The Socialized Firm

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Re: The Socialized Firm

Post by Rebel Redneck 59 on Mon Aug 15, 2011 12:58 pm

Admin wrote:Nothing in this rant of yours serves to discredit the theory of commodity fetishism. In fact, I don't see how any rational socialist can impeach the theory. Of course, this does not serve to undermine the relative utility of markets, at least when juxtaposed to certain, less dependable alternatives.

I must say that you appear to have an interest in marginalizing the negative characteristics inherent to market economies. I imagine that this is likely attributable to some ideological antagonism towards expressions of socialism that promote various forms of economic planning. In any case, I find your unyielding embrace of market systems to be rather ill-advised. That's just my humble opinion.


Let me quote from Wikipedia " In Marx's critique of political economy, commodity fetishism denotes the mystification of human relations said to arise out of the growth of market trade, when social relationships between people are expressed as, mediated by and transfromed into, objective relationships between things ( commodities and money)". Now honestly can you understand what exactly is this supposed to mean? Because I sure as hell dont. It sounds like vague bullshit to me. What a theory like this has to do with Socialism is beyond me.

Interest? No I dont have an agenda to push here or anything. I only wrote down my opinion. Of course a Socialist market economy would not be perfect but then again nothing is perfect. Centralized economic planning has been proven to fail and I simply dont see why your proposed alternative would be better than a Socialist market economy.
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Re: The Socialized Firm

Post by Rebel Redneck 59 on Mon Aug 15, 2011 1:21 pm

Rev Scare wrote:I believe that he has already answered your query quite sufficiently. Remunerative justice in the sense that individuals are rewarded on the basis of their effort, the intensity of their work, and the necessary labor time required to complete their work. The market perpetuates needless inequality, alienates both workers and consumers from each other by mediating human interaction through commodity exchange, and far from existing as the final omniscient and omnibenevolent distributive economic medium that its ardent proponents proclaim it to be, is ultimately a structurally irrational and blundering (ergo inefficient) system by which to distribute the social product.

I see nothing wrong with the market causing inequality in itself. Equality, after all, is a myth. How exactly does commodity exchange alienate anyone? As for the market being irrational, well I dont see how that makes any difference. I dont worship the market ( like many Liberals do), I just see it as the best way to exchange goods.

Within the latter stage economic order that many of us envision (a democratically decentralized planned economy), individuals would indeed be rewarded according to effort and sacrifice, but it does not follow from this that a skilled worker need be rewarded equally as an unskilled worker provided that equal opportunities for self-enhancement exist within the social formation. With that said, there are some matters to be explicated here.

Unequal remuneration need not reflect contribution. Industrial capitalists expropriate surplus labor solely as the result of their ownership of the means of production; they do not participate in the fundamental class process (i.e., the generation of surplus labor) other than by granting workers access to the means of production and coordinating the overall labor process (the latter most often accomplished by hiring managers). All capitalists, in the end, earn income by the self-expansion of their privately owned capital assets. Needless to say, such a process is only "necessary" to production insofar as the capitalist economic order itself is concerned. It is worth reiterating the above due to the fact that capitalist apologists often justify the earnings of private business owners on the grounds of innovation and risk incurred, neither of which are requisite components in a capitalist's income equation (let alone do they legitimize non-labor income). This brings us to the market, which, even when the capitalist mode of production is eradicated, would continue to retain arbitrary, and I would therefore say unjust, remunerative processes.

The market, as Celtiberian has already explained, compensates in congruence with a myriad of inequitable factors, including genetic endowment, educational opportunities, the success one meets in selling one's goods and services, initial working conditions, etc. This sordid reality has inspired many of us to seek a more desirable form of distributive organization, and superior, feasible alternatives are already theoretically applicable. Furthermore, your invocation of some type of subjective value inherent to different kinds of labor is a rather fanciful manner of determining remunerative policy. Why should somebody whose work is supposedly more socially "worthwhile" due to genetic and educational advantages be intrinsically more deserving of a greater share of the social product than somebody who is less privileged but works diligently?

To answer your question, those who work the best should reap the best, regardless of whether they have superior genetic endowments or better educational advantages. I mean do you honestly believe that a person who has a high IQ ( due to genetic endowment) should not be able to score higher on a test than someone who has a low IQ simply because they have an " unfair" advantage over them? Your proposal seems to be based on weird egalitarian grounds which is why I reject it.

We often describe the baseness at the heart of our consumerist societies as being "materialistic." Commodity fetishism illuminates much of this aspect of our economic order. Commodity fetishism is an indivisible feature of a social formation whose most prominent economic process consists in commodity production. As such, all valuation of labor can only occur after objects of value confront each other in the market. Commodities in this way come to "embody" value in their own right, but what is value other than a relationship between the various social producers? The objects of value themselves appear to possess some intrinsic property that reflects their own value. This, of course, is merely an illusion which conceals the underlying social relations, and hence we term this phenomenon, which only manifests within a society that practices universal commodity exchange, "commodity fetishism." To quote Marx himself in Capital:

"The equality of the kinds of human labour takes on a physical form in the equal objectivity of the products of labour as values; the measure of the expenditure of human labour-power by its duration takes on the form of the magnitude of the products of labour; and finally the relationship between the producers, within which the social characteristic of their labours are manifested, take on the form of a social relation between the products of labour.

The mysterious character of the commodity-form consists therefore simply in the fact that the commodity reflects the social characteristics of men's own labour as objective characteristics of labour themselves, as the socio-natural properties of these things. Hence it also reflects the social relation of the producers to the sum total of labour as a social relation between objects, a relation which exists apart from and outside the producers. Through this substitution, the products of labour become commodities, sensuous things which are at the same time supra-sensible or social. In the same way, the impression made by the thing on the optic nerve is perceived not as a subjective excitation of that nerve but as the objective form of a thing outside the eye. In the act of seeing, of course, light is really transmitted from one thing, the external object, to another thing, the eye. It is a physical relation between physical things. As against this, the commodity-form, and the value-relation of the products of labour within which it appears, have absolutely no connection with the physical nature of the commodity and the material relations arising out of this. It is nothing but the definite social relation between men themselves which assumes here, for them, the fantastic form of a relation between things. In order, therefore, to find an analogy we must take flight into the misty realm of religion. There the products of the human brain appear as autonomous figures endowed with a life of their own, which enter into relations both with each other and with the human race. So it is in the world of commodities with the products of men's hands. I call this the fetishism which attaches itself to the products of labour as soon as they are produced as commodities, and it is therefore inseparable from the production of commodities."


Lastly, it is absolutely foolish to denounce theoretical analysis. Theoretical insight is invaluable with respect to providing one with guidance in all areas concerning the subject matter. Without a sound understanding of what it is that one is acting upon, one might as well not act at all. If you do not see the value in actually understanding how our economic system operates and what is demanded to correct it, then it is my strong belief that you will forever remain politically impotent as far as bringing about genuine and positive social change is concerned.


I honestly do not understand what an incredibly vague theory like this has to do with Socialism. Most people ( me included) cant even understand what exactly its supposed to mean. Therefore it is a useless theory because no revolutionary goal should include theories an average person cant understand mean.
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Re: The Socialized Firm

Post by Celtiberian on Wed Aug 17, 2011 6:07 pm

Rebel Warrior 59 wrote:What do you mean by complete remunerative justice? Are you speaking of pay?

I'm speaking of ones rightful claim to the social product. If you want to classify this as "pay," that's fine—we needn't get hung up on semantics.

