Would there be exchange value in an anarchist society?

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Hydra
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Jan 28 2008 22:06
Would there be exchange value in an anarchist society?

I've been following discussions about the role of markets and exchange in society on certain US-based anarchist blogs (notably http://radgeek.com), and am frankly somewhat confused. I was wondering if people at Libcom might have any thoughts on this...

(Bear in mind that, as i can gather from reading these boards, it would seem that the majority of my views are at least somewhat more libertarian/individualist than the consensus here, but a lot more communist/collectivist than most of what i encounter on anarchist blogs...)

My assumption, based mostly on what i've read of Bakunin and Kropotkin, is that in an anarchist society there would be essentially no such thing as exchange-value, and production would be for use-value only (use-values being specific to individual crops or items and non-transferable - ie, in anarcho-communist thought there can be no truly fair or meaningful "rate of exchange" between, say, kilograms of fruit, hours spent building walls, pages of information, and electrical components, each of those being needed and useful in its own unique, qualitatively but not quantitatively valued way) - but it seems that a lot of anarchists from the (seemingly primarily North American) individualist tradition are quite passionate in both their belief that the abolition of exchange-value is impossible and their defence of exchange and markets as a central component of an anarchist society...

Just trying to get a kind of "position check" on this really i guess, rather than necessarily debate for one side or the other - i clearly need to formulate my own views more fully on the idea, as well as getting a more precise understanding of the concept of exchange-value...

(For example, one blogger commented that, in his view, the moral satisfaction gained from producing something needed by other people, in a putative "gift economy", constitutes exchange value... i'm not really sure about that one...)

Would your anarchist Utopia be a complete gift/need-based economy, or would you see economic exchange having a role within it?

RedHughs
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Jan 28 2008 22:47

Go to the Communism Versus Parecon debates, Go directly to the the Communism Versus Parecon debates, do not pass Go, do not collect 200 labor-time vouchers.

Deezer
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Jan 28 2008 23:09

No

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Khawaga
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Jan 29 2008 06:37

Hydra, read first chapter of capital vol 1.

Are you a communist hydra?

capricorn
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Jan 29 2008 09:13
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My assumption, based mostly on what i've read of Bakunin and Kropotkin, is that in an anarchist society there would be essentially no such thing as exchange-value

I'm sure that in Kropotkin's conception of an "anarchist society" there would be no such thing as exchange value; things would be produced simply to be taken and used. But I thought that Kropotkin's criticism of Bakunin was precisely Bakunin's view that in his version of an "anarchist society" products still would have an exchange value, determined by their labour-time cost of production. At least, this is what it says at: http://www.syndicalist.org/theory/bakunin_collectivism.shtml
You say most North American anarchists, being in the individualist tradition, envisage exchange and exchange value continuing to exist in an anarchist society. I would add that most French and Spanish anarchists have followed Bakunin rather than Kropotkin on this point. In other words, amongst those calling themselves anarchists, non-market, non-exchangist anarchism is a minority opinion.

Hydra
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Jan 29 2008 14:22

Am I a communist? Er, maybe... i think it depends on your definition... i want to completely abolish both the state and capitalism (and patriarchy and all other hierarchies), although i recognise that in reality we'll probably never be 100% rid of hierarchy as i think it's to some degree inherent in human nature, so i think that "revolution" needs to not be a single event but a continuous process... i think the state and capitalism are so intertwined as to be fundamentally one system, and neither one can be abolished without abolishing the other, and i think my utopia would be a gift economy/"from each according to hir abilities, to each according to hir needs" (but without coercion, and with each person's own freedom to decide what are and are not "needs")... does that sound communist, by your definition?

I don't know how useful it would be for anarchists to self-define as "communists" (at least without a strong modifier eg "libertarian communist"... which a lot of ppl might just see as an oxymoron), because most ppl's first impression from hearing the word is USSR-style totalitarianism... tho i suppose on the plus side for the term is its use to basically mean "bogeyman" by the American right...

