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RXP
02-01-2005, 03:04 AM
I've had 2 lectures on Marxist theory of law. Got some questions.

From my understanding (well at least our profs interpretation of Marx) he argued that basically for profit to be made somewhere along the production line someone has to be exploited.

The capitalist makes a profit by pricing higher than his costs. But if this happened it would just mean someone down the line is making a loss. So a £2 profit would mean someon else loses £2, thus a redistro of income. But this doesn't happen because it's the workers who are getting exploited because they basically need water, feeding, clothes, home. They can 're-generate' for the next days working with a lot less money than what they produce is worth. For any capitalist to make profit he has to have workers.

So that's the basic tenet of Marxism (?): the capitalist system exploit the worker. It isn't evil capitalists it's just the system. And since Marxist theory of law is a Materialist one (in Marx's sense, not the modern meaning): it's a reflection of the current system so it's very existence continues this exploitation.

OK so far so good.

What I don't understand is wtf is Marx on about? Capitalists make huge profit now precisely due to NOT using workers e.g. modernisation and using robots on a production line. They make much larger profits because of this. Labour is expensive compared to robots. How would Marx answer this?

Also the profit thing: he doesn't make profit because he exploits the worker but for a lot of other reasons too some of which are greater than the workers own labour. For example, economies of scale. It's basic economics. I don't really understand how Marx can deny that other factors are sometimes more important than labour in making a profit and in the modern economy mostly always more important. I made this point to a geek friend of mine and he goes well Marxists would probably argue that the robots were made by workers in the first place. Thus the his theory is still correct?

Also he argues that the capitalist society has an obsession with equality which further exaserbates inequality. i.e. you are equal in the eyes of the law but because the capitalist and worker start from a different base the purported equal treatment further causes inequality. But now days the law doesn't treat parties equally. There's concepts like unconscionability in contract law which stop inequal bargains from being struck, duress or undue influence in contract where the weaker party is afforded a laxer enforcement of teh law. And EU law to give workers rights against their capitalist employers e.g. marternaity leave, sick leave etc.

How would Marx answer this? The law is changing so surely he is wrong?

Also what about the workers themselves exploiting the capitalists. Take me for example. I work for a market research firm and often don't record down accurately what the interviewee is saying on the phone so they get a misconception of what the public want. So the radio stations change their play lists on wrong info while I get paid but causing the capitalist to loose money.

Surely I am exploiting the capitalist employer?

Also Marx reduces the importance of demand and supply in setting the price. He says that while they do have an importance the main importance is the amount that the worker can be exploited (IIRC) to the price. But this completely ignores a lot of economic facts such as price elastisity demand, where depending on the product demand changes at various rates in changes with price. Or cross elastistiy of demand where changes in other products prices force changes in another products or effect its demand.

Did Marx say anything about this?

wheelchairman
02-01-2005, 07:33 AM
Alright I'll offer my best understanding to help this.

First I think your professor has a misconception of Marxism.

The reason that the capitalists are richer than the workers is that the workers are not paid for the value of their labor. This theory put forth by Marx is called the Theory of Surplus Value. An example of this, purely hypothetically:

We have a worker who works in a chocolate factory in say...Switzerland. According to Marxist economics, labor/workforce/laborpower (from the German Arbeitkraft or something similar to that. To be understood as the labor you make while doing a job.) is a commodity that is bought and sold on the job market. So this Laborer, works at the chocolate factory. And he produces 100 Euros worth of Chocolate in one day, therefore his labor is worth 100 euros of chocolate. However say, he is only paid 50 euros for a days work. In effect, he was only paid for half a days work. While the rest of the day he worked to earn nothing. The remaining 50 euros that were not given to him, because surplus value and end up in the pockets of the boss.

Now that is the basics. And this is the reason why in Marxist revolutions, it was so vital that the Workers CONTROL the factories, and basically eliminate the necessity of the boss. So that the workers control all the value that they produce.