Now correct me if Im wrong, but I think you are talking about pay when you speak of unequal remuneration. In that case there is nothing wrong in people getting paid unequally.


So workers on a hypothetical oil rig cooperative deserve to become millionaires? A popular cooperative soccer team should also be paid millions of dollars?

Does that ( allowing an unskilled worker to earn as much as one who put lots of time into learning a trade as well as practicing it ) seem just? I think not.


I believe that people should be remunerated based upon the only attributes they actually have control over, which would be effort and sacrifice. The length of time one works and the onerousness of the conditions under which one labors should also be contributing factors in remuneration, but as I said previously, I see absolutely no ethical validity in paying someone more due to their genetic endowment, educational opportunities, bargaining power, and so forth.

As for training, people should certainly be compensated while they're undergoing training, but I fail to see why a computer engineer should be remunerated more than a coal miner, for example. The computer engineer not only enjoys a more comfortable environment in which to work, but actually has the privilege of doing psychologically fulfilling and empowering labor (unlike the coal miner). Now, you might employ the common argument that if people were remunerated solely on the basis of effort, the onerous conditions they work under, and the sacrifice they expend doing socially necessary labor, then no one would put forth the great effort required to become a doctor (or any sort of professional, for that matter), but I find such arguments to be patently absurd. People would still become doctors simply because a lot of them genuinely enjoy the work and would receive ample social acclaim for their services, and the same could be said of virtually any professional occupation.

Its no wonder that so many working men and women want nothing to do with Socialism when such intellectual garbage is spouted from the mouths of those who claim to be standing up for the worker.

Commodity fetishism really isn't that difficult to grasp. I think the average proletarian could quite easily appreciate the critique if it were explained in the following manner, for instance:



I see nothing wrong with the market causing inequality in itself. Equality, after all, is a myth.

Biological equality is definitely a myth, but we're discussing economic egalitarianism—which can be achieved regardless of the innate inequality observed within the human species.

I mean do you honestly believe that a person who has a high IQ ( due to genetic endowment) should not be able to score higher on a test than someone who has a low IQ simply because they have an " unfair" advantage over them?

Again, you're conflating totally separate issues. No one here has suggested that testing should be adjusted to artificially equalize everyone's outcome.

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Re: The Socialized Firm

Post by Rebel Redneck 59 on Wed Aug 17, 2011 8:53 pm

Celtiberian wrote:I'm speaking of ones rightful claim to the social product. If you want to classify this as "pay," that's fine—we needn't get hung up on semantics.

Fair enough

So workers on a hypothetical oil rig cooperative deserve to become millionaires? A popular cooperative soccer team should also be paid millions of dollars?

Yes they should be as long as they do so through honest work.

[quote]I believe that people should be remunerated based upon the only attributes they actually have control over, which would be effort and sacrifice. The length of time one works and the onerousness of the conditions under which one labors should also be contributing factors in remuneration, but as I said previously, I see absolutely no ethical validity in paying someone more due to their genetic endowment, educational opportunities, bargaining power, and so forth.

As for training, people should certainly be compensated while they're undergoing training, but I fail to see why a computer engineer should be remunerated more than a coal miner, for example. The computer engineer not only enjoys a more comfortable environment in which to work, but actually has the privilege of doing psychologically fulfilling and empowering labor (unlike the coal miner). Now, you might employ the common argument that if people were remunerated solely on the basis of effort, the onerous conditions they work under, and the sacrifice they expend doing socially necessary labor, then no one would put forth the great effort required to become a doctor (or any sort of professional, for that matter), but I find such arguments to be patently absurd. People would still become doctors simply because a lot of them genuinely enjoy the work and would receive ample social acclaim for their services, and the same could be said of virtually any professional occupation.[quote]

Honestly what is wrong about someone with a high IQ earning more than someone with a low IQ as long as the person with a high IQ accomplishes more than them? As for coal miners earning more than computer engineers sure I agree but I dont see why you even have to factor in effort and sacrifice. Coal mining is hard and dangerous work. That is reason enough as to why they should get paid more. Also whether or not one type of work is fulfilling or not is simply personal opinion.

Commodity fetishism really isn't that difficult to grasp. I think the average proletarian could quite easily appreciate the critique if it were explained in the following manner, for instance:


My point is " commmodity fetishism" is totally irrelevant. You dont have to know a thing about it to realize Capitalism is bad and that theory also wont help anyone to do anything to overthrow Capitalism. Therefore its useless.

Biological equality is definitely a myth, but we're discussing economic egalitarianism—which can be achieved regardless of the innate inequality observed within the human species.

But why should economic egalitarianism be achieved? Also what do you mean by economic egalitarianism? Greatly reducing disparities in wealth or what?

Again, you're conflating totally separate issues. No one here has suggested that testing should be adjusted to artificially equalize everyone's outcome.

Then let me give you a better example: Under your preferred system would a person with a high IQ be unable to receive more pay than a person with a low IQ even if the person with a high IQ accomplished more?
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Re: The Socialized Firm

Post by Rev Scare on Thu Aug 18, 2011 7:05 am

Rebel Warrior 59 wrote:I see nothing wrong with the market causing inequality in itself. Equality, after all, is a myth.

Simply because biological equality is nonexistent does not indicate that social inequality must persist. There is nothing at all noble about natural inequality, and I see absolutely no justifiable reason why it should be preserved or serve as a basis for reward if viable alternatives exist.

How exactly does commodity exchange alienate anyone?

Commodity exchange alienates producers from consumers and other producers in the sense that it necessitates a rather arbitrary institution by which to gauge the extent and distribution of the social product. All economic interactions within a market system (which immeasurably influence all other non-economic aspects of a social formation) are mediated through commodity exchange; therefore, production is always dependent upon the market in order to measure its efficiency and desirability rather than upon real relations between people who coordinate the social labor process collectively. Objects, in this way, come to express an illusory value in their own right instead of marking the real underlying relationships that brought them into being as part of the social labor process; this, in turn, serves to generate a social formation in which money and other objects of value become ends in and of themselves instead of labor becoming recognized as the only true source of value. The accumulation of material value emerges as an end in itself, where individuals compete for greater shares of the social product.

As for the market being irrational, well I dont see how that makes any difference. I dont worship the market ( like many Liberals do), I just see it as the best way to exchange goods.

It establishes a profound difference. Following what I have stated above, a site of exchange such as a market does not allow for individual producers to engage in any meaningful collective decision making as to what to produce and to what extent to do so. All economic activity must revolve around a system of blind exchange in order to coordinate the social labor process; this artificial construct, through its objectified forms of value (i.e., commodities), then comes to attain certain interesting properties. Society focuses its attention upon the seemingly willful trends of the market itself rather than the productive activity that truly governs the market process. Commodity fetishism unravels this: it reveals how the market process strives to coordinate the actions of society's producers in the unthinking manner of commodity exchange, wherein every commodity, being nothing more than the embodiment of the labor exerted in its production, is affixed a "price" in the universal value equivalent (money) which compares the different manifestations of concrete labor to each other; consumers then decide to what extent they desire each commodity, which signals to producers of the various commodities, again through the objects of value themselves, what quantity of their particular labor is demanded.

Needless to say, this is a fundamentally irrational method of organizing the labor process. It is riddled with efficiency problems in its own right as separated from the capitalist mode of production, and I need not reiterate the sheer injustice of the market system outlined in earlier posts.

To answer your question, those who work the best should reap the best, regardless of whether they have superior genetic endowments or better educational advantages.

