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Is there Evidence for the Labor Theory of Value?

Is there Evidence for the Labor Theory of Value?

[deleted]

>it is from this theory that the “exploitation of labor” argument arises, and so all of Communism is unappealing to me. This isn't true. Bourgeois classical economists like Adam Smith had already stumbled upon what Marx would later define as, "the subjugation of labor power to capital." Exploitation of labor power depends on the subordinate nature of labor power under capitalism, which is actually a product of unequal bargaining power between capitalists and workers. Here's Adam Smith commenting on it in the *Wealth of Nations*: > It sometimes happens, indeed, that a single independent workman has stock sufficient both to purchase the materials of his work, and to maintain himself till it be completed. He is both master and workman, and enjoys the whole produce of his own labour, or the whole value which it adds to the materials upon which it is bestowed. It includes what are usually two distinct revenues, belonging to two distinct persons, the profits of stock, and the wages of labour. >Such cases, however, are not very frequent, and in every part of Europe, twenty workmen serve under a master for one that is independent; and the wages of labour are everywhere understood to be, what they usually are, when the labourer is one person, and the owner of the stock which employs him another. >What are the common wages of labour, depends everywhere upon the contract usually made between those two parties, whose interests are by no means the same. The workmen desire to get as much, the masters to give as little as possible. The former are disposed to combine in order to raise, the latter in order to lower the wages of labour. >**It is not, however, difficult to foresee which of the two parties must, upon all ordinary occasions, have the advantage in the dispute, and force the other into a compliance with their terms.** The masters, being fewer in number, can combine much more easily; and the law, besides, authorizes, or at least does not prohibit their combinations, while it prohibits those of the workmen. We have no acts of parliament against combining to lower the price of work; but many against combining to raise it. In all such disputes the masters can hold out much longer. A landlord, a farmer, a master manufacturer, a merchant, though they did not employ a single workman, could generally live a year or two upon the stocks which they have already acquired. **Many workmen could not subsist a week, few could subsist a month, and scarce any a year without employment. In the long run the workman may be as necessary to his master as his master is to him; but the necessity is not so immediate.** https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/smith-adam/works/wealth-of-nations/book01/ch08.htm You can see here that Adam Smith also stumbles another aspect of the capitalist mode of production which enables exploitation of workers, which is the separation of the laborer from their means of production. So Adam Smith was able to lay the groundwork for the Marxist theory of exploitation (albeit without realizing it) without any deference to a "labor theory of value". Apart from this, if you're interested in empirical studies that demonstrated the predictive capacity of Marx's value theory, read up on the work of Paul Cockshott and Anwar Sheikh.


MagicalSnakePerson

Adam Smith very much makes a Labor Theory of Value argument, and I disagree with him, too. He leaves his explanation about it very vague, but the price of an object can be somewhat correlated to the effort it would take a consumer to find another or make it on their own. At least, that’s the gesture towards an argument he makes. Regardless, he doesn’t have data either. As for “are workers exploited”, the issue you describe there is more one of law and the nature of unequal distribution of resources than of who owns the means of production. I don’t see how specifically communism deals with those/negates them better than, say, social democracy or a strong welfare state. In fact, we see this happening right now as wages are forced to increase when workers are given more resources to survive.


[deleted]

>Adam Smith very much makes a Labor Theory of Value argument, and I disagree with him, too. He leaves his explanation about it very vague, but the price of an object can be somewhat correlated to the effort it would take a consumer to find another or make it on their own. At least, that’s the gesture towards an argument he makes. Regardless, he doesn’t have data either. Smith's value theory isn't relevant here. I'm not quoting Smith to support Marx's value theory, I'm quoting Smith to demonstrate that it's perfectly feasible to have a theory of exploitation *without* a value theory. Smith had a very rudimentary "labor theory of value" but it's really not central to his political economy and certainly not relevant to his discussions regarding the relationships between workers and capitalists in this specific context. I brought him up because most people's opposition to Marx's value theory and theory of exploitation is based on ideological stubbornness. But you can see that even *those sympathetic to capitalism* thought that there was exploitation inbuilt to the system. >As for “are workers exploited”, the issue you describe there is more one of law and the nature of unequal distribution of resources than of who owns the means of production. This is a tautology. The distribution of resources is a function of the distribution of the means of production. Workers who own their own means of production are able to freely reproduce their necessities of life, whereas those who are separated from their means of production do not have that ability and are compelled to work as wage laborers. Communism immediately levels this inequality by abolishing private ownership of the means of production and guaranteeing employment. Social democratic systems have never achieved this level of social equality because of their own internal contradictions. Social democracy has been on the retreat since the 1970s because it cannot resolve the contradictions of capitalism. Theoretically it may be able to abolish exploitation by making sure that each worker has access to sufficient means of consumption, but this really isn't a possibility considering the structural deficits of social democracy.


MagicalSnakePerson

You quote Adam Smith as if his argument about "exploitation" is any different from Marx's. The exploitation both reference is "you need to work in order to survive". Does this not exist under communism, and if so, how is this manifested? A distribution of resources is not a function of the distribution of the means of production. One can be used to help the other, but that doesn't make one a function of the other. In what communist society has work not been needed to be done in order for the inhabitants to survive?


[deleted]

>The exploitation both reference is "you need to work in order to survive" You're not actually grasping the relationship Smith and Marx talk about in relation to the exploitation of the worker. You speak of one worker being exploited because he has to work in order to survive, *but this completely ignores the social relation that exploitation depends on.* Notice, both Marx and Smith talk of the relationship of *the worker and the capitalist.* This is a two-sided relationship. The worker has no means of production and is forced to work in order to survive, whereas the capitalist employing him can at least, in the final instance, sell off his means of production in exchange for means of consumption. So you're completely missing the nature of exploitation under capitalism. It's a relationship between two parties, one the property bereft worker, the other the propertied capitalist. Notice here that the worker does not have his own means of production - this is key to the understanding of exploitation and how it is abolished under communism. Since we've already established that exploitation *is a relationship between two* parties, what is the status of the worker who owns his own means of production? He is still forced to work, isn't he exploited, according to your misunderstanding? Using the information I have just provided, he is not - he works for no capitalist, his surplus is not appropriated by any other actor - the producer with his own means of production is not exploited, despite having to work in order to survive. Notice that once we have established that exploitation is based on capitalist property relations, and that it is a relation between at least two parties, it becomes clear how communism immediately abolishes exploitation. Although workers still need to work in order to survive, there is no unequal property relation, upon which exploitation would flourish. No - since all means of production are held in common, there is no unequal property relation, and thus no exploitation. Your objection is just based on a pure misunderstanding. >One can be used to help the other, but that doesn't make one a function of the other. This makes no sense. Capitalists are entitled to resources because they have a property right to the means of production and thus, to its produce. One is very clearly a function of the other - this is exactly why in communist societies the distribution of income is radically different from capitalist societies. >In what communist society has work not been needed to be done in order for the inhabitants to survive? None, but as I just explained, this has no connection to exploitation in a society where the means of production are private property. This objection is just based on your crude misunderstanding of the issue.


MagicalSnakePerson

>You're not actually grasping the relationship Smith and Marx talk about in relation to the exploitation of the worker. You speak of one worker being exploited because he has to work in order to survive, but this completely ignores the social relation that exploitation depends on. Notice, both Marx and Smith talk of the relationship of the worker and the capitalist. This is a two-sided relationship. The worker has no means of production and is forced to work in order to survive, whereas the capitalist employing him can at least, in the final instance, sell off his means of production in exchange for means of consumption. So you're completely missing the nature of exploitation under capitalism. It's a relationship between two parties, one the property bereft worker, the other the propertied capitalist. Notice here that the worker does not have his own means of production - this is key to the understanding of exploitation and how it is abolished under communism. Since we've already established that exploitation is a relationship between two parties, what is the status of the worker who owns his own means of production? He is still forced to work, isn't he exploited, according to your misunderstanding? Using the information I have just provided, he is not - he works for no capitalist, his surplus is not appropriated by any other actor - the producer with his own means of production is not exploited, despite having to work in order to survive. > >Notice that once we have established that exploitation is based on capitalist property relations, and that it is a relation between at least two parties, it becomes clear how communism immediately abolishes exploitation. Although workers still need to work in order to survive, there is no unequal property relation, upon which exploitation would flourish. No - since all means of production are held in common, there is no unequal property relation, and thus no exploitation. Your objection is just based on a pure misunderstanding. I grasp it quite well. I didn't realize I had to spell it out so much, but I will now do so. Your very own quote says that the reason the capitalist can hold out on negotiations is because they can survive on what they already have while the worker must work so as to be able to purchase food and survive in the short term. The worker's position as one who does not have resources is exploited to get them to work (theoretically, of course). Now what if this worker didn't exist in a capitalist society? Let's put it in a hypothetical utopia. The only way to avoid this exploitation is if the worker does not have to work in order to be fed. This is the only way to avoid the inherent *coercion* you have criticized/mentioned. It doesn't matter what system we talk about, in order to avoid this exploitation then survival cannot be dependent on them working. If we imagine a scenario where one person owns or controls the means of production but even the worker can survive without working, this would make coercion, and therefore exploitation *impossible*. The worker can hold out for as long as he wants to just like the capitalist. Therefore, it is the coercion itself that we must be wary of. How does communism avoid this coercion? >This makes no sense. Capitalists are entitled to resources because they have a property right to the means of production and thus, to its produce. One is very clearly a function of the other - this is exactly why in communist societies the distribution of income is radically different from capitalist societies. They influence each other, but if a state or a body of people forcibly redistribute the resources then the resources are redistributed. >None, but as I just explained, this has no connection to exploitation in a society where the means of production are private property. This objection is just based on your crude misunderstanding of the issue. Communists seem very quick to claim the other person doesn't understand the issue. That's not my problem. My problem is that one of the central criticisms that communists levy against capitalism is that it is inherently coercive through an unequal distribution of resources. That it is that coercion that forces workers to enter agreements with capitalists (because otherwise I would argue that "hey the worker signed up voluntarily"). However, what I don't see from communists is explaining how this coercion will be removed under their system.


