Law of Value 5: Contradiction: Rebuttal

For the final entry, written by me, I will be writing a response to “Law of Value 5: Contradiction” by “Kapitalism 101”.

Property, exchange and violence

Why is it that people must sell their labor in the market for exchange value, for money?-Because they can’t produce their own means of subsistence for themselves. This is a distinct aspect of a capitalism. In previously existing modes of production the majority of people had use of some sort of means of production for themselves which they used to make most of the things they needed.

Yes in previous means of production people could, to a greater extent, produce for themselves but producing for yourself was far more simpler. You did not need to know how to build a car, wire electricity, code or millions of other skills. The division of labor does not just allow us to build more advanced goods but more of them. A lot more. A lot more cars, computers, homes and everything else we want need and desire.

Over the course of a very long, violent, historical process called “Primitive Accumulation” these means of production were privatized and became the possession of a group of people called capitalists.

No. Capitalist’s are just exceptional at saving, innovative and have major contributions.

There is an underlying coercion already at work in the “free market”. And this coercion requires some threat of violence to enforce it whether it be a state, private military, or hired thugs. Violence was necessary to privatize the means of production and it remains necessary to enforce all of the legal aspects of property.

What coercion? In a free market all exchanges (save a situation involving life and death) are voluntary and all coercive exchanges are illegal and protected against by the state. To the claim violence is necessary to privatize the means of production well this claim is ridiculous. The means of production were privatized voluntarily or were from the start private as they were built by the capitalist (of course their are, few, instances when violence was used and are condemned by supporters of the free market). In respect to the equally ridiculous claim that violence is required to enforce private property for this proposition to be true we must expect that without this force violence would be used on private property but as we live in a civil society, as a general rule, that almost certainly would not happen.

 Labor Power

In order for people to buy their subsistence in the market they have to sell something else.

Define “subsistence”. If you mean higher wages for less work then I agree (edit the Y axis to the right side for the second data seris).

This is why value is an expression of labor time.

It is not.

Wages are set by the cost of our subsistence. They depend on the cost of food, housing, clothes, transportation, etc.

Wages, like all prices, are set by supply and demand.

You could be paid $5 an hour yet produce $20 worth of commodity value an hour. If this happened you would be being exploited. In fact your rate of exploitation would be 400%.

No because the worker does not produce value.


Exploitation explains a puzzle about capitalism: the existence of profit.

No. No mystery. As I stated in the first article profit is earned “by forgoing current consumption, by taking risks, and by organizing production.”

Yet profit can’t be made through mere buying and selling. This is because buying and selling is a zero-sum game

No it is not. If someone believes they would loose a exchange they would not partake in it.


The more the workers are paid in wages the less profit the capitalist makes. The more profit the capitalist makes the more impoverished the working class. (This isn’t because capitalists are bad apples. It’s because they personify the interests of capital.)

Capitalist’s will pay higher wages in order to increase production….

In the past 30 years, as neoliberalism broke down barriers to the free flow of capital, massive sums of wealth have been consolidated into the hands of a smaller and smaller class of uber-capitalists, while the standard of living for the rest of the world has steadily worsened.

Out of curiosity where are you getting this from? As written in a article for FEE “New research from the Peterson Institute for International Economics finds that global median income doubled between 2003 and 2013. Over the same period, global income inequality declined.

Renowned economist Xavier Sala-i-Martin finds that absolute poverty rates have fallen around 80% and “measures of global welfare [have] increased by somewhere between 128% and 145%” since 1970.”

The Labor Process

But behind the machine lies a social relation between ourselves and our own creative powers that have been taken from us, alienated from us, standing over us, dominating our work.

From EconLib “Marx’s notion of alienation rests on a crucial but shaky assumption. It assumes that people can successfully abolish an advanced, market-based society and replace it with a democratic, comprehensively planned society…Here is the greatest problem with Marx’s theory of alienation: even with the latest developments in computer technology, we cannot create a comprehensively planned system that puts an end to scarcity and uncertainty…But if comprehensive socialist planning fails to work in practice—if, indeed, it is an impossibility, as we have learned from Mises and Hayek—then we cannot be “alienated” in Marx’s use of the term. We cannot really be “separated” from our “potential” to comprehensively plan the economy if comprehensive planning is impossible.”


Though an increase in machinery allows capitalists to better exploit workers (and to appropriate value in competition as super-profit) machines can’t create value.

Correct because machines (nor labor) create value.

As more and more capital is reinvested in machines and raw materials and less and less on labor, the actual value-creating substance of society is crowded out.

it never existed to begin with…

Well that is it for my articles in the seris. You probably noticed my responses were of lower quality in the last two articles and I admit to that. It was because I was just done with this.

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