That's the pinnacle of Marxist economics theory. I'm not a big economics student yet, so I can't go into depths with it. There are several economic schools out there that defend the economic theories of Marxism out there in todays world, but I don't know their works so I can't recommend anything.

For your point on robotization and automization, this also happened in Marx's day, it was called manfactorisation. You see not everything is robotically produced. In most organizations labor must be hired somewhere else (most often in the 3rd world.)

On equal rights between worker's and capitalists in the modern world. Well I guess the best example of the inequal treatment is most often seen in the cases of the 'Whistleblower.' The person who shows that the 'Capitalist' is mistreating his labor illegally. This person is often ostracized from the company, and has an incredibly hard time getting a job again. The laborers in the 3rd world have terrible conditions and difficulty organizing. But you can also go in cases of education, most institutions of public education are based on tax fundings from the local community, so obviously rich neighborhoods have nice richer schools with better educated and qualified teachers, poor neighborhoods, have the opposite. In law, money buys the better lawyer (in general) yes? etc. etc. That's how I always understood it. The equalizing factor is that the Unions have been the watchdog against abuse and have fought for equal rights. Marxism is about unions gaining more than economic power, but political power.

Also take the EU, are you aware of the Service-Directive? It's a directive that would allow Eastern European workers to work for Eastern European wages in Western Europe, now Eastern European wages wouldn't be enough to live off in Denmark, absolutely impossible I'd say, not only that but we'd get a surplus of Eastern European workers here, which would weaken our Unions incredibly and create unemployment for organized labor. (organized = unionized for marxists, but you probably knew that.)

On the example of your work, you produce more profit than deficit for your employer do you not? You make mistakes, but so does a factory worker at times, you try to avoid them in general though.

Also Marx only limited the value of Supply and Demand. Personally I hate talking about price elasticity, because I confuse price elasticity with price inelasticity, so let's avoid this subject no? Anyways this is really a marketing term is it not? To find the best price? There are also Accounting practices to find the best price, it requires the fixed costs, fixed unit costs, variable costs and variable unit costs of a product, and is almost entirely based on the amount of % of profit one can gain from a product in comparison with the cost of the labor.

But I don't know enough about this to really argue in depth on, I believe Capital has a few chapters on it that are very informative.

Betty
02-01-2005, 08:00 AM
We have a worker who works in a chocolate factory in say...Switzerland. According to Marxist economics, labor/workforce/laborpower (from the German Arbeitkraft or something similar to that. To be understood as the labor you make while doing a job.) is a commodity that is bought and sold on the job market. So this Laborer, works at the chocolate factory. And he produces 100 Euros worth of Chocolate in one day, therefore his labor is worth 100 euros of chocolate. However say, he is only paid 50 euros for a days work. In effect, he was only paid for half a days work. While the rest of the day he worked to earn nothing. The remaining 50 euros that were not given to him, because surplus value and end up in the pockets of the boss.


Sorry, I just had to pick apart this little scenario a bit, because I really don't think Marxism is logical, beyond a simple theory of classes.

So, this worker works in a chocolate factory. Now, how did the chocolate factory get there? The owner (ie rich evil capitalist) invested $1 000 000 in starting up this factory in the first place. Obviously the worker can't make a full cut of his profits. So you have to support fair wages and not wages that represent everything a worker produces. I don't know what Marx actually thinks though. If there were no rich people, who would start the factories? Even if a hundred regular people chipped in to starting one (which would definititely cause problems) they probably still wouldn't have enough initial capital?

sKratch
02-01-2005, 08:34 AM
That was a very big problem, only with farming, in South Africa after Apartheid. Land was distributed among the populace, but each person owned so little that he or she could barely grow enough to eat, and was surely unable to produce anything for profit. Therefore, hundreds of farmers would have to band together to make a profitable farm that could compete against large plots of lands. Not sure why I just mentioned that... just reminded me of that situation.

wheelchairman
02-01-2005, 09:00 AM
Sorry, I just had to pick apart this little scenario a bit, because I really don't think Marxism is logical, beyond a simple theory of classes.

