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StrictlyLogical

Marxist vs. Capitalist re. Means of Production and "Rents"

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Hypothetical:

A very wealthy individual has built an extension on her home which houses an automated factory for the production of flour.  The automated factory includes facilities for accepting wheat, grinding it up, doing all the necessary processing and generating flour.  Intelligently the factory is arranged so that gasoline, propane, oil, natural gas,  or portable electric power, may be supplied to the factory to make it work, and that oil, water, and cleaning supplies may be easily provided to it to ensure proper operation of flour production and self-maintenance and self-cleaning operations.  Ingeniously, the premises housing the factory also includes a foundry and various molds, for accepting raw metals and manufacturing of parts, wire, PCBs, computer chips, etc. which form part of the factory which makes the flour. 

The wealthy individual decides that this automated factory is to be open for business to anyone in her village who wants to produce flour for a fee.  The arrangement is first come first serve and the contract involves in exchange for the use of the factory, payment of money and conditions of use: users must supply their own wheat meeting certain conditions to ensure working order of the factory, users must supply the power (gasoline, propane, oil, etc.) required to operate the factory, and other raw operating material such as oils, water, cleaning agents, according to specifications, so that proper self-automated maintenance and cleaning operations may be performed.

Part of the deal includes a small deposit of raw materials for part production by the foundry, in anticipation of the need for part replacement, such as iron for main parts, copper for wires, etc.  The amount of materials deposited accumulate slowly at a rate designed to cover any replacements for failures of the parts and components of the factory.  The deal also requires the user to promise that if something in the factory has broken down, that he is to use the foundry facilities to fashion replacement parts and repair the factory, and to clean up and otherwise put the foundry back to its ready to use state.  Replacement instructions and access to broken parts is arranged ingeniously so that no one ever has full access to how the entire flour factory works and the contract prohibits disassembly otherwise.  As it turns out the village is full of mechanics working at a nearby (unrelated) aviation factory.  Anyone who would be expected to use the flour making facility would likely know someone capable of or be able himself to operate the foundry and take care of the needed repairs to the flour factory.  None of the villagers has the knowledge required to build a flour factory, nor are they interested in obtaining it, primarily because, fortunately for all, the price of using the factory to make flour, and all the conditions included, are such that a great many of the villagers voluntarily decide to use the factory rather than buy flour from someone else (its cheaper) and rather than make their own factory.  They decide that all things considered it IS in their interest to make flour there.

The factory is so well made and automated that the entrance to the facility (which is very well secured) has a computer system for users to obtain information about availability, make reservations, and read and sign any and all contractual agreements.  The electronic system is recognized as solemnizing a deal with the wealthy individual (she has "pre-signed"... if you will)... all that is required is agreement by each user to abide by the terms.

 

After 20 years in operation (the factory having paid for itself in the first 3 years), with the wealthy individual only setting foot at the facility a handful of times, very few episodes of down time, only a few attempted security breaches requiring the police, and only two law suits (instituted by the wealthy individual on the basis of breach of terms), a Marxist-Communist and an Objectivist-Capitalist come out of the facility after having gone on a free tour put on by the owner, who happens to love heated philosophical exchanges.

The owner looks to both of them and asks with a grin, "What do you think?"

 

Please start the dialogue either as the Marxist-Communist or the Objectivist-Capitalist, stating what you think.  Please choose the view which most closely parallels your own view in THIS CONTEXT, and identify yourself as the Marxist-Communist or the Objectivist-Capitalist, and voice your outrage or approval with fervor. 

B)

 

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[Can you set the context more? Why do people want flour, just to make bread? What does the factory owner use the money from fees on?]

Edited by Eiuol

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LOL

Very funny, I get it.  Yes its a long hypothetical.  I take your sarcasm as a compliment.

("Could you set the context more"... haha! could you BE more sarcastic?)

 

:)

Why do you inquire into why the people and the factory owner choose to do what they do?  What is your motivation for knowing their motivations?

Make up any motivations you choose.   If you like simply consider these: They love to decorate their home interiors daily with a nice 2 foot deep layer of flour.  She loves Faberge Eggs which she buys with great fervor for a large portion of her profits.

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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[I wasn't sarcastic, I just don't know if you set it up perfectly. If it isn't important, then I have a response in mind. I'm using brackets to say I'm not in character. It might break the rules you intended, but I think it will be more interesting if I pose as the Marxist, which isn't like my view. Well, not literally Marxist, more like leftist radical.]

