Maoist Internationalist Movement
mim3 at nyxfer.blythe.org
Tue Oct 31 00:45:34 MST 1995
On Tue, 31 Oct 1995 Steve.Keen at unsw.edu.au wrote:
> I was very careful to use the term "use-value" rather than commodity
> in my statement. The point escaped MIM, but to put it in terms of
> the examples MIM put forward, you would need to be able to kill the
> rabbit simply by wishing it dead, because a rock, in that circumstance,
> is a use-value.
Pat for MIM replies: Uh oh, I want to take back my Use-Value
Road comment because it's too telescoped, but Keen dodged the
next paragraph which was about picking coconuts. The first
paragraph talked about sticks. The second talked of labor
as input only. Both paragraphs were useful to my sales of LTV.
Actually I was going to ask Keen about choking rabbits dead,
so I'm glad he mentioned it. One day rabbits are running around
with no use-value, because there are no humans. Then
they have use-values, or do they? Do they still have one
when they are running around? I know they do after they are choked.
Objects become use-values become commodities. I didn't mean
to overly telescope this, but you have to walk down the
use-value road with Keen to get to Keen St.
which takes us back to a physical interpretation
but not LTV. I'm just not sure you can say there is anything
but labor that can give something a use-value when it
didn't have one before. That's not to mention value or exchange-
value. Is this my religious faith in labor? Is this semantic?
I'm serious that I want an answer about massages and
soldier mercenaries. I'm having a doggone time with the list on that.
I do apologize if I offended Keen. It is difficult to come
up with language to meet him on neutral ground, so I'm sure
that it seems I ignore what he said. My Use-Value Road comment
must have been infuriating, though I meant no harm.
I have read his posts,
not his book. I am ignoring the most innovative
part of Keen, because as I said I want to dispense with
it efficiently--on just the question of the commodity
labor-power as privileged. As salesperson, Keen should
realize that there are plenty of oil-heat users like myself
who won't switch to gas without some practical rebuttal of labor-power as
One last point that I meant to raise on crises. I don't
need a final endpoint FRP. If there is a 1% chance
that the proletariat will see through capitalism
politically when the profit rate goes down too much or
there is a recession, then over the long run, it is
a certainty that sooner or later the proletariat is going
to take power. Moreover crises like 1929 are probably
conducive to much higher than 1% chances.
Likewise, if to counteract the FRP the capitalists
increase s/v with technology in such a way that workers
realize that the implementation of technology quietly
makes them more exploited--again say at a realization
likelihood of 1% per crisis--then it is inevitable that capitalism
is going under. Dialectics are relentless.
Another way this becomes fatal is if the government
has to subsidize capitalists and the proletariat notices.
There is too much mystification surrounding rising s/v in connection
to rising c. There have been plenty of historical explanations
for that consonant with LTV. With no inputs at all the
human can now multiply in his head and retain tens of thousands
of words. The human is also on average healthier and longer-lived as time
goes on. With increased strength and language skills the human
can organize him/herselves in production (without inputs) better
than ever. Rising c is not the source of wealth; give the
same machine to the caveperson and productivity does not
go up. The capitalist class as social force of coercion
and efficient organization gets some credit, not as the owner
of things, however, but as the class representing a dynamic
form of social organization. Marx's explanation for all this
is that more and more dead labor goes into
our educations and training. That means the value of labor-power
increases in a capitalist (and low stage socialist) context.
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