Friendly reminder that socialism, according to Marx at least, not someone like Proudhon or other non-Marxist socialists...

Friendly reminder that socialism, according to Marx at least, not someone like Proudhon or other non-Marxist socialists, is about the abolition of the law of value and commodity production. It's about cutting the roots from all of capitalist society's ills. Worker place democracy, the ownership of the means of production by the workers, direct or not, is not socialism because socialism is about transformation of the the mode of production and not about the mere transfer of ownership happening over it.

Understanding this does not mean that you have to accept "left-communist" praxis (lack thereof, to be honest.) You can still push for a Leninist program, etc, but just try to understand that socialism to Marx is indeed, in the end, about the firm and not the boss, about capital and not the bourgeoisie.

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Then why did he advocate for labour vouchers?

So what does this understanding contribute if it is not connected to a praxis? That would seem to imply it is irrelevant.

Because content and form are changed and merely measuring labor doesn't imply value.


Didn't Marx want to see Capital abolished also? In the sense that means of productions, once no longer privately owned, ceased to be capital.

Workers owning a co-op is still private property.

But wage labour does.

Where did I say it wasn't? Marx advocated a worker's State taking control of the means of production, and then of course there ceases to be a system of class division, as no one person or group owns the means of production, and thus capital ceases to exist.

Labor vouchers are not wage labor.

Since Robinson Crusoe’s experiences are a favourite theme with political economists,[30] let us take a look at him on his island. Moderate though he be, yet some few wants he has to satisfy, and must therefore do a little useful work of various sorts, such as making tools and furniture, taming goats, fishing and hunting. Of his prayers and the like we take no account, since they are a source of pleasure to him, and he looks upon them as so much recreation. In spite of the variety of his work, he knows that his labour, whatever its form, is but the activity of one and the same Robinson, and consequently, that it consists of nothing but different modes of human labour. Necessity itself compels him to apportion his time accurately between his different kinds of work. Whether one kind occupies a greater space in his general activity than another, depends on the difficulties, greater or less as the case may be, to be overcome in attaining the useful effect aimed at. This our friend Robinson soon learns by experience, and having rescued a watch, ledger, and pen and ink from the wreck, commences, like a true-born Briton, to keep a set of books. His stock-book contains a list of the objects of utility that belong to him, of the operations necessary for their production; and lastly, of the labour time that definite quantities of those objects have, on an average, cost him. All the relations between Robinson and the objects that form this wealth of his own creation, are here so simple and clear as to be intelligible without exertion, even to Mr. Sedley Taylor. And yet those relations contain all that is essential to the determination of value.

Second part of quote

Let us now transport ourselves from Robinson’s island bathed in light to the European middle ages shrouded in darkness. Here, instead of the independent man, we find everyone dependent, serfs and lords, vassals and suzerains, laymen and clergy. Personal dependence here characterises the social relations of production just as much as it does the other spheres of life organised on the basis of that production. But for the very reason that personal dependence forms the ground-work of society, there is no necessity for labour and its products to assume a fantastic form different from their reality. They take the shape, in the transactions of society, of services in kind and payments in kind. Here the particular and natural form of labour, and not, as in a society based on production of commodities, its general abstract form is the immediate social form of labour. Compulsory labour is just as properly measured by time, as commodity-producing labour; but every serf knows that what he expends in the service of his lord, is a definite quantity of his own personal labour power. The tithe to be rendered to the priest is more matter of fact than his blessing. No matter, then, what we may think of the parts played by the different classes of people themselves in this society, the social relations between individuals in the performance of their labour, appear at all events as their own mutual personal relations, and are not disguised under the shape of social relations between the products of labour.

For an example of labour in common or directly associated labour, we have no occasion to go back to that spontaneously developed form which we find on the threshold of the history of all civilised races.[31] We have one close at hand in the patriarchal industries of a peasant family, that produces corn, cattle, yarn, linen, and clothing for home use. These different articles are, as regards the family, so many products of its labour, but as between themselves, they are not commodities. The different kinds of labour, such as tillage, cattle tending, spinning, weaving and making clothes, which result in the various products, are in themselves, and such as they are, direct social functions, because functions of the family, which, just as much as a society based on the production of commodities, possesses a spontaneously developed system of division of labour. The distribution of the work within the family, and the regulation of the labour time of the several members, depend as well upon differences of age and sex as upon natural conditions varying with the seasons. The labour power of each individual, by its very nature, operates in this case merely as a definite portion of the whole labour power of the family, and therefore, the measure of the expenditure of individual labour power by its duration, appears here by its very nature as a social character of their labour.