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I didn't see it as sarcastic, but it was definitely punnier, when you pointed out the shift on the perspective of context.

I too, found questions about the repairs being done to the facility. Are the flour grinders paid for their foundry work and/or the repairs needed that occurred on their "shift"? Or is that, in part, how the facility got paid for in three years?

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32 minutes ago, dream_weaver said:

I didn't see it as sarcastic, but it was definitely punnier, when you pointed out the shift on the perspective of context.

I too, found questions about the repairs being done to the facility. Are the flour grinders paid for their foundry work and/or the repairs needed that occurred on their "shift"? Or is that, in part, how the facility got paid for in three years?

The Foundry was already paid for completely by the wealthy individual, it did make enough money to pay for itself (i.e. the amount equivalent to how much it cost to build) in three years.

On ‎3‎/‎16‎/‎2016 at 11:06 AM, StrictlyLogical said:

The deal also requires the user to promise that if something in the factory has broken down, that he is to use the foundry facilities to fashion replacement parts and repair the factory, and to clean up and otherwise put the foundry back to its ready to use state. 

^--- From the OP

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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So in other words, if the machinery breaks down while he is using it, it is repaired at the expense of the time of the user it breaks down on. He has to donate his time with no change in the financials per the contractual agreement.

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[Radical leftist position here]

I applaud your efforts. I applaud your skill at concealing your capitalist exploitation. You seem to think that providing a communal factory that you -- and only you -- make money from is some justification for your possession of the means of production. If you really had the intention to establish a communal factory, you would not have demanded payment for use. Your shallow facade may trick the locals into seeing this as a win-win situation at little cost, but I see it as an imperialist effort to impose capitalist hegemony upon this village. If only Lenin realized how easy the masses could be manipulated by a capitalist! His initial revolts would have been much more productive.

You have brilliantly established a factory by which we all contribute. But notice, you create a demand for product that we do not in fact need. You're making us believe we need flour, with your amusing but manipulative advertising to come on down to the factory, while you watch the money come in to you. Worse yet, you do not participate one bit, and make this factory only to pad your wallet. You have not produced anything except a false need for a false end -- production of flour. Flour! What, do you expect bakers and bread makers won't notice you were trying to extract free labor? If you want quick money, say so, don't pretend to be creating a setup the Inca would love to copy.

Tell me, do you really think life is better in this village because of this factory? It has commodified the village.

 

Edited by Eiuol

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On ‎3‎/‎18‎/‎2016 at 8:00 PM, dream_weaver said:

He has to donate his time with no change in the financials per the contractual agreement.

"Donate" plays no part in the contractual arrangement.  To be sure there is a contingency aspect.  Like how you pay insurance .. and IF a particular event happens (in a case where there is no deductible associated with that event) the insurer "owes" more but the insured does not pay more.  This is not "donation" but a voluntary arrangement... both sides weighting the risks and returns etc. BTW The contract is so worded that he could spend money and hire someone to do it also, as long what he has promised to ensure done is actually done.

I just had to address your "donate" comments re. the contract. 

To BE CLEAR: I AM NOT going to play sides here as Marxist or Objectivist but will clarify any questions about the facts.  

Edited by StrictlyLogical
dream_weaver likes this

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Sorry I can't edit the original post...

I had wanted to see a debate between an Objectivist and a "poser" Objectivist... but since Eioul has volunteered to ACT as a radical leftist I suppose I will be happy watching someone decimate his groundless undefensible position, although it is beginning to look like an exercise by all three of us ... akin to ... smug self-gratification, not unlike a Christian morality play where the villains and the heroes are all played by like-minded conspirators.

In any case, please weigh in, anyone who wants to get into it.

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A Marxist would disregard any response to the OP's hypothetical.  Any response would be seen as nothing more than a conditioned reflex attributed to whichever Class one happens to belong.

From The German Ideology:

The production of ideas, of conceptions, of consciousness, is at first directly interwoven with the material activity and the material intercourse of men, the language of real life. Conceiving, thinking, the mental intercourse of men, appear at this stage as the direct efflux of their material behaviour. The same applies to mental production as expressed in the language of politics, laws, morality, religion, metaphysics, etc., of a people. Men are the producers of their conceptions, ideas, etc. – real, active men, as they are conditioned by a definite development of their productive forces and of the intercourse corresponding to these, up to its furthest forms. Consciousness can never be anything else than conscious existence, and the existence of men is their actual life-process.