[deleted]

>I grasp it quite well. You do not at all, otherwise you wouldn't have responded with such an asinine comment. >This is the only way to avoid the inherent coercion you have criticized/mentioned. You're conflating coercion and economic exploitation. A self-sustaining farmer might be coerced by the circumstances into working, but he is not exploited - obviously he cannot exploit himself! The rest of your comment is just bloviating based on this one misunderstanding. Please actually understand my comments before responding.


MagicalSnakePerson

Coercion and exploitation are not the same thing but from your very own quote the coercion is necessary for the exploitation. The capitalist has no leverage on the worker if the worker can survive without the capitalist. It is that leverage that generates the exploitation. That's a very reasonable take on your quote. If a worker works for a capitalist without this coercion, I will argue that he is doing it of his own free will and therefore he isn't being exploited.


[deleted]

How am I still explaining this to you? Exploitation is not just based on coercion, it is based on coercion and the existence of an unequal property relation between two parties. Abolishing private ownership of the means of production abolishes the unequal property relation and abolishes exploitation. This is the Marxist argument and it is correct.


MagicalSnakePerson

Nothing you have said here disagrees with my statements. The "unequal property relation between two parties" is the difference in resources that allows one party to hold out negotiations longer than the other. This is in YOUR quote. This is an argument YOU have brought up. That isn't a Marxist argument, this all comes from it being an Adam Smith argument. Well Marx is the one who argues it's exploitation, but let's digest which aspect of the exploitation is bad. Is it the coercion or the unequal property relations? If it's the unequal property relations, you can take steps to equalize that without communism. Taxes and welfare programs are an example of this. Is it the coercion? I personally think so. It is the threat of violence if a task is not completed that is the bad aspect here. Just because Comrade Jimmy has the same amount of money as me doesn't make his threat to starve me if I don't work any less coercive. Or is this different to you? If it is I'm gonna have to stop operating under entirely different frameworks.


happybeard92

“He had to work in order to survive” isn’t the reason exploitation exists in Marxist theory. However, it’s still an argument against the platitude capitalists make when they say “capitalism is true freedom because one chooses where they want to work.” Not much of a choice really. Moreover, in Marxist theory, exploitation is the relationship between the worker and the capitalist who extracts the surplus value from the laborer.


MagicalSnakePerson

I think someone having to work in order to survive is bad in all societies and I hope for a day where that isn't necessary. However, given that it is a requirement, I find that coercion to be why "exploitation" is bad in the first place and so a morally superior system would have to remove that. I also do not think that surplus value is a thing to begin with, give that I disagree with the Labor Theory of Value.


happybeard92

In regards to the concept of exploitation, I’m simply describing it in the framework of Marxist theory, not other ways exploitation can be applied. Someone working for themselves isn’t being exploited in the Marxist sense, not that people can’t be exploited other ways. Moreover, surplus value has to be a thing, it’s literally just what’s left over after the laborers are paid their wages and all other costs have been covered.


RoyGeraldBillevue

>We have no acts of parliament against combining to lower the price of work; but many against combining to raise it. This is no longer true of society though. We have anti-trust and unions. Even if they don't work ideally, stronger anti-trust and unions are a social-democratic solution, not a communist one. Additionally, Smith was writing when people lived in much smaller communities. In a world where millions live in each city and transportation around the world is possible, no cartel of employers can collude to starve every worker. We are in his long-run scenario where both employers and employees need each other as shown by employers raising wages in response to needing more workers.


[deleted]

>This is no longer true of society though. We have anti-trust and unions. Even if they don't work ideally, stronger anti-trust and unions are a social-democratic solution, not a communist one. You're contradicting yourself - you claim this is no longer true of society, but then concede that such solutions don't actually always work, which would mean such a state of affairs *still exists.* Social democracy has been on the retreat since the 1970s because it is economically not feasible - it only heightens the contradictions of capitalism. And you conveniently forgot to read *the second half of the quotation,* which applies just as forcefully today as it did when Smith was writing. In every labor dispute (regardless if the workers are legally allowed to strike), the capitalist will always have the advantage, because he is not on the verge of starvation.


RoyGeraldBillevue

I said "even if". I was responding to the point that there is no law. There is, and while improvements can be made, the situation is meaningfully different from the 1800s. I am tired of communists creating a false dichotomy between capitalism and communism. I'm sorry, but you have to live in the real world where things are on spectrums, not theory where everything can fit into neat boxes. You say social democracy has been on the retreat while the Soviet Union has collapsed and China moved towards liberalization. You clearly did not read the second half of my comment where I note that, unlike Smith's time, the labour market is much larger, which makes it much harder for firms to collude in the way he worries about as shown by low unemployment leading to rising wages.


[deleted]

*You're contradicting yourself again.* By saying there can be improvements, you're conceding that the workers are still exploited in countries with the laws you mentioned. Which means the condition Adam Smith discussed in the 18th century (exploitation) still exists today, which means your contention that what he said is "no longer true of society" is contradicted by what you yourself have said! You're running yourself in circles. >I am tired of communists creating a false dichotomy between capitalism and communism. Where was this "false dichotomy" - explain yourself instead of bloviating. >You say social democracy has been on the retreat while the Soviet Union has collapsed and China moved towards liberalization. What are you talking about? This is literally not a coherent response to my point. This is literally just some nonsense whataboutism where you go "but the USSR collapsed", in response to everything that contradicts your viewpoint. I'll spell it out for you. Social democracy is in retreat *in western countries* because of the economic failures there in the 1970s and the subsequent rise of neo-liberalism. This is basic, basic economic history, which seems to be totally lost on you. Try harder and actually educate yourself instead of bloviating. >You clearly did not read the second half of my comment where I note that, unlike Smith's time, the labour market is much larger, which makes it much harder for firms to collude in the way he worries about as shown by low unemployment leading to rising wages. You clearly did not understand my comment *in the slightest* - there are so many things wrong with your pitiful comment. No capitalist country has ever eliminated unemployment. That wages rise during certain periods *does not mean that workers are not exploited* - it just means that their bargaining power has slightly increased. The bargaining power of the capitalist relative to the worker is still much higher, and this is why exploitation exists even in this case. This is exactly the essence of Smith's point which you completely fail to comprehend - abstracted from all other economic factors, in the final instance *workers will always be in a subordinate bargaining position relative to the capitalists.* This is because the workers will always be on the verge of economic ruin and poverty, whereas the capitalist in the final instance can subsist on his means of production. Please actually try and understand this point before responding with utter nonsense like, "but what about the USSR and China" - which is *completely irrelevant to the point at hand*


RoyGeraldBillevue

>By saying there can be improvements, you're conceding that the workers are still exploited in countries with the laws you mentioned. Which means the condition Adam Smith discussed in the 18th century (exploitation) still exists today, which means your contention that what he said is "no longer true of society" is contradicted by what you yourself have said! You're running yourself in circles. There is no utopia. Adam Smith described a specific situation that leads to exploitation he did not want. We live in a different world with much less exploitation. Let me simplify for you. 1800s laisez-faire bad. Status quo better but still bad. Social democracy good but not perfect. Perfect does not exist. >No capitalist country has ever eliminated unemployment. Again, a) there is no utopia (before getting into transitory unemployment, unemployment insurance, welfare, and more), and b) you assert that every economy you would describe as capitalist is the same. Just because cats are animals doesn't mean every animal purrs. >Please actually try and understand this point before responding with utter nonsense like, "but what about the USSR and China" - which is completely irrelevant to the point at hand Thank you for understanding the point. Saying social democracy is on the retreat is irrelevant to the point at hand.


