anarchist critique of LTV

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augustynww
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Aug 11 2014 09:57
anarchist critique of LTV

Kropotkin rejected labour theory of value but as far I know he never developed this critique. Does anyone know more about others anarchist critics of LTV for example Christiaan Cornelissen?
In French here:
http://monde-nouveau.net/spip.php?rubrique40

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Khawaga
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Aug 11 2014 14:37

What's the gist of the critique? (I don't read French)

augustynww
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Aug 11 2014 15:25

I don't know, that's why I'm asking. I don't read French neither smile Is someone from France here? What I manged to understand book is about various versions of LTV and standard critique of it (Bohm-Bawerk) He refute both LTV and Bohm-Bawerk critique.
He mentions in preface that "socially necessary labour time" is artificial construct. That's all I understood but of course there is much more of it

Black Badger
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Aug 11 2014 17:27

http://www.download-genius.com/download-k:Marxism+Versus+Reality+Brian+M...
Sorry, that's as far as my smart ass phone would take me

andy g
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Aug 11 2014 21:56

Bet your bottom dollar the theory being rejected is some caricature of Marx's. The Second International lot weren't big in their appreciation of value-form analysis....

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Aug 12 2014 01:12

Yup, most likely. And this

Quote:
He mentions in preface that "socially necessary labour time" is artificial construct.

just proves it. Of course it's an artificial construct! It's fucken theory, SNLT is a concept... All theories about the economy are artificial constructs. Still, I'd like to read it.

augustynww
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Aug 12 2014 04:57

From what I see (references and quotes in the book) it has nothing to do with Second International. It's analysis of LTV based mainly on its exposition in Marx' "Capital".

Khawaga,
There is big difference between theories based on facts and artificial constructs not based on facts. So no, SNLT shouldn't be only concept but real thing working in capitalist economy * which according to this critique apparently is not. LTV as a theory which sacrificed factual accuracy in the sake of philosophical, logical coherency (the same thing could be said of austrian economics for instance. maybe this is the reason Bohm-Bawerk appears in the book?)
Not to mention Marx has ambition of critique of economics in this meaning you're referring to (as artificial theories)! Its supposed to be "Critique of Political Economy"

edit: * in other words LTV is a theory about facts including SNLT. SNLT is supposed to be a fact, real thing, not another theory.

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Aug 12 2014 06:22

Unfortunately, libcom doesn't have a huge number of french speakers so if you want folks to bite augustnww, you might have to have someone translate the text or at least give us a summary.

augustynww
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Aug 12 2014 07:30

It's a book, 400 pages.
I was hoping someone would know this. oh well...

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Aug 12 2014 07:36

Here's a summary in English:
http://books.google.com/books?id=cf-EAgAAQBAJ&lpg=PA212&ots=LrbAQZz_8n&d...

Doesn't seem interesting at all.

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Aug 12 2014 08:12

Dunno about Cornelissen, beyond the link jura posted. On Kropotkin, dunno if he wrote about this elsewhere, but this, from 'the wage system', is just confused:

Kropotkin wrote:
Marx: too, will be cited to prove that there a good reason for a scale of wages, for the “labor force” of the engineer costs society more than the “labor force” of the navvy. And, indeed, have not the economists striven to prove that, if the engineer is paid twenty times more than the navvy, it is because the cost necessary to produce an engineer is more considerable than that necessary to produce a navvy? And has not Marx maintained that the like distinction between various sorts of manual labor is of equal logical necessity? He could come to no other conclusion, since he took up Ricardo’s theory of value and insisted that products exchange in proportion to the quantity of the work socially necessary to produce them.

I mean this is just a basic misreading. Marx is critiquing political economy, not setting out the normative basis for socialism. Why anyone would read Capital as a guide to the ethics of a future socialist wage system is beyond me. To be fair to Kropotkin, the social democrats of his time kinda did, so I can see where he got the idea.* But as a critique it falls at the first hurdle. Fwiw I agree with Kropotkin's anti-wage politics, it's just his critique of Marx misses the mark.