What does it mean to "work the best"? All expenditures of human labor, in the abstract sense, are qualitatively equivalent and only differ in quantity. The subjective evaluation of concrete labor (the specific form that labor adopts in order to produce a distinct commodity—a use-value) does not factor in the determination of the value of a good or service. It does not matter whether or not society subjectively holds doctors in higher esteem than janitors; all that is important for the determination of the value of work is the labor time necessary to complete it. Remuneration, then, should root itself in sacrifice (labor time and intensity) first and, as far as I am concerned, effort second. Effort should become a secondary criteria by which to compensate individuals for limitations that they have no control over (e.g., individuals with disabilities, the elderly, the infirm, pregnant women, workers in legitimate circumstances of transition, etc.).

I mean do you honestly believe that a person who has a high IQ ( due to genetic endowment) should not be able to score higher on a test than someone who has a low IQ simply because they have an " unfair" advantage over them? Your proposal seems to be based on weird egalitarian grounds which is why I reject it.

That is a non sequitur. It does not follow from anything that I have argued above. To answer your question, what I believe should be the case in the instance of intelligence disparities between individuals does not affect the reality of the situation. An individual who is of greater "intelligence" will tend to score higher on an IQ test than somebody who is less cognitively "capable," yet this does not present itself as some standard by which to derive my ethical disposition. Simply because inequality exists does not imply to me that I should rejoice at this and seek to reward it, no less. Likewise, simply due to the fact that the market system distributes according to numerous initial inequalities does not at all strike me as a virtue to embrace—the converse is true.

I honestly do not understand what an incredibly vague theory like this has to do with Socialism. Most people ( me included) cant even understand what exactly its supposed to mean. Therefore it is a useless theory because no revolutionary goal should include theories an average person cant understand mean.

It isn't vague. It is rather straightforward, and it has been quite cogently explained to you. Its importance from the perspective of class analysis is in its determination of the relative values of commodities, the coordination of the labor process, and finally how the very pursuit of objects themselves as values reflects back upon society as a whole.

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Re: The Socialized Firm

Post by Celtiberian on Thu Aug 18, 2011 1:40 pm

Rebel Warrior 59 wrote:Yes they should be as long as they do so through honest work.

You consider playing a game to be "honest work"? (Recall that I cited a cooperative soccer team as one of my examples.) As for my other example of a cooperative oil rig, how is their labor any more "honest" or deserving of reward than that of, say, construction workers? Producing goods or services which the market happens to value more highly relative to other commodities- or using capital goods which are more productive than those used by other workers- isn't a sound basis for remunerating labor, in my opinion.

Honestly what is wrong about someone with a high IQ earning more than someone with a low IQ as long as the person with a high IQ accomplishes more than them?


To answer your question, I need to know how you're defining "accomplishment." Are you suggesting that becoming an engineer is a 'higher accomplishment' than becoming a machinist, or something?

IQ is the product of ones genetic endowment and the environmental surroundings with which an individual is raised, both of which no one has any control over. Being fortunate enough to have been born with an above average intellect is rewarding in its own right and possesses the added benefit of likely attaining a desirable position within the division of labor; I see no compelling reason to add onto that remuneration in excess of the duration, intensity, and sacrifice one expends in the performance of socially necessary labor.

As for coal miners earning more than computer engineers sure I agree but I dont see why you even have to factor in effort and sacrifice. Coal mining is hard and dangerous work. That is reason enough as to why they should get paid more.


Then you disagree with the method by which the market remunerates those occupations, since computer engineers typically earn more than coal miners.

As for effort, it's important to take into consideration because it happens to be one of the only attributes exhibited in the labor process which every individual has control over. Likewise with sacrifice.

Also whether or not one type of work is fulfilling or not is simply personal opinion.

While it may be somewhat subjective, I seriously doubt many people would consider monotonous, rote work (i.e., a job on an assembly line) to be as psychologically fulfilling as the creative work many professionals are fortunate enough to engage in.

My point is " commmodity fetishism" is totally irrelevant.


I disagree. I consider it a very illuminating and useful critique of market relations. (Bear in mind that I do not view the market and capitalism as interchangeable entities.)

You dont have to know a thing about it to realize Capitalism is bad and that theory also wont help anyone to do anything to overthrow Capitalism. Therefore its useless.


There are many criticisms against capitalism which socialists can utilize, the fetishism of commodities is but one of them—though, admittedly, it can also be leveled against market socialism. You may believe that opposing exploitation is the most important and potent argument socialists can make against the status quo, and I'm inclined to agree with you, but I feel other critiques can and should be used by activists as well.

But why should economic egalitarianism be achieved?


Because, again, I (and many other people) consider economic inequality stemming from factors which exclude duration, intensity, and sacrifice to be unjust and unnecessary.

Also what do you mean by economic egalitarianism? Greatly reducing disparities in wealth or what?


See above.


Last edited by Celtiberian on Sat Aug 20, 2011 3:25 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: The Socialized Firm

Post by Rebel Redneck 59 on Thu Aug 18, 2011 4:20 pm

Celtiberian wrote:You consider playing a game to be "honest work"? (Recall that I cited a cooperative soccer team as one of my examples.) As for my other example of a cooperative oil rig, how is their labor any more "honest" or deserving of reward than that of, say, construction workers? Producing goods or services which the market happens to value more highly relative to other commodities- or using capital goods which are more productive than those used by other workers- isn't a sound basis for remunerating labor, in my opinion.

I dont think soccer players deserve to earn millions but they dont exploit anyone by doing it. The reason soccer players earn so much is because people are willing to spend lots of money on soccer. So I see no reason why they shouldnt be able to earn as much as they do since they dont harm anyone by doing so. And yes I consider all work that isnt immoral to be honest. As for oil rig workers, I never wrote their work is more deserving than the work of construction workers. Let me make it clear, I believe any sort of worker should be able to earn millions as long as they work hard enough to earn it. That ( obviously) includes construction workers.

To answer your question, I need to know how you're defining "accomplishment." Are you suggesting that becoming an engineer is a 'higher accomplishment' than becoming a machinist, or something?

IQ is the product of ones genetic endowment and the environmental surroundings with which an individual is raised, both of which no one has any control over. Being fortunate enough to have been born with an above average intellect is rewarding in its own right and possesses the added benefit of likely attaining a desirable position within the division of labor; I see no compelling reason to add onto that remuneration in excess of the duration, intensity, and sacrifice one expends in the performance of socially necessary labor.


What I mean by the question is what is wrong with a higher IQ person earning more than a lower IQ person as long as the higher IQ person does more work than them?

Then you disagree with the method by which the market remunerates those occupations, since computer engineers typically earn more than coal miners.

The fact that most coal miners earn less than computer engineers cannot be simply explained by the market. Today most coal miners are non unionized ( in Hungary and the US at least). That has caused their earnings to drop. Not to mention that coal operators have always been a pretty nasty lot. In Hungary many of them simply pay less than they are required to and get away with it rather easily ( due to corruption). Such practices are rare in the US but many miners are still cheated out of their black lung benefits via court procedure. My point is if miners formed cooperatives then they would have a chance to outearn computer engineers. Im not in favor of the State decreeing that a certain class of workers must outearn another. That should be up to the efforts of workers themselves.

While it may be somewhat subjective, I seriously doubt many people would consider monotonous, rote work (i.e., a job on an assembly line) to be as psychologically fulfilling as the creative work many professionals are fortunate enough to engage in.

You may be right here.

I disagree. I consider it a very illuminating and useful critique of market relations. (Bear in mind that I do not vview the market and capitalism as interchangeable entities.)

