Sunday, June 28, 2015

Why Marx’s Labour Theory of Value is Wrong in a Nutshell

The labour theory of value as presented in Part 1 of volume 1 of Capital is wrong for the following reasons:
(1) the a priori argument for the labour theory of value in volume 1 of Marx’s Capital is a non sequitur and later contradicts itself, as detailed here and here.

(2) Marx faces the problem of reducing all heterogeneous human labour to a homogeneous abstract socially necessary labour time unit, but does not properly explain how this happens;

(3) even if Marx could overcome (1) and (2), he faces the problems of defining labour value in cases of joint production, where it is possible that the labour value of a commodity might be undefined, nil, or negative.

(4) there is no reason why free human wage labour should have a special power that animals, slaves or machines do not have, as I point here.

(5) modern fiat money refutes Marx’s theory of money and also his labour theory of value, since money must be a produced commodity in Marx’s theory but has long since ceased to be, as I point out here and here.

(6) the empirical reality is that prices are not set by means of the abstract socially necessary labour time of commodities or of money as a produced commodity, and

(7) the problem that surplus labour value (if that concept could even be adequately defended) would not really explain money profits, since money profits can exist in a slave-based economy and very probably even in an economy where machines did most of the work.
These points together are devastating to the labour theory of value, but only one needs to be true to demonstrate that Marx’s theory as it stands in volume 1 of Capital is flawed.

I will review some of the more important problems below.

On point (1), it can be seen that Marx’s argument for the labour theory is a non sequitur. It is not obvious at all that commodity exchanges constitute an equality in the way Marx sees them. Marx actually admits later in Chapter 1 that in some human societies commodities may simply exchange as use value for use value (Marx 1906: 75), and in Chapter 3 that most commodities do not normally exchange at their true and equal labour values (Marx 1906: 114). Now there is an equality in exchanges in the sense in which, say, 2 sheep might exchange for 1 cow, and only two sheep and nothing more are exchanged, and vice versa. But this is a trivial sense of equality. It does not help Marx. Marx’s leap to the conclusion that there must be an additional, fundamental unit of homogeneous labour time in which both commodities can be measured quantitatively and by which they can both be shown to be equivalent simply does not follow. It is a non sequitur. It could be that labour value as Marx defines it is non-existent. Marx’s argument was shoddy and commits a straightforward logical fallacy. Later, Marx admits that labour value cannot be completely separated or “abstracted” from use value, so that the whole argument contradicts itself (for more details, see here and here).

On point (2), Marx argues that all skilled or experienced labour is a multiple of simple abstract labour, and that all labour is reducible to a meaningful, common homogeneous unit of labour. Marx does not adequately explain how to do this. First, Marx suggests that the reduction of skilled labour to a simple unit of abstract labour can be conducted in a physical or scientific manner by examining the “expenditure of human brains, nerves, and muscles.” But then Marx states that:
“Experience shows that this reduction is constantly being made. A commodity may be the product of the most skilled labour, but its value, by equating it to the product of simple unskilled labour, represents a definite quantity of the latter labour alone. The different proportions in which different sorts of labour are reduced to unskilled labour as their standard, are established by a social process that goes on behind the backs of the producers, and, consequently, appear to be fixed by custom.” (Marx 1906: 51–52).
But since Marx admits that most commodities do not even exchange for their true labour values, this argument does not work. And what is more it contradicts his earlier approach: if the only actual way we can determine the value of skilled value is by looking at the actual market exchange of the products of skilled labour for products of unskilled labour, then why bother with explaining the difference in terms of “expenditure of human brains, nerves, and muscles”?

Furthermore, if exchange of the products of skilled labour for products of unskilled labour can be used to determine the value of skilled value as a multiple of simple labour, then the argument is circular. Exchange values determine labour values, but labour values are supposed to be a source of exchange values.