* Though Kropotkin seems to accept the Social Democrat reading is correct, because Marx simply 'took up Ricardo', even though 'socially necessary' is not a Ricardian formulation.

augustynww
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Aug 12 2014 09:04

full book Socialism and Marginalism in Economics, 1870-1930

digamo.free.fr/steedman95.pdf

The author didn't even mention Cornelissen being an anarchist lol
It's different that I expected. He doesn't refute LTV as such, it's look like he wants to rework it in the context of marginal utility theory

(the thing I mentioned is not about socially necessary labour as such but abstract labour and average labour: "Contrary to Marx, Cornelissen derives the quantity of socially-necessary labour (social labour-value) from concrete labour. He considers Marx’s concepts ‘abstract human labour’ and ‘einfache Durchschnittsarbeit’ to be ‘metaphysical ghosts’.21)

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Aug 12 2014 09:08

Actually, thought Cornelissen's name was familiar. This is from Damier, on his politics rather than his value theory (though, these presumably informed one another):

Damier wrote:
Thus, Cornelissen affirmed that the division of labour has “great advantages” for the wage worker and will contribute to his liberation. In the spirit of the industrial Marxism of the Second International, he declared that the liquidation of capitalist ownership in the means of production by no means implies that all the workers in an enterprise must participate in management. Cornelissen also defended the institution of full-time functionaries – the trade union bureaucracy. (...)

And Cornelissen, like the social-democrats, asserted that in the contemporary industrial era with the growth of interdependency in the world economy, self-sufficiency was impossible because both prices as well as the compensation of labour were in the form of money and would remain so in a socialist society, at least until a state of affluence prevailed.

So as far as I can see, he wanted to incorporate marginalist economics, defend managerial hierarchies, and argued for the continuation of commodity exchange and the wage system 'after the revolution'. Admittedly that's based on two brief and not very sympathetic secondary sources, but maybe there's a reason his major work is untranslated.

augustynww
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Aug 12 2014 09:13
Joseph Kay wrote:
I mean this is just a basic misreading. Marx is critiquing political economy, not setting out the positive basis for socialism. Why anyone would read Capital as a guide to the ethics of a future socialist wage system is beyond me. To be fair to Kropotkin, the social democrats of his time kinda did, so I can see where he got the idea.* But as a critique it falls at the first hurdle. Fwiw I agree with Kropotkin's anti-wage politics, it's just his critique of Marx misses the mark.

* Though Kropotkin seems to accept the Social Democrat reading is correct, because Marx simply 'took up Ricardo', even though 'socially necessary' is not a Ricardian formulation.

Because of labour being measure of value. In "Capital" there is critique only but Marx accepted wages eventually and on what those wages were meant to be based in socialist society considering conclusions from "Capital?

augustynww
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Aug 12 2014 09:27

I mean utility in Cornelissen theory is for measurement of value. Utlity = human needs and I see the point here.
Thats why he reworked it in context of marginal utlity theory.

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Aug 12 2014 09:45
augustynww wrote:
(the thing I mentioned is not about socially necessary labour as such but abstract labour and average labour: "Contrary to Marx, Cornelissen derives the quantity of socially-necessary labour (social labour-value) from concrete labour. He considers Marx’s concepts ‘abstract human labour’ and ‘einfache Durchschnittsarbeit’ to be ‘metaphysical ghosts’.21)

It's not good form to critique based on a secondary source, but if that's accurate, it just seems like a return to a Ricardian 'embodied labour time' type perspective?

augustynww wrote:
Because of labour being measure of value. In "Capital" there is critique only but Marx accepted wages eventually and on what those wages were meant to be based in socialist society considering conclusions from "Capital?

If the regulation of social production by socially necessary labour time ('value') is the defining, historically specific feature of the capitalist mode of production, as Marx claims, why would it also be the normative basis for 'socialist wages'?