last bit

Let us now picture to ourselves, by way of change, a community of free individuals, carrying on their work with the means of production in common, in which the labour power of all the different individuals is consciously applied as the combined labour power of the community. All the characteristics of Robinson’s labour are here repeated, but with this difference, that they are social, instead of individual. Everything produced by him was exclusively the result of his own personal labour, and therefore simply an object of use for himself. The total product of our community is a social product. One portion serves as fresh means of production and remains social. But another portion is consumed by the members as means of subsistence. A distribution of this portion amongst them is consequently necessary. The mode of this distribution will vary with the productive organisation of the community, and the degree of historical development attained by the producers. We will assume, but merely for the sake of a parallel with the production of commodities, that the share of each individual producer in the means of subsistence is determined by his labour time. Labour time would, in that case, play a double part. Its apportionment in accordance with a definite social plan maintains the proper proportion between the different kinds of work to be done and the various wants of the community. On the other hand, it also serves as a measure of the portion of the common labour borne by each individual, and of his share in the part of the total product destined for individual consumption. The social relations of the individual producers, with regard both to their labour and to its products, are in this case perfectly simple and intelligible, and that with regard not only to production but also to distribution.

- Karl Marx capital volume 1


Socialism is about two things: the ownership of the firm (so it is, after all, about the boss), and global economic structure (abolition of resource allocation via capitalist investment)

Socialism is about the abolition of the market forces that control our lives and a free assocation of producers.

I've read that chapter, Marx uses it to illustrate value, it says nothing about labour vouchers.

Marx is litterally talking about communism here.

Who the fuck cares if Marx advocated for labor voters? You should be for labor vouchers because it makes sense to you not because it's in your holy scripture.

It makes sense tho

1. Communism means unlimited access to the wealth of society.
2. There is no mention of how the distribution is organized, with vouchers or some other mechanism.
3. "We will assume, but merely for the sake of a parallel with the production of commodities, that the share of each individual producer in the means of subsistence is determined by his labour time."

What marx is saying is that distribution based on labor time while being a parallel to commodity production is not commodity production. He expands on this here:

But in the trading between the commune and its members the money is not money at all, it does not function in any way as money. It serves as a mere labour certificate; to use Marx's phrase, it is “merely evidence of the part taken by the individual in the common labour, and of his right to a certain portion of the common produce destined for consumption”, and in carrying out this function, it is “no more ‘money’ than a ticket for the theatre”. It can therefore be replaced by any other token, just as Weitling replaces it by a “ledger”, in which the labour-hours worked are entered on one side and means of subsistence taken as compensation on the other. [121] In a word, in the trading of the economic commune with its members it functions merely as Owen’s “labour money”, that “phantom” which Herr Dühring looks down upon so disdainfully, but nevertheless is himself compelled to introduce into his economics of the future. Whether the token which certifies the measure of fulfilment of the “obligation to produce”, and thus of the earned “right to consume” {320} is a scrap of paper, a counter or a gold coin is absolutely of no consequence for this purpose. For other purposes, however, it is by no means immaterial, as we shall see.

and here

Within the co-operative society based on common ownership of the means of production, the producers do not exchange their products; just as little does the labor employed on the products appear here as the value of these products, as a material quality possessed by them, since now, in contrast to capitalist society, individual labor no longer exists in an indirect fashion but directly as a component part of total labor. The phrase "proceeds of labor", objectionable also today on account of its ambiguity, thus loses all meaning.

What we have to deal with here is a communist society, not as it has developed on its own foundations, but, on the contrary, just as it emerges from capitalist society; which is thus in every respect, economically, morally, and intellectually, still stamped with the birthmarks of the old society from whose womb it emerges. Accordingly, the individual producer receives back from society – after the deductions have been made – exactly what he gives to it. What he has given to it is his individual quantum of labor. For example, the social working day consists of the sum of the individual hours of work; the individual labor time of the individual producer is the part of the social working day contributed by him, his share in it. He receives a certificate from society that he has furnished such-and-such an amount of labor (after deducting his labor for the common funds); and with this certificate, he draws from the social stock of means of consumption as much as the same amount of labor cost. The same amount of labor which he has given to society in one form, he receives back in another.

