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GENERAL THEORY OF PSYCHOLOGY
THE LAWS OF PSYCHE
Alberto E. Fresina
CHAPTER 17 -(pages 337 to 398 of the book of 410)
Index of the chapter:
THE PREMISE OF THE SOCIALISM
1. The historical materialism
2. Spoiling of socialism
3. Essence of the economic value
4. Labor as creator of economic value
5. The modus operandi of the capitalistic production and increased value
6. Concepts of working class, proletariat and labor class
7. The industrial proletariat in relation to the rest of the working class
8. The economic value of labor in socialism
10. Law of the tendency to the dropping off of the profit rate
11. Impotence of capitalism to meet the man's superior necessities
12. Role of proletariat in the most developed countries
13. Democracy and dictatorship
14. The unbeatable power of the working class
15. Convenience and realism of the possibility of the scientific socialism
BASIC BIBLIOGRAPHY - INDEX (pages 416 to 426)
In order to make real what we have discussed in the former chapter, about the possibility of a general transformation in the nature and the character of labor and of social activities, firstly it is essential, the parallelism of the material interests in the whole society and the fair distribution of the labor products, as well as labor itself, that is to say the equal allocation of burdens. Workers for example, are not able to feel a full moral satisfaction in winning those contents for the best performance, if they are aware that their efforts are being used and manipulated by employers to increase the levels of exploitation and earnings. That single fact that is not something insignificant if we keep in mind that it embraces the whole working class which is the most part of society, already shows us that all that, summarized in well-meaning form, can not be thought without socialism.
The condition of socialism, of the scientific socialism as Marx understood it, means among other elements that will be now analyzed that the social power is directly in the workers' hands. That is the only guarantee of social justice and absence of exploitation. Proletariat is the only class that can not exploit another one, as it constitutes the only possible object of exploitation. When one talks about socialism, but where in fact the will, the real, leading power of concrete workers is not exercised, it is not socialism, but simply any of the ways by means of which it is possible to keep on with deceit, injustice, privileges and the subjection of workers. Only through the power and the real leadership of the working class worldwide, it will be possible to put on end to marginality, injustice and hunger in the world and recently then any other proposal or initiative aimed at improving life and society, will be thinkable and honest.
It is not amusing “devoting to politics” at this stage of the book. It would have been better not to have the necessity to go through such a polemic field, where the different interests and fervors of the political and ideological postures already assumed, generally make scientific arguments the less important thing. It is only about the obligation to carry out the proposal until the end. That is, keeping up the scientific alignment that we intend to have, that it is the most important in this case, it corresponds to show what the logical and scientifically viable way would be, in order to reach that transformation of social life. On the contrary, all that we have stated so far would not be more than an utopia, an impossible fantasy or even worse, a theoretical stupidity. In such sense, Marx's opinion is very proper, that the question is not only to build or to understand the world, but (mainly concerning the interests of the aggrieved ones for certain state of things) it has to do with transforming it.
Anyway, the discussions contained in this last chapter may be considered as a kind of appendix, as a point of view outside the psychological theory, which can be considered as already finished.
The following development is based on the certainty of scientific opinions of Marxism, that the transformation in the structure of the economic relationships of society, in charge of the working class, is a previous condition, something that has to be made firstly, in order to be able to think more seriously then, about any other significant improvement of labor and social life, as it would be in this case, what we have proposed in the former chapter.
There are people who, in spite of being sympathetic with the historical orientation of Marxism, in the sense of predicting and encouraging the end of injustices, are easily carried away with the opinion that the society where Marx lived no longer exists and that therefore what could be valid in that time, today that way of thinking is outdated. The most important thing of this statement is the presumed modification in the constitution of social classes, the great technological development, with the rising changes in the living and working conditions, the complexity of the social and economic life, the largest incidence of the financial capital and other phenomena, some newer than others. But this means not to know how to distinguish what is essential from what is not. Such thinking approach is the same thing than if we said that due to the deep changes of modern life, to the new people's motivations and necessities, the general law of the psyche is no longer in force and it is "obsolete"; that perhaps it could be valid during the times of Epicuro, but not in our “so progressive” times.
The true is that the whole new complexity of the social and economic life has not been distorted in what is essential, the basic structure of the production or economic relationships. Such general essence is the same from the times of slavery and it is the existence of a leading class, owner of lands and other means of production and another deprived from these means that it is the working class and that in order to subsist, it has to accept compulsorily the working and exploitation conditions imposed by that ruling class. Then, other social layers are added composed of a major or minor number of members (small traders, professionals, private entrepreneurs in general) that are able to subsist of another way, but that are outlying regarding the central production process. These middle layers depend essentially on the distribution of production and therefore they are economically neuter (although politically ambiguous) in that unequal fight among those classes that have to do directly with production.
There have been important changes in the super-structure of the current capitalistic society, but its material basis, its economic structure, its essence has remained unchangeable. The new phenomena of capitalism are just that: phenomena; the essence is the same.
Let’s analyze why the working class is the only one under conditions of substituting the capitalistic class or bourgeoisie in the management of humankind’s fate. The historical materialism, as science of society, explains it to us. Let’s review shortly the central idea of what Marx has set forth in this regard. Firstly, the conditioning and decisive element in the life of society and mainly of its own existence, is the material production. The whole society depends on that production and distribution from there. This has not changed yet and it will not change as long as there is a society made up of men with necessities to be satisfied. Then, based on the analysis of that essential element that is the production, specially the material one, it appears the deduction, the necessary acceptance of the fact suggested by the common sense and demonstrated by history, that only the classes related directly with production and within these those having possessions, the control over the fundamental means of production, are the ones exerting the economic power and also, the political power. Therefore, they drive society. The class ruling production, which is the owner of this, is obviously the one also governing the distribution, the destination of produced goods, that the rest of society depends on.
Since the coming up of society divided into classes, the classes holding the leading role ended up being replaced by others, every time that the capacity of certain socio-economic formation or economic system that they directed was exhausted, of favoring the advancement of the productive forces in its tendency to the uninterrupted development. Summarizing, those classes were the following: firstly, the pro-slavery ones, then the real nobility and feudalism and until today bourgeoisie or the capitalistic class.*
* It is not necessary to consider, in this focus, the political actions of rulers on duty. The politicians that occupy government's posts, although they appear to have large initiatives, for the stated reasons cannot do anything, which is not endorsed by that ruling class. But generally speaking, they are individuals that in fact, once they finished their speeches, they will execute the will of the class that manages the economic power. Marx and Engels said: “the government of the modern State is not more than a meeting that administers the joint business of the whole bourgeois class”. Marx y Engels, Manifiesto del partido comunista. Editorial Anteo. Buenos Aires 1983. Pág. 37 “Manifesto of the communist party”. But nowadays, politicians are the own direct bourgeois on many occasions who are not already busy in leading and administering their property directly, they dedicate their “free time” to politics and they use their positions as ideal offices to improve their business.
The substitution of the State in the political power, of the old leading class by the new one, as well as of the economic system and of production and distribution relationships that that one directed, has always been the result of the need to establish new production relationships that are better adjusted to the demands and conditions of the level reached by the productive forces, to which the old government could not be adjusted. In other words, the unbalancing factor that starts "pressing" and forcing the change of the economic systems, through the social revolutions, is that uninterrupted increase of productive forces. This element is previous to any other analysis and has been occurring from the man's predecessors until today. Thus, the new system of production relationships, headed by another ruling class, comes up as adaptation, as acclimatization at certain level reached by productive forces and works out the obstacle that the previous régime meant, allowing those productive forces to advance quicker. But then, when certain point of that development is reached, such a system that favored progress at the beginning, starts turning into the new obstacle hindering its continuation. That is the moment where a new revolutionary time allowed to modify the production relationships, in a way to adapt them at the level reached by the productive forces. For that reason Marx called the social revolutions the “engines of history” because they removed the obstacle that signified the old economic régime, by displacing the ruling class that sustained it from power, so that, with the new sketch, the productive forces advanced quickly in that first period of the new society, like "recovering" the wasted time for the action of the obstacle.
These dialectical relationships between a quantitative factor in continuous growth that while advancing provoke or demand qualitative changes of the system containing it, is not an exclusive property of history, but this is adjusted to a more general law. In order to see clearly what means that universal law of the relationship between a factor advancing uninterruptedly and the necessary character of the change or qualitative jump of the system containing it, we will see an example of another field of reality where it looms up in the most simple way, that is: the changes of gear of a vehicle. Considering a progressive increase of speed, a continuous acceleration, the first gear will be the right one at the beginning. Then, owing to the speed increase, that gear that was the proper system of engagements in operation becomes an obstacle, a limitation for the advancement of speed and it has to give way to the second gear, which means a qualitative change in the relationship of working engagements. This will give all that has to give until it also turns into a limitation to that progress, being the turn of the third and so on. We can say the same for example, regarding the need of changing a boy's clothes, to make them correspond at his level of growth; or also, of the systems of an athlete's training that have to be replaced according to the level reached in the progress of his performance.
Undoubtedly the process in the history of society is not so lineal, but it is produced as a kind of historical tendency, which may be influenced in different ways and even counteracted, owing to the complexity of factors participating in the social phenomena. But what is sure at this stage, in spite of those complex factors, is that the system in turn, its production relationships, when they already provided all the positive that they could provide, they become an obstacle, constituting an objective obstacle to that progress.
Capitalism, during its early stages with the bourgeois revolution that started the development of the industry, was the element that allowed the progress of the productive forces and of the social life, releasing restraints, the barrier of the feudal system. But nowadays, it has already provided all the positive that could provide and has turned for a time into the new restraint, in an obstacle for the material and cultural progress of society, for the improvement of the humankind’s life. The currents observed are inclusive towards the setback of towns and to a situation of obstacles and almost permanent crisis that block the rational use of the huge potential of the productive forces that have been attained absurdly with the advances of science and technology. Such a situation shows us that for that potential of productive forces, capitalism suits very “adjusted”; it does not allow it to smooth out.
The commercial or relative super-production crises for example, inherent to capitalism, are the effect of the contradictory situation that the growth of production in certain branches of industry, reaches a limit in that, when all marketing and advertising efforts have been exhausted, there are no more purchasers left. This is due to the fact that the large majorities, because of the own laws of the system, do not have and can not have the purchasing power to afford easily to those goods. For such reason, the production in certain items has to be interrupted abruptly, with the consequent closings of manufacturing plants, massive firings, falls in the stocks exchange of the corresponding companies and other circumstances derived from it. Instead, if the limit of production was not the market or the purchasing capacity of population, but the needs of the whole society, that super-production could never mean a negative element but just the opposite. It would simply favor its easy access for majorities. And if super-production surpassed the satisfaction of all needs, the working day would be reduced in a balanced form, what would allow enjoying more the free time.
In certain cases, the limit of the market coincides with the consumption capacity; that is to say, the market saturation comes together with the saturation of needs, with the possibility of consumption. But this happens with very low prices products (in general of bad quality), available practically for everybody and not with what is important, with what it contributes to the improvement of peoples’ life, as for example: the construction of housings (comfortable and of good material), the production of food in good quantity and quality, drugs, gear, books, school materials, etc.; without excluding the great comfort goods and services that undoubtedly improve the quality of life and that today constitute privileges for few individuals but that could be at everybody’s reach without the action of the before mentioned obstacles.*
* Perhaps somebody may be disgusted imagining the fact that if all had opulence, these would stop being such and therefore nobody could show them. But the decision was not to penetrate mostly in the possible deviations of the normal and healthy psychic operation, as it would be in this case the severe distortion of the moral and spiritual values of a typical and not completely generous bourgeois personality of that time. But if we have to answer, we will say: exactly, that would happen regrettably.
This way, the growing production of everything that could improve humankind's life, in spite of having the material possibility provided by that great development of the potential productivity, while there is capitalism, will always be considered "unadvisable" by any market or "marketing" survey.
For all this, the need of change becomes clear. Another class has to govern society and in the framework of new production relationships. But we have already seen that only the classes participating directly in the central process of production are objectively the ones capable of managing economy and consequently the rest of social life, workers in general are only left, excepting the ruling classes which succeeded in history. These are the other classes tied directly to production and so tied that it is the one producing practically everything. For that reason it is the class that has to lead society because it is capable of controlling and making production work. On having the control and management of production, the control on the destination in the distribution of what has been produced is exercised, as well as the determination of what and how much to produce and what to support and to boost in relation to activities such as art, sport, science, health, education and culture in general. All this is based on the workers' and the whole society’s needs and interests.
These reasons based on the necessary premise that if certain level of potentialities reached by the development of productive forces make workers assume the economic, social and political power in order to boost a new impulse to progress, this is the key foundation of the scientific socialism. It is the realistic “method” that did not consider the good-intentioned but forthright ideological tendencies to which Marx and Engels called “utopian socialism”. These were only based on trusting in the goodwill of men in general, without keeping in mind the different material conditions, so much of the development of the productive forces as of the objective relationships among men regarding the production and social distribution process.
Let ‘s Lenin gives his opinion on this:
...“Marx deepened and developed completely the philosophical materialism and made extensive the knowledge of nature to the knowledge of human society. Marx's historical materialism is a paramount success of the scientific thought. The chaos and the outrage that reigned until then in the points of view on history and politics was followed by an amazingly complete and harmonic scientific theory that shows how, by virtue of the development of the productive forces, out of a system of social life, another higher one looms up”. Lenin V.I. Tres fuentes y tres partes integrantes del marxismo. En: Lenin V.I. Obras Completas. Editorial Cartago. Buenos Aires 1970. Page. 209 (Lenin V.I. Three sources and three integral parts of Marxism. In: Lenin V.I. Complete Works.)
Regarding the so-called “real socialism”, that of practice, the fact of its early deformation ending up in its bad performance and its later collapse in many countries, after a first period truly successful as it was during the first years of the Bolshevik revolution, has led in many cases, to the belief that in practice “that” may never work. But failures are not always an evidence of the impossibility to attain success. Many times they only indicate the presence of mistakes or problems to overcome. The situation would be equivalent for example, to what happened in the beginnings of aviation. There during the initial tests, before the designers’ surprise, the theory was harshly rebutted by practice. The first models flew some few meters and fell noisily. During those times, there were probably people that asserted that such apparatuses could “never” fly. But due to those failures, mistakes were corrected and problems overcome, until finally something that fulfilled the conditions for that was materially possible according to scientific researches.
For that reason, once mistakes have been corrected and the capacity to foresee and to control certain adverse circumstances of the political and ideological fight that workers have to face has been improved, the scientific socialism, the real democracy that is the real exercise of power and the will of the working people, may be a reality. Workers all around the world and especially those pertaining to the most industrialized societies, are the ones having humankind's future in their hands.
Among the mistakes to be corrected, we could mention the fact of not having considered “seriously” that the contents and the social orientation of conscience and the will of men are determined by their material existence. One can not trust just because in the good will, without bearing in mind the material basis, the concrete and daily interests of men. This results in the need that workers themselves impose their interests and their will and not assumed representatives as the so-called ruling class or bureaucracy, easy to corrupt for not sharing that material, daily existence of workers.
It is necessary to make the distinction of what happened during the first years of the Bolshevik revolution led by Lenin, because this situation was indeed taken into account and for that reason stress was constantly made in the watchword: “all the power to the soviets” that were the organisms of workers themselves. But then, with the subsequent internal victory of the group of leaders headed by Stalin who evidently thought in a different way, that watchword allowed to strengthen the direct exercise of power and the will of workers remained “with no effect”.
