am not really interested in what you label your theories. The idea that it was not capitalist is enough for my point.

Quote:
and that's a blatant lie. I've never said or implied any such thing. Dishonesty as a rhetorical method by left-communists is not unique to you in my experience.

This on the other hand is just slander. So far on this thread you have called me/accused me of:

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lying
Quote:
[being] a bullshit artist
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twist[ing your] words in a sneaky way

and

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Dishonesty

Really, what is this sort of slander for? Is the idea that you throw enough of it at the wall, and something will stick? It is not the way that I like to conduct discussions.

And what is it for? Because I say that your ridiculous theories about a coordinator class, and the USSR not being capitalist, which nobody except yourself, and a few middle class American intellectuals have put forward since the seventies, are not worth discussing.

As I said before, if you want to continue throwing insults, and bear in mind that it is completely unprovoked, feel free to do so.

I am perfectly happy to let others reading the thread judge.

Devrim

Randy
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Oct 5 2007 02:11
newyawka wrote:
...s-cat has raised interesting ideas, ...

I read where he claimed that monetary exchange (on a macro level) was somehow not market economics. I did not find that especially interesting.

Edit: added link after the fact (of course)

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Oct 5 2007 04:40

randy:

Quote:
I read where he claimed that monetary exchange (on a macro level) was somehow not market economics.

1. i gave an argument to show that an economy without exchange isn't possible.

2. i gave an argument to show that an economy that can't measure social opportunity costs won't be viable for people, it can't give them what they want. A measure of social opportunity costs presupposes putting things on a common scale of evaluation, and that means prices.

now you could try to answer the arguments. that you don't find the issue "interesting" isn't relevant to whether what i say is true or not.

one other point: I don't use the phrase "monetary exchange." that's because this might be misleading. in the sort of economic arrangment i suggest, there would not be private ownership of means of production. thus when a production group produces, say, shirts, and people use some part of their consumption entitlement to acquire one of these shirts, there is no money that goes as income to the production group from the buyer. that's because the workforce is remunerated by the society as a whole for their socially useful work efforts.

devrim said this in a previous post in this thread, speaking of me:

Quote:
who speaks to people who believed the general line of the bourgeoisie in the US that the USSR was communist, and they agreed with you.

this attributes to me the view that the USSR was communist. and i have never said any such thing and devrim knows it.

A more accurate view would be the followng: the word "communist" has two meanings. One meaning is the historical sense of a classless, stateless society, as described in vague terms by historical authors such as Kropotkin, Berkman, Marx, etc. There is also a contemporary meaning the term has in general usage in the USA. Here it refers to the political tradition that goes back to the Bolsheviks, especially Leninist politics in its various forms, and also it refers to the social formation that existed in the various countries run by Communist Parties. Thus the word "communism" has two meaings. One of these meanings survives in a certain radical political subculture, an ingroup meaning. The other is a more popular meaning. "Communism" in the popular meaning refers to the social formation that i call coordinatorism. "Communism" in this sense is not communist in the older meaning. "Communism" in the popular American usage, ie. the coordinatorist economy, is neither capitalist nor communist, in the older sense of "communist."

I really don't think this is too hard to understand.

capricorn
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Oct 5 2007 07:33

Whatever the former USSR was, it can't have been communist as they still had money, banks, etc. etc, etc.

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Oct 5 2007 08:00
syndicalistcat wrote:

devrim said this in a previous post in this thread, speaking of me:

Quote:
who speaks to people who believed the general line of the bourgeoisie in the US that the USSR was communist, and they agreed with you.

this attributes to me the view that the USSR was communist. and i have never said any such thing and devrim knows it.

A little more restrained in his accusations of lying now, but they are still there. Let's just reread that post again:

Devrim wrote:
syndicalistcat wrote:
In my experience I find that the idea of the coordinator class[/b], that the managers and elite professionals, both at work and elsewhere, they perceive as bosses, as people with power over them. I also find that most people i discuss with find it absurd to suppose that the old Soviet Union was capitalist. That idea is an concoction of certain leftist intellectuals with a dogmatic attachment to the 19th century Marxist labor/capital two class model.

