Afternoon Links

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

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110 Responses to “Afternoon Links”

  1. #1 |  Other Sean | 

    Of course I’m well aware of several different strains in leftist thought over time. It’s just that these days you don’t see too many Kropotkinites running around conspiring with the followers of Catholic social teaching. Since about 1960, Marxism and various forms of pseudo-Marxism have pretty well taken over the intellectual territory of the left. But hey, if I’ve got you wrong then answer two quick questions for me:

    1) Who decides what price a worker is paid for his labor?

    2) If a voluntary worker uses capital owned by a voluntary investor to produce a good voluntarily purchased by a consumer, at whose expense has the profit been gained?

    If you can answer those questions in a non-Marxist way, I’ll be so obsequious in my apology you’ll feel embarrassed just to read it.

  2. #2 |  Pi Guy | 

    @ #50 Len:

    Yes I do know more than you. Yes I’m right, and I don’t care of sounds cocky to you.

    Conceited much? No, it doesn’t sound cocky at all. It sounds absolutely irrational given your very unique reading of it. Yes, I’m right and I don’t care if that sounds condescending to you.

    And it must really suck to have to keep telling everyone how smart you are. I mean, why can’t everyone just tell your a freaking genius on sight? Probably because you’re constantly telling people they’re wrong without the slightest shred of support for that stance. None.

    So I now repeat myself, as someone who has actually bothered to spend years of studying the USC…

    Yup. You’re the only one on this entire thread who’s “actually bothered to spend years studying the USC.” The rest of us, we just apply the Rules According to Barney.

    Look: if the Constitution doesn’t apply to the states – or at all? again, it’s not clear what your claiming here – then why were the 1A and 2A cases I cite above decided that way? How did DC manage to turn back their unconstitutional gun laws if they didn’t apply to lower-than-federal entities?

    I’m serious. I’m at a total loss to understand what justification you believe exists for this position? You keep ad homineming all over while referring to the same Constitution that we’ve all read – and studied hard, I assure you – and have come to a wildly divergent interpretation of it compared to the rest of us.

    And while you’re at it, explain it to the Supreme Court as well. Because they sure seem to think it applies to the states.

  3. #3 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @101 – Marx and Proudhon were rivals among left-wing thinkers.

    Marx /took/ many elements of Proudhon and twisted them to fit his own stateist, revolutionary ideology. Marx cribbed wholesale from Proudhon, for example, the theory of surplus value – which Proudhon used critically.

    @1 – The Free Market. With a floor based on basic living requirements. But, bluntly, that doesn’t mean I think the current power of capital should go unchecked. Or that Unions shouldn’t have powers (the /same/ powers, none of this closed-shop nonsense) in terms of collective bargaining, regardless of the employer. Or that, for example, worker cooperatives should be disadvantaged as they are in many cases under the present system.

    @2 – I’d ask who profits? The capitalist, unduly, under the current system. The actual producer of the goods is seeing his share of the added value being constantly reduced. This isn’t sustainable.

    I think you might find the Mutualist view of property as something whose “ownership” should be based on usage more radical, frankly. (But again, it’s a long-term aim)

  4. #4 |  Other Sean | 

    Leon,

    Based on your answer to question 1), I do owe you a partial groveling apology. It was not the same as mine, but it was not quite Marxist. Although the phrase “current power of capital should [not] go unchecked” does have a certain ring, and does raise a small question: why do you not say “the current power of capital in collusion with the state?” Because its not as though capital itself has any of the powers that distress you when you speak of Corporatism.

    But…your answer to question 2) would be considered Marxist by most people, since it contains the notion that profit comes from a disparity between what a worker produces and what he is paid. And again, it’s not that Marx invented the idea (Smith and Ricardo had it before him), it’s just that the only serious group to stick with that theory after 1870 was the Marxists. Or I should say, the Marxists and evidently also Leon.
    ______________________________________________________________________________

    In case you care, here are my answers to the same two questions – though in a sense they are really facets of a single question:

    1) Who decides what price a worker is paid for his labor?

    No one “decides”. Ultimately, the value of labor is decided by what people are willing to pay for its produce. So you could say “everyone decides a little tiny bit”. Which is definitely closer to your answer than I expected.

    2) If a voluntary worker uses capital owned by a voluntary investor to produce a good voluntarily purchased by a consumer, at whose expense has the profit been gained?

    At no one’s expense. As described, the transaction is beneficial to all parties.

  5. #5 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    Sean;

    Because capital by it’s nature lends itself to utilizing the state to suppress completion, as it has since the 70’s in the West. To some degree, this is unavoidable if you’re going to have a social infrastructure, but it can and should be compensated for.

    “it’s just that the only serious group to stick with that theory after 1870 was the Marxists”

    Again, you’re ignoring the fact I’m a mutualist, not a radical at the end of nowhere. I’m a moderate, yes, but the entire point is that we’re gradualists – revolution eats it’s children.

    And you’re completely ignoring the disruptive effects of some kinds of inventions, of course. I’m certainly not arguing for technological suppression, but automation can put people out of work – that’s not beneficial to all parties: you can’t ignore the effects on society.

    Then there’s other things which are “good” which have been captured near-entirely by capital: For example, IP. (I’m no PirateParty radical, but it’s getting out of hand as a control measure…)

  6. #6 |  Xenocles | 

    “Look: if the Constitution doesn’t apply to the states – or at all? again, it’s not clear what your claiming here – then why were the 1A and 2A cases I cite above decided that way? How did DC manage to turn back their unconstitutional gun laws if they didn’t apply to lower-than-federal entities?”

    Because DC is under Congress’s direct authority. In recent decades, Congress has granted DC a degree of home rule, but those powers are simply delegated by Congress and subject to all the constitutional restrictions on Congress.

  7. #7 |  Other Sean | 

    Leon,

    I stand corrected, though technically I’m sitting-on-my-ass corrected at this particular moment.

    Despite years of studying political theory (which of course included Proudhon), I really had no idea there was still a going concern known as mutualism. So it seems you guys are the OTHER last remaining group that still believes in the labor theory of value. And therefore I was wrong to see a Marxist influence in your remarks.

    May I ask: how are you not troubled (by which I mean “totally convinced”) by the well-known criticisms of that theory? And are you familiar with the various theories of interest and capital income that try to explain why they should not be treated as simply unearned rents?

  8. #8 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @107 – To be fair, I think it’s a /tiny/ fringe in America. But it’s definitely NOT so in the UK, and in parts of Europe.

    I don’t believe in the communist version of the theory, against which most of the criticisms are leveled. Very few also apply to “to each according to his deeds”, which calls not for central planning and direct redistribution of all products of labor, but for people’s labor to be the significant factor in their remuneration!

    I believe that unearned income should have higher tax rates than earned income, not that it shouldn’t exist!

  9. #9 |  Pi Guy | 

    #106 Xenocles
    “Because DC is under Congress’s direct authority.”

    But Chicago is not. That was also a 2A challenge. So how was that ruling justified? And Kelo (Connecticut)? And Brown v. Bd of Ed (Kansas)?

    Still waiting for Len to tell me where the Constitution doesn’t apply to the states. And for anyone to identify a SCOTUS case that didn’t hinge on its constitutionality.

  10. #10 |  Pi Guy | 

    Damn, I hate not being able to preview before posting. One kiopardon for the crazy-ass links. Again.

    Upping the dosage of caffiene right now…