And this it is not a minor factor. It is the difference between socialism and its cartoon, its absence. It implies the difference between an end and another one in relation to the decisive power of workers. In fact, it is the oppression and submission in hands of a leading minority, turned practically into a social class different from workers that is the one ordering and deciding and that lives materially better.
Undoubtedly, workers, for the simple fact of not being under the direct ruling of bourgeoisie, had a superior living level than proletarians of capitalism taken as a whole (working security, housing, health, education, etc.). Workers, employees and the whole working class that is suffering because of the return to capitalism do not forget that, that is the place where finally that well-off minority was intending to arrive. But the true socialism, the one that is work and action of proletariat as class, means the real exercise of its will, using its power of decision democratically, as a result of wide debates organized by workers themselves, to decide what to do and what not to do, as far as their lives and the whole society are concerned.
As everybody knows, nothing of that was left in those countries, that is to say, the essential thing defining socialism was lacking. In other words, socialism is not defined for example, just because companies belong to the State. It has to do with which social class exercises the power and control of that State and decides about the life of society. It is socialism when that class is the working class. But there, workers only obeyed. Any project going from downwards to upwards has bocame powerless or smashed together with oppression and omnipotence of the political leaders “prepared” to decide what was suitable or not.
However some may believe, influenced by the degrading esteem towards workers, that these ones are not qualified for “such a” leading role. But it is something that, apart from that scorn, has not any other basis. Among the millions of workers, capable and unselfish individuals in all the areas would be more than enough, to contribute to the economic and social life. Of course, engineers would be necessary for example in the case of material production, as they know more on that issue. But they do not decide what is produced or how much or for whom. They only help technically to those requesting the task which is directed by them. It is simply that the different specialists (engineers, architects, business administrators, economist and the experts in the diverse sciences that would be only the specialized workers, but in equal economic conditions than the rest), instead of serving and advising capitalists technically (not more qualified than any worker in this regard), would serve to the interests of the new ruling class, to what this one considers that it is convenient for society.
What is important is that those undertaking the economic and political management, those being members of organisms making decisions, with the technical support of specialists, and in direct function of agencies and the permanent control of workers, besides being responsible and qualified, are workers and keep on being it. But if eventually and for a limited period of time, they have to abandon their workstations after having been chosen by their partners to undertake certain responsibilities, all the means will have to be prepared so that in any case they stop sharing the material living conditions of the working class. All interest in improving the own living level must inevitably mean the effort in contributing to improve that of workers and that of the whole society. Later on (point 13) we will go back to the conditions that make the realistic possibility of the successful and responsible real and direct exercise of workers’ will.
It is necessary to recognize that all this discussion has advanced too much, as slipping through our fingers concerning the original purposes of the book that at the beginning was only to show a psychological theory. But there exists confidence that one will be able to understand that the dialectical materialism, as general philosophical and scientist method, discovered and developed by Marx and Engels and that it is applied from the beginning during this theoretical development, favors the coming out of derivations advancing with own life, crossing, just as the same reality does, the artificial borders between a science and another. Although those “cuts” we make of reality are useful (division of sciences) and are adjusted approximately to the different qualitative levels of the organization of the matter, as well as to the diverse aspects of human life, consequently we do not have to forget that the objective reality is a unique continuity, a unique general interrelation. Outside of those "temporary" barriers set up by human subjectivity for practical purposes, there are not valid reasons to halt in some point of the continuity that goes from the reflections of the nervous system, going by impulses, bipulsions, apparatuses until the sociological phenomena that ultimately are the way in which the different psychological elements of the group of individuals that form the society work. There is not either a strict separation point between the remote times of the primitive tribes, where the essential structure of our psyche with the whole range of necessities and essential tendencies was formed and was based on it, should be the future of society and human life.
Those derivations have gone by themselves, following the logical rails of the theoretical development, until connecting in this case with the “asphalted” road of the historical materialism, road which is worth going after, because we are discussing with the best available scientific argument about the possibility of a more promising future for humankind.
Then, we will observe why it is more correct to talk about working class in general, making its meaning equal to the one of labor class or proletariat class, as a unique class subdued in a different way by the capitalistic system. The notions of labor class or proletariat were always more bound to laborers working in industry, material production; while the concept of working class has been in general more “diffuse”, without a clear delimitation and even it has been wrongly tied to the idea of “middle class”. But we will analyze why the notion of labor class or proletariat in general, has to be extended and enlarged, to the most accurate, most scientific concept of working class.
In order to understand this, we have necessarily to stop in the analysis of what labor means as creative element of economic value. The importance of considering this point lies in the basic element for the explanation of the operation of society. Labor as the creator of the economic value is the most essential factor over which the performance of economy and of the whole social life is based on. The value (economic or of exchange), being properly understood, that is to say as element generated by labor, is equal to the general law in relation to the explanation of the psychic operation. It is the factor whose movements and relationships provide a logical order to the whole operation of the economy and of the social life.
We have said that in order to understand properly the concept of working class, it was necessary to understand clearly the value, as element generated by labor. But at the same time, in order to fully understand what value is, first it is essential to go from its essence to the last root of the phenomenon.
In the same way that the different psychological phenomena have their base in the physiology of the nervous system, the economy in general and in this case the act of ascertaining the value of labor goods or products, has its starting place in the only possible site that is the same where all the values have their starting place, either they are economic or not: in the general psychological laws before mentioned here.
Let’us start from the beginning. The most tangible reality in any society is that it is composed of concrete men. They undergo a series of necessities and they are capable of working to produce what causes them satisfaction. Such necessities as we already know, have their essence ultimately, in the operation of the general law of the psyche; that is, human beings attempt to eliminate displeasure and to achieve pleasure. Then and putting aside what is less essential or general (bipulsions, apparatuses, etc.), such general tendency ramifies itself in the primary impulses or necessities, as the specific forms where it exists. On the other hand, such impulses that are settle, according to the different circumstances of life, a diversity of mean-goals and goal-purposes that are the variable ways leading to the satisfaction of impulses and to comply with that general tendency. As we had stated (chapter 7, point 6), those mean-goals and goal-purposes of impulses, as changeable aspect of motivation were those we could call: acquired necessities and from the sociological and historical focus they result in what is understood as historical and socially-determined new necessities.
The own complexity of society branches out those new necessities, making them more numerous and variable. Our example was then: shoes, washing-machines, means of transport, drinks, information, mattresses, mixers, entertainments, saucepans, teaching, telephones, etc. If we consider each material good or specific service that are produced and consumed and that therefore they constitute fresh historical and socially-determined necessities, we will probably surpass the thousand but let’s suppose that they are one thousand.
The formula which is correct in general terms, concerning the ascertaining of the economic value of those “things” and that Marx employed as basis of his theoretical developments, consists on the necessary human working quantity averaged socially, in order to produce certain personal property (that is to say that the same satisfies some necessity) and that at the same time it may be an exchange property, that is, that you are able to exchange it for another property that it has involved a similar working quantity.
The measure of the working quantity would arise out from combining basically three factors: duration, intensity and risk. Any other element having to do with the consideration of the working quantity and therefore with the evaluation of its value, would be ultimately reduced to those basic or essentials factors. The risk would include: direct danger (example: working in altitudes), unhealthiness and we also have to include here responsibility that is not more than the largest risk that something comes out badly and which one will have necessarily to face. Intensity would include the worst part of labor, the level of comfort-discomfort of the general working conditions, as well as unhealthiness and even sometimes the excessive responsibility involved in a state of continuous strain, factors that would also have its participation here. But in order to make it simpler, we will only consider the remaining factor: the duration, the working time, as indicator of its quantity, because in fact it is the element weighting more, of more general incidence in the calculation.
But why labor? Because in the same way that its duration is considered and the remaining factors are “rejected” when its quantity is ascertained, labor itself together with its product, are considered as the most important and representative socially, out of something more essential and more general: pleasure-displeasure. That is, labor is unpleasant, it is an effort and a time “gone astray” in itself; but it is compensated (or rewarded) for the pleasant nature of the product, of its result, of the good that was produced and of its capacity to satisfy a necessity. Thus, labor considered in its complete process, is psychically neuter generally speaking; that is to say, the nuisance of the effort itself (displeasure) considered isolated, is compensated by the benefit involving the product or its result (pleasure). For that reason, the effort of labor “ is worth”, that is, what is “valuable” is the “sorrow” of effort or sacrifice, because it crafts something good that satisfies some necessity. In such way, the process of the creation of the economic value has the following elements: cause = sacrifice = negative = displeasure = work; effect = benefit = positive = pleasant = product. In a word, things “ worth” what “they cost”.
Sometimes, that total balance may be unpleasant or pleasant (in the previous chapter we have analyzed what to do in order to be pleasant). For example: in a minor or larger extent, it is added the enthusiasm and the pleasant “idea” of the next thing to achieve, what counteracts and overcomes sacrifice or rather the unpleasant result is larger. But to make it simpler, it is necessary to suppose it neuter as far as the balance of the total process is concerned. This way, if somebody works to elaborate certain product and when he finishes, the product “breaks” or somebody takes it off and goes running, the only thing left would be the displeasure of the effort carried out and of the wasted time, without the balancing award of the product.
The importance of the duration of labor in the determination of value lies, on one hand, in that it is the indicator of the “extension” of the effort carried out, as fundamental element making its quantity. But, on the other hand, and especially in the labor that is “sold”, that is the one which is not done to enjoy directly its result, but for its exchange, also means to invest certain time in it and that therefore it can not be used in another thing. A piece, a “space” of life is transferred, being for that reason also a loss, something that one sacrifices and hands over. Such a loss is a negative fact and is added as an unpleasant element to what effort is in itself.
In such way, what makes labor supplier of value is really, the quantity of displeasure invested during the time used in the production of the good or product. For that reason we mentioned the three factors making the "quantity" of labor: duration, intensity and risk, because they make the quantitative elements of displeasure that the concept of decision making takes into consideration when it compares the different options, as for example, which another product (or for how much money) to exchange it so that it is equivalent to that effort, sacrifice or nuisance or at least so that it is not inconvenient or a “bad business”. For that reason, the most basic thing to bear in mind is the convenience-unsuitability of certain exchanges, the benefit of the product in relation to the damage of effort involved to obtain it, its exchange or not for another one, etc. and according to the concept of decision making. Pleasure is exchanged by pleasure or displeasure by displeasure. And the quantity of labor whose product is exchanged although very important and of categorical economic-social incidence, is just one of the possible “negotiable” instruments. These ones embrace even the most intimate human relationships (reciprocity in the exchange of favors or demanding fairness in the distribution of household tasks, compensation for a damage caused, etc.).
For such reasons, when one tries to consider the quantity of labor contained in goods or products, this tends to be very exact at the time of being socially averaged. The best of the computers makes calculations: brain, in its capacity of processing the data for the concept of decision making. This way, when it has to do with goods to be exchanged (averaging other factors, as offer and demand) the quantity of labor and especially duration there, is what influences more, as a result of an implicit social agreement, as it is the most representative of all
that. This has always been considered this way and it is fully valid as a practical measure in the general economic theoretical developments. But if it has to do with understanding the essence, economy itself, although shown up as quantity of economic benefit-damage, profit-loss, more expensive - cheaper, convenient- unsuitable, etc., and this is the same as anything that has to do with human life, is not more than the movement of pleasure-displeasure. And it is strange that it is this way, when we had already accepted that nothing escapes from the general concept of decision making.
Effort as an unpleasant element may even create a non-interchangeable value, that is to say non-economic, but of the same essential nature as well as material value. For example, if a subject makes physical exercises to improve his corporal state and health, there we find the same mechanism. The effort of gym or of running, etc., produces a benefit, implies to satisfy a need that is to keep “fit”. The difference concerning labor is that the product of the effort is not interchangeable. The benefit or reward of the sacrifice involved in the displeasure of effort and of the “time” invested on it, is just individual. One can not make that effort and “transfer” the positive result to another individual. But if we imagined that that was possible, then it would be like one more job and “the product” could be “sold”. Thus, the person wishing to have a good corporal and physiologic state but not willing to make the effort of gym and/or not having that time, then “he would buy” the product. The value of the same one again, would lie in the quantity of effort or sacrifice of the person in charge of generating it, that is, ultimately according to displeasure invested in it. In that way, that “job” would be rewarded with money, as an essentially pleasant element, equivalent to the benefit of the good corporal and physiologic state that is “offered”.
But as the product of that effort is not transferable or interchangeable, it is not a material economic product, it is not economic value, but a non-economic material asset or value. In other words, any effort aims at creating material goods or values (obviously we do not consider moral or spiritual values here, etc.), but apart from material, they are economic goods or values, they have to be interchangeable or exchangeable. Value is quantified just in terms of exchange, when one makes it objective by means of making it inter-subjective, and only there, it starts assuming the character of economic value.
For such reason, in social life, the displeasure of effort and of the time used during that sacrifice that is labor, in relation to the benefit of the product, are widespread, averaged and standardized elements and that therefore, because of their regularity, acquire autonomy and nature of economic law, as it is the ascertaining of value according to the quantity of used labor.
From the most general essence of the economic value and that it is the same essence of all values (pleasure-displeasure), we have in front of us a better scenery to appreciate the role of labor and its quantity as key element in the value of products. The conclusion we reach by now, to the purposes of explaining why we have to consider the working class in general as the sole class in which its members share identical conditions, is that all the jobs aimed at satisfying some of those "thousand" necessities, are creators of the economic value. This way, although the job corresponds to the area of services and whose product is "immaterial", example: a news service, always generates economic value, for the fact of being a job whose product or result satisfies a necessity; in this case the necessity of the curiosity impulse. As it may be appreciated, this does not differ essentially, considering the psyche and its impulses, from jobs producing foods which satisfy the nutritious impulse. Thus for example, if there is a group of parents living isolated in the field and producing material assets, example: foods and with that they pay a teacher in order to teach their children, there is a clear exchange of value, of material, concrete labor. There exists and this is the key, a reciprocal satisfaction of necessities through the respective jobs. The teacher satisfies the parents’ necessity (fraternal impulse), as he benefits them by educating their children. That implies work and as the same generates economic value, the educator receives its equivalent in foodstuff meaning a similar working quantity. If we add money as an exchange instrument to this (or “salt” if we want), we will see that it is the same thing that the teacher receives foodstuff or money for his job and with the same notes he buys foodstuff to those parents or that he prefers to go with the money to the town to buy a piece of furniture and then the carpenter buys with those notes foodstuff to the same parents.
The value of exchange for goods, products, services that satisfy some necessity is then determined by the working quantity implied in their production or supply. But this “formula” is just valid considering other circumstances as constant, which are rarely that way, but they almost ever influence taking away limpidness to its manifestation. One of those elements is the labor productivity that is not always the same. For that reason, the market value of certain product does not come up directly for example from the working quantity used by a specific individual but it has to do with the social average of the working time that its production requires. Thus, if that individual applies outdated methods and it takes him 8 hours to make a table, in another place it may happen that by employing appropriate techniques, it takes 4 hours to another person to make the same table. If we consider these two cases, as halfway ends of what the social average would be, the market value of that sort of tables, their price, would be the equivalent to 6 working hours. For that reason, the more efficient worker obtains an advantage that is selling at a price of 6 working hours what took him 4. Those 2 hours that he wins regarding the average, are the same ones lost by the worker who took 8 hours. But disregarding the extreme cases of minimum and maximum productivity, most carpenters in the example would be situated around the average, taking approximately the 6 hours. Therefore, the value of assets is not determined by the working quantity in a specific case, but for the average quantity of necessary work for its production.
