Lisa Rogers eqwq.lrogers at email.state.ut.us
Mon Oct 30 17:41:09 MST 1995

Steve Keen: There is no product in human history which has been made
by humans without the assistance of any other use-value.

MIM:I may use a rock to kill a rabbit for meat. Someone else may use
a stick to knock down a coconut. Might they not exchange--the coconut
and rabbit? What does Marx say about the use of things in production
that are not commodities? Is it just semantic to say that there is a
production process going on and no other inputs (commodity inputs?)
And can't it reproduce itself by reproducing the one means of

Lisa asks: Don't "natural objects" have use-value according to Marx?
All commodities are use-values, but some [naturally occuring] objects
are use values but not commodities [no labor content = no

I've thought about this a bit, being an anthropologist, specializing
on foraging people, evolutionary ecology and foraging behavior [in

MIM: But maybe I run back and forth 100 times to give 300 coconuts to
obtain a certain kind of meat difficult to catch. But are you saying
coconuts are inputs themselves? Rabbits?

Lisa: Doesn't every artifact-production/labor process require "raw
materials" as input?

MIM: [snip] I can't think of any situation where an input WITHOUT
labor becomes a commodity, never mind a source of surplus-value.
[snip] From what I understand of Marx's "Critique of the  Gotha
Program," his point was that this sort of labor by "savages" is
indeed labor that is pre-society.

Lisa: Steve never said any such thing - "without labor" indeed.
Also, Marx was no anthropologist.  Okay, okay, not bad by the
standards of his time, but "pre-society"??  There is no such thing.
I don't see MIM's point here.  It is a standard gripe of mine that
some leftish want to use arguments from "anthropology", when it is
only Marx/Engels' "anthropology", and it does not seem to help an
argument anyway.  If "savages" are "pre-society", what the hell is
the definition of a "society"??

Mim: On the question of apologetics for capitalists by attributing
surplus generating powers to non-labor inputs, I admit it's not the
focus of argument, just an indication of its importance, like Keen
said, pure polemic or advertising.

Lisa:  Pointless polemic from MIM, it seems.  If MIM wants to discuss
things here, and wants to be taken seriously by me, MIM would do well
to refrain from such capitalist-baiting.  You look a lot better when
you engage the content of a post, rather than making obnoxious
speculations about somebody's charactor or alleged agenda.  MIM and
Miller do not know Steve, I haven't seen him post anything capitalist
and such baiting only makes _them_ look bad, IMO.

If Steve has a good point to make, and I think he does, then he is
like an exterminator with bad news, telling you that your house has
termites.  'Ohmigod, I planned to live in that house forever, leaving
it to my descendants.  It means so much to me I just can't bear to
think - he must be lying, that's it, he's just trying to squeeze a
fee out of me.  Out, OUT, Weevil Steve, I'll not even look under the
house for myself.'

But jeeminy, replacing some rotten beams might actually _improve_ the
house that marxists built.  It may make a mess for a while, but
remodelling is really not the same as a wrecking ball.


p.s. to MIM,  I'm a lot more likely to read and respond to you if
your reply to this, if any, is no longer than this, including quotes,
and stays on points raised here.  And only one reply, please.  lr

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