Fwd: Re: Anarchism / Marxism debates

Rakesh Bhandari bhandari at phoenix.Princeton.EDU
Wed Aug 18 06:41:13 PDT 1999

>But As Mattick writes: 'All social progress is based on the ability to
>produce more with less labour. Capitalism is no exception.' p31
>Jim heartfield

Indeed this is the basis of social progress or greater social wealth but not its criterion--and Mattick never said so. Under capitalism, the greater productivity of labor means not a reduction in direct labor time but more surplus in relation to necessary labor time. While leaps in the productivity of labor are indeed the basis of social progress, the actual criterion for growing social wealth is a continuous reduction in direct labor time--that is, wealth as measured by free time, not labor time.

"If it were not for captitalist relations of production, the growing social wealth would be characterized by a continuous reduction of direct labour time, and the wealth of society would be measured not by labour time but by free time. So long, however, as exchange value is the goal of production, labour time quantities remain the source and measure of capitalist wealth, because, as value, capaital cannot be anything other than appropriated labour time. 'Although the very development of the modern means of production,' Marx wrotes, 'indicates to what a large degree the general knowledge of society has been a direct productive force, which conditions the social life and determines its transformation,' capitalism's particular contribution to this state of affairs consists of no more 'than its use of all the media of the arts and sciences to increase the surplus labour, because its wealth, in value form, is nothing but the appropriation of surplus labour time.'" Critique of Marcuse, p. 47-8

So as long as the development of the productive forces is governed by value relations, production cannot be subject to the true criterion of social progress: humanity's own productive powers continue to dominate the direct producers--they are weapons in the class rule and exploitation--until freely associated producers seize the productive apparatus and set it on an unhampered and *different* course according to their own conscious plan in which their own needs, so-called externalities and long term problems can be rationally considered.

Yours, RNB

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