December 17, 2021 at 11:45 am #225097
It is beyond comprehension that in the make-believe world of virtual reality non-existent property is selling for millions in real cryptocurrency.
I’m at a total loss to understand it.December 17, 2021 at 12:09 pm #225098
These things are socially produced, alan.
If one is a Marxist, although one can’t touch them, or indeed value, they can be explained, so that one is not ‘at a loss’ to understand them.
However, if one is a materialist, then anything whatsoever to do with consciousness will always remain a mystery.
And as social production requires both theory and practice, it too remains a mystery to materialists.December 19, 2021 at 12:11 am #225116
LBird, it reminds me of the Enfield Dragons Den sketch on the price of a piece of paper.December 19, 2021 at 7:44 am #225117
Yeah, alan, replace ‘paper’ with ‘value’, and it’s spot on!
The key to understanding the issue is ‘social production’.
The ‘Dragons’ are all correct: at the end of the production process, they’ll all be richer, because that’s what the process is meant to do. The problem is that so many people believe that it will simply fail, because ‘reality’ will intervene.
However, if one believes, as did Marx, that ‘reality’ is a socio-historical product, and we can change it, the answer is to collectively change it by democratic methods. Merely waiting for ‘reality itself’ to do our job will simply lead to richer ‘Dragons’.
As continues to happen. Joke over.December 19, 2021 at 9:11 am #225118robbo203Participant
The rise of the buzzword economy
https://seekingalpha.com/article/4472249-meta-metaverse-the-buzzword-economy-and-dystopian-fears?mailingid=25866034&messageid=must_reads&serial=25866034.677076&utm_campaign=Must%2BReads%2BNovember%2B29%2C%2B2021%2B-%2BPersonalized&utm_content=seeking_alpha&utm_medium=email&utm_source=seeking_alpha&utm_term=must_reads&fbclid=IwAR2wX_Dqpn6v0aN0w4UJDjlGKW11wnO28XoGfZHbHExqGcToPZawErrfwWsDecember 19, 2021 at 9:20 am #225119
Perhaps this will help orientate you, alan.
For materialists, there is only the ‘universe’, which is ‘material’, ‘physical’ or ‘real’, and which ‘exists’ independently of humanity. The ‘universe’ is ‘real-in-itself’.
Thus for materialists, the contrast is the ‘metaverse’, which is ‘ideal’, ‘notional’ or ‘unreal’, and which ‘exists’ only in the minds of humanity.
On the contrary, though, for Marxists, both the ‘universe’ and the ‘metaverse’ are social products of humanity, which both require an active humanity to socially produce, and so both require both ‘material’ and ‘ideal’ to create. Thus, Marx’s method of ‘social theory and practice’, an actively conscious humanity which can change its own products. We have a ‘universe-for-us’, a ‘reality-for-us’, a ‘physical-for-us’, a ‘real-for-us’.
While we workers adopt a passive policy of waiting for ‘reality itself’ to tell us what to do, the active policy of the bourgeoisie, producing a ‘universe-for-them’ and a ‘metaverse-for-them’, will then tell us workers what to do.
Put simply, for humanity, the universe and the metaverse are similarly ‘real-for-us’. Trying to separate ‘material’ from ‘ideal’ is a bourgeois ideology, to prevent active, conscious political activity, to prevent a democratic proletariat from determining its own ‘universe-for-us’.
Of course, workers can continue to be baffled with the ‘metaverse’, and place their trust in ‘matter’…
December 20, 2021 at 1:03 pm #225147rodshawParticipant
- This reply was modified 6 months, 2 weeks ago by LBird.
Doesn’t the purchase and sale of non-existent assets (or should I say, assets that exist only as ideas) happen daily on the Stock Exchange?December 20, 2021 at 2:51 pm #225148
Rod Shaw – No. Over to you ALB.December 20, 2021 at 3:01 pm #225149
Isn’t value as described by Marx an abstraction…socially determined as LBird says but unable to quantify?December 20, 2021 at 3:23 pm #225150ALBKeymaster
Well, yes, what’s traded on stock exchanges is not the tangible assets of a company (its buildings, machinery, computer system, etc). It’s pieces of paper entitling the owner to a future income stream from the profits a company is expected to make. In the case of government bonds it’s a piece of paper entitling the owner to a future stream of income from taxation.
The future income stream is of course non-existent (or not-yet-existent) but the pieces of paper entitling the owner to a future income, if it materialises (!), do exist — as pieces of paper.
But it is advisable to distinguish the pieces of paper and the future income stream as if a company goes under or a government is overthrown then these pieces of paper become worthless, though I believe Tsarist government bonds made useful lampshades.December 20, 2021 at 7:23 pm #225152
Surely stocks are not just ‘pieces of paper’ as they represent the value of the investment in money terms? This is then converted to capital to extract surplus value – is that not correct? As to the idea that value is an abstraction in Marxist terms – this is correct in terms of the dialectic explanation of the history of value that takes up much of the first part of Das Capital but exchange value is tightly associated with the LTV and so is not an abstraction in the common usage sense.
December 20, 2021 at 10:34 pm #225154ALBKeymaster
- This reply was modified 6 months, 2 weeks ago by Wez.
Say a new company is starting from scratch and needs £100,000 to set up some business activity and that this is raised by selling shares. The money so obtained is then spent on buying the physical assets needed to carry out the business activity. The £100,000 now exists in the form of these.
The shares will still have a nominal value of £100,000 and entitle their owner to a share of future profits (as well as to a share of the disposal of the physical assets). It is as a claim on future profits that they are bought and sold on stock exchanges. Their total price will normally be greater than £100,000 and their individual price is a sum obtained by capitalising an expected future income stream.
The price of a share is different from the value of the physical assets. These are two different things. Otherwise this would be a case of having your cake and eating it — spending some money and still being able to use it.December 20, 2021 at 11:08 pm #225155
So ‘the pieces of paper’ (stocks, shares) can be redeemed (sold) at their monetary value at the discretion of the investor? I appreciate the anticipated profits are speculative. The difference between stocks and shares used to be that the former gave a regular guaranteed rate of interest whereas the latter could rise and fall with the success or failure of the industry involved?December 20, 2021 at 11:41 pm #225158Bijou DrainsParticipant
However, even though there are differences between stocks and shares, neither provide a fractional ownership of the physical nature of the business.
So, for instance you own 20% of a manufacturing company, you cannot simply take 20% of the land, or 20% of the stock and say that “that’s mine”.
Although I don’t always agree with our feathered friend (glad to see that you are still out there and pecking corn, LB), much of the capitalist system is based on various belief systems, rather that physical entities.
Many currencies state words to the effect, “I promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of…..” the whole capitalist system is based on belief systems. Promisory notes, insurance certificates, bank notes, bonds, share certificates, property deeds.
In the capitalist system they appear to be as real as apples and pears, but they only exist within the context of capitalism and the belief system that supports them.
If you tear up property deeds the houses don’t fall down. If we convert Private Property (the means of production an distribution) into common ownership, the physical nature of the productive systems do not change.December 20, 2021 at 11:53 pm #225161
BD – The ‘belief system’ is backed up by the State and is very real. Stop paying your mortgage or rent and you soon find that out. Money, in all its forms, allows exchange of equal values in different forms and this is dependent on the LTV which is not a ‘belief system’ since very few of us even know of its existence.
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