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Thread: Why Anti-Marx?

  1. #61
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    Re: Why Anti-Marx?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rakkyosai View Post
    I'm not quite sure how 'preference' can be applied as an alternative to understanding the nature of value here (my apologies). Would you mind explaining? The way I see it, price comes from a judgement of value based on many influences; means of production, production costs, market values, etc... all in relation to the point in time that the product is to be sold. This value comes not from the consumer, but from the producer. Hope this helps, thanks for the clarification.
    Sure, I can try to explain further.

    You are treating price as value because you're using the mathematical concept of value (i.e. a numerical quantity). If I open a lemonade stand and produce cups of lemonade for $1 each, you would say that I value each cup of lemonade at $1. But let's say that each cup of lemonade cost me only $0.25 to produce. Where, then, did the "surplus value" come from?

    This apparent problem can be erased by understanding that people have preferences which cannot be measured in terms of some absolute quantitative unit, but can only be observed to stand in relation with other preferences. Most economists (and certainly economists of the Austrian School, to which I ascribe) call this concept "value". It has nothing to do whatsoever with the mathematical concept outlined above.

    Economics is not math. The fundamental units in math are numbers, while the fundamental units in economics are human beings. It's quite an understatement to say that the latter are far more complicated than the former. So economics must be far more nuanced and far less precise than math, because it deals with human beings first and foremost. No amount of equations and modeling can reduce people to numbers, in the end. So why even try?

    What does this have to do with prices and "surplus value"? Using the economic concept of value, one must recognize that all (economic) value is subjective. So when I decide to sell each cup of lemonade (which cost me $0.25 each to produce) for $1, I'm doing so because I anticipate that enough people will prefer a cup of lemonade over the $1 that they have, to where I can receive more money than I spent making the lemonade (i.e. earn a profit). Obviously I prefer the money people give me to the lemonade I sell them. That's the point of exchange -- each person has something that the other person prefers over what he has. Does that make sense?

    Now, you may argue that, even though I use the economic concept of value above, there's still a difference between the selling price and the cost of production. You'd be absolutely right. But really, so what? Again, economics is not like math -- there are no equations that must be satisfied. A disparity between the selling price of a good or service and the cost it takes to produce it is not an imbalance that needs to be corrected.

    I agree, there are additional difficulties with 'pricing' in a modern industry due to these influences as opposed to the markets of Marx's time.
    As Yoda would say, no! No different! Only different in your mind.

    Regardless of how "modern" an industry is, prices observed are the result of numerous individuals imputing their (necessarily) subjective valuations into the item(s) under consideration. Just how many individuals involved is irrelevant.
    “When men hire themselves out to shoot other men to order, asking nothing about the justice of their cause, I don’t care if they are shot themselves."

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    Re: Why Anti-Marx?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rakkyosai View Post
    I think Marx's theory of exploitation might be a good place to start. His criticism of capitalisms exploitation of the working classes (theory of...) is quite accurate. The inequality identified is a bit of a proverbial fly in the ointment of a liberaly egalitarian democracy, had the idea been taken on board on a grander scale by the proletariat. It could be argued that the proletariat have the oportunity to become capitalists, but the ability to get together enough capital to do so is almost non-existent. Marx's theory is right, (at least as far as my own country is concerned). I can't comment on America as I've only visited once.
    You saying his theory is accurate is not a given. I believe I refuted this earlier. Inequality does not equate to exploitation. Also, your contention that those without money cannot make money is simply not true. In the U.S. people change social classes. The rich don't always get richer. The poor don't always remain poor. What prevents social movement is government intervention which protects the wealthy.
    The U.S. is currently enduring a zombie apocalypse. However, in a strange twist, the zombie's are starving.

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    Re: Why Anti-Marx?

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    Now, you may argue that, even though I use the economic concept of value above, there's still a difference between the selling price and the cost of production. You'd be absolutely right.
    Thanks for the last post, explained much for me.

    Heres what I can take from that. The term value in economics is not a numerical value, but a subjective judgement of the worth of a product (let me know if I'm confused).

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    But really, so what? Again, economics is not like math -- there are no equations that must be satisfied. A disparity between the selling price of a good or service and the cost it takes to produce it is not an imbalance that needs to be corrected.
    Say for example I hire you to produce a keyboard, I pay you $10 an hour and you produce 120 in an hour (with mechanisation help). Again for the sake of the example it costs me the same in an hour to run the machinery as it does to pay you to produce the units. Essentially my outgoings are $20 per hour. You work for 8 hours a day, making $80 a day, my over all outgoings are $160 a day. I decide that I will sell the keyboards for $30 each. I make (assuming all are sold), $28,640 in profit every day, you make $80 per day, I do nothing but sit in my office, while you are doing all the manual labour (allbeit with mechanised help), you get paid (approx.) 1 358th, of what I make in profit.

    Personally I think it's pretty crap that the worker does all the manual labour and the best that can be said for the inequality is 'tough'. Fiar enough the example is unrefined, but when we hear on the news of companies making billions over only a few hundred outlets - there has to be somthing unfair. It has nothing to do with solving equations, it's to do with sharing the profits of what is made fairly among the employees of a company. That was what the whole 'fair trade' movement was all about - combatting the inequality you say does not need corrected - I think this is called profiteering (again let me know if I'm wrong).

    Another example for you, where I am we pay $1.82 per 1 liter of petrol which is 0.264 of a gallon. While I was in America, I noted that Americansu pay around $2.45 per gallon. Just because a society is developed does not mean it is any less unfair.

    I personally work for a charity company, I get paid very little as one of the 'normal joe's' but bear more responsibility than any of the management staff - is this fair? I asked this of someone just last night - an economist (no offence intended to any economists out there), who was quite clearly for arguing that it is my choice to do the job, if i don't think it's fair then don't do it - but I have to say this is very much the response of someone speaking from theoretical terms and not from a practical point of view, considering the current economical climate that is a freedom that cannot be afforded - Such a civil liberty is eroded by the economic necessities of the capitalist system - a working class.

    ---------- Post added at 11:45 AM ---------- Previous post was at 11:40 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Ibelsd View Post
    You saying his theory is accurate is not a given. I believe I refuted this earlier. Inequality does not equate to exploitation. Also, your contention that those without money cannot make money is simply not true. In the U.S. people change social classes. The rich don't always get richer. The poor don't always remain poor.
    Unfortunately your assertion applies in the US, but not where I am - perhaps it is simply the case that Marxs' theories are much more applicable to where I am, much more so that America it would seem - which again does kind of answer the OP I guess... then again it also leaves me wondering why Americans get so riled (as at the march) about a political theorist that doesn't really apply to them so much.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ibelsd View Post
    What prevents social movement is government intervention which protects the wealthy.
    Spoken like a true Marxist.
    Bricky roads they trappers grass, stoney walls they trappers wind, iron stove it trappers fire.

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    Re: Why Anti-Marx?

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    What does this have to do with prices and "surplus value"? Using the economic concept of value, one must recognize that all (economic) value is subjective. … Again, economics is not like math -- there are no equations that must be satisfied. A disparity between the selling price of a good or service and the cost it takes to produce it is not an imbalance that needs to be corrected.
    I apologize I am still puzzled, though we did try to talk it through within this thread before. Could the value of a specific security on a stock market be estimated, measured or ‘cardinalified’?

    Also, since this thread is focused on Anti-Marx, it seems to me the best thing to do would be to take what Marx has been using as ‘surplus-value’ – even though concept may or may not exist in other approaches or may be criticized by other schools:

    “Surplus value is a concept used famously by Karl Marx in his critique of political economy, although he did not himself invent the concept. It refers roughly to that part of the new value created by production which is claimed by enterprises as "generic gross profit". Marx argues its ultimate source is unpaid surplus labor performed by the worker for the capitalist, and that the surplus-value is the primary basis for capital accumulation.” [Wikipedia. Surplus_value. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surplus_value]

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    As Yoda would say, no! No different! Only different in your mind.
    Let’s land someplace, please. Are we talking within monism, dualism or pluralism as in ‘philosophy of mind’?

    If within monism, then (unless you were just making a joke; in that case forgive me for taking it seriously) you invite discussion into idealism, again philosophical. I do not necessarily have to follow.

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    Regardless of how "modern" an industry is, prices observed are the result of numerous individuals imputing their (necessarily) subjective valuations into the item(s) under consideration. Just how many individuals involved is irrelevant.
    Beautiful observation! There is math theory of fractals that employs a concept of scaleability. In short – scale or time-slice or any dimension-slice do not matter - what appears looks the same. I always thought, that is also applicable to society, not just mathematical spaces.

    It is often overestimated the influence or importance of time in society, in my opinion.

    Here is an example:

    Quote Originally Posted by MeilahBushin View Post
    Have Adam and Eve or some people shortly thereafter lived in Communism?

    Please, forgive me those atheists of you: Have monkeys shortly thereafter jumping off the trees lived in Communism?

    It appears to me societies of those times do fit the definition of Communism Marx leaves us with.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rakkyosai View Post
    An excellent point that someone asked me not that long ago - I had to say no, one of the stipulations for the evolution to a communist society is technological advancement via capitalism. There's a quote somewhere where Marx explains this, if you want it I will look it out.
    Firstly, it is exactly my point: the societies I refer to above fit any Marxist definition of Communism. Try it for yourself. You could use ones in post #57.

    Secondly, yes, please get me that quote Rakkyosai, so I could argue it!

  5. #65
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    Re: Why Anti-Marx?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rakkyosai View Post
    Thanks for the last post, explained much for me.

    Heres what I can take from that. The term value in economics is not a numerical value, but a subjective judgement of the worth of a product (let me know if I'm confused).
    You're almost right. To put it in your terms, economic value is a subjective judgement of the relative worth of a product (i.e. in relation to other products).