So you are a little of a persuasive speaker, who speaks to people who believed the general line of the bourgeoisie in the US that the USSR was communist, and they agreed with you. I don't know if you have noticed, but you are posting somewhere where most people think that your nonsense about the coordinator class is not only nonsense, but also reactionary. If that makes everyone who posts here who believes that the USSR was capitalist a 'leftist intellectual', that is your judgement.

Surely the phrase 'they agreed with you' in my post refers to the section in your post where you claim 'ordinary people... tend to agree with [you]'. i.e . It is talking about your belief in the coordinator class theory.

It is strange that you should accuse me of twisting your words, and then try to pull something like that.

As for believing the lie of the bourgeoisie, the lie is that the USSR was not capitalist. If they call it communist, and you call it by whatever nonsense you are calling it by, it hardly matters.

Very Briefly now back to the argument:

Quote:
i gave an argument to show that an economy without exchange isn't possible.

...and here it is in all its glory:

Quote:
The thing is, you can't abolish exchange.

Generally in English that is called an assertion, not an argument.

It is also well backed up, let's see the full paragraph:

Quote:
The thing is, you can't abolish exchange. Exchange is not the same thing as market exchange. Even in a planned non-market economy there is exchange. Exchange occurs if a person doesn't make everything they consume.

Nonsense.

Devrim

Mike Harman
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Oct 5 2007 09:33
syndicalistcat wrote:
I also find that most people i discuss with find it absurd to suppose that the old Soviet Union was capitalist. That idea is an concoction of certain leftist intellectuals with a dogmatic attachment to the 19th century Marxist labor/capital two class model.

Actually no, it was widely a widely held view amongst many people from the left wing of the Bolsheviks leftwards along with Lenin and Trotsky, certainly from 1918 onwards. Unless those are the 'leftist intellectuals' you're referring to.

Quote:
This requires redesigning the jobs and work organization so as to create jobs where design/conceptualization/decision-making tasks are re-integrated with the doing of the work.

I want to eliminate work as a seperate category from the rest of life, not reorganise it.

Quote:
My view is that "abolition of exchange" isn't possible, and that abolition of *market* exchange, and market governance of social production, can't happen without a system of social planning....something that anarchists often fail to consider. Often anarchists come up with ideas of unilateral decision-making of production groups and social units that would in fact regenerate market relations. and your reply depends on being able to define clearly what a communist mode of production would be and how it would be viable.

No I think plenty of anarchists and others have discussed the idea of planning. I don't think this should be linked to some form of consumption credits though. Communism is about the elimination of capital, not just markets. A planned economy in no way eliminates capital by itself - this is part explaining of why the USSR was capitalist, and nationalised industries are capitalist.

Quote:
In case you didn't notice, I didn't use the word "parecon". So your comment is not actually replying to what I said.

You've talked about parecon plenty in the past, I think it's reasonable to take into account previous discussions and wider theoretical context. I don't think Devrim used the word 'left communism' on this thread before you mentioned it either.

Quote:
Here chris confuses exchange with market exchange. Let us assume a classless, stateless society. The means of production are not private property but are owned in common by everyone, which means that their use has to be accountable to the society as a whole.

No let's not. We have to assume the transformation of the present society, the end of present social relations. If you start your arguments from some kind of a-historical year zero then they have no basis.

Quote:
We're talking about a complex industrial society with tens, indeed hundreds, of millions of people. the bicycle Jack rides may be made by people a thousand miles away, or on the other side of an urban region of millions of people. how is this relation anything but indirect?
it is an exchange of labor. Jack does certain things that benefit other people. Other people do things that benefit Jack, such as make the bicycle he rides.

Having sex is an exchange of body fluids, so you can't eliminate exchange right?

Quote:
To abolish capital is to abolish exchange and money because it is to abolish the ability to buy and sell human labor, the product of human labor, and to abolish human labor as private labor, asserting directly and consciously social labor as the new form of labor, hence freely associated producers. Exactly the "automatic" nature of money indicates its dominance over us, the dominance of a thing, a social product of human activity, over human beings.
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social opportunity costs

I think this perhaps goes to the heart of the issue, what exactly are these?

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To abolish capital, as i pointed out, is to abolish factor markets, where possessors of money-capital can rent or buy the things needed to produce, and presupposes commodity markets where the products are sold, to expand the capital.