On point (3), the labour theory of value faces the problem of joint production: if a production process produces more than one commodity but two or several, then how does one calculate socially necessary labour time? (see Brewer 1984: 23; Nitzan and Bichler 2009: 101–102). In particular, Ian Steedman has argued that joint production leaves open the possibility that some labour values of commodities produced in joint production can be undefined, nil, or negative (Nitzan and Bichler 2009: 101).

On point (5), modern fiat money utterly refutes Marx’s labour theory of value, because money needs to be a produced commodity with a labour value for his theory to work. But money has long since ceased to be a produced commodity and is now fiat money. This is one of the devastating problems with Marx’s theory, and is sufficient in and of itself to refute the theory, as shown here and here.

For example, Marx thought that prices are determined by (at the least) (1) the long-run labour value of gold as determined by the abstract socially necessary labour time required for gold’s production and (2) as this relates in exchange to the labour value of other commodities (Marx 1906: 108). But this idea, if taken seriously, requires that the actual exchange value of gold as money against other commodities gravitates around the long-run value of the abstract socially necessary labour time needed to produce gold. This is an important point, and utterly undermines the Marxist apologists’ claims that Marx never meant labour value to be a determiner of individual commodity prices in Capital. But now in the modern world we have fiat money, and the theory is worthless: Marx’s theory of how labour values determine prices is utterly impossible.

All in all, one cannot take Marx’s labour theory of value seriously: it is flawed or under-determined in so many ways and stands refuted by the reality of modern fiat money.

Links
“Fiat Money Destroys the Labour Theory of Value,” June 6, 2015.

“Marx on the Necessity of Money being a Commodity,” June 8, 2015.

“Karl Popper on the Labour Theory of Value,” May 30, 2015.

“A Devastating Contradiction in Marx’s Argument for the Labour Theory of Value,” May 19, 2015.

“Wicksteed on the Contradiction in Chapter 1 of Volume 1 of Capital on the Labour Theory of Value,” May 21, 2015.

“Marx’s Capital, Volume 1, Chapter 1: A Critical Summary, Part 1 (Updated),” June 21, 2015.

“Marx’s Capital, Volume 1, Chapter 1: A Critical Summary, Part 2,” June 26, 2015.

“Marx’s Capital, Volume 1, Chapter 3: A Critical Summary,” June 12, 2015.

BIBLIOGRAPHY
Brewer, Anthony. 1984. A Guide to Marx’s Capital. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Marx, Karl. 1906. Capital. A Critique of Political Economy (vol. 1; rev. trans. by Ernest Untermann from 4th German edn.). The Modern Library, New York.

Nitzan, Jonathan and Shimshon Bichler. 2009. Capital as Power: A Study or Order and Creorder. Routledge, Abingdon, UK and New York.

23 comments:

  1. Though a 7-point critique looks imposing, each and every point rests on a misunderstanding or error that has been laid bare elsewhere (generally under the posts linked in support of a given point). However, because the purpose of this post is to amass them in one place:

    (1) I'm not even sure to what "a priori" refers; it is a new claim not mentioned in either link provided and not adequately explained (e.g., are we discussing a definition)? Also, the purported "contradiction" has been answered several times (i.e., that socially necessary labor is by definition useful labor), though LK has yet to provide a response to this.

    (2) This has also been answered: It is an indisputable empirical reality that the market reduces all labor to a common numeraire (money) through the wage system. The way the reduction is performed analytically is also given: with reference to averages drawn from aggregate statistics. Insofar as anything remains of this item, then, it might be "what determines the wage?" But this is also discussed at length in Marx, contrary to the numbered claim.

    (3) This is a strange argument. It is merely asserted that joint production poses a problem, yet concrete time and resources must go into the production of commodities, whether jointly, singly, via vertical integration, or otherwise. Sufficiently detailed accounts would still reveal the same facts. And a commodity cannot embody "negative value"; theorists have rebutted Steedman extensively on this point (and have also taken Nitzan and Bichler to task), though one would not know it from reading LK's post.