    Say for example I hire you to produce a keyboard, I pay you $10 an hour and you produce 120 in an hour (with mechanisation help). Again for the sake of the example it costs me the same in an hour to run the machinery as it does to pay you to produce the units. Essentially my outgoings are $20 per hour. You work for 8 hours a day, making $80 a day, my over all outgoings are $160 a day. I decide that I will sell the keyboards for $30 each. I make (assuming all are sold), $28,640 in profit every day, you make $80 per day, I do nothing but sit in my office, while you are doing all the manual labour (allbeit with mechanised help), you get paid (approx.) 1 358th, of what I make in profit.
    You did more than sit in your office. How were you able to buy the machinery with which I can make 120 keyboards per hour? I doubt that, by sitting in your office, you were able to purchase it. So what happened?

    But the above is actually irrelevant to the real argument here. If I consider my labor to be worth more than $10/hour, I'm free to seek employment from someone other than you. But since I'm working for you, I've obviously agreed to be paid $10/hour. Where is the unfairness, exactly?

    Personally I think it's pretty crap that the worker does all the manual labour and the best that can be said for the inequality is 'tough'. Fiar enough the example is unrefined, but when we hear on the news of companies making billions over only a few hundred outlets - there has to be somthing unfair. It has nothing to do with solving equations, it's to do with sharing the profits of what is made fairly among the employees of a company. That was what the whole 'fair trade' movement was all about - combatting the inequality you say does not need corrected - I think this is called profiteering (again let me know if I'm wrong).
    It seems that you discount any and all mutual voluntary agreements that seem "unfair" to you. Let me propose a hypothetical of my own. Suppose I purchase a bicycle from my friend for $100. You, a third party, observe the transaction, and conclude that you would not have paid $100 for the bicycle. Instead, you would be willing to pay no more than $50 for it. Would you conclude, then, that the exchange between my friend and me, which both of us agreed to (i.e. voluntarily), was "unfair"?

    Another example for you, where I am we pay $1.82 per 1 liter of petrol which is 0.264 of a gallon. While I was in America, I noted that Americansu pay around $2.45 per gallon. Just because a society is developed does not mean it is any less unfair.
    I'm not sure what you're getting at here.

    I personally work for a charity company, I get paid very little as one of the 'normal joe's' but bear more responsibility than any of the management staff - is this fair? I asked this of someone just last night - an economist (no offence intended to any economists out there), who was quite clearly for arguing that it is my choice to do the job, if i don't think it's fair then don't do it - but I have to say this is very much the response of someone speaking from theoretical terms and not from a practical point of view, considering the current economical climate that is a freedom that cannot be afforded - Such a civil liberty is eroded by the economic necessities of the capitalist system - a working class.
    I'm sorry, but since when are mutual agreements only theoretical? Don't they happen all the time? Therefore, aren't they eminently practical?
    “When men hire themselves out to shoot other men to order, asking nothing about the justice of their cause, I don’t care if they are shot themselves."

    - Herbert Spencer

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    Re: Why Anti-Marx?

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    You're almost right. To put it in your terms, economic value is a subjective judgement of the relative worth of a product (i.e. in relation to other products).
    Ok I think I get it now... does this mean that the valuation of a product is affected more by other products than the input of the worker?

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    You did more than sit in your office. How were you able to buy the machinery with which I can make 120 keyboards per hour? I doubt that, by sitting in your office, you were able to purchase it. So what happened?
    True, I did, I called a company that makes and installs mass production machinery and got them to do more manual labour by installing the machinery I purchased... I didn't build it or design it myself (which I doubt any capitalist does unless they are inventors in their spare time), the most ammount of work I did (in the example) is to get someone else to do it for me, while I make all the money from its operation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    But the above is actually irrelevant to the real argument here. If I consider my labor to be worth more than $10/hour, I'm free to seek employment from someone other than you. But since I'm working for you, I've obviously agreed to be paid $10/hour. Where is the unfairness, exactly?
    The unfairness lies in the fact that the worker is producing something 'far' in excess of the ammount paid to him.

    (To reference the part in bold) In an ideal world, that would be great - to have that kind of freedom to work where you want to; if we are realistic about it as theory while lovely as it is, it doesn't work in practice. The nature of the capitalist system is that it operates on money, just because economists consider a contractual agreement as mutual, doesn't mean it's fair. The loss of choice of freedom is clearly seen from the rise of the numbers of agency companies that now operate, my own experience with an agency was thus - I was paid national minimum wage, so was the agency for every hour I worked - I was in a 'mutual agreement' signed through desperation of unemployment, desperation that comes from the necessity of money.

    Contractual agreements are not wholely mutual unless done so with the freedom to reject or negotiate the terms if so wished. Unfortunately in the current economic climate wholely mutual agreements are the stuff of theory my friend. There are too many people desperate enough (unemployment is high enough) to accept some very unfair contracts, undercutting those who are qualified and therefore warrant better contractual terms.

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    It seems that you discount any and all mutual voluntary agreements that seem "unfair" to you.
    It's not what I judge as unfair, it's what the numbers show is a gross imbalance between what is produced and what is given in exchange for the creation of the product.

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    Let me propose a hypothetical of my own. Suppose I purchase a bicycle from my friend for $100. You, a third party, observe the transaction, and conclude that you would not have paid $100 for the bicycle. Instead, you would be willing to pay no more than $50 for it. Would you conclude, then, that the exchange between my friend and me, which both of us agreed to (i.e. voluntarily), was "unfair"?
    Yes, definitely. Economic terminology of mutual agreement does not necessarily mean fair, as I think I've shown above. Every contract every employee has signed into is (by your terms) mutually agreed to and as you tacitly imply 'fair'. But the working conditions in some places are far from fair on the workers - the necessity for money takes away the element of freedom that a worker has to choose where to work. Realistically (if a relatively well-paid job is sought), preparation is begun from an early age, and much of the time is spent specialising enough to do a certain job - hence the division of skilled and unskilled workers.

    I was a student, and the student debts incurred will prevent me from having any kind of freedom to choose where I want to work outwith the chosen are of my previous studies or as an unskilled worker - training to go into a different area would be crippling to my own future. I don't think having the freedom of future bankrupcy or not is much of a choice considering the nature of the capitalist society.
    Bricky roads they trappers grass, stoney walls they trappers wind, iron stove it trappers fire.

    Trappers is we by the works of hands, and forget us we were ever free...

  7. #67
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    Re: Why Anti-Marx?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rakkyosai View Post
    Ok I think I get it now... does this mean that the valuation of a product is affected more by other products than the input of the worker?
    Are you still using the words "value" and "valuation" in a mathematical sense? If so, why are you doing that, since we're talking about economics?

    But if you're asking whether the price of a product is affected more by other products than the input of the worker, my answer can only be that there is no way to calculate, measure, or otherwise quantify such affectedness.

    True, I did, I called a company that makes and installs mass production machinery and got them to do more manual labour by installing the machinery I purchased... I didn't build it or design it myself (which I doubt any capitalist does unless they are inventors in their spare time), the most ammount of work I did (in the example) is to get someone else to do it for me, while I make all the money from its operation.
    But you had to spend money (perhaps quite a bit) to get the machinery delivered and installed, didn't you?

    The unfairness lies in the fact that the worker is producing something 'far' in excess of the ammount paid to him.
    ... So?

    Why do you continue to treat economics like math? Why do you continue to insist that there is something morally wrong with numerical inequalities? Does human volition count for nothing here?

    (To reference the part in bold) In an ideal world, that would be great - to have that kind of freedom to work where you want to; if we are realistic about it as theory while lovely as it is, it doesn't work in practice. The nature of the capitalist system is that it operates on money, just because economists consider a contractual agreement as mutual, doesn't mean it's fair. The loss of choice of freedom is clearly seen from the rise of the numbers of agency companies that now operate, my own experience with an agency was thus - I was paid national minimum wage, so was the agency for every hour I worked - I was in a 'mutual agreement' signed through desperation of unemployment, desperation that comes from the necessity of money.
    Now you are moving the goalposts, as I suspected you would. My point was that there would be other places to work.

    Capitalism operates on property. Money is just one form of it.

    Personal circumstances have no bearing on an agreement being voluntary. Being unemployed doesn't mean someone's holding a gun to your head and threatening to kill you if you don't "agree" to work specifically for Company X. You speak of "desperation of unemployment" as if the world owes you a living. How do you figure that?

    If you think that the amount you're being paid (which you agreed to) is unfair, would you consider yourself morally justified if you somehow stole extra money from your employer?

    Contractual agreements are not wholely mutual unless done so with the freedom to reject or negotiate the terms if so wished. Unfortunately in the current economic climate wholely mutual agreements are the stuff of theory my friend. There are too many people desperate enough (unemployment is high enough) to accept some very unfair contracts, undercutting those who are qualified and therefore warrant better contractual terms.
    You always have the freedom to reject or negotiate. The other party likewise has that freedom.

    Let's say I walk into a store to buy a bicycle. The asking price is $100. I try to haggle the seller down to $50, but he refuses. Would you say that I somehow didn't have the freedom to negotiate?

    It seems readily apparent to me that we have extremely different ideas of "fairness". Whereas I consider all mutual agreements to be inherently fair, you seem to be appealing to some alleged mystical law of the universe. Can you explain this law to me? Can you then point it out?

    It's not what I judge as unfair, it's what the numbers show is a gross imbalance between what is produced and what is given in exchange for the creation of the product.
    You are equating a mathematical imbalance to a moral problem. Why?

    Yes, definitely. Economic terminology of mutual agreement does not necessarily mean fair, as I think I've shown above. Every contract every employee has signed into is (by your terms) mutually agreed to and as you tacitly imply 'fair'. But the working conditions in some places are far from fair on the workers - the necessity for money takes away the element of freedom that a worker has to choose where to work. Realistically (if a relatively well-paid job is sought), preparation is begun from an early age, and much of the time is spent specialising enough to do a certain job - hence the division of skilled and unskilled workers.
    I hereby accuse you of committing the nirvana fallacy. Your argument here seems to be that, because many people can't choose where they work from an infinite range of options, "the system" is "unfair". Please demonstrate how such an infinite range of options could ever be possible, let alone that it should be made reality.

    As with "fairness", we also seem to have extremely different definitions for "freedom". While I consider people to be free wherever they are not actively restrained, you consider people to be free only when all of their desires are satisfied. Since it's impossible to satisfy all the desires that people have (as they can become infinite), it follows that people can never be free under your meaning of the word!

