"Surplus" vs "Surplus Value"

Charles Brown CharlesB at CNCL.ci.detroit.mi.us
Fri Apr 14 14:09:42 PDT 2000

>>> Curtiss Leung <bofftagstumper at yahoo.com> 04/14/00 04:36PM >>>
Hi Charles:

You wrote:

> It doesn't seem likely that someone can accidentally

> exploit. The idea is that private property in the
> basic means of production will be abolished. No one
> will as a private individual or small group of
> private individuals "own" basic means of production,

> and hire wage laborers who sell their labor power,
> etc. ,etc. Without the institution of private
> property , which has a number of definitonal
> components, accidental exploitation cannot occur.

OK, but what about intentional, criminal exploitation?


CB: Engels ( _The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State_)says sort of on this:

" It will become possible for the state to wither away completely when society adopts the rule: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs," i.e., when people have become so accustomed to observing the fundamental rules of social intercourse and when their labour becomes so productive that they will voluntarily work according to their ability. "The narrow horizon of bourgeois right," which compels one to calculate with the coldheartedness of a Shylock whether one has not worked half an hour more than somebody else, whether one is not getting less pay than somebody else -- this narrow horizon will then be crossed. There will then be no need for society to regulate the quantity of products to be received by each; each will take freely "according to his needs."

As in primitive communist society, custom ("accustomed" will replace law, because the vast majority of people will not have to be coerced to live cooperatively, socially.


As you note, private property has a number of definitional components, and I assume the abolishion of private property would require not only that these components be annulled, but other stipulations to protect communal use put into law. Now, without a production metric (to avoid completely the term "value") and some application of this metric, how can I express these stipulations? And how can I guard against complicated arrangements that are covertly exploitive?


CB: The general projection from Engels and Marx is that law will be replaced by custom ( or its equivalent on the higher level of the dialectical spiral). By "custom" they mean people following logical rules without being coerced. In other words, the state whithering away means no law. It means really trusting people. At this point in the Marxist analysis , it is equivalent to anarchism - no state. I don't know that the idea is that no one would ever break the rules, but it would be extremely rare. There was no state in primitive communism. Custom (culture, tradition) sufficed.

When you say production metric, it is not contemplated that the results of material production would not be counted, costs accounted, etc.


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