    (4) There actually is just such a reason, and it hinges not on the physical properties of production -- chemicals moving through space and time, which are indeed handled by machines or animals or slaves -- but rather the social relations that initiate it. That's the whole point of Marx's analysis, and the first thing that must be understood before a serious critique may be undertaken. Without recognition of this, one is not critiquing Marx at all.

    (5) The idea that definitive money must be a commodity is fully compatible with "symbolic money" in circulation. Marx discusses it. Subsequent theorists have discussed it. I myself pointed this out before, and I've even shared sources that illustrate the case comprehensively. As above, LK never engaged with the point.

    (6) This is not even arguing against a claim Marx's theory makes.

    (7) Even if this claim were something more than speculation (indeed, when pressed for examples of how such an economy might look or function, LK merely urges us to "imagine" it, assuring us that he can do so "easily"), it misses the point that a pure slave economy involves a different set of social relations that would, insofar as they have it, render money something intrinsically different than it is under capitalism, and therefore not subject to the same economic laws. It would be a different species, calling for a different analysis.

    In other words, LK here effectively criticizes a family physician for having little to say about a fish's circulatory system.

    I do understand the drive to be right, to take down one's ideological opponents, and so on. It can be a thrilling thing. But once again, LK, I repeat my cri de coeur: *please* stop prioritizing declaring yourself the winner over understanding the system you're critiquing. If you're going to succeed (and as I keep saying, I stand 100% behind any honest effort to critique Marx), you need to take seriously the advice Phil Pilkington gave you: "tighten up your scholarship." Otherwise, this whole series will amount to nothing more than a campaign of deliberate disinformation. I'm certain you want more than that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. (5) If you admit that under Marx's theory money needs to be commodity money with a labour value, then the labour theory of value is already refuted in the form Marx presents it.

      Delete
    2. "indeed, when pressed for examples of how such an economy might look or function, LK merely urges us to "imagine" it, assuring us that he can do so "easily"

      That is how counterfactuals work, you idiot.

      E.g., imagine you were standing right on the edge of a very high cliff and some person came up behind you and pushed you over. If I were then to tell you: in this counterfactual I imagine you'd fall to your death with a high degree of probability, I expect you scream that "when pressed for examples of how this would happen, LK merely urges us to 'imagine' it, assuring us that he can do so 'easily'".

      Delete
    3. "Though a 7-point critique looks imposing, each and every point rests on a misunderstanding or error that has been laid bare elsewhere"

      No, you have not. You have already admitted elsewhere that Marx thinks money can only ever be a produced commodity with a labour value, and his LTV absolutely assumes this is so.

      Any rational person who admits the latter can see that Marx's LTV -- as it stands in Part 1 of volume 1 of Capital -- is untenable in view of modern fiat money. The theory as presented by Marx already stands refuted by this point alone.

      It would require very significant revision to salvage it, but you are simply too unreasonable, too irrational and too brainwashed by your Marxist cult to honestly and fairly admit these facts.

      Delete
    4. Answering your whole spittle-flecked salvo of responses here, to avoid splitting the conversation.

      (5) If you admit that under Marx's theory money needs to be commodity money with a labour value, then the labour theory of value is already refuted in the form Marx presents it.

      Erm, no, not even remotely. If a distinction is made between commodity money and symbolic money, which it ought to be, and which it is, then there's no problem unless one equivocates. Is that what you wish to do?

      That is how counterfactuals work, you idiot.

      Yes but you still have to explain them, you child.

      you are simply too unreasonable, too irrational and too brainwashed

      Yes, I'm familiar with your projection problem. No need to belabor it.

      (1) if you seriously do not know what an a priori argument is, you should shut your mouth and stop making a fool of yourself.

      Hi, that's not what I said. If you can't be bothered to read that I've asked you precisely *which* of Marx's claims you are *now for the first time* characterizing as "a priori," then you have no business mouthing off.