    I was a student, and the student debts incurred will prevent me from having any kind of freedom to choose where I want to work outwith the chosen are of my previous studies or as an unskilled worker - training to go into a different area would be crippling to my own future. I don't think having the freedom of future bankrupcy or not is much of a choice considering the nature of the capitalist society.
    Do you think the world (or the universe) owes you a living? Yes or no?
    “When men hire themselves out to shoot other men to order, asking nothing about the justice of their cause, I don’t care if they are shot themselves."

    - Herbert Spencer

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    Re: Why Anti-Marx?

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    Do you think the world (or the universe) owes you a living? Yes or no?
    The World maybe doesn’t, but in current economical system labor is a commodity and without it system will break.

    Having agreement with your definition of freedom, I am compelled to answer ‘NO’ to your question. Counter-intuitively, I have to answer ‘YES’.

    That’s what the current unemployment system does, I think.

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    Re: Why Anti-Marx?

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    Are you still using the words "value" and "valuation" in a mathematical sense? If so, why are you doing that, since we're talking about economics?
    No, I'm not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    But if you're asking whether the price of a product is affected more by other products than the input of the worker, my answer can only be that there is no way to calculate, measure, or otherwise quantify such affectedness.
    What defines price then?

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    But you had to spend money (perhaps quite a bit) to get the machinery delivered and installed, didn't you?
    I don't think spending money (even if it is quite a bit) equates to any ammount of work.

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    ... So?

    Why do you continue to treat economics like math? Why do you continue to insist that there is something morally wrong with numerical inequalities? Does human volition count for nothing here?
    This is not a numerical inequality, it's a case of someone performing a manufacturing operation creating a product that sells for many times over what the worker is paid for creating it. It is a moral inequelity - in the act of trade the product is judged, priced, valued (take your pick), as of greater worth than the worker, the capitalist in his office reaps the benefit of that trade.

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    Now you are moving the goalposts, as I suspected you would. My point was that there would be other places to work.

    Capitalism operates on property. Money is just one form of it.

    Personal circumstances have no bearing on an agreement being voluntary.

    Being unemployed doesn't mean someone's holding a gun to your head and threatening to kill you if you don't "agree" to work specifically for Company X. You speak of "desperation of unemployment" as if the world owes you a living. How do you figure that?
    I accuse you of comitting a straw-man fallacy. You attack me despite my pointing out a concept such as the desperation of unemployment. Desperation of unemployment is present in a system that requires money to function and where there are fewer jobs than available workforce.

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    If you think that the amount you're being paid (which you agreed to) is unfair, would you consider yourself morally justified if you somehow stole extra money from your employer?
    Personally no, I have quite a strong moral compas, but you've just identified the origins of crime within a company. And there are plenty that would consider themselves morally justified, and frequently do.

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    You always have the freedom to reject or negotiate. The other party likewise has that freedom.

    Let's say I walk into a store to buy a bicycle. The asking price is $100. I try to haggle the seller down to $50, but he refuses. Would you say that I somehow didn't have the freedom to negotiate?
    Not at all, because you had the freedom and ability to do so, and you did, the result of the negotiation is not the point - the point was that you had the chance and ability.

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    It seems readily apparent to me that we have extremely different ideas of "fairness". Whereas I consider all mutual agreements to be inherently fair, you seem to be appealing to some alleged mystical law of the universe. Can you explain this law to me? Can you then point it out?
    An example; Mr Heinz (no relation to the beans company), has 2 children and a wife. Mr Heinz goes with his wife to the doctor as she says she is unwell, it turns out she is dying of a rare cancer. The doctors cannot help her, but a scientist that (just so happens) to live in the same village has a potential cure in the form of radium. Heinz goe to the scientist / doctor and says to him that he needs his cure, the scientist / doctor tells Heinz the drug costs $250 per dose to make and his wife would need 10 doses to be cured. The doctor also tells Heinz that he intends to make money from his cure and says the selling price is $5000 per dose, well beyond Heinz's means, and he will make no exceptions.

    By your own reasoning, Heinz has no right at all to try to appeal to the Doctors sense of compassion because as you claim; Personal circumstances have no bearing on an agreement being voluntary., Heinz quite clearly cannot afford the cure, is he free then? Is letting his wife die a freely made choice?

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    You are equating a mathematical imbalance to a moral problem. Why?
    Why don't you identify the moral problem first, then I'll clear up why I'm bringing in the 'mathematical imbalance'.

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    I hereby accuse you of committing the nirvana fallacy. Your argument here seems to be that, because many people can't choose where they work from an infinite range of options, "the system" is "unfair". Please demonstrate how such an infinite range of options could ever be possible, let alone that it should be made reality.
    At no point have I claimed that we should have an infinity of options, or how the system is unfair on account of lack of infinite options - I believe it was you who pointed out that there was a choice for people to work, I was simply pointing out that this is simply not the case anywhere other than in the realms of theory. As you were the one pointing out that we have the options, it should be you explaining these 'options' - I'm not even going to hold you to defending the theoretical 'infinity of options'.

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    As with "fairness", we also seem to have extremely different definitions for "freedom". While I consider people to be free wherever they are not actively restrained, you consider people to be free only when all of their desires are satisfied. Since it's impossible to satisfy all the desires that people have (as they can become infinite), it follows that people can never be free under your meaning of the word!
    Your definition of freedom is based on the concept of negative liberty, I on the other hand take into account the concept of positive liberty too, which you seem quite happy to ignore for the sake of your own argument. I am not arguing as you accuse that satisfaction of desire is freedom, an example for you; If someone is illiterate, are they free to read? Your answer would be (by your own logic of negative liberty), that yes they are - I would say that they are not because they do not have the necessary abilities to do so.

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    Do you think the world (or the universe) owes you a living? Yes or no?
    The world doesn't give me a choice, interesting that you think we have such a choice, why is this?

    Answer me this then - If you paint a picture, you are exercising positive liberties and creating a something to which you think 'Hmm... this looks good enough to sell for $100', so you sell it for $100. Walking along the street later that afternoon you notice your painting in a shop window with a price tag of $75000 and a sold tag on it. The person who bought it from you has done nothing to warrant the huge hike in price, yet has made a large profit of your back, would you think, 'Ces't la vie, it was a mutual exchange.' and think nothing more of it? I don't think it would be counter intuitive to suggest that you have a very disconnected sense of fairness. (No personal offence intended btw)
    Bricky roads they trappers grass, stoney walls they trappers wind, iron stove it trappers fire.

    Trappers is we by the works of hands, and forget us we were ever free...

  10. #70
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    Re: Why Anti-Marx?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rakkyosai View Post
    No, I'm not.
    I find this unconvincing, so I'll continue to conclude that you are. You'll have to try harder than this.

    What defines price then?
    Didn't I already tell you?

    I don't think spending money (even if it is quite a bit) equates to any ammount of work.
    "Equates" in what way?

    Engineers spend a lot of their working time doing nothing but thinking. By your reasoning, whenever they're "merely" thinking on the job, they aren't doing any "actual work".

    This is not a numerical inequality, it's a case of someone performing a manufacturing operation creating a product that sells for many times over what the worker is paid for creating it.
    Right, so the selling price of the products is greater than the wage of the worker. We can label the former as x and the latter as y. Hence we have the following relation:

    x > y

    Is that a numerical inequality or not?

    It is a moral inequelity - in the act of trade the product is judged, priced, valued (take your pick), as of greater worth than the worker, the capitalist in his office reaps the benefit of that trade.
    Have you ignored everything I've said up to this point?

    I find it egregious to an extreme that you would again conflate price with value after many long and detailed explanations on my part as to why they are in no way the same! Are you being deliberately obtuse here?

    Furthermore, you are conflating the moral worth of a person as a human being with the economic worth of his labor. Those two things are in no way the same. Do you understand?

    I accuse you of comitting a straw-man fallacy. You attack me despite my pointing out a concept such as the desperation of unemployment. Desperation of unemployment is present in a system that requires money to function and where there are fewer jobs than available workforce.
    You apparently don't know what the straw-man fallacy is. Show me where I attacked an argument that you did not actually make.

    Personally no, I have quite a strong moral compass [snipped irrelevance].
    You know full well that I was asking you about your own opinion. There was no need to add extraneous and irrelevant points to your answer.

    Now since you don't consider it morally justified to steal as a result of this alleged "unfairness", you apparently hold to the concept of private property. Is that a fair (no pun intended) assumption to make?

    Not at all, because you had the freedom and ability to do so, and you did, the result of the negotiation is not the point - the point was that you had the chance and ability.
    How does anyone not have the freedom and ability to try to negotiate?

    An example; Mr Heinz (no relation to the beans company), has 2 children and a wife. Mr Heinz goes with his wife to the doctor as she says she is unwell, it turns out she is dying of a rare cancer. The doctors cannot help her, but a scientist that (just so happens) to live in the same village has a potential cure in the form of radium. Heinz goe to the scientist / doctor and says to him that he needs his cure, the scientist / doctor tells Heinz the drug costs $250 per dose to make and his wife would need 10 doses to be cured. The doctor also tells Heinz that he intends to make money from his cure and says the selling price is $5000 per dose, well beyond Heinz's means, and he will make no exceptions.

    By your own reasoning, Heinz has no right at all to try to appeal to the Doctors sense of compassion because as you claim; Personal circumstances have no bearing on an agreement being voluntary., Heinz quite clearly cannot afford the cure, is he free then? Is letting his wife die a freely made choice?
    Heinz can try to appeal to the doctor's sense of compassion as much as he wants. But in no way does that necessitate the doctor to change his mind! Do you see the difference there?

    Why don't you identify the moral problem first, then I'll clear up why I'm bringing in the 'mathematical imbalance'.
    You've already identified it, haven't you?

    At no point have I claimed that we should have an infinity of options, or how the system is unfair on account of lack of infinite options - I believe it was you who pointed out that there was a choice for people to work, I was simply pointing out that this is simply not the case anywhere other than in the realms of theory. As you were the one pointing out that we have the options, it should be you explaining these 'options' - I'm not even going to hold you to defending the theoretical 'infinity of options'.
    The logical implication of your earlier statement was for the range of options to be infinite. From what I gathered, you were claiming that being able to choose between only two places to work (for example) was "not enough" of a choice for you. Or am I mistaken?