I don't really think Marx is going to give me answers about an anarchist society, being, well, Marx and therefore not an anarchist...

It's been quite a while since i read Bakunin (i wrote an essay on him at uni, about 4 years ago, still have the books but haven't picked them up since) - i think i'll have to re-read some bits... my impression had been that he advocated a gift economy in a fully realised anarchist society (as opposed to what he might have advocated for a transitional one), but i could well be misremembering...

I've kind of left behind the abstract ideology/utopian society stuff for the last few years, only just really started thinking i ought to clarify my views on it again, as i've been concentrating more on more concrete stuff "closer to home" (primarily disability, mental health and gender/sexuality issues)... so been lurking on libcom and the aforementioned US anarchist blogs...

Can someone please direct me to this "Communism vs Parecon" debate? I've heard of Parecon but have only the vaguest idea what it is...

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Khawaga
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Jan 29 2008 14:37
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I don't really think Marx is going to give me answers about an anarchist society, being, well, Marx and therefore not an anarchist...

He'll give you nothing about communist society either, but the best fucking analysis of capitalism there is. Marx wasn't a marxist either. I'd highly recommend you to read some.

And yeah, I'd say you're some sort of communist. Not that labels matters, I was just trying to figure out where you're coming from.

If I might ask, how do you propose capital and state be abolished?

Hydra
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Jan 29 2008 14:56

Er, wow, that's a pretty fucking big question. I don't think there will be the sort of large-scale-organised mass uprising type revolution that (most) Marxists seem to think will happen. Beyond that i'm not sure... i think the crisis of capitalism that is going to come pretty soon (IMO) due to its ecological unsustainability will probably play a pretty key role... will have to think a lot more about that, i'm not even sure if i can say i think it will happen one way...

Just read the article capricorn linked to. If you follow the definitions in this quote from Bakunin:

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I am not a communist because communism concentrates and absorbs all the powers of society into the state, because it necessarily ends in the centralization of property in the hands of the state...I want society and collective property to be organized from the bottom upwards by means of free association and not from the top downwards by means of some form of authority...it is in this sense that I am a collectivist. (quoted in Cahm, p. 36)

then i'm a collectivist rather than a communist, but from the rest of the article i'd say i would definitely fall on the (anarcho-)communist side of the line...

clmyers
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Jan 29 2008 15:13

Hydra, this is something that I've been thinking about a great deal lately myself. I think abolishing all "exchange value" would be an awesome idea--in theory. Practically, I think human nature is such that some people will take advantage of a "gift-based" economy, so there would need to be some sort of exchange value to keep this from happening. I suppose that the reason why the French and especially Spanish anarchists don't reject the idea of exchange value is because they've had actual experience with attempting to establish an anarchist society and retaining exchange value is what works in the real world. (Although I can't say that for certain, as I'm not sure WHICH French and Spanish anarchists capricorn was referring to. Anyway, until he specifies otherwise, I'm going to assume that he's talking about the Parisian and Catalonian anarchists.)

My main problem with capitalism isn't so much stuff like "exchange value" as it is the domination of workers by political and business elites. Abolishing the hierarchical, authoritarian structure in the workplace and the joke that is "representative democracy," replacing them with workers' self-management and direct democracy, respectively, would even out the inequalities created by capitalism, I believe. By creating an economy directly under societal control, things like prices and wages will be set at more equitable levels, in other words, they will correspond to the needs of the workers, not the capitalist drive for profit. Exchange value may then be reformed or restructured in some way, but it need not be--should not be, according to my current thinking--abolished entirely.

If anyone can think of a way to reconcile abolition of exchange value with the human propensity to be selfish and take advantage of others, let me know. I'm still trying to figure that one out.