      Marx cannot claim that the LTV can be deduced totally abstracting form use value, then then claim that having a use value is a necessary condition for a labour value.

      Use-value is non-quantifiable, but average hours of useful labor are. What about this is confusing to you? In case you're keeping count, you've spent more than a quarter of a year failing to grasp how quality differs from quantity, now. Either you're incapable or unwilling. (Almost certainly the latter, IMO.)

      What is disputed is that this can reduce all heterogeneous labour to a common homogeneous unit of SNLT.

      All it needs to do is reduce it to a common unit. The argument that that unit happens to be does not have to be consciously known, so long as it accumulates as capital. And the idea that it can't be reduced in analysis is empirically disproven by the fact that many economists have done so. I did it myself while generating some charts on profitability not too long ago. But you've been very careful to avoid accidentally taking this discussion into the realm of the empirical. One can only assume you're terrified of what you'll find.

      I doubt it.

      Haha. Can't dispute a point? Try an argument from personal incredulity!

      the "social relations" is B.S. If free human wage labour can create commodities with a labour value, then slaves should be able to do it.

      Wow. Again, personal incredulity. You have no interest in comprehending and testing theories; just contorting yourself to find authoritative-sounding ways to dismiss a theory you were never interested in engaging with honestly. Got it.

      Once more, anyone with an open mind and even a first-year knowledge of philosophy/method of science can see that the only thing you respect less than Marx is science itself. And then you have the gall to call me a cultist. Gross.

      E.g., if capitalists suddenly decided to count their free workers as capital goods

      I have to wonder if while you typed this you had even the slightest pang of cognitive dissonance. You HAVE to know that's not how it works.

      (5) has already been covered and is devastating to the LTV. It is sufficient to refute it.

      Ah, so we've found the rock on which you're hitching your conviction. On this point, you will not budge, no matter how wrong it is. Beautiful. As long as you've found a way to evade honest engagement!

      False. Marx thinks that the SNLT of producing a unit of gold will determine that unit of gold's exchange value as against other goods:

      "That's not how Marx says prices are set."

      "False, Marx says values are measured by..."

      Read those two lines until you see how they differ. Take as long as you need.

      I await your next 5 hastily composed responses.

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    5. There is no need for "5 hastily composed responses", you've utterly destroyed yourself in these words:

      "If a distinction is made between commodity money and symbolic money, which it ought to be, and which it is, then there's no problem unless one equivocates."

      It is you who clearly want to throw up endless distortions and laughable misrepresentations of Marx's thought.

      For Marx "symbolic money" is only ever be a sign for commodity money and is just credit money/token money and can only be ultimately based on commodity money:

      “But it should never be forgotten, that money, in the first place, in the form of precious metals, remains the basis from which the credit system naturally can never detach itself.” (Marx 1909: 712).

      “The banking system shows, furthermore, by putting different forms of circulating credit in the place of money, that money is in reality nothing but a special expression of the social character of labor and its products, so that this character, as distinguished from the basis of individual production, must present itself in the last analysis as a thing, as a peculiar commodity by the side of the other commodities.” (Marx 1909: 713).

      Symbolic money is NOT fiat money for Marx, and Marx never says that money can become totally detached from metal commodities, as it is today.

      You've already made this admission:

      >Attempts to claim that fiat money can properly
      >function as money within Marx’s economic
      >system as Marx understood money are utterly
      >wrong. If Marxists are going to do this, they must
      >admit that they need to radically revise Marx’s
      >economic system and that Marx was wrong about
      >money in important respects.

      It seems so. I said I generally withhold judgment on this topic (since it's orthogonal to my research interests), but if pushed I suppose I'd agree with this sentiment. As I've mentioned, there are many theorists who have attempted to make just such revisions, ....


      If you are now saying you don't accept this statement, then clearly your views are incoherent, and there is no reason why I should bother wasting any further time here.

      Delete
    6. Symbolic money is NOT fiat money for Marx, and Marx never says that money can become totally detached from metal commodities, as it is today.

