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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by nomadic View Post
    I don't think labor is scarce. But human capital is. I.e. intellectual capital.
    So intellectual capital is scarce, but labour is not. Thus, if in a country there is an insufficient supply of doctors to meet demand, then rather than saying the labour supply of doctors is scarce you recommend saying the intellectual capital of doctors is scarce because according to you labour cannot be scarce but intellectual capital is. How you've managed to completely seperate the two is beyond me. I understand both are necessarily scarce because wants (as an aggregate of everyone's wants) are infinite and physical resources are finite. Given that, then labour must be scarce the way 2+2=4. You'll probably point out high unemployment rates, but this does not mean that labour is abundant in supply. It means that the supply of labour is being underutilized and misallocated, which is not a surprise (Keynes noted back in the General Theory in 1936 that employment does not by definition tend towards equilibrium in a fully competitive system). In the US especially there is a perception to undervalue labour but this is inefficient thinking. So long as people are demanding food, medicine, houses, and so forth, then when the unemployment rate is high this only signifies an underutilization and misallocation of resources and not an abundance of the supply of labour.

    Nevertheless, this of course relates to my original post because it takes personal time and labour to cultivate one's "intellectual capital" (though I think this is a stupid analogy because what is epistemically advantageous to being intellectually bulletproof is not the same as the tools that are advantageous to yielding higher returns). In many ways, the big money-making tools are aimed at appealing to emotion and manipulation to increase power and popularity of a product/service/self, which is rather different from strengthening one's intellectual infrastructure for truth-seeking.

  2. #22
    mountain surfing nomadic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Provoker View Post
    So intellectual capital is scarce, but labour is not. If there is a world where there is only one person with the level of intellectual capital you need, but you require three people at this level of intellectual output, then what you're experiencing is a shortage in the supply of labour at a given level of intellectual output.
    Sure. But to find those 1 or 3 people with the level that you need, to find that person is much harder than training that person. People simply are not equipped with the tools and know-how to find those people. The process becomes too watered down from "democratizing" the process.

  3. #23
    psicobolche tcda's Avatar
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    Ok can we clear something up - AFAIK the classical economists and marxists didn't/don't argue that human labour "has" a value*, but that it is humans throught heir labour who create value. Human labour has a price, which is they distinguish as a concept from value. Value is defined something contained within a commodity, correspondent to the amount of labour time (or socially necessarry labour time according to Marx's adaption of the theory) necessarry to produce it.

    The essence of the question being that I think that modern bourgeois economics has relegated "value" to being something subjectively defined, in order to obscure the real source of human wealth, human labour - a premise which if you accept it, means that the workers should recieve all the profits they generate.

    Of course you don't have to accept it but let's not pretend that "all economists agree", that's all :p

    *Or if it does have a value, it's simply the amount of labour time itself - i.e. the value of 8 hours is 8 hours...But then the price paid for 8 hours labour isn't 8 hours wages, i.e. doesn't buy 8 hours worth of commodities...hence, it is exploitation.
    "Of course we spent our money in the good times. That's what you're supposed to do in good times! You can't save money in the good times. Then they wouldn't be good times, they'd be 'preparation for the bad times' times."

    "Every country in the world owes money. Everyone. So heere's what I dont get: who do they all owe it to, and why don't we just kill the bastard and relax?"

    -Tommy Tiernan, Irish comedian.

  4. #24
    mountain surfing nomadic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tcda View Post
    The essence of the question being that I think that modern bourgeois economics has relegated "value" to being something subjectively defined, in order to obscure the real source of human wealth, human labour - a premise which if you accept it, means that the workers should recieve all the profits they generate.
    Im of the school of thought that most schools of thought can't account for variable change. Its too linear in thinking. Most of these die hard one school of thought economists, are just trying to protect their teaching value and their quotation counts. i.e. clearly right now monetarists and keynesians would have a heck of a time arguing over why the government has so much spending, low interest rates, yet no inflation, in fact... DEFLATION. LOLZ.

    But man. Have you ever tried to set up a business with just ONE partner? Lots of fighting is common. Try setting one up where all the workers get equal share of the profits. If you can make it work, you are the man.