So, this worker works in a chocolate factory. Now, how did the chocolate factory get there? The owner (ie rich evil capitalist) invested $1 000 000 in starting up this factory in the first place. Obviously the worker can't make a full cut of his profits. So you have to support fair wages and not wages that represent everything a worker produces. I don't know what Marx actually thinks though. If there were no rich people, who would start the factories? Even if a hundred regular people chipped in to starting one (which would definititely cause problems) they probably still wouldn't have enough initial capital?
Marxism isn't about the maximization of profit. Hence why I said the Workers would control the factory and production and whatnot.

RXP
02-01-2005, 02:45 PM
Agreed, there are still inequalities in the law. But the fact of the matter is now days the law does in many cases improve the position of the weaker party. Obviously buying the better lawyer, being able to afford the risk of loosing a case benefits the rich capitalist but still it doesn't change the fact that the law is changing to be more equal despite the base/subsystem metahphor (from my understanding) where the law is a mere reflection of the current capitalist system so will keep it intact.

omg turning into a geek instead of watching 24 tonight gonna read How Marxism works by Chris Harman.

RXP
02-01-2005, 02:48 PM
Marxism isn't about the maximization of profit. Hence why I said the Workers would control the factory and production and whatnot.

I also wonder under Marx's socialist utopia how would progression be made? It';s widely known that humans are selfish cunts motivated by profit this is what causes new discovers because of the huge amounts invested into research and development. If the caplitalist isn't allowed to make huge profits who will produce new products to keep society moving? To increase living standards.

From my understanding Marx himself admited under the caplitalist system the worker enjoys a better absolute position than under previous systems but looses relative to the capialist employer.

Betty
02-01-2005, 03:17 PM
It's true, I don't think there can be much progession under marxism/anarchism/whatever.

But as long as the people who support it agree with that, that's fine.

wheelchairman
02-01-2005, 03:18 PM
hmm longer reply later RXP.

If there can't be much progression how come the USSR did in 10 years what it took centuries for other economies to do?

RXP
02-01-2005, 03:24 PM
They progressed from an agricultural society. I'm talking about progressing from our current society. Word. Plus peter the great did the same shit no? Alot quicker?

RXP
02-01-2005, 03:26 PM
I also wonder under Marx's socialist utopia how would progression be made? It';s widely known that humans are selfish cunts motivated by profit this is what causes new discovers because of the huge amounts invested into research and development. If the caplitalist isn't allowed to make huge profits who will produce new products to keep society moving? To increase living standards.
.

Haha to answer my own question I just read it.

Marx believed that WE shape the society we are in. We can change the fact that humans are selfish. For me to state that humans are selfish is just a idealist or mechanical materliast idea. We shape the world so a revoultion can change the fact that humans are currently selfish because it's our current system that makes us selfish. Under a Marxist system we would just progress medicene because it's the good thing to do.

Anya82
02-01-2005, 03:27 PM
i don't know much about Marxism.
any good book you know about it? not pro, not against. Just info.

wheelchairman
02-01-2005, 03:36 PM
They progressed from an agricultural society. I'm talking about progressing from our current society. Word. Plus peter the great did the same shit no? Alot quicker?
His reforms weren't anything along those lines at all. He was a good military leader, started a cool city near Finland, and reformed churches and taxes etc. but not way of life. Ivan the Terrible, ironically made deeper reforms that Peter.

And that's a dead-on good Marxist analysis you just gave there. As far as more equality for the work force. That is a part of the worker's victories in the class struggle. But they can be taken away if the unions become weaker for example.

And Anya, Marx for Beginners by Rius is really good.

Anya82
02-01-2005, 03:43 PM
thanks, WCM
I'll check it out

SicN Twisted
02-02-2005, 11:12 PM
WCM, The USSR was absolutely not, under any definition, Marxist. The factories in the USSR had capitalist owners who made much more money then the workers. The managers controlled workers wages and proffitted just the same as in the west, and workers were not fairly paid for their values. When debating the merits of Marxist theory, please do not use the USSR as an example. Since it's marxist doctrine that workers control the factories, you can't use the USSR since the bosses hired by the party who were not elected by or acted in representation of the workers controlled the production assets.