I still dont get the point of it and I really dont see how it will help anyone overthrow Capitalism. Thoroughly analyzing the Capitalist system may be a fun thing to do for some people in their spare time but it wont do jacksquat to change anything. More action and less theorizing is my mantra.

There are many criticisms against capitalism which socialists can utilize, the fetishism of commodities is but one of them—though, admittedly, it can also be leveled against market socialism. You may believe that opposing exploitation is the most important and potent argument socialists can make against the status quo, and I'm inclined to agree with you, but I feel other critiques can and should be used by activists as well.


Well if you want to use such a critique then go ahead. Im just saying it would be wise not to get too caught up in such stuff lest your risk losing support among average working people.

Because, again, I (and many other people) consider economic inequality stemming from factors which exclude duration, intensity, and sacrifice to be unjust and unnecessary.


I see. Well I dont see economic inequality that stems from the factors you listed to be unjust but I am going to leave it at that. Of course Ill reply to you if you respond but I see no point in arguing over whose sense of justice is better. Anyways thanks for answering.
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Re: The Socialized Firm

Post by Rebel Redneck 59 on Thu Aug 18, 2011 4:43 pm

Rev Scare wrote:Simply because biological equality is nonexistent does not indicate that social inequality must persist. There is nothing at all noble about natural inequality, and I see absolutely no justifiable reason why it should be preserved or serve as a basis for reward if viable alternatives exist.

Social inequality will always be around and , more importantly, it is not unjust in itself. Is it unjust that there are wealthier groups than others in society? In itself not at all. In a Capitalist society many of the wealthy have earned their wealth through dishonest work which is unjust. However in a Socialist society that would not be possible. Inequality and Injustice are two different things.

Commodity exchange alienates producers from consumers and other producers in the sense that it necessitates a rather arbitrary institution by which to gauge the extent and distribution of the social product. All economic interactions within a market system (which immeasurably influence all other non-economic aspects of a social formation) are mediated through commodity exchange; therefore, production is always dependent upon the market in order to measure its efficiency and desirability rather than upon real relations between people who coordinate the social labor process collectively. Objects, in this way, come to express an illusory value in their own right instead of marking the real underlying relationships that brought them into being as part of the social labor process; this, in turn, serves to generate a social formation in which money and other objects of value become ends in and of themselves instead of labor becoming recognized as the only true source of value. The accumulation of material value emerges as an end in itself, where individuals compete for greater shares of the social product.

You do have a point about markets being unstable but let me ask you this: It is a fact that the vast majority of people in the developed world have food to eat, some type of liquid to drink, clothes to wear, and someplace to live. Now most ( if not all) countries in the developed world allocate goods via the market. So why exactly should the market be abolished if it meeds the needs of the majority of the population?

It establishes a profound difference. Following what I have stated above, a site of exchange such as a market does not allow for individual producers to engage in any meaningful collective decision making as to what to produce and to what extent to do so. All economic activity must revolve around a system of blind exchange in order to coordinate the social labor process; this artificial construct, through its objectified forms of value (i.e., commodities), then comes to attain certain interesting properties. Society focuses its attention upon the seemingly willful trends of the market itself rather than the productive activity that truly governs the market process. Commodity fetishism unravels this: it reveals how the market process strives to coordinate the actions of society's producers in the unthinking manner of commodity exchange, wherein every commodity, being nothing more than the embodiment of the labor exerted in its production, is affixed a "price" in the universal value equivalent (money) which compares the different manifestations of concrete labor to each other; consumers then decide to what extent they desire each commodity, which signals to producers of the various commodities, again through the objects of value themselves, what quantity of their particular labor is demanded.

Needless to say, this is a fundamentally irrational method of organizing the labor process. It is riddled with efficiency problems in its own right as separated from the capitalist mode of production, and I need not reiterate the sheer injustice of the market system outlined in earlier posts.

I still dont see how it follows that the market must be abolished.

What does it mean to "work the best"? All expenditures of human labor, in the abstract sense, are qualitatively equivalent and only differ in quantity. The subjective evaluation of concrete labor (the specific form that labor adopts in order to produce a distinct commodity—a use-value) does not factor in the determination of the value of a good or service. It does not matter whether or not society subjectively holds doctors in higher esteem than janitors; all that is important for the determination of the value of work is the labor time necessary to complete it. Remuneration, then, should root itself in sacrifice (labor time and intensity) first and, as far as I am concerned, effort second. Effort should become a secondary criteria by which to compensate individuals for limitations that they have no control over (e.g., individuals with disabilities, the elderly, the infirm, pregnant women, workers in legitimate circumstances of transition, etc.).

By work the best I mean that ( for example) whichever member of a firm does the most work in the best possible way should earn the most.

That is a non sequitur. It does not follow from anything that I have argued above. To answer your question, what I believe should be the case in the instance of intelligence disparities between individuals does not affect the reality of the situation. An individual who is of greater "intelligence" will tend to score higher on an IQ test than somebody who is less cognitively "capable," yet this does not present itself as some standard by which to derive my ethical disposition. Simply because inequality exists does not imply to me that I should rejoice at this and seek to reward it, no less. Likewise, simply due to the fact that the market system distributes according to numerous initial inequalities does not at all strike me as a virtue to embrace—the converse is true.

Well I should have used a better example. Then again I already asked Celtiberian a similar question so Ill see if he responds.

It isn't vague. It is rather straightforward, and it has been quite cogently explained to you. Its importance from the perspective of class analysis is in its determination of the relative values of commodities, the coordination of the labor process, and finally how the very pursuit of objects themselves as values reflects back upon society as a whole.

The thing is I honestly dont see what this theory of commodity fetishism had to do with injustice. Nobody is earning money off the labor of others via commodity fetishism, nobody is charging interest via commodity fetishism, nobody is using dishonest methods to drive others out of business via commodity fetishism, etc. So I dont see what sort of relevance it has to Socialism. At any rate, indeed this has been explained to me and I have failed to understand it or change my mind, so I think it is best if we leave it at that. Thanks for answering.
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Re: The Socialized Firm

Post by Celtiberian on Thu Aug 18, 2011 6:44 pm

Rebel Warrior 59 wrote:I dont think soccer players deserve to earn millions but they dont exploit anyone by doing it. The reason soccer players earn so much is because people are willing to spend lots of money on soccer. So I see no reason why they shouldnt be able to earn as much as they do since they dont harm anyone by doing so.

I never claimed that an athletic team organized along cooperative principles would be exploiting anyone. However, I find the manner by which even a socialist market would remunerate professional athletes to be appalling nonetheless (and I think most proletarians would agree with me). The fact many individuals willingly spend their money to watch sports doesn't necessarily suggest they agree with the enormous salaries athletes receive. Likewise, my owning an iPod doesn't indicate that I agree with the salary Steve Jobs receives.

As for oil rig workers, I never wrote their work is more deserving than the work of construction workers. Let me make it clear, I believe any sort of worker should be able to earn millions as long as they work hard enough to earn it. That ( obviously) includes construction workers.

Unfortunately, supply and demand (and the labor theory of value) render most firms in a market economy incapable of ever being able to generate millions of dollars for their workers—the honesty and hard work those laborers may exhibit is of no consequence. So we're left with the following dilemma: Should some workers be in a position to earn millions of dollars due to factors which have nothing to do with duration, intensity, or sacrifice (the only conceivably fair criteria), or not? If such a criteria were desirable but nevertheless nonviable, I could see why one would be forced to accept economic inequality, but I happen to think economic institutions can be arrange in a manner which could achieve remunerative justice while also being efficient at meeting consumer demands. As I've stressed throughout this thread, it isn't something I think can be accomplished immediately following the proletarian revolution, but it's a goal worthy of being upheld by society, in my opinion.