Deezer
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Jan 29 2008 16:10

clymers, um, you don't know who capricorn is talking about but you agree with his argument based on something you have no idea about - basically you don't know whether is claim is factual or not confused

If an economy is directly under "societal control" (whatever that actually means) who will be setting prices and wages. Can you decide who's work is worth more than someone elses or will we see a re-emergence of industrial conflict as those with the greater power to disrupt essential services and commodities take action to assert that their work is as valuable as another groups which has been allocated a greater wage under "societal control". This my friend would be sheer madness.

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Khawaga
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Jan 29 2008 17:00
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My main problem with capitalism isn't so much stuff like "exchange value" as it is the domination of workers by political and business elites.

Stuff like exchange value is part and parcel of the domination of workers.

Carousel
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Jan 29 2008 18:10

<DP>

Carousel
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Jan 29 2008 18:20

Only for those offering S&M.

Quote:
abolishing all "exchange value" would be an awesome idea--in theory. Practically, I think human nature is such that some people will take advantage of a "gift-based" economy, so there would need to be some sort of exchange value to keep this from happening.

If we’re all so eager to take advantage of each other, run us through why abolishing exchange value is so “awesome”. I wonder what a picture of someone abolishing exchange value looks like.

dave c
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Jan 30 2008 01:48

Capricorn:

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I'm sure that in Kropotkin's conception of an "anarchist society" there would be no such thing as exchange value

Are you using Kropotkin's understanding of exchange-value to make this statement? I am wondering if a Kropotkinite communism precludes one freely federated commune from exchanging a surplus of one good for another commune's surplus of another good, and therefore good A would have an exchange-value of x quantity of good B (given a Marxian understanding of exchange-value)?

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the button
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Jan 30 2008 02:32

What's the difference between exchange value & swappsies?

clmyers
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Jan 30 2008 03:41
Boulcolonialboy wrote:
clymers, um, you don't know who capricorn is talking about but you agree with his argument based on something you have no idea about - basically you don't know whether is claim is factual or not confused

OK, I can understand your confusion. It was kinda stupid to argue based on my assumption of what capricorn meant, rather than making sure of what capricorn meant first. So, point conceded.

Boulcolonialboy wrote:
If an economy is directly under "societal control" (whatever that actually means) who will be setting prices and wages. Can you decide who's work is worth more than someone elses or will we see a re-emergence of industrial conflict as those with the greater power to disrupt essential services and commodities take action to assert that their work is as valuable as another groups which has been allocated a greater wage under "societal control". This my friend would be sheer madness.

By an economy directly under "societal control," I mean an economy controlled directly by the workers/producers rather than by an elite class of business owners and such, i.e., an economy that consists of a network of worker-managed enterprises. Since all enterprises would be worker-managed, the workers themselves would set prices and wages through democratic means. So say, for example, that Factory X produces automobiles. The workers in Factory X would vote to determine both how much to pay themselves and for how much they're going to sell the cars they make. I hope that makes more sense.

Khawaga wrote:
Stuff like exchange value is part and parcel of the domination of workers.

Khawaga, I started thinking about that after I posted earlier. My question, though, is this: HOW exactly does exchange value necessitate the domination of workers? I mean, what if the workers themselves determined exchange value?

I've got another question, too, for those of you who favor complete abolition of exchange value: What's to stop people from taking advantage of a "gift" economy? I mean, I may NEED one hammer, but what's to stop me from taking five, or ten, or twenty, or a hundred, and keeping others from having some? I guess I just don't understand how such a system would work on a practical level. Someone give me an idea of how it would work in everyday life.

Carousel wrote:
If we’re all so eager to take advantage of each other, run us through why abolishing exchange value is so “awesome”.

