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!


Post a Comment

<< Home