Here, obviously, the same principle prevails as that which regulates the exchange of commodities, as far as this is exchange of equal values. Content and form are changed, because under the altered circumstances no one can give anything except his labor, and because, on the other hand, nothing can pass to the ownership of individuals, except individual means of consumption. But as far as the distribution of the latter among the individual producers is concerned, the same principle prevails as in the exchange of commodity equivalents: a given amount of labor in one form is exchanged for an equal amount of labor in another form.

Sorry first quote is by Engels

And it's just an appeal of authority, why did you even include it? "It's not money because I said so." Thanks Engels for illuminating us.

It explains why it isn't money becuase it can't be transferred. Otherwise it isn't useful.

It doesn't say it can't be transferred.

The whole point of the full idea about worker owner ship as I understand it, is that communism, abolition of the value form, as you say, will not come about through some grand revolution, there may be a grand revolution, but the revolution itself will only take it so far, just like other modes of production, it will exist alongside and within the outmoded modes for an extremely long time, modes of production are also never completely distinct in themselves, each has its own stages and progressions within that specific mode of production, for example the difference between capitalism now and capitalism in 1850 or feudalism as it stands today versus feudalism in 1500.

On top of this, total abolition of the value form requires a total system, that is one which dominates if not the whole globe than at least the most significant part of it, considering the demands of modern technology, minerals and such, really to be able to fully distribute goods you need to be in control of the entire thing. No matter what happens, in every eventuality, even after "conquering" this globe from capitalism which will in itself take an extremely long time, the development of the industrial forces in these areas will be an extremely long process.

In short, there will be a lower stage, perhaps (and most likely in my opinion) even a lower lower stage.

I am not saying that muh co-ops are socialism, but a co-operative economy is one in which the work force is more directly engaged with production, much more, they themselves oversee it even if market forces still control it. Further, they are the ones making the decisions which effect their relationship to it, through working standards and practices and so on.

Worker ownership therefore creates conditions by which class consciousness is "organically" imbued on the worker.

These conditions are not communism, but they are conditions from which communism in my opinion is more likely to emerge.

On top of this, when the ownership of the property is literally in their hands, they have much more power, should they have the inclination to Communism. Sure, they would still have the market, but the market can be more easily abolished when production is in the workers hands

It gets workers into the practice of managing themselves, which is necessary are we ever to achieve a stateless, classless society.

On top of that, radical reform agitates the populace and causes reaction, while we have absolutely zero chance of revolution in the west, we need to build reformist structures, if only to agitate with their existence. Agitate directly for revolution in any European country and you will be laughed at. You can't go zero-revolution.

As well as this,the material gain they will have from the private owner no longer existing is a short term benefit that sustain the revolution. Plus such a union could fund other types of agitation and education and organise organically

The lower phase of communism described by Marx involves commodity production not because calculation of production plans are based on labour hours, but because the very existence of labour vouchers. I know that it isn't money (we shouldn't forget here that when Marx talks about money, he is always referring capitalist money), but that doesn't mean that it isn't a commodity. We know that commodities become commodities through an act of exchange, so it's undeniable that when you exchange your labour for piece of paper, there must be some sort of commodities involved.

Content and form are changed and your not exchanging. If you hang some shelves for you mom and she makes you dinner are you exchanging?


LMAO yes they are. You work for X amount of hours and you get X amount of labour tickets and they are worth X amount of goods, according to your contribution, its as close to waged labour as earning a share of business output per hour rather than a fixed hourly rate

Labour tickets as you describe them are basically function-less then, if society has got that stage where you can distribute like that, then you don't need them

What you are describe here is full communism. What I was describing would look a lot more like this: I and my mother decide on what housework to do, and both of us would collectively reward each of us in not in the form of a object directly useful to us, but in the form of some useless object which we would later exchange for a dinner or something else. Content and form of the commodity changes, but it remains a commodity.

It doesn't make any sense. Does the amount of vouchers you receive depend on the intensity of your work? Does the voucher-price of the particular good depend on how slowly the workers made it?


Its not exchange because society allread owned the labor and the good from the start. Labor is directly social.

No. Just measuring labor doesn't mean value. Only when labor is indirectly social does the labor become value. At least according to Marx.

Except you never sold your labor because its not indirectly social its merely a component part of the social labor owned by society.

Are you Muke?