That's like discovering that HIV is the cause of the AIDS symptoms, only to propose to replace AIDS with HIV for all.

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Aug 12 2014 09:47
augustynww wrote:
Because of labour being measure of value. In "Capital" there is critique only but Marx accepted wages eventually and on what those wages were meant to be based in socialist society considering conclusions from "Capital?

I think you have it a bit confused. For Marx, wage is the monetary expression of the value of labor power. This latter value is determined by the labor time socially necessary to reproduce labor power, as well as by the "historical" and "moral" element (class struggle, the structure of the family, etc.).

Communism, for Marx, was always meant to be a wageless society. If by wages "in socialist society" you are referring to the part of Critique of the Gotha Programme where Marx considers how distribution could be organized in the period immediately after a proletarian revolution, this has little to do with the wage in the capitalist sense. In capitalism, wage is the value of labor power, give or take. In Marx's proposal, "the same amount of labor which [the worker] has given to society in one form, he receives back in another." Whether this can be implemented at all, and if so, how, is another question (see, e.g., GIK's proposal and many discussions on libcom), but there's a substantial difference between the two.

augustynww
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Aug 12 2014 10:05

Well both Marx and Cornelissen consider how distribution could be organized immediately after revolution in some transitory socialist period before communism. This is something they have in common. That's whole point here.
Cornelissen thought LTV must be reworked because of this. If there would be no transitory period it wouldn't be an issue at all because wages in any form wouldn't existed.

jura wrote:
In Marx's proposal, "the same amount of labor which [the worker] has given to society in one form, he receives back in another." Whether this can be implemented at all, and if so, how, is another question

Well no, this is not another question. Marx just ignore here his own theory. He is talking here about concrete labour right? Cornelissen removed average labour and abstract labour because of this, as workers wouldn't receive "the same amount of labour" but some average one or abstract "metaphysical" labour. This "return" Joseph Kay speaks of is similar.
I'm confused indeed but I think all of this is seriously confused.

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Aug 12 2014 10:35

It is not clear what labor is Marx talking about. Like I said, it's not clear how this could be realized, but either way, Marx's proposal is different than wage in capitalism (determined by the value of labor power).

augustynww
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Aug 12 2014 11:10

I'll think about it smile Generally speaking I thought this Cornelissen theory is more like Kropotkin's. But it appears its more like Marx criticized by Kropotkin with some differences

augustynww
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Aug 12 2014 13:46
Joseph Kay wrote:
If the regulation of social production by socially necessary labour time ('value') is the defining, historically specific feature of the capitalist mode of production, as Marx claims, why would it also be the normative basis for 'socialist wages'?

This is exactly what Marx says in critique of the Gotha program:

"Accordingly, the individual producer receives back from society -- after the deductions have been made -- exactly what he gives to it. What he has given to it is his individual quantum of labor. For example, the social working day consists of the sum of the individual hours of work; the individual labor time of the individual producer is the part of the social working day contributed by him, his share in it. He receives a certificate from society that he has furnished such-and-such an amount of labor (after deducting his labor for the common funds); and with this certificate, he draws from the social stock of means of consumption as much as the same amount of labor cost."

http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1875/gotha/ch01.htm

This is no different really from other "collectivist" programs, labour vouchers etc. (except of course question of the state) Share in production - share in consumption (hours worked or some different thing like parecon)

This is what Marx came up with after all his critique, so...

augustynww
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Aug 12 2014 13:58
jura wrote:
It is not clear what labor is Marx talking about. Like I said, it's not clear how this could be realized, but either way, Marx's proposal is different than wage in capitalism (determined by the value of labor power).

Individual labour - this is clearly stated.
I'm not saying it's not different. It's different in the same way all collectivist/socialist proposals are different Of course we should remember it's state socialism only and there is a problem with state socialism, in practice its rather state capitalism. And as far as I know communists criticize those proposals for being "like capitalism". I'm only saying...