[deleted]

Total nonsense. Communism abolishes exploitation by abolishing unequal property relations, because under communism there is no private ownership of the means of production. Communism does what social democracy is incapable of doing. Abolishing economic exploitation is not "utopia" - that's just a low-effort smear. >Saying social democracy is on the retreat is irrelevant to the point at hand. Total nonsense, again. Social democracy is on retreat because it failed economically, you're advocating as a solution to exploitation an economic system that doesn't actually do such a thing.


RoyGeraldBillevue

Please specify which flavour of communism you support. No state means no stability. Bad actors can take more than they need and contribute less than they are able. If you have a state, power is concentrated, and there will be a non-zero amount of abuse if that power. Either way, there is surplus being taken. Exploitation if you will. >Total nonsense, again. Social democracy is on retreat because it failed economically, you're advocating as a solution to exploitation an economic system that doesn't actually do such a thing. Real social democracy has never been tried.


[deleted]

>No state means no stability This is wrong. By a stateless society communists mean a situation in which administrative functions are completely open, accessible and democratic, which means they lose their political nature. >Real social democracy has never been tried. Okay? That's fine to think, just don't claim social democracy *has already* eliminated exploitation!


RoyGeraldBillevue

>democratic, which means they lose their political nature. (X) >Okay? That's fine to think, just don't claim social democracy has already eliminated exploitation! I didn't. I said Smith's specific critisisms do not apply to the same extent they once did. Progress is being made within the umbrella of capitalism. Ergo, capitalism can be better at providing for the people than communism. Anyways, society today is better thsn and different from society in the 1800s, so it would be nice if you sourced arguments from this century.


Regardless__

>No state means no stability. You don't understand Marxism.


pirateprentice27

>Is there Evidence for the Labor Theory of Value? This question is incoherent since labour theory of value describes a unit of measurement. Just as it makes no sense to ask whether there is evidence for meter or seconds or candela, it makes no sense to ask for evidence of labour theory of value per se. On the other hand, Marx on the basis of LTV (which is consistent with historical materialism) makes certain predictions about capitalism, all of which are uncannily accurate such that even the Nobel prize winning bourgeois economist, Wassily Leontief, wrote: >“However important these technical contributions to the progress of economic theory in the present-day appraisal of Marxian achievements, they are overshadowed by his brilliant analysis of the long-term tendencies of the capitalist system. The record is indeed impressive: **increasing concentration of wealth, rapid elimination of small and medium-sized enterprise, progressive limitation of competition, incessant technological progress accompanied by the ever-growing importance of fixed capital, and, last but not least, the undiminishing amplitude of recurrent business cycles – an unsurpassed series of prognostications fulfilled, against which modern economic theory with all its refinements has little to show indeed**.” Further the Marxian economist, Ernest Mandel: >.....Marx’s Capital appears as a giant compared to any subsequent or contemporary work of economic analysis. It was never intended as a handbook to help governments to solve such problems as balance-of-payments deficits, nor yet as a learned, if somewhat trite, explanation of all the exciting happenings in the market place when Mr Smith finds no buyer for the last of his 1,000 tons of iron\*\*. It was intended as an explanation of what would happen to labour, machinery, technology, the size of enterprises, the social structure of the population, the discontinuity of economic growth, and the relations between workers and work, as the capitalist mode of production unfolded all its terrifying potential. From that point of view, the achievement is truly impressive. It is precisely because of Marx’s capacity to discover the long-term laws of motion of the capitalist mode of production in its essence, irrespective of thousands of ‘impurities’ and of secondary aspects, that his long-term predictions – the laws of accumulation of capital, stepped-up technological progress, accelerated increase in the productivity and intensity of labour, growing concentration and centralization of capital, transformation of the great majority of economically active people into sellers of labour-power, declining rate of profit, increased rate of surplus value, periodically recurrent recessions, inevitable class struggle between Capital and Labour, increasing revolutionary attempts to overthrow capitalism – have been so strikingly confirmed by history\*\*." Further, you make incorrect assertions about what Marx wrote, without providing any citations and supporting quotes from Marx himself forcing one to think that you are here in bad faith as such is the degree to which you misrepresent and misinterpret Marx. >. Marx states that while supply and demand have an effect, they cancel out at the equilibrium price and so there must be some underlying source of exchange-value. Source? Marx never wrote this. What Marx has written is that the source of surplus value cannot in the sphere of exchange but has to lie in the sphere of production. >he claims that it cannot be Use-Value, as two objects can be the same price while having wildly different uses. He fails to apply this logic to Labor, merely saying that because it remains, it must be the source of Value. Marx never wrote this either. >Profit is proportional to the total amount of capital invested, not to the proportional amount of capital invested in labor. You are writing about the transformation problem, which you have thoroughly misunderstood. Transformation problem has been solved, first in a differing manner by Ladislaus Bortkiewicz, mentioned in Paul Sweezy's 1942 book, "theory of capitalist development" and then in a different and many people will say in amore satisfying manner by Andrew Kliman et al.


MagicalSnakePerson

Any theory worth any amount of respect must have evidence to support it. Marx argues that the exchange-value of an object comes from profit, variable capital (labor), and constant capital, right? He also argues that the profit comes from surplus value generated by the labor that the capitalist extracts, correct? Therefore, there must be a testable hypothesis we can use. What is this testable hypothesis? So those are interesting quotes from Leontief and Mandel, but what is the data that backs it up? Workers make more now (even accounting for inflation) than they did during Marx's time. We have seen all of these variables you mention change throughout history. They were correct during the Gilded Age, but then it changed. Post-1945 everything you mentioned moved in the absolute opposite direction. Where is the data/statistical analysis on this? Furthermore, why are these phenomena explained best through LTV? Source on Marx saying supply and demand cancel out, from Capital Volume 3: >If demand and supply balance each other they cease to act. If two forces act equally in opposite directions they cancel each other—they produce no result, and phenomena occurring under these conditions must be explained by some other agency than either of these forces. If supply and demand cancel each other they cease to explain anything, they do not affect the market value, and they leave us altogether in the dark as to the reasons why the market value should express itself in just this and no other sum of money So no I am not acting in bad faith. From Volume 1: >If then we abstract from the value in use of commodities, there remains to them only one common property, that of being products of labor. But even as products of labor they have already, by the very process of abstraction, undergone a change under our hands. For if we abstract from the value in use of a commodity, we at the same time abstract from the material constituents and forms which give it a value in use. It is no longer a table, or a house, or yarn, or any other useful thing. All its physical qualities have disappeared. Nor is it any longer the product of the labor of the carpenter, or the mason, or the spinner, or of any other particular productive industry. With the useful character of the labor products there disappears the useful character of the labors embodied in them, and there vanish also the different concrete forms of these labors. They are no longer distinguished from each other, but are all reduced to identical human labor—abstract human labor. > >Let us examine now the residuum. There is nothing but this ghostly objectivity, the mere cellular tissue of undistinguishable human labor, that is, of the output of human labor without regard to the form of the output. All that these things have now to show for themselves is that human labor has been expended in their production—that human labor has been stored up in them; and as crystals of this common social substance they are— values. I don't care about what Bortkiewicz figured out what Marx got wrong in his math. What I care about is concrete data showing the Labor Theory of Value to be correct. Bortkiewicz never provided extra data, just better math. That doesn't prevent the inherent problem I have with LTV.


pirateprentice27

>Any theory worth any amount of respect must have evidence to support it. That value is to be measured in socially necessary labour-time is not the directly testable hypotheses here just as length is to be measured in meter is not the testable hypothesis, but just as on the basis of measurements in length (m), time (s), etc. Newton was able to propose testable hypothesis, in the same way Marx is able to propose testable hypothesis which can be confirmed by data, for example the hypothesis that through concentration and centralisation tendencies larger firms will come to dominate; proletrianisation will increase the number of people working as wage-labourers; that capitalism will keep on suffering from periodic crises etc. >Workers make more now (even accounting for inflation) than they did during Marx's time. Marx never wrote that the workers will make less and neither did he propose the iron laws of wages misattributed to him. >but then it changed. Post-1945 everything you mentioned moved in the absolute opposite direction. What changed? Are you saying that market is dominated by smaller firms or that the number of wage-labourers is decreasing or that there are no periodic crises of overproduction/underconsumption? If yes, then you are proven to be wrong and Marx correct on the basis of empirical data. > So no I am not acting in bad faith. Then you rue still misinterpreting Marx. >If demand and supply .....just this and no other sum of money Marx is just writing that supply and demand can only explain the fluctuations around a particular magnitude of value but not why that particular magnitude obtains. For trying to understand why a particular price obtains and no other we have to take recourse to a theory not limited to supply and demand, i.e. LTV. >f then we abstract from the value in use of commodities, there remains to them only o.......human labor has been stored up in them; and as crystals of this common social substance they are— values. Marx is simply saying that what allows us to measure commodities on a single scale such that their price can be in terms of money is not their qualitatively heterogeneous use-values but that fact that they are products of labour. I don't see any problem with this at all. >What I care about is concrete data showing the Labor Theory of Value to be correct. The proof of correctness of LTV lies in the correct predictions about capitalism Marx is able to make with the LTV, which shows LTV to be correct.