The other circumstance to be considered constant or averaged, so that the working quantity is the directly decisive factor of value, is the one of supply and demand, that is to say, we have to consider them stabilized, so that they annulled themselves mutually in their influence. Because when it is not this way, it will be obviously more valuable something that one needs and one can not get. As it is a very needy element (or only very wished), the person wishing to acquire it, will be willing to sacrifice more work or effort (displeasure) to get it. His possessor may take advantage of it. But in general and as a kind of market law, there exists a tendency to the quick stabilization of the supply and demand. In view of such a convenient situation, many people “wake up immediately” until in short time, that object so difficult to attain is within everybody’s reach and it ends up costing just the effort implied in producing it. That is, the supply and the demand are stabilized and are annulled each other, remaining again labor and its quantity as decisive factor of value. Except of course if individual, through the power of force or through other methods, hampers the competition of others. We would be there before a case of monopoly, where the product is sold above the value generated by labor. But let’s observe that even here, considering the artificially high price, the same is equally measured according to the working quantity (although expressed in money) that is willing to sacrifice or to surrender the person wishing to obtain it. However, these are situations that have nothing to do with the laws of self-regulation and mutual annulment of supply and demand of the market and they are cases equivalent to the shaking down of kidnapping, where the payment of certain amount is exacted without any basis of working exchange. Anyway, one may appreciate that even here the value to be paid is also a socially-averaged working quantity in the value of money.
In a word, the socially-averaged working quantity is the key element of value, always considering a normal situation of market, of free negotiation and exchange of labor products or its money equivalent. Undoubtedly this does not always happen in the current capitalism, where monopoly powers exercise an extortionate role over prices. But as we are analyzing the essence of labor value, we have to start with the simplest thing and to consider a situation of free market or “free concurrence”, where in general the price matches with the real value of products, determined by the average quantity of work necessary to generate it.
What we have analyzed so far is the ascertainment of value in general as economic category and its application to any labor whose product satisfies some necessity. And as we will be able to notice, according to man's impulses, out of which those "thousand" acquired necessities derive, but real and concrete in certain society, not only the material production satisfies them, but all the jobs as well. The only difference and that is not something minor if we consider it in another sense, is that the material production or that generating personal assets, concrete objects is guided to satisfy the most basic living needs, besides providing what is essential for the infrastructure and performance of society and from there its special importance.
But let’s see what is going on, when all this is applied to the modus operandi of production and appropriation of capitalism. When one capitalistic entrepreneur who is the owner of the means of production, and working appliances, hires workers, we find that in order to obtain some earning, as one knows, he does not pay them the equivalent of the value that they produce. If he acted in this way, he would be simply left nothing. For that reason he pays them less. For example, after selling the product and once certain costs of the investment have been deducted, out of the remaining (that is the new produced value), for example he pays 50% to the group of workers and the remaining 50% is his profit, that is to say, the increased value defined by Marx as the share of value produced by labor not receiving its equivalent in wages and that (if the rest matches with social averages) comprises the capitalist’s profit.
In purely economic terms that is exploitation, it is the appropriation of the increased value, as an essential feature of the capitalistic production relationships, in the way the capitalist system works. Now, it is curious that this mechanism of generation of value and subtraction of increased value is usually attributed to the production of material assets, as if the industrial workers were the only ones generating value and increased value. Being like that, that increased value, as a non-reimbursed share of the value generated by their labor to industrial workers, would be the only available increased value as genuine value, to hand out to the rest of society; and with that for example, wages would be paid to workers in general. Being this way, the latter would be to certain extent separated and even economically faced with those that apparently would be the only ones that would produce economic value.
But let's see how things are. Although it is true for example that foodstuff consumed by the whole society is the outcome only of the job of the industrial or rural-industrial workers of the branch, at the same time teachers are the "only" ones providing basic education to all the children of society, including those workers' children. Or also, physicians and nurses aid all the others, including workers that produce foodstuff. That aid or health service has more value than the "material" isolated drugs. In other words, such workers of health satisfy the necessity of all with their material and concrete work. Therefore their work has the same economic value. It is a quantity of labor alive that generates value that is interchangeable. That means that it is subject to generate increased value. This way, in the modus operandi and the relationships of capitalistic production, if the owner of a health center for example hires doctors, nurses, administrative staff, cleaning personnel as his workers, any profit that he earns, will be the outcome of the economic exploitation, of having paid his personnel less than the value generated by their work. In other words, the generation of increased value and the implied exploitation are characteristics of the modus operandi of capitalistic production and not of the “type of job”. In a word, all living, concrete, material labor that satisfies some necessity creates value and increased value in the capitalism system. This is applicable to all remunerated workers whose product of their work, either material or not, is interchangeable or feasible of being sold by the proprietor or employer. From the time that a work satisfying some necessity is carried out, already generates value, it is a good, merchandise (either a material object or not) that is interchangeable or that may be sold. And if the wage received is smaller than the total value of that interchangeable product or service created by labor, then there are exploitation and increased value.
The “secrete” lies in the impulses corresponding to the man's psychological structure and in those “thousand” necessities arising out from them. The material assets satisfy only some impulses, example: the nutritious one, drinking (it takes a lot producing drinking water), heating (coats, heaters, fuels). The construction of housings, of furniture, gears may be added to that, which are connected with the protection necessity (conservation impulse) and with comfort and some impulse more or a piece of an impulse. But several impulses or primary necessities in the sense that they are of the same basic level of impulses also call for satisfaction. Thus, for example, the curiosity impulse needs the means of information and that implies thousands of workers carrying out that function, in exchange for a wage. The same curiosity impulse together with the parents’ fraternal impulse establish the learning necessity or the children's and young’s education. In order to accomplish it, thousands and thousands of education workers are necessary (teachers, professors, cleaning and maintenance staff, school buses workers). Then, the recreational and variation impulses search for their satisfaction in everything related to entertainments and there we find thousand remunerated workers in radio, television, magazines, artistic and sport shows, keepers up of squares and green spaces for leisure, etc. The communication impulse needs mails and telephones and thousand of workers are necessary to satisfy it. The means of transport of passengers satisfy the mediator impulse at least; they are precisely means for something important, as for example going to work or to any other place. Tourism workers fulfill the satisfaction of the rest impulse, helping in holidays centers in all what is necessary. The workers who distribute goods, as well as trade employees, satisfy the necessity of transporting, bringing near, separating and placing goods visibly in the distribution centers. Consumers pay the task implied in going to fetch them from factories. Millions of consumers would be assembled in factories if there were not people in charge of the distribution of products. Then, we find the workers of the electric power companies, a product of “doubtful” material existence, different from current water or natural gas, but anyway included in the category of services. The workers of the collection garbage companies should be added and many others working in the different services areas.
The materiality or not of goods and exchange of goods produced by the different works is something irrelevant. In absolute terms all are material because nothing exists outside the material reality. And both, one food that is eaten up as the satisfaction of any necessity end up the same in the consumer's nervous system tracts, stimulating the material brain centers, shaping the state of satisfaction of the necessity. In the case of services, as those jobs satisfy necessities and therefore produce economic value and for that reason they are interchangeable, in the modus operandi of capitalistic production, they also generate increased value (unpaid portion of that produced value) and consequently, the workers' exploitation. The owners of the respective companies selling those services sell them at their actual value. That is, the price is that of the value created by the material, concrete, “the flesh” job carried out by workers. But in order to obtain their earnings, they can only do it with the habitual procedure of “practice” that is paying the workers the smallest fraction possible of the economic value (of sale) produced by their work.
In the case of the many remunerated workers that work for companies or for State offices, the situation is the same. The capitalistic State, when hiring employers and setting up their wages, is based upon the prices of the labor market; that is to say, it looks at the prices in the “proletarians bid”. This way, if the workers of the rest of society produce an average value of 5 pesos a working hour, the bourgeois State will not pay for that, but for example 2,50 pesos as it is paid averagely in the rest of private companies. The difference is the increased value, the same obtained from the rest of the working class, but that the State inserts in the larger bag of collected taxes, going unnoticed.
On the other hand, apart from the true useful jobs that satisfy everybody's necessities, there are many jobs in capitalism aimed at satisfying necessities having to do only with the own capitalists and that have to do with their business and diverse management, being these activities not essentially useful for the rest of society. Many likes, whims, eccentricities of the bourgeois class are highly expensive considering the effort and the working quantity implied and are the outcomes of not knowing what to do with so much money resulting from the increased value taken out from proletariat. The workers hired for these purposes, as any job, generate value; and if they are employees of a company offering such services, a portion of that value will be the increased value left for the entrepreneur.
Those goods and services in general, are superfluous from the point of view of workers. They are a loss of productive and working capacity. There are certain tasks that should stop being carried out in socialism, to overturn those same efforts that imply the waste of millions of hours per man, to increase the production of what intends to satisfy more elementary or more high-priority necessities or at least "reasonable". Since labor, effort, have value, workers themselves and not those that do not work, have to decide how it is convenient to invest that labor force and up to what extent is really necessary.
We have to admit that in the case of a “traditional” capitalist who manages and leads his company, either of production of goods or of services, his work also generates value. It is the job of coordinating tasks and many times he rolls up his shirt’s sleeves and helps. But that value constitutes a minimum fraction of his earnings. For example, if he has 100 workers and each one contributes 1% of the total produced value, his participation in the creation of that value would also be approximately 1% or let’s give him 2%, if we imagine that he devotes many hours to the company, what would mean double work. In such case, when he obtains from that new produced value (without taking into account what the recovery of other costs would be) a 50% earning, as we had supposed in the previous hypothesis, this means that he only contributed 2 % as maximum with his work and the remaining 48% is increased value, it is an unpaid work to his workers. Each one received around 0.50% of the value generated by the group and not near 1% of his effort provided for the creation of the produced value.
Regarding paramount capitalists, the main shareholders of important companies, as they are not in charge of the management and the administration of those companies, they do not put in value but they only carry on withdrawing their dividends meaning this action the “maximum purity” increased value.
The benefits of interests obtained by financial capitalists are in a similar situation as for the fact of having lent money to entrepreneurs so that these ones make the “dirty job” of obtaining increased value, they simply receive the reimbursement from their investments plus one piece of the “booty” of the increased value pulled out from workers, as it was the “deal”.
Even the interest yielded by an innocent bank deposit that seems to arise out from the “magic” of money in its capacity of being reproduced, it arises out from the same mechanism. The bank receives deposits and lends them to entrepreneurs. They withdraw the increased value, exploiting the only source of wealth available for him, that is the portion of unpaid work to workers. Then, out of withdrawal he returns to the bank that loan plus the surplus agreed upon. The bank, at the same time, returns to the depositor what he had deposited plus the fraction agreed upon of the same “booty” that will be of course smaller than the surplus received from the entrepreneur’s hands. Such difference is for the bank.
But considering this, which is the situation of the bank workers? Do they also “live” from the increased value taken out from those workers? Firstly, no doubts, bankers obtain earnings from those business and always speaking in terms of social averages, any earning arises out from increased value. But where is the increased value or the banker's profit originated? In the track whose origin is to obtain the increased value by that entrepreneur or in the unpaid work to its bank workers? The answer to this is very important: it arises out from the unpaid work to their own collar workers. But let’s see something that it is even more important: the reason.
Let's suppose that what the bank collects, a figure arisen out from the interest collected to the entrepreneur less the interest paid by the bank to its depositors, is of 1,000 pesos. Let's deduct some costs borne by the bank, without taking into consideration at this time, its workers' wages and 500 pesos would be left for example. This last quantity is the value generated by the activity of the bank, that is, it is the value produced by many working hours carried out by employees. But the banker will not pay them that amount. Which would be the "funny" thing? He will pay them for example, 250 pesos and the remaining 250 will be his earning.
But all that money, was not the increased value obtained from the workers’ labor of that company? In order to answer this, we have to keep in mind firstly that we are talking about jobs that are essentially of scarce utility for society in general and they are mainly useful for capitalists. But as we are discussing about the capitalist system, they are works satisfying a necessity in that system, no matter who needs it. To make it easier, let’s imagine that the bank belongs to the bank workers'; they hand out the whole revenues. And on the other hand, let’s also imagine that that borrowing company belongs to the workers. Here then, there is not any capitalist. There are just two working and generating-value companies but not increased value, since in both cases each worker would receive 100% of the value generated by his work. Now, that workers’ company requests the workers-bankers a financing and it requests it because it needs it. In the economic system where this company is, many times that service is needed. But it is hard to offer that service and to satisfy such necessity. There are many internal tasks of the bank, there are cashiers, maintenance staff, attention to the public making their deposits, etc. For that reason, it is not usury or something like that; simply those workers-entrepreneurs pay that work and at market price. What do they do it with? with work, because they generate certain value with their labor activity, materialized in the products that they craft and that they sell then, obtaining the equivalent money. Out of that value, they pay the workers-bankers the service rendered with their work; I pay this, made up of the interest or surplus added to the reimbursement of the loan. Therefore, there is only a working exchange, of actual value, it is work for work.
In the same way as workers-entrepreneurs when selling their products they obtain the value of their work in change, like those products satisfy some necessity to the person paying them, notwithstanding the occupation of the purchaser, the banks-bankers receive as payment the equivalent to the value of their work, which also satisfies the necessity of payers, notwithstanding here, if they are workers or capitalists.
In this way, we have analyzed a pure movement of value, work for work, without any increased value. But things are not this way, but there is a banker (or shareholders of a bank that is the same, but it is not necessary to get complicated) and an entrepreneur. These ones keep for themselves a portion of the value generated by their respective remunerated workers, that is to say, one and the other obtain increased value.
We can even suppose, another clearer situation: why the banker's revenue arises out from the exploitation of his employees’ work. Let’s imagine on one hand, the banker and his workers and for the other, that company devoted to material production, but without capitalist, that is, composed of workers-entrepreneurs that hand out the outcome of their work. Thus, these ones apply for the credit as they need it and then they work and sell their products, refunding the loan plus the surplus or interest that is the payment for the service. In that situation, there would not be any increased value as far as workers are concerned. That payment to the bank is one more of their different costs for its operation, as it is for example, the payment of electric power. But the banker indeed keeps for himself a piece of the value generated by the work of his own “workers”. This is the only increased value that may be found in the whole process.
But going farther, Let’s suppose that that company is devoted to material production such as pieces of furniture, office tools and special machines for banks. Then, the banker who intends to invest his earnings by opening new branches, allocates that money, that is to say, the capital arisen out from the increased value taken out from his workers, in buying the pieces of furniture or machines to that company. And this way, going back to our initial query if the bank workers “lived” from the increased value taken out from the workers of the company, we could say that here it is quite the opposite; that such workers depend or “live” on the increased value arisen out from the exploitation of the bank workers by the banker.