Carousel, note that I said that abolishing exchange value is an awesome idea IN THEORY. IN THEORY.

capricorn
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Jan 30 2008 08:51

I based my claim that most French and Spanish anarchists were "exchangists" who wanted to retain money and buying and selling in an anarchist society on the views, for example, of Gaston Leval (1895-1978), a prominent and influential anarchist from France who participated in events in Spain in the 1930s and whose Collectives in the Spanish Revolution (which is somewhere on this site) is the classic account of how production, distribution (and exchange) was organised in the areas briefly under CNT/anarchist control.
In 1977 he published a pamphlet Pratique du socialisme libétaire, one chapter of which is headed "le mécanisme financier". Here we read (translating as I type from the French):

Quote:
Faced with the abundance and variety of products offered for consumption, on the one hand, and the multiplication of needs on the other, one cannot defend, without misreading economic and psychological realities, the thesis of free consumption, what has colloquially been called "taking from the pile". Consumption must be adjusted to the possibilities of production and a way found which is not an attack on individual freedom which generalised rationing would be, whatever its form. The most valid way seems to us to be a monetary token.

He goes on to say that he envisages his currency as follows:

Quote:
Suppose that the volume of commodities to sell and of paying services represents, for France, according to as precise calculations as possible, 10 000 milliards of francs a year. That implies the emission of an equivalent sum in buying tokens, distributed pro rata to individuals and families, a "wages fund" similar to that which is annually constituted in Russia, but which, naturally, we would distribute in a more equitable way.

Then he talks of consumers "paying for their purchases at distribution centres" and the money being recycled by "l'Institut d'émission" and of "investir de grandes capitaux financiers" in public works, of workers being paid an annual wages, etc, etc, I think people get the picture. I agree that he probably came to this conclusion on the experience of the Spanish collectives (and on that of the counter-experience of state-capitalist Russia).
As to Dave C's point about Kropotkin being prepared to envisage trade (and so exchange value) between anarchist communes he could be right. I was thinking rather of his article The Wage System in which he demolished the idea of labour-time vouchers which even Marx fell for.

Carousel
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Jan 30 2008 09:57
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abolishing exchange value is an awesome idea IN THEORY. IN THEORY.

So it’s not possible to explain how abolishing exchange value is an awesome idea in theory. In which case, there is no dilemma to reconcile.

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Jan 30 2008 11:09
clmyers wrote:
I've got another question, too, for those of you who favor complete abolition of exchange value: What's to stop people from taking advantage of a "gift" economy? I mean, I may NEED one hammer, but what's to stop me from taking five, or ten, or twenty, or a hundred, and keeping others from having some? I guess I just don't understand how such a system would work on a practical level. Someone give me an idea of how it would work in everyday life.

Why would you need 100 hammers?
Abundance is supposed to solve this problem. If there is enough of a particular thing for everyone to take as much as they could possibly want, there is no temptation to go hoarding a garage full of bread or whatever. Abundance also makes it easier for people to share, since the cost to themselves (from not hoarding) is tiny compared to the benefit they reap from co-operation. Abad de Santillan wrote:

"Communism will be the natural result of abundance, without which it will remain only an ideal."

On the other hand, if a particular resource is scarce, some form of rationing is the only fair way to stop stocks being abused. Contrary to what economists believe, this need not require any centralised authority. Hardin wrote 'the Tragedy of the Commons', whereas in fact medieval communities managed their commons very well, by limited grazing and and firewood collecting rights etc.

Carousel
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Jan 30 2008 12:05
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Why would you need 100 hammers?

A lavish production of Wagner’s Ring.

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Abundance is supposed to solve this problem.

Well duh. Abundance is, in itself, a much more difficult problem. One may as well assert that God is supposed to resolve it. Anyway, what is the problem?

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Anna
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Jan 30 2008 12:28

We have solved the problem of there being enough to eat, what remains to be struggled for is people having enough to eat.

Carousel
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Jan 30 2008 12:47
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what remains to be struggled for is people having enough to eat.

What people would these be? I don’t know any. Anyway, the “problem” of people not having enough to eat is self-solving. The obstacle, one assumes, is that the solutions implemented don’t meet with some specific preferred criteria. Indeed, it's these criteria, which are really an expression of values, that constitute the actual dilemma. A dilemma which is shared only by those with a peculiar aversion to inequality or a religious predilection towards the value of life or the wrongness of remote suffering or whatever.

clmyers
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Jan 30 2008 15:03
Carousel wrote:
So it’s not possible to explain how abolishing exchange value is an awesome idea in theory. In which case, there is no dilemma to reconcile.