No this is simply the surface of capitalist social relations, the underlying processes as described by Marx (use value, exchange value, alienation of labour) are a bit more fundemental.

redtwister wrote:
To propose some positive conception of communism abstractly is nonsense. The abolition of these relations will be a practical task because it will require understanding the concrete struggles and material capacities on which an alternative will be built. In the absence of revolutionary struggles, to pose today's material and social basis as the foundation of some vision of the future is nonsense.

Although I agree it's a practical task and there's no blueprint, I think there's some value to looking at the potential of current tendencies (technological, organisational) and their potential application - i.e. I still think the project started by Kropotkin in the Conquest of Bread and Fields Factories and Workshops, and partially taken up by Bookchin, recently Loren Goldner is one deserving of further discussion. Might start a new thread.

Quote:
The emphasis on the coordinator class hierarchy, and the theory of this in terms of the logic of capitalism in breaking down the old unity of conception and execution in artisanal labor, is based on the experience of the past century of both capitalist development and the emergence of "communist" regimes where the capitalists were expropriated but a new ruling class emerged on the top.

Russia saw many factories remaining under capitalist ownership into 1918, then nationalised by the state, often with the capitalists returning as managers. Very few direct expropriations occurred - one of the big weaknesses of the revolution. Nationalising something doesn't stop it being capitalist.

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catch:
Quote:
this has nothing to do with a market or any form of currency. I also found the idea of effort ratings (and etc.) abhorrent when I read a bit of parecon stuff.

When replying to ME it's best if you actually respond to what I say, not what someone else says. in any event, neither I nor the advocates of "parecon" advocate markets, so this comment is simply irrelevant to the reasons I gave for the continued need for money as a social accounting unit.

Well in the parecon stuff I've read, 'effort ratings' determine how much money you get. From each according to his ability to each according to his effort.

Quote:
the fact is, a society managed by the working class that emerges from capitalism will in fact need to require work effort as a condition of consumption entitlement, if only to avoid free riders. A variety of libertarian communists in the past, such as Makhno, Isaac Puente, the CNT program of the '30s, have agreed with this.

It's no coincidence that those people were operating under conditions of mass scarcity. The compulsion to work which parecon puts forward, imo leads to a society where 'everyone is proletarian', along with a lot of wasted effort in managerialist group self-assessment - it's quite different from a bit of social opprobrium.

Quote:
I personally did not advocate "effort ratings" above, so again you're not responding to me, but someone else.

Again, if you put forward a point of view that's been documented in detail elsewhere, then you have to be prepared to deal with that documentation, otherwise we'd have to start every conversation from scratch over and over again. Or do you reject effort ratings entirely then?

Mike Harman
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Oct 5 2007 09:46
syndicalistcat wrote:
You can assert that the Soviet Union was capitalist or that the moon is made of bleu cheese or any other crap you want...providing a cogent case for it is something else again.

This was done by many as the time, as I stated earlier, then by the councilists in the '20s and '30s. Then a whole range of people who broke with Trotskyism post war. An overview of some of the main theories was done by Aufheben, four parts, on this site and easy to find. Perhaps you'd like to show where they're wrong

petey
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Oct 5 2007 12:26
Devrim wrote:

Very Briefly now back to the argument:

Quote:
i gave an argument to show that an economy without exchange isn't possible.

...and here it is in all its glory:

Quote:
The thing is, you can't abolish exchange.

Generally in English that is called an assertion, not an argument.

It is also well backed up, let's see the full paragraph:

Quote:
The thing is, you can't abolish exchange. Exchange is not the same thing as market exchange. Even in a planned non-market economy there is exchange. Exchange occurs if a person doesn't make everything they consume.

the man can speak for himself, but that's not the full paragraph, much less the full statement.

Quote:
The thing is, you can't abolish exchange. Exchange is not the same thing as market exchange. Even in a planned non-market economy there is exchange. Exchange occurs if a person doesn't make everything they consume. Assuming the elimination of the class system, this means workers aren't subordinated to bosses and self-manage the industries where they do work to produce what is socially useful to others.