    Your definition of freedom is based on the concept of negative liberty, I on the other hand take into account the concept of positive liberty too, which you seem quite happy to ignore for the sake of your own argument. I am not arguing as you accuse that satisfaction of desire is freedom, an example for you; If someone is illiterate, are they free to read? Your answer would be (by your own logic of negative liberty), that yes they are - I would say that they are not because they do not have the necessary abilities to do so.
    Quite right! You're repeating my point for me -- thank you. Since we are on different wavelengths with regard to the meaning of "freedom", we will be unable to debate this further. But I'd like to add that so-called "positive liberty" contradicts "negative liberty". How do you (personally) resolve these contradictions?

    The world doesn't give me a choice, interesting that you think we have such a choice, why is this?
    So there we have it. You're railing against the nature of reality itself, against the universe. Let me know when the universe answers you.

    Answer me this then - If you paint a picture, you are exercising positive liberties and creating a something to which you think 'Hmm... this looks good enough to sell for $100', so you sell it for $100. Walking along the street later that afternoon you notice your painting in a shop window with a price tag of $75000 and a sold tag on it. The person who bought it from you has done nothing to warrant the huge hike in price, yet has made a large profit of your back, would you think, 'Ces't la vie, it was a mutual exchange.' and think nothing more of it? I don't think it would be counter intuitive to suggest that you have a very disconnected sense of fairness. (No personal offence intended btw)
    I would be disappointed to see that someone was willing to buy my painting for $75000 after I had already sold it. But I would recognize that, once I sold it, it was no longer mine. So basically, yes, I would tell myself, "C'est la vie".

    What would you do? Steal the painting (which is no longer yours!) and then try to sell it for such a high price yourself?
    “When men hire themselves out to shoot other men to order, asking nothing about the justice of their cause, I don’t care if they are shot themselves."

    - Herbert Spencer

  11. #71
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    Re: Why Anti-Marx?

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    I find this unconvincing, so I'll continue to conclude that you are. You'll have to try harder than this.
    You asked a yes or no question, I answered a no. It wasn't an attempt to convince you of anything - if you want convincing then ask for it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    Didn't I already tell you?
    No. You just said that it was unquantifiable.

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    "Equates" in what way?
    In the way that you have conflated the effort of spending money and producing a product.

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    Engineers spend a lot of their working time doing nothing but thinking. By your reasoning, whenever they're "merely" thinking on the job, they aren't doing any "actual work".
    The work of an Engineer is a unique skill that takes time and lots of training to achieve. Their work is different in nature but not in essence (different form of input, same results as the builder that lays the foundations). Thought you would understand that instead of trying to complicate the issue.

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    Right, so the selling price of the products is greater than the wage of the worker. We can label the former as x and the latter as y. Hence we have the following relation:

    x > y

    Is that a numerical inequality or not?
    yes, so? Explain what price is.

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    I find it egregious to an extreme that you would again conflate price with value after many long and detailed explanations on my part as to why they are in no way the same! Are you being deliberately obtuse here?
    You have in no way explained the nature of price (how it is judged on what basis or affected by what influences), how can I be obtuse about something to which you have not made clear. Define your terms and be clear; how is price judged... bear in mind you have declared it unquantifiable yet feel comfortable enough to claim I am quantifying it. It appears from your argument that you don't know what price is and you are struggling to describe it in a way that I have not already done so - as a value judgement. By all means prove me wrong - tell me the nature of the term you use when you say 'price', tell me how it is not a value judgement and how it is judged and the influences on it and do it clearly - I want this to be clear in our understanding.

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    Furthermore, you are conflating the moral worth of a person as a human being with the economic worth of his labor. Those two things are in no way the same. Do you understand?
    I am conflating nothing of the sort - show explicit example and I will defend.

    I understand that they are not the same, but I don't understand why a mans (or womans) labour should be exampt from moral considerations. Morality should be considered in everything we do including labour - it seems quite Sartrean of you to consider a worker as non-human and therefore outside of morality as a worker. Men as workers are not commodities they are human beings and should be considered as such.

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    You apparently don't know what the straw-man fallacy is. Show me where I attacked an argument that you did not actually make.
    Personal circumstances have no bearing on an agreement being voluntary. Being unemployed doesn't mean someone's holding a gun to your head and threatening to kill you if you don't "agree" to work specifically for Company X. You speak of "desperation of unemployment" as if the world owes you a living. How do you figure that?
    You shifted from discussing personal circumstances and voluntary agreements, then to a point about working for specific companies which I did not assert, then to attacking me personally about the 'world owing me a living', that was a second point I did not assert. I let you off with one strawman fallacy, you committed two, attacking two points i did not make.

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    You know full well that I was asking you about your own opinion. There was no need to add extraneous and irrelevant points to your answer.
    The points i added were highly relevant - or would you deny the existence of crime within companies to satisfy your own argument? I do not think so, such an assertion would show ignorance of facts and a rose-tinted view of economic reality, and also impacts on my assertion that morality and labour are closer than you would like to believe.

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    Now since you don't consider it morally justified to steal as a result of this alleged "unfairness", you apparently hold to the concept of private property. Is that a fair (no pun intended) assumption to make?
    No, I don't think it is. There are alternatives to private property, I'm sure your aware of them. I'd be surprised if you aren't.

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    How does anyone not have the freedom and ability to try to negotiate?
    If you read my response carefully I think you'll find I am answering your question; Would you say that I somehow didn't have the freedom to negotiate? My answer is no I wouldn't say you didn't have the ability because you clearly did negotiate. Your own question was ambiguous as to what it was asking.

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    Heinz can try to appeal to the doctor's sense of compassion as much as he wants. But in no way does that necessitate the doctor to change his mind! Do you see the difference there?
    I said nothing of necessitate, I merely pointed out that as far as your reasoning was concerned, Heinz has no right to include it as an influence as the doctor is defining a term of exchange.

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    You've already identified it, haven't you?
    I'd like to know that were on the same page, please identify the moral problem you refer to.

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    The logical implication of your earlier statement was for the range of options to be infinite. From what I gathered, you were claiming that being able to choose between only two places to work (for example) was "not enough" of a choice for you. Or am I mistaken?
    You are very mistaken, at no point did assert anything to do with infinite choice, or a choice between two places as being enough for anything let alone freedom.

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    Quite right! You're repeating my point for me -- thank you. Since we are on different wavelengths with regard to the meaning of "freedom", we will be unable to debate this further. But I'd like to add that so-called "positive liberty" contradicts "negative liberty". How do you (personally) resolve these contradictions?
    They don't contradict each other. Show me how they do.

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    I would be disappointed to see that someone was willing to buy my painting for $75000 after I had already sold it. But I would recognize that, once I sold it, it was no longer mine. So basically, yes, I would tell myself, "C'est la vie".
    What would cause your feeling of disappointment?

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    What would you do? Steal the painting (which is no longer yours!) and then try to sell it for such a high price yourself?
    No, I'd sell my next painting for $100,000.
    Last edited by Rakkyosai; November 13th, 2009 at 02:35 AM.
    Bricky roads they trappers grass, stoney walls they trappers wind, iron stove it trappers fire.

    Trappers is we by the works of hands, and forget us we were ever free...

  12. #72

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    Re: Why Anti-Marx?

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    Furthermore, you are conflating the moral worth of a person as a human being with the economic worth of his labor. Those two things are in no way the same. Do you understand?
    I do, I think. One is economic relations while the other is political relations.

    Though, no one was asking moi.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rakkyosai View Post
    … why a mans (or womans) labour should be exempt from moral considerations. Morality should be considered in everything we do including labour - it seems quite Sartrean of you to consider a worker as non-human and therefore outside of morality as a worker. Men as workers are not commodities they are human beings and should be considered as such.
    This may sound eerie:

    CEOs (Corporate Executive Officers, the Bosses) are also a commodity. They are being hired, fired, unemployed, negotiated – all nine yards, just like us – regular Joes Schmos.

    Whoever I just offended – my sincere apologies, no harm intended.

    So are all upper, middle and ground level management employees – a commodity available in unlimited supply. Sort of like a ‘public good’ – available for consumption for everybody at any time [Wikipedia. Public Good. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_good. For these commodity items (workers that is, as well as other diminutive functionaries of employer such as CEOs) the same criterions apply – what kind of skill and for how much.

    That’s it. It is quite a bitter pill, best if taken emotionlessly. I, actually, couldn’t figure out how Marx relates to it. He is quite inconsistent on the subject.

    There is another related item from his theory – alienation. This one he is consistent on and Marx says alienation is bad. That does create irresolvable conflict in Marxism, that I do want to get to at some point.

    Lastly, application of morality and/or fairness to the value/price argument that you and Autolykos so deeply and passionately are engaged in, is politics. Different politics have different answers to the issues of production relations (between employer and employee; I apologize if my replacement of terms used by Marx may seem much too liberal; on my part though such replacement ought to be made within the context of modern economical system, particularly with regard to continually evolving forms of property).

    It is politics that consider human beings as such. It is a political structure of human society that human beings are valued within.

    So, I say, it is politics Marx suggests make him relevant most of all.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rakkyosai View Post
    There are alternatives to private property, I'm sure you are aware of them. I'd be surprised if you aren't.
    Yes. I know of public property or as Soviet Communists used to call it State property.

    Are you ready to discuss it? I am not, yet.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rakkyosai View Post
    What would cause your feeling of disappointment?
    That’s right! There is no room for disappointments! I am NOT JOKING! Instead there should be confidence that this store will take your next picture! One should feel assured of perspectives of growth and maybe hiring a technician or two to help mixing paints or maybe making frames. Spending $5 to send store owners’ wife flowers would also be a good idea. Welcome! IT IS CALLED BUSINESS, BE AN OWNER!

    Want a piece of free entrepreneurship?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rakkyosai View Post
    No, I'd sell my next painting for $100,000.
    You might try. Good luck. I am trying and so far do not have any (luck that is). As far as business goes – that would be a horrible business decision that would kill such a promising and lucky opening with first painting.