      Just to be absolutely clear, are you claiming that Marx nowhere distinguishes "inconvertible paper money issued by the state and having compulsory circulation," and also never claims that "the domestic market does not need any metal"?

      If you are now saying you don't accept this statement, then clearly your views are incoherent, and there is no reason why I should bother wasting any further time here.

      No, I'm not saying I don't accept it. I'm saying you've missed my point. "As Marx understood money" — i.e., money in the full sense of the category: definitive money. If we're discussing money without qualification or modifier, then that's what it'd default to, since that is defined as having a trait ("measure of value") that fiat lacks on its own. Symbolic money Marx discussed elsewhere, a separate species that nevertheless relates back to the full sort, regardless of whether that happens to be through a direct legal guarantee or in a way heavily mediated by market forces.

      If you had taken the time to glance at even a few words of that Germer paper I recommended, you'd be saving yourself a fair bit of confusion right now. But that would actually require a willingness to see this as a scholarly pursuit rather than a chance deploy ideologically driven disinformation to shout down rival views.

      And yes, you are indeed wasting your time right now, though not at all for the reasons you think.

      Delete
    7. "Just to be absolutely clear, are you claiming that Marx nowhere distinguishes "inconvertible paper money issued by the state and having compulsory circulation," and also never claims that "the domestic market does not need any metal"?"

      No, I meant what I said, no more, no less.

      Marx refers to "inconvertible paper money issued by the state" but clearly thinks it is ultimately unworkable and would collapse:

      "The function of gold as coin becomes completely independent of the metallic value of that gold. Therefore things that are relatively without value, such as paper notes, can
      serve as coins in its place. This purely symbolic character is to a certain extent masked in metal tokens. In paper money it stands out plainly. In fact, ce n'est oue le premier pas qui coute.

      We allude here only to inconvertible paper money issued by the State and having compulsory circulation. It has its immediate origin in the metallic currency. Money based upon credit implies on the other hand conditions, which from our
      standpoint of the simple circulation of commodities, are as yet totally unknown to us. But we may affirm this much, that just as true paper money takes its rise in the function of money as the circulating medium, so money based upon credit takes root spontaneously in the function of money as the means of payment.

      The State puts in circulation bits of paper on which their various denominations, say £1, £5, &c, are printed. In so far as they actually take the place of gold to the same amount, their movement is subject to the laws that regulate the currency of money itself. A law peculiar to the circulation of paper money can spring up only from the proportion in which that paper money represents gold. Such a law exists; stated simply, it is as follows: the issue of paper money must not exceed in amount the gold (or silver as the case may be) which would actually circulate if not replaced by symbols. Now the quantity of gold which the circulation can absorb, constantly fluctuates about a given level. Still, the mass of the circulating medium in a given country never sinks below a certain minimum easily ascertained by actual experience. The fact that this minimum mass continually undergoes changes in its constituent parts, or that the pieces of gold of which it consists are being constantly replaced by fresh ones, causes of course no change either in its amount or in the continuity of its circulation. It can therefore be replaced by paper symbols. If, on the other hand, all the conduits of circulation were to-day filled with paper money to the full extent of their capacity for absorbing money, they might to-morrow be overflowing in consequence of a fluctuation in the circulation of commodities.
      There would no longer be any standard.
      If the paper money exceed its proper limit, which is the amount of gold coins of the like denomination that can actually be current, it would, apart from the danger of falling into general disrepute, represent only that quantity of gold, which, in accordance with
      the laws of the circulation of commodities, is required, and is alone capable of being represented by paper.


      ....

      Paper-money is a token representing gold or money. The relation between it and the values of commodities is this, that the latter are ideally expressed in the same quantities of gold that are symbolically represented by the paper. Only in so far as paper-money represents gold, which like all other commodities has value, is it a symbol of value."
      (Marx 1906: 142-144).