Let's say Jack works driving a bus and doing transportation planning and Maria designs and makes shirts. Jack wears shirts Maria makes. Maria rides the bus Jack drives. There is an exchange going on here. It's inherent to a social economy where people do things for the benefit of others.

that's an example, not an abstracted argument, but it's more than an assertion.

the upshot is that communists have contempt for parecon. i'm agnostic yet, my interest is in clean argumentation. enough with the pissing.

Randy
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Oct 5 2007 12:47
syndicalistcat wrote:
...
now you could try to answer the arguments. that you don't find the issue "interesting" isn't relevant ...
...

But you are mistaken, a communist's lack of interest in critiquing market economics--on a communist discussion board--is relevant.

I have already provided a link to an article that does an adequate job of critiquing parecon, and pointing out it's market characteristics (a view I held prior to reading the article). I concede that a communist future is dimly defined. I think a more concrete picture would be helpful. But Paecon is not communist, and for me that is a starting point.

capricorn
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Oct 5 2007 16:23

I don't agree that you can't abolish exchange. Surely the word "exchange" implies that one thing is given in return for something else. This can only happen when the two things are separately owned. In other words, where there's some form of private property. So, exchange is essentially an exchange of ownership titles. With communism (in its proper sense of the common ownership by all of the means of production and their products) this doesn't arise. So, abolishing exchange does not mean that everyone has to consume only what they produce (an impossibility anyway since all production demands a degree, often a high degree, of cooperation and so is a collective effort). What it means is that the means of production and the products are there to be used and taken. That's why there will be no need for money in communism. I suppose you could say (if you wanted to, not that I do) that the only exchange that would take place in communism would be to take "according to needs" in exchange for giving "according to ability".

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Oct 5 2007 16:31

randy:

Quote:
I have already provided a link to an article that does an adequate job of critiquing parecon, and pointing out it's market characteristics

That article has numerous false assertions about participatory economics. Moreover, a number of the things that article proposes would lead straight back to a market economy, such as unilateral decision-making by production groups which assumes a private property-like control over production facilities.

I've already refuted that article here:

http://www.workersolidarity.org/debatingeconomicvision.html

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Oct 5 2007 17:15

capricorn:

Quote:
I don't agree that you can't abolish exchange. Surely the word "exchange" implies that one thing is given in return for something else. This can only happen when the two things are separately owned. In other words, where there's some form of private property. So, exchange is essentially an exchange of ownership titles.

In order for there to be things that can be used/consumed by people, there has to be the labor to create those things (use-values). If things are available to be freely taken by anyone who wants them, and there is no requirement of work effort, there are several problems with that:

1. how do you ensure that the things made are what people want? what links the desire of people for the objects/activities to their production?

2. there are very likely to be free riders, and you can't ensure this won't undermine the commitment of people to engage in production of things for the benefit of others. In other words, there is no adequate motivations for people to do the work necessary to the production of the things people want. Why wouldn't people who do work effort resent those who don't? And thus i find it unlikely that workers would in general go along with the scheme of everything being free and there being no concept of earning one's entitlement to private consumption goods through work effort.

3. and if people are likely to prefer the idea that the able-bodied adults earn their entitlement to their finite share of the social product thru work effort, why would they not also have some idea that those who make extra sacrifices for the common good, who work much harder, should get extra material benefit? why would they not be inclined to penalize those workers whose effort they perceive as being way below what that person is capable of? if you look at the experience of worker management in situations like Spain in the '30s or Argentina today, there are occasions when workers have had to deal with this sort of situation, of someone not holding up their end, slacking, or even stealing from the collective. Workers are going to resent a person who does this. And it is very likely they will censure them or penalize them some way. And reducing their remuneration may be one of the methods that workers decide to use. And why would that not be legitimate?

if you grant that it would be legitimate for the collective worker organizations to provide extra benefits to people who make special sacrifices or penalize slackers via reduction in earned entitlement, then you're agreeing that remuneration based on the level of work effort or sacrifice is legitimate. if it's not legitimate for the worker self-management organizations to do this, why not?

moreover, why is this not consistent with a classless society? If it's consistent with a classless society, then banning remuneration for work effort isn't a necessary condition for worker liberation. What then is the motivation for it?

4. Are you saying there is no such thing as personal possessions? That you don't own your clothes, your furniture, etc? Why is it necessary to the liberation of the working class to eliminate personal possessions? Since I think it is obviously not necessary, i also think it highly unlikely the working class would agree to that. I think there is clearly a distinction between the things that we use to make things for each other -- land, buildings where productive activity takes place, equipment, etc. -- and personal possessions.

