The Real Movement

Communism is free time and nothing else!

Month: June, 2018

I have begun work on a guide for activists interested in the complete abolition of wage slavery

Those who are interested can access the text on Google Docs here: “Getting beyond “radical political change”. Comments and suggestions on the text are appreciated.

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Just to be absolutely clear on why hours of labor has continued to grow …

Excerpt from President Truman’s State of the Union Address in 1951:

The size of the present targets for national security programs is not sufficiently great to call for an all-out labor effort of the peak World War II magnitude, nor to give absolute guides as to the extent to which we should seek to draw into the labor force additional people beyond those who would enter on the basis of normal population growth. Nor is the extent to which we should rely on lengthened working hours, as an alternative to expansion of numbers, determined in the present situation. If, however, our national security programs are to be fulfilled, and if, in addition, we are to increase our productive strength and maintain civilian consumption at reasonable levels, it is clear that a labor input substantially above the level of the past few years will be required. (My emphasis)

Any goddamn Marxist academic who pretends it is some sort of mystery why wage slavery continues to grow today clearly is a charlatan or worse — a knowing or ignorant agent of the fascist state. People who are unfamiliar with Truman’s argument have nothing to add to the discussion. They either have not done their homework or are trying to bury history.

David Spencer spreads more academic myths about why wage slavery continues to grow

A new academic monograph on the problem of labor time and its stubborn growth despite the tendency toward technological unemployment that is inherent in capital has been posted on Reddit. The paper is, Fear and hope in an age of mass automation, by David A. Spencer. Spencer argues that,

“[Work] will likely persist, despite and indeed because of the wider use of new technology. The threat to workers from technology is seen to come more from the erosion in the quality of work than from the loss of work. The paper argues that a better future for work and workers ultimately depends on broader changes in ownership.

Work is what Spencer calls wage slavery — apparently chosen for its neutral, even ambiguous meaning. Can’t call it wage slavery, now can we?

Spencer argues the Keynes got it wrong: the constant improvement on the productivity of social labor — Spencer cites studies that estimate labor today is 15 to 18 times more productive than in the mid-18th century — is leading not to the end of wage slavery as Keynes predicted, but to increasingly repulsive employment conditions and a longer working day. Spencer attributes this paradox to two factors: consumerism and declining worker bargaining power.

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Some remarks on Pecunity’s “Rejoinder” on the one commodity model

Another blogger, who goes by the pen name of Pecunity, recently took issue with me on my discussion of the so-called one commodity model in a blog post, “Rejoinder to the Real Movement’s Critique of Sraffa”.

He finds my discussion to be sloppy, to say the least, and most of all wildly wrong.

Let me say at the outset, my discussion may indeed have been sloppy and wrong, however, in my defense, I was trying to highlight issues that I think are relevant to a host of problems that can all be gathered together under the subject of the so-called transformation problem.

—– begin snoozing here —–

I think the transformation problem is extremely important, because, when properly understood, it can be shown that, for Marx’s labor theory of value, this problem predicts the eventual collapse of the capitalist mode of production.

A lot is hanging on any reading of Marx in relation to this issue, as should be obvious.

Marx’s approach to the problem of how labor values are converted into capitalist prices of production is very controversial. Even apart from the claim that Marx made substantial mistakes in his actual exposition, many claim he fundamentally flubbed the answer with his approach.

Bohm-Bawerk, for instance, was the first to claim Marx basically threw out volume one of Capital as he began to describe the process of conversion of labor values into capitalist prices of production in volume three. Others have made similar allegations of inconsistency against Marx. Still others have tried, through various methodologies, to reproduce Marx’s results through arguments which, in my opinion, significantly differ from Marx’s core argument.

The problem in large part shared by all of these efforts for or against Marx’s approach is that they all seem to agree Marx was trying to ‘solve’ the problem of how labor values are converted into prices. It is my contention that Marx was actually trying to show why labor values could not be converted into capitalist prices of production. What Marx was trying to show, I contend, is that capitalist prices of production inevitably lead to the complete collapse of capitalism — to the breakdown of production based on exchange (labor) value.

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“We’ll get back to you on that later.” –Benanev and Clegg

This is the final part of this series. I know you are as happy to hear this as I am to say it. I want nothing more than to put these unethical charlatans behind me.

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How the geniuses at Endnotes buried the critical role of the state and crippled the argument for communization

In the next two sections of their essay, titled, respectively, Surplus Populations Under Deindustrialisation and Surplus Capital Alongside Surplus Populations, Benanev and Clegg must now explain how technological unemployment did not lead to the collapse of wage slavery as Keynes predicted. They have to show, why, despite growing surplus capital and a growing surplus population of workers, capital still managed to create hundreds of millions of new wage jobs world wide after 1973. Somehow we have to get a mass of excess capital and a mass of technologically unemployed workers to combine into millions of shiny new fast-food jobs and favelas.

Simple enough, right?

I thought so too. So, imagine my shock when, having not yet even begun to offer us an explanation, Benanev and Clegg summarily throw in the towel and tell us,

“Unfortunately we will be able to do little more that touch on this subject matter here, leaving a more extended treatment to Endnotes no.3.”

I was so disappointed.

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