      Delete
    8. "No, I'm not saying I don't accept it. "

      ...in which case any reasonable person would agree with me that Marx's LTV as it is presented in part 1 of vol. 1 of Capital is untenable.

      In other words: you would accept and agree that the fundamental point of this post is right on this point alone and stop wasting my time with your trolling B.S.

      Delete
    9. Marx refers to "inconvertible paper money issued by the state" but clearly thinks it is ultimately unworkable and would collapse:

      The quoted passage is precisely the point I'm making, yes. Unless one reads the phrase "is ultimately unworkable and would collapse" into it, in which case it says something quite different from what I've been saying all along. Once again, we find exegesis at odds with eisegesis. A classic pattern.

      ...in which case any reasonable person would agree with me that Marx's LTV as it is presented in part 1 of vol. 1 of Capital is untenable.

      So, you're stopping at the first sentence, ignoring the whole content of the argument, and asserting your correctness again. And *I'm* the troll, here.

      Yeah, for sure, man. Rigor: the ultimate troll.

      Why are you like this? I don't remember you ever being this much of a knob before you embarked on your ill-advised crusade against the left.

      Delete
    10. So, what, now you admit that "any reasonable person would agree with me that Marx's LTV as it is presented in part 1 of vol. 1 of Capital is untenable" is correct? Or what?

      Delete
    11. If you recognize the difficulty you're having in comprehending my very plain disagreement with you, then shouldn't this give you pause to reflect critically on how well you've been grasping Marx?

      I'm saying that in your attempts to do this, you've instead done this. I don't know what "any reasonable person" would say on a lot of things, but a person interested in avoiding errors would certainly disagree with your claim of untenability.

      Don't get me wrong; your critical summaries of chapters are a clear step up from what you had been doing before. However, they're hampered by your insistence on carrying your previous misunderstandings forward (e.g., the numbered list above).

      Delete
    12. (1) Marx's theory as presented in Part 1 of vol. 1 of Capital is clearly that money can never be completely divorced from a commodity.

      Do you agree? Yes or no?

      (2) Marx thinks that money measures labour values because it is itself a produced commodity with a labour value.

      Do you agree? Yes or no?

      Delete
    13. (3) the theory of money and labour value as presented by Marx in Part 1 of vol. 1 of Capital and as stated there is refuted by fiat money.

      Do you agree? Yes or no?

      Delete
    14. You've also evaded a serious and devastating question on point (2): if nearly all commodities do not even exchange for their true labour values (as assumed in your Temporal Single System Interpretation of Marxism), then how can the market determine the true labour value of skilled labour value by looking at the actual market exchange of the products of skilled labour for products of unskilled labour?

      Delete
    15. You've also evaded the clear fact Marx does think that the SNLT of producing a unit of gold will determine that unit of gold's exchange value as against other goods:

      “… although the money that performs the functions of a measure of value is only ideal money, price depends entirely upon the actual substance that is money. The value, or in other words, the quantity of human labour contained in a ton of iron, is expressed in imagination by such a quantity of the money-commodity as contains the same amount of labour as the iron. According, therefore, as the measure of value is gold, silver, or copper, the value of the ton of iron will be expressed by very different prices, or will be represented by very different quantities of those metals respectively.” (Marx 1906: 108).

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    16. FFS, how are you still asking the same questions? Do you need me to use shorter words? (1) Yes (2) Yes (3) No. Do you understand why (3) is "no"? I've already explained it, but you've left me with no reason to suspect you understood (or, frankly, even read) it. It's the crux of this new turn of the discussion, so it behooves you to actually take a moment to see what's being argued.

      If you don't want to take my word for it, see Germer (1998), since he is a theorist you trust enough to cite. I can only assume you haven't bothered to look because you've missed the half a dozen or so times I suggested it. The alternative, that you're not arguing in good faith, is surely unthinkable.

      You've also evaded a serious and devastating question on point (2): [blah blah blah]

      If by "evaded" you mean "have answered so many times that I'm actually bored," then yes. It's not "assumed in [TSSI]," it's common to literally all strains of Marxist scholarship because it is stated explicitly and unambiguously in the text itself. The "true labor value" [I believe you mean the amount of simple labor embodied] in skilled labor is determined on the basis of the output. And you have no excuse not to know how output value is determined, as I've lost count of how many times I've told you. At one point I even gave you an equation you can use to solve for an individual(!) commodity's value.

      Unfortunately, it seems like you've ignored it all. I guess you're just happier *not* understanding this stuff? Well, that's... fine. I mean, I can hardly judge you for doing what makes you happy; follow your bliss, and so on.

      But kindly quit spreading disinfo.

      You've also evaded the clear fact Marx does think that the SNLT of producing a unit of gold will determine that unit of gold's exchange value as against other goods:

      Once again, this is pure eisegesis. The meaning you're drawing out of that passage is completely at odds with the passage itself (which does not even contain the phrase "exchange value"; it's discussing measure of "value," sans modifier), let alone ***the context in which it appears***

      Note: those asterisks indicate this is a very important concept to which I am drawing your attention.

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    17. (1) " The "true labor value" [I believe you mean the amount of simple labor embodied] in skilled labor is determined on the basis of the output. "

      So something that can't even be defined properly beforehand is just determined by market exchanges where commodities don't even exhcnage for the true labour value? lol.. you've just demonstrated how utterly bankrupt the theory is.

      (3) "The meaning you're drawing out of that passage is completely at odds with the passage itself"

      No, it is not. You are either amazingly stupid or dishonest. Marx even says "according, therefore, as the measure of value is gold, silver, or copper, the value of the ton of iron will be expressed by very different prices, or will be represented by very different quantities of those metals respectively.” This is a very clear statement by Marx about how prices are governed by the SNLT needed to produce a unit of the money commodity.

      I'm fully aware of the context of the passage: I've read it 3 time and in different translations.

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    18. Finally, the major point. You actually accept (1) and (2), but you refuse to accept (3), which follows directly from (1) and (2).

      You have -- yet again -- demonstrated how people like you have had your minds turned to mush from the years of being a Marxist cultist.

      Delete
    19. So something that can't even be defined properly beforehand is just determined by market exchanges where commodities don't even exhcnage for the true labour value? lol.. you've just demonstrated how utterly bankrupt the theory is.

      That is one (extremely wrong!) way to interpret what I said, sure. You keep doing you, though.

      No, it is not. You are either amazingly stupid or dishonest.

      No, you're just determined to say "Marx was wrong" no matter how much you have to botch a reading or act like a prick to do it. I'm not here to give you reading lessons, nor (any longer) to explain what "different prices" enumerated in different measures of value might mean, nor to help you to see how, if your idiosyncratic reading of 13 particular words happens to be at odds with every other passage in the work, you've made a bloody error. You've already accepted my point that if money always and everywhere exchanges at its value, then exchange at variance with value is *impossible* under monetary exchange, which is explicitly contradicted by the entire rest of the work!

      Reading it three or even thirty times won't make a lick of difference if your confirmation bias blinds you to such a straightforward point. I hope one day you grow to recognize this.

      Finally, the major point. You actually accept (1) and (2), but you refuse to accept (3), which follows directly from (1) and (2).

      You haven't absorbed a word I've written. It's like trying to explain science to a greyhound.

      Fiat money is "symbolic" money, or "token" money. It's not the FULL expression of money. It's a stand-in in the domain of domestic circulation, a point addressed explicitly by Marx.

      Any coherent theory of money must explain what symbolic money symbolizes. There is no legal guarantee that X dollars can trade for Y gold, but nevertheless on the market X dollars can trade for Y* gold. The economic fact remains, even if the legal convenience is removed. Thus, fiat money is not fully removed from its commodity basis; the relationship is now merely mediated by the market instead of the state.

      Until dollars *cannot* be traded for a commodity capable of serving as a measure of value (3) does not follow because (1) is not violated. The state's guarantee is apart from the question, because what we are discussing are the more fundamental aspects of the capitalist mode of production, in which the same relations inhere regardless of the physical form of its accounting unit.

      Just because a state guarantee goes away, you actually think the underlying mechanisms cease to function? So, what, if your government axed NHS tomorrow, do you think the UK would go without doctors? Christ.

      But please, continue to lob your halfwit insults. Let everyone see the sort of person you are when you run out of room to flail haplessly.

      Delete
    20. (1) you've not addressed the utter circularity of saying that labour value can be assigned to commodities based on the SNLT needed to produce them but then that the SNLT value of skilled labour is just determined by the actual market exchange of the products of skilled labour for products of unskilled labour (when you admit nearly all commodities do not exchange at their true labour values).

      (2) You are pushing your idiot Temporal Single System Interpretation of Marxism and still trying to push the absurd line that all volumes of Capital are totally consistent. That is false.

      Part 1 of volume 1 of Capital says clearly that the SNLT of a unit of gold determines that gold's exchange vale and hence prices in terms of gold - at least as a sort of long run anchor. You can make up all sorts of B.S. to "harmonise" Marx like any desperate religious fundamentalist harmonising his sacred texts.

      (3) "Fiat money is "symbolic" money, or "token" money. It's not the FULL expression of money. It's a stand-in in the domain of domestic circulation, a point addressed explicitly by Marx. "

      This is B.S. Marx thinks true fiat money is unworkable and money can never become detached from a true produced commodity with labour value like gold.

      In fact, you have already admitted this in the previous posts, and the fact that you utterly refuse to admit that Marx's theory **as it stands** is untenable in light of fiat money only shows us you are a laughable and intellectually dishonest idiot.

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  2. More detailed:

    (1) if you seriously do not know what an a priori argument is, you should shut your mouth and stop making a fool of yourself.

    Regarding the obvious contradiction it is YOU who refuse to admit it exists. Any other rational person can see it does exist: Marx cannot claim that the LTV can be deduced totally abstracting form use value, then then claim that having a use value is a necessary condition for a labour value.

    (2) "It is an indisputable empirical reality that the market reduces all labor to a common numeraire (money) through the wage system."

    Nobody is disputing that. What is disputed is that this can reduce all heterogeneous labour to a common homogeneous unit of SNLT.
    If most commodities do not even exchange for their true labour values, then you can't correctly determine the true labour value of skilled value by looking at the actual market exchange of the products of skilled labour for products of unskilled labour.

    (3) "theorists have rebutted Steedman extensively on this point"

    I doubt it. In any case, even if they can, the orthodox LTV as presented by Marx would still fail because of (5)

    (4) the "social relations" is B.S. If free human wage labour can create commodities with a labour value, then slaves should be able to do it.

    Same thing with animals or machines. E.g., if capitalists suddenly decided to count their free workers as capital goods instead do labour, would that mean their products would cease to be commodities have no labour value?

    (5) has already been covered and is devastating to the LTV. It is sufficient to refute it.

    (6) "This is not even arguing against a claim Marx's theory makes."

    False. Marx thinks that the SNLT of producing a unit of gold will determine that unit of gold's exchange value as against other goods:

    “… although the money that performs the functions of a measure of value is only ideal money, price depends entirely upon the actual substance that is money. The value, or in other words, the quantity of human labour contained in a ton of iron, is expressed in imagination by such a quantity of the money-commodity as contains the same amount of labour as the iron. According, therefore, as the measure of value is gold, silver, or copper, the value of the ton of iron will be expressed by very different prices, or will be represented by very different quantities of those metals respectively.” (Marx 1906: 108).

    You do not know what you're talking about, Hedlund.

    (7) already dealt with above.

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    1. Corrections:

      E.g., if capitalists suddenly decided to count their free workers as capital goods instead of labour,

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