Labor Vouchers

I've been thinking a lot about labor voucher socialism recently and I don't quite understand how you would invest in new production under such a system. Let's say for example you needed to produce more tin cans which would require more labor and thus more workers. As far as I understand, value in the form of money does not exist under such a system, so I assume that capital does not exist either. Does this imply all you would have to do is offer labor vouchers in exchange for this work in hopes that someone will take the job?

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Check the catalog.

You don't. When a need arises, someone in the planning structure delegates construction or renovation so that there will be a factory and then the workers go to the factory. Labor vouchers are created to represent the labor done by each worker in the process. They are completely different from money. You don't need labor vouchers to buy construction. The construction team just goes and constructs shit and gets labor vouchers for doing so. Then once the factory is there the factory workers work in the factory and get labor vouchers for the work. Money acts as a measure of value, but because it circulates you end up with some people who have more or less of it, i.e. more or less ability to measure value. Labor vouchers circumvent this by being created to measure labor when it's done and destroyed when they're redeemed.

How do you prevent people from exchanging and circulating vouchers with each other and forming a black market?
How would you calculate how many labor vouchers to give a worker?

Labor vouchers seem nice in theory but when you actually sit and ponder the logistics involved, it becomes clear that money, combined with monetary and tax policy, is a much easier system to implement.

*blocks your path*

Black markets are more expensive than white markets as a rule because of the added risk and effort of keeping away from the law. If the product is available on the white market there's no reason to have a black market for it.
You monitor how much work they do and multiply the amount they did by the value of the work, which is established through math.

Not an argument.

Indeed, what we today call 'investment' doesn't seem to exist under such a system. Does this imply that labor vouchers are simply created out of thin air when a need arises without the need of any preexisting thing which represents value?

Eh, yes? And with labour vouchers you can buy products.

This is how this system works right now too mate, i dont understand why you dont understand it.

Electronic and make them non transferrable. If they want to trade cans of caviar for blowjobs they can go right ahead, it wont be much of a problem.

The amount of hours they work. And prices are set to market-clearing prices. You record the labour cost and the price and the degree of mismatch tells you whether to increase or decrease production when you plan.

Which tons of people did, such as cockshott, read him
Yea because if anything capitalism has done is that it is much easier to give society control over the economy and have it work in their favour in a monetary system. Oh wait, it doesn't, economists litterally try everything but nothing works because you cant control such a system.

too bad you didn't think to check the catalog

Basically yes. They are a measure of labor performed. That's their function. Since most any living person can get up and do socially necessary labor any time, the measurement system should be able to create measurements of labor to match that ability. Labor vouchers are not money.

Yes, similar to how currencies work in countries that can issue their own money.
Since labour vouchers do not circulate or accumulate, there is no need to keep its worth "consistent". If more labour is done to build non-consumption things, then less is done to make consumption things, so naturally the total amount of production thing goes down, thus the prices increase a bit.


Fuck labor vouchers:
-Peter Kropotkin

"Abolition of private property is the easiest, most straightforward thing ever!" – P. Kropotkin

labor vouchers cannot be exchanged, they are destroyed in order to pay for things

kropotkin didnt understand the circuit of capital or the contradiction between use and exchange. Read Critique of the Gotha Programme

We will have electronic labor voucher accounts with a 8 digit minimum pin and 2 factor authentication. For example, you will have to provide a fingerprint of some kind to the fingerprint reader when using the card.

That seems inconvenient. How would you handle cases like sending a family member to pick stuff up from a grocery store.

Here comrade, have a voucher that is honored in this commune

There would be a way to add minor dependents and spouses (immediate family) as authorized users on the account

determining how to allocate labor vouchers is the most straightforward thing every, right? have you read the chapter I linked? It would be near impossible to determine how exactly to determine the value of ones labor, especially in incredibly complicated labor situations. If labor vouchers were given evenly to all workers across all industries, one could argue its not fair, as an hour of shoveling gravel is much more difficult than an hour of punching keys on a computer. But it was to be distributed based on the job, then the problem arises of how exactly you determine the amount of value of labor each worker does, since in one specific workplace people may have different jobs that contribute to the production of the commodity, but have different amounts of energy or skill invested in them. Since the differences are arbitrary or immeasurable, it leaves the idea of a labor voucher as seeming like a rather poor method for distributing goods, and rather unnecessary in a post-scaricity society such as today

I have, but I have to reread it as I really didn't understand the context of it. What was rather annoying is it was largely written as a critique of a specific "manifesto" which I haven't read. Without reading the thing being critiqued, it comes off as rather odd to read since it cites the (was it Lacanian?) program a lot.

you distribute them evenly. the idea is that everybody's time has to have equal social power in order for there to be a material basis for equality in society

then what would be the motivation for one to take up a backbreaking job, when I could get the same amount of "labor vouchers" doing some cushy service job?

reduction in the intensity of the working day and non-material social gratification, the work would be done because it needs to be

you dont need a material incentive structure to brush your teeth on the weekends or keep your domicile clean, but you do it anyway because of non-material social factors

if everything you say is true (and I largely agree with you), then why do you need labor vouchers to begin with? why can't things be carried out contractually, on the community level?

do you see what I mean? The concept of labor vouchers under a libertarian socialist lens appears rather superfluous. Could labor itself not be treated in a similar way?

in order to constrain the rate of consumption

maybe for some things, like luxury items, would that make sense. But once again I doubt it would be necessary. In the case of food, as an example, we as a nation (the US) throw away 2/3 of all food produced. There really isn't a need to restrain consumption of it.
As for other items, such as luxury items, if things go as you say and become more automated and produced for use and not for profit, I don't see much of a reason why we'd need to limit consumption of them either. Not sure why somebody would feel the need to go and grab 14 big screen TVs for their house, especially if they can't sell them for money since it has been abolished.


This is a complete non-issue, this "problem" already arises in countries that have public health care for example: a government agency has to decide how much certain types of operations have to be awarded in the absence of the usual market mechanisms. It usually boils down to supply and demand (how much do we need to pay people for this task to make sure it gets done) along with negotiation on the part of the doctors themselves. While it sometimes leads to irrationality (for example, in my country cataract surgery is overpaid) due to bureaucratic inertia, it functions pretty damn well on the whole, and I imagine the issue of bureaucratic inertia wouldn't really be an issue for an actual communist society as there would be direct popular control over these issues rather than an alienated bureaucratic apparatus that's in the pockets of various interest groups and lobbies.

Also, a lot of food is cheap junk food with lots of calories that will leave you hungry after eating it because it has almost zero nutritional value. If good-quality food is more widely available, food consumption will probably decrease overall and we won't have to bother making shitty corn chips and whatever in such great excess.

I thought it was 1/3 but it turns out it's 1/2.