OK, can I say it this way then: I think abolition of exchange value sounds like a great idea, but AT THIS POINT I can only see it as a theory. In other words, given the human bent toward toward selfishness, I don't see how it could work practically. But, as I said, that is my view AT THIS POINT. The dilemma I'm trying to solve is HOW to make abolition of exchange value work practically even though people are selfish. In my opinion, if someone can figure out a system that simultaneously allows us to take from the pile as needed while preventing us from hoarding and killing each other, then I might agree that it will work. But until then, I don't think it would.

Anna wrote:
Abundance is supposed to solve this problem. If there is enough of a particular thing for everyone to take as much as they could possibly want, there is no temptation to go hoarding a garage full of bread or whatever. Abundance also makes it easier for people to share, since the cost to themselves (from not hoarding) is tiny compared to the benefit they reap from co-operation. Abad de Santillan wrote:

"Communism will be the natural result of abundance, without which it will remain only an ideal."

On the other hand, if a particular resource is scarce, some form of rationing is the only fair way to stop stocks being abused. Contrary to what economists believe, this need not require any centralised authority. Hardin wrote 'the Tragedy of the Commons', whereas in fact medieval communities managed their commons very well, by limited grazing and and firewood collecting rights etc.

Anna, I think that you really make some good points. In fact, you're pretty close to convincing me that abolition of exchange value could indeed work. I suppose it wouldn't really matter if someone decided to hoard items of which there was an over-abundance, since new items would be produced faster than the hoarder(s) could take them. (Plus, you're right: What WOULD I need 100 hammers for? And how would I get them home? And where on earth could I put them that wouldn't take up all my space at home?) Seriously, though, that part of your argument is convincing.

I still have questions concerning the second portion of your argument, that part in which you mentioned rationing scarce resources. What sort of system of rationing do you propose? And how would it work?

I'm going to check out "The Tragedy of the Commons" today if I can find it online somewhere.

Anarcho
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Jan 30 2008 15:26

Surely, the answer is that a free society will be a libertarian/anarchist communist one but how quickly communism can be reached depends on the objective circumstances facing a revolution. All the great communist thinkers (anarchist and Marxists) argued along those lines, including Kropotkin and Malatesta.

ftony
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Jan 30 2008 15:33
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What people would these be? I don’t know any.

you don't know any people? no wonder you're getting cryptic about exchange value.

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Anna
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Jan 30 2008 15:44
clmyers wrote:
I still have questions concerning the second portion of your argument, that part in which you mentioned rationing scarce resources. What sort of system of rationing do you propose? And how would it work?

I'm going to check out "The Tragedy of the Commons" today if I can find it online somewhere.

Now we get to the point where we have to transcend the conception of the individual as some Benthamite rational agent, blindly calculating short-term individual gain. In order to solve the problem of scarcity, or over-exploitation of resources, we have to invoke our capacity for foresight. Individuals can fight over who gets to be captain, but all this means nothing if the whole ship goes down. It is in every member of a community's interests that scarce resources should be split fairly, and so the community as a whole must take on the responsibility of managing these resources.
I don't know what the accepted communist 'line' is on all of this, but the way I see it, the only way to solve this problem is self regulation. Everyone has an interest in getting a little more for themselves, this is true, but this is outweighed by the interest everyone has in everyone else not taking more than is sustainable. The individual selfish impulse can be curbed to some extent by thinking ahead, self-discipline, solidarity etc. But also, people have reputations that they wish to protect. They are much more likely to do something selfish if they know they can get away with it. Hence, distribution should be transparent, and people should be vigilant about any individuals who might try to exploit the others in a community.
These impulses are reflected by the content of our moral sense, which was developed due to exactly this need to curb short term selfishness in order to reap the benefits of cooperation. We have a very strong conception of what is 'fair' or 'just' and take great care to detect 'cheats' or exploiters. At the same time as we mete out community discipline, there is self-discipline - a sense of decency, acting right by others, duty to the community, solidarity, guilt if we exploit another, dislike of hypocrisy, trying to keep a good reputation etc.