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by tcda View Post
    the classical economists and marxists didn't/don't argue that human labour "has" a value*, but that it is humans throught heir labour who create value. .
    Ok. I agree with the general sentiments of your post. Still, if human labour creates value, then there must be a minimum value to human labour, as it is impossible to fathom a human creating something of value without the creator himself (a basic input) being minimally valuable. Commoditization aims to seperate products from where they come from because it's more marketable that way. Thus, when one buys a meat product at the grocery store, the context from which that meat came is erased. One sees the product independent of the history of that product. It sells well. Yet, good apple trees produce good apples. Good theorizers produce good theories. One cannot say, "that is a valuable bushel of apples but the apple tree itself is valueless!" Even if one grants that the value of a bushel of apples stems from the cultivation of this fruit from human labour, there is going to be someone else who values the tree itself if it is absolutely scarce (say there are simply no trees quite as good). Further, in another scenario there could be a lumberjack who wants to cut down a tree and a treehugger who wants to conserve the tree. The treehugger sees intrinsic value in the tree and not from its cultivation but for its own sake. By saying that all value stems from scarcity, you see, one doesn't limit one's self to mere value created by labour--though I am in agreement that most value is created from labour. What makes labour valuable, it has been argued, is that there are competing uses of energy allocation in a time-constrained context. As such, there is an opportunity cost, and an opportunity cost expresses a basic relation between scarcity and choice. Thus, if one produces X and wishes to sell it it is not made valuable purely because of the labour that went into it, (though this is partially true), but deeper, the labour that went into it is valuable because of the competing uses of that labour (it could have been allocated into Y or Z, for example). Therefore, I still see scarcity as beneath the labour theory of value.

  6. #26
    mountain surfing nomadic's Avatar
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    sweet... So I just got a new theory.

    1) Economic thought is limited by the extent of being able to express formulas for its ideas. i.e. in the set of X ideas, max F(a,b) ---> limited by the constraints a = supporting economic thought with mathematical formulas and b = variable change of application of the correct economic theory to the correct situation. In order to max the function of a,b for new adaptable situations, one must allow a higher derivative for b in times of unexplainable economic situations or volatile times of economic rule changes, in order to capture theory alpha over a, assuming volatility of theory cycles is not constant.

    so if one were to assume correctly that in the short run, that monetarist, classical, and keynesian economic theories (lets call them Set Old) do not explain the current economic situation of low interest rates, high government spending, and low inflation, then a theory lies outside of (Set Old) that would reconcile the current economic situation. In order to discover this theory, one would have to max b over a, because a is limited by current set boundaries of Set Old. maxing set B doesn't do much either, because it is also limited by Set Old. However the ability to find different theories for different situations, if the derivative is higher than a, then you can correctly guess that ability B hindered at a greater loss by Set Old than ability A is. So the best bet for finding new theory to explain the current economic situation is dependent on encouraging ability B over ability A.

    Definitely the Chicago School's worst nightmare. lolz

  7. #27
    psicobolche tcda's Avatar
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    ok...interesting psots...I will come back to them when I have a free half hour.

    (not being facetious, I genuinely will).
    "Of course we spent our money in the good times. That's what you're supposed to do in good times! You can't save money in the good times. Then they wouldn't be good times, they'd be 'preparation for the bad times' times."

    "Every country in the world owes money. Everyone. So heere's what I dont get: who do they all owe it to, and why don't we just kill the bastard and relax?"

    -Tommy Tiernan, Irish comedian.

  8. #28
    psicobolche tcda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Provoker View Post
    Ok. I agree with the general sentiments of your post. Still, if human labour creates value, then there must be a minimum value to human labour, as it is impossible to fathom a human creating something of value without the creator himself (a basic input) being minimally valuable. Commoditization aims to seperate products from where they come from because it's more marketable that way. Thus, when one buys a meat product at the grocery store, the context from which that meat came is erased. One sees the product independent of the history of that product. It sells well. Yet, good apple trees produce good apples. Good theorizers produce good theories. One cannot say, "that is a valuable bushel of apples but the apple tree itself is valueless!" Even if one grants that the value of a bushel of apples stems from the cultivation of this fruit from human labour, there is going to be someone else who values the tree itself if it is absolutely scarce (say there are simply no trees quite as good). Further, in another scenario there could be a lumberjack who wants to cut down a tree and a treehugger who wants to conserve the tree. The treehugger sees intrinsic value in the tree and not from its cultivation but for its own sake. By saying that all value stems from scarcity, you see, one doesn't limit one's self to mere value created by labour--though I am in agreement that most value is created from labour. What makes labour valuable, it has been argued, is that there are competing uses of energy allocation in a time-constrained context. As such, there is an opportunity cost, and an opportunity cost expresses a basic relation between scarcity and choice. Thus, if one produces X and wishes to sell it it is not made valuable purely because of the labour that went into it, (though this is partially true), but deeper, the labour that went into it is valuable because of the competing uses of that labour (it could have been allocated into Y or Z, for example). Therefore, I still see scarcity as beneath the labour theory of value.
    I see what you mean,and maybe a lot of our disagreement is semantic.

