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/leftypol/ - Leftist Politically Incorrect

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File: a10c5949fc143e7⋯.png (279.55 KB, 960x893, 960:893, ClipboardImage.png)

 No.2873335

>Let us now picture to ourselves, by way of change, a community of free individuals, carrying on their work with the means of production in common, in which the labour power of all the different individuals is consciously applied as the combined labour power of the community. All the characteristics of Robinson’s labour are here repeated, but with this difference, that they are social, instead of individual. Everything produced by him was exclusively the result of his own personal labour, and therefore simply an object of use for himself. The total product of our community is a social product. One portion serves as fresh means of production and remains social. But another portion is consumed by the members as means of subsistence. A distribution of this portion amongst them is consequently necessary. The mode of this distribution will vary with the productive organisation of the community, and the degree of historical development attained by the producers. We will assume, but merely for the sake of a parallel with the production of commodities, that the share of each individual producer in the means of subsistence is determined by his labour time. Labour time would, in that case, play a double part. Its apportionment in accordance with a definite social plan maintains the proper proportion between the different kinds of work to be done and the various wants of the community. On the other hand, it also serves as a measure of the portion of the common labour borne by each individual, and of his share in the part of the total product destined for individual consumption. The social relations of the individual producers, with regard both to their labour and to its products, are in this case perfectly simple and intelligible, and that with regard not only to production but also to distribution.

Here, in the first chapter of Capital volume 1, Marx is clearly talking about communism - "a community of free individuals, carrying on their work with the means of production in common, in which the labour power of all the different individuals is consciously applied as the combined labour power of the community." What I find interesting is this:

>Labour time would, in that case, play a double part. Its apportionment in accordance with a definite social plan maintains the proper proportion between the different kinds of work to be done and the various wants of the community. On the other hand, it also serves as a measure of the portion of the common labour borne by each individual, and of his share in the part of the total product destined for individual consumption.

It seems to be that it's implied here that Marx believed that the distribution of articles of consumption in communist society would not be completely free, as had become the belief by the time that Lenin wrote in State and Revolution that "There will then be no need for society, in distributing the products, to regulate the quantity to be received by each", but rather that apportionment by labour rendered would still be the rule of distribution for consumption.

So what, then, does "to each according to his needs" mean? If not free distribution, then does it mean the social provision of aid to those who may require it - as Marx says in CotGP, those who may be married, may have larger families, and so on? Do the provision of free healthcare, education, social assistance etc. count as steps towards "to each according to his needs"? I know Cockshott has caught a little flak for suggesting that "to each according to his needs" refers to such assistance rather than superabundance of consumption goods, which he calls a Bukharinite delusion, but it seems to me that he may be right - the idea of simply producing so much stuff that everyone is able take freely seems infeasible with even the smallest amount of thought, and I'm left wondering how such an idea took so firm a hold that even Lenin came to promote it.

What do you think, /leftypol/?

 No.2873361

>It seems to be that it's implied here that Marx believed that the distribution of articles of consumption in communist society would not be completely free, as had become the belief by the time that Lenin wrote in State and Revolution that "There will then be no need for society, in distributing the products, to regulate the quantity to be received by each", but rather that apportionment by labour rendered would still be the rule of distribution for consumption.

Yes, but: 1. It's the early phase of communism. 2. "We will assume, but merely for the sake of a parallel with the production of commodities, that the share of each individual producer in the means of subsistence is determined by his labour time. Labour time would, in that case, play a double part." It isn't that Marx was absolutely certain that the beginning of communism will look like that scenario, just that it is the most simple scenario to think about, the most simple allocation mechanism.

>I know Cockshott has caught a little flak for suggesting that "to each according to his needs" refers to such assistance

It certainly is limited to that in CotGP.

>rather than superabundance of consumption goods, which he calls a Bukharinite delusion

Well you never know. I don't think of the higher phase of communism as an abrupt shift, but a tendency that gradually develops, and maybe it will not become 100 % of the economy. If we agree on it being such a gradual development, then there is no point in being sectarian about our different opinions about the year 10000.


 No.2873370

>>2873335

>So what, then, does "to each according to his needs" mean? If not free distribution

It does mean free distribution.

From CotGP, like one paragraph after the one you referenced:

>In a higher phase of communist society, after the enslaving subordination of the individual to the division of labor, and therewith also the antithesis between mental and physical labor, has vanished; after labor has become not only a means of life but life's prime want; after the productive forces have also increased with the all-around development of the individual, and all the springs of co-operative wealth flow more abundantly – only then then can the narrow horizon of bourgeois right be crossed in its entirety and society inscribe on its banners: From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs!


 No.2873371

read the whole thing


 No.2873407

>>2873335

What Marx was talking about in the first chapter of Capital Volume 1 is lower stage communism. This makes a lot more sense if you also take the Critique of the Gotha Program into account.

>Here, [in lower stage communism] obviously, the same principle prevails as that which regulates the exchange of commodities, as far as this is exchange of equal values. Content and form are changed, because under the altered circumstances no one can give anything except his labor, and because, on the other hand, nothing can pass to the ownership of individuals, except individual means of consumption. But as far as the distribution of the latter among the individual producers is concerned, the same principle prevails as in the exchange of commodity equivalents: a given amount of labor in one form is exchanged for an equal amount of labor in another form.