Interestingly, exactly the same issues come into play in the class struggle, and the distinction between the political economy of capital, and the political economy of the working class. For capital, selfish competition is a source of progress, fostering productivity increases, increased profit margins etc. On the other hand, the position of the working class is weakened by selfish intra-class competition. If there is a strike on and I decide to scab (acting on my short-term self interest), the whole class will lose out on a wage increase, and my long-term interests will suffer. Similarly, if I am paid to do piecework, I can increase my short-term self-interest by working faster than everyone else, but if everyone works at my increased level, the bar will have been raised and my long term self interest will be harmed because I'll have to work harder to secure the same wages. The solution to these problems lies in solidarity and foresight, and a sense of duty to the people who share your conditions.

capricorn
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Jan 30 2008 15:57

It was in 1968 that an American biologist Garrett Hardin invented a parable to explain why, in his view, common ownership was no solution to the environmental crisis and why in fact it would only make matters worse. Called “The Tragedy of the Commons”, his parable went like this: assume a pasture to which all herdsmen have free access to graze their cattle; in these circumstances each herdsman would try to keep as many cattle as possible on the commons and, in the end, its carrying capacity would be exceeded, resulting in environmental degradation.

As Anna has pointed out, wherever commons existed there is no evidence that they ever led to this result or came to an end in this way. Wherever they existed there also existed rules governing their use, sometimes in the form of traditions, sometimes in the form of arrangements for decision-making in common, which precluded such overgrazing and other threats to the long-term sustainability of the system. As a matter of history the commons came to an end in England through the ruling class using its control of the state to abolish them, as a means of consolidating landed property and driving the rural poor off the land and into the factories.

To the extent that there is some truth to it, Hardin’s parable describes not the failure of common ownership but what happens under capitalism to those natural resources which have not yet been taken into private ownership, such as the oceans. Here capitalist firms engaged in fishing for profit all have free access to a particular fishing area. Motivated by short-term considerations - their own monetary profit - it is in the interest of each of them to behave in the way herdsmen do in Hardin’s parable and the result is indeed overfishing and depletion of stocks. But this is the result, not of property rights not existing over natural resources, but of this being the case in the context of an economic system where productive activity is organised by separate, competing profit-seeking enterprises. Hardin’s parable would more accurately have been called “The Tragedy of the Commons under Capitalism”.

As an argument against communism it has no validity whatsoever. This is because it assumes not the complete absence of property rights over productive resources generally but only an absence of such rights over one particular resource (grazing land) while the others (the cattle, produce and so on) are privately owned and also that their owners are motivated by the desire to maximise their short-term economic gain. In other words, as so often with defenders of the capitalist status quo, the behaviour of those making decisions about production under capitalism is transposed into a quite different historical context.

In communism, where there would be no property rights over land, the sea or any other natural resource, there would not be any no property rights over instruments of production either. The cattle as well as the land would be commonly owned. In these circumstances those - to continue with the simplified example in Hardin’s parable - responsible for looking after the cattle would not be under any pressure to behave in the way he presumes. They would merely be carrying out a particular function on behalf of the community in a social context where the aim of production would be to satisfy needs on a sustainable basis and not to make profits. This being so, the community, in the rules it would draw up for the use of the grazing land, would obviously take steps to avoid overgrazing.

clmyers
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Jan 30 2008 16:04

Anna, I can see where you're coming from, and it's starting to make sense to me. But I'm not there just yet. I still have a couple of lingering questions.

