The Brilliant Economic Genius Gecko

Well, this is scrapping from the bottom of the barrel.

Gecko’s “Essay” https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-A8pEoh5TCReZMp3GgdIHwXFDMPKBTP9ESCCV6Dh-Rc/edit?usp=drive_web

“A common argument among communists and the sort is that capitalism has only survived and lingered because of imperialism.”

This is a strawman fallacy, communist argue that under capitalism a ruling class will start wars to enrich themselves even more not to keep the system alive by seizing resources like oil, land, mines, etc and to sell armaments to combatants, a 395 billion dollar industry in 2012 according to SIPRI.

Not so. For starters, most nations have stopped imperialism-the conquest of other nations for resources, for those not in the know-for several decades.”

Countries(specifically First World ones) very much haven’t, for example, the Iraq war in 2003 is an example of this as the western bourgeoisies, the ruling class seized the oil in the war (http://www.cnn.com/2013/03/19/opinion/iraq-war-oil-juhasz/). Another example is the civil war in Syria has turned into a deadly proxy war between the USA, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, other Gulf states and West backing the Free Syria Army against Russia and Iran backing the current Syrian government, over two proposed pipelines. One pipeline starts at Qatar, goes through Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Turkey into Europe, while the Russia-Iran backed one starts at Iran goes through friendly Shia Iraq, and though Syria, under the Mediterranean Sea to Europe. The side that wins the war will be able to control the natural gas supply to Europe which is currently supplied mostly by Russia(http://www.ecowatch.com/syria-another-pipeline-war-1882180532.html) .

“shouldn’t the capitalist economy have crashed? Obviously, it has not! No, as an analysis of GDP charts can tell you, imperialism is obviously not needed for capitalism to stay alive.”

Again the argument is not that capitalism needs imperialism to survive, but that it is a causation of imperialism, the practice of starting wars for the profit of a ruling class. The main goal of the bourgeoisie, the ruling, under capitalism is to profit and accumulate capital and wealth and an efficient way of doing this is imperialism.

“First of all, how can the value of labor be exploited when value is subjective? … It’s not logical.” You don’t give an evidence of your claim, you simply declare it “it’s not logical.”

You obviously have no clue what you are talking about you so here is a lesson in economics. Marx states labour (not all labour) creates value. Let’s say there is a bunch of grain which as a commodity, has a certain use value, how much its use or consumption is valued by the user, and an exchange value, which is how much it sells for on the market. Let’s say a capitalist is employing a worker to bake a loaf which he the capitalist will sell. A regular consumer looking for a loaf of bread would value grain’s use at nothing, this is the grains use value to the consumer. The grain is for sale at 5 dollars. This is the exchange value which is decided by market values. The capitalist buys the grain at 5 dollars and has his workers bake it into a loaf of bread, which the capitalist pays him three dollars. The capitalist now sells the bread for 15 dollars. This is the now the bread’s exchange value. The consumer qualitivity values the loaf more than the bread now. As you can see the labour the worker put into the grain to transform it into a loaf of bread turned the use value (as seen by the consumer) from zero dollars to twenty dollars, and he turned the exchange value from five dollars to fifteen dollars. He created value. But the worker only got three dollars for labour worth ten dollars, seven dollars is missing. The seven dollars is the surplus value (the monetary form of surplus labour) that the capitalist kept as profit. The worker is exploited because he is having the value that he created extracted by him to the capitalist.

Warning that was an extremely grossly simplified explanation of the basics of Marx’s labour theory of value.

Most capitalist-apologist in response to surplus value theory point to “Bohm-Bawerk’s critique of Marx and Rodbertus, though the argument goes as far back as Bastiat’s debate with Proudhon on the nature of interest. The argument is basically that since most people tend to want something sooner rather than later, then Capitalists (who have the time-preference to save their income and focus on future consumption) are providing a useful service (and hence, are ‘productive’) to the workers by advancing an income to them before the products are finished and sold. Surplus-value is explained as being the “price” that workers pay to the Capitalists for providing that service to them, and thus wage-labour is argued to be a justified exchange between equal commodity-owners and not a relationship of exploitation.

It’s a pretty poor argument in many ways. I mean:

It treats “exploitation” as a moral category and not as a mathematical fact. Marx’s theory states that the price of labour-power is lower than the value created by its expenditure, and the difference is accumulated as capital, that is all. If you think capitalists provide a “useful service” in the act of advancing capital, that’s alright but doesn’t mean capitalists produce value and hence “time-preference” is not an explanation of where surplus-value comes from (only a moral justification for the fact it comes from unpaid labour).

The very argument that capitalists provide a “useful service” is circular. Workers only need capitalists to advance an income to them because they lack means of production and surplus, if production were organized differently (say, around the common property), there would be no need for capitalists to provide this “useful” service. It is obvious that capitalists must be “useful” to the capitalist mode of production because there wouldn’t be a capitalist mode of production without capitalists! His argument is akin to saying that a monarch is useful and hence justified because you can’t have a monarchy without a monarch, it’s a true statement but doesn’t justify the monarchy in itself.

The entire argument also rests on the notion that capitalists accumulate the capital by personally producing value and saving it before they are capable of living solely off of what they have saved. This is, of course, a fairy tale (https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/ch26.htm). Moreover, if someone is a professional capitalist, their only use for the sum of accumulated capital is to advance it in order to obtain more accumulated capital, thus are not truly “deprived” of any present consumption by advancing it (they have it solely for the purpose of advancing it in the first place!), so it is strange to think of this as being an exchange of “time-preferences”.

Bohm-Bawerk’s argument that “workers can always choose to lend their wages at interest” is just a joke. He seems to forget that people need to eat. This is the equivalent of telling workers “If you don’t like being proletarians, just join the bourgeoisie!”, forgetting that Capitalism is a social system that requires you to obey its standards (in this case, it requires you to own means of production and enough capital to produce under the SNLT if you want to be a capitalist). A counter-argument to Bohm-Bawerk: Suppose a worker has a high time-preference and is willing to wait to be paid the full value of their labour, so they go to their boss and try to make a deal to be paid the full selling price of what they make, but only after the products are sold. Which boss would accept this deal, when they wouldn’t profit from employing the worker anymore? The worker wouldn’t get to make this deal, and if they don’t own means of production and is capable of producing at the SNLT, their only other “option” is unemployment and poverty (admittedly if they are lucky, they might have the option to be able to obtain the capital to self-employ, start a business, or join a co-op but easily over 90% of workers don’t have this choice) . “Free to choose”, indeed!” (I stole this from some redditor because of how well it was argued)

As you can see many capitalist-apologist will strawman Marx’s labour theory of value and claim that he said ALL labour created value or that Marx said that value is objective. Which none of these are true, as Marx said useful labour creates value and that value is based on consensus and variable.

“Second of all, you do not need to join a company to make money.”

You only need to because previously stated it’s (usually) the only option.

 “But what does the company owners do? They pay for the machinery to boost your labor by hundreds of times, pay for your healthcare and allow you to make more money as a result!”

They pay for these with, as previously stated YOUR value which again they take some of it.

“You are being helped by working for a capitalist corporation by being allowed to make more money than otherwise.”

Again as previously stated in a capitalist business you are having some of the value that you created which would otherwise go to you extraction from you.

 

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