What I mean by the question is what is wrong with a higher IQ person earning more than a lower IQ person as long as the higher IQ person does more work than them?

I think you understand my position on remunerative justice well enough that I needn't reiterate it here. However, I will leave you with the following thought experiment: Why should someone be paid more for doing a task which they're naturally advantaged in? Let's set aside IQ for a moment and think of an athletic physique (which is also partially genetically influenced) instead. Should a worker-member of an agricultural cooperative be paid more than his comrades simply because his athletic build enables him to harvest corn faster, and with greater ease, than they can? Or would effort be a more just criteria from which to remunerate them? Personally, I favor the latter option.

The fact that most coal miners earn less than computer engineers cannot be simply explained by the market. Today most coal miners are non unionized ( in Hungary and the US at least). That has caused their earnings to drop. Not to mention that coal operators have always been a pretty nasty lot. In Hungary many of them simply pay less than they are required to and get away with it rather easily ( due to corruption). Such practices are rare in the US but many miners are still cheated out of their black lung benefits via court procedure.


Unions provide labor with greater bargaining power relative to individual workers competing in the labor market, but it's because unions form a cartel of sorts. Unions, like trusts, violate supply and demand—which is why they serve their members well and, thus, deserve our support within the context of the capitalist mode of production.

My point is if miners formed cooperatives then they would have a chance to outearn computer engineers.


Not really, because computer engineers are involved in a more lucrative industry.

Im not in favor of the State decreeing that a certain class of workers must outearn another. That should be up to the efforts of workers themselves.

The problem is that it wouldn't be the effort workers expend which determines their level of remuneration; the market would ensure that certain sectors of the economy are paid much more than others merely due to the aforementioned law of supply and demand.

More action and less theorizing is my mantra.

...Or as Friedrich Engels said: "An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory."

Well if you want to use such a critique then go ahead. Im just saying it would be wise not to get too caught up in such stuff lest your risk losing support among average working people.

Alienating proletarians is the last thing any of us want to do in our activism, and if I genuinely felt that commodity fetishism wasn't worth mentioning due to people perceiving it as being overly intellectual or too difficult to comprehend, I would certainly avoid mention of it.

I see. Well I dont see economic inequality that stems from the factors you listed to be unjust but I am going to leave it at that. Of course Ill reply to you if you respond but I see no point in arguing over whose sense of justice is better. Anyways thanks for answering.

As the cliché goes, we're just going to have to "agree to disagree" on this.


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Re: The Socialized Firm

Post by Rebel Redneck 59 on Fri Aug 19, 2011 1:47 am

Celtiberian wrote:I never claimed that an athletic team organized along cooperative principles would be exploiting anyone. However, I find the manner by which even a socialist market would remunerate professional athletes to be appalling nonetheless (and I think most proletarians would agree with me). The fact many individuals willingly spend their money to watch sports doesn't necessarily suggest they agree with the enormous salaries athletes receive. Likewise, my owning an iPod doesn't indicate that I agree with the salary Steve Jobs receives.

Well I dont see anything wrong with a cooperative or socialized soccer team earning millions because they wouldnt be stealing from anybody ( like the owners of a current day soccer team would). As for what the average proletarians think, I dont think that your average working class Manchester United fan ( for example) would get really upset if a soccer team would earn millions in a Socialist system. I mean many of them probably dont give two damns about the fact that soccer players outearn them in this ( Capitalist) system. Simply put if people want to waste their money on filling soccer players' pockets then its their business. They arent harming anyone by doing that so it really isnt my concern.

Unfortunately, supply and demand (and the labor theory of value) render most firms in a market economy incapable of ever being able to generate millions of dollars for their workers—the honesty and hard work those laborers may exhibit is of no consequence. So we're left with the following dilemma: Should some workers be in a position to earn millions of dollars due to factors which have nothing to do with duration, intensity, or sacrifice (the only conceivably fair criteria), or not? If such a criteria were desirable but nevertheless nonviable, I could see why one would be forced to accept economic inequality, but I happen to think economic institutions can be arrange in a manner which could achieve remunerative justice while also being efficient at meeting consumer demands. As I've stressed throughout this thread, it isn't something I think can be accomplished immediately following the proletarian revolution, but it's a goal worthy of being upheld by society, in my opinion.

My answer to your question is yes.

I think you understand my position on remunerative justice well enough that I needn't reiterate it here. However, I will leave you with the following thought experiment: Why should someone be paid more for doing a task which they're naturally advantaged in? Let's set aside IQ for a moment and think of an athletic physique (which is also partially genetically influenced) instead. Should a worker-member of an agricultural cooperative be paid more than his comrades simply because his athletic build enables him to harvest corn faster, and with greater ease, than they can? Or would effort be a more just criteria from which to remunerate them? Personally, I favor the latter option.


Yes of course a person with a strong physique should be paid more than the others if they worked better than them. Your line of thinking could result in lots of injustice. For example someone could easily say " Hey the best runner on the school track team has stronger leg muscles than the others which is partially a result of his genetic endowment. Lets give the champion medal to the runner who puts in the most effort even though they dont run nearly as good as he does". Of course such a thing doesnt automatically follow but nonetheless egalitarian notions like this can go further than intended and may result in great injustice. As it is your proposal of remuneration sounds unjust to me.

Unions provide labor with greater bargaining power relative to individual workers competing in the labor market, but it's because unions form a cartel of sorts. Unions, like trusts, violate supply and demand—which is why they serve their members well and, thus, deserve our support within the context of the capitalist mode of production.

I believe that coal miners should form syndicates ( cooperatives, whatever the hell you want to call them) and own the coal mines they work at by being members of the syndicates. That would result in them earning more than now. Sure probably most of them would not earn more than computer engineers but that is not the point. The point is that coal miners would reap the fruits of their labor without having some dishonest parasite at the top earn a living off of their toil. Ideally coal miners would earn more than computer engineers but again that is not the goal.

Not really, because computer engineers are involved in a more lucrative industry.

Well that fact in itself is not unjust.

...Or as Friedrich Engels said: "An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory."

Sure you need to theorize before you act but I ( as an individual) need to start acting as soon as possible. Personally I think the tendency to overtheorize has been the death of Socialists. Theories like dialectical materialism, Marxist geography, and commodity fetishism proves my point.

Alienating proletarians is the last thing any of us want to do in our activism, and if I genuinely felt that commodity fetishism wasn't worth mentioning due to people perceiving it as being overly intellectual or too difficult to comprehend, I would certainly avoid mention of it.

Well like I wrote before you do what you want but I certainly wont follow your example. Writing about commodity fetishism is just as useless as mixing philosohical materialism with Socialism . It simply has nothing to do with the everyday problems of working people and therefore I throw it out the window.

As the cliché goes, we're just going to have to "agree to disagree" on this.

Agreed. I wont debate you anymore about commodity fetishism and market abolition.
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Re: The Socialized Firm

Post by Rev Scare on Fri Aug 19, 2011 2:51 am

Rebel Warrior 59 wrote:Social inequality will always be around
Perhaps.

and , more importantly, it is not unjust in itself.

Inequality is not "unjust" in itself in the same way that other natural and social phenomena aren't inherently "unjust." Social inequality most definitely can be and often is unjust, and rewarding it most certainly is unjust.

Is it unjust that there are wealthier groups than others in society? In itself not at all.

