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twc
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Michel Luc Bellemare wrote:

  1. The SPGB Forum claims that structural-anarchism economics is linked to the currency-crank economists who believe that value can be created out of thin-air by the central banks, etc.

  2. I claim it is founded on the same ground as Marxist economics, namely, labor-power, or “more specifically and more broadly speaking” upon creative-power.

    [twc: Consequently he is actually claiming that it is founded on different grounds from Marxist economics]

  3. The ruling enterprising-networks of capitalism establish values, prices and wages arbitrarily.

    [twc: Consequently he is actually claiming that the central banks, etc. create value out of thin air].

So Michel Luc Bellemare rebuts the SPGB Forum by affirming the SPGB Forum!

Such blindspot delusion betrays the crank who neither detects nor prevents himself contradicting himself to save himself.

Bellemare wants to base economics, “more broadly” than Marx, upon creative-power.

The virtue of creative-power as value is that it is unquantifiable.  It is value that has no value, that lacks value, that is valueless.

As a foundation for comprehending a social mode of production, nebulous creative-power is indistinguishable from “central banking thin-air”.  It cannot support a social system in the way that quantifiably expended labour-power is inescapably condemned by natural necessity to.  At most creative-power can only found non-economics.

Any imaginative talent can create the fiction it seeks, by any means he/she “theoretically” desires, upon the rock-solid [sic] foundation of valueless value.

The appropriate way for any talent to proceed “theoretically” with the rarefied thin-air of creative-power is by expending equally rarefied hot-air on it — the vaporific literary drivel that Marx spent his entire scientific life opposing.

Forget Bellemare’s vapid creative-power for unravelling the complexities and the constraints upon the capitalist class’s carve up of the surplus-value it extracts from the working class.

Let Bellemare first demonstrate that he can tackle some difficult economic problem and provide a uniquely creative-power based non-obvious solution.

Until then his unquantifiable creative-power “economics” rightly languishes as a virginal fantasy — pristinely crank economics grounded in its author’s creative imagination.

Steve-SanFranci...
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twc wrote:

Michel Luc Bellemare wrote:

  1. The SPGB Forum claims that structural-anarchism economics is linked to the currency-crank economists who believe that value can be created out of thin-air by the central banks, etc.

  2. I claim it is founded on the same ground as Marxist economics, namely, labor-power, or “more specifically and more broadly speaking” upon creative-power.

    [twc: Consequently he is actually claiming that it is founded on different grounds from Marxist economics]

  3. The ruling enterprising-networks of capitalism establish values, prices and wages arbitrarily.

    [twc: Consequently he is actually claiming that the central banks, etc. create value out of thin air].

So Michel Luc Bellemare rebuts the SPGB Forum by affirming the SPGB Forum!

Such blindspot delusion betrays the crank who neither detects nor prevents himself contradicting himself to save himself.

Bellemare wants to base economics, “more broadly” than Marx, upon creative-power.

The virtue of creative-power as value is that it is unquantifiable.  It is value that has no value, that lacks value, that is valueless.

As a foundation for comprehending a social mode of production, nebulous creative-power is indistinguishable from “central banking thin-air”.  It cannot support a social system in the way that quantifiably expended labour-power is inescapably condemned by natural necessity to.  At most creative-power can only found non-economics.

Any imaginative talent can create the fiction it seeks, by any means he/she “theoretically” desires, upon the rock-solid [sic] foundation of valueless value.

The appropriate way for any talent to proceed “theoretically” with the rarefied thin-air of creative-power is by expending equally rarefied hot-air on it — the vaporific literary drivel that Marx spent his entire scientific life opposing.

Forget Bellemare’s vapid creative-power for unravelling the complexities and the constraints upon the capitalist class’s carve up of the surplus-value it extracts from the working class.

Let Bellemare first demonstrate that he can tackle some difficult economic problem and provide a uniquely creative-power based non-obvious solution.