MagicalSnakePerson

>That value is to be measured in socially necessary labour-time is not the directly testable hypotheses here just as length is to be measured in meter is not the testable hypothesis, but just as on the basis of measurements in length (m), time (s), etc. Newton was able to propose testable hypothesis, in the same way Marx is able to propose testable hypothesis which can be confirmed by data, for example the hypothesis that through concentration and centralisation tendencies larger firms will come to dominate; proletrianisation will increase the number of people working as wage-labourers; that capitalism will keep on suffering from periodic crises etc. Why not? Say I don't believe that value is to be measured in socially necessary labor-time, what is the data that can convince me? "Meter" and "second" have explicit definitions, but nothing says that you have to use "meter" and "second" to measure length and time. They're useful, but if I claim that density is a function of "second" I better have some data to back that up. Relationships between variables require evidence. >Marx never wrote that the workers will make less and neither did he propose the iron laws of wages misattributed to him. Karl Marx says this in the Communist Manifesto: >Simultaneously, this process draws members of the bourgeoisie and proletarians together into the great cities where industry can be carried on most profitably, and by thus throwing great masses in one spot it gives to the proletarians a consciousness of their own strength. Moreover, the further this process advances, the more new labor-saving machines are invented, the greater is the pressure exercised by big industry on wages, which, as we have seen, sink to their minimum and therewith render the condition of the proletariat increasingly unbearable. The growing dissatisfaction of the proletariat thus joins with its rising power to prepare a proletarian social revolution. He is pretty clearly predicting that wages will fall, which they objectively have not over two hundred or so years. >What changed? Are you saying that market is dominated by smaller firms or that the number of wage-labourers is decreasing or that there are no periodic crises of overproduction/underconsumption? If yes, then you are proven to be wrong and Marx correct on the basis of empirical data. Pay increased, access to education increased, taxes were higher, income inequality was lower. >Marx is just writing that supply and demand can only explain the fluctuations around a particular magnitude of value but not why that particular magnitude obtains. For trying to understand why a particular price obtains and no other we have to take recourse to a theory not limited to supply and demand, i.e. LTV. Yes and I disagree with that. Supply and Demand explain the price of an object, nothing else. It is all about how the Supply and Demand curves intersect and the other sections of the curve. It is bad reasoning to say things stop mattering when an equilibrium is reached. >Marx is simply saying that what allows us to measure commodities on a single scale such that their price can be in terms of money is not their qualitatively heterogeneous use-values but that fact that they are products of labour. I don't see any problem with this at all. My point is that he abstracted out the use-value when he could have done the exact same thing for the labor-value. "This house and this car sell for the same price despite clearly having different amounts of labor put into them, therefore Labor can't be the determining factor for value". That's the exact same argument that Marx makes for use-value except turned against labor. >The proof of correctness of LTV lies in the correct predictions about capitalism Marx is able to make with the LTV, which shows LTV to be correct. The key thing is that not *all* of its predictions are correct, and the ones it doesn't are pretty big. I could come up with an alternate theory of value that matches the same predictions as LTV but that wouldn't make it correct. It would need testable hypotheses that turn out to be correct.


pirateprentice27

>Why not? Say I don't believe that value is to be measured in socially necessary labor-time, what is the data that can convince me? "Meter" and "second" have explicit definitions, but nothing says that you have to use "meter" and "second" to measure length and time. They're useful, but if I claim that density is a function of "second" I better have some data to back that up. Relationships between variables require evidence. If you want to find evidence then collect data, and the data shows that the testable hypotheses -which Lenotief, Mandel and I have explicitly told you about- which Marx constructed on the basis of his units as dictated by LTV is true, thus, there is all the evidence you need. >He is pretty clearly predicting that wages will fall, which they objectively have not over two hundred or so years. No, he doesn't. What Marx says is the condition will become unbearable for the proletariat, which happens due to alienation which Marx has explained due to how the labour process becomes continuously filled with more drudgery for the proletariat due to capitalist division of labour; how unemployment and pauperism- here pauperism means having to rely upon government dole and charity- cause by technological advancement and recurrent crises due to which workers are repeatedly thrown out of employment becomes unbearable, along with a myriad other reasons. There is no mention of the iron law of wages or falling wages because Marx was explicitly against this position advocated by Ricardo and Lasalle. >Supply and Demand explain the price of an object, nothing else. It is all about how the Supply and Demand curves intersect and the other sections of the curve. But why do they intersect at a particular numerical magnitude and no other, for example why does the variation occur around a particular numerical range and no other. How with supply and demand will you derive that the price is x and not y, i.e. why do the curves intersect at a particular value and no other. Why is the price of diamonds much higher than water? Supply and demand alone cannot explain this and thus Marx writes what he wrote. >My point is that he abstracted out the use-value when he could have done the exact same thing for the labor-value. "This house and this car sell for the same price despite clearly having different amounts of labor put into them, therefore Labor can't be the determining factor for value". Nope, you have completely misunderstood what Marx is saying. Marx is saying that a commonality has to be established among objects, which allows it to be measured in a single scale, otherwise how do you measure qualitatively disparate and heterogenous objects like a car and a house on a single scale and then express the magnitude in money? The answer that they are both products of labour and thus it is labour which is being measured. >The key thing is that not all of its predictions are correct, and the ones it doesn't are pretty big Which "pretty big" predictions of Marx are untrue? Because Marx has been right about every single thing he wrote.


MagicalSnakePerson

>If you want to find evidence then collect data, and the data shows that the testable hypotheses -which Lenotief, Mandel and I have explicitly told you about- which Marx constructed on the basis of his units as dictated by LTV is true, thus, there is all the evidence you need. Show me this evidence, this evidence that is most consistent with the LTV. The data that would prove the LTV would be that profit is proportional to the amount of capital invested in labor. This is the central thesis of Marx, correct? >No, he doesn't. What Marx says is the condition will become unbearable for the proletariat, which happens due to alienation which Marx has explained due to how the labour process becomes continuously filled with more drudgery for the proletariat due to capitalist division of labour; how unemployment and pauperism- here pauperism means having to rely upon government dole and charity- cause by technological advancement and recurrent crises due to which workers are repeatedly thrown out of employment becomes unbearable, along with a myriad other reasons. There is no mention of the iron law of wages or falling wages because Marx was explicitly against this position advocated by Ricardo and Lasalle. I'm pretty sure you're just lying here, because the quote literally says: >wages, which, as we have seen, sink to their minimum He pretty clearly predicts a decrease. >But why do they intersect at a particular numerical magnitude and no other, for example why does the variation occur around a particular numerical range and no other. How with supply and demand will you derive that the price is x and not y, i.e. why do the curves intersect at a particular value and no other. Why is the price of diamonds much higher than water? Supply and demand alone cannot explain this and thus Marx writes what he wrote. Yes, supply and demand do explain that! Water is cheaper than diamonds because water is in higher supply than diamonds. Demand for both is rather high, but water has much higher supply. To see what I refer to and why the entire curve is relevant, this website is helpful: [https://www.econlowdown.org/supply-and-demand?module\_uid=120§ion\_uid=292&page\_num=7136&p=yes](https://www.econlowdown.org/supply-and-demand?module_uid=120§ion_uid=292&page_num=7136&p=yes) >Nope, you have completely misunderstood what Marx is saying. Marx is saying that a commonality has to be established among objects, which allows it to be measured in a single scale, otherwise how do you measure qualitatively disparate and heterogenous objects like a car and a house on a single scale and then express the magnitude in money? The answer that they are both products of labour and thus it is labour which is being measured. Now take that a step further. *Why is it labor?* They both have a utility to the consumer despite being qualitatively disparate and heterogenous, why not utility instead of labor? You can't just slap a "you have completely misunderstood Marx" at the start of every paragraph when you aren't expanding his thoughts out past his literal words. >Which "pretty big" predictions of Marx are untrue? Because Marx has been right about every single thing he wrote. Objects have not decreased in value even though less labor is being used in them. Wages have increased, quality of life has increased, availability to education has increased, socialist countries moved back to capitalism, and income inequality has not increased linearly.