    I realise we are getting off topic but it's an interesting discussion so why not:

    For example if you read Marx, he would say a society can produce a lot of wealth, but very little value: a highly mechanised society, can require very little human labour to create a lot of wealth. Hence the recurrent crises of capitalism - a car company for example is forced to mechanise production ever more efficiently in order to comepte with his competitors and because of the fact that each unit produced represents a profit, so in order ot maximise profit, you maximise productivity. But the more mechanised production becomes, the less valuable the product, i.e. see how car prices have fallen over time.

    A marxist analysis doesn't see htis fundamentally as down to supply and demand (though this can explain short-term fluctuations) but that he long term trend is down to the fact that fixed capital (i.e. machinery, which doesn't add any value but rather is only the expression of past value i.e. past-profit which was extracted from labour) is constantly increasing in relation to variable capital (i.e. human labour, that which valorises fixed capital via the process of production).

    What Marxism argues ofr therefore is a society not based on the need to create value but rather which maximises mechanization of production allowing ever shorter working hours, more human wealth, which can then be shared out by a society with ever more free time which can be devoted to intellectual or physical pursuits which both develop us as human beings and are socially useful, and higher living standards.

    Now regarding the question "how could human labour create value when it has no value", I would say that human labour is human beings' ability to create value, that it is the source of all value...for example ina marxist analysis a society which lives largely from abundant natural wealth (as a lot of tribal societies in tropical areas did) creates very little value...for example eating coconuts that fall off a tree or drinking water from a river. But these society's may enjoy a lot more wealth than, say, a highland society which has to put in a great many labour hours just to reap some potatoes (my sweeping vulgarisation of human society notwithstanding).

    The deeper issue there being, for example, that Marx argued with economists who argued that the source of profit came from the exchange process, i.e. mercantilism, whereby one country would exploit another by exporting expensive and importing cheap goods. While he didn't disagree that this happened, Marx rejected the idea that this could ever be the basis of the economic system, as it owuld make capitalism a zero sum game, because for all the profit generated in the imperialist countries, there would be equal loss in the colonies. Whereas in fact the global economy was growing hugely. So in this sense, the capitalist economy wouldn't have been able to grow internationally (i.e. the capitalists in competing imperialist countries and in the empires and their colonies all growing simultaneously) if wealth had come from just monopolizing pre-existing resources and then selling them.

    Hence why this analysis of profit specifically derived from exploitation, ultimately leads to seperating "wealth" and "value" as concepts.

    Hope that made some sense.
    "Of course we spent our money in the good times. That's what you're supposed to do in good times! You can't save money in the good times. Then they wouldn't be good times, they'd be 'preparation for the bad times' times."

    "Every country in the world owes money. Everyone. So heere's what I dont get: who do they all owe it to, and why don't we just kill the bastard and relax?"

    -Tommy Tiernan, Irish comedian.

  9. #29
    psicobolche tcda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nomadic View Post
    Im of the school of thought that most schools of thought can't account for variable change. Its too linear in thinking. Most of these die hard one school of thought economists, are just trying to protect their teaching value and their quotation counts. i.e. clearly right now monetarists and keynesians would have a heck of a time arguing over why the government has so much spending, low interest rates, yet no inflation, in fact... DEFLATION. LOLZ.

    But man. Have you ever tried to set up a business with just ONE partner? Lots of fighting is common. Try setting one up where all the workers get equal share of the profits. If you can make it work, you are the man.
    FaSinPat - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    not the only exmaple, just the most famous one.

    no school of thought can be valid for all time, Karl M was the first to say thata Marxism would become extinct in a communist society.

    Unfortunately though we still live under a system which has all the flaws he identified, and whose intellectual apologists have never explained (or find me one pro-capitalist intellectual who deals with Marx's theory of crisis and proposes an alternative explanation of why the system inherently, unavoidably, and regardless of the economic policies of governments, goes into cyclical crisis - and I will give you a cookie) :p
    "Of course we spent our money in the good times. That's what you're supposed to do in good times! You can't save money in the good times. Then they wouldn't be good times, they'd be 'preparation for the bad times' times."

    "Every country in the world owes money. Everyone. So heere's what I dont get: who do they all owe it to, and why don't we just kill the bastard and relax?"

    -Tommy Tiernan, Irish comedian.

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