I would say that having less access to wealth due to factors that one has no control over is a serious injustice. Also, wealthier segments of society are not "inherently" unjust in the same manner that some groups being more prone to illness than others is "inherently" unfair. There is no such phenomenon as "inherent" injustice. Injustice is an ethical construct that can be interpreted via social relations. Why are certain groups within society more wealthy than other groups? If the reasons include such realities as wealth extracted from unpaid labor or imposed advantages and disadvantages, then I would say that such a situation is unjust.

In a Capitalist society many of the wealthy have earned their wealth through dishonest work which is unjust. However in a Socialist society that would not be possible.

Yes, it would be if the market system were retained indefinitely.

Inequality and Injustice are two different things.

The two do not always coexist, but failing to correct inequality in a social formation when it is possible to introduce greater remunerative justice is, in my view, immoral. Furthermore, within the context that we are investigating, the two are bonded: injustice follows the needless inequity induced by the economic processes of a market system.

You do have a point about markets being unstable but let me ask you this: It is a fact that the vast majority of people in the developed world have food to eat, some type of liquid to drink, clothes to wear, and someplace to live. Now most ( if not all) countries in the developed world allocate goods via the market. So why exactly should the market be abolished if it meeds the needs of the majority of the population?

That is a very poor defense of the market. Sure, the market has allowed for the economic dynamism of capitalism to increase the standard of living of the average citizen living in the Global North—and in large part only the Global North—but this historical circumstance does not justify the market any more than it justifies capitalism.

I still dont see how it follows that the market must be abolished.

Because a superior alternative exists.

By work the best I mean that ( for example) whichever member of a firm does the most work in the best possible way should earn the most.

Celtiberian has already countered this particular value judgment quite adequately, but I want to ask you why you hold this to be a virtue? For example, why do you feel that somebody who works in the same labor process as his or her comrades within, say, a cooperative yet is gifted by the random draw of the genetic lottery and so produces more per average unit of labor time is deserving of exceptional compensation? Is it not enough that this individual was gifted by nature (or even by the uncontrolled factors within his or her environment) and is therefore capable of producing more or working longer, which would undoubtedly earn him or her greater social recognition if carried out selflessly? In the same vein, why is it acceptable that somebody who is disabled by birth and is already less able be punished for a limitation over which he or she had absolutely no control?

The thing is I honestly dont see what this theory of commodity fetishism had to do with injustice. Nobody is earning money off the labor of others via commodity fetishism, nobody is charging interest via commodity fetishism, nobody is using dishonest methods to drive others out of business via commodity fetishism, etc. So I dont see what sort of relevance it has to Socialism. At any rate, indeed this has been explained to me and I have failed to understand it or change my mind, so I think it is best if we leave it at that. Thanks for answering.

Well, it does not reflect injustice, neither in the form of the socialist critique of capitalist exploitation nor in the sense that we have been discussing here: namely, remuneration. However, it is a further criticism of the capitalist system, and it provides one with a more developed understanding of capitalist class processes, which can only enhance one's ability to solve economic problems pertaining to efficiency and justice.

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Re: The Socialized Firm

Post by Celtiberian on Fri Aug 19, 2011 4:47 am

Rebel Warrior 59 wrote:Well I dont see anything wrong with a cooperative or socialized soccer team earning millions because they wouldnt be stealing from anybody ( like the owners of a current day soccer team would).


Profit derived from mere ownership of capital and the exploitation of labor—the defining characteristics of capitalism—would indeed by abolished under such a scenario, but blind market forces would continue to distribute the social product in a manner which is ethically objectionable.

As for what the average proletarians think, I dont think that your average working class Manchester United fan ( for example) would get really upset if a soccer team would earn millions in a Socialist system. I mean many of them probably dont give two damns about the fact that soccer players outearn them in this ( Capitalist) system.

I wholeheartedly disagree with this perspective. I obviously cannot speak as to what Manchester United fans feel about the pay professional athletes receive, but I can provide you with an anecdotal counterexample. Football is enormously popular in the region of the United States I reside in. Despite investing untold sums of money and time into this recreational activity, whenever the annual NFL Draft begins, and the public actually learns of the multimillion dollar contracts these athletes sign, the common reaction amongst working-class fans is invariably outrage and disbelief. Construction workers and firemen, for example, wonder aloud: 'why are professional athletes paid such exorbitant salaries when I risk my life every day for considerably less?' It's not unlike the shock people regularly exhibit when learning of contemporary CEO salaries for the first time.

My answer to your question is yes.

How some individuals can observe unnecessary disparities in wealth with complete indifference has always astonished me. What possible purpose is there to maintaining economic inequality when viable alternatives exist which could achieve remunerative justice? Relegating the decadent lifestyles of the rich and the famous to the dustbin of history would undoubtedly be a cause for celebration, at least for me. Ultimately, the people will decide this matter for themselves.

Yes of course a person with a strong physique should be paid more than the others if they worked better than them.

I defer to Rev Scare's response to this line of reasoning.

Your line of thinking could result in lots of injustice. For example someone could easily say " Hey the best runner on the school track team has stronger leg muscles than the others which is partially a result of his genetic endowment. Lets give the champion medal to the runner who puts in the most effort even though they dont run nearly as good as he does". Of course such a thing doesnt automatically follow but nonetheless egalitarian notions like this can go further than intended and may result in great injustice.


Non sequitur, comrade. The principle of remunerative justice doesn't implicitly lead to the notion that any and all forms of competition should be banned- or altered in such a way that effort is always rewarded over innate talent. Surely you can see the difference in benign forms of competition (i.e., the Olympic Games) and remuneration of labor. We spend roughly one-third of our life performing socially necessary labor, while the remaining two-thirds are basically divided up between sleeping and engaging in leisure activities; simply put, work is a big deal. I continue to find no compelling reason to accept the idea that individuals should be paid for factors they have absolutely no control over. As Edward Bellamy explained,

"Desert is a moral question and the amount of effort alone is pertinent to the question of desert. All men who do their best, do the same. A man's endowments, however godlike, merely fix the measure of his duty. The man of great endowments who does not do all he might, though he may do more than a man of small endowments who does his best, is deemed a less deserving worker than the latter, and dies a debtor to his fellows. The Creator sets men's tasks for them by the faculties he gives them; we simply exact their fulfillment. The right of a man to maintenance at the nation's table depends on the fact that he is a man, and not on the amount of health and strength he may have, so long as he does his best. From our point of view as to the collective ownership of the economic machinery of the social system, and the absolute claim of society collectively to its product, there is something amusing in the laborious, disputations by which your contemporaries used to try to settle just how much or little wages or compensation for services this or that individual or group was entitled to. Why, dear me, Julian, if the cleverest worker were limited to his own product, strictly separated and distinguished from the elements by which the use of the social machinery had multiplied it, he would fare no better than a half-starved savage. Everybody is entitled not only to his own product, but to vastly more—namely, to his share of the product of the social organism. But he is entitled to this share not on the grab-as-grab-can plan of your day, by which some made themselves millionaires and others were left beggars, but on equal terms with all his fellows."
Bellamy, Edward. Looking Backward: 2000-1887, p. 129

As it is your proposal of remuneration sounds unjust to me.

I don't quite understand how you came to that conclusion, but that's fine. (I don't expect, nor desire, unanimous consensus on this forum.)

The point is that coal miners would reap the fruits of their labor without having some dishonest parasite at the top earn a living off of their toil. Ideally coal miners would earn more than computer engineers but again that is not the goal.

