Friday, February 1, 2013

Wobbly times number 163

“It is above all necessary to avoid postulating ‘society’ once more as an abstraction confronting the individual."  Karl Marx


Money is a commodity.  The commodity is the seed from which the collective product of labour is turned into private property.  Money is the commodity which allows traders to trade their wares and services for something easy to carry and which can be used to obtain other commodities and pay taxes.  To abolish money, you need to abolish commodity production and institute production of goods and services for use with distribution of natural and human created wealth based on need. Money exemplifies the abstraction of commodification which rules today.  Everything which can be commodified will be turned into a commodity under the rule of the capitalist class, while the actual power relationship between the producers and the collective product of their labour will continue to be mystified.  

"How?" you ask.

How much labour time is embodied in a Euro, a hog, a dollar, a Mercedes Benz, a yen, a can of beer, a house and so on?

This is why Marx would promote 'labour time vouchers' to replace money in a socialist society, as labour time vouchers would make the relation between product and producers' time at wealth production transparent, just after the social revolution from class dominated society to a classless democracy of social ownership of the collective product of labour. 

Commodity production itself would be abolished in a classless association of producers who would democratically plan what they themselves need in the way of goods and services.   Abstractions confronting the individual today are e.g.: 'debt', 'the government', 'corporations', 'bureaucracy' and 'human nature', all of which are used by conservatives ideological justifications for all the social ills which flow from unequal political power between people. 'The economy' which is actually produced by employing commodified human and using private property in nature, is THE ABSTRACTION.  Embodying abstractions with human power is the stuff of reification.  It is the bane of revolutionary subjectivity.

Common ownership of the collective product of labour is socialism, in my book. There is no socialism as such in the world, nor has there ever been more than attempts to establish it, beginning with the Paris Commune of 1871. With wage labour, the producer sells his or her skills on the labour marketplace for a price over an amount of time. In this sense, labour power, just like any other commodity, is sold for a price. The difference is that commodified labour power produces more wealth, when at work, than it is bought for in wages. This social relation of product and its producer is obscured by the vast division of labour necessary for industrial production; still it applies. 

As a class, those who work for wages in order to make a living and their dependents make up 90% of the population and produce 100% of the wealth. The resulting fact is that 10% of the people in the world own and control 71% of the wealth produced. A system of common ownership of the collective product of labour would see 100% of the people owning/enjoying and controlling 100% of the product of their labour.


  1. How I dearly wish I could own, enjoy, and control 100% of the product of my labour. I found a sweepstakes for a trip to Australia, but it goes to Melbourne or Sydney (as determined by Sponsor.) The winner also has to pay for her own flight to Los Angeles (or other eligible airport.)