For that reason, the increased value and the implied economic exploitation is a feature of the modus operandi of the capitalist production and not of the type of one concrete job or another derived from that. The person who sells certain product or service, receives money whose value always comes from some previous work. It will be plus-work or unpaid working portion (increased value) if the purchaser is a capitalist or it will be paid up work (wage) if the one on the counter is a remunerated worker. But the seller of the product is not interested in that. He has not got a divider partition in his box to set increased value on one hand and what it is not on the other. If the customer were asked whether he is paying with increased value or not, he will surely reply: no, cash! and he will leave, believing perhaps that the increased value is the name of a new credit card. The salesperson in exchange for the product that he delivers, receives all type of money because he knows that it has value. But as all value is the outcome of work, the last origin of any money and its value is always the effort of workers in general.
In conclusion, all increased value arises out from real, concrete work of all workers over which the modus operandi of the capitalist production falls back, no matter the kind of job or the “elegance” in clothes that the employer may demand.
Broadening the approach again, we find that there is one class that is the owner of the means of production and of workstations in capitalism. Apart from the few proprietors, small businessmen, professionals, the rest of the society is a sole class of proletarians whose essential feature and that it is the one defining it, is that they do not own working means, reason why they are compelled and tied by the invisible chains discovered by Marx in the capitalist system, to accept necessarily the "natural" condition of working for that proprietary class, receiving only one piece and the smallest possible, of the actual value of their work. In this aspect, there is no difference between industrial and non-industrial workers. Even more, ones as well as others undergo a permanent rotation from one sector to another and they do not even notice the difference. They are only aware that they are claimed and exploited by a minimum wage in both cases and it is completely casual that the increased value is taken out in one sector or the other of the general production of goods and services.
In a word, the millions of workers carrying out their activities outside the material production share identical class conditions and economic exploitation with increased value subtraction than the industrial workers.
In both cases, such workers do not have anything to sell besides their labor force and at the price settled by their bosses. And in general, they "decide" that that price is low; mainly when the unemployment pointers (that is to say the quantity of desperate human beings who are unable to get their living source) are "satisfactory". Such social situation is always present in capitalism, as it fulfills the regulating function of keeping low the price in the "windows" of the proletarians market. These latter ones are then pushed to compete among themselves for the limited workstations available. And they even have to be happy for having got a job, knowing that they will be squeezed, because the other option offered by the system, without talking about the crime option, is their own children's starvation, that is to say, the "jerk" of the invisible chain appears forcing them to work for that proprietary class, having even to say thank you for having been accepted.
It is evident that the solution is that the working class, with and without work, that is proletariat in general, those having no rights on the production and working means, respectfully displace from power to that class that has become the owner of something so important as the production and working means are, out of which the life of everybody depends on, going along with expropriation. This last concept, according to the dictionary means: “to deprive lawfully a proprietor for reasons of public utility”. But please notice that it would be not even that but simply to recover the possession of something that workers must claim as theirs. All the means of production and the huge capitals were created by the work of proletariat; they are the unpaid portions of the value of their work. If a generous compensation were added, which should be considered as a gift, the members of that class should be satisfied. In a word, workers do not need the presence of that social class to organize their life and their future, but just the opposite. They will only be able to do it by getting rid of it.
Such expropriation always refers to the fundamental means of production, to the large factories, banks, companies that although they are not so many, their economic movement makes almost the whole. It is not necessary the expropriation of minor companies and by no means of those working on their own in small workshops or trade. It is only that if the State in hands of the working class guarantees the full occupation, assuring a payment close to the total value created by labor, those entrepreneurs will not get "good price" in the proletarians markets, where "goods" would be scarce. Therefore, considering the profit option "zero" resulting from paying up the actual value of labor, they would end up preferring to be expropriated and compensated, to be then part of the working class, contributing with their knowledge and efforts, not more with disputes and fights with workers, competitors, suppliers and clients, but only to the social welfare.
Going back to the concept of working class, as proletariat has been identified with the industrial labor class, it is probably due to the fact that a century and half ago, when Marx and Engels made their theoretical developments, proletariat devoted to the material production was the absolute majority of remunerated workers or proletariat in general as class and its consideration was enough to describe the dynamics of the fight of classes between proletarians and bourgeoisie. It was fundamental. A distinction that used to be made, but not in the life and the conditions of exploitation of workers, but in the economic theories, was between the production of material durable assets and susceptible of accumulation or capitalization, example: factories, machines, working elements and everything having to do with the infrastructure of the industry, being added products or durable assets and therefore cumulative as marketable capital; and on the other hand the production of non durable and either capitalized assets like those ones (foodstuff or articles of common use whose accumulation is inconvenient for its quick deterioration or because they are overcome by fashion or because new and better models appear quickly). But such distinction was within the framework of the material production. Concerning the other necessities derived from the impulses whose satisfaction did not imply the consumption of material objects, they were less branched, simpler and had in general solutions more of the type “homemade” or without a great economic importance of group for the modus operandi of the capitalist production. And the portion of services having some presence in society were carried out mostly by what today we call private owners. That is to say, there were not practically service companies, with a capitalist and his workers, but they were individuals with some occupation who used to work personally rendering diverse services and they obtained for it approximately the total of their work value.
Marx did not pay much attention to services, owing to what we have pointed out about the scarce importance they have for the modus operandi of capitalistic production. The approach adopted by him to distinguish between productive and unproductive work was based on the point of view of capital turnover, that is to say, the work was only productive if comprised within the modus operandi of capitalist production, where the capitalist obtained increased value for accumulation. This way, the job of one carpenter that manufactured a piece of furniture and consumed the obtained value of his sale was non-productive work, as it was not useful for capitalist accumulation. While that same carpenter, manufacturing the same piece of furniture, carried out productive work if he made it in his capacity of remunerated worker of a capitalist who obtained from him an increased value aimed at accumulating, increasing his capital. But since the second modality matched with the material production and the first one, that is, labor on one’s own matched in general with rendering services or non material production, then and as a practical measure of simplification, the material production was considered as productive work and that of services as unproductive work. However, in the following paragraphs excerpted from his posthumous work: “Theories of the increased value” whose manuscripts Engels intended to publish as a fourth volume of The Capital, Marx demonstrates how well he understood the situation; although as one may notice, he had to make an effort to find examples of something that hardly existed:
“... Consequently, the process of capitalist production is not simply the production of goods. It is a process that takes up unpaid work converting raw materials and working means - the means of production – into means for the unpaid working absorption.
. . From statements expressed, it follows that the description of labor as productive work has nothing to do with certain content of work, its special usefulness or the value of its specific use shown up.
. . The same kind of job may be productive or unproductive.
. For instance, Milton, who wrote the Paradise lost by 5 sterling, was an unproductive worker. On the other hand, the writer that produces materials for his editor in industrial style is a productive worker. Milton produced the Paradise lost for the same reason that a silk worm produces silk. It was an activity of his nature. Later he sold the product for 5 sterling. But the literary proletarian Leipzig that manufactures books (for example, Summaries of Economy) under the direction of his editor is a productive worker, because his product has been subsumed under capital from the beginning and is only born with the purpose of increasing that capital. A singer who sells her song on her own is an unproductive worker. But the same singer who is directed by an entrepreneur with the purpose of making money for him, is a productive worker, because she produces capita”. Marx Carlos. Teorías de la plusvalía. Editorial Cartago. Buenos Aires 1974, tomo I pag. 339 (Marx Carlos. Theories of the increased value.)
And some pages later:
“... For example, if I have my house re-wallpapered and the paperhangers are paid a salary by a master that sells me the work (...), for the master making those workers wallpaper, they are productive workers, because they produce for him increased value (...). This production process is not only a production process of goods but a production process of increased value, of absorption of overwork and therefore a production process of capital” (Idem p. 343).
“... It may be said (...) that it is a feature of productive workers, that is to say, of workers producing capital that their work is carried out in goods, in material wealth. And then the productive work, together with its key feature - that does not keep in mind at all the content of work and it is completely independent from this content - will receive a second, different and subsidiary definition”. (Idem, p. 346).
That "second definition" originated a cofusion. What in that time was only a coincidence of the productive working concept, that is to say creator of value, with the material production, was considered as the authentic definition. But the authentic definition whose key feature, as Marx says, does not keep in mind at all the content of work,
was almost completely disregarded. And that key feature of the productive work in the economic meaning, that Marx understood as productive work, is not any other thing than the remunerated work producing increased value.
Lastly, Let's see the following paragraph referred to the services:
“... Also here the modus operandi of the capitalist production is only at small range and because of the nature of the case, it may only be applied in few spheres. For example, the teachers of educational establishments may be simple remunerated workers of the establishment’s entrepreneur; many of these educational factories already exist in England. Although in relation to students, these teachers are not productive workers, they are as such in relation to employer. The latter changes his capital for the labor force of them and gets rich thanks to this process.* The same happens with companies such as theaters, amusement places,, etc. In such cases, the actor's relationship with the public is that of an artist, but in connection with his employer he is a productive worker. All these manifestations of the capitalist production in this sphere are so insignificant in comparison with the total production that you can do without them completely.” (Idem, p. 347).
* A similar example was already used by Marx in volume I of The Capital: ...” A schoolteacher for example, is a productive worker, not because he moulds the spirit of his students, but because he works (...) to enrich the owner of the school. The fact that he has invested his capital in a factory of lessons instead of investing it in one of sausages, is up to him. Therefore the notion of productive work no longer contains simply a relationship between activity and useful effect, between producer and product, but also, and mainly, a social relationship that makes work the immediate tool for the appraisement of capital”. Marx Carlos. El Capital. Editorial Cartago. Buenos Aires, 1974, tomo I pág. 487-488 (Marx Carlos. The Capital. Carthage Editorial. Buenos Aires, 1974, Volume I pages 487 - 488)
And up to date “doing without them” has continued although the “insignificant” sphere of services already employs around half of remunerated workers.
That classification of jobs into productive and unproductive must only be considered as a very specific and technical distinction and tied to the framework of the economic science, as categories related to the capital turnover and its reason of being that it is its growth through the subtraction of increased value. But as far as the creation of value is concerned, any work whose product is interchangeable and satisfies some necessity, generates value according to its quantity and in this there is no difference between a work whose produced value is completely consumed and another one that is partially consumed remaining one portion of that value in the capital’s hand for its accumulation. In that other sense, all the jobs would be productive, that is to say, in the sense of creating value.
In conclusion, in the different categories of services, there are millions and millions of equally proletarian workers as industrial workers and subject to the same conditions of economic exploitation or of distressing unemployment when they are fired, as it is not easy for them to sell the only thing which supports them that it is their labor force.
The fact of not having paid more attention to the sphere of services, as we have seen, can not be considered one Marx's mistake or it was not his mistake either not having treated the "layer of ozone" problem. It has only been a misunderstanding relatively "modern", which led to a certain theoretical stagnation in relation to the scientific analysis of classes, mainly bearing in mind the great dimension acquired by the services, being incorporated to the modus operandi of the capitalist production, to the production relationships: capitalists-remunerated workers or bourgeoisie-proletariat. This has meant to lose "ground" as regards the objective development of the fight of classes. Non industrial workers were mostly considered as belonging to a false "middle class" and in a pretend double condition; on one hand, exploited but in "figured" sense, for the fact of working too much and receiving little; and on the other, as the situation was not clearly understood as exploiters!, as if they lived off from the increased value arisen out from the industrial workers' job , what is a complete mistake, but where everything led to consider it that way. This silly situation has given rise even to the statements that proletariat (misunderstood as industrial working class) is relatively a minority sector regarding the rest of society and therefore "without major revolutionary prospects".
Proletariat in general, all workers and employees, employed, unemployed and even retired workers, that is, all that under the capitalistic system lack rights over the sources of production and labor, constitute a single homogeneous group in their social condition and therefore we have to consider them as belonging to a same class, broadly the greatest part in society. The portion of that grouping that we know as industrial labor class, has nevertheless a special important place, because the large factories operation, the energy sources, the extraction and processing of raw materials, the supply of foodstuff and other basic goods depend on it; and this is the same as before, essential for society. Another feature of this kind of production with material product and that makes it more important and essential for society, is that there we find the categories of social work generating lasting assets, with no immediate consumption and that therefore are feasible to be produced for their accumulation, that is to say to build and grow genuine capital as true cumulative work. Here factories, buildings, machines, materials and appliances used by all the other jobs are “manufactured”. There are not works of elaboration of products or of rendering of services that do not require sources of production or material works. Perhaps something may be excepted, but even a broom or a pencil are essential for the tiniest service.
The other categories of material production generating non lasting products, as for example fresh food or with short expiration dates, would be in the same field than services, whereas it has to do with works whose product or result are fully consumed and their accumulation is not possible. Instead, that area of the material production generating lasting products is the sector of the labor activity that creates cumulative or increased value genuinely; although in this branch of the material production, the lasting consumption products that are not only of infrastructure or working sources but also non perishable merchandise in general and therefore susceptible of accumulation are included as well.
This segment of the industrial proletariat is the only one that generates cumulative actual value and that is cumulative increased value in genuine capital,
in the modus operandi of capitalist production existent in the "physical matter". In this type of material accumulation, the whole real, true wealth existing in society, is reduced. Instead, the value accumulated in flowing capital, either money or gold already existing in society (that is the basis of money and that theoretically backs it), is not only a genuine accumulation of accumulated work for society, but also for its possessor and in its relationship with possessors of the cumulative tangible assets. That is, money as exchange asset means that its possessor is able to deliver it to the owner of an industrial establishment and the latter to receive it and to transfer the factory to the first party. But for society as a whole, there is no difference. In this sense, it would always be more "productive" in absolute terms, the job whose material product is assigned to the accumulation of value materialized in real and lasting assets. However, if the original possessor of money got it for example through a service company, taking out increased value from his workers, such surplus money is also cumulative work and has the same value than the material plus the product accumulated by the industrial capitalist and for that reason they are interchangeable. In fact, that industrial capitalist sells his products to turn them into money. And if the purchaser is the capitalist owner of the service company, example: machines employed for the services that he renders, on making it with the increased value obtained from his workers, these would be as a consequence, creators of the increased value that is materialized in those machines as genuine accumulation of material capital. Meanwhile, the industrial capitalist's workers created a material increased value firstly but now turned into cash that was the purpose pursed by the industrial capitalist; that is, those workers created money, flowing value. Thus, both groups of workers created a surplus value or completely equivalent increased value and for that reason indistinctly interchangeable among capitalists.
Then, out of the general increased value obtained by capitalists from workers, they consume a great portion and the other one is kept as cumulative capital, either under the form of lasting goods (or not lasting “in transit”) or of money. From those two types of capital, the only “real” but just focusing the society on their entirety and the assets existing there, is the first one, the one embodied in assets. The other one, money, is just cumulative value but under the form of flow, of purchasing power on the same assets existing in reality, but without “contributing” nothing new to what already exists. Those two forms of global increased value not consumed by capitalists are however real from the laws of value as cumulative work and for that reason they are interchangeable among capitalists. They are the same, product of the unpaid part of the material and concrete work of workers in general.
As we can see, from the point of view of proletariat and its exploitation, it is a purely formal, non-essential difference between the features of a type of job and another but that produced an enormous upheaval regarding the situation and the general conditions of the working class. In this case, the reason of confusion should have been to identify what is creation of materially cumulative value and increased value with creation of value and increased value in general.
