>Yes. With the rider that productivity will need to be higher than that
>attained by capitalism (at least with respect to the economy as a whole) in
>order for the setting of prices by planned labour input to supersede the
>pressures of the Law of Value working through the market. This was the big
>economic reality that made it so difficult to control prices and planning
>in the early Soviet Union and led to the excesses of kulakism etc.
Productivity is about the amount of generic product (made generic only by
way of the commodity form) produced as a function of a given consumption of
factors of production, innit? If we start giving this kind of ground to
bourgeois economics, we risk making no meaningful social progress at all.
I mean, labour here is framed as just one such factor (as labour power),
and socialism is all about recognising us as the SUBJECT of production, NOT
the object with which production is done. WE produce for US. To produce
to meet plans which presuppose our status as 'factor' is to remain slave to
the tyranny of 'abstract labour' and go the route of Stalinist state
capitalism (yeah, I know you reject the term, but that ain't the point I'm
making here). How do we avoid this under your proviso, Hugh?
Also, if we stopped making fridge magnets, penis-soap-on-a-rope,
stretch-limousines, insipid-teenage-bouncing-trilling-cuties-bands, nuclear
warheads, breast implants, collagen injections,
cell-phones-with-little-TVs, neckties, cigarettes (shudder), tulip.cons,
and rhino-horn-aphrodesiacs, and put just half of that social investment
into the physical redistribution of extant meat mountains, milk lakes and
medicine piles, we'd go a long way to obviating the scarcity issue (so much
of which is surely invented by an economics profession that doesn't have a
theory or a raison d'etre without the notion).
I submit that (a) there's less scarcity than is currently claimed; (b)
there is NO scarcity in information; (c) whilst people are going without
food, roof, medicine and education, there's stuff we must democratically
decide not to produce during our official work time at all.
The implication of that (If it's all kosha) is that we can't be far from
that point where the forces of production do transcend the relations that
carried them to this point. If we're technically capable of giving
everyone a human (free securely to pursue self-fulfillment) existence now,
we're theoretically ready for socialism. And if we start talking about
productivity at this stage, we'd better be very clear we mean something by
it that has bugger-all in common with what CEOs and cabinet ministers mean
Either that, or come clean and start talking market socialism a la Nove and
Sorry if I miss your drift, Hugh.
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