  13. #73
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    Re: Why Anti-Marx?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rakkyosai View Post
    You asked a yes or no question, I answered a no. It wasn't an attempt to convince you of anything - if you want convincing then ask for it.
    Let me put it more bluntly. With regard to your negative answer, I consider you to be either lying or not understanding what you're talking about.

    You said (I quote):

    Quote Originally Posted by You
    Ok I think I get it now... does this mean that the valuation of a product is affected more by other products than the input of the worker?
    As far as I can tell, you meant "valuation of a product" in terms of its price. Since value and price are not the same thing in an economic sense, I can only conclude that you are still using the mathematical concept of value after I painstakingly explained to you how it has no place whatsoever in economics. Therefore I accuse you of being intellectually dishonest.

    No. You just said that it was unquantifiable.
    Where did I say that price is unquantifiable? Of course it's quantifiable. You are mixing up my statements and missing, forgetting, or dropping the contexts behind them.

    In the way that you have conflated the effort of spending money and producing a product.
    How, exactly, have I conflated those two things? Please point it out explicitly.

    The work of an Engineer is a unique skill that takes time and lots of training to achieve. Their work is different in nature but not in essence (different form of input, same results as the builder that lays the foundations). Thought you would understand that instead of trying to complicate the issue [SIC].
    Challenge to support a claim.

    Explain how I am "complicating the issue".

    In the meantime, let me ask you this: do you think it takes no skill whatsoever to manage one's own property? Do you think it's just a matter of spending money willy-nilly? If not, then explain your position.

    yes, so? Explain what price is.
    So now you concede that there is a numerical inequality. This directly contradicts your earlier statement, which I repeat below:

    Quote Originally Posted by You
    This is not a numerical inequality
    Now as I said before, I define "price" as a numerical indicator of the amount of money (or other commodity!) being asked for in exchange for a particular good or service.

    You have in no way explained the nature of price (how it is judged on what basis or affected by what influences), how can I be obtuse about something to which you have not made clear. Define your terms and be clear; how is price judged... bear in mind you have declared it unquantifiable yet feel comfortable enough to claim I am quantifying it. It appears from your argument that you don't know what price is and you are struggling to describe it in a way that I have not already done so - as a value judgement. By all means prove me wrong - tell me the nature of the term you use when you say 'price', tell me how it is not a value judgement and how it is judged and the influences on it and do it clearly - I want this to be clear in our understanding.
    In the above, you have blatantly distorted my statements. It seems almost deliberate, to be honest.

    From my own point of view, I don't see how I could be any clearer. As far as "the nature of price" is concerned, I honestly don't have any idea what you mean by that phrase. The same is true with "how is price judged".

    I've already gone over how price is not a value judgement. You seemed to understand at the time. But now you reveal to me that you obviously don't understand. At this point, I'm quite frankly at my wit's end. I don't know how else to explain it to you.

    In reality, there is no right or wrong here. There's only difference -- semantic difference. If you want to use "value" in its mathematical sense, fine. Then we would have to use a different word to describe the economic concept of "value". What word would you choose?

    The problem is that you're equivocating over the word "value". In its mathematical sense, it cannot in any way refer to moral or ethical judgement. In fact, morality and ethics have no place in understanding prices. They are amoral. Hence there is no such thing as a "fair" or "unfair" price in an objective (i.e. mathematical or scientific) sense. "Fairness" doesn't even exist in the outside world. It exists only within the human mind.

    Finally, as far as I'm concerned, all judgements are value judgements. What else would you call a judgement?

    I am conflating nothing of the sort - show explicit example and I will defend.
    Gladly:

    Quote Originally Posted by You
    It is a moral inequelity - in the act of trade the product is judged, priced, valued (take your pick), as of greater worth than the worker, the capitalist in his office reaps the benefit of that trade. [Emphasis added.]
    You said "of greater worth than the worker"... not "of greater worth than the worker's labor". If you meant the latter, you must be precise. I'm not a mind-reader.

    I understand that they are not the same, but I don't understand why a mans (or womans) labour should be exampt from moral considerations. Morality should be considered in everything we do including labour - it seems quite Sartrean of you to consider a worker as non-human and therefore outside of morality as a worker. Men as workers are not commodities they are human beings and should be considered as such.
    Strawman. I don't consider workers to be non-human or outside of morality. And while I agree that human beings are not commodities (i.e. I am anti-slavery), I disagree that labor is not a commodity. It most certainly is, as people sell their labor on a daily basis. No one is obligated (i.e. coercively) to work.

    You shifted from discussing personal circumstances and voluntary agreements, then to a point about working for specific companies which I did not assert, then to attacking me personally about the 'world owing me a living', that was a second point I did not assert. I let you off with one strawman fallacy, you committed two, attacking two points i did not make.
    No, I mentioned an abstract "Company X". If you prefer, I can modify my statement to refer to one being threatened to be shot if he does not work for any company.

    You didn't claim that the world owes you a living, but it was a logical implication to what you were claiming. Allow me to quote you again:

    Quote Originally Posted by You
    I was in a 'mutual agreement' signed through desperation of unemployment, desperation that comes from the necessity of money.
    As far as I can tell, you're arguing here that you weren't actually in a mutual agreement due to this "desperation of unemployment." This seems to imply that you shouldn't have to work. How do you expect to make a living if you don't put forth your own effort?

    The points i added were highly relevant [snipped utter nonsense]
    No, they weren't. I asked you a simple question, namely whether you would consider yourself morally justified in stealing extra money from the company you work for. The question was about you specifically. Hence any appeal to what others would do is completely irrelevant.

    No, I don't think it is. There are alternatives to private property, I'm sure your aware of them. I'd be surprised if you aren't.
    Then why wouldn't you consider yourself morally justified in stealing what you want, if you didn't think you were getting "enough" already?

    If you read my response carefully I think you'll find I am answering your question; Would you say that I somehow didn't have the freedom to negotiate? My answer is no I wouldn't say you didn't have the ability because you clearly did negotiate. Your own question was ambiguous as to what it was asking.
    I did read your response carefully, thank you very much. Your response implied that there are some cases where people do not have the freedom and ability to negotiate. I asked you to explain how that could ever be the case. Do you understand now?

    I said nothing of necessitate, I merely pointed out that as far as your reasoning was concerned, Heinz has no right to include it as an influence as the doctor is defining a term of exchange.
    How does Heinz have no right (more accurately, freedom) to try to appeal to the doctor's sense of compassion?

    I'd like to know that were on the same page, please identify the moral problem you refer to.
    Fine. The moral problem I refer to is the one that you allege, namely that there is something morally wrong with an employer selling a product for more than it costs in labor to produce it.

    You are very mistaken, at no point did assert anything to do with infinite choice, or a choice between two places as being enough for anything let alone freedom.
    Wrong. As far as I'm concerned, you clearly implied that no number of choices was "enough" for you. So another way of putting that is that there would be an infinite number of choices required to satisfy you.

    They don't contradict each other. Show me how they do.
    Negative liberty means the absence of aggressive coercion. Positive liberty means entitlements to things, which involves obligations on the part of others to provide them to those who lack them. The corollary there is that anyone who is unwilling to make the provision will face aggressive coercion. Hence positive liberty encroaches upon negative liberty. Maximizing both is thus not possible. QED.

    What would cause your feeling of disappointment?
    The fact that someone else received a lot of money that I, in theory, could have received.

    No, I'd sell my next painting for $100,000.
    Assuming there's someone willing to buy it at that price. Otherwise, you wouldn't sell your painting (at that price) at all!
    “When men hire themselves out to shoot other men to order, asking nothing about the justice of their cause, I don’t care if they are shot themselves."

    - Herbert Spencer

  14. #74

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    Re: Why Anti-Marx?

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    Fine. The moral problem I refer to is the one that you allege, namely that there is something morally wrong with an employer selling a product for more than it costs in labor to produce it.
    Did you mean

    "...more than it costs to produce it...." ?

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    Re: Why Anti-Marx?

    Where were we …

    Uh!

    Quote Originally Posted by MeilahBushin View Post
    …Of all Marxist definitions of communism I like yours’ best:

    No political administration. This is quite not the same as Marxs’ definition.

    So, where would you like to go from here?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rakkyosai View Post
    Probably to look at where we can improve current democracy with what we have gleamed from Marx so far - politics is undoubtably necessary in todays world, so having no political administration is implausible... but a return to direct democracy with current communication technology is not so implausible.
    Gladly.

    I only want us to finish with definition of communism first. I think it will help us in our upcoming discussion.

    If
    Politics is a process by which groups of people make decisions. The term is generally applied to behavior within civil governments, but politics has been observed in all human group interactions, including corporate, academic and religious institutions. It consists of "social relations involving authority or power" and refers to the regulation of a political unit, and to the methods and tactics used to formulate and apply policy.[Wikipedia. Politics. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politics]

    then, for as long as society needs decisions that are followed, there would be politics.

    You seem inclined to agree with that, though your proposition of ‘return to direct democracy’ to me seem vague and is not any more helpful then definition of communism Marx makes.

    I see a clue in the word “pure” in the definition Wikipedia gives:

    Karl Marx posited that communism would be the final stage in human society, which would be achieved through a proletarian revolution. "Pure communism" in the Marxian sense refers to a classless, stateless and oppression-free society where decisions on what to produce and what policies to pursue are made democratically, allowing every member of society to participate in the decision-making process in both the political and economic spheres of life.[Wikipedia. Communism. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communism]

    I'd say, this definition closely follows Marx’s and Lenin’s notion of approaching the proximity of communism in asymptote. The word “pure” hints an approach widely used in natural sciences – an introduction of abstraction. Such approach would allow us to say “pure gold” or “pure oxygen” while we all know there is no such thing.

    Yeah?

    Absolute zero is the coldest temperature theoretically possible.[Wikipedia. Absolute_zero. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absolute_zero]
    – the keyword – theoretically.

    An ideal gas is a theoretical gas composed of a set of randomly-moving, non-interacting point particles[Wikipedia. Ideal_gas. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Ideal_gas]
    - the same keyword theoretical plus a new keyword – ideal, as existing in imagination only.