Let’s observe what we can reach due to a wrong starting point conception. The workers producing lasting and cumulative assets as genuine capital, as for example the construction of the infrastructure of industry, of machines and tools, materials, etc. and that we conceive it as the most valuable job and the really productive in absolute terms, is that what they produce is not “useful”, it is not apt for “human consumption”, for the satisfaction of needs. For workers themselves producing that is not useful as they are not able to consume it. They manufacture machines, tools and working sources so that the other workers produce assets and services that are “useful”, that are “helpful” and are consumed. Workers producing foodstuff for example, with tools and machines supplied by those ones, have to produce more than they consume so that those ones will feed themselves. The workers of the different services have to render them to everybody, including such “productive” workers. This way, the absurdity we can reach is to say that those workers are in fact “smart” that only supply materials, tools, machines and facilities, so that the others work and provide them with what they need.
Besides the wrong interpretation arisen out from the distinction between directly cumulative and not cumulative work, there is one more reason that also contributed to the misunderstanding. This is that the material production was always attributed more value or of “tangible” assets, although they are non lasting assets, for the importance of trade among regions and mainly the international trade as source of foreign currencies. That is to say, apart from exceptions, services can not be exported. Consequently, they are not able to be source of wealth for a country through export (excepting the case that a service company settles in another country and after taking out the increased value, transfers its earnings to the country of origin. But it is clear that that would not be export in the real sense of the word).
Therefore, a job that on one hand does not generate a product for material accumulation as genuine capital, that on the other hand does not create a product that may be exported or sold to another region and that in general is not elementary for life, gives the whole impression of being something “unproductive”, without capacity of generating economic value. And upon the non-creation of economic value, increased value could not be generated either, since this is a portion of that value. Then, if it was like that, the workers devoted to it technically, could not be object of economic exploitation.
All this wrong interpretation has led no less than excluding or at least disregarding, to one part of proletariat being a majority in many cases, what has meant the lack of a strong unity of the working class to fulfill its historical duty of changing society.
Let’s observe the following outline that summarizes what we have analyzed so far about the essence of the economic value and its manifestations in the economic structure of society. In all the cases, the largest shapes (rectangles) are the most general essence of what is included in the smallest shapes that are specific forms of the largest ones.
Pleasure-displeasure, as basis of all determination of value, either economic or not.
Quantity of work in general whose product or result satisfy necessities (material or not), as a fundamental factor, averaged socially that determines the economic value or of exchange
Quantity of work producing material goods (lasting or not lasting) that in general, excepting real estate, are susceptible of being exchanged inter- regionally or internationally.
Quantity of work producing lasting material goods, as elements of accumulation and formation of genuine capital. Focused on society in its entirety, it is the only job carried out directly and totally for the accumulation of materialized, real value. It is the whole infrastructure, the sources and production and working instruments necessary in order to produce the rest of labor activities. Here the increased value arisen out from of all the other works is materialized and capitalists do not consume that. In this sector all the lasting assets are also generated, cumulative as genuine commercial capital, which at the same time may be production sources (machines, etc.) or not and that are interchangeable between regions or countries.
Let’s see how all this is applied to socialism. Although what we will see next is applicable in what is essential to any socialist society, in order to avoid dissident elements arisen out from the relationships between socialism and capitalistic countries, Let’s imagine widespread socialism, that is to say, without economic relationships with capitalism. In such case, the accumulation of money by the State would not make sense apart from its function of circulating middleman of distribution and exchanges, mainly in common life. All useful cumulative work would be that of concrete tangible assets and especially sources and instruments production.
Under these conditions, one could say that it would not be necessary that the worker of services for example, receives less than the value of his work, since it is not useful to accumulate a surplus value in money. This because, as we said, the accumulation of lasting tangible assets making the infrastructure of production, such as the factories, machines, etc. is the only important thing. Then, industrial workers of such line of work would be the only ones that should produce more than what they consume, in order to accrue those indispensable goods for society in their entirety. But there is no reason why this has to be this way. Since all the jobs generate value, being this materially cumulative or not, for the single fact of satisfying different needs, charges would be simply distributed. This means that if the industrial worker perceives for example 80% of the value created by his job and the worker of services 100%, both would receive 90% out of the produced amount in terms of value and under the form of money or exchange value. Thus, the 10% “granted” by the workers of services, so that the industrial workers perceive 90% and not 80%, means that the first ones would be contributing in equal quantity than the second ones for the creation of those goods of material accumulation for the performance of society.
It should be noticed that that 10% of value created by labor contributed by all workers in the above example, although it is a kind of necessary social increased value, is not “exploitation” or either means shortfall of ownership on it. It only becomes the fraction of joint ownership corresponding to each one. Workers keep on being owners, proprietors of such joint assets, such as factories, industrial machines, buildings, etc. that constitute the production and working resources.
As one may infer, it is not true that it is always indispensable the “investment of capitals” for any undertaking. It is not necessary the previous money, but the previous work. Under capitalistic systems, that advanced money is employed to purchase facilities, machineries, materials, instruments, for the future undertaking as well as to pay wages, etc., until the moment of sale and recovery and increase of the invested capital. But as it may be seen, money is not really necessary, but what one buys with it; this is, the real cumulative work: previous facilities, machines, tools, materials, etc., as well as labor force.
Socialism does not need any investment capital under the form of money. It is only used the always available and constant flowing normal money perceived by all workers in the framework of full employment. The socialist “investment” is only that of labor producing those production resources. Those resources are the only necessary for undertakings, that is, the previous work creating them is followed without "changes" by the later work that uses them for the production of what is necessary. In all the cases, always assuming the presence of a usable soil and of raw materials offered by nature, it is not necessary the "magical" function of capitals investments, but working.
All this would work this way while labor keeps on being necessary in the framework of full employment. But the own development of free-of-obstacles productive forces as well as of the automation of production, with the subsequent overabundance of goods and services, would allow the diminishing of the working day, at the same time that the flowing money, like an organizing instrument of the distribution, would become more and more unnecessary.
We know that at the beginning, any transaction was carried out through direct exchange among the products of labor. In the origins of exchange as well as in current dealings, the mechanism is basically the same: work for work. Money is assigned value just because is labor turned into a flowing value. Therefore, all that money can buy is at the same time labor, either materialized in goods or embodied in services as “immaterial” assets. In general terms, one is not able “to spend” in another thing than in labor. In all cases, one pays for the effort invested in what one is purchasing. In turn, the money received, also in general terms, is received in exchange for granting certain quantity of labor contained in what is sold or offered.
For that reason, we will start the analysis disregarding money. For example, upon the non-existence of it, certain individual could manufacture chairs, to make many chairs and then with that, to purchase what he needs that are the different goods produced by others. Undoubtedly he could only be successful if the others accept the chairs he is offering, if they need them. But Let’s imagine that they accept them, because otherwise they would not be able “to get rid” of their surplus production and because in any event they will be able to use them then as an exchange value. They know that at least they have value because they contain authentic materialized work. This way, chairs are finally accepted as “exchange currency” because they demonstrated to be better than “anything”. The value of one chair would be two working hours for example, as social average of what takes to build it. Then, there would be a great circulation of chairs as means of payment, because they have value, they contain the equivalent to two average working hours. If somebody collected many chairs for example, he will be able to buy a gear which the tailor took twelve working hours, delivering him six chairs that in the event of being so lucky that they may be piled up, the tailor will place them in a corner and he will continue working. A carpenter, before such situation, will be encouraged to build more chairs and with them he will buy all that he needs. On the other hand, those receiving them in exchange for their products, will use that “money” for all the exchanges. But the moment will arrive in that they will realize that the system is very annoying, that the chairs, besides being very uncomfortable, have started to worsen with so much movement and to lose value. On the other hand, “changes” constitute problems and the worst thing is that there are already too many. This way, one reaches the conclusion that they are not necessary in such quantity. Many were devoted to build them and there is a true over-accumulation. Nobody produces other things any longer and therefore there is nothing to buy or in what to invest them. In that way, they ended up being devaluated because nobody wanted them.
Then, it is “decided” to replace them by salt. This may be measured to facilitate changes. Besides, it has also actual value that is the work of getting it, moving it, refining it and it is less uncomfortable for its circulation. Salt circulated this way during a lot of time, until that many people devoted to its gathering. New places were found where there was plenty salt, being easier the task of getting it and ended up being devaluated due to its excessive accumulation.
Finally it was discarded as an exchange instrument and gold (and/or silver) were adopted for that function. It was discovered the advantage that this metal was scarcer in nature, besides it was not a subject to deterioration like chairs were in the imaginary example. Another advantage was that it could be measured by coining currencies of different values according to their weight. The positive aspect of this metal was that its content, its weight, was a faithful indicator of the average real working invested in the exploitation of mines. It had an authentic value, interchangeable for its equivalent in work. For all that, it became the instrument of universal exchange.
In the course of time and searching for major comfort, it was tried to replace its circulation. Circulation had to be carried out in specially reinforced bags and in general they were subject to robbery besides being uncomfortable its transportation. In such way, somebody thought of signing papers and delivering them as a kind of vouchers stating certain quantity of gold. The peso that is the name of many coins, means that such papers clearly indicated a quantity of the metal over which the holder of those "vouchers" was entitled. Then, the State itself showed "enthusiasm" with the idea and it started issuing those vouchers that finally turned into the money that we handle nowadays. That simply meant that the bearer was the owner of one portion of the gold that the State issuing them had stored and with what it backed that money. Any bearer, at his earliest convenience, could change it for his gold.
This was always this way, until people “forgot” it. Those who “knew” and understood that died and new generations found that money circulated and that this was very “important for life”. Money and labor showed up this way as completely different things. Even the heads of state of the different countries started “forgetting” that upon the issuance of money, they were delivering one title of property over the gold that the State had stored and they began manufacturing very “easily” to find their necessities, as covering deficits, honoring their own wages, purchasing weapons or granting subsidies to the important entrepreneur friends who are usually grateful and leave a “tip” for authorities in charge of the proceedings.
In such way, the great quantity of money existing in the world is something more unusual than that “storing of chairs”. At least, these ones had value, they contained cumulative work. Money has no intrinsic value, except the “theoretical” backing of gold, which indeed contains cumulative work. Therefore, as that support was not real, money is “forged”; that is to say, beyond the “authentic” falsification that also exists in good quantity, the “authentic” money is also forged in absolute terms, as it has no support. They are public instruments of ownership over a nonexistent gold, except in a minimum proportion regarding the huge figures of flowing money. However, all that money, including forged money is accepted by the effect of a joint illusion. It is the trust in a nonexistent support, which ends up supporting it; that is, one trusts in the support of confidence. But this is as if somebody pretending to be a millionaire started making out checks without covering them of course and all trusted them, using them without the smallest suspicion in a long chain of payments. Thus, the moment would reach where the last bearer of the series would go for his cash to the bank, being the only one “aware” of the situation. If we suppose that the check did not have expiration date, then the situation would be identical to what happens with money. The check would indefinitely flow as real value. For that reason, if an individual decided to go to the Central Bank of the State to demand his gold in exchange for those papers bearing printed numbers, he would probably be made fun of because of the situation and he would be kindly taken up to the exit door by the safekeeping. But if many people infected with that new type of “fever of gold” and started demanding it, at the same time that they tried to get rid of “forged” money, acquiring real estates or diverse material assets, the phenomenon that nobody would wish to receive it, would be produced. Everybody would try to get gold or assets, before devaluation thereof in thousand or ten thousand times. And in that “disengagement” career, there will be people bearing those huge mountains of papers, having lost all their assets.
But for the time being, the support of confidence goes on, of the single faith, as unsteady psychological phenomenon with sociological expression. It is confidence in falsehood, but finally falsehood and one acts according to it. Economy works upon that basis. This phenomenon is so contagious that even those having clearly in mind that it is falsehood, “trust in the trust”, that is, that general trust as support will continue at least for a while. This phenomenon is as contagious as its opponent. When distrust begins, it becomes uncontrollable. For example, during the large disasters affecting that confidence basis, nobody wants to own money. This shows its absolute lack of real, intrinsic value in such cases. Different is the case of gold for example as nobody intends to give up during a crisis.
While that general trust persists, very valuable goods are delivered, with a lot of work involved, in exchange for those papers that contain no value, except the work of the already “brawny” worker who turns the handle of the issuer machine.
This collective illusion means that money has the support of a fantasy. However, the possessors of the huge mountains of money, the financial capitalists who are not able to lose time in thinking of “foolishness”, try to increase that money, they want profitability.
That capital is not only “forged” because of the lack of support already mentioned or because of the “true forgery”, but in many cases it is countable money, future bonds or diverse payment commitments. Largely, this means counting as real what is only anticipation of the value of the products that supposedly will be created and sold next several times
It is necessary to clarify that another thing different from the analysis of money itself as exchange instrument or to the issue about its lack of intrinsic value, is the fact of the accumulation of actual value, product of the previous increased value neither consumed nor applied to the new production cycle. That surplus value or over-accumulation of capital, when it is superior to all possibility of being applied with some success to the new productive cycle, also becomes something fictitious, in abstract numbers turning around in the financial path and not representing anything real. That surplus piece of value, being unable to fulfill its function within the capitalist system that is restarting a new production cycle ending up in the sale of production, finishes off self-destroying itself as value, it "vanishes", it turns into fictitious capital. And this shows up in the economic losses happening in the large periodic crises, losses not having as compensation the anybody’s earning, but it is the sole extinction of a value that in fact had stopped being like that. Crises act as the unavoidable “exoneration" that reality demands to the accounting books sooner or later.
But at this point it is necessary to make a halt to analyze the relationship between the financial capital as actual value arisen out from the cumulative increased value and money itself as element without any actual value. Because, firstly, two huge mountains of money appearing to be unconnected each other loom up before us. One real that is the increased value accumulated in the global financial capital of the world, as the outcome of the unpaid and non-spent portion of the genuine value produced by workers. And the other mountain is the unreal one, that is, the astronomical quantity of “forged” money that is the result of many decades of issuance without support all around the world. Those two mountains are very similar in size. But similitude is not coincidental. In fact, they embody two faces of the same thing. It is the same mass of money that is real and unreal at the same time; it is real on one hand and unreal on the other one. But Let’s analyze this better.
Let’s suppose that a State needs to build a great building. Then it hires a construction company. Once the work has been finished, the owner of that company goes to the "cash" to collect the money previously agreed on. The State pays him with "recently issued" money, recently taken out from the galley. Those notes, as we know, do not have any material, concrete support, since it is “outdated” to issue money with material support. Now “mental” support is in fashion. The new modality is to believe just because in money. Then the entrepreneur will receive it without problems and naturally. If the total value of the building is 10 million pesos for example, that entrepreneur will begin to recuperate his costs with the money received. Let’s suppose that he spent 5 million pesos in materials and in all the necessary elements, without including his workers’ wages. Then, he paid, let’s say for example, 2,5 million pesos to the group of workers whose effort generated the rest of the value, that is to say the other 5 million pesos. In that way, he obtains an increased value or profit of 2,5 million pesos. This is his new capital. It is an aggregate capital that is the outcome of a real increased value, it is authentic cumulative value, product of concrete work (without considering that this work has been carried out by his workers and not by him). But at the same time and as we have seen, it is “forged” money, because the State paid with "nothing", making up money, that is to say, it paid with an ownership title over a “mailbox.”
Based on that simple example, it is not difficult to keep up reasoning and to reach to the conclusion that the great mass of money making the financial capital existing in the world is real and unreal at the same time. During many decades, the States has started new issuances of flowing money permanently, as an inexhaustible slope, able to counteract and to overcome any inflation and applying it for the payment of their suppliers, the salaries of state employees and everything that a State needed or desired to spend although not possessing genuine resources, until a giant mountain of unreal value was formed. Most of that money, after flowing in society, ends up in the large capitalists' hands and constitutes the “substance” of the financial capital. It is a huge quantity of ownership titles over a nonexistent mailbox (that should be a great mountain of pure gold) and that the State delivered in exchange for labor and for valuable things.