Until then his unquantifiable creative-power “economics” rightly languishes as a virginal fantasy — pristinely crank economics grounded in its author’s creative imagination.

somehow that seems relevant to a project I'm working on I'm called "the hours equals price project". It's basically a sliding scale price tag that charges more to rich people than to poor people.  One hour of your personal time is used as a unit of measure and if you make more then a  1 hOursEqualsPrice charge on a coffee and bagel then you pay more or less based on your hourly wage or anual income or wealth.  Surprisingly this makes money for the retailer in many markets, but it's underused in comercial business because it's inconveneint to charge a sliding scale price for something like a coffee at starbucks.  Miy project is to make it convenient and ubuiquitious to buy things on a sliding scale and expand into many more markets.  Effectively the maximum theoretical result wouild be 50% of all economic transactions wouild be made in hOursEqualsPrice.coin and I think it changes the nature of capitalism price competition sufficient to warrant a socialist critique and attention.  

My project is an out of the box idea and considered crank money by a lot of people and I almost get banned for promoting it here. BUT if any of you see the similarities to my project and the one you are discussed I invite you to find out more by watching a 10 minute slideshow and filling out a 5 minute reader response interview survey to get started learning more about my all volunteer and 100% open to the public project I'm promoting to the public at hackathons.  if that sort of thing seems worth discussing and looking at then I appreciate your time and please don't block me for a solicitation of your opinions and on a topic relevant to you and this discussion.  https://goo.gl/forms/twXR4Tj4QwNzwaa13 

moderator1
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Reminder: 3. Do not use the forums to send spam, advertisements, charitable appeals, solicitations, or other messages primarily intended to promote a particular product, service, campaign, website, organisation, venture, or event, unless it is relevant to the SPGB or its companion parties, without first obtaining permission from the moderators.

gnome
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We may soon be hearing from the man himself now that Michel Luc Bellemare has joined this forum...  smiley

alanjjohnstone
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In that case, gnome, I look forward to a comradely and constructive exchange and also hope that it is conducted in a manner that i might follow and understand. (People on the forum know i am not the brightest of sparks when it comes to the intricacies of Marxian economics and philosophy) 

I think we should also understand that many writers do not know or share our own tradition and history and may have reached their particular destination by a different route and collected their own baggage on that journey. It doesn't necessarily mean we are enemies, just in a disagreement that could be resolved.

"I have no country to fight for; my country is the Earth, and I am a citizen of the World." - Eugene V. Debs

twc
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Alan, I respect your intention.

However, I write in conformance with our Declaration of Principles in pursuit of our Object.

I embrace Clause 7, and do not embrace “alleged labour or avowedly capitalist” opponents.

It is impossible for a Socialist to “resolve” [= get mutual agreement on] Socialism with someone who disagrees with our Declaration of Principles and Object.

It is impossible to demand that others will always “follow and understand discussion”, even with personal effort.

In honouring your intention, I submit to the Forum moderator in conformance with Forum rules.  In return I expect not to chafe under personal micromanagement in an open Forum.

moderator1
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twc wrote:

 

In honouring your intention, I submit to the Forum moderator in conformance with Forum rules.  In return I expect not to chafe under personal micromanagement in an open Forum.

Would appreciate what you actually mean in regards to micromanagement.  Some examples would help where I've indulged in 'micromanagement'.

MBellemare
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I was not planning on joining this forum, but, I certainly welcome the debate as it is a debate that should be had so as to move radical critique forward, healthy debate is crucial to the revolution. Many of the clarifications some of you asked for are outlined in previous articles found on the dissident voice site. I have been writing about this for a while. You can also pick up The Structural-Anarchism Manifesto as well to get to the heart of the matter. So I'll leave it up to you, comrades, to fill some of the blanks. I will also put my e-mail address up for further clarification: atelier.avantgarde@hotmail.ca.  Don't shoot the messenger. I have a theory that's all. I will comment a little on creative-power. Much of what is going on pertaining to value, price and wage in post-modernity, i.e., post-industrial, post-modern bourgeois-state-capitalism, is transpiring outside or beyond the Marxist definition labor-power and law of value (to me, that's the problem in a nutshell).

Here are some of these economies and some thoughts of where I am in my thinking:

1. The Art-world, completely operates outside the bounds of labor-power and Marxist economics. And I quote Andy Warhol, although I am not a fan of Warhol, he is correct on this point "Its not how much labor that goes into artifact/aesthetic-commodity that determines its value/price, it is how much you can get for it!". I can place a useless object with absolutely no value whatsoever, completely damaged or rusted out etc., in a well-connected gallery and if I can convince a patron or collector that this is a significant art-piece and worth 1 million, presto! you have a sale of a useless object, with little to no labor-time involved, now fetching 1 million on the art market. This is not fashioning value out of thin air. It is fashioning value in and through conceptual-perception, "creatively". (There are many other forms of profiteering out there like this.) 