It's an admirable and attainable socialist goal, of that there's no question. Where you and I will apparently never see eye to eye is on the question of whether or not transcending exploitation is enough to achieve complete social justice. However, I think you will agree that we shouldn't let that get in the way of our working together to build a better future for posterity.

Sure you need to theorize before you act but I ( as an individual) need to start acting as soon as possible.

Definitely. Action is of the utmost importance.

Personally I think the tendency to overtheorize has been the death of Socialists. Theories like dialectical materialism, Marxist geography, and commodity fetishism proves my point.

The 'death of socialism' can be attributed to decades of bourgeois disinformation and scare tactics (e.g., the Red Scare, McCarthyism, etc.) Tendency conflicts have undeniably also served to undermine socialism—and that can be partially blamed on differing theoretical perspectives—but relative to the aforementioned bourgeois tactics, theory has played a miniscule role in the current plight of socialism.

Trotsky once quipped, "You may not be interested in the Dialectic, but the Dialectic is interested in you." Theory is essential not only for understanding the predicament the proletariat faces, but also to illuminate the appropriate path to liberation. That's not to say activism should be marginalized though—far be it from me to subscribe to such a notion.

Agreed. I wont debate you anymore about commodity fetishism and market abolition.

Fair enough.


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Re: The Socialized Firm

Post by Rebel Redneck 59 on Fri Aug 19, 2011 6:28 am

Rev Scare wrote:That is a very poor defense of the market. Sure, the market has allowed for the economic dynamism of capitalism to increase the standard of living of the average citizen living in the Global North—and in large part only the Global North—but this historical circumstance does not justify the market any more than it justifies capitalism.

I dont see how my defense of the market is poor. It gets the job done. It does allocate goods in such a way that most people in developed countries have their basic needs met. Therefore I dont see why it should be torn down. Of course its not some sort of heavenly entity that must be bowed down to and worshiped ( like some fanatics make it out to be) but it is the best way I know of to allocate goods. That is why I support the market. Capitalism is a whole different animal. Capitalism is exploitative while the market is not.

Because a superior alternative exists.

Ive read about cybernetic economic management and participatory planning but I really dont see why any Nation should go through the hassle of replacing the market with one of these models. I mean come on are they so much better at allocating goods than the market?

Celtiberian has already countered this particular value judgment quite adequately, but I want to ask you why you hold this to be a virtue? For example, why do you feel that somebody who works in the same labor process as his or her comrades within, say, a cooperative yet is gifted by the random draw of the genetic lottery and so produces more per average unit of labor time is deserving of exceptional compensation? Is it not enough that this individual was gifted by nature (or even by the uncontrolled factors within his or her environment) and is therefore capable of producing more or working longer, which would undoubtedly earn him or her greater social recognition if carried out selflessly? In the same vein, why is it acceptable that somebody who is disabled by birth and is already less able be punished for a limitation over which he or she had absolutely no control?

I dont hold it to be a virtue. The reason I have no problem with a person earning more than others due to their genetic endowment ( which helps them work better than others) is because the person in question is not harming others. Its not like the person in question is charging anyone interest or profiting from production they played no part in. They are no thief ( which is what most Capitalists essentially are). Also you should keep in mind that many times the success of an enterprise is partly due to the work of such individuals. Sure some workers who didnt win the genetic lottery may put more effort into their work but they may not be as productive. Therefore if you started paying them more than the person in question the enterprise might not be as productive and therefore successful.

Well, it does not reflect injustice, neither in the form of the socialist critique of capitalist exploitation nor in the sense that we have been discussing here: namely, remuneration. However, it is a further criticism of the capitalist system, and it provides one with a more developed understanding of capitalist class processes, which can only enhance one's ability to solve economic problems pertaining to efficiency and justice.

Well you already know my position on commodity fetishism so I think its pointless to repeat myself here. Ill leave it at this ( regarding commodity fetishism).
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Re: The Socialized Firm

Post by Rebel Redneck 59 on Fri Aug 19, 2011 6:54 am

Celtiberian wrote:I wholeheartedly disagree with this perspective. I obviously cannot speak as to what Manchester United fans feel about the pay professional athletes receive, but I can provide you with an anecdotal counterexample. Football is enormously popular in the region of the United States I reside in. Despite investing untold sums of money and time into this recreational activity, whenever the annual NFL Draft begins, and the public actually learns of the multimillion dollar contracts these athletes sign, the common reaction amongst working-class fans is invariably outrage and disbelief. Construction workers and firemen, for example, wonder aloud: 'why are professional athletes paid such exorbitant salaries when I risk my life every day for considerably less?' It's not unlike the shock people regularly exhibit when learning of contemporary CEO salaries for the first time.

I believe you but again a professional sports team in a Socialist economy would not earn money through dishonest ways so why should you prevent its members from earning millions? Sure they would be sort of taking advantage of many people's stupid tendency to waste money on sports but what harm is there in that? If people want to waste their money then let them waste their money. Who am I to say they shouldnt be able to?


How some individuals can observe unnecessary disparities in wealth with complete indifference has always astonished me. What possible purpose is there to maintaining economic inequality when viable alternatives exist which could achieve remunerative justice? Relegating the decadent lifestyles of the rich and the famous to the dustbin of history would undoubtedly be a cause for celebration, at least for me. Ultimately, the people will decide this matter for themselves.

Well why should those alternatives be chosen? Ending Capitalism would greatly reduce economic inequality already but I dont see that as the aim of Socialism. Im a Socialist because Im against dishonest work. Capitalism involves people doing dishonest work and that is why Im against it. Im not opposed to economic inequality unless its due to bad people taking advantage of the good. I dont care about the fact that there are hard working people who earn 20 times as much as I do. Let them. As long as they dont take advantage of others ( like Capitalists do) then I dont care at all. Im perfectly fine with being the low paid blue collar dude I am right now.

Non sequitur, comrade. The principle of remunerative justice doesn't implicitly lead to the notion that any and all forms of competition should be banned- or altered in such a way that effort is always rewarded over innate talent. Surely you can see the difference in benign forms of competition (i.e., the Olympic Games) and remuneration of labor. We spend roughly one-third of our life performing socially necessary labor, while the remaining two-thirds are basically divided up between sleeping and engaging in leisure activities; simply put, work is a big deal. I continue to find no compelling reason to accept the idea that individuals should be paid for factors they have absolutely no control over. As Edward Bellamy explained,

"Desert is a moral question and the amount of effort alone is pertinent to the question of desert. All men who do their best, do the same. A man's endowments, however godlike, merely fix the measure of his duty. The man of great endowments who does not do all he might, though he may do more than a man of small endowments who does his best, is deemed a less deserving worker than the latter, and dies a debtor to his fellows. The Creator sets men's tasks for them by the faculties he gives them; we simply exact their fulfillment. The right of a man to maintenance at the nation's table depends on the fact that he is a man, and not on the amount of health and strength he may have, so long as he does his best. From our point of view as to the collective ownership of the economic machinery of the social system, and the absolute claim of society collectively to its product, there is something amusing in the laborious, disputations by which your contemporaries used to try to settle just how much or little wages or compensation for services this or that individual or group was entitled to. Why, dear me, Julian, if the cleverest worker were limited to his own product, strictly separated and distinguished from the elements by which the use of the social machinery had multiplied it, he would fare no better than a half-starved savage. Everybody is entitled not only to his own product, but to vastly more—namely, to his share of the product of the social organism. But he is entitled to this share not on the grab-as-grab-can plan of your day, by which some made themselves millionaires and others were left beggars, but on equal terms with all his fellows."
Bellamy, Edward. Looking Backward: 2000-1887, p. 129

Like I wrote before it doesnt follow but my point is that line of thinking is unsound and can result in injustice.