All the money existing in the world, excepting the small fraction corresponding to the stored gold, cannot be any other thing than that. From what other place could money or any other type of exchange value that could exist in society arise, but from the original spontaneous creation by States? That issued money, after the first expense or payment honored by the State, keeps on flowing in the diverse routes of transactions, until the conclusion of its cycle in the financial capitalists' hands, as they are who finally accumulate the great mass of increased value turned into money, into an exchange value.
It is certain that if somebody has one fortune of many million pesos, generally speaking, he does not have the concrete notes but it is accounting money which can be found in his banking accounts. But those numbers appearing in the accounts represent an existing money that is flowing and that at any moment may be withdrawn. When the owner of that money opened his accounts, he deposited the concrete notes or some value representing them, as for example one check or another equivalent paper, which at the same time had the original funds in money. Checks without covers for example, are not useful, they do not "deceive" anybody. Money, in a way or another, has to be. For that reason, excepting the documents embodying future payments and which are usually considered as financial assets, in all the other accounting values, the concrete money, the notes are always behind. Although money does not have either support or value as we have already observed, the other papers paradoxically, have to have the support of money. Such instruments as well as the diverse accounting operations are only employed to make circulation easier, as it was the function of money in its origin, when it embodied gold. For such reason and to the practical purposes, we can go without the diverse accounting papers and values, managing ourselves as if money were the only flowing paper. The only thing that would be necessary to add to this, is the group of the papers that are promises of future money based on presumed earnings to be obtained whose consideration is important because it embodies a lot of fictitious value and because its fragility and volatility is a decisive factor during crises, as it is the first thing that collapses when its falsehood looms up.
The whole financial capital worldwide, beyond its fictitious nature, intends to obtain profitability, it searches for increase. But this is only achieved by financing production. The financial profitability depends on the increased value obtained by the industrial or services companies and always betting such earnings to be carried out with sales. It is the only “funnel” through which that enormous mass of money has to pass, to achieve its purpose. Such an investment may be direct, settling certain company or buying shares of stock of existing companies or indirect, financing the companies, either through the own resources or through deposits with a bank so that the latter one does it. Out of all this, a surplus is expected to be attained. The same will be profit (or dividends of shares of stock) if the investment was direct in the industrial company or will be financial interest if the investment in the production was indirect through a loan. In all the cases it is the surplus expected by the financial capital.
All the capitals, as one may appreciate bet to the same "number", to a promising increased value, expressed in the rate of profit of the companies and mainly they bet firstly to profit. But this is not always easy, because it depends on the sale of products. And as the over-accumulation of capitals existing in the world has to ignore any market survey and to be necessarily devoted to production in general, in order not to remain “idle” without obtaining any profit, it happens that the impulse becomes over-reacted and that leads, sooner or later to a situation in which it is produced more than it really may be sold, in a market where poverty is plentiful. Therefore, the markets of such products are flooded, taking place the well-known commercial crises or over production. These acts as the pins making those enormous bubbles filled with confidence and expectations explode. There the shares of stocks of companies fall, factories are closed down, nobody is able to honor debts entered into in chain, everybody loses money that “at heart” they did not have and workers undergo the worst evils.
The obstacle for the progress of production and for the improvement of life that capitalism means is not only present in the above mentioned mechanism of the restrictions of market, due to the crises of relative over-production but there is another factor added to it and its consideration is highly important. It is about Marx’s discoveries and that he called: “law of the dropping off tendency of the profit rate”.* This means that, as a result of the own development of industry, as the capital invested in infrastructure, big machineries, etc., is larger and larger and at the same time the smallest quantity of workers are hired thanks to the new capacities of machines, it happens that no matter how much they are exploited and taken out the whole possible increased value, work alive will be less and less, the unique supplier of aggregate value and of earnings (considering always the social productivity average) in relation to the total investment. Such situation makes the profit rate, that is the proportion of the obtained surplus regarding the total investment, be reduced. That, up to certain extent, intends objectively to discourage the uninterrupted development of the productivity of industrial machineries, hindering its progress towards the automation of production. If we imagine that machines, ruled by computers, could be able to do the whole job without the presence of any worker, those investing in it, except if exerting monopolist extortion, would obtain zero profit. That is, there would be no contribution of new value (work) to add to products, apart from the conveyed without modifications by dead work (or previous) accumulated in machines and in all the investment.
* Marx Carlos. El Capital. Editorial Cartago. Buenos Aires, 1974. Tomo III cap. 13, 14 y 15 (Marx Karl. “The Capital ”. Cartago Editorial. Buenos Aires, 1974. Volume III chapter 13, 14 and 15)
Perhaps the first ones doing it would obtain some profit owing to the exclusivity that would initially be a normal advantage of the largest productivity and not monopoly. But if such production resources started being widespread and all the capitalists of the same field acted in the same way, the price should start lowering, until the progressive increase of competition would come close to the zero profit. Undoubtedly this would not happen in reality, since before reaching that point, that purpose of investment would be discarded. Precisely, that would have happened for a time in certain measure and for that reason growth in such direction would be nowadays smaller than what it could exist if it were not for that factor, that is to say, for the fact that that type of growth is less and less unsuitable as far as the impeller engine of the capitalist production is concerned: the profit rate. The investment for the scientific and technological research was deviated towards other purposes in certain proportion, as inventing new products (computing for example), creating and renewing new necessities. More considerable earnings because of exclusivity, not only "normal" or temporary, but also monopolist are obtained, through the so-called royalties and therefore manufacturing rights.
But this “approach” is also temporary in the end, because once royalties have been sold or rejected and disregarded as such by competitors, the same situation is back again, shown up in the product depreciation and in the framework of the tendency to the automation of its production.
During the process guided towards the largest automation is when the factor pushing the development of the so-called state-of-the-art technology acts. That is, those leading that career obtain a larger profit rate regarding the average of the field during their clash, due to their largest productivity, largest performance with less working hours. These ones get more earnings than the average that it is the determinant of prices, at the expense of the smallest profit rate of those left behind, who have to work more to produce the same. But such situation is always transient because after certain time, the productivity level starts being matched and at the same time the gradual approximation to the limit of the production automation takes place. That provokes again the drop of the average rate of profit of the field, because of the shortage of living work available resulting from the process.
For that reason, capitalism has a double wall as an undefeatable obstacle for progress. It can not favor the development of two important elements for humankind: 1- the overabundance of goods and services to find all the needs. 2- automation of production that allows to diminish labor and to increase spare time. On one hand, we find the limitations of market (relative super production), that is, there are less buyers than needy people. And on the other hand, we find the limitation in production itself, in the unsuitability of those having the economic power, of developing the automated production “too much”, because that would mean not to have living work, the only place out of which the new value arises and the portion of this that is the increased value and the capital gained.
That law of the trend towards the diminishment of the profit rate, determined by the increase of the dead work or accumulated in the infrastructure and machines, etc., conveyed with no aggregates to the value of the product, has encouraged the capitalist investors to look for some way out to the critical situation that the depicted situation involves, that is to say, to offer some solution different from the very difficult struggle to enforce the own monopoly, as the only way of being able to sell at “good price”. One way out, the most “traditional”, is the super-mistreatment of the more and more reduced number of workers, subjecting them to torturing working rhythms. To make it easier, employers, with the aid of union leaders “aware of modern times”, push for the abolition of labor laws that favored workers to certain extent. But that is not either enough to counteract the effect of the reduction of the profit rate, due to the own biological limitations of the scarce employed workers. But the way out, although temporary, was finally found. Investments started being turned over the field of services more and more. Although such investors do not always understand properly the reason, at least they verify that there the profit rate is larger. And this is because the investment in constant capital or materialized work conveyed with no aggregates to the value of the product is minor in this field and wider is the human activity, the concrete job of workers which is what creates new value and from where the increased value or profit is taken out. This has led to think more and more about overflowing and odd services, creating new necessities, unbelievable in earlier times.
But services themselves on the other hand, are also on the road towards the largest automation. The supply of electric power, natural gas, potable water, telephones that capitalists have “snatched” from the State for their “efficient” exploitation, are services nearby to its total automation, where any human labor starts being reduced to more and more minor maintenance tasks. However, the effect of the decrease of the profit rate is counteracted here by the monopolist condition involved in having “captive” customers. It is not easy to superimpose ten or twenty wires and pipes of different companies. And when they carry it out, after destroying cities, they come to an agreement in being paid expensive prices. For that reason, the considerable earnings obtained by those investors mean that they found their way out under such monopolist situation.
Such business are highly crazy, as for example to make governments (easy to persuade because they are in charge of who are part of business) allow the private appropriation of roads or routes (that are already “automated”), forcing those who simply intend to go along them, to deliver their money, in exchange for a hypothetical preservation (that in general it was already paid when putting in fuel or when purchasing the vehicle, through taxes therein included for such purpose). And in short time, there will be “efficient” companies that will seize exclusively the drainage networks, installing “blocking” devices for those who do not pay, these devices will be paid of course by “consumers”.
As we can see, we are a few steps away from the private and “efficient” exploitation of the consumption of air. This is the capitalist way to which automation would be conducted, that is, the way to the fierce dispute to enforce the own monopoly, as the only way to obtain “reasonable” gains. If we imagine that the whole production without exception is 100% automated and with a capacity to generate an absolute and indefinite super-production of all the imaginable goods and services, if capitalism continues, the total absurdity that nobody could work, would be reached. Unemployment would also reach 100% and therefore goods and services could not be paid. These would only be consumed by the owner class. And as this class would also be the owner of all the lands, etc., the rest could not even begin again the history. From this situation to the necessary acceptance that the source of production has to be seized, becoming social property, there is one single logical step. For that reason, the only way where capitalism can continue is through brake and setback, avoiding any rationality and progress for human life.
We said that services were also in line with automation. In many areas, the application of new technologies makes customers start being aided on their own, by pressing buttons (automatic cashiers, electronic mail, automatic laundries of automobiles, etc.). This implies that a great deal of living work starts being unnecessary, increasing investments in facilities, machineries, on-line systems and all that favors self-service. Such situation starts leading by itself “to close” the way out that had been found to improve the profit rate (and to avoid hyper-unemployment), appearing again the “danger” of its total automation. And this time apparently, except the confrontation to enforce the own monopoly, there is no new way out to the capitalist investment, in its interest in keeping at least, the levels of gains rates, out of which it depends at the same time, the profitability of all financial capital. Due to this situation, it is not only added the above mentioned factor of the always harsh limitations of market or relative over-production, because of the more and more scarce purchasing power of majorities (with more unemployed, etc.), but although consumers are the wealthiest, there is also another limitation to which it is practically being reached and it is constituted by impulses themselves. The man's possible necessities are the new “obstacle”. There are no more necessities left to be created, except that “obligatory” transformations are made in the structure of the brain.
Necessities to be satisfied are outside the “scope” of capitalism. It is absolutely powerless to satisfy moral and spiritual necessities, of humility, fairness, of being interested in common welfare, of developing joint ideals and achieving a fairer and healthier social life. All that is the jurisdiction of socialism. There is not an ethical-moral, spiritual, of social responsibility, of justice, respect, altruism, frankness, rationality “market of values”. This is a market closed to the insatiability of capital, it is the bad and “unproductive” portion that man has in the structure of his necessities. The only ideal joint that capitalism may contribute to develop, are the ones referred to its vanishing, to its replacement for a fairer and more solidarity society.
We have to bear in mind that when saying: moral-spiritual necessities, we are not talking about one “couple” of more necessities that could be added to those thousand derived necessities, above discussed. If we keep in mind the structure of the human psyche, we find that those new thousand necessities only have to do, in general terms, with only one of the four fields of absolute fields of values or interests. What is economic is equal to what we understood as the individual material interest. It refers to what we had conceived as the apparatus of the personal welfare that is one of the four fields of values and interests making the integral happiness of human beings. This means that capitalism is only able to favor the satisfaction of the fourth part of the man's interests or necessities. And within this, as too much to a minority privileged fourth part of society. Therefore, this satisfaction would be reduced at 1/16 of humankind’s necessities.
Failure of conditions for the satisfaction of necessities and superior tendencies involved in capitalism, also explains the sometimes bewildering fact, that members of the bourgeois class who in spite of having their sumptuous mansions with all imaginable comforts, they are unhappy, anxious, depressed, “empty” inside them and ending up on many occasions committing suicide. This is due to the fact that happiness, beyond a minimum material security and the possibility of undergoing certain material enjoyments, depends, among other circumstances, on the rest of the essential and absolute necessities and motivations of man, that is to say, on all the elements that we have inherited from the social relationships in the life of a tribe, as for example: the interest in common welfare, the spontaneous will to help partners, to feel that one is equal to the other, to know how to share not only assets but also “moments” with earnest and disinterested friendships, to fight for group objectives and ideals and to work with a generous enthusiasm in it. As nothing of this is present in the typical life of one bourgeois, he only desires to improve his situation through the arithmetic addition of his money, with the mediocre reasoning that more money more welfare, being unforeseeable the end of that blind alley.
Those remaining fourth three parts of the motivational structure of the human psyche may also have in turn thousands of ramifications according to the different facts and conditions of their manifestation in social life and in human relationships. Those man's superior necessities, based on moral and spiritual elements, are not open to bribery for their own nature; they are tough elements for capitalism. But what is worst is that capitalism is tough with them. Its fundamental law that is the law of the social forest, forces to the selfish fight of all against all and this hinders its natural performance. For that reason, personal virtues, such as sincerity, humility, companionship, loyalty, social responsibility, generosity, respect, justice, are “goods” devaluated and ridiculed by the system, only acceptable and to certain extent, in the religious' sermons. Then, ideals of social or group welfare, together with all values contained there, are elements with no “importance”, whereas that fundamental law is enforced, where the most powerful, besides fighting to each other, are always paying special attention to join themselves and to squash the most defenseless. And regarding virtues, identifications and moral ideals of group, not all is the capitalism’s blame. Failure in this regard has to do greatly with the own unnatural characteristics of the large modern societies in relation to the life of a tribe, for which the human psyche was formed. Apart from certain regional, sport or national feelings, but in general without personal direct engagement, there is no authentic substitutes for the identification with the own tribe and/or with its sub-groups of this in the moral field, as well as to meet the emulation necessity and natural competition in that same moral field. But we have talked about this precisely in the former chapter and it is one of the most important aspects, which would be solved by applying the new nature of social and working activities. Even it would encompass a fundamental aspect of what is the own material welfare (that was the field where capitalism had certain meddling) for the fact of making labor pleasant, having enthusiasm and “wishes” to work and the increase of the working productivity would be added as a kind of “little extra”. But it is more and more clear, that all that is only possible under the foundation of socialism, of the power of the working class and provided workers themselves are the ones enforcing it. This, under the framework of having previously established the rules regarding production and distribution and according to their interests and to improving the life of society. If there was some intention in capitalism, it would only be one more than those known similar methods applied to increase the increased value and profits that are hated by workers when they have the minimum level of awareness of the situation.