    Actually, if you think about it, ideal gas might seem like Marx’s classless, stateless, politics-free randomly-moving and non-interacting copulation of individuals.

    Right?

    I suggest that Marx’s communism is an abstraction. If this definition is used then you are right:

    Quote Originally Posted by Rakkyosai View Post
    Communism has never existed, anywhere. China is not communist and never has been.
    The communism has not been build yet. And never will be, we might add, because we just agreed to use a definition of communism as an abstraction.

    Meanwhile, it seems to me for all the practical purposes as being quite consistent and unambiguous to call certain historical countries, states and societies as communist ruled by communists.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rakkyosai View Post
    There has never been a country to have had a Communist government.
    Common! You could be more considerate! This statement could offend many communists such as Chinese communists as well as Indian communists not to mention many formerly proud communists of Soviet block and Fidel of cause.

    If this is settled, then we could move along …

    Shall we?

  16. #76
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    Re: Why Anti-Marx?

    Sorry I have been away for few days, I have been quite ill recently.

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    As far as I can tell, you meant "valuation of a product" in terms of its price. Since value and price are not the same thing in an economic sense, I can only conclude that you are still using the mathematical concept of value after I painstakingly explained to you how it has no place whatsoever in economics. Therefore I accuse you of being intellectually dishonest.
    First off lets just remember that it was you that raised the concept of 'price', you read something I wrote and took from it something I had not said, then made all these accusations about how I didn't know what I was taliking about and of being intellectually dishonest... Well, after finally getting a definition of what you mean by price it's become clear that you have implied from my term value that you have read that to be a numerical quanta. This was not what I was saying at all; I quote myself;

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos
    In order for the company to make profit, the unit created must be sold for a value greater than the sum of its parts plus the cost of labour of it's construction.
    It's the word sold that has confused you here, I should have wrote 'traded', or perhaps changed value for valuation. But either way I find your explanation of 'price' to be in contradiction to your assertion that it is not a 'subjective valuation'; which you claim here;

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos
    ...How does one quantify value anyway? If 50 people (call them Group A) each purchase a glass of my lemonade for $1.00 each, and 50 other people (call them Group B) do not, how can we say anything more than that each person in Group A valued the glass of lemonade more than the $1.00 and vice-versa for each person in Group B? How do we transform ordinality into cardinality (if you know what I mean there)?
    Here is where I think the difficulty arises. Your definition of price; (my own emphasis)

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos
    ...I define "price" as a numerical indicator of the amount of money (or other commodity!) being asked for in exchange for a particular good or service.
    The part in bold ontologically commits you someone having done a subjective valuation of the product and subjectively concluded that it is worth x, where x is a numerical indicator. Are you going to argue that the subjective valuation does not ocurr?

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos
    Where did I say that price is unquantifiable? Of course it's quantifiable. You are mixing up my statements and missing, forgetting, or dropping the contexts behind them.
    Please excuse me, I misunderstood when you asserted that the influences of other products on the quantifiablity of price is unquantifiable.

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos
    How, exactly, have I conflated those two things? Please point it out explicitly.
    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos
    ...do you think it takes no skill whatsoever to manage one's own property? Do you think it's just a matter of spending money willy-nilly? If not, then explain your position.
    You clearly imply here that it takes a certain ammount of skill to manage property, if this is the case then the only people skilled enough to manage property would be those trained / educated to do so as it would not require any skill to do so if anyone could do it. You imply also that managing property is a form of labour; I would argue that the product of that work (as opposed to the work of the worker) does not produce the same 'value' creating effect as the workers labour. I think Marx would argue that this structure (if correct), does not permit people to move from being working class to becoming capitalist on grounds of lack of 'skill' in management.

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos
    Explain how I am "complicating the issue".
    By applying my reasoning to hypothetical situations and inducing incorrect results.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rakkyosai
    The work of an Engineer is a unique skill that takes time and lots of training to achieve. Their work is different in nature but not in essence (different form of input, same results as the builder that lays the foundations).
    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    So now you concede that there is a numerical inequality. This directly contradicts your earlier statement,...
    It does contradict my earlier statement, but this is because I do not equate people to numbers, which is what has to be done to make your numerical inequality. I think it's abhorrent to treat people as numbers, even their labour as mere numbers - Let me explain why; While I worked in a server factory, I was capable of doing my job twice as efficiently as others doing the same job as me. I was an agency worker, the others doing the same job as me were contracted to the company. My production numbers did not save my job. Fortunatley I got another job almost immediately after.

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    As far as "the nature of price" is concerned, I honestly don't have any idea what you mean by that phrase. The same is true with "how is price judged".
    How does someone who has produced something (worker) they wish to sell, trade, barter, exchange (take your pick), determine what they want (commdity / currency / trade token) for their product? Simple enough.

    I would argue that it is a value judgement (not necessarily a price).

    Furthermore, you claim that 'price is not a value judgement'
    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    I've already gone over how price is not a value judgement.
    Yet you also assert that;
    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    Finally, as far as I'm concerned, all judgements are value judgements. What else would you call a judgement?
    How do you explain this?

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    You said "of greater worth than the worker"... not "of greater worth than the worker's labor". If you meant the latter, you must be precise. I'm not a mind-reader.
    Fair enough... of the workers labour. However, Marx defined labour as a defining feature of human beings, I don't think Marx would have made the distinction as clean-cut as what you do. Marx would probably define such a clean distinction a form of alienation of the worker from his labours, and the workers labour as a commodity also as a form of alienation - I'd agree with Marx.

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    Strawman. I don't consider workers to be non-human or outside of morality. And while I agree that human beings are not commodities (i.e. I am anti-slavery), I disagree that labor is not a commodity. It most certainly is, as people sell their labor on a daily basis. No one is obligated (i.e. coercively) to work.
    You are correct, I would agree, no-one is coerced into work - but really can you honestly claim that it is a viable option for someone or any number of people to decide one morning 'F*** it, no-one's forcing me'. Consider the possible ramifications if an entire workforce decided to do this. Would you as a capitalist say 'Oh thats okay, no-one is forcing you, you are free after all.'

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    No, I mentioned an abstract "Company X". If you prefer, I can modify my statement to refer to one being threatened to be shot if he does not work for any company.
    No need for any modification, I think I have explained clearly enough the pressure put on people to work in a capitalist society, and similarly I think I have extolled the idea that having the degree of freedom you suggest is not a legitimate claim, though capitalist theory claims it is alegitimate claim.

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    You didn't claim that the world owes you a living, but it was a logical implication to what you were claiming. Allow me to quote you again:
    Not so, what I was claiming was that the 'mutual agreement' is not freely mutual unless signed with out a the decision of the worker to sign the agreement as a free individual.

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    As far as I can tell, you're arguing here that you weren't actually in a mutual agreement due to this "desperation of unemployment." This seems to imply that you shouldn't have to work. How do you expect to make a living if you don't put forth your own effort?
    You have induced something I have not said - What I was claiming is that the capitalist system would not be able to function if we theoretically had the choice to not work - I am asserting that we do not have the chioce to not work, not that we should not have to, nor am I arguing the point that we should have the right to not have to work. What I am arguing against is your assertion that we have the freedom to not work.

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    No, they weren't. I asked you a simple question, namely whether you would consider yourself morally justified in stealing extra money from the company you work for. The question was about you specifically. Hence any appeal to what others would do is completely irrelevant.
    If you were looking only to garner my own opinion then fair enough. However i'd like to point out that to ignore other points I have made as part of my defence is bad form, similarly if I consider the points relevant then you should show how they aren't rather than dismiss them offhandedly.

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    Then why wouldn't you consider yourself morally justified in stealing what you want, if you didn't think you were getting "enough" already?
    Due to a sense of responsibility to the capitalist system, while I personally do not ascribe to it on grounds of fairness, I am nonetheless subject to the laws of the state.

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    I did read your response carefully, thank you very much. Your response implied that there are some cases where people do not have the freedom and ability to negotiate. I asked you to explain how that could ever be the case. Do you understand now?
    Your question was; 'Would you say that you didn't have the ability to negotiate?', I answered no, I wouldn't say you didn't have the ability to negotiate. Therefore I don't need to explain anything.

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    How does Heinz have no right (more accurately, freedom) to try to appeal to the doctor's sense of compassion?

    Personal circumstances have no bearing on an agreement being voluntary.
    This clearly implies that you think Heinz's personal circumstances should have no bearing on the doctors decision.

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    Fine. The moral problem I refer to is the one that you allege, namely that there is something morally wrong with an employer selling a product for more than it costs in labor to produce it.
    If I produce a can, and I sell it to you for $2, you then sell it to a third party for $20, is this fair on me as the person who produced it? I say no, you say tough luck, am I wrong with this assertion?

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    Wrong. As far as I'm concerned, you clearly implied that no number of choices was "enough" for you. So another way of putting that is that there would be an infinite number of choices required to satisfy you.
    I believe it was you that implied that theoretically there is freedom for people to work or not, would you care to justify this? Why is it a viable option for people to choose not to work in a capitalist system?

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    Negative liberty means the absence of aggressive coercion. Positive liberty means entitlements to things, which involves obligations on the part of others to provide them to those who lack them. The corollary there is that anyone who is unwilling to make the provision will face aggressive coercion. Hence positive liberty encroaches upon negative liberty. Maximizing both is thus not possible. QED.
    You are incorrect; your assertion of positive liberty is flawed, it's is not so much about entitlements and more about abilities, an example for you; You are about to climb the stairs to a library; negative liberty imbues others with the obligation to not stop you, positive liberty imbues you with the right to use your legs to ascend the stairs. A question for you; Is an illiterate person free to read a book? If negative liberty is the only defining feature of freedom then the answer is yes - but being illiterate means one does not have the power or resources to read.

    Positive liberty is about having the power and resources (not the right to resources) to fulfill potential, negative liberty is concerned with freedom from restraint. They are not conflictory.

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    The fact that someone else received a lot of money that I, in theory, could have received.
    Exactly - someone making profit from your labour.

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    Assuming there's someone willing to buy it at that price. Otherwise, you wouldn't sell your painting (at that price) at all!
    Indeed, similarly there is the possibility that (in my example), the shop owner has sold the painting under the pretences of it being another (perhaps more famous) artists work.

