Sunday, April 03, 2011

Marx Is Dead

A simple evisceration of Marxist economic theories:

I read somewhere, written by a more literate person - I believe an economist - that the weakest point of the Marxist theories was that Marx, as an economist, was such a bizarre failure he never understood the role of resellers.
This would only make sense for an academic who has lived in the city his whole life and is NOT aware of where his veggies come from. If you think your pasta grows on trees, you probably can imagine sauntering down to the local park and picking a bushel full. At worst, if you know it has to be made in a factory, you figure you should get it at factory price. Of course.

But the people who transport it have to make money too.
But you really, really, really cannot study Marx for any length of time without seeing other holes.
To Marx value was raw material plus work. The means of producing that work (machinery, etc) were just sort of there. And he made no allowance for invention. (Which is why though Marxist revolutions often recruit intellectuals they're the sort of intellectuals who never had an original idea in their life.) Of course in our day and age, invention and original thought are at least as important as machinery in creating product.

Also, the raw material fallacy means all the countries who have nothing else to sell feel "exploited" because we're taking their "value" away. Imbuing raw material itself with value means that it's sort of like stealing national treasure. This has given rise to an entire colonialist-exploitation-theory of history which has held more people in misery in developing countries than the most brazen robber baron could manage. And no one, NOT ONE seems to realize that their raw materials mean absolutely nothing if not used.
I don't have time to go into all the crazy things that idea has caused, because the work=value thing fascinates me even more.

This is an idea SO loony only an exceedingly well educated person could believe it. We've all heard of the famous "if I take a month to polish a dog turd, can I charge by the hour of my labor?"
This also discounts things such as human knowledge. Humans get better at tasks they do most often. This is the idea behind training. So, let's suppose what we're making is clay cups. I will undoubtedly take longer to make a clay cup than a master craftsman. I also - hey, I know myself - will end up with a lumpy product full of thumb marks. But I took longer. Therefore it's worth more, right? (Suddenly I understand how certain artsy shops charge for things.)

Now you're laughing and telling me no one believes that. Ah, but you're wrong. First of all people believed that - absolutely believed that, until they were in the place where they set production quotas and all the shoes available for sale were size twenty six and for the left foot.
Good old Marx is also responsible for that most insane of ideas, the minimum wage. Dictating a minimum wage people have to be paid is the same as saying that labor has an intrinsic, minimal value. And before you scream I'm cruel or heartless, what the heck do feelings have to do with economics? Economics is the science of value. Value is what someone is willing to pay for something. NOT "but they need this to survive." THAT is an idea that work in itself has a value.

If that were true, we could hire an army of unemployed workers to polish dog turds for the international market. We'd be rich, rich I tell you!
Read it all!


An unusual discovery. Whether forgery or authentic is as yet unclear, but it is potentially very interesting:

Lead Codex Found In Desert
If genuine, this could be the first-ever portrait of Jesus Christ, possibly even created in the lifetime of those who knew him.

The tiny booklet, a little smaller than a modern credit card, is sealed on all sides and has a three-dimensional representation of a human head on both the front and the back. One appears to have a beard and the other is without. Even the maker’s fingerprint can be seen in the lead impression. Beneath both figures is a line of as-yet undeciphered text in an ancient Hebrew script.

Astonishingly, one of the booklets appears to bear the words ‘Saviour of Israel’ – one of the few phrases so far translated.
The samples were then sent to the Swiss National Materials Laboratory at Dubendorf, Switzerland. The results show they were consistent with ancient (Roman) period lead production and that the metal was smelted from ore that originated in the Mediterranean. Dr Northover also said that corrosion on the books was unlikely to be modern.

Meanwhile, the politics surrounding the provenance of the books is intensifying. Most professional scholars are cautious pending further research and point to the ongoing forgery trial in Israel over the ancient limestone ossuary purporting to have housed the bones of James, brother of Jesus.

The Israeli archeological establishment has sought to defuse problems of provenance by casting doubt on the authenticity of the codices, but Jordan says it will ‘exert all efforts at every level’ to get the relics repatriated.

The debate over whether these booklets are genuine and, if so, whether they represent the first known artefacts of the early Christian church or the first stirrings of mystical Kabbalah will undoubtedly rage for years to come.
The director of Jordan’s Department of Antiquities, Ziad al-Saad, has few doubts. He believes they may indeed have been made by followers of Jesus in the few decades immediately following his crucifixion.

‘They will really match, and perhaps be more significant than, the Dead Sea Scrolls,’ he says. ‘The initial information is very encouraging and it seems that we are looking at a very important and significant discovery – maybe the most important discovery in the history of archaeology.’

If he is right, then we really may be gazing at the face of Jesus Christ.