RXP
02-03-2005, 02:26 AM
Yo listen to this equality before the law Marxist form theory proof.

My parents are poor. They have some rich fucker renting the shop downstairs. THe rich fucker refuses to pay. We have a lease. To enforce the lease it would involve £2000 which we don't have. In the laws eyes we're equal but the fact of the matter is we can't enforce a legal lease because we don't have the money.

So what is the point of poor people having a lease?

I reckon I'll have to represent my parents in court omg. THat would rock.

I hate the legal system. £80 for half an hour of shitty advice that I gave my parents over the phone. It's a joke.

Down with the system! When I become a lawyer I'm gonna give advice to poor people for free. Fuck the system.

wheelchairman
02-03-2005, 06:44 AM
WCM, The USSR was absolutely not, under any definition, Marxist. The factories in the USSR had capitalist owners who made much more money then the workers. The managers controlled workers wages and proffitted just the same as in the west, and workers were not fairly paid for their values. When debating the merits of Marxist theory, please do not use the USSR as an example. Since it's marxist doctrine that workers control the factories, you can't use the USSR since the bosses hired by the party who were not elected by or acted in representation of the workers controlled the production assets.

Socialist economics was applied in and up through Stalin's era and was ended when Khruschev introduced the law of profit.

RXP
02-03-2005, 07:19 AM
What about the fact that that USSR's economy sucked it up big time tho? It can't compete with the west, Marx was right you need a world revoultion for socialism to succeed. Without it the weaker country will be driven broke.

wheelchairman
02-03-2005, 07:20 AM
What about the fact that that USSR's economy sucked it up big time tho? It can't compete with the west, Marx was right you need a world revoultion for socialism to succeed. Without it the weaker country will be driven broke.
Can't compete with the west? It was the second most powerful economy...

SicN Twisted
02-03-2005, 01:10 PM
Even Lenin introduced competition building programs, to most of the party's dismay.

The economics were socialist because the USSR had a planned economy, but their were classes, and their were bosses appointed by the party who operated the factories and made the bulk of the proffits. The workers controlled nothing.

wheelchairman
02-03-2005, 01:19 PM
Of course there were classes, classes don't just disappear you know. That's the difference between anarchist and socialist thinking, you believe that class struggle can be ended rather quickly, while socialists believe that the worker's must use the state in their advantage as a tool of the class struggle.

Under Lenin a party member did not earn than a worker's equivalent wage. I think this changed under Stalin, but the worst of the corrupt periods happened under the end of Khruschev and throughout the rest of the existence of the USSR.

RXP
02-03-2005, 01:23 PM
Can't compete with the west? It was the second most powerful economy...

How do you define power?

The capialist economies were better able to balance guns/butter. USSR couldn't compete.

wheelchairman
02-03-2005, 01:31 PM
I think the USSR did fairly well, it had a strong enough economy to loan to most of the Eastern Block, and still take care of most of it's citizens. While competing in what became an eventual weapons race etc. Remember I'm generally talking about 1952 and before.

RXP
02-03-2005, 01:32 PM
Ah before 1952. Me see now.

Still blunting the price signal is a idoitic idea.

SicN Twisted
02-07-2005, 01:16 AM
The difference is between anarchists and Marxist thinking - not socialist. Anarchists are socialists, as well as Marxists. That's a difference that should be cleared up.