To summarize it, only socialism, the government of the working class and worldwide may be guided strongly and without obstacles to satisfy all man's necessities and of the whole humankind, unsatisfied thus far. It is the only possible way to develop the production of goods and services towards the automation and the absolute overabundance that allow the man's freedom so that he is able to enjoy life and the practice of diverse activities that replace labor naturally, such as games, sports, art, science or what “man” wishes. Still working if he prefers that, since work would be all together at the same time; it would be an amusement; it would be carried out mainly with the motivation with which a work of art is freely performed. All this, at all times, under a framework of social health and fraternity of relationships, guaranteed by a happy childhood and a true humanistic education, focused on the development of personal virtues and of all moral-spiritual values that bolster social life and human relationships.
From all the above and according to our original interest and with it we definitively go back to the way leading us to the transformation of social life, it arises the existence of a unique working class or proletariat, as broadly majority class whose members share identical objective interests. That class and only that, has in its hands the possibility and the responsibility of carrying out the task. This task means no less than starting the true human history putting an end, at the same time, to what will be conceived in a future as the last stage of the incredibly terrible prehistoric process of human civilization.
We said that proletariat constitutes an essentially homogeneous and broadly mainstream class. The fundamental feature shared by its members is lacking rights over the sources of production and work and being subjected without distinctions to the capitalist conditions of exploitation and/or of desperation for not getting the living means. This real, objective situation is not a “creation” of Marxism. If Marx had endured a serious cerebral lesion during his childhood, capitalism and exploitation would exist anyway and it would also be certain that only the unity and the decision of all proletarians worldwide would be the only possible solution for the creation of a better and fairer world. It is completely unthinkable, from the objective existence of that situation, any other form of achieving justice that does not involve the leading role of the working class, that is, of those undergoing such an injustice. There can not be another way to enforce the conditions that allow living in a society that considers human necessities, if it is not with the prevalence of other values and interests, different from the capitalist gain.
Bourgeoisie, besides being very powerful, is a “crazy” class. And as it does not understand reasons, during the more and more questioned and “boring” advices of the religion (that inclusive have the “daring” of accusing capitalism qualifying it as “savage”), it only thinks of earnings and wealth, without caring the already reduced “moral cost”. There is not “sociological therapy” for the phobia to work and for the compulsive addiction to gains and the “easy life”, of a social class with all the power in its hands. For that reason, the pseudo-revolutionary poses are naïve when not ill-intentioned as they uphold that it is necessary to wait for a gradual transition from capitalism to socialism, based on a magic “humanization” of capitalism, until its switch to socialism. In order to accomplish it, one would have to sit down to wait that the powerful capitalists “switch to Marxism”. For that reason, only the working class is able to be persuasive, through its unity and through the exercise of the immense power conferred upon it, owing to that unity.
The importance of having clearly in mind the economic root of the reason why there is a single working class or proletariat lies in the fact that with it one is able to glimpse the true axis of the fight of classes, focusing the “center of gravity” of proletariat properly as revolutionary class. This consideration is also important for the appropriate development of the class conscience that is a first-importance element so that workers intend to change society.
Let’s see the reasons of the special role of proletariat belonging to the most developed countries. The main reason, for the purposes of our approach, is firstly the almost obvious fact where these workers are, lies the center of the basis of the economic power, the core of the realm over the preponderant production of the time whose possession is strategic in all senses and has a decisive global influence and aftermath in the whole periphery. And then, because following logics and the laws of historical materialism and contrary to what it appears to be on some occasions, it is there where the indispensable objective conditions for the successful change from the class power and from the economic system are more greatly fulfilled. This is this way, because limitations of capitalism are clearer in those centers, where the difference between actual production and what could really be produced to satisfy the necessities of the whole humanity, becomes wider and more notorious. With that concrete, blatant development of productive potentiality, the working class can manage production successfully, guaranteeing the clear improvement concerning the satisfaction of the necessities of society that is the essential reason why it should assume the social power. The system in force is already unable to promise that improvement, as it has been jammed and entwined in its own functional contradictions. For that reason, in this time and in societies with major productive capacity, those objective, material conditions are more fully accomplished in order to make production and its distribution more rational. Also there and under such reckoning, the qualitative aspect about what is more convenient to produce and to develop, according to the priorities of social and human necessities in general, is able to be evaluated and planned with certain easiness and realism. On the other hand, such conditions of previous development of the productive capacity of society make easy the possibility of reorganizing the general background of the labor activity, aimed at making labor more pleasant and human. All the above is something that the approach based on the single irrationality of making what is indicated by the profit or market rate, is not under conditions of being considered.
Another of the reasons about the importance of the role of workers belonging to the developed centers, is that they have in general a major education level and access to the knowledge of sciences. They are able to incorporate in a better way, the more and more general influence of the scientific conception of world. Its assumption in the peoples’ thought at least in our times, increases and increases according to the general development of society. During other times, the conceptions of science were not leading in the people’s way of thinking, apart from being more rudimentary and less convincing, reason why they were unable to be enforced. But nowadays, the more developed a society is, the more influence has in the way of thinking stemming from knowledge on man and Nature. This allows workers to be in better conditions of understanding their place in society and in history, as well as their assignment in it; that is, they have a larger basic capacity to counteract the daily ideological alluvium that intends to blockade something simple that is really clearly understood, as for example that there are no superior and inferior beings, but a group of smart who consume and waste but produce nothing, what forces to work more hours than necessary to satisfy them. On the other hand, that major awareness degree also means a favorable condition to face the starring role in the management of the new society with better scenery.
On the other hand, it is true that those workers compared with other proletarians of the world, are in a better economic situation; although not in the moral aspect for example as they are despised by the assessment of capitalism; they are the “fool losers” of the system. However, the condition of being materially better could be considered negative to those purposes and one could think that the fact of being something like “well-off” slaves of the royally palace makes them more conservative. Although this factor could influence, the same would be very limited. Apart from the oversize influence of the prevailing ideology reaching the last corner of society with a destructive and sometimes devastating effect on the workers’ conscience, there would not be another important reason making them more disinterested for changes regarding proletarians of the less developed countries, also very conservative according to the circumstances.
Economically, the proletarians of the most industrialized capitalistic societies are in fact more exploited taking into account the generation of wealth and earnings for capitalists and in a larger scale each day. The largest productivity in labor, possible thanks to the application of the state-of-the-art technological means in the different fields, makes those ones produce a lot more than they consume. They are in a word the dispossessed ones, the poor of their society because as in any other aspect, the social average is decisive of that condition. On being under worse conditions than the rest of classes or social layers, they acquire automatically the condition of a relative poverty but endured as absolute and only calmed down by the dreams and fantasies of wealth and individual safe. These desires are encouraged by values and ideals of “selfishness” that the ruling bourgeoisie generalizes in society and with what workers are deceived in their group as class. But beyond the false illusions, they are workers and the most probable and realist is that they keep up being like that. For that reason the facts, in the daily reality, have a lot less than what it belongs to them. They create through their work all the wealth that others enjoy and waste. Therefore, although not so poor if compared with the millions starving in capitalism, at least they are in the distribution of burdens. They are the “donkeys” receiving the whole weight above. They are compelled to work in a culture in which the assertive values enclose the memories and vices of slavery, where labor was not for free men. It was a dishonor to work for them. That was for animals and slaves. Is poverty this condition of having to do the whole sacrifice while the others only consume and satisfy their “scratching” impulse? Because it is certain that the same could be produced if all of them worked half day instead that one is compelled to work the complete day and the other "nothing". Who cares if one and the other have the same thing materially, when one undergoes the damage of the effort and of the waste of time in life and of freedom surrendered in intervals of many daily hours and the other enjoys absolute freedom? If instead of equaling them materially, as we have just done, we equaled them in freedom, one would have all properties at his service, while the other one would have nothing. That is poverty. It is for that reason that bourgeoisies, in the workers day, that they call “day of labor”, toast and celebrate for that inexhaustible source of their wealth that is the job... of other people. All this situation of basic injustice is indeed disgusting. And the remarkable strength of fights and strikes usually taken ahead by the workers of those countries, demonstrate that the fact of having a lot of patience and sometimes some “laziness” regarding their historical duty as class, does not mean that they like to be taken in.
But it makes no sense adopting as own the values unaware to the working class. "Safety" is not changing to the opposite gang to stop working and enjoying the other people's work. On one hand, because there is not much "content". Not all workers are bourgeois. Besides it is not necessary to stop working. Being a worker is very valuable. It is necessary that somebody works. It is necessary to reassert the own values of the class, of labor, of contributing to common welfare, of living with solidarity. The alleged "success" of changing to the opposite gang, would imply to obtain some material wealth, but it would also be to acquire the worst poverty of values. It is not necessary the "individual lifeboat" when the ship is very big and it has more than enough place for all the workers.
The joint ideals guided to achieve a new society are in fact not more difficult to attain than those individual illusions and dreams. The bourgeois values and ideals that are essentially those of “activate and consequent” selfishness, usually appear as the values of an entire culture or of a country. But we do no have to forget that the ruling class tends to generalize its values and sometimes they end up being adopted by the whole society, although for most workers that means nothing for their daily life. But there are other values and ideals which are very much worthier and pleasant, healthier for human beings and they correspond to the workers’ interests and life. These are not others than the man's absolute positive values, such as justice, abnegation, work contributing to everybody’s welfare, fighting for joint ideals. The bourgeois ideology laughs at all that.
Summarizing, the workers belonging to the most developed societies, just by having fairly understood their social condition and their historical duty, what implies the rejection to the appalling nature of values and deep-rooted selfish ideals, are able to exercise a reliable and safe leadership of the world power of workers. But if eventually they were not and leadership is exercised by workers of other less developed countries, what would constitute a more difficult way, at least they would always be essentially reliable as indispensable part for the success of proletariat in its historical mission of transforming the world.
It may exist certain fear that in the new society, in spite of the great advantages that were peeped, some elements considered positive were lost, mainly because one is accustomed to them. But there is no reason why this has to be this way. If this has happened before, it has been for the same causes stated above, about the spoiling of socialism, originated mainly by the political victory of a class of leaders that finally secured themselves in power, making the essential element defining socialism disappear: the workers' power of decision. That ruling bureaucracy, unfamiliar to workers, claimed even more and more such capacity of decision, exerting an overpowering presence that ended up holding back the operation of the authentic democracy that is the real, true socialism, the workers' direct will.
In order to avoid such situation, it is important that workers, with the aid of the knowledge of sciences, intend firstly the creation of effective and credible mechanisms concerning the possibility of its operation, guaranteeing the control and the enforcement of decisions of workers themselves. One of the tools aimed at ensuring that permanent control and enforcement of the workers’ will, could be for example, the simple measure of scheduling from time to time (once a month, for example), half labor day for the accomplishment of meetings, attended by specialists that contribute with information and help to think with realism. In such discussion forums, it would be evaluated how things are being carried out, whether it is necessary to withdraw or not somebody from his position, if it is necessary to modify the incomes perceived by certain function, etc. and where workers themselves take along with them their proposals and projects, before the compulsory attendance of authorities in charge of hoisting and executing agencies.
If such proposals had a more general reach, where it is clear that the rest of the workers have to participate in the decision-making, first of all it would appear to be necessary to fit out big sports ground to carry out more representative meetings. But obviously, besides not being enough to embrace millions of workers, it would be impossible that all addressed the meeting. However it is essential for all to participate and speak. One solution for this would be for example that right proposals and arisen out as commands of meetings carried out in the workstations, are submitted with other similar proposals originated in the rest of meetings of the region or of the working field, to be deliberated in higher levels. The putting forward of such proposals and deliberations about them, would be carried out in those higher levels, under the form of representative meeting’s agents, with the attendance of the own leaders, accompanied by their technical advisors and coachers, as well as by those objecting to the initiatives and/or having the function to object them. These debates would be witnessed through giant screens during the compulsory and normal meetings in the own workstations. Once the debate of the representative meeting has been concluded, discussions would continue internally in each factory meeting or workstation, the votes being finally issued. The affirmative voting in this last stage would be the only way through which an initiative would be considered as supported, being in such case a concrete political decision to be enforced.
Of course that initiatives could arise out from the different sectors of society or of any individual really. But in all the cases decisions would be taken on or rejected by workers themselves through the depicted mechanism.
All these statements should not be taken as the outcome of a great elaboration. It simply intends to show a possible direction that the study of the problem should take. And the latter indeed requires attention. Because what we have stated in the example, would not mean a useless waste of time and of productive capacity, as the bourgeois employer would conceive it “outraged”. It is the heart of socialism. If there is not a real and direct exercise of the working class’ power and will, there will be no socialism; there will be not any guarantee of justice and either of none of the essential elements defining it.
In relation to the sense, to the “idea” of the recent example, it is necessary to pay attention to the importance of some details, as for example that meetings are held in the place and in the working schedule that is, that they are a responsibility as part of the job. That would guarantee the real attendance in discussions and in decisions. Because it is clear that if for example, meetings are summoned unforeseeably, in another place and not during the working schedule, that is not realistic, it is a trick to democracy. If in such case “nobody” would attend, the calling rulers will ask: Why do they bother us, if they are interested in nothing and they just want to stay in their homes drinking and watching television? It is better to decide on our own! That would be deceit; it would be a sample of how to avoid labor democracy. After the tiredness of the labor day, it is natural to prefer resting and enjoying what is left of the day. The own psychological laws determine that this is preferred almost without doubting it.
It should be noticed that what underlies to that simple fact: the attendance or not to the meetings, is applicable essentially, to all the stages and levels of social and political life. Infinity of possible tricks exists to avoid the direct intervention of the working class in decisions. But at the same time, antidotes may be found, that is, each one of the counter-tricks to which workers and the true labor leaders will have to pay a lot of attention. Because out of creativity and of the adaptation to the own laws of human behavior ultimately, depend the emergence and the implementation of scientific methods so that that direct intervention and control of the working class work, but with autonomy in time and without decaying in any moment.
If that workers’ democracy really works, it can not exist the smallest risk of dropping what is positive, either anything will prevent from incorporating elements that improve life. In such case, the only things to be done would be those decided by workers. Hence for example, if they determine that churches have to exist and worship freedom or if they consider that the family should not be changed at all or if they want to form different political parties, they will simply make their will and this way with each aspect of social life. If for example the big and shining advertisement signs are “missed”, it may be decided to keep them and even becoming them more colorful, changing, if it is considered timely, their annoying messages for phrases, thoughts, poems or artistic paintings. Nothing considered positive for life may be excluded.
The only thing that workers will have to make sure of not losing and that if they lose, the whole triumphs would be slipped out of their hands, is the economic power, the control over production and distribution thereof, as well as the necessary political power and everything necessary to their condition of ruling class. In other words, they should learn of what bourgeoisie does today; they have to respect the wisdom of “experience”. The capitalistic class allows for example, the freedom of political parties, but provided they match the condition of not threatening seriously its economic power, its quality of ruling class. If we suppose hypothetically that in a capitalist country, inclusive in one in which it is assumed that there exists “a lot of democracy”, elections were won for wide majority by a labor party that proposes the expropriation and the control on the part of the workers, of the big factories and of all the fundamental means of production, at the time of being prepared in good faith to adopt such measures supported by vote and by the popular will, “democracy” would vanish automatically as swallowed by earth.
The point is that although capitalists have many “faults”, they are not so stupid. For that reason of “patriotism” and of “justified necessity”, it would appear immediately and with an institutional coordination being typical of the experience of power, the primary grounds and at the same time the last resource, always in force and in underlying state, of the ruling of one class: force. The own recent history demonstrates that the forecast of such an hypothesis has not failed yet.