pirateprentice27

>I'm pretty sure you're just lying here, because the quote literally says:wages, which, as we have seen, sink to their minimum It is becoming increasingly obvious that you have not read Marx at all and even then you are shamelessly castigating me for your ignorance. So I am just going to quote the entire section on Marx's theory of wages that Ernest Mandel wrote in his introduction to Capital volume 1: >**Strangely enough, the idea of an ever-increasing decline in the standard of living of the working class, which has often been falsely attributed to Marx, originated with those economists against whom he maintained a constant barrage of polemics after perfecting his own economic theories. It originated with Malthus and, via Ricardo, reached several socialists of Marx’s generation, such as Ferdinand Lassalle. Whether under the guise of a ‘stable wage fund’ or under the guise of an ‘iron law of wages’, it is essentially a population growth theory of wages.** Whenever wages rise sufficiently above the physiological minimum, labourers are supposed to have more children, who then in turn create large-scale unemployment and depress wages back to the minimum. > >The logical shortcomings of this theory are glaring. It examines only what happens on the supply side of labour-power; it does not examine at all what happens on the demand side. It presupposes that the potential working population is a linear function of population increase, and that the demographic movement is in turn a linear function of real income. All the intermediate links – like the effects of increases of income not only upon the child mortality rate but also upon birth rates, not to speak of the effects of increases of income and of the organized strength of the working class on the length of the working week, the duration of training and the moment of retiring from the work process – are eliminated from the chain of reasoning, thereby leading to wrong and indeed absurd results. > >“If one compares Marx’s own theory of wages to the opinions held by academic economists of his time, one sees at once the step forward which he accomplished. For he points out not only that labour-power, having been transformed by capitalism into a commodity, has a value which is objectively determined like the value of all other commodities, but also that the value of labour-power has a characteristic distinct from that of all other commodities – to wit that it is dependent on two elements: the physiological needs and the historical-moral needs of the working class. > >This distinction is closely linked with the peculiar nature of labour-power: a commodity inseparable from and integrated with human beings, who are not only endowed with muscles and a stomach, but also with consciousness, nerves, desires, hopes and potential rebelliousness. The physical capacity to work can be measured by the calory inputs that have to compensate losses of energy. But the willingness to work at a given rhythm, a given intensity, under given conditions, with a given equipment of higher and higher value and increasing vulnerability, presupposes a level of consumption which is not simply equivalent to a sum-total of calories, but is also a function of what is commonly considered by the working class to be its ‘current’, ‘habitual’ standard of living. > >Marx notes that these habitual standards differ greatly from country to country, and are generally higher in those countries which have an advanced, developed capitalist industry than in those which are still at pre-industrial levels, or are going through the throes of ‘primitive’ industrial capital accumulation. > >We thus reach an unexpected conclusion: according to this aspect of Marx’s work, real wages would actually have to be higher in more advanced capitalist countries – and therefore also in more advanced stages of capitalism – than in less developed countries. This would also imply that they would tend to increase in time, as the level of industrialization increases. On the other hand, we have noted earlier that Marx explained fluctuation of wages during the trade cycle, that is of the price and not of the value of labour-power, as being governed essentially by the movements of the industrial reserve army. Real wages would tend to increase in times of boom and full employment and to decline in times of depression and large-scale unemployment. He indicated, however, that there was nothing automatic about this movement, and that the actual class struggle – including trade-union action, which he considered indispensable for this very reason – was the instrument through which workers could take advantage of more favourable conditions on the ‘labour market’ somewhat to increase their wages, whereas the main effect of depression was that it would weaken the resistence of the working class to wage-cuts. > >But Marx stuck to his theory of value with regard to wages. Wages are the prices of the commodity labour-power. Like all other prices, they do not fluctuate at random, but around an axis which is the value of that commodity. The movements of wages that are influenced by the ups and downs of the trade cycle explain only short-term fluctuations: these have to be integrated within a wider analysis, explaining the long-term fluctuations of wages in function of the changes in the value of labour-power.


pirateprentice27

>We can thus formulate Marx’s theory of wages as an accumulation of capital wage theory, in opposition to the crude demographic wage theory of the Malthus–Ricardo–Lassalle school. Long-term movements of wages are a function of the accumulation of capital in a fivefold sense: > >– Accumulation of capital implies a decline in value of a given basket of consumer goods included in the given standard of living of the working class (with the given reproduction costs of labour-power). In this sense, the development of capitalism tends to depress the value of labour-power, all other things remaining equal. Let us repeat: such a decline in the value of labour-power does not imply a decline, but only a stability, of real wages. > >Accumulation of capital implies a decline in the value and an expansion of the output (mass production) of consumer goods previously not included in the reproduction costs of labour-power. If objective and subjective conditions are favourable, the working class can force the inclusion of these goods into the accepted minimum standard of living, can expand the ‘moral-historical’ component of the value of labour-power, thereby increasing its value. This again does not happen automatically, but essentially as a result of the class struggle. > > > >– Accumulation of capital will favour the increase in value of labour-power if the long-term structural supply of labour-power does not strongly exceed demand, or is even below demand. This explains why wages in the U.S.A. were from the beginning significantly higher than in Europe, why wages started rising significantly in the latter part of the nineteenth century in Europe as a result of massive overseas emigration of the reserve army of labour, and why persistent massive unemployment and underemployment in the underdeveloped countries has implied a te“ndentially declining value of labour-power (often even accompanied by declining real wages) in the last two decades. > > > >– Accumulation of capital forms the upper barrier which no increase in the value or the price of labour-power can break under capitalism. If and when the increase in the value of labour-power implies a strong decline in surplus-value, accumulation of capital slows down, large-scale unemployment reappears, and wages are ‘readjusted’ to a level compatible with capital accumulation. In other words, under capitalism, wages can fall to the point where the ‘historical-moral’ ingredient of the value of labour-power completely disappears, where they are actually reduced to the bare physiological minimum. They cannot rise to the point where the ‘his“torical-moral’ ingredient of the value of labour-power wipes out surplus-value as the source of capital accumulation. > > > >– Accumulation of capital implies increased exploitation of the workers, including an increased attrition of labour-power, especially through intensification of the production process. But this in turn implies the need for higher consumption just to reproduce labour-power even physiologically. So one can say that, in this sense, capitalism increases the value of labour-power by making its exploitation more intensive.66 One can especially find negative confirmation of this effect of the accumulation of capital on the value of labour-power. Once wages decline below a certain level (especially under the effects of wars or reactionary dictatorships), the productive effort of the workers will decline and labour-power will not be reconstituted to its full productive capacity, as a result of too low a level of wages. > > > >“How, then, has it been possible for so many writers, for so long, to have attributed to Marx a ‘theory of absolute impoverishment of the workers under capitalism’ which obviously implied a theory of tendential fall in the value not only of labour-power but even of real wages?67 **In the first place because Marx, in his youthful writings, did in fact hold such a theory – for example, in the Communist Manifesto.68 But this was formulated before he had brought his theoretical “understanding of the capitalist mode of production to its final, mature conclusion. It is only in the years 1857–8 that we have the birth of Marx’s economic theory in its rounded, consistent form. After he had written A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy and the Grundrisse, there was no longer a trace of any such historical trend towards absolute impoverishment in his economic analysis.**


MagicalSnakePerson

I hope you tell people not to use the Communist Manifesto, then. However, all that being said I know for a fact that even Real Wages have increased over time, not reach a stability as is claimed in the quote. People making the minimum wage now can afford more than before the minimum wage existed legally, for example.


pirateprentice27

>I hope you tell people not to use the Communist Manifesto, then. Only schmucks who like to pretend that they have read Marx, restrict themselves to a mere manifesto. I don't need tot ell this to anybody. >People making the minimum wage now can afford more than before the minimum wage existed legally, for example. Did people have to buy bottled water before due todestrcution of the environment? Or did people have access to the commons which have now been made into private property and thus, giving the illusion that real wages have significantly increased along with the resources the poor consume? Go read some books neoliberal schmuck.


