Marx' wage and trade analysis

Hey guys, a more or less libertarian philosophy enthusiast dropping in. I recently read Das Kapital in full.

Is it just me, or does Marx in his analysis completely ignore space and time? He basically says "if we were to live in the ideal world where goods magically transport to the market and get a fair price, capitalists would be totally useless!", which is like saying "if goods would just make themselves, and capitalists would take care of the entire process surrounding production and inbetween production and actual trade, laborers would be useless!". Yeah, but that's not the case.

His ignorance of time and space becomes even more apparent when he laughs at a bunch of economists who calculated that the laborers in a certain factory HAD to work 10 hours a day to keep turning a decent profit. He says 'but if you don't use the machines, they dont deteriorate, so if you just lower the time of work for the laborers, the machines will not be used, and in the end it's all the same!" Well… how about the costs of the factory itself, the cost of administrative work or even the simple effects of time on the machines? It's like he completely forgets time exists and is just dealing with a word game here.

In fact, the entire book reads like a workaround designed to make a specific point. In the footnotes you can see many ideas were already fairly common, and the only thing 'revolutionary' about labor theory of value is that he turned around the chicken and the egg. One economist says goods have value because they're scarce, Marx says it has value because they're hard to obtain… which is more or less the same thing, and then he manipulates his newly made concept to argue for an idea, often making jumps that require additional explanation and do not naturally follow from the premises.

If anyone could explain the two examples given, that'd be great.

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You're a retard, you haven't read shit

OP, I'm sure you have read some sort of summary of it, and that's okay and more than most people do, no need to make up shit.
I am familiar with that passage and I strongly urge you to read it closely. Couple points: It is not some abstract wank, it is about a real discussion about a real change in the real world, that change being a legal limit of the workday. It was enacted in Britain in 1847. For real. And the real-world experience with that change is what disproved the apocalyptic sayings about the opponents of the reform, and this counts more than any abstract models. That said, Marx also provides logical arguments. The guy who argued against the limit was the economist Nassau William Senior (and to his credit, he changed the tune when the real-world change didn't have the negative effects he claimed would happen), and of course, many capitalists. The argument goes like this:

thanks for saving me from wasting time on your post

Your argument seems to boil down to "Capitalists are useful because they provide administration". What would you say about those who own property they play no active role in the administration of? Really, I'd wager most property owners subcontract some firm to provide that task.

Besides, if capitalists are really so productive, why is it necessary to legally protect their rights? Surely people would just let capitalists have a cut of their own free will if they're so useful? But instead there's all sorts of laws against squatters and legal aid to creditors and other such matters.

Gotta love it when brainlets claim they've read Capital

Mainstream economics also ignores space and time.

Your argument fails to justify the existence of capitalists.

I suggest you read other economic texts to get things into context.

marx was a libertarian, in the european sense

I've read it in full and you know it, or else I wouldn't have read that rather trivial passage. I cannot imagine that the economists of the time would be so incompetent to forget about the fact that costs would be less high if work days were less long. The facts are that he assumes profit margins stay the same if the volume drops, which is simply not true, they become significantly lower for many reasons like the ones stated.

If you have a 10% time of day you make a profit (1 hour out of a total 10 hours), if you drop the working hours to 8 hours your profit isn't 10% any more, but probably closer to ~5%. While you can argue about whether that justifies anything or not is debatable, but if his point in this section is just "these numbers are off and really you can take a liiiiittle big more off of the working day' then it was a useless waste of space in the book.

The existence of capitalists is precisely justified by putting the right goods in the right place at the right time to help the production process and make it more efficient. To this end, they take a margin off of the market value for themselves… but in the end the laborer tends to be better off anyway.

I study economics…

The use of capitalists is putting the right goods in the right place at the right time. Whether that's giving out loans or running companies, that's their supposed use. The other argument you provide is saying 'but what if we would say 'fuck property rights"????" like, yeah i guess that would make capitalism probably less effective?

As if capitalists are uniquely capable of that. Even if it were true why are they entitled to the profits? You seem to fail to realize that managers are employees too.

If you studied economics you wouldn't be acting like the LVT is some outlandish theory and conflating value with price. You twat. Fuck off.

Where the fuck did you that idea that socialism wouldn't have managers? Most owners are self-employed as CEOs in their own company, that position would exist in socialism as well, just differently organized and obviously without the private ownership.

Socialism does not begin or end with Marx.

You can take more time off under socialism because there would be no labor market. You don't have to compete with somebody who wants to work 12 hours a day. Check out the average workday in the USSR or any other Marxist-Leninist state, and check their unemployment, or the lack thereof.