No. I'm not illiterate.

there is still value and its still being exchanged, so you are still selling your labour for value

It is funtionally the same but its not value. You never exchange your labor as it doesn't belong to you. Its merely a portion of the total social labor.

In the sense that society controls it. That doesn't mean that division of labour or value isn't there


He is reffering to the fact that in a society like this labor doesn't appear as value. Its just labor which is the substance of value but has no value on its own.

This is a semantic cop out, also if its at that stage why are they necessary? They only make sense and only represent a portion of the total social in a totalised society in which case you are ready for free distribution. If we are talking about a one country or several country scenario, the state is also going to be trading with external capitalist markets meaning your labour ticket will still ultimately be pegged to the market

It is not a semantics cop out. Its something Marx actually said

I'm talking world wide. As for why we can't just go full communism its because of scarcity and:

that doesn't mean its not a semantic cop out.

and that quote doesn't answer my query which was: in the lower stage, pre worldwide, in a single or several country scenario, the state will control foreign trade, this trade will be part of the global market, your labour will produce the goods on this global market, and the amount of goods you receive in return for this labour will also therefore be pegged to the global market, so it does not represent social labour, you would literally be trading bits of paper that worth an amount of money

anyone gonna respond to this plz it took a good 5 minutes of my time

Communism can't exist except wordwide and that is one of the reasons. The law of value has such domination over society that any socialist experiment will inevitably become entangled in it like the soviets did.

so you need to build a large enough financial base ready for collectivisation before you do it, see



Yes you need to have capitalism before you have socialism

What I'm saying is, perhaps there is an inbetween inbetween stage of socialised capitalism, just like capitalised feudalism or early feudalism in which the village community and city state still held sway . Is it really that insane?

I can see having a co-op system in diactatorship of the proletariat but I find state capitalism more plausable as it allows faster growth of production throw a plan.

This may be true for a still mostly fuedal early capitalist society such as Russia in the early 1900's or China. Now these places have developed industrial forces.

on this point ,i find it interesting that Catalonia differed from many other socialist experiments in that (for the time) it already had a fairly developed industrial base in comparison to the sites of other socialist revolutions.

Besides that, there is no reason you cannot come up with an effective economic plan democratically as a network of co-operatives

On top of that, it is much harder for this network to collapse into liberalism, because the leadership can't take the whole thing with it, if you look at the USSR by the end of it the population were more socialist than the leadership, as evidenced by the fact that most people who lived under the soviet union preferred it to now, this could not have happened to the same crushing degree under a decentralised system although I agree there are other setbacks to this system rather than the other

State planning doesn't mean Stalin 2.0 sitting at a table and writing his plan. Leaders would be democratically ellected and recallable. (or at least I would like it that way its the proletariats choice.)

state.. how did you wrest control of it? A network of co-ops can be built within capitalism without seizing the state or abolishing it at all

Oh I see what your saying now. Your basically talking about sort of "organs of working class power" within capitalism like unions and workers councils right?

workers councils and unions are pressure groups in a co-op you can actually change things directly

talking about workers councils as in workers council before they take control as a an organisational strategy obviously workers councils in control can change things

Transition period:

>Stage #1: socialized (syndical) capital(ism)
* Anarcho-syndicalism
* Councilism

* Anarcho-communism
* Dauve
* Dauve

My largest issue with labor vouchers, which stems largely from kropotkins arguments, is how are they rewarded? The bring about a massive conundrum. 1) is certain labor worth more than other labor? Like is being a miner breaking your back every day worth more than being a radical desk jockey. On the surface it seems as though it should, otherwise how do you encourage people to do the tough jobs without pointing guns at them? And then that brings up 2) by what metrics do you determine the value of ones labor? When we break down the division of labor, things start to become very arbitrary very quickly. Kropotkin’s example of a mine comes to mind, in which you have guys physically picking the stone, and guys shoveling the stone. Yet is their labor more valuable than the guy opperating the lift? You would have no mine without the lift, and it takes a lot of skill. So do you pay them the same? But if so, everybody would want to be a lift worker because it’s not as physically demanding. Which brings us back to the first problem.
What I am getting at here though is that it’s impossible to truly assign value to ones labor, making labor vouchers seem as a somewhat insufficient means of tackling this problem. Further if consumption is limited by labor vouchers, then “to each according to his need” is not met. Thus even if it was implemented it may be an impediment to the implementation of a fully communist society

No. The amount of vouchers you receive is always the same: 1.