In direct contrast to German philosophy [my comment: Hegel] which descends from heaven to earth, here we ascend from earth to heaven. That is to say, we do not set out from what men say, imagine, conceive, nor from men as narrated, thought of, imagined, conceived, in order to arrive at men in the flesh. We set out from real, active men, and on the basis of their real life-process we demonstrate the development of the ideological reflexes and echoes of this life-process. The phantoms formed in the human brain are also, necessarily, sublimates of their material life-process, which is empirically verifiable and bound to material premises. Morality, religion, metaphysics, all the rest of ideology and their corresponding forms of consciousness, thus no longer retain the semblance of independence.  They have no history, no development; but men, developing their material production and their material intercourse, alter, along with this their real existence, their thinking and the products of their thinking. Life is not determined by consciousness, but consciousness by life.

This method of approach is not devoid of premises. It starts out from the real premises and does not abandon them for a moment. Its premises are men, not in any fantastic isolation and rigidity, but in their actual, empirically perceptible process of development under definite conditions. As soon as this active life-process is described, history ceases to be a collection of dead facts as it is with the empiricists (themselves still abstract), or an imagined activity of imagined subjects, as with the idealists.

Where speculation ends – in real life – there real, positive science begins: the representation of the practical activity, of the practical process of development of men. Empty talk about consciousness ceases, and real knowledge has to take its place

Edit:  As I've pointed out on several recent posts, when Rand makes reference to the Mystics of Muscle, the above it what she was referring to.

Edited by New Buddha

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51 minutes ago, New Buddha said:

A Marxist would disregard any response to the OP's hypothetical.  Any response would be seen as nothing more than a conditioned reflex attributed to whichever Class one happens to belong.

[SL is asking to play a role as if this actually happened, it's not exactly a hypothetical.]

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1 hour ago, Eiuol said:

[SL is asking to play a role as if this actually happened, it's not exactly a hypothetical.]

 

On 3/16/2016 at 8:06 AM, StrictlyLogical said:

Please start the dialogue either as the Marxist-Communist or the Objectivist-Capitalist, stating what you think

"Thought" -- to Marx -- is irrelevant.  It's nothing more than a "conditioned reflex" attributed mechanistically to one's Class.

"The phantoms formed in the human brain are also, necessarily, sublimates of their material life-process, which is empirically verifiable and bound to material premises." 

SO I DID ROLE PLAY AS A MARXIST :thumbsup:

Edit:  I can't help but ask myself how many current participants on this forum truly understand Marxism/Materialism - and by extension - exactly what it was that Rand was countermanding.  That Marxism was supposed to be a "science" is one of those horrendous events in our past that we're supposed to somehow overlook -- like belief in Eugenics, Lysenkoism, Ehrlich and Holdren's Population Bomb,  the Y2K Bug and Global Warming....

Edited by New Buddha

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11 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

I just had to address your "donate" comments re. the contract. 

And you did.

I see now that the villager's pay a set price for the flour and agree to maintain and take care of the upkeep of the facility. The owner has devised a way to provide a factory that performs a function at the lowest cost, and freed the most of his time to peruse other values.

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On 3/19/2016 at 7:31 PM, Eiuol said:

[Radical leftist position here]

If you really had the intention to establish a communal factory, you would not have demanded payment for use. 

I never claimed any such intention, good sir. I don't claim to have a 'communal' motivation in my entire being - I simply want to make money.

 

Don't you?

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On 3/20/2016 at 10:16 PM, New Buddha said:

"Thought" -- to Marx -- is irrelevant.  It's nothing more than a "conditioned reflex" attributed mechanistically to one's Class.

... To which one only needs to point out that such an assertion could only stem from its speaker's class, which is obviously the wrong one.

 

Just like, whenever someone calls the profit-motive evil, one needs only to ask whether or not they work for profit (meaning some sort of wage for whatever it is that they do).

 

That's what makes the question "don't you want to make money" such a nifty trap: it's only three or four mental steps from there to "expound no theories, lay down and die". :thumbsup:

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15 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

... To which one only needs to point out that such an assertion could only stem from its speaker's class, which is obviously the wrong one.

But Marx tried to take this a little deeper.

To Marx, there have been major historical epoch's that have changed the way that we live (i.e., from Tribalism to Capitalism), and that each of these epoch's were/are defined by Man's relationship with the Material Means of Production.  And further that the future is moving deterministically towards a perfect Communism.  There is nothing that any one individual can invent, think or do to deflect or alter this future outcome.