MagicalSnakePerson

>Only schmucks who like to pretend that they have read Marx, restrict themselves to a mere manifesto. I don't need tot ell this to anybody Let's not kid ourselves, the Communist Manifesto is most peoples' interaction with Marx, >Did people have to buy bottled water before due todestrcution of the environment? Or did people have access to the commons which have now been made into private property and thus, giving the illusion that real wages have significantly increased? Go read some books neoliberal schmuck. Clean tap water is still very much accessible to people, and in fact more people have access to cheap, clean drinking water now than they did a hundred years ago.


pirateprentice27

Regardless of all your blather about data with the added implication of objectivity on your part, you are just a petit bourgeois schmuck lost in ideology who doesn't want to believe in the truth of Marxism.


pirateprentice27

>In the second place, because so many writers confuse Marx’s treatment of the value of labour-power (which depends upon the value of the consumer goods the worker buys with his wages) with the category of real wages (determined by the mass of consumer goods his wages buy). Under capitalism, given the constant increase in the productivity of labour, these categories can move in opposite directions. > >In the third place, because two famous passages in Capital Volume 1 have been consistently misinterpreted.70 In both these passages Marx does speak about ‘increasing misery’ and pauperism, and about ‘accumulation of misery’. But the context indicates clearly that what he is referring to is the poverty and misery of the ‘surplus population’, of the ‘Lazarus layer of the working class’, that is, of the unemployed or semi-employed poor. Revealing studies on poverty in rich countries like the United States and Great Britain71 have strikingly confirmed that the misery of these old-age pensioners, unemployed, sick, homeless, degraded or irregularly working lower layers of the proletariat is indeed a permanent feature of capitalism, including the capitalism of the ‘welfare state’. The truth is simply that in passages such as these Marx uses formulations that are ambiguous and so lend weight to confusion on the question. > >Does this mean that Marx did not formulate any theory of impoverishment of the working class, or that he made optimistic predictions about the general trend of working-class conditions under capitalism? This would of course be a complete paradox, in the light of what he wrote in Chapter 25 of Capital Volume 1. The point to be made is simply that this chapter – like all of Marx’s mature writings on this subject – is not concerned with movements of real wages at all, any more than the chapters on value are about movements of market prices of commodities other than the commodity labour-power. This is clearly indicated in the very passage in question by Marx’s statement that as capital accumulates the situation of workers becomes worse irrespective of whether their wages are high or low.”“What we in fact have here is a theory of a tendency towards relative impoverishment of the working class under capitalism in a double sense. Firstly, in the sense that productive workers tend to get a smaller part of the new value they produce: in other words there is a trend towards an increase in the rate of surplus-value. Secondly, in the sense that even when wages rise the needs of the workers as human beings are denied. This applies even to their additional consumer needs that grow out of the very increase in the productivity of labour which results from the accumulation of capital. One has only to think of the unfulfilled needs of workers in the fields of education, health, skill acquisition and differentiation, leisure, culture, housing, even in the richest capitalist countries of today, to see how this assumption remains accurate in spite of the so-called ‘consumer society’. But it applies much more to the needs of the worker as a producer and a “citizen – his need to develop a full personality, to become a rich and creative human being, etc.; these needs are brutally crushed by the tyranny of meaningless, mechanical, parcellized work, alienation of productive capacities and alienation of real human wealth.In addition to this law of general relative impoverishment of workers under capitalism, Marx also notes a trend towards periodic absolute impoverishment, essentially in function of the movement of unemployment. This is closely linked to the inevitability of cyclical fluctuations under capitalism, that is the inevitability of periodic crises of overproduction, or ‘recessions’ as they are called today with less provocative connotations.“There is also another aspect of Marx’s theory of wages over which, for almost a century, controversy has raged. This is the question of the different values of ‘skilled labour-power’ and ‘unskilled labour-power’ (whether related or not to the question of whether Marx gives a satisfactory explanation of the fact that, according to his labour theory of value, skilled labour produces more value in an hour of work than unskilled labour). Starting with Böhm-Bawerk, some critics have claimed to discover here one of the basic inconsistencies in Marx’s economic theory.73 For if the greater productivity, in value terms, of skilled as opposed to unskilled workers is a function of the higher wages of the former, are we not back at Adam Smith’s famous circular argument, in which the ‘price of labour’ determines the ‘natural price’ of goods but is in turn determined by the ‘natural price’ of one category of goods, so-called wage goods, that is food?But in fact Marx avoided such circular reasoning, contrary to what his critics mistakenly assume. He never explained the higher value content of an hour of skilled labour as compared to an hour of unskilled labour by the higher wages which skilled labour receives. “This higher content is explained strictly in terms of the labour theory of value, by the additional labour costs necessary for producing the skill, in which are also included the total costs of schooling spent on those who do not successfully conclude their studies.74 The higher value produced by an hour of skilled labour, as “compared to an hour of unskilled labour, results from the fact that skilled labour participates in the ‘total labour-power’ (Gesamtarbeitsvermögen) of society (or of a given branch of industry) not only with its own labour-power but also with a fraction of the labour-power necessary to produce its skill. In other words, each hour of skilled labour can be considered as an hour of unskilled labour multiplied by a coefficient dependent on this cost of scholling.75 Marx speaks in this context of ‘composite labour’ as against ‘simple labour’. The skill, by analogy, can be compared to an additional tool, which is in itself not value-producing, but which transfers part of its own value into the value of the product produced by the skilled worker.”


MagicalSnakePerson

Someone else being wrong doesn't convince me. He can quote Marx's other works but Marx's words in that section are quite clear. Furthermore, if skilled labor was equivalent to unskilled labor multiplied by a coefficient dependent on the cost of schooling, it would be impossible for people who go to school to earn more money over their lifetime than people who don't. We objectively know this to be the case, though.


pirateprentice27

> if skilled labor was equivalent to unskilled labor multiplied by a coefficient dependent on the cost of schooling, it would be impossible for people who go to school to earn more money over their lifetime than people who don't. No it will not be, since this is applicable only for wage labourers, besides, schooling means learning which an be done outside of schools.


MagicalSnakePerson

I don't follow. Why is the cost of schooling only relevant to wage laborers?


pirateprentice27

>The data that would prove the LTV would be that profit is proportional to the amount of capital invested in labor. This is the central thesis of Marx, correct? If you have to prove Marx wrong, then at least read his works. This isn't the central thesis and is far from it, because the rate of profit depends upon several factors including the rate of surplus extracted, which itrself depends upon the victory of class struggle waging trade unions and associations of capitalists, upon the stage in the business cycle, upon the state of technology in production, etc. >Yes, supply and demand do explain that! Nope it cannot, how are you going to derive the prices of commodities from just supply and demand, when the data for plotting those curves of supply and demand occurs after a price has been put forward in the market? >why not utility instead of labor? Because I cannot compare on any scale the utility I get from buying a show and a chair, as the use values are heterogenous. Moreover, as the economist Joan Robinson has pointed: >Utility is a metaphysical concept of impregnable circularity; utility is the quality in commodities that makes individuals want to buy them, and the fact that individuals want to buy commodities shows that they have utility.For the neo-classicals the utility of goods consumed by workers was no different from any other. The unconscious preoccupation behind the neo-classical system was chiefly to raise profits to the same level of moral respectability as wages. [https://www.taylorfrancis.com/chapters/mono/10.4324/9781351312486-3/neo-classics-utility-joan-robinson](https://www.taylorfrancis.com/chapters/mono/10.4324/9781351312486-3/neo-classics-utility-joan-robinson) >You can't just slap a "you have completely misunderstood Marx" at the start of every paragraph when you aren't expanding his thoughts out past his literal words. I can because I am being forced to do so by your incomprehension of anything Marx wrote because you haven't bothered to read him. >Objects have not decreased in value even though less labor is being used in them. Wages have increased, quality of life has increased, availability to education has increased, socialist countries moved back to capitalism, and income inequality has not increased linearly. This further shows that you have not understood a single thing Marx wrote.