First, imagine a society where water is a scarce resource. According to your proposition, an individual will learn to self-regulate the amount of water he or she takes. In many cases, this might work. But what if there's somebody who simply doesn't care at all about other people and takes as much water as he or she can? And, you said that such an individual might realize that he/she might pay in the long-term for short-term selfishness and be deterred from acting selfishly, but what if that individual is the kind who simply does not care about what people might think, say, or do to him/her in the long run? (Trust me, there are people like that out there.)

Second, you mentioned "community discipline." Again, how, on a practical level, would such community discipline be meted out? By denying someone the resources he or she needs as punishment for selfishness? By setting up some sort of police and judicial system and throwing the violator in prison or something?

If you can convince me on those two points, I think I'll pretty much be in agreement with you. Sorry that I'm being so annoying!

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Jan 30 2008 16:36

capricorn, good post.

clmyers, you make valid points. I brought up the development of our moral sense and how it allows us to live socially. There do exist people - sociopaths or psychopaths - that lack a moral sense and do not feel sympathy or guilt or remorse or any of the feelings that allow us to modulate our behaviour. communism, though it probably would reduce the occurence of these people by alleviating brutalising conditions, would not eliminate it. There will always exist some people that lack personal responsibility and thus present a threat to the community. They should be treated kindly, but personal responsibility is the flipside of freedom, so I suppose they would have to be contained in an institution of some sort. I'm not suggesting we should lock up people who take too much water, but this is the only option for people who consider it their prerogative to rape or murder, say.

By community discipline, I meant that the community as a whole should take an interest in accounting for what happens to a limited resource. As I wrote before, the key to this problem is that distribution should be transparent. Now I'm loathe to dictate exactly how things should work, as the people best suited to that are those in the community facing the specific problem. (In fact, if you look at past societies who have faced this problem of 'the tragedy of the commons' you see many examples of ingenious methods of self-regulation to avoid over-exploitation). But here is a sketch of a solution so you get the idea. Suppose that tools are a relatively scarce resource and that hammers and drills and hoes etc are transported from a factory to a warehouse in which they are stored. Anyone who needs any tools can come to the warehouse and take what they need. There is a warden at the warehouse who is in charge of keeping it tidy, and also writes down in a book whatever tools each person takes. Thus distribution is on a basis of need, but it is accounted for by this basic administration. If suddenly there's a shortage of hammers and people look through the book and think, gee, Mrs X has taken 100 hammers, then they know wh is responsible for the shortage, and can pay her a visit to get them back. If no one has been this greedy, then they should surmise that maybe people should share the hammers with their neighbours so there are enough to go round. (Actually, in practise, if Mrs X went into the warehouse and asked for 100 hammers, the warden would probably say no, don't take more than you require). This example is simple-minded, but it shows that with administration, people aren't likely to get away with ripping off the rest of the community.

Carousel
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Jan 30 2008 17:02
Quote:
I think abolition of exchange value sounds like a great idea

We know. But what is it that makes it great?

Quote:
The dilemma I'm trying to solve is HOW to make abolition of exchange value work practically even though people are selfish.

Even accepting the speculation that people are selfish, their selfishness is not the obstacle. You can’t abolish a metaphysical concept, the good Lord knows it’s hard enough abolishing things that actually exist in the everyday realm of action.

Quote:
If there is a strike on and I decide to scab (acting on my short-term self interest)

And there you have it. The notion that it’s in your short-term self-interest is a figment of your imagination, your “dilemma” is a product of the insane requirement to frame your actions in sacrifice or discipline. Indeed the value of the short-term versus the long-term, or what constitutes long and short term, is a matter of diverse arbitrary private psychological predisposition.

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These impulses are reflected by the content of our moral sense

“Our” moral sense doesn’t exist. It’s a bit like when people who like speeding assume everybody else does it too. We imagine everyone is like us really, but somehow oppressed or misguided. It isn’t the case. They operate on an entirely different level in the first place.

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Anna
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Jan 30 2008 17:09
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