LABOUR TIME IS THE VISIBLE HAND GUIDING PRODUCTION AND CONSUMPTION. A tribute to the International Communists 1930s Theses.

6 Responses to LABOUR TIME IS THE VISIBLE HAND GUIDING PRODUCTION AND CONSUMPTION. A tribute to the International Communists 1930s Theses.

  1. Pingback: Labour time is the visible hand guiding production and consumption – The New Dark Age

  2. Johnas says:

    My comments dont seem to be appearing when I post them

  3. Johnas says:

    Thanks for the review. I have a couple of questions

    1) Why is there a need to universalize labor times in terms of intensity and skill? What’s wrong with just using raw labor times?

    2) Since training is provided for “free” (actually accounted for by deducting from the individual consumption fund), why should wages be determined by time taken for training? We know the exact total labor-time available for consumption (say X), and we know number of people Y. How this is distributed can proceed in any number of ways, as long as the total adds up to X. Distribution is transparent, but doesnt need to follow any particular rigid principle.

    • Why is there a need to universalize labor times in terms of intensity and skill? What’s wrong with just using raw labor times?

      (Answer) The formula for calculating the total productive effect, both labour power and its amplification by mechanical means, is I x S = economic hours or EH, where I stands for intensity and S for skill. (I is measured as effort per hour.) In turn the final output or FO is equal to EH X P where P stands for productivity, the amplification of labour power. The total number of goods that can be produced in a given time is therefore a function of I x S x P. How hard and long workers work, their combined skill and the amplification of that collective effort via the means of production, yields the potential number of goods that can be produced in a given time. If any of the 3 variables increase then so too will the output.

      If we used raw hours, that is to base the formula on individual intensities the formula would become; I(1) x S x P, and I(2) x S x P, and I(3) x S x P… to I(n) x S x P. I(n) being a wide range of possible intensities. I think you are beginning to see the problem. It would no longer be an invariable variable. We could never arrive at universal labour time, because if we were to assume an average weighted S and average weighted P then multiplying them by individual I(n), would yield a variety of weighted labour times needed to produce any item. The only way around this problem is to measure individual I(s) and then average them out, which will yield a single price because the formula would then become I(A) x S x P where I(A) stands for average intensity. This will be very time consuming as each intensity has to be measured. This can only be done by piece rate methods, and here lies the problem, most products represent a combined effort which means it is difficult to disassociate individual contributions. So even if we could, then yes, but once again think of all the unproductive timekeepers who would be needed to record this fine detail. And it is divisive because intensity in most cases represents an accident of birth, one which disadvantages just over 50% of the population to begin with. Therefore, given modern production methods which reduces the contribution of I, and in the interest of fairness and cost, it is better to homogenize Intensity based on capacity.

      2) Since training is provided for “free” (actually accounted for by deducting from the individual consumption fund), why should wages be determined by time taken for training? We know the exact total labor-time available for consumption (say X), and we know number of people Y. How this is distributed can proceed in any number of ways, as long as the total adds up to X. Distribution is transparent, but doesn’t need to follow any particular rigid principle.

      (Answer) Here you are asking the wrong question. You should ask whether it is the case that when workers receive equally in the lower stage of communism, the more skilled workers will be receiving less than they have contributed and less skilled workers more. The issue of who pays for their training is secondary. The right to receive in proportion to contribution is an equal right. There is no such thing as an unequal right which would be the case if workers received equally without regard to their contribution. The second correct question to ask is how do we overcome this vertical division of labour which necessitates this right? By raising all workers to the highest level requires a dynamic economy to achieve the social fund needed to accomplish this. Only then will the conditions which gave rise to the necessity of this right be ended. This will never be occur, if there is discord over what individual workers are receiving back.

      You have pointed to very important issues. It is my sincere hope that when once again the nature of communism is discussed in a much wider audience, it is issues like this that will be taken up to convince workers there is a viable alternative to capitalism and the market.

  4. Anti-Capital says:

    “. You should ask whether it is the case that when workers receive equally in the lower stage of communism, the more skilled workers will be receiving less than they have contributed and less skilled workers more. The issue of who pays for their training is secondary. ”

    1.The issue of who provides the training is not secondary, it is primary, as it identifies the social nature of all “skilled” labor; that such labor is based on the exploitation of labor in common.

    2. “the more skilled workers will be receiving less than they have contributed and the skilled workers more…? This is a one of the apologies capitalists use for wage differentials? Who contributes “more”? That depends on what’s considered “more” and who’s doing the measuring, again social criteria, which are always class criteria.

    3. Who contributes more to health, a neurosurgeon or a public sanitation worker? Well if want to make it an issue of purely isolated personal health, maybe the neurosurgeon, but in matters of social, public health, than the sanitation worker, disposing of the waste of society is clearly contributing more. Indeed, without such “low level” contributions on the social level, there could be no basis, no SURPLUS of time, or labor, to support the specialization required of neurosurgery.

    4. Trying to adjust compensation for intensity or specialization of labor is to reproduce the stratification of labor that is essential to sustaining capitalist relations of production…. and its a fool’s errand. Who works harder? The conductor in a railroad yard coupling up track after track of cars while being on the ground and walking the tracks, or the locomotive operator who handles a massive investment of accumulated labor necessary to move the coupled cars….or the worker who sits inside the classification office, classifying the cars as to their proper destinations…or the worker who oversees the operation of many crews and decides how and when the trains will be made up for dispatchment? Good luck sorting that.

    5. The inequality of the so-called “first stage” post revolution as resulting from raw equality in compensation is not based on an ignorance of intensity or training, but on a recognition that such equality is essential to prevent reforming of labor as a means to exchange that erupts wherever scarcity is generated and persistent. Such equal inequality disappears, withers away, with abolition of scarcity.

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