How is that bad?

Indeed: labour vouchers are for the first phase of the communist society, aka socialism.

AKA "to each according to their contribution"


Voting on remuneration for tasks and assignment of people to tasks should be a unified process where only those votes to reduce the remuneration of a task count if the people giving that input are themselves willing to do the task at the lower remuneration level they stated.

Yeah but people here treat Marx like a saint and it gets tiresome

(Not the user you were talking to)

No, you don't understand what it means.

Yes, it literally means that.

No, that is not what it means.

Yes, precisely: a simplified picture.

Just because it doesn't appear as value, that doesn't mean that it doesn't contain value in any way. Labour must posses value if it is exchanged, and it is exchanged in lower stage of communism, because even though work is directly regulated by society, it is still exchanged. Here, in contrast to capitalist society where individuals exchange their labour on a market, society itself exchanges labour with individuals. This would obviously disappear in the higher phase of communist society, where society doesn't just subdue the division of labour, but totally destroys it. Society or anyone/thing else cannot exchange something with themselves, thus there would be no more exchange and because of this commodities etc. See:

Then it's a wage.

Who was I talking to last night? Come back reeeeeeeeee I felt I was getting somewhere

Let's bracket out but merely for the sake of a parallel with the production of commodities for a moment and read the four paragraphs again:

Suppose Marx had omitted those thirteen words, would you then have interpreted this section in the following way: that a possible post-capitalist scenario has labour-time accounting for planning and distribution of a part of the output which is destined for individual consumption allocated according to work done (without that being the only possible way of organizing production, but a very transparent one)?

A parallel is a not a parable, nor a hyperbole (nor is it a hyper-bowl), it is a similarity. A speaker who talks about different systems that have in one aspect something that is just a parallel does not mean that the speaker conceives of these systems as identical or very similar; on the contrary, by highlighting the similarity of just that one part between the two it is again implied that as a whole, the two systems are very different.

Now let's back to the words bracketed out in the beginning. You seem to parse that bit as basically the same as: but merely for the sake of argument… And a speaker literally saying that usually means to say that I am certain X is not the case or at least think it is incredibly unlikely, but I'm just running with it, to show you something. And the reason a speaker is using such a construct is usually that he assumes the listener believes in X, and the speaker runs with it to show something which the listener believes to logically follow from X does not actually follow from it. I don't see anything like that happening here. Suppose Marx had said instead: but merely for the sake of just as a parallel with the production of commodities… Would you then have parsed it in the same sake-of-argument way?

>And a speaker literally saying that usually means to say that I am certain X is not the case or at least think it is incredibly unlikely, but I'm just running with it, to show you something.
In this case, it is more something like: I am certain X is an oversimplification, but I'm just running with it, to help you understand something.

How do you make bold and underlined text?

…and that something being what?

That in communism, "the social relations of the individual producers, with regard both to their labour and to its products, are […] perfectly simple and intelligible, and that with regard not only to production but also to distribution".

But the system Marx described there is only simple because of the labour-time accounting/distribution procedure. So how in hell could that procedure not be what he had in mind?

No, it is simple because we are dealing with "a community of free individuals, carrying on their work with the means of production in common, in which the labour power of all the different individuals is consciously applied as the combined labour power of the community". This reflects onto the distribution, that becomes just as conscious (and thus "simple and intelligible") as production.

So, according to you, Marx made the proof that communism will be simple by making a drastic over-simplification. Some "proof" that is. A different take from that passage is that Marx didn't know the future and didn't claim to, just that one possible way – accounting and distribution mainly according to labour time – would have the advantage of being very simple and transparent.

No. Marx tried to help the reader picture himself how simple communism will be by developing an oversimplified example with which he can relate, a "mere parallel" with something he experiences everyday: commodity production.

It blows my mind some people can think like this (schematic bulletpoints). It's like you're a walking powerpoint presentation.

Simplified is the wrong word if he meant something else entirely. So, did you parse the string "merely for the sake of…" as suspected in or not? And would you have parsed the passage differently if the string had been written as at the end of that post?

The last "Dauve" was a typo.
I have to build logical structures or else I won't learn anything. So it comes out natural. Also I'd rather be concise as to not bore others and to invite swift critique by others if they think I'm missing something.
I've also set out to read things in chronological chunks

So nobody is gonna respond.. and I am correct, and we should embrace co-operatisation theory\?