MagicalSnakePerson

>If you have to prove Marx wrong, then at least read his works. This isn't the central thesis and is far from it, because the rate of profit depends upon several factors including the rate of surplus extracted, which itrself depends upon the victory of class struggle waging trade unions and associations of capitalists, upon the stage in the business cycle, upon the state of technology in production, etc. Sure, details are all in there but profit comes from surplus value taken from the laborer, correct? This is the issue you are trying to solve, yes? >Nope it cannot, how are you going to derive the prices of commodities from just supply and demand, when the data for plotting those curves of supply and demand occurs after a price has been put forward in the market? What are you even talking about? I could put hundreds of hours into smacking a paintbrush against a canvas. It will only sell if someone else wants to buy it. They will buy it for less if there's a bunch of those paintings out there. The price comes from what humans negotiate to pay for it, and those negotiations are influenced by how much of a good is present and how many people want it. I could spend hours crushing orange juice with my bare hands, but if I bring it to a market where all the orange juice has been squeezed by machines, I better be willing to sell it at the market price and not some higher price because of the labor put into it. This is Econ 101 stuff. A thing is worth what someone is willing to pay for it, that's the end-all be-all. >Because I cannot compare on any scale the utility I get from buying a show and a chair, as the use values are heterogenous. Moreover, as the economist Joan Robinson has pointed: But the labor-time is also heterogeneous! Different amounts of labor time were put into each object but they sell for the same price. I don't believe in a utility theory of value by the way so I won't defend it, my point is to show that the same logic that Marx uses against utility can be used against labor. Just because you can put two things on a scale in one dimension does not make it a valid variable. I could come up with a Weight Theory of Value if that was the case. Why not? >I can because I am being forced to do so by your incomprehension of anything Marx wrote because you haven't bothered to read him. Considering I had to quote Marx from like the first twenty pages of Capital at you, I'm gonna go ahead and assume you haven't really read him. >This further shows that you have not understood a single thing Marx wrote. Oh cool so that means you have some data, right?


pirateprentice27

>could put hundreds of hours into smacking a paintbrush against a canvas. It will only sell if someone else wants to buy it. They will buy it for less if there's a bunch of those paintings out there. Just to again cure you of your ignorance, LTV doesn't try to explain products traded for money which are not mass produced and for which the socially necessary labour time cannot be calculated. This includes Jackson pollock paintings, telecast of sporting events to books to porn. Moreover, in these cases IPR is involved which means the owners are extracting rent and not profit in the Marxist sense. >I could spend hours crushing orange juice with my bare hands, but if I bring it to a market where all the orange juice has been squeezed by machines, I better be willing to sell it at the market price and not some higher price because of the labor put into it. This is Econ 101 stuff. Yup, this also Marxism 101 stuff since magnitude of value depends upon the socially necessary labour time and not time needed by each individual producing unit. >But the labor-time is also heterogeneous! Different amounts of labor time were put into each object but they sell for the same price. I don't believe in a utility theory of value by the way so I won't defend it, my point is to show that the same logic that Marx uses against utility can be used against labor. Nope, as a matter of fact it cannot because the entire point is of the dual nature of commodities, of use value and exchange value, of concrete labour and abstract labour, the point being as to how the total labour time of society is divided amongst the socially recognised needs in a capitalist society. >I could come up with a Weight Theory of Value if that was the case. The economist, Paul Sweezy: >‘Every commodity,’ Marx wrote, ‘has a twofold aspect, that of use value and exchange value.’4 > >In possessing use value a commodity is in no way peculiar. Objects of human consumption in every age and in every form of society likewise possess use value. Use value is an expression of a certain relation between the consumer and the object con­sumed. **Political economy, on the other hand, is a social science of the relations between people. It follows that ‘use value as such lies outside the sphere of investigation of political econ­omy.’** 5 > >**Marx excluded use value (or, as it now would be called, ‘utility’) from the field of investigation of political economy on the ground that it does not directly embody a social relation. He enforces a strict requirement that the categories of economics must be social categories, i.e. categories which represent relations between people.** It is important to realize that this is in sharp contrast to the attitude of modern economic theory. As previ­ously noted, Lionel Robbins says—and in this he is merely formu­ lating the practice of all non-Marxian schools—‘W e regard \[the economic system\] as a series of interdependent but conceptually discrete relationships between men and economic goods' 8 From this starting point, it follows, of course, that use value or utility takes a central position among the categories of economics. But it should not be overlooked in any comparison of Marxian and orthodox economics that their respective starting points are in this respect diametrically opposed. Nor should it be made a matter of reproach against Marx that he failed to develop a sub­ jective value theory, since he consciously and deliberately dis­sociated himself from any attempt to do so. [https://monthlyreview.org/product/theory\_of\_capitalist\_development/](https://monthlyreview.org/product/theory_of_capitalist_development/) >Considering I had to quote Marx from like the first twenty pages of Capital at you, I'm gonna go ahead and assume you haven't really read him. You can go on and assume all and everything that you want, it just provides data about your impoverished analytical acuity.


MagicalSnakePerson

>Just to again cure you of your ignorance, LTV doesn't try to explain products traded for money which are not mass produced and for which the socially necessary labour time cannot be calculated. This includes Jackson pollock paintings, telecast of sporting events to books to porn. Moreover, in these cases IPR is involved which means the owners are extracting rent and not profit in the Marxist sense. Yes I'm well aware, it was used to illustrate a point. >Yup, this also Marxism 101 stuff since magnitude of value depends upon the socially necessary labour time and not time needed by each individual producing unit. Please tell me why the exchange value for an object is not equal to what someone is willing to pay for it. >Nope, as a matter of fact it cannot because the entire point is of the dual nature of commodities, of use value and exchange value, of concrete labour and abstract labour, the point being as to how the total labour time of society is divided amongst the socially recognised needs in a capitalist society. As an example, skilled labor and unskilled labor are not the same thing and requires physically different movement and objectively different knowledge. How is that not heterogeneous? >The economist, Paul Sweezy: I don't have a utility theory of value, but it seems quite a bit presumptuous to say that the utility of an object has nothing to do with a social relation. In fact, I would go so far as to say that the only objects with no social relation to their utility are those bare necessities for survival and which require a minimum of labor.


ahmfaegovan

I’m not going to pretend to be knowledgable enough in Marxist theory to answer your question, however I feel like you don’t understand supply and demand. Supply goes up in relation to demand, price goes down, demand goes up in relation to supply, price goes up. We can therefore establish that supply and demand are opposing forces in relation to price. If you have two opposing forces that are in equilibrium, they cancel each other out and can be ignored. For example, if I have a cube that is being pulled in exactly opposite directions, but with the same force, the cube doesn’t move. Does this make sense?


MagicalSnakePerson

My issue is that they very much cannot be ignored given your description. If a cube is pulled in equal and opposite directions, that doesn’t mean the forces no longer exist, simply that the cube isn’t accelerating. As for supply-demand curves, in the classic image we know of, when supply/demand increase or decrease you must move the entire line left or right so there is a new intersection point. The classic curve image was designed by a crazy person and it has stuck with us ever since


ahmfaegovan

But the forces *functionally* don’t exist. They are still there yes, but it ultimately doesn’t matter for any practical purpose. Think of it like balancing an equation in maths. You are correct, the intersection of the supply-demand curve does move, that intersection is the price. It can shift from ‘increased’ to ‘decreased’ as the supply-demand curve shifts, however there exists a point where the forces of supply and demand are in equilibrium, and therefore cannot be exerting any force on the price of something. When that occurs, there must be something ELSE producing the value which is where the idea that supply-demand isn’t enough to explain where value comes from.


RoyGeraldBillevue

>When that occurs, there must be something ELSE producing the value Why? I'm being pushed down by gravity and up by the ground. They cancel each other out. So I don't move. I remain where I am. I don't need anything else to keep me where I am. When the price is not moved, why should it not stay where it is. Does a stationary ball floating in space need a force to keep it there?


MagicalSnakePerson

That explanation doesn't make sense. Just because you personally don't think they functionally exist doesn't mean they stop existing. If you were to remove one force, the other will accelerate the box. It's not like balancing an equation in math, it's more like balancing a chemical reaction in chemistry where reactants and products move back and forth along the equation even during equilibrium.


ahmfaegovan

I’m sorry but this has nothing to do with my personal opinion, this is a well established principle that you will find everywhere, especially in maths. Two opposing things in equal measure cancel each other out. I believe you are missing an important part when considering the forces in play. They are in *opposition* to one another. To use your example of a chemical reaction, if we had a solution at pH 10 (an abundance of hydroxyl OH- groups) that had a funny smell, we could say “the smell is caused by the high pH.” To test this we could add an acidic solution (Abundance of H+ groups which act in *opposition* to the OH- groups) until the pH became 7 (neutral, where the H+ and OH- are in equilibrium). If the smell persists we can confidently assert that the smell is not caused by the pH of the solution. To go back to my analogy of the cube, it is still under the influence of forces, the ropes are still pulling at it even if it isn’t moving, but because they are in *opposition* to one another, they cancel each other out.