What the fuck are you on about mate? No it doesn't work like that. You're probably some first year high school economics babby. Do one lad.

If you're in charge of a company, you effectively take the product of the labor of the worker and sell it for a higher price than the worker made off of it at the market. According to Marx, this is basically theft. So if the worker gets to keep all the value he produces, what does the CEO live off of?

semantics much

I never said that, and I actually think Marx' theory has a lot of value. I was pretty enthusiastic after the first couple chapters, but then he made some weird logical conclusions like the ones mentioned. But his analysis an sich deserves praise and was a very good read. It's his extrapolation that I have problems with.

Are you implying that if you make a 10% profit on a 10 hour work day, you can just work 1 hour a day and get profits over 6 minutes of that work? Because it doesn't work like that. Your profit margins (up to a certain point) get larger as your volume gets larger.

Not the first guy you responded to (or the second), but you didn't address the specific points he raised in his post before responding to him.

You don't know what you're talking about, do you?

I'll respond user
Even if that was true, it doesn't justify the relationship between the Capitalist and the means of production. Why should someone who says "Make this much, send it here, at this time" own the actual production worked and maintained by another? Even if the ordering of the capitalist was intensely necessary, a simple managerial role would suffice for what is more or less bean counting.
Jeff Bezos just made more money than his entire workforce in a day than what they make in a year. I would enjoy your explanation of how this constitutes a margin for the Capitalist, and not a margin for the worker. There is so much more I could talk about, but I would like to have a discussion of some sort and not just me delivering an autistic speech at 12 pm.

In a coop/market socialism, a manager/CEO, if the coop members choose to have one, makes what he can negotiate with the coop as well as equitable dividends like every other employee.

google bookchin

But that's literally the thing Marx argues against for his entire book! The worker should get every last bit of the value he generated, everything else is stealing. That would make the CEO's trade cycle the capitalist cycle, which he considers wrong.

He's saying Marx says the digits are off on the research. I say I think his critique of the study probably contains some fundamental critique, otherwise it would be a useless waste of book space. Unless the economists said variable costs didn't decline with less working hours, and everybody believed it, that section would contain no value… Unless he meant it in the way I lay out in the OP.

While there are good and valid critques/demolitions of the LVT you didn't provide one.

Marx was talking about owners, and owners /= managers, not necessarily anyway.


None of the economists in that part suggest anything like what you're talking about either. They aren't talking about the fixed cost over time of administration or taxation.

Marx's very obvious point is that if they start with 80,000 in capital and pay 20,000 in wages for a total of 115,000, then
-they have already made up enough fucking money to buy an entire damn new mill because they still have the mill and machinery in their possession
-they turned 20,000 in wages and material into 115,000, of which 20,000 is subtracted to replace the cost of production to 95,000

Nowhere does the economist that Marx is referring to talk about fixed costs over time nor degradation of machinery due to non-productive age.

You know that managers, CEOs, and other similar types do work, right?

The argument is a difference on if you should be paid due to property ownership (which necessarily means that any money you are being paid comes off someone else's work), not if administrative functions deserve to be paid or not.

Did you read volumes 2 and 3? Because if you only read volume 1, the answer is yes, intentionally. But if you really read Das Kapital in full, then you would know that this is nonsense.


No. (watch up until the 5 minute mark).

read critique of the gotha program


thanks this is pretty interesting

ill read it, though id prefer an actual argument lol

Marx doesn't argue that the worker should get every last bit of value for his labour, since that would mean there wouldn't be any value left over for things like keeping society running and making sure people incapable of working can get food.

At no point does the labor of financial administration require nor explain profit from ownership.

You say in your post at the beginning that Marx neglected
but Marx mentions different types of depreciation, not just wear and tear due to using them. He mentions the effects of rusting and the like as well as a non-physical form of depreciation, using the odd term moral depreciation for the latter, meaning machinery becoming technically outdated or the process for producing it becoming cheaper (while the capitalist bought it at the old higher price). So the impression this makes is that you have read some summary.
They argued like that though (and they still do). It can be explained by another reason than incompetence: telling a story you know is not true because you have material incentive to do so.
You think the number game you made up in your mind has more weight than the analysis of real-world data in that section of Capital, and the two decades of real-world experience with that regulation when Marx published that book?
Whether the economy of Britain collapsed as predicted by the opponents of the regulation enacted over 150 years ago is up to debate, let's have an open debate about that, you guys!! I guess pulling claims out of your ass about what really happened also constitutes an example of that type of "free speech" that your lot is so fond of. (Of course, people telling how shitty things really are in a firm are not covered by your sort of free speech if there is an NDA).


That's Hayek you're thinking of.

But capitalists don't take goods to the market. Truck drivers do.