2. The same scenario and logic applies to CEO salaries, Sport-Star salaries, Reality-Star salaries etc., their value/price/wage have nothing to do with "quantifiable labor-time expended within the production process". It has everything to do with the networks they belong to, the conceptual and material networks of power. To quote, an important saying of mine, "whatever one can get away with in the market-place" is valid and legitimate. When it comes to value, price and wage, if you or your network have the power to back up, artificially fabricated values, prices and wages, then it becomes normalized over an extended period of time and space, through routine. Sport stars exist in an oligarchical, highly-controlled-market, where competition is very lax between clubs, i.e., there is an oligarchical network controlling the sport, while competition is fierce between players. I cannot start a club in any city, I cannot move a club where there is already one in place, unless I get approval from the league, i.e., the oligarchical network, etc. The rules are endless, nonetheless, through these rules professional sports artificially fabricates an oligarchy with highly inflated, highly obscene, highly arbitrary wages, prices and values, that have nothing to do with labor-time or labor-power and everything to do with conceptual-perception, namely, creativity in maximizing profits. People are conditioned, both materially and conceptually, via media, and other enterprising-networks/social relations to flock to sport stadiums to pay exaggerated commodity-prices, to support exaggerated wages, concerning a completely useless set of activities, that if abolished, wouldn't change a thing. The reason is that these artificially fabricated pseudo-economies produce nothing but useless empty-spectacle. These types of pseudo-economies, which are now almost everywhere, are outside the traditional Marxist factory and theory, and operate based on much that is (unquantifiable), subjective, artificial and most importantly, arbitrary. If the league gets together at its annual meeting and decides to charge 15 dollars extra for tickets or 15 dollars for a beer etc., (which happens with hockey in Canada and North America) then this has nothing to do with socially necessary labor-time and everything to do with "what one can get away with" in a sphere of production and consumption. In a post-industrial, post-modern socio-economic formation, like neoliberal-state-capitalism, power and control are paramount in determining value, price and wage, and when this is the case, everything is skewed, slippery and arbitrary, subjective, artificially fabricated. That is, all the conditions, the old post-modernists have been describing in language have come to infect and have infected economics, and the economy, for better or worst. Consequently, the fount of value is not per say strict scientific quantifiable labor-power/labor-time, although this has not totally gone away, it is, in my estimation, creative-power, a fount that is both quantifiable and unquantifiable. For example, you cannot put a scientifically measured value on "networking", being well-connected, being born in a wealthy family etc. If I marry the US presidents daughter and as a result, have the president's ear, I can have an enormous amount of influence on policy, that, in turn, influences/determines value, price, wage and profits in a particular sphere of production and consumption down the line. And if I am influencing value, price, wage and profits down the line, thus I am involved in the manufacturing of surplus value, a type of manufacturing beyond the factory floor, that is unquantifiable and creative, such is, creative-power, a power greater than yet encompassing labor-time.       

(The only thing unifying these post-industrial, post-modern economies and wacky phenomena is the logic of capitalism, to maximize profit by any means necessary, at the lowest financial cost, as soon as possible.)    

