[Marxism] work - ability - needs

Pance Stojkovski pance at rogers.com
Fri Jun 13 08:19:00 MDT 2008

--- S. Artesian wrote:
> Here is the quote which is from the Poverty of
> Philosophy, not  ACTTCOPE 
> (and which I could not find on the Marxist Internet
> Archive:

Thanks for the exact quote S. Artesian (which is
slightly different in form, but completely different
in meaning from your original paraphrase). Here it is
on the Marxists website (chapter 1, part 2 of The
Poverty of Philosophy):


In this book, Marx is ridiculing the theories of M.
Proudhon. It is very instructive to read everything
that both Proudhon and Marx say about the concept of

First, Marx asks:
"Does labor time, as the measure of value, suppose at
least that the days are equivalent, and that one man's
day is worth as much as another's?"

What do you think Marx's response to this question is
S. Artesian? According to your original paraphrasing
of Marx, it should be "yes". But apparently Marx
disagrees with you - he says "No"!

Marx goes on to ask a second question:
"Is your hour's labor worth mine?"

Before, reading Marx's reply to this question, try and
think of your reply. Got it? Now keep reading Marx's

"That is a question which is decided by competition."

It is in this context, that Marx, finally says:

"Therefore, we should not say that one man's hour is
worth another man's hour, but rather that one man
during an hour is worth just as much as another man
during an hour. Time is everything, man is nothing; he
is, at the most, time's carcase. Quality no longer
matters. Quantity alone decides everything; hour for
hour, day for day; but this equalizing of labor is not
by any means the work of M. Proudhon's eternal
justice; it is purely and simply a fact of modern
industry. "


Now, since people have been arguing this theory of
"worth" in the context of modern building of socialism
on one island - I think the earlier quote I provided
from Lenin is apropos. Cuba's economic changes are an
obvious step backward from the long term egalitarian
principles of the Paris Commune.

I think time will tell if this was a temporary step
backwards in the long road of building socialism in
Cuba (and the world), or it is a first step to
bringing back capitalism.


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