Lenin only had power durring a war and did not reign for enough time that a logical assertion can be made about his policies. High ranking party members did entirely decide all political and social policies and all aspect of local and state functions in Russia. Citizens had absolutely no say in who their leaders were and how their government was structured. Workers, who accounted for a large numbers of citizens, also had absolutely no say. The element of submission to the State is a difference I'm more concerned with then the particulars of the class struggle, even though the authoritarian Statism definately stems from a belief that you can't end the struggle immediately. You can't make an omlette without breaking a few eggs or something, right?

wheelchairman
02-07-2005, 06:27 AM
hmmm you realize that workers only consisted of 2-5% of the population right? You have to remember that Czarist Russia was largely an agrarian economy. Hence why the peasant issue was so debated as a theoretical question, hence why the soviets were made up of workers, peasants and soviets.

And I'll agree, because Lenin and his Politbureau ruled during a time of civil war, we did not see an accurate representation of his thoughts, however most marxist-leninists are more interested in Lenin as a theorist because of this.

SicN Twisted
02-07-2005, 12:40 PM
That's why alot of my fellow critics of Marxist Leninism blame the direction the Soviet Union took on Lenin's dictatorial measures, and I think this is unfair because it might have been much different if their hadn't been a civil war.

I also figured peasants would be considered workers, since Lenin appealed to the rural poor as part of the working class to the same extent he did industrial workers (Mao even more so, he wanted a completely agrarian revolution).

wheelchairman
02-07-2005, 03:05 PM
If by Agrarian revolution, you mean complete revolt of the peasants, then you are wrong. Mao's party was most definitely a worker's party, they just laid more wait on the peasants, because many of them were revolutionary. It's a misperception that Marxism-Leninism Mao Tse-Tung thought (to use an RCP term) is built on the basis of a revolutionary peasantry.

I have a hard time seeing how Lenin was a dictator. There were huge party-debates on just about everything. And before I believe 1921 there were multiple party debates. The Soviets were not a bolshevik institution mind you.

Hmm if I may ask, since I would consider you the authority on Anarchists. Why was it that some anarchists fought for the whites? I mean, even before "The People's Stick" became openly hostile. And I of course don't mean all anarchists, there were many who supported the Reds as well.

SicN Twisted
02-09-2005, 12:56 PM
The anarcho-socialists who were influenced (I'm trying not to say "led") by Mikhail Bakunin supported the Reds in the Russian civil war. Some defected to the whites, and there's actually pretty complex reasoning behind. Anarchists believe in both complete direct democracy - every citizen having equal say in structuring their lives, and socialism. Since in the case of Russia the two clashed, the anarchists sided with whichever they thought had been a big priority. Most anarchists rightly thought that the white russians were not true democrats, they were fighting for bourgeois democracy which is most ways is less democratic then a bolchevik one party system. Some anarchists obviously bought into the white russian propghanda and believed the whites were legitimately more democratic and if they controlled Russia socialism would be achieved through the polls.

Lenin was a dictator in the sence that he was the leader of a party which had dictatorial control over a country and did not allow citizens a say in government policies or the right to elect their leaders. By any definition, this is a dictatorship.

RXP
02-18-2005, 01:57 AM
Someone answer me this. Marxists believe that methods that I think are good like progressive income tax so high tax on incomes over say £100k won't work.

But why won't they work? I really don't see why. The rich still get to keep 40% of their higher income so they will be motivated to work, you don't loose motivation. And the money could be used for a great deal of things. A basic form of this is already occuring but of course benefiting the capitalists: consumer spending.

In the UK at least demand has remained high in the economy because of consumer spending which is funded by borrowing. Where does this borrowing come from? The rich capitalists who loan their money expecting a gain for it. The high income tax is a basic form of a non-payable loan which the government decide where it goes (i.e. higher nurse wages). The UK's economy is strong becuase of borrowing, therefore a tax system would mean the UK economy remains the same and should mean there being no bulwack to higher progressive income tax.

The usual economic arguments advanced are bull. The disincentive to work for the rich is bull. This is where I think perhaps fiscal policy harmonsiation in the EU could be of great good. If the whole EU had the same policy then the rich coudln't hide their money elsewhere so easily.

The only argument against it that holds is the inflationary impact. Because the poor have a higher marginal perpensity to consume they spend more of their extra income and because they know they won't have to pay it back they spend even more. Resulting in inflation. I can't see how to solve this without raising supply in the economy. So that's where my idea falls.