3. I also describe two trends happening across the post-industrial, post-modern economy, 1. The cutting of production costs to increasingly new lows. 2. The raising of prices, pertaining to these specific commodities, within a specific sphere of production.The result is increasing debt for commodities our parents and grandparents could pay outright and the result is ever-increasing financial inequality. I mention two, Apple and the Car industry. Apple wants to cut production costs, thus they move their factory to china etc., pay less for workers etc., (Marx is in accord). Apple then sells these cheap products for exaggerated sums in North America, because they operate in a closed-economy and sphere of production, a type of oligarchy, where they and their competitors, which are not in my estimation competitors but friendly jousters, agree (wink wink, at arm's length) to sell according to a certain similar range of prices, which every year or so, magically rise, across the board (the same applies to insurances, bank rates, mortgage rates etc.), due to the fact that all companies must maximize profit by any means necessary. Via a closed-economy and/or sphere of production, shared among a select few, competition is pushed to periphery and down to the grassroots of the specific closed-economy/sphere of production, where the global working class is located and at war with each other for jobs, better living conditions, human rights etc.  Contrary to Neoliberals, we do not live in free markets, where everyone gets an equal kick at the can, markets are highly controlled affairs, value, price and wage are highly controlled machinated affairs. Economic laws hide the backroom machinations, behind, a seemingly unbiased, invisible hand that somehow always bestows its favor on the same select few. Financial inequality is not the product of any invisible-hand or economic law, i.e., law of value, it is the product of people in positions of power, exercising their creative-power, both material and conceptual, based on the fundamental imperative of capitalism, "to maximize profit by any means necessary, at the lowest financial cost, as soon as possible". All sort of economic gimmicks spring from this because if an entity, human or otherwise, can fashion a closed-economy/sphere of production, they can set prices, values and wages whereever they like. It has nothing to and/or very little to do with labor-time expenditures in production. It has to do with what conceptual-perceptions of the public are, what they are willing to live with. And as we know, the general public can tolerate a lot of shady stuff, maybe indefinately.   

4. We are stuck between the chicken and the egg. Does value create price ( I think Marx might be situated here)  or price create value (Crank economists)? Marx agreed that price could create value, although he theorized that this was an exception. I am inclined to state within the arrival of post-industrialism, post-modernism that increasingly mechanisms and networks of power, both conceptual and material, are fashioning price, value and wage, not out of nothing (like crank economists) but out of creative-power, i.e., the ability to set price, value and wage and sustain these artificially fabricated values, prices and wages over an extended period of time and space, via powerful networks both conceptual networks and material networks. Marx, stated that the connection between value and price was an ideal one, meaning it was localized in the mind (I state exactly where in a prior DV article). I have followed Marx's logic and I took the next logical step that price, value and wage is based on conceptual-perception and moreover a ruling ideational comprehensive framework, or a ruling ideology, i.e., how an ideology defines reality, favors certain phenomena over others etc., how ideology is produced, reproduced and functions at all levels of human existence to fashion a bias framework of comprehension and understanding, both to what constitutes value, price and wage, including what constitutes labor-time, productive and unproductive labor etc. The concept of creative-power both acknowledged Marx's concept of labor-power, and humans as the producers of their social existence and, broadly speaking, the many unquantifiable energy expenditures that cannot be measures, such as creative-innovation, art making, networking, control, oligarchy, child rearing etc., whereupon one cannot scientifically measure the quanta of influence. Creative-power gets radical economic theory out of certain theoretical jams, without falling into the crank economist trap, and explains certain economic phenomena, which can be considered post-industrial and post-modern.

It a useful concept in the end and I believe one that is in full operation within everyday life:

Michel Luc Bellemare Ph.d.  

robbo203
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Hi Michel, Welcome to the forum.  Here are few random thoughts in response to your post

 

MBellemare wrote:

 

1. The Art-world, completely operates outside the bounds of labor-power and Marxist economics. And I quote Andy Warhol, although I am not a fan of Warhol, he is correct on this point "Its not how much labor that goes into artifact/aesthetic-commodity that determines its value/price, it is how much you can get for it!". I can place a useless object with absolutely no value whatsoever, completely damaged or rusted out etc., in a well-connected gallery and if I can convince a patron or collector that this is a significant art-piece and worth 1 million, presto! you have a sale of a useless object, with little to no labor-time involved, now fetching 1 million on the art market. This is not fashioning value out of thin air. It is fashioning value in and through conceptual-perception, "creatively". (There are many other forms of profiteering out there like this.) 

You make a valid point but the point that you are making has to with those exceptions that prove the rule.  An original Warhol work of art is not strictly a commodity in the Marxian sense since it is not reproducible. Certainly, it can be bought and sold and at a price some would say is totally out of proportion to the effort put into making it but even so, you cannot really talk of it being a commodity.  Marxian value or socially necessary labour time would not be applicable here since this refers to a sort of industry wide average whereas the work of art we are talking of is unique and one-off.  However, should print copies of this work of Art be manufactured on a large scale, you would indeed have a case of commodity production and unsurprisingly, this will be reflected in the huge price differential between the original and the (multiple) fakes attempting to imitate the original on a semi industrial scale. 