    Quote Originally Posted by MeilahBushin View Post
    :Meanwhile, it seems to me for all the practical purposes as being quite consistent and unambiguous to call certain historical countries, states and societies as communist ruled by communists.

    If this is settled, then we could move along …

    Shall we?
    Indeed, fair enough, I can accede to call certain historical states Communist for the purpose of consistency and understanding. If it's all the same to you however, I'd like to avoid attributing mass murders etc... to Communism. Communism is an idea, a theory, nothing more, people make of ideas what they will, an idea cannot kill anything, but someone believing the idea is a justifier can - still the idea is not the cause.

    Let us move on then ...
    Bricky roads they trappers grass, stoney walls they trappers wind, iron stove it trappers fire.

    Trappers is we by the works of hands, and forget us we were ever free...

  17. #77
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    Re: Why Anti-Marx?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rakkyosai View Post
    Sorry I have been away for few days, I have been quite ill recently.
    I hope you're feeling better.

    First off lets just remember that it was you that raised the concept of 'price', you read something I wrote and took from it something I had not said, then made all these accusations about how I didn't know what I was taliking about and of being intellectually dishonest... Well, after finally getting a definition of what you mean by price it's become clear that you have implied from my term value that you have read that to be a numerical quanta. This was not what I was saying at all; I quote myself;
    If I remember correctly, you used the word "sell", which to me implies "price". So again, I was working based on an implication (and a quite direct and obvious one, if you ask me).

    You don't quote yourself; you quote me. But regardless, look at my earlier statement, I shouldn't have used the phrase "sold for a value". That was sloppy on my part, and I apologize. What I should have said (and what I meant) was "sold for a price".

    It's the word sold that has confused you here, I should have wrote 'traded', or perhaps changed value for valuation. But either way I find your explanation of 'price' to be in contradiction to your assertion that it is not a 'subjective valuation'; which you claim here;
    I consider "sold" and "traded" to be nearly synonyms. The only difference is where the emphasis lies.

    Here is where I think the difficulty arises. Your definition of price; (my own emphasis)

    The part in bold ontologically commits you [to] someone having done a subjective valuation of the product and subjectively concluded that it is worth x, where x is a numerical indicator. Are you going to argue that the subjective valuation does not ocurr?
    Nowhere did I ever argue that the subjective valuation does not occur. In fact, my entire argument here is that, not only do subjective valuations do occur, but that there can be no objective valuations! What this means is that there is no such thing as a "correct price" for something. Does that make sense?

    What I have accused you of (and which you still seem to be doing) is considering "subjective valuation" to be equivalent to "numerical indicator". The truth is that the latter is the result of the former.

    Please excuse me, I misunderstood when you asserted that the influences of other products on the quantifiablity of price is unquantifiable.
    Not a problem. Hopefully you understand now.

    You clearly imply here that it takes a certain ammount of skill to manage property, if this is the case then the only people skilled enough to manage property would be those trained / educated to do so as it would not require any skill to do so if anyone could do it. You imply also that managing property is a form of labour; I would argue that the product of that work (as opposed to the work of the worker) does not produce the same 'value' creating effect as the workers labour. I think Marx would argue that this structure (if correct), does not permit people to move from being working class to becoming capitalist on grounds of lack of 'skill' in management.
    Yes, I imply that it takes a certain amount of skill. However, that skill does not need to come from formal training.

    To be honest, I'm not sure what you call "labor". It can't be just any human activity, as you consider decision-making to not qualify. Can you please clarify what you mean by the term?

    If value is subjective, how can it be created by "labor" or any other non-mental means?

    By applying my reasoning to hypothetical situations and inducing incorrect results.
    Please outline the hypothetical situations in question, the incorrect results that I allegedly induced, and the correct results.

    It does contradict my earlier statement, but this is because I do not equate people to numbers, which is what has to be done to make your numerical inequality. I think it's abhorrent to treat people as numbers, even their labour as mere numbers - Let me explain why; While I worked in a server factory, I was capable of doing my job twice as efficiently as others doing the same job as me. I was an agency worker, the others doing the same job as me were contracted to the company. My production numbers did not save my job. Fortunatley I got another job almost immediately after.
    Again, you almost seem to be deliberately obtuse here. You claimed that there was no numerical inequality. I demonstrated that there was. At that point, you agreed that there was a numerical inequality. Obviously your latter statement ("There is a numerical inequality") contradicts your former statement ("There is not a numerical inequality"). Do you understand? This has nothing to do with anyone (allegedly) treating people as numbers.

    How does someone who has produced something (worker) they wish to sell, trade, barter, exchange (take your pick), determine what they want (commdity / currency / trade token) for their product? Simple enough.

    I would argue that it is a value judgement (not necessarily a price).

    Furthermore, you claim that 'price is not a value judgement'

    Yet you also assert that [all judgements are value judgements];

    How do you explain this?
    The determination is an inherently mental process, of course. I don't know enough about how the mind works to explain it in detail.

    Yes, a price is a numerical quantity that is arrived at through a (necessarily) subjective decision-making process. However, it is not itself a preference (i.e. the economic concept of value). On the other hand, it does imply a preference, namely the preference of the producer for the specified amount of money over what he has produced. Does this make sense?

    Now, as far as how prices are decided upon, this is the single biggest question in economics. Certain laws have been formulated based on observed economic behavior, such as the laws of supply and demand. These state that a person is more willing to sell a good or service at a higher price, and that a person is more willing to buy a good or service at a lower price -- all other things being equal. Other economic laws, such as the law of marginal utility, also have an effect, which I can elaborate on if you'd like.

    Fair enough... of the workers labour. However, Marx defined labour as a defining feature of human beings, I don't think Marx would have made the distinction as clean-cut as what you do. Marx would probably define such a clean distinction a form of alienation of the worker from his labours, and the workers labour as a commodity also as a form of alienation - I'd agree with Marx.
    Again, I have to ask you for your definition of "labor". But the Marxian point of view actually seems rather similar to that of Ludwig von Mises, who considered action to be a defining feature of human beings. Of course, action includes both how someone manages his capital and what labor he engages in.

    You are correct, I would agree, no-one is coerced into work - but really can you honestly claim that it is a viable option for someone or any number of people to decide one morning 'F*** it, no-one's forcing me'. Consider the possible ramifications if an entire workforce decided to do this. Would you as a capitalist say 'Oh thats okay, no-one is forcing you, you are free after all.'
    Thank you for that agreement.

    Any discussion of "viability" is irrelevant, as the term is subjective. The fact remains: no one is coerced into work. But I will say this: the free market in no way makes it impossible for there to be a general strike. On the other hand, the necessary outcome for a general strike in the free market would be a diminution of destruction of most people's livelihoods.

    No need for any modification, I think I have explained clearly enough the pressure put on people to work in a capitalist society, and similarly I think I have extolled the idea that having the degree of freedom you suggest is not a legitimate claim, though capitalist theory claims it is alegitimate claim.
    "Not a legitimate claim" by what standard of legitimacy?

    Furthermore, how do you envision there not being "pressure put on people to work"? This is what I was talking about when I asked you whether you thought the world owes you a living. One can feed himself in two general ways: produce his own food, or obtain it from someone else. There are likewise two general ways to obtain food from someone else: exchange something for it, or steal it. Now where you envision that there would be no pressure put on people to work, how are they being fed?

    Not so, what I was claiming was that the 'mutual agreement' is not freely mutual unless signed with out a the decision of the worker to sign the agreement as a free individual.
    How or where does the worker not have the decision to sign the agreement? How or where is he not a free individual?

    You have induced something I have not said - What I was claiming is that the capitalist system would not be able to function if we theoretically had the choice to not work - I am asserting that we do not have the chioce to not work, not that we should not have to, nor am I arguing the point that we should have the right to not have to work. What I am arguing against is your assertion that we have the freedom to not work.
    Again, we have different definitions of "freedom". My point was that we are not coerced to work -- a point that you have agreed with, so it's no longer under debate. Your point seems to be that most of us do not have the ability to provide for ourselves without working. In other words, most of us are not independently wealthy or able to produce our own food from scratch. I would agree with this. It's due to the division of labor.

    Given my definition of "freedom", my point stands.

    If you were looking only to garner my own opinion then fair enough. However i'd like to point out that to ignore other points I have made as part of my defence is bad form, similarly if I consider the points relevant then you should show how they aren't rather than dismiss them offhandedly.
    Indeed I was looking only to garner your own opinion. That's why the other points you made were irrelevant. I thought I already made that clear. So where is the bad form, again?

    Due to a sense of responsibility to the capitalist system, while I personally do not ascribe to it on grounds of fairness, I am nonetheless subject to the laws of the state.
    Okay, so you're choosing not to steal more because you consider the negative consequences of getting caught to outweigh the positive consequences of getting away with it. Fair enough.

    Your question was; 'Would you say that you didn't have the ability to negotiate?', I answered no, I wouldn't say you didn't have the ability to negotiate. Therefore I don't need to explain anything.
    No, the question I was referring to was "How do people not have the ability to negotiate?" I thought that reference was clear, but I apologize if it wasn't. Another way of phrasing this question would be "Can you point out any situation where people cannot negotiate?"

    This clearly implies that you think Heinz's personal circumstances should have no bearing on the doctors decision.
    No. I was not making a normative (i.e. "should be") statement; I was making a descriptive (i.e. "is") statement. Furthermore I was not addressing the doctor's decision at all. I was addressing the necessarily voluntary nature of the agreement. This is, in fact, tautological. Whether Heinz's personal circumstances should or do have a bearing on the doctor's decision is completely irrelevant to the fact that any agreement reached between them must, by definition, be voluntary.

    If I produce a can, and I sell it to you for $2, you then sell it to a third party for $20, is this fair on me as the person who produced it? I say no, you say tough luck, am I wrong with this assertion?
    From a procedural standpoint, I'd say it's entirely fair. No one coerced you to sell me the can for $2 as opposed to $20. Likewise, no one coerced me into selling it for $20 as opposed to $2.