MagicalSnakePerson

This is a horribly-supported principle, and I don't mean to be an asshole but your chemical reaction example shows it. "Two opposing things in equal measure" do not cancel out, they merely result in a net change of 0. This is the fundamental principle you are missing here. At a pH of 10, with a high amount of OH- ions, which atoms are part of the OH- ions do not remain constant. Some H2O molecules will lose an H+ to an OH- group floating by and become an OH- group themselves. An OH- group will spontaneously pick up an H+ ion from an H2O and become H2O itself. This is dynamic equilibrium, and the constant amount of OH- ions comes from the fact that the equation is working in both directions at the same time. To put it another way, if you put this same cube on the ground it is pulled down by gravity but pushed up with an equal Normal Force by the ground. Does it no longer have weight even though it's not moving? As to how Supply and Demand interact, this website has a handy demonstration of why the *entirety* of the curve is relevant: https://www.econlowdown.org/supply-and-demand?module\_uid=120§ion\_uid=292&page\_num=7136&p=yes


ahmfaegovan

Weight is the measure of gravity’s effect on an object so.... yes if you measure one of the forces... you’ll get a result equal to the force. I’m sorry this is so difficult for you to understand that opposing forces in equal measure cancel each other out. It really is quite a universally agreed concept. Ok so you seem to have completely misunderstood the pH analogy so here’s another example, if you are driving a car at 20mph and launch a ball in the exact opposite direction at 20mph, the ball will have a velocity of 0mph. The forward and backward forces have cancelled each other out resulting in a net velocity of 0. Your source seems to define equilibrium as an intersection between two points... which is unusual seeming as equilibrium is actually defined as a state in which opposing forces are balanced. The intersection point is not an equilibrium if the two forces are not balanced. I think this is the core of the misunderstanding, that your source is using the term “equilibrium” incorrectly misleading you as to what the term means.


nacnud_uk

The exact point is immaterial though. It doesn't have to be defined. It is enough to know that there has to be an equilibrium to understand the process. No one is suggesting that supply and demand go away, in fact, that the commodity exists, and has a social exchange value, implicitly implies that the forces are still there.


mtz9444

Two forces equal in strength but opposed can be ignored when the state is maintained, but that does not mean they are not there anymore. They still exist, as they are the reason for that particular equilibrium. If the 2 forces pull against the ice cube hard enough, it will break. The cube is not moving, but it is clearly affected by the 2 forces. This is not a situation like the equation x + 2 = y + 2 op is talking about, which would be equivalent to x = y.


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MagicalSnakePerson

I am asking for evidence because I don't see any. I have the counter-arguments in mind, but I thought I was upfront about my apprehensions. You can't just claim "misunderstanding" for anyone who has a criticism, man. Let me put it this way: A craftsman carves a piece of stone for one hour and he gets paid 50 dollars. A man with a hammer smashes the stone for one hour, making gravel needed for a road, and he gets paid 1 dollar. They applied the same amount of labor time to it. Why is the labor of the craftsman worth 50 dollars but the labor of the hammer-man only worth 1 dollar? What is the equation to convert from skilled to unskilled labor in this scenario? Supply and Demand citation, from Volume 3: >If demand and supply balance each other they cease to act. If two forces act equally in opposite directions they cancel each other—they produce no result, and phenomena occurring under these conditions must be explained by some other agency than either of these forces. If supply and demand cancel each other they cease to explain anything, they do not affect the market value, and they leave us altogether in the dark as to the reasons why the market value should express itself in just this and no other sum of money. Marx extracting out other possibilities for Labor being the source of value, from Volume 1: >If then we abstract from the value in use of commodities, there remains to them only one common property, that of being products of labor. But even as products of labor they have already, by the very process of abstraction, undergone a change under our hands. For if we abstract from the value in use of a commodity, we at the same time abstract from the material constituents and forms which give it a value in use. It is no longer a table, or a house, or yarn, or any other useful thing. All its physical qualities have disappeared. Nor is it any longer the product of the labor of the carpenter, or the mason, or the spinner, or of any other particular productive industry. With the useful character of the labor products there disappears the useful character of the labors embodied in them, and there vanish also the different concrete forms of these labors. They are no longer distinguished from each other, but are all reduced to identical human labor—abstract human labor. > >Let us examine now the residuum. There is nothing but this ghostly objectivity, the mere cellular tissue of undistinguishable human labor, that is, of the output of human labor without regard to the form of the output. All that these things have now to show for themselves is that human labor has been expended in their production—that human labor has been stored up in them; and as crystals of this common social substance they are— values. Are you serious with the "self-evident" argument? That's insufficient evidence. Obviously if everyone stopped working the country would fall apart. What if every piece of constant capital (like machines and factories) also stopped working? That would also make a country fall apart. I just want independent data supporting the LTV, not Marx claiming that science supports it.


Blurrium

\> The entire career of Paul Dickblast consist in modifying the theory of value. ​ After the release of "Laws of Chaos" by Farjoun and Machover, it became evident that Marx's production prices hinged off of a flawed assumption, that Marx inherited from earlier classical economists. There is nothing wrong with modifying aspects of the law of value that Marx only tacked on in the third volume, if they contradict empirical reality. ​ \> Just ignore them. ​ In favour of who? Kliman? Give me a break. I'm not absorbing that nonsense. ​ \> Plus, his "empirical proofs" have been questioned (if not debunked) by other communists. ​ Questioned by Kliman and Nitzan + Bichler. Those "questionings" are directly flawed. After examining them, I flipped from being a Klimanite. I'd be willing to discuss them with you in direct messages. ​ The empirical studies have quantified the association between industry outputs in price terms P and in terms of labour value V. Aggregation of commodity bundles will indeed increase the empirical association between P and V, so the higher resolution (more industry sectors) in a study the better the study. ​ But that is not Kliman's understanding. ​ 1. Kliman thinks that one should "adjust" for some notion of "size". He fails to note that ratios of price/value are invariant to size. The distribution of price/value ratios remains the same and studying its dispersion is informative of association. ​ 2. Kliman claims, if the relation were "non-spurious" then we should see a similar positive association after adjusting P and V by industry costs C. But is this true? ​ Specifically: ​ \-------------------------- Take the logarithms of the variables: p = log P v = log V c = log C and let the adjusted prices and values be denoted as: p' = p - c v' = v - c If LTV were correct, Kliman believes, the positive association between p and v should persist under cost adjustment. Using the covariance, this means: Cov\[ p , v \] > 0 => Cov\[ p', v' \] > 0 Kliman claims that if this does not hold, we must reject LTV. But do correlations actually persist as Kliman believes? Let's check: Cov\[ p', v' \] = Cov\[ p - c, v - c \] = Cov\[ p, v \] + Var\[ c \] – Cov\[p,c\] – Cov\[v,c\] The first term is positive by Kliman's assumption and the second term is nonnegative by definition. That leaves us with the final terms which have a negative sign. Since both price and value are positively correlated with costs, these terms will necessarily reduce any positive correlation. Thus while Cov\[ p, v \] is positive, a negative Cov\[ p', v' \] is a result that is entirely consistent with LTV! So Kliman's belief is false, but persists because he can fool his readers and possibly himself. \-------------------------- ​ 3. Kliman believes one has to adjust adjust for costs C, but fails to grasp that costs are mediating variables on the hypothesized causal path from V to P. Any student of causal inference knows adjusting for a mediating variable destroys the causal effect estimate of interest.


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MagicalSnakePerson

My problem is that I reject the notion that socially necessary labor time defines value without data to support it. My position is that value is purely what someone is willing to give for a good or service, and that what determines how much of a product gets made is determined by the accessibility of natural resources and how much people want that product.


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MagicalSnakePerson

A theory that cannot be proven with empirical results is one not worth considering. I fundamentally disagree that commodities enter the market with a definite price, this doesn't account for products sold at a loss or products that have to adjust their price once they've been released or even products that are expensive to make but no one wants.


blue-flight

The economist Paul Cockshott has a video on that showing real world data from several countries. https://youtu.be/emnYMfjYh1Q


MagicalSnakePerson

I'll have to give it a watch, but I have to thank you for being the first person in this thread to supply what I'm looking for. EDIT: My problem with the data in this video is that this demonstrates a correlation, not a causation. It also makes sense that the more an industry generates in outputs, the larger it is, and so the more people it hires.


blue-flight

Yes that does makes sense and that's because it shows that the labor creates the value. If that wasn't the case you'd have the dots all over the place with less labor intensive industries higher than more labor intensive. The fact that it correlates so highly in so many industries and countries is extremely relevant.


MagicalSnakePerson

We would have to compare this graph to one showing the total amount of resources put into each industry. My point is always that labor is a facet of value, not the sole determiner.


Blurrium

Yeah except alternative value bases do not correlate. This "correlation" is a phenomena exclusive to labour. If the confounder were to be size, you'd have to explain why it only blasts correlation upwards for labour and not for example, energy used etc.


MagicalSnakePerson

Well that's my issue, I'm not presented anything besides the data on labor.


Blurrium

Google "Labour value and equalisation of profit rates: a multi-country study - Dave Zachariah 2005"


MagicalSnakePerson

I did, and I would have to look further into the journal it was published in, but it tells us nothing new. I'm glad it says that labor is more predictive of price than "production prices" but no bourgeois economist would disagree with the notion that labor contributes to prices. My problem with Marx is his argument that labor is the *sole* predictor of value.