 

So it is not quite true that “The Art-world, completely operates outside the bounds of labor-power and Marxist economics”. The reproduction of art products, I would argue, is indeed subject to the law of value and even the production of originals though, by definition, not reproducible, involves the application of labour power.  Moreover, beyond that relatively small segment of human activity you call the Art World, and for all the hype surrounding it, the vast majority of products do indeed take the form of commodities ans as such are subject the law of value governing their exchange

 

 

MBellemare wrote:

2. The same scenario and logic applies to CEO salaries, Sport-Star salaries, Reality-Star salaries etc., their value/price/wage have nothing to do with "quantifiable labor-time expended within the production process". It has everything to do with the networks they belong to, the conceptual and material networks of power. To quote, an important saying of mine, "whatever one can get away with in the market-place" is valid and legitimate. When it comes to value, price and wage, if you or your network have the power to back up, artificially fabricated values, prices and wages, then it becomes normalized over an extended period of time and space, through routine. Sport stars exist in an oligarchical, highly-controlled-market, where competition is very lax between clubs, i.e., there is an oligarchical network controlling the sport, while competition is fierce between players. I cannot start a club in any city, I cannot move a club where there is already one in place, unless I get approval from the league, i.e., the oligarchical network, etc. The rules are endless, nonetheless, through these rules professional sports artificially fabricates an oligarchy with highly inflated, highly obscene, highly arbitrary wages, prices and values, that have nothing to do with labor-time or labor-power and everything to do with conceptual-perception, namely, creativity in maximizing profits. People are conditioned, both materially and conceptually, via media, and other enterprising-networks/social relations to flock to sport stadiums to pay exaggerated commodity-prices, to support exaggerated wages, concerning a completely useless set of activities, that if abolished, wouldn't change a thing. The reason is that these artificially fabricated pseudo-economies produce nothing but useless empty-spectacle. These types of pseudo-economies, which are now almost everywhere, are outside the traditional Marxist factory and theory, and operate based on much that is (unquantifiable), subjective, artificial and most importantly, arbitrary. If the league gets together at its annual meeting and decides to charge 15 dollars extra for tickets or 15 dollars for a beer etc., (which happens with hockey in Canada and North America) then this has nothing to do with socially necessary labor-time and everything to do with "what one can get away with" in a sphere of production and consumption. In a post-industrial, post-modern socio-economic formation, like neoliberal-state-capitalism, power and control are paramount in determining value, price and wage, and when this is the case, everything is skewed, slippery and arbitrary, subjective, artificially fabricated. That is, all the conditions, the old post-modernists have been describing in language have come to infect and have infected economics, and the economy, for better or worst. Consequently, the fount of value is not per say strict scientific quantifiable labor-power/labor-time, although this has not totally gone away, it is, in my estimation, creative-power, a fount that is both quantifiable and unquantifiable. For example, you cannot put a scientifically measured value on "networking", being well-connected, being born in a wealthy family etc. If I marry the US presidents daughter and as a result, have the president's ear, I can have an enormous amount of influence on policy, that, in turn, influences/determines value, price, wage and profits in a particular sphere of production and consumption down the line. And if I am influencing value, price, wage and profits down the line, thus I am involved in the manufacturing of surplus value, a type of manufacturing beyond the factory floor, that is unquantifiable and creative, such is, creative-power, a power greater than yet encompassing labor-time.       

(The only thing unifying these post-industrial, post-modern economies and wacky phenomena is the logic of capitalism, to maximize profit byany means necessary, at the lowest financial cost, as soon as possible.)    

Again there is an element of truth in what you say but you grossly exaggerate the significance of what you are talking about.  The overwhelming majority of us are not sport stars but wage slaves and our wages being the price of working ability which we sell to our employers are indeed subject to the law of value.  Sports stars play a role analogous the production of original works of art in the Art World.  They are merely exceptions that prove the rule.