5. Saying that it is okay for people to just take things they want is an arrangement in which those who are most egotistical and assertive and care least about others become winners -- just like in capitalism! That is not an arrangement that encourages social solidarity.

6. There does not have to be an exchange of money between the production organization and the consumer or user of the product for an exchange to take place. That's because there is a social exchange when people do work for the benefit of others. And this social form of exchange need not involve private ownership of the products of labor by those who produce them, nor of the production facilities used to produce them.

7. In a classless society it is perfectly possible that the workers would want to have a system of incentives, especially in the situation where they are coming out of a revolutionary change and there is still a large hostile minority, and those whose support for the change was perhaps not total, and whose tendencies to free ride, to engage in individualistic me-first behavior, is a potential threat. Thus i think the requirement of work effort to earn a consumption entitlement is very likely as the policy that the majority of the working class revolutionary movement will endorse. This means that workers require of each other that they do work for the common benefit if they are able. And thru this people earn an entitlement to consume the thngs that are purely private consumption goods. This is in addition to the generous level of public goods that we would envision the society to provide without a requirement of work effort.

if it is possible for workers, when in control of production and the society, to require work effort from the able-bodied adults as a condition of getting their consumption entitlement for private consumption goods, then it follows that the "everything for free" scheme isn't a necessary condition for the elimination of the class system and thus the liberation of the working class. What's the motivation for it then?

8. Moreover, people want different things. They have different tastes, they are part of different subcultures. This means they are likely to want the freedom to distribute their consumption entitlement over whatever mix of products they want rather than some one size fits all imposed set of products that are decided by some purely collective process. How do you ensure the investment of resources, including worker time, in producing exactly the mix of things that a hugely diverse population will want? You can't ensure this unless people have a way to make manifest their desires for different things.

And don't talk to me about people taking things for free from distribution centers. That doesn't tell us what people's preferences are. That's because a person might have really wanted X but was forced to settle for Y because that's all that was available. If that's what your scheme would deliver, it will be inadequate for people and they are likely to get rid of your "everything free for the taking" scheme even if you could somehow create it, which I doubt.

In order to know what people would most prefer, people have to have a finite consumption budget and participate in the decision-making process in some way that enables them to make the hard choices of having to choose X rather than Y because they can't have both. What they choose in that context tells us what they most prefer.

And finite consumption budgets are inevitable in any case because there will be only a finite social product. We also want to limit the amount of work we have to do for each other.

Scarcity is inevitable because there will inevitably be things that someone might want that we can't produce. Whenever a group of people spend their time making houses, they can't also be building a health clinic, a new railway line, or anything else. hence there will be things we might want that we can't produce right now because there are other things that are a higher priority for people, and we have finite time and other resources.

Scarcity isn't the same thing as deprivation. There is some confusion about this among some communists. Deprivation means that people's basic needs aren't met. We can eliminate deprivation but that doesn't eliminate scarcity.

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Devrim
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Oct 5 2007 17:30

NY, my mistake on the paragraphing. I looked back quickly.
Devrim

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syndicalistcat
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Oct 5 2007 17:35

me: "personally did not advocate "effort ratings" above, so again you're not responding to me, but someone else. "
catch:

Quote:
Again, if you put forward a point of view that's been documented in detail elsewhere, then you have to be prepared to deal with that documentation, otherwise we'd have to start every conversation from scratch over and over again. Or do you reject effort ratings entirely then?

by "documented elsewhere" you mean someone else's view. So you think it's just fine to attribute to me agreement with what others say just because you want to?

you can read my other post here on the subject of "effort ratings." I think it would be legitimate for the worker self-management organizations to do that if they want but, no, i don't advocate that because i think it is going to too fine a level of detail.

What i do think is likely is that workers would resent slackers and might be inclined to reward in some way people who go out of their way to make extra sacrifices for the common benefit. In fact there is empirical evidence of this from situations where workers have taken over management of industries, in Spain in the '30s or Argentina today. It is also likely they would want to systematize how they deal with this sort of situation.

but this business of "effor rating committees" that Albert and Hahnel sometimes talk about is too detailed a prescription, in my opinion.

me: "In case you didn't notice, I didn't use the word "parecon". So your comment is not actually replying to what I said."

