Fwd: Re: Anarchism / Marxism debates

Charles Brown CharlesB at SPAMCNCL.ci.detroit.mi.us
Wed Aug 18 09:01:42 MDT 1999

There is so much effort to measure productivity or the productive power of labor, but
no measure of the increased destructivity, the dialectical opposite, that has
accompanied the historical growth in productivity. There is a mode of destruction
which is the underside of the mode of production. Capitalism has the greatest
productivity of all time, but it has the greatest destructivity of all time , too.

The social progress index must take account of the ratio of productivity to
destructivity in a society. In this balancing standard capitalism falls way down on
the scales of progress.

Judgment for Socialism.

Charles Brown

>>> Rakesh Bhandari <bhandari at phoenix.Princeton.EDU> 08/18/99 09:41AM >>>

>But As Mattick writes: 'All social progress is based on the ability to
>produce more with less labour. Capitalism is no exception.' p31
>Jim heartfield

Indeed this is the basis of social progress or greater social wealth but
not its criterion--and Mattick never said so.   Under capitalism, the
greater productivity of labor means not a reduction in direct labor time
but more surplus in relation to necessary labor time. While leaps in the
productivity of labor are indeed the basis of social progress, the actual
criterion for growing social wealth is  a continuous reduction in direct
labor time--that is, wealth as measured by free time, not labor time.

"If it were not for captitalist relations of production, the growing social
wealth would be characterized by a continuous reduction of direct labour
time, and the wealth of society would be measured not by labour time but by
free time. So long, however, as exchange value is the goal of production,
labour time quantities remain the source and measure of capitalist wealth,
because, as value, capaital cannot be anything other than appropriated
labour time. 'Although the very development of the modern means of
production,' Marx wrotes, 'indicates to what a large degree the general
knowledge of society has been a direct productive force, which conditions
the social life and determines its transformation,' capitalism's particular
contribution to this state of affairs consists of no more 'than its use of
all the media of the arts and sciences to increase the surplus labour,
because its wealth, in value form, is nothing but the appropriation of
surplus labour time.'" Critique of Marcuse, p. 47-8

So as long as the development of the productive forces is governed by value
relations, production cannot be subject to the true criterion of social
progress: humanity's own productive powers continue to dominate the direct
producers--they are weapons in the class rule and exploitation--until
freely associated producers seize the productive apparatus and set it on an
unhampered and *different* course according to their own conscious plan in
which their own needs,  so-called externalities and long term problems can
be rationally considered.

Yours, RNB

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