 

It is the rule that should interest us in the formulation of social theory rather than the exception, fascinating though the latter may be.  Social theory is, or should be, focused on generalisations that seek to capture the main outlines of the object of our study.  Disregarding the circumstances of the great majority, the lives of “ordinary” folk and what they do, as if they did not really matter in the larger scheme of things, betrays a kind of elitist outlook which to some extent is endemic in the Art World itself with its snobby name dropping and rich well connected patrons.

 

Allow me to make one or two further points under this heading.

 

 

Firstly you say to “CEO salaries, Sport-Star salaries, Reality-Star salaries etc., their value/price/wage have nothing to do with quantifiable labor-time expended within the production process". Well, according to the American trade union AFL/CIO website, median compensation for CEO's in all industries in the US early 2010 was $3.9 million; $10.6 million for companies listed in Standard and Poor's 500, and a staggering $19.8 million for the companies listed in the Dow-Jones index.  Now if you happen to have an annual income of nearly 20 million dollars then certainly that would place you in the capitalist class, albeit in the lower rungs of that class.  In that event, it is entirely to be expected that your income will not reflect your labour contribution but will greatly exceed it.  This is precisely what the Marxian theory of exploitation states.  CEOs, of course do contribute some labour but the remuneration they receive in the guise of a compensation package will bear little relation to this labour contribution, a major component of which derive from the fruits of other people’s unpaid labour.

 

This is not that different from the situation in the old Soviet Union where the nomenklatura or de facto soviet capitalist class took their share of the surplus value in the guise of inflated and multiple salaries as well payments in kind of all sorts.  The fact that they formally received their income as a “salary” only served as an ideological fig leaf to hide their status as an exploiting class.

 

As for those grotesquely overpaid sport stars, though their income may not appear to derive from the exploitation of others you can be certain that a large chunk of this will find its way into the capitalist investment cycle where it will reproduce itself through precisely the process of exploitation.

 

 

Finally, you refer once again to “quantifiable labor-time expended within the production process”.  But again I would point out that socially necessary labour time is not something that can be measured with a stop watch.  It is an industry wide social average which only manifests itself post sale in the ratios in which commodities exchange.  It is not something that lends itself to empirical quantification – though some commentators have attempted to quantify Marxian labour values in a rough and ready sort of way

 

 

 

 

MBellemare wrote:

3. I also describe two trends happening across the post-industrial, post-modern economy, 1. The cutting of production costs to increasingly new lows. 2. The raising of prices, pertaining to these specific commodities, within a specific sphere of production.The result is increasing debt for commodities our parents and grandparents could pay outright and the result is ever-increasing financial inequality. I mention two, Apple and the Car industry. Apple wants to cut production costs, thus they move their factory to china etc., pay less for workers etc., (Marx is in accord). Apple then sells these cheap products for exaggerated sums in North America, because they operate in a closed-economy and sphere of production, a type of oligarchy, where they and their competitors, which are not in my estimation competitors but friendly jousters, agree (wink wink, at arm's length) to sell according to a certain similar range of prices, which every year or so, magically rise, across the board (the same applies to insurances, bank rates, mortgage rates etc.), due to the fact that all companies must maximize profit by any means necessary. Via a closed-economy and/or sphere of production, shared among a select few, competition is pushed to periphery and down to the grassroots of the specific closed-economy/sphere of production, where the global working class is located and at war with each other for jobs, better living conditions, human rights etc.  Contrary to Neoliberals, we do not live in free markets, where everyone gets an equal kick at the can, markets are highly controlled affairs, value, price and wage are highly controlled machinated affairs. Economic laws hide the backroom machinations, behind, a seemingly unbiased, invisible hand that somehow always bestows its favor on the same select few. Financial inequality is not the product of any invisible-hand or economic law, i.e., law of value, it is the product of people in positions of power, exercising their creative-power, both material and conceptual, based on the fundamental imperative of capitalism, "to maximize profit by any means necessary, at the lowest financial cost, as soon as possible". All sort of economic gimmicks spring from this because if an entity, human or otherwise, can fashion a closed-economy/sphere of production, they can set prices, values and wages whereever they like. It has nothing to and/or very little to do with labor-time expenditures in production. It has to do with what conceptual-perceptions of the public are, what they are willing to live with. And as we know, the general public can tolerate a lot of shady stuff, maybe indefinately.   

