Philosophy, August 10th

“A thing can be a use-value without being a value. This is the case whenever its utility to man is not mediated through labor. Air, virgin soil, natural meadows, unplanted forests, etc. fall into this category. A thing can be useful, and a product of human labor, without being a commodity. He who satisfies his own need with the product of his own labor admittedly creates use-values, but not commodities. In order to produce the latter, he must not only produce use-values, but use-values for others, social use-values. (And not merely for others. The medieval peasant produced a corn-rent for the feudal lord and a corn-tithe for the priest; but neither the corn-rent nor the corn-tithe became commodities simply by being produced for others. In order to become a commodity, the product must be transferred to the other person, for whom it serves as a use-value, through the medium of exchange.) Finally, nothing can be a value without being an object of utility. If the thing is useless, so is the labor contained in it; the labor does not count as labor, and therefore creates no value.” – Karl Marx, Capital

“If machine production expands in each branch of industry at the expense of the old handicrafts or of manufacture, the result is as certain as is the result of an encounter between an army with breach-loading rifles and one with bows and arrows. This first period, during which machinery conquers its field of operations, is of decisive importance, owing to the extraordinary profits it helps to produce. These profits not only form a source of accelerated accumulation, they also attract into the favored sphere of production a large part of the additional social capital that is constantly being created and is always seeking out new areas of investment. The special advantages of this initial period of furious activity are felt in every branch of production when it is newly penetrated by machinery. However, as soon as the factory system has attained a reasonable space to exist in, and reached a definite degree of maturity, and in particular as soon as the technical basis peculiar to it, machinery, is itself produced by machinery, as soon as coal-mining and iron-mining, the metallurgical industries, and the means of transport have been revolutionized; in short, as soon as the general conditions of production appropriate to large-scale industry have been established, this mode of production acquires an elasticity, a capacity for sudden extension by leaps and bounds, which comes up against no barriers but those presented by the availability of raw materials and the extent of sales outlets. On the one hand, the intermediate effect of machinery is to increase the supply of raw material: thus, for example, the invention of the cotton gin increased the production of cotton. On the other hand, the cheapness of the articles produced by machinery and the revolution in the means of transport and communication provide the weapons for the conquest of foreign markets. By ruining handicraft production of them into fields to produce its raw material. Thus, India was compelled to produce cotton, wool, hemp, jute, and indigo for Great Britain. By constantly turning workers into ‘supernumeraries’, large-scale industry, in all countries where it has taken root, spurs on rapid increases in emigration and the colonization of foreign lands, which are hereby converted into settlements for growing the raw material of the mother country, just as Australia, for example, was converted into a colony for growing wool. A new and international division of labor springs up, one suited to the requirements of the main industrial countries, and it converts one part of the globe into a chiefly agricultural field of production for supplying the other part, which remains a pre-eminently industrial field. This revolution is linked with far-reaching changes in agriculture which we need not discuss any further at this point.” – Karl Marx, Capital

“A people’s cultural level at any time does not, therefore, provide a standard for measuring the quality of the state in which it lives. It is easily understandable that a people highly endowed with culture offers a more valuable picture than a Negro tribe; nevertheless, the state organism of the former, viewed according to its fulfillment of purpose, can be inferior to that of the Negro. Though the best state and the best state form are not able to extract from a people abilities which are simply lacking and never did exist, a bad state is assuredly able to kill originally existing abilities by permitting or even promoting the destruction of the racial culture-bearer.” – Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf

“But in addition to the material wear and tear, a machine also undergoes what we might call a moral depreciation. It loses exchange-value, either because machines of the same sort are being produced more cheaply than it was, or because better machines are entering competition with it. In both cases, however young and full of life the machine may be, its value is no longer determined by the necessary labor-time objectified in it, but by the labor-time necessary to reproduce either it or the better machine. It has therefore been devalued to a greater or lesser extent. The shorter the period taken to reproduce its total value, the less is the danger of moral depreciation; and the longer the working day, the shorter that period in fact is. When machinery is first introduced into a branch of production, new methods of reproducing it more cheaply follow blow upon blow, and so do improvements which relate not only to individual parts and details of the machine, but also to its whole construction. It is therefore in the early days of a machine’s life that this special incentive to the prolongation of the working day makes itself felt most acutely.” – Karl Marx, Capital

“These words are erroneous and mistaken, for we have already proved that there are two kinds of existence: one in the nature of which there is motion and which cannot be separated from time; the other in the nature of which there is no motion and which is eternal and cannot be described in terms of time. The first is known by the senses and by reason; the existence of the second – in the nature of which there is neither motion nor change – is known by proof to everyone who acknowledges that each motion needs a mover and each effect a cause, and that the causes which move each other do not regress infinitely, but end in a first cause which is absolutely unmoved.” – Averroes, The Incoherence of the Incoherence

“It is not free competition that is keeping these improvements locked up, but that form of monopoly known as property in ideas. As the expert points out, as soon as the patent expires and competition arrives, the improvements will be brought to light.” – Benjamin Tucker, Instead of a Book

“Take now another Twentieth Century definition – that of Anarchism. I have not the number of the paper in which it was given and cannot quote it exactly. But it certainly made belief in cooperation an essential of Anarchism. This is as erroneous as the definition of Socialism. Cooperation is not more an essential of Anarchism than force is of Socialism. The fact that the majority of Anarchists believe in cooperation is not what makes them Anarchists, just as the fact that the majority of Socialists believe in force is not what makes them Socialists. Socialism is neither for nor against liberty; Anarchism is for liberty, and neither for nor against anything else. Anarchy is the mother of cooperation – yes, just as liberty is the mother of order; but, as a matter of definition, liberty is not order nor is Anarchism cooperation.” – Benjamin Tucker, Instead of a Book

“It is the characteristic of privilