Ayn Marx Rant 4719 Infrequently Asked Questions (4721)
- Q: How do you know if you're trapped in an archaic stage of Capitalism?
A: If you think everything in the end is about money. Nothing can be done without it and it is the solution to every problem¹. Many subsidiary customs follow from this abiding faith in Capital³.
A common concomitant complex of misunderstandings surround the nature of money, a doubled fetish if you will, notably obfuscations and denials of its essence as an abstraction of the value exchange that occurs in barter.
- Q: Aren't Capitalist relations we are familiar with today necessary, inevitable?
A: No, they are wholly based on #1. Before industrial Capitalism there were other relations of production. After it there will be something else. Production is actually based on use values.
- Q: Don't buying and selling and money imply the Capitalist model of the enterprise/firm, joint stock ownership by non producers, etc.?
A: Again, no not at all, and for the same reason, exchange of production and its accounting are constants of organized social life. The other things are by contrast just contemporary realizations of structures of oppression and domination realized in their modern form.
- Q: Aren't you a Capitalist by selling the service you do and buying labor to build parts of that service?
A: #3 answers the first part, the second haven't sofar done and intend not to other than on a spot and non wage basis, if at all. The distinguishing thing is I am in the end, in sofar as the thing delivered at the level of social production is concerned, the sole producer. The fact that I am able to do that upon the basis of considerable prior production notwithstanding, as that's the general condition of production at any advanced point in culture. It's my intention to build structures/platforms that allow others to operate as sovereign producers as well. It is not the acquisition of money, or even a great deal of it that makes you a Capitalist but rather the means by which the acquisition occurs. This distinction is already made clear in the difference between earned income and capital gains. Of course within the Capitalist framework, such as the US IRS, earned income includes earnings as a Capitalist by commanding wage labor production directly or by shareholder proxy. I am simply carrying that to its limit, blowing off capitalist relations and earning only from what I do in fact build myself. This embodies my idea of the reform of Capitalism, the step needed to be taken to the thing which succeeds it by building on it rather than trying to recreate the world naively on some ill considered basis. Ironically, the thing that is called capital gains, at least insofar as interest on capital which isn't directly engaging wage labor or engaged in specific profiteering is concerned, is I think the least objectionable and most acceptable expression of the power of capital. When it is the pure embodiment of social labor power and separated from the relations of production the contradictions will have been resolved. Ironically or not, I also expect that the next stage of Capitalism will heighten some elements currently perceived generally as negatives but as before they will be offset by such benefit as to be welcomed, eagerly by some, grudgingly, tacitly, or surreptitiously by others.
Text I placed in EnWiki was for a time² used as the distinguishing characteristic of Capitalism, focused on markets and market actors. These days I'm more inclined to identify the Capitalist epoch in the economic history of a society as the period where exchange value progressively drowns out every other form until further progression becomes impossible, critical problems are insoluable or actively blocked by and due to the distortion of fundament. At this point, and continously since its inception, there is a reassertion of more fundamental values, non-monetizable ones such as fairness, quality of life, life period, etc. not to mention use value itself, the ground reason for society in the first place. A rejection of finance Capital and the joint-stock company as parasitic strictures on social production ensues spearheaded by the nationalization of finance. Concluded with the dissolution or reversion of ownership of various joint stock conspiracies against social production to the producing workers. As far as defining Capitalism as a thing distinct from its material historical reality, that's pretty much for anybody to do as they please and a number of people have done. Just as the existing thing despite its fatal shortcomings has not been without the production of much good, there are formulations of Capitalism that its hard to argue with, like stateless communism they just haven't ever been or in principle aren't ever realizable. Considered as the expression of the individual as over and against the whole of society, if society is backward and baseless while technical progress based on individual cognition proceeds unimpeded I do not expect that expression to even have begun to lose it's force. On the contrary, it's the opponents of Capitalism who appear ever weaker with the highpoint of their thought current being sometime in the mid 20th century insofar as being any thing other than a re-actor in human affairs. The Spectre doesn't really haunt much any more, the socialism of the 21st century, outside East Asia, is pretty much just a ghost of socialist christmas past and radical chic affectation.I certainly mean the name in the sense of the sought Totaliser in Sartre's Critique.
¹ Formally, the monetization of values attempts to move to totality in this period. ² 2022-10-09 Retained as of this point but morphed into structure. ³ A direct application is equity market worship, the right solution to which is the elimination of non producer equity.