>But these defects are inevitable in the first phase of communist society as it is when it has just emerged after prolonged birth pangs from capitalist society. Right can never be higher than the economic structure of society and its cultural development conditioned thereby.

>In a higher phase of communist society, after the enslaving subordination of the individual to the division of labor, and therewith also the antithesis between mental and physical labor, has vanished; after labor has become not only a means of life but life's prime want; after the productive forces have also increased with the all-around development of the individual, and all the springs of co-operative wealth flow more abundantly – only then can the narrow horizon of bourgeois right be crossed in its entirety and society inscribe on its banners: From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs!

So in other words, within lower stage communism, products are distributed based on labor time. While in the higher stage, communism operates according to free distribution. After Marx's death, people began to use "socialism" as a shorthand for lower stage communism and "communism" as a shorthand for higher stage communism.


 No.2873633

>>2873370

>>2873361

>>2873407

Late reply, but fair points. Reading back through everything after the initial "huh, idea" moment wore off, free distribution does seem to be the implication. I did a little digging in the meantime and found this in Anti-Duehring as well:

>Secondly, with Owen the labour-notes are only a transitional form to complete community and free utilisation of the resources of society; and incidentally at most also a means designed to make communism plausible to the British public.

Think I'll bring the question up with Cockshott next time he uploads a video, if I remember to. Be interesting to hear his reasoning for keeping labour credits into full communism; I think he justified it on grounds of practical planning in one of his videos, but I don't remember.


 No.2873716

I think this is an interesting theory OP, it does seem that even in full communism there has to be some kind of protection against someone ordering 1000 superyachts just because they can, it seems to me that labour vouchers would always have to exist in some sense for goods that are necessarily limited (maybe not digital, public transport etc).


 No.2874087

>>2873716

>it seems to me that labour vouchers would always have to exist in some sense for goods that are necessarily limited (maybe not digital, public transport etc).

Or rationing of some sort at least, labour vouchers only make sense as a form of rationing before full automation.


 No.2874110

>>2873370

>It does mean free distribution.

>>2873407

>While in the higher stage, communism operates according to free distribution.

It merely means that in high-stage communism volume of work going into what you consume will be disconnected from the volume of work that you put into the system. According to need is not the same as according to individual whim. The Gotha Programme itself (https://www.marxists.org/deutsch/geschichte/deutsch/spd/1875/gotha.htm) speaks of jedem nach seinen vernunftgemäßen Bedürfnissen, which I would translate as, "to everyone according to their reasonable requirements". And then there is this: Einen den Gesellschaftsbedürfnissen entsprechenden Normalarbeitstag. Verbot der Sonntagsarbeit. Translation: "A standard workday corresponding to the requirements of society. Ban of work on Sunday." The Gotha Programme doesn't speak of that need as something you spontaneously feel like as an individual, and my impression from how Marx replies to that is that he restricts the promise more by shifting it into the future. (And another thing: German doesn't distinguish conditional/time stuff in a manner as precise as English does. That is, "when-then" statements in German don't imply as much about the confidence of the speaker in the described events being probable as they do in English.)

>>2873633

>his reasoning for keeping labour credits into full communism

He doesn't have much faith that the higher stage will happen. You can think of inventions as progress that won't get rolled back, but making production here and there less formal and more volunteer-based might lead to a productivity decline after a period of early enthusiasm, as people get older and replaced by others who don't have the memories and habits carried over from the old days, so you have to be a square and track activities more, then productivity gets better again, then another enthusiastic experiment happens and so on… oscillation.


 No.2874113

>>2874110

>to everyone according to their reasonable requirements

I don't see how that is different from "need", and I don't see how this challenges the idea of free distribution.


 No.2874167

>>2874113

In the Anglophone Marxish world there is a meme that free distribution doesn't just mean that what you get does not depend on an individual budget, but specifically that your own individual decision is what determines how much you get of what. It also seems to be the view of the SPGB. OP specifically asked:

>If not free distribution, then does it mean the social provision of aid to those who may require it - as Marx says in CotGP, those who may be married, may have larger families, and so on?

My impression was that OP meant free distribution specifically in that way that the decision is entirely up to the individual.


 No.2874236

>>2874110

>making production here and there less formal and more volunteer-based might lead to a productivity decline after a period of early enthusiasm

I always took labour as life's prime want to mean that, once production is developed enough that people are no longer required to work chiefly in order to reproduce their day-to-day life, people would be free to instead pursue work for which they felt a genuine passion on a voluntary basis.

>>2874167

>My impression was that OP meant free distribution specifically in that way that the decision is entirely up to the individual.

Sort of both, I guess? I should've really sat down and thought things out in more detail before posting I think heh. Mostly that the idea of "producing massive amounts of everything that everyone can take freely" that seems to have become common seemed counterproductive as compared to simply producing to fulfill social needs via democratic participation in the planning process, given that even with generalised automation there's still a definite limit to how much can be produced in a given amount of time and with a given level of resources available.

I'm overthinking this, I know; obviously there's no point attempting to really reason out such a state of affairs while the conditions for their existence aren't even a glimmer in the milkman's eye. Mostly I was just curious as to the evidence for Cockshott's interpretation of "to each according to his needs" as the provision of extra material support to those that need it.




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