So I just don't get why Marxists say things like redistributing income won't work. Esp. if done on a whole EU arena. This is where the EU could do a great deal of good. But of course it's one thing to say it but another to pass legislation to implement it. I can imagine the social protest when the middle classes realise their money that they worked "hard" for is given to poor nurses in Spain or something.

It's ironic though the CAP does this exact same thing, but instead gives the money to rich farmers who can then afford to buy fucking landrovers and dump on 3rd world countries.

wheelchairman
02-18-2005, 05:24 AM
Marxists are all for the redistribution of income. However we don't believe that the rich will just start giving away 60% of their money. Take Cuba for example, a lot of the people who owned companies just left simply because they didn't want to pay the sharp taxes on private industry and wealth that the Party created.

But this is only discussion for the socialist stage mind you.

RXP
03-04-2005, 02:23 PM
Reading Marxism and Law by Collins. He raised an interesting point law is not merely a reflection of the material base because law itself is needed for the material base to function (contract, criminal, tort). Imagine the material base functioning without contract law enforcing agreements, or criminal law prosecuting theives or tortrious liabilty.

Therefore the base/superstructure analogy fails because law is in the base and it isn't an economic reason.

How would a Marxist respond to this? There stuff in the book about it but I've yet to get to it and I would liek to here the general views of you WCM.

And check out the question I'm doing


omfg what a question. Gonna enjoy writing this one up. Gonna bring Anrchists views into it as well thanks to Sic geting me reading.

Lithuanian Offspring
03-08-2005, 10:48 AM
hmm longer reply later RXP.

If there can't be much progression how come the USSR did in 10 years what it took centuries for other economies to do?
They accomplished some much because they were a dictatorship, and they killed off all of the smart educated people. Then they continued to brainwash the society. I know this because alot of my relatives worked in the Propaganda Section (Thats what it was officially called) of the communist party. I sometimes wonder why they had an actual party if it was a one party system anyway.

SicN Twisted
03-08-2005, 12:52 PM
Wow, Dusk, I'm perplexed. That was an intelligent, direct reply with no mention of metaphysics, death, the soul, or the Kaballah.

SicN Twisted
03-08-2005, 10:22 PM
Like being pretentious? Where in the fatherland do you live btw?

SicN Twisted
03-09-2005, 12:12 PM
No sightseeing. I grew up there, so I'm just wondering.

SicN Twisted
03-10-2005, 12:44 PM
Business school? You don't seem like the stock brokers type, you'd fit in better then the New Order of the Illuminati. I lived in L'haut Savoir till I was eight and I've been going back in forth from Paris to New York City ever since then.

SicN Twisted
03-11-2005, 12:47 PM
Haute Savoie is correct, Americans write it the other way. Well, that's besides the point, I'm from Chambery, I'm sure you've heard of it.

Je ne peux pas soutenir une conversation métaphysique dans l'anglais ou le français, parce que je méprise la métaphysique avec tout mon coeur. Mais out, je peux parler français.

SicN Twisted
03-12-2005, 01:33 AM
C'est vrai, I am quite predictable when it comes to philosophy. As an existentialist, I feel no shame categorically deouncing romantic theology. The belief in the immortal soul has always been the best excuse to subjugate the body. We need to accept that there's nothing more then what our sences detect - there is no soul, there are no gods, there is no transcendent good, there's only what we create.

SicN Twisted
03-12-2005, 11:57 AM
Death takes away perception, which is the foundation of beauty. Beauty is not a mystic energy, it's merely what gets our pherimones going. I used to subscribe to delusional romantic notions to, because it is fun. It is enjoyable to think there's something more, but it comes time for everyone to realize that their isn't, whether or not they admit it.

SicN Twisted
03-12-2005, 12:55 PM
I will always be open to a new perception if I see my fallacy with my own eyes. If some transcendent force appears before me, I'll accept it. Until then, no dice.