Quote:
You've talked about parecon plenty in the past,

I'm talking about the word "parecon". I've only used it where i was responding to a critique of the ideas as articulated by Albert. It's his term. Even Robin Hahnel doesn't use it and I don't use that term to refer to what I advocate either.

if you're going to attribute to me what I don't say, then, catch, you're going to have to talk to yourself as i regard that as an illegitimate debate tactic.

lem
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Oct 5 2007 17:49
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I want to eliminate work as a seperate category from the rest of life

just want to say that i don't think that's IT.

imho the best analyses of what is wrong with work is found in marcuse [existential?] and marx [hegelian?].

Mike Harman
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Oct 5 2007 18:00
syndicalistcat wrote:
3. and if people are likely to prefer the idea that the able-bodied adults earn their entitlement to their finite share of the social product thru work effort, why would they not also have some idea that those who make extra sacrifices for the common good, who work much harder, should get extra material benefit?

From each according to their ability, to each according to their effort.

Quote:
why would they not be inclined to penalize those workers whose effort they perceive as being way below what that person is capable of?

Maybe because the whole point of transforming social relations is to eliminate scarcity, that penny pinching, work ethic mentality which leads to benefit cuts by the right wing etc.

Quote:
if you look at the experience of worker management in situations like Spain in the '30s or Argentina today, there are occasions when workers have had to deal with this sort of situation, of someone not holding up their end, slacking, or even stealing from the collective.

If these things arise, and were a problem, then they could be dealt with by a general meeting. I don't think you need to have what would amount to surveillance of everyone's working patterns all the time to deal with such cases, and the consequences need not be material.

Quote:
4. Are you saying there is no such thing as personal possessions? That you don't own your clothes, your furniture, etc?

Not many people exchange underwear, or beds for that matter, so I don't think this helps your argument.

Quote:
Why is it necessary to the liberation of the working class to eliminate personal possessions?

Not personal possessions, commodities.

Quote:
8. Moreover, people want different things. They have different tastes, they are part of different subcultures. This means they are likely to want the freedom to distribute their consumption entitlement over whatever mix of products they want rather than some one size fits all imposed set of products that are decided by some purely collective process. How do you ensure the investment of resources, including worker time, in producing exactly the mix of things that a hugely diverse population will want? You can't ensure this unless people have a way to make manifest their desires for different things.

If people want stuff, they'll arrange for it to be made, since the division between production and consumption will be eliminated.

Quote:
In order to know what people would most prefer, people have to have a finite consumption budget and participate in the decision-making process in some way that enables them to make the hard choices of having to choose X rather than Y because they can't have both. What they choose in that context tells us what they most prefer.

Almost sounds like wage discipline to me. Can't let people have everything they want, it'd be anarchy.

Quote:
And finite consumption budgets are inevitable in any case because there will be only a finite social product. We also want to limit the amount of work we have to do for each other.

Most people's consumption is finite - there's a limited amount of food, entertainment, consumer products we're able to consume. Yes some people become shopaholics/gluttons etc. but that more than anything is a result of the fucked up society we live in.

Quote:
Scarcity is inevitable because there will inevitably be things that someone might want that we can't produce. Whenever a group of people spend their time making houses, they can't also be building a health clinic, a new railway line, or anything else. hence there will be things we might want that we can't produce right now because there are other things that are a higher priority for people, and we have finite time and other resources.

And this relates to reward via effort how? The people who work hardest making furniture will have a bigger say over whether a hospital or a railway line gets built? This why 'according to need' has been a fundamental principle of communism from the start, removes all this moralistic crap and deals with the material reality of people's lives.

Mike Harman
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Oct 5 2007 18:06
syndicalistcat wrote:
me: "personally did not advocate "effort ratings" above, so again you're not responding to me, but someone else. "
catch:
Quote:
Again, if you put forward a point of view that's been documented in detail elsewhere, then you have to be prepared to deal with that documentation, otherwise we'd have to start every conversation from scratch over and over again. Or do you reject effort ratings entirely then?

by "documented elsewhere" you mean someone else's view. So you think it's just fine to attribute to me agreement with what others say just because you want to?