Once again, yes there is something in what you say here but you exaggerate.  Producers will strive to charge monoply prices if they can get away with it but even with closely knit cartels there is always a temptation to break rank.  You can’t just set prices, values and wages as you like, completely arbitrarily.  There are countervailing pressures. 

 

You talk of production costs (including wages presumably) falling and prices of commodities rising nonetheless.  But this is misleading.  At some point if wages steadily fall and commodity prices steadily rise, you will end up with vast  amount of unsold stock (which will in turn will exert a downward pressure on commodity prices)

 

Some prices have risen but others have fallen in real terms and adjusted to account for inflation .  Have a look at this chart supplied by the Bureau of Labour statistics  covering the period the period 1997-2013 https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2015/long-term-price-trends-for-computers-tvs-and-related-items.htm.  This is precisely what Marx means by the cheapening of commodities brought about by technological innovation and enhanced productivity per worker.  A fall in the rate of profit through mechanisation is compensated by an increase in the resulting mass of profit through an increase in the sheer volume of output making for a decline in individual prices

 

You mention China and Apple again.  You say “Apple wants to cut production costs, thus they move their factory to china etc., pay less for workers etc”.  Yes the wages are low and the shifts appalling for workers but again it is misleading to suggest that Apple can just get away with doing whatever it wants with impunity.  The very fact that this case is highlighted shows pressure is and can be brought to bear on those concerned.  See for example this https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2012/feb/20/foxconn-apple-china-wages

 

Generally speaking as I said wages have been rising in China and this is in part a reflection of the greater degree of militancy among workers.  And it is because of rising wages that Chinese capitalists are showing an interest in forms of mechanisation such as robotisation

 

 

 

MBellemare wrote:

4. We are stuck between the chicken and the egg. Does value create price ( I think Marx might be situated here)  or price create value (Crank economists)? Marx agreed that price could create value, although he theorized that this was an exception. I am inclined to state within the arrival of post-industrialism, post-modernism that increasingly mechanisms and networks of power, both conceptual and material, are fashioning price, value and wage, not out of nothing (like crank economists) but out of creative-power, i.e., the ability to set price, value and wage and sustain these artificially fabricated values, prices and wages over an extended period of time and space, via powerful networks both conceptual networks and material networks. Marx, stated that the connection between value and price was an ideal one, meaning it was localized in the mind (I state exactly where in a prior DV article). I have followed Marx's logic and I took the next logical step that price, value and wage is based on conceptual-perception and moreover a ruling ideational comprehensive framework, or a ruling ideology, i.e., how an ideology defines reality, favors certain phenomena over others etc., how ideology is produced, reproduced and functions at all levels of human existence to fashion a bias framework of comprehension and understanding, both to what constitutes value, price and wage, including what constitutes labor-time, productive and unproductive labor etc. The concept of creative-power both acknowledged Marx's concept of labor-power, and humans as the producers of their social existence and, broadly speaking, the many unquantifiable energy expenditures that cannot be measures, such as creative-innovation, art making, networking, control, oligarchy, child rearing etc., whereupon one cannot scientifically measure the quanta of influence. Creative-power gets radical economic theory out of certain theoretical jams, without falling into the crank economist trap, and explains certain economic phenomena, which can be considered post-industrial and post-modern.

 

I am not quite sure what you mean when you say “Marx agreed that price could create value, although he theorized that this was an exception”.  Could you elaborate on this possibly with a reference from Marx?

 

I don’t really understand what you mean by creative power or how it “gets radical economic theory out of certain theoretical jams, without falling into the crank economist trap, and explains certain economic phenomena, which can be considered post-industrial and post-modern”. 

 

You say that “Marx, stated that the connection between value and price was an ideal one, meaning it was localized in the mind” and that you have followed Marx’s logic and have taken the “next logical step that price, value and wage is based on conceptual-perception and moreover a ruling ideational comprehensive framework, or a ruling ideology”.  I might be misreading you here but this seems to be suggesting a single monolithic source that exercise determinative influence over these magnitudes of price value and wage. 