- In historical context, intensification and clarification rather than enervating grifts and obfuscation by various private or public conspiracies against social production. In global society a vast range of situations exists with respect to present and past social/labor relations of production. Labor unions, the failed socialist states, and basic awareness of current human nature are among the things that give pause to any moves to worker solidarity. It is a notion that precedes me but which I intend to give the fullest expression, that cycles of Capitalism cannot cease until its principle has completed its useful role in development. So far, with Capitalism based on the joint stock company, we have not even seen a Capitalism of modern times equivalent to the individuality of principates, directorial and other traditional types, moguls/tycoons fronting such firms notwithstanding. For this reason, and by my personal inclination to support the principles of self determination, supreme individualism, autonomy and the natural right of private property in so far as works one creates one's self, I am resistant to fusion with any group that is unexamined or clearly in conflict with these principles, which the vast majority are intrinsically by their uncritical adoption of relations from the prevailing order. I am focused mainly on my productive powers and am only concerned with external social and distribution issues when they become specifically tasked subject matter for me. Prior to that, these issues are mere technical details to be addressed when the time of vintage doing for the Public Market is come.
- Worker control. This is actually present in the prevailing mode as a stipulation when workers are not employees, in order to make clear that the contract worker has assumed all the responsibilities of an employer. This control factor is generally useful to distinguish actually free independent workers from various kinds of exploitative labor resale where the labor is sold as contracted or outsourced and the relation between the worker and exploiter/reseller is one of employee/employer. A free worker is strictly self employed and deals with other employers as a peer concern, including any 3rd party agents. In particular, standard firms generally want the actually independent worker to show insurance and other liability limiting factors that they would have if dealing with the worker via a reseller that absorbs the cost of those factors, i.e. dealing with a legal peer in the labor transaction (or a subalterned unit if a direct hire).
- Labor paid by value rather than job time. Standard capitalist practice is like softened chattel slavery where the master/capital or its proxy rents rather than owns the worker. Much obfuscation is spewed to cover this core relation of master and slave but it inevitably makes itself felt sooner rather than later especially when workers take formal freedoms seriously, particularly ones suited to and hard won from an early stage of capital-labor relations, and then encounter the reality of their status as (non-self) employees in a later triumphal stage.
In Work Breakdown Structures for my projects I may assign a wage to a tasks resource assignment. In this case the wage is a factor applied to my current retained day rate used with the estimated makespan strictly for planning purpose, without regard to the value of the completed task. For this reason, in cases where there is an excess of value relative to this wage, performing the task myself is indicated.
- Production for use as actual real reason for it. The capitalist firm ubiquitously proclaims that it is producing for society and generally silent about its actual motive which is extraction of profit in control of the exchange where the work product has become its private property . Worker production may have the production of surplus value realized in exchange as an economic criterion but it is the use value of the thing produced that is the purpose of the activity and surplus via exchange is not in general a requirement for undertaking production.
- Value distribution to producers. Standard capitalist practice controls production only to the extent necessary to extract the produced surplus exchange value, typically collected as rent of the enterprise by an incorporation of the joint stockholders of some firm. In Worker Capitalism, this surplus, if it exists, is distributed among the producers according to group determined rules. Finance and share markets are antithetical to Worker Capitalism and should be nationalized and proscribed, respectively. Besides the base equity that inheres in being an equal member of society, equity is not a commodity and cannot be bought, only earned. As a principal driver of sovereign praxis, I observe this principle by releasing no original intellectual property, only making its use available while I am alive.
- No Dependency. In classical capital/labor relations, the employer encourages various kinds of worker dependency consistent with the notion of having purchased and for biz purposes owning a lump of labor with various needs extraneous to production. In contrast, in Worker Capitalism, each individual worker is expected to function as an independent capital that can fully and responsibly act in its own interest, pay its own way in society from the value of its labor which is undivided except for any taxes paid to society at large for the myriad services the latter provides.
- Disintermediation and Waste Elimination. Actually existing Capitalism imposes many expensive layers of superfluous and often questionable or obviously pointless labor between workers actually providing the required labor and the consuming society because they "make money" without making anything really of use to the consumer. Whole industries exist that basically really only function to increase consumption and pad the flow of the profit system. The elimination of these parasitic layers by price competition, automation and shaming, and their redirection to actually useful production are goals of Worker Capitalism as I define it. Concomitant with the expectation of each worker being a consciously self interested capital, each is expected to be a responsible participant in and concerned for the overall efficient and just operation of the entire social capital.
- Completed and Scoped Monetization. As an ism, received late Capitalism is characterized, or thought to be by complete monetization of all values. In fact this process is nowhere near complete because many areas of production (e.g. domestic work) just don't fit the model of fungible expropriation. On the other hand the supremacy of accumulation as the paramount value is complete. For the purposes of computation we advocate the completion of the first and our programme has as a main result the restoration of the supremacy of real values based on uses of production but at no prejudice to personal accumulation based on one's own ability to produce. Thus, Worker Capitalism could also be called Direct Capitalism with the same relation to the received form and to a basing on individuality as Direct Democracy has to bourgeois Representative Democracy and actual rule by the people.
As commonly defined, means token ownership via shares in otherwise received capitalist production whether private, publicly traded, or state cap.