You're clearly obsessed with the amount of effort people put into their future jobs in self-managed enterprises. First you say communists are too woolly on the social relationships in a future society, now parecon is "too fine a level of detail".

Quote:
What i do think is likely is that workers would resent slackers and might be inclined to reward in some way people who go out of their way to make extra sacrifices for the common benefit.

Ostracism and throwing parties are quite common methods. Generally where I've worked people don't do whip 'rounds for people who 'try really hard' though.

Quote:
In fact there is empirical evidence of this from situations where workers have taken over management of industries, in Spain in the '30s or Argentina today. It is also likely they would want to systematize how they deal with this sort of situation.

There's also emprical evidence of the 'family wage', rationing according to need etc. etc. - these isolated and short-lived experiments had a lot of things imposed by necessity, it's very important not to turn these into virtues.

Deezer
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Oct 5 2007 18:47
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If things are available to be freely taken by anyone who wants them, and there is no requirement of work effort,

Y'see this is where I just don't agree with your driving premise. There will be a requirement to work according to ability and there does not need to be a system based on the retention of money in place to ensure that we can safeguard against those who 'do nothing'.

And if we can, as I hope we should be aiming to do, reduce the amount of time spent on 'work' surely those who put more effort in will look like fuckin eejits in the eyes of their colleagues - and the idiocy of working harder than anyone else should not really be rewarded.

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syndicalistcat
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Oct 5 2007 18:49

catch:

Quote:
You're clearly obsessed with the amount of effort people put into their future jobs in self-managed enterprises. First you say communists are too woolly on the social relationships in a future society, now parecon is "too fine a level of detail".

I didn't say "parecon is too fine a level of detail." I said that Hahnel & Albert's proposal for "effort rating committees" was. you think it's just fine to play fast and loose with attributions of what other comrades say.

i made a series of arguments in support of remuneration for work effort. You respond with insulting comments like "obsession" but no rational reply. if you're going to engage in insulting distortions of what i say, why don't you just fuck off?

Quote:
There's also emprical evidence of the 'family wage', rationing according to need etc. etc. - these isolated and short-lived experiments had a lot of things imposed by necessity, it's very important not to turn these into virtues.

if you'd paid any attention at all to what I (or Hahnel and Albert) say, you'd have realized i also support the principle of providing for children's needs at social expense, and in general I support the principle of "to each according to need" to some extent. This is not inconsistent with remuneration for work effort for able-bodied adults.

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syndicalistcat
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Oct 5 2007 18:57

me: "If things are available to be freely taken by anyone who wants them, and there is no requirement of work effort,"
colonialboy:

Quote:
Y'see this is where I just don't agree with your driving premise. There will be a requirement to work according to ability and there does not ned to be an elaborate system alog parecon lines in place to ensure that we can safeguard against those who 'do nothing'.

then you disagree with the other communist i was replying to. and the rest of what you say isn't a reply to me, so it is simply irrelevant.

Mike Harman
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Oct 5 2007 19:16
syndicalistcat wrote:
catch:
Quote:
You're clearly obsessed with the amount of effort people put into their future jobs in self-managed enterprises. First you say communists are too woolly on the social relationships in a future society, now parecon is "too fine a level of detail".

I didn't say "parecon is too fine a level of detail." I said that Hahnel & Albert's proposal for "effort rating committees" was. you think it's just fine to play fast and loose with attributions of what other comrades say.

That was a mis-type. However since effort seem to be the only possible way that money would be allocated in this system I'd like to know what your alternative is.

Quote:
i made a series of arguments in support of remuneration for work effort. You respond with insulting comments like "obsession" but no rational reply.

I defer to Boulcolonialboy's post shortly after mine, puts the point pretty well.

Quote:
if you'd paid any attention at all to what I (or Hahnel and Albert) say, you'd have realized i also support the principle of providing for children's needs at social expense, and in general I support the principle of "to each according to need" to some extent. This is not inconsistent with remuneration for work effort for able-bodied adults.

I'm aware children's needs are supposed to be provided for at social expense, iirc there's also some kind of guaranteed minimum income for adults isn't there? However you just said that the production of hospitals or railroads should be decided by the same system that rewards people for effort and dismissed communist approaches to this entirely.