 

 

I would argue to the contrary that the magnitudes are emergent properties resulting from the interactions of multiple agents.  The ruling class, the supposed source of this “ruling ideology” is not a monolith but is endemically prone to factional infighting and competing interests.  It confronts a working class that is also able to exert an influence in these matters

 

MBellemare
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Robbo, you do state think-points that deserve consideration. May be I am exaggerating, but I don't think so and I think with time you'll come around. Working myself in the artworld, I can say that with almost perfect certainty that labor-time expenditures have nothing to do or very little to do with how the artworld functions as an artist. Network, networking and image is paramount, labor is secondary to creativity and conceptual-perception, i.e., what one thinks and what people think. Now, you may think that the artworld is an exception, but I don't think so, I think it is a central economy/ sphere of production and consumption in post-industrial, post-modern capitalism, that flows into other spheres like other the art-form economies, advertising etc., it is usually celebrated as a diamond of western societies to show the world, how democratic, inclusive, cool and multi-cultural, bourgeois, neoliberal capitalism is.

   The fall of communism is related to how seemingly free-spirited western societies and their artistic productions looked to those behind the iron curtain. But this art-economy and those related to it, were constructed on networks designed to manufacture, value, price and wage on conceptual-perception, and not labor-time. For example, supposedly the CIA, funded the arts in America during the 1950's, which enabled abstract-expressionism to take off. Now, I am not into conspiracy theories, but there seems to be good evidence, that CIA backed certain galleries to purchase abstract art, i.e., they socially constructed value and price, primarily in the arts price dictated value. This may be an exception, but the art-world functions like this to this day. Gone is the CIA, but networks of galleries mutually support each others' stable of artists in essence artificially and arbitrarily sustaining socially constructed prices, values and wages, labor-time is truly secondary. There is a propaganda element to this, where media, universities etc., in a post-industrial, post-modern societies indoctrinate and normalize us to certain preconcieved, artificially fabricated values, prices and wages that are in essence emphemeral.

    CEO salaries function in this manner, its fundamentally about belonging to certain well-connected networks, via these well-connected networks, these individuals are able to circumvent the regulatory mechanism of socially necessary labor-time and establish their arbitrary obscene salaries in the realm of conceptual-perception. And as long as average people do not rebel, these artificially constructed salaries, founded on whim and nonsense, continue to persist.

  I do believe that what Marx thought about all these types of fabricated economies was an exception. However, I've come to believe that artificially, fabricated prices, is now much more prevalent and central.  

    I know this may sound like there is one ideological edifice of bourgeois capitalists, dictating the value, price and wage to us, deciding everything. YES!, I agree there is much in-fighting between capitalists, capitalist-entities, capitalists-networks, capitalist-industries, which gives credence to the coercive laws of competition, Marx spoke about, which eventually destroy capitalism. There is not one power-block of capitalists governing. However, it seems to me that there is one unifying logic to these seemingly, at war, capitalists, namely, the logic of capitalism, "to maximize profit by any means necessary, at the lowest financial cost, as soon as possible". So, I do agree with you that there is not a singular body of people dominating us and that this body of people is constantly at war between themselves, however, I do posit a totalitarian unitary logic, i.e., the logic of capitalism, as directing the actions and thoughts of people living within the confines of capitalism, specifically in the upper levels of capitalism. There is no cabal deciding world-affairs and world-market affairs, but their is a totalitarian logic, the logic of capitalism, call it what you will, an ideology or an ideational comprehensive framework, directing world-affairs and world-market-affairs. Yes, there are many conflicting ideologies out there, but (in the last) instance, the logic of capitalism, to maximize profit by any means necessary, at the lowest financial cost, as soon as possible, decides, determines and governs. The logic of capitalism, expresses itself in different manners, it is imprinted on all sorts of activities, thinking processes, institutions, social relations etc., it is pluralized across the stratums of everyday life, but, in last instance, it is always about maximizing proft by any means necessary, at the lowest financial cost, as soon as possible. The outer-shell of the logic of capitalism is plural, it expresses itself in many different ways, and has done so throughout history, but its inner kernel, its inner logic, is always the same, to maximize profit by any means necessary, at the lowest financial cost, as soon as possible.  Those fundamental, ruling networks of people, who govern, can change, and do change their stripes, their make-up,  these ruling networks are plural and in certain instances they are unified, but in the end it is the logic of capitalism that always remains and determines value, price and wage, according to what serves its imperative best.   

I think I am onto something

M.L. Bellemare 

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