The OP's hypothetical, answered by a Marxist, would be that the Flour Factory is at some stage in an epoch of mankind's deterministic drive towards perfect Communism, and that all players are involved in a relationship (Dialectic Materialism) with the Factory (Material Means of Production).

Immaterial concepts such as Ownership, Property, Rights, Worker, Owner, etc., will one day "wither away".  They are, to Marx, nothing more than Subjective "phantoms" of the mind that change Socially from epoch to epoch.

This was supposed to be "scientific"....

Edited by New Buddha

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4 hours ago, New Buddha said:

And further that the future is moving deterministically towards a perfect Communism.

I don't think so.

 

It's a funny thing, that line about inevitability; it takes the wind out of the sails of one's enemies. It makes any sort of argument moot.

 

Who would dedicate their very lives to advocating the inevitable - unless they doubted that very inevitability?

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1 hour ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

I don't think so.

It's a funny thing, that line about inevitability; it takes the wind out of the sails of one's enemies. It makes any sort of argument moot.

Who would dedicate their very lives to advocating the inevitable - unless they doubted that very inevitability?

Are you saying that Marx did not believe in Historical Materialism?  It was central to his "scientific" philosophy.

Can you clarify your post?

Edit:  Another Marx quote from The German Ideology.

" The various stages of development in the division of labour are just so many different forms of ownership, i.e. the existing stage in the division of labour determines also the relations of individuals to one another with reference to the material, instrument, and product of labour"

Edited by New Buddha

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Hank Reardon to Miss Ives: "I can see where such a distortion of the English language would make you furious,"  he said. "But what else?"
 

If something is inevitable, why would it need to be advocated as such? If something is inevitable—it will come to pass whether it is advocated for or advocated against. If it is advocated for, does the advocate think his advocacy will 'influence' the inevitability? If it is advocated against, does the protagonist think his advocacy will 'influence' the inevitability? [The underlying question being: What is inevitability? {A is A}]

Does Historical Determinism take into consideration the nature of volition, and what role it might play in 'inevitability'?

 

Edited by dream_weaver

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11 minutes ago, dream_weaver said:

Does Historical Determinism take into consideration the nature of volition, and what role it might play in 'inevitability'?

No.  Marx rejected "volition" as a "phantom" of the mind.  (The more modern way of stating it is that freewill is an "illusion").

 Philosophical advocates of Materialism are Determinists. This is one of the fundamental distinctions between Objectivism and Materialism.

More quotes:

"That is to say, we do not set out from what men say, imagine, conceive, nor from men as narrated, thought of, imagined, conceived, in order to arrive at men in the flesh. We set out from real, active men, and on the basis of their real life-process we demonstrate the development of the ideological reflexes and echoes of this life-process."

This ties into Marx's Theory of Value, that value is only attributed to Labor expended.  This was supposed to be a Positive approach to economics, and thus scientific.

 

Edited by New Buddha

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On 3/24/2016 at 8:20 PM, New Buddha said:

Are you saying that Marx did not believe in Historical Materialism?

Yep. I know he frequently said that it was inevitable, but that would contradict his actions (i.e. spending years and years in defense of this inevitable thing). I think he was full of it.

I think he lied through his teeth about many other things, too. However, that lie sticks out to me as particularly obvious (and really, by comparison to Plato or Kant, thoughtless and clumsy).

 

When someone says they enjoyed reading Kant or Plato, I try to cut them some slack because those guys were such smooth operators. They never came out and said anything grotesquely false; they wrapped it all up in such complexity that no one brain could ever hold the entire lie in its awareness, simultaneously.

When someone says they enjoyed reading Marx - ?

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Sure, Determinism is nonsense.  But when you couple it with a half-baked, pre-Mendelian understanding of Darwinism plus  a penchant for Hegelian Dialectics, then the idea that Mankind (and not just the Prussian State) is evolving towards a state of perfection cannot be far behind.  Marx was hardly the only believer in Determinism or Materialism in his time.

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23 minutes ago, dream_weaver said:

I do this hesitantly, New Buddha: If Determinism is nonsense, and Materialism is ultimately nonsense, what does Darwinism add to the mix?

I'm not sure I understand your question.  Are asking "why" did I bring Darwin "into the mix" ?

Edited by New Buddha

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