It's an admirable and attainable socialist goal, of that there's no question. Where you and I will apparently never see eye to eye is on the question of whether or not transcending exploitation is enough to achieve complete social justice. However, I think you will agree that we shouldn't let that get in the way of our working together to build a better future for posterity.

Sure I dont mind working together with Anti Market Socialists if necessary.

The 'death of socialism' can be attributed to decades of bourgeois disinformation and scare tactics (e.g., the Red Scare, McCarthyism, etc.) Tendency conflicts have undeniably also served to undermine socialism—and that can be partially blamed on differing theoretical perspectives—but relative to the aforementioned bourgeois tactics, theory has played a miniscule role in the current plight of socialism.

Trotsky once quipped, "You may not be interested in the Dialectic, but the Dialectic is interested in you." Theory is essential not only for understanding the predicament the proletariat faces, but also to illuminate the appropriate path to liberation. That's not to say activism should be marginalized though—far be it from me to subscribe to such a notion.

Well I definitely think the fact that many Socialists have spent too much time theorizing and coming up with irrelevant philosophical baggage has caused many working people to turn away from Socialism. I dont know much about the USA but it sure as hell is the case with Hungary.

Fair enough.

Agreed.
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Re: The Socialized Firm

Post by Celtiberian on Fri Aug 19, 2011 4:24 pm

Rebel Warrior 59 wrote:I believe you but again a professional sports team in a Socialist economy would not earn money through dishonest ways so why should you prevent its members from earning millions?

Because it violates the principle of remunerative justice.

Sure they would be sort of taking advantage of many people's stupid tendency to waste money on sports but what harm is there in that? If people want to waste their money then let them waste their money. Who am I to say they shouldnt be able to?

The issue isn't how people choose to spend their money. We're discussing an ethical question concerning how individuals earn their money.

Well why should those alternatives be chosen?


Whether or not I want to end market relations is ultimately irrelevant, as the proletariat will collectively decide how the socialist mode of production will be structured following the revolution. With that said, the reason I believe the alternatives should be implemented is because (as I've stated throughout our exchange) I find the methods by which the market remunerates labor to be unjust.

Ending Capitalism would greatly reduce economic inequality already but I dont see that as the aim of Socialism. Im a Socialist because Im against dishonest work. Capitalism involves people doing dishonest work and that is why Im against it. Im not opposed to economic inequality unless its due to bad people taking advantage of the good. I dont care about the fact that there are hard working people who earn 20 times as much as I do. Let them. As long as they dont take advantage of others ( like Capitalists do) then I dont care at all. Im perfectly fine with being the low paid blue collar dude I am right now.

I understand your position—its been shared by many intelligent socialist theorists and activists throughout history—I just don't believe that the abolition of profit unearned by labor is the most we should strive for.

Like I wrote before it doesnt follow but my point is that line of thinking is unsound and can result in injustice.

You've not demonstrated that the logic of remunerative justice is unsound, nor have you sufficiently explained how it could produce injustice. I understand that you disagree with the principle, but I've yet to read a single logical reason as to why you do. You've claimed that the market "works," but that is not in dispute. The market obviously works, it's just how it works that many of us find objectionable (even within the context of a socialist commonwealth). Your suggestion that the market shouldn't be tampered with, since it allocates goods and services relatively well, represents little more than a conservative apprehension toward social experimentation. Don't misunderstand me, I understand why some people possess a general aversion to replacing longstanding institutions, and that's precisely why I think economic planning should be phased-in over time and in accordance with the will of the people.

Well I definitely think the fact that many Socialists have spent too much time theorizing and coming up with irrelevant philosophical baggage has caused many working people to turn away from Socialism. I dont know much about the USA but it sure as hell is the case with Hungary.

I'm obviously not an expert on Hungarian sociology, but I think the excesses of Stalinism and the shortcomings of centralized economic planning probably had a lot to do with the Hungarian people becoming disillusioned with socialism. However, polls continue to indicate that the majority of Hungarians actually preferred life under the former Hungarian People's Republic when compared with capitalism.


Last edited by Celtiberian on Fri Aug 19, 2011 8:43 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: The Socialized Firm

Post by Rebel Redneck 59 on Fri Aug 19, 2011 8:30 pm

Celtiberian wrote:Because it violates the principle of remunerative justice.

I still dont see how a cooperative or socialized soccer team earning millions would be unjust but think what you will.

The issue isn't how people choose to spend their money. We're discussing an ethical question concerning how individuals earn their money.

Well like I wrote before a cooperative or socialized soccer team would not earn its money via exploiting anyone therefore their income would depend on how much the public was willing to spend on them. I really dont see anything wrong with that.

Whether or not I want to end market relations is ultimately irrelevant, as the proletariat will collectively decide how the socialist mode of production will be structured following the revolution. With that said, the reason I feel the alternatives should be implemented is because (as I've stated throughout our exchange) I feel the methods by which the market remunerates labor are unjust.

Fair enough.

You've not demonstrated that the logic of remunerative justice is unsound, nor have you sufficiently explained how it could produce injustice. I understand that you disagree with the principle, but I've yet to read a single logical reason as to why you do. You've claimed that the market "works," but that is not in dispute. The market obviously works, it's just how it works that many of us find objectionable (even within the context of a socialist commonwealth). Your suggestion that the market shouldn't be tampered with, since it allocates goods and services relatively well, represents little more than a conservative apprehension to social experimentation. Don't misunderstand me, I understand why some people possess a general aversion to replacing longstanding institutions, and that's precisely why I think economic planning should be phased-in over time and in accordance with the will of the people.

Your right but I dont feel like getting into it ( unless you ask me to). Sure my position might seem conservative but Im not at all a conservative. I just dont see the point of tearing something down if it works pretty well. My view is really that simple.

I'm obviously not an expert on Hungarian sociology, but I think the excesses of Stalinism and the shortcomings of centralized economic planning probably had a lot to do with the Hungarian people becoming disillusioned with socialism. However, polls continue to indicate that the majority of Hungarians actually preferred life under the former Hungarian People's Republic when compared with capitalism.

Certainly your correct. I wasnt alive back then but every single older Hungarian Ive talked to has said the economy was much better in the (later) 60s, 70s, and 80s than it is now. Anyways this was a good debate Celtiberian but I really dont have anything more to write about this topic so this is all Im going put down.
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Re: The Socialized Firm

Post by Pantheon Rising on Fri Aug 19, 2011 8:37 pm

To comment on the issue of sports teams earning millions; I believe it is unfair that a sports team should earn millions. I don't believe people should be able to make such gross incomes off of an activity which is pure entertainment. There are many people who should be rewarded for their very necessary work far more than sports players, but the market just so plays out so that those who play a sport make more.

I'd have to agree with CeltIberian and say abolition of the market would be a good thing.

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Re: The Socialized Firm

Post by Ghost Wolf on Thu Sep 01, 2011 12:44 pm

Rebel Warrior 59 wrote: Well like I wrote before a cooperative or socialized soccer team would not earn its money via exploiting anyone therefore their income would depend on how much the public was willing to spend on them. I really dont see anything wrong with that.

Well, in a socialist society, an entertainment industry would be more apt to spread the wealth to the needy in the nation Wink. I don't see why a soccer team ought to have that much money, anyway, unless they're spending their excess on improvement for the sake of the fan base and whatnot. Although I do tend to agree that there is nothing wrong with honest work in gaining more money.

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