Voting in the bourgeois system is useless for the purposes of proletariat. On one hand, we know about the many millions invested by bourgeoisie in its colossal electoral campaigns, introducing its candidates ("opponents") as the only options and making them sure, through the important advantage of being owners of the broadcasting companies, that the electoral decisions are "right". But if this reliable and successful method failed and the electorate's decisions were "wrong", the above mentioned resource would be missing. In view of that, workers have to pay attention to their organization as class, to their own fight methods instead of distracting their attention to bourgeois elections.
The capitalistic democracy lasts the time that is able to keep the success of its great ideological apparatus in its function of puzzling workers, in its undertaking of guaranteeing the improbability of “undesirable electoral results”. But as it may be appreciated, this way “anybody” is democratic. Because in a same way, pro-slavery ones for example, although having the resource of force and whip always within their reach, do not either used it if not necessary. Why do it in front of obedience and acquiescence? It was only used “exceptionally”.
Therefore, the working class needs to ensure for itself what is essential, its condition of leading class, the political power and control over production and distribution. The rest, while more varied and more colorful, the better.
But let’s analyze what democracy is. Looking it up into the dictionary and as everybody knows, it comes from the Greek demokratía: démos = people, kratos = authority, that is to say authority of people. But it is clear that apart from the primitive communism of the tribe, historically the real authority has always been in fact (with or without voting) vested in a minority class: the owner of the sources of production.
That original meaning of democracy has been distorted and it is usually understood as the opposite to dictatorship. But let’s bear in mind that if dictatorship is the way in that people exerts its authority over some antisocial individuals and taking into account the meaning of the word, it would keep on being a complete democracy. Anyhow, let’s accept for a moment the sense acquired by the concept and let’s perceive it, as it is currently understood, that is, as synonym of voting and ballots among freely-constituted political parties. But we will analyze this from reality, previously considering that there is a ruling class in society. Thus, from the time when that authority exists, there is already a dictatorship in absolute terms. That class "dictates" either in "hard" form (dictatorship) or “soft” (democracy), but it dictates anyway. They are the two forms by means of which the ruling class governs or exerts its power and sets up its regulations and its laws. Hence, it may exist bourgeois dictatorship or bourgeois democracy; but they are two forms of exerting absolute dictatorship. In both cases, bourgeoisie that is in fact the owner of production and of all working sources, decides over the economic life and consequently over what is most general and essential for social life. Then, when there exists a ruling class, we can say that a basic absolute dictatorship exists (or dictator condition if one wants to avoid “hard” as confusing element) and then dictatorship or relative democracy, as two possible forms of that absolute condition. This is equal than the relationship of the relative movement and rest of the matter, that are two forms of what the absolute movement is.
Now, if power is at proletariat’s hand, it happens the same but “the other way round”. The absolute power or dictatorship of the working class may also happen under the form of relative dictatorship or democracy, but without abandoning that absolute dictatorship that it is its condition of ruling class. Hence, when the power of the working class (or of any ruling class) is threatened, it adopts there the form of relative dictatorship, which is added to the basic absolute dictatorship. And when there is no risk (this would happen fully if the socialism triumphs in the entire world, disappearing the harassment of the bourgeois imperialism), there will be democracy and political freedom.
But there is something more. In full dictatorship of both types (absolute and relative), exerted by any social class, the same is regarding the rest of society. Because inside the class imposed by dictatorship, there is generally an internal democracy; that is, the members of that class discuss and solve democratically how to exercise that dictatorship for “outside”. This way, if proletariat is the class, we will see that the hardest dictatorships for outside, that is, for the remaining bourgeoisie, etc., is at the same time, or it should be, the maximum labor democracy, where all workers decide democratically, with the most possible highly developed methods, what has to be done in society or how that power of the class is used.
Lastly, even supposing this last situation that would be the worst “dirt” according to the bourgeois point of view, it would be still full democracy in objective and absolute terms if we refer to the original meaning and only valid in a word, of the democracy concept, that is the authority of people. But as we are no longer in the old pro-slavery Greece, where slaves, workers, were not part of that "people", we have to update the concept and make it a small addition: authority of the working people, of working class, wide majority of people and as it is the working class, is the class having moral authority to decide over the destination of the products of work.
However, as we had stated before, that absolute and relative dictatorship of the working class is not always necessary. This is usually necessary during the first times after power has been conquered, which obviously has to be consolidated; or also before the serious threat and external harassment of the imperialistic bourgeoisie, as it would be for example, the case endured by the Cuban socialism along its whole history. But as long as workers have consolidated the social power, being sure that exploitation and the working insecurity over them is not back again, political freedoms have to be enlarged more and more. Mainly (and this may also be carried out during threatening times for the power of proletariat) by settling other parties of the same working class that contribute elements to the joint discussion about what is more convenient for that class. This, until absolute freedom is attained, guaranteed by the normal and healthy development of man's natural values in the whole society, recovering the interest and the responsibility to contribute to the common welfare, in a framework of moral health, fairness and rationality. This gradual process requires sharpness to distinguish between “ghosts” and the true dangers over the ruling condition of the working class.
The following expressions are quite common: “the world is unfair”; “a minority of humankind keeps most wealth and vice versa”; “with all what is spent in weapons, starvation and malnutrition worldwide would be eradicated”; “nature is being more and more destroyed”; “humankind has lost values and ideals and has no direction”; “millions of children die for easily avoidable causes”. But all these thoughts, although indisputable as truths, are not concluded, “something” is missing. It is as if some strange power had severed them the end, the conclusion. Because if there exist, as it is the case, enough material conditions to avoid such situations, that means that the problem is somewhere, it appears to exist some obstacle. We have to find the cause or to identify the responsible person if there were one. Because those so certain expressions are in general followed at most, by ambiguous thoughts such as: “what a quirk of fate”; “what a world”; “how awful”; “how things are”. And after that ... closed affair.
But we can not do anything with that. What is necessary to say is that there is one responsible at sight. It is quite big and may be seen from any angle: the capitalistic system and especially the capitalistic class which rules the world, as well as all rulers and politicians that serve that class and the continuance of capitalism. That class manages the economy, which is the owner of the living means and decides over production and distribution, the economy not in words but in facts, is only interested in upholding and increasing its earnings and privileges. And we do not have to forget the latter one. The interest in gains that is the essence of the capitalist system can not be humanized, as it is not human. In order to humanize capitalism it should have to stop being like that. An entire absurdity.
Then, after identifying the causal agent, the responsible for worldwide mishaps, the following step is looking for the solution, is seeing how to defeat the cause of the problem. Fortunately the solution exists and it is the one explained and demonstrated in the science of historical materialism but if one looks for properly, it may also be found in common sense. This consists necessarily on the historical task of the working class, of the whole proletariat, by displacing that class worldwide from power and by setting up the new rules and the new values and ideals for life and society.
We know of the huge power, specially military, of the great bourgeoisie in its current imperialistic phase developed mainly to preserve its interests, privileges and monopolies, that is, its condition of ruling class worldwide and that it exhibits it periodically warning those trying to question such condition. But all that enormous power which is effective in front of enemies created by provocation and situated in certain territories, is useless in front of the real enemy with whom history has challenged bourgeoisie and that is everywhere and in all the places: workers.
Bourgeoisie has definitely other more “urbanized” methods to accomplish its goals and they really constitute a difficulty for the working class. But putting everything in the weighing machine, proletariat has potentially a several times superior level for the purposes of that fight. Although one can not be as trusting as to believe that certain self-defense capacity on the part of workers would not be necessary, one may suppose that even with peaceful methods, typical of the labor class, it would be possible to exercise successfully that enormous power. It is enough imagining certain development of the class conscience together with an accurate organization and guidance plus the full stability of purposes that allows taking ahead for example, a successful general strike, with mobilization, of all workers around the world and the incommensurable power lying in their hands will show up.
Let's observe that that imaginary fact, being actually something materially simple and easy assuming the indispensable organization and clearness of what one wishes, would be one step from the target. Because if that measure is carried out successfully, according to all that would imply, after a couple of assertive trials of the own power, it would only be necessary one more step and to solve for example, to undertake simultaneously all around the world and in the same day, the peaceful taking of Everything. Hence, on the following day, after having overcome some inconveniences arisen out from the unruly intent of bourgeoisie to control what is uncontrollable, it would start the task and the responsibility of changing the humankind's life.
We could go on imagining, since this is “easy”. With the principle of that great organization that allowed the successful general strike with mobilization worldwide, it could be possible even to set and to announce in advance the date of the world revolution. That anticipation would allow the proper distribution of tasks and responsibilities in workstations as well as the planning of production and its distribution, the currency change, etc. In view of this, bourgeoisie could do nothing in spite of that advanced situation. The own set irretrievably date for that great historical event, in which worldwide cards would be replaced to shuffle and hand out again, would cause the growing enthusiasm and the expectation of all workers around the world and it would be a sociological phenomenon with the effect of a “ball of snow” under continuous growth. That would provoke even certain dread in supporters of capitalism and defeatism similar to the event of the time lag of the Halley comet in 1910. It would be an unutterable phenomenon that would assure by itself the success of the great step ahead. People’s eagerness and the contagious certainty of the decision to be taken ahead that would have the more and more solid support of the general trust already transformed into full security, would reach a point where bourgeoisie itself would prefer not to offer major resistance.
All we have stated so far is summarized and we could even say “condensed”, in two known Marx’s phrases that only require some attention: “freedom of workers will be the work of workers themselves” and “proletarians of all countries, get joined”.
Out of the conclusions of our discussion, mainly keeping in mind that the world in many aspects is “smaller” and “smaller”, we can say that there exists the necessity of an international organization of proletariat whose fundamental feature is the lucidity of the goal, its stanch will undertake its revolutionary historical responsibility, on what the humankind’s future depends. Otherwise, if this alternative does not accomplish good results, we would only have to wait more setback for the next years, more social jungle, more worker’s defeat with loss of rights and tendency to slavery, many millions of unemployed people, increase of diseases generated by misery, major destruction of the planet, likely wars among bourgeois countries arisen out from the hostility of competition because of the limited markets, lots of starving and futureless children; in summary, more barbarism. And it is obvious that we have not changed the “subject” concerning the outline of the former chapter, we will have to forget all social happiness, enthusiasm, mental health, transformation of labor and of the social activities and any other “foolishness”. But there is not reason to be discouraged. There are two possibilities opened up for humankind.*
* Any “third position” is false or at least non-consistent. It is always an intention to prevent workers from enforcing their interests and their will. They are pseudo-socialisms that want that slaves “are better”, but they do not outline to end up with slavery. They do not want them to stop being slaves. But also, the tendencies that indicate the decisive and conditioning factors of the crises of capitalism that make the ways-out to improve or at least to maintain the levels of the gain rates start being closed, that it is what profitability of all financial capital depend on and where there is a lot of political-economic power, this leads us to suppose that options are change or not change. What it may be perceived is that we will enter into a bifurcation situation between two possibilities: socialism or barbarism; understanding barbarism as the worrisome future of the foregone appearance of brutality on the human condition, as it is the going back to slavery, with working days of 14 or 16 hours, without weekly rest and with hungry unemployed who will wait at the doors the fact of being lucky to replace the one that no longer endures the stress. It is also expectable the development of probable wars among monopolist interests of the bourgeoisies that control the respective States, where each one will try to overcome their crisis by eliminating competitors and by imposing this way their own monopolist condition. And this is not the result of pure imagination. It already happened in the tremendous wars of the most “civilized” societies of the XX century. If they have not repeated so far, it has not been for the absence of economic conditions, but largely for the existence of a common enemy that kept relatively together the world bourgeoisie, as it was the “threat” of socialism and of the revolutionary labor movements, today temporarily defeated by that.
All conditions exist to believe that the scientific socialism, based on the real power of workers, with all difficulties involved, as well as the later society without classes and without State, constitute a possible and realistic way. Firstly, this is confirmed by Marx's countless arguments, partially summarized here (inevitably incomplete).* But it is also endorsed by all we have discussed about the human psyche; not so much in what is referred to the affirmative content but mainly for what is deduced that it does not exist all that that the leading ideology has intended to make it believe, for example, with the concepts of “instincts” and “the individual's necessities”. Those concepts have always been furnished as one single unopened “package” and being understood that its concealed content (of course “antisocial”, “evil” and “selfish”) was discredited by Marxism that rebutted it fully. But once the package was opened up and the different elements overturned, one may find that its content was something relatively simple, without major mysteries and that on the contrary, it reasserted the convenience for life, as well as the realistic possibility of socialism and of the next society without classes. That really had to be like this, because the whole essential structure of the human psyche was formed during the evolution of the species, amid the natural primitive communism of the tribe. Therefore, coming back to a society where it is not necessary to live “supplied with stores and ammunition” to face up to the social jungle and that values work fully and there is no place for those having “preference” for other people's work, it would not be more than recovering one of the most important natural life condition, lost many years ago. It would be to meet again with a social atmosphere of moral and spiritual health almost unknown for civilization in its disagreeing history.
* Refer to Marx Carlos, El Capital, Editorial Cartago, Buenos Aires 1974; Marx C. y Engels F. Obras escogidas, Editorial Ciencias del hombre, Buenos Aires 1973; Lenin, V.I. Obras completas, Editorial Cartago, Buenos Aires, 1970. (Refer to Marx Carlos, “The Capital”, Editorial Cartago, Buenos Aires 1974; Marx C. and Engels F. “Picked-up works”, Editorial Sciences of man, Buenos Aires 1973; Lenin, V.I. “Complete works” Editorial Cartago, Buenos Aires, 1970.)
Finally and going back to the proposal of the previous chapter, about the transformation of the general framework of social activities and labor, adapting them to human necessities, as well as to the requirements of the productive development of society, we could consider it, from our historical scene, as a second important stage of social growth, after the general reorganization of the economic relationships with the consolidation and generalization of socialism. In such sense, the diverse advantages for social life that its achievement would have, as for example major enthusiasm for labor and also for life itself, would contribute to improve socialism and would help to clear humankind’s way towards the society without classes and without State, towards the community with moral, spiritual and rational self-regulation, that is, towards the achievement of what Marx conceived as the communist ideal.
This ideal, if we review what we have discussed timely on the hope of any primitive tribe, is the man's more natural ideal. It consists, among other elements, on the material security and the freedom in front of urgencies of the most basic necessities for all, as premises for the achievement of social happiness and the full completion of human beings. It involves the development of the mechanized and automated production, with the proper care and protection of nature, towards the overabundance of goods for the whole society, aimed at the progressive freedom of each one in front of the demands of labor, so that the attention is guided more and more towards the wide-ranging recreational, sport, educational, tourist, artistic, scientific activities. It is then, the most fruitful field for the individual's true freedom.-
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© Author: Alberto E. Fresina
Title: "The Laws of Psyche"
Title of the original Spanish Version:
"Las Leyes del Psiquismo"
Printed in Mendoza, Argentina
Mendoza, 14th July, 1999
Copyright registered at the National Copyright Bureau in 1988, and at the Argentine Book Camera in 1999, year of its publication.
Translated by Ana El kassir with the collaboration of Marcela Berenguer
Characteristic of the original copy in Spanish: Number of pages: 426; measures: 5.9 x 8.27 x 1 inch; weight: 1.2lb.
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