    From a resultative standpoint, I don't see how it's fair or unfair. How do you conclude that the result is unfair? The only way you can do that is if you conclude that $20 is the "true price" of the can. But how can you prove that?

    I believe it was you that implied that theoretically there is freedom for people to work or not, would you care to justify this? Why is it a viable option for people to choose not to work in a capitalist system?
    You are confusing what I call "freedom" with what you call "freedom". My own concept of "freedom" has nothing to do with positive ability.

    You are incorrect; your assertion of positive liberty is flawed, it's is not so much about entitlements and more about abilities, an example for you; You are about to climb the stairs to a library; negative liberty imbues others with the obligation to not stop you, positive liberty imbues you with the right to use your legs to ascend the stairs. A question for you; Is an illiterate person free to read a book? If negative liberty is the only defining feature of freedom then the answer is yes - but being illiterate means one does not have the power or resources to read.

    Positive liberty is about having the power and resources (not the right to resources) to fulfill potential, negative liberty is concerned with freedom from restraint. They are not conflictory.
    Yes, and when one is considered to lack "sufficient" power and resources to fulfill his alleged "potential", what then? Would you advocate taking power and resources from someone else who has them and giving them to the "impoverished" person?

    Exactly - someone making profit from your labour.
    So what? How did I have a pre-existing "right" to that profit?

    Indeed, similarly there is the possibility that (in my example), the shop owner has sold the painting under the pretences of it being another (perhaps more famous) artists work.
    Sure, and I would consider that to be fraud. What's your point?
    “When men hire themselves out to shoot other men to order, asking nothing about the justice of their cause, I don’t care if they are shot themselves."

    - Herbert Spencer

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    Re: Why Anti-Marx?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rakkyosai View Post
    If it's all the same to you however, I'd like to avoid attributing mass murders etc... to Communism.
    Small things do matter. Oddly enough, nuances could make a huge difference in politics, philosophy, other social sciences and this debate.

    The way you put it in your proposition – no, it is not all the same to me.

    I, actually, do see causality or corollary between the premises of Marxism and the vicious and anti-humanistic outcomes some attempts to put Marxism into practice led to and resulted in.

    My suggestion was, please forgive me if I misled, it was not my intention, to address the topic of this thread that I thought is why people of the USA reject Marxism more then you would have expected. If you agree that this is our major question, then after we have answered it we could spend time to either answer related aspects and issues or open a new thread to have a follow-up(s) on those.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rakkyosai View Post
    Communism is an idea, a theory, nothing more, people make of ideas what they will, an idea cannot kill anything, but someone believing the idea is a justifier can …
    A few questions:

    1. Would you apply the same logic to Fascism?

    2. Would you apply the same logic to Wahhabism?

    3. Would you apply the same logic to Sharia?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rakkyosai View Post
    … still the idea is not the cause.
    Would you please look at this statement again and either insist or take it back. I am not sure that this statement has come out the way it was intended. I read it as being exposed too broadly for counter-arguing and as being hardly defensible.

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    Re: Why Anti-Marx?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rakkyosai View Post
    Let us move on then ...
    To simplify referencing I turn again to my easy-talk favorite, free and easily searchable Wikipedia:

    Marxism is the political philosophy and economic worldview based upon a materialist interpretation of history, a Marxist analysis of capitalism, a theory of social change, and an atheist view of human liberation... three primary aspects of Marxism are:

    1. The dialectical and materialist concept of history ...
    2. The critique of capitalism — In capitalist society, an economic minority (the bourgeoisie) dominate and exploit the working class (proletariat) majority. ... Without the elimination of the fetter of the private ownership of the means of production, human society is unable to achieve further development.
    3. Advocacy of proletarian revolution — ... the working class must seize political power internationally through a social revolution and expropriate the capitalist classes around the world and place the productive capacities of society into collective ownership. [Wikipedia, Marxism, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marxism].

    It would seem to me as being excessive to attempt to debate all of the above items. Please, feel free to suggest a few items you would consider critical.

    My selections are:

    2. The critique of capitalism

    3. Advocacy of proletarian revolution


    My very special delivery to all my benevolent, imperturbable and dismissive anti-Marxist friends:

    Contemporarily, Karl Marx’s innovative analytical methods — materialist dialectics, the labour theory of value, et cetera — are applied in archaeology, anthropology, media studies, political science, theater, history, sociological theory, education, economics, literary criticism, aesthetics, critical psychology, and philosophy. [Wikipedia, Marxism, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marxism].

    If I was to believe this, then it, sort of, would explain to me why so many socially critical circles, such as academia, schooling (pre-college, undergraduate and graduate), media (Hollywood, Press, TV, Publishing; feel free to expand), government etc (again, feel free to expand) are saturated with extremely-left to left political spectrum.

    Do I believe claims made in the above quote from Wikipedia? I could tell Wikipedia contributors are not entirely unbiased. I could see how this quote could be simply overstatement or a wishful thinking.

    But then again, since I do see how oversaturated with extremely-left to left political spectrum academia, schooling, media, government, global institutions and initiatives etc are, then maybe in this case Wikipedia has got it right?

    Back it up again, please:

    Contemporarily, Karl Marx’s innovative analytical methods — materialist dialectics, the labour theory of value, et cetera — are applied in archaeology, anthropology, media studies, political science, theater, history, sociological theory, education, economics, literary criticism, aesthetics, critical psychology, and philosophy. [Wikipedia, Marxism, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marxism].

    Wow, that is bothering. What are we going to do about it? If that does bother us, that is?

    After the demise of the Roman Empire, how was that period of time in history called, I forgot?
    Last edited by MeilahBushin; November 17th, 2009 at 06:48 AM. Reason: minor edit.

  20. #80

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    Re: Why Anti-Marx?

    Since there have been no takers on my last two posts I assume I may continue.

    Once again, I would greatly appreciate if in discussion we could stay within the bounds of the considered aspect of Marxism.

    I’ll start with

    “The critique of capitalism — In capitalist society, an economic minority (the bourgeoisie) dominate and exploit the working class (proletariat) majority. ... Without the elimination of the fetter of the private ownership of the means of production, human society is unable to achieve further development.” [Wikipedia, Marxism, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marxism]

    I see the key here being “… the elimination … of the private ownership of the means of production”, whereas I could not resist but comment that “…human society is unable to achieve further development..” is just a plain air-fluff that Marxism is so characteristic of being.

    Let us get some definitions handy:

    Means of production (abbreviated MoP; German: Produktionsmittel), refers to physical, non-human, inputs used in production including factories, machines, and tools; along with both infrastructural capital and natural capital. This includes the classical factors of production minus financial capital and minus human capital. They include two broad categories of objects: instruments of labour (tools, factories, infrastructure, etc.) and subjects of labour (natural resources and raw materials). People operate on the subjects of labour, using the instruments of labour, to create a product; or, stated another way, labour acting on the means of production creates a product.[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Means_of_production]

    I have made relevant terms in bold. Please look it up Wikipedia if needed. I did not feel to quote them all as being practical.

    Certainly, this definition may seem outdated. We could use it for the purposes of the discussion though.

    There is a common confusion between the elimination of private ownership that Marx does not call for, and the elimination of private ownership of the MOP, that is Marx's call to.

    Say, employee of a service company takes and answers phone calls at home. Could you please tell me what would be the MOP in this case? What "proletariat" to "expropriate" in this case, if you were a Marxist?

    The elimination of private ownership of the Means Of Production (MOP) translates to the elimination of private ownership of instruments of labor and subjects of labor. Importantly to our question at hand, which is, why Marx is less popular in the USA then anywhere else in the world, MOP include infrastructural and natural capital. The origins of both capitals are significant.

    "In the civil society, private property and liberty are inseparable. The individual’s right to live freely and safely and pursue happiness includes the right to acquire and possess property, which represents the fruits of his own intellectual and/or physical labor. As the individual’s time on earth is finite, so, too, is his labor. The illegitimate denial or diminution of his private property enslaves him to another and denies him his liberty." [Mark R. Levin, Liberty and Tyranny]

    The implication being that both infrastructural and natural capital are “… the fruits of his own intellectual and/or physical labor…” as a contrary to origins of previous accumulation of capital assumed by Marx.

    In the history and the culture of the people of the USA private property is a private property. To an American private ownership or private ownership of MOP is undividable, is all the same. It is equated to liberty and the liberty is unalienable natural feature of the American National character that has been formed long before the Declaration of Independence.

    In American colonial history (as well as after the Declaration of Independence) it was a common place when escaping prosecution in Europe (and other parts of the World) people have come and by the means of homestead principle obtained the means to their existence, to support themselves and to sustain. This was the way their Dependence have become their Independence, their Liberty.

    Property was seen not so much as a way to aggrandize profits, but as a source of personal independence. Property consisted not only of tangible goods but also of skills and anything else that made a person independent.[Robert W. McGee, Book Review: Liberty, Property, and The Foundations of the American Constitution Edited by Ellen Frankel Paul and Howard Dickman, http://www.thefreemanonline.org/colu...ard-dickman/#]

    In the above quote from "Liberty and Tyranny" it is easy to recognize (I am sure you, the reader, did) a hint to the Constitution of the United States: "...live freely and safely and pursue happiness..." Our Constitution has molded that American National character that inspired and, surprisingly, still continues to inspire peoples of the World.

    Denying private ownership of the MOP would equate to the elimination of Liberty, thus to the denial of American National character.

    Political "extreme-left to left" is (I’d say probably, but I think surely) aware that their efforts in perspective lead to the destruction of the USA as we know it. But the Statist, the Modern Liberal, the Progressive, The political “extreme-left to left” cares less. If you peel the Statist, it is in fact one’s goal, because in the core the Statist is Marxist.

    Marx's terms are often employed in economic analysis by socialists who advocate public ownership of some or all of the means of production. The affinity between labor movement causes and this advocacy is very strong - and often shared by social democrats, socialists, communists and greens. Marx's analysis in particular helped to make clear the key differences between capital and "labor". Marxists define economic systems in terms of how the means of production are used, and which social class controls them.[ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Means_of_production]

    I think this is one reason why there is a significant rejection of the slow but thus far steady and accelerating spread of Marxism in this country.

    Please, break this installment apart.

 

 
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