So Cornelissen proposal being anti-statist is still one step further than Marx wink

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Aug 12 2014 14:01

I'm not sure what you're trying to get out of this discussion augustynww. Are you interested in a critique of political economy or how people will get remunerated for effort post revolution? Marx on the LTV (not his invention BTW) is good on the former, but not very interesting with regards to the latter considering his political economy is only valid for capitalist societies.

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Aug 12 2014 14:04
augustynww wrote:
This is what Marx came up with after all his critique, so...

...so he joins the long list of intellectuals with sharp critique and hopeless practical politics? grin

augustynww
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Aug 12 2014 14:15

Khawaga,
I'm interested in the critique of the LTV as I said in the beginning. But I know now that Cornelissen still accepted it.
The rest are side issues I think.

Joseph Kay,
looks like it smile

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Aug 12 2014 14:16
Joseph Kay wrote:
augustynww wrote:
This is what Marx came up with after all his critique, so...

...so he joins the long list of intellectuals with sharp critique and hopeless practical politics? grin

Not really that hopeless given the time I think.

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Aug 12 2014 14:24
Gepetto wrote:
Not really that hopeless given the time I think.

More hopeless in the sense that the critique he'd also developed applies to such labour time proposals. i.e. in capitalism, the process of abstraction of labour happens 'behind peoples' backs'. Trying to measure it consciously is pretty much impossible, although I suppose parecon gives it a good go with everyone keeping tabs on everyone else's effort levels.

I mean i disagree with it on normative grounds anyway, but in terms of Marx's own analysis, without a market there's no mechanism to reconcile all the different concrete labours, differing intensities, skill levels etc.

augustynww
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Aug 12 2014 14:28
Gepetto wrote:
Joseph Kay wrote:
augustynww wrote:
This is what Marx came up with after all his critique, so...

...so he joins the long list of intellectuals with sharp critique and hopeless practical politics? grin

Not really that hopeless given the time I think.

But it was after anarchists (attacked by him for collectivism BTW) came up with the same thing

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Aug 12 2014 14:44
augustynww wrote:
Individual labour - this is clearly stated.

Yes, but at the same time he says this individual labor is an immediate part of the total social labor (because it is planned). That's where the ambiguity steps in, and different interpretations lead to different proposals. Again, for an example, that unlike all the others was produced by working class militants, see GIK. (And the basic point still stands: supposing Marx's proposal would work, either based on purely individual labor or some average labor, it would be different from the capitalist wage which is determined by the value of labor power, not by the amount of labor expended.)

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Aug 12 2014 15:17
Joseph Kay wrote:
I mean i disagree with it on normative grounds anyway, but in terms of Marx's own analysis, without a market there's no mechanism to reconcile all the different concrete labours, differing intensities, skill levels etc.

Well then we're fucked, because what else is the basis of planning, if not saying "on the one hand, we have so much total labor in our neighboorhood available, on the other hand, we have so much goods and services that need to produced". The first part presupposes the very reconciliation of different concrete labors, intensities, skill levels etc. you mention. The "only" difference is it will be done ex ante and consciously.

Edit: Unless, of course, you assume that we won't have to care about the amount of available labor due to magical 3D printers and unlimited productivity, but I don't think you do.

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Aug 12 2014 15:25
jura wrote:
Well then we're fucked, because what else is the basis of planning, if not saying "on the one hand, we have so much total labor in our neighboorhood available, on the other hand, we have so much goods and services that need to produced"

Well if the remuneration norm is just 'hours worked' then that's easy enough. But that then gives rise to the parecon argument that it's not fair for someone to just turn up an go through the motions and get the same as the local Stakhanovite etc.

The point is that if you want to start taking these factors into account, and you don't have a market, you either need some detailed mechanism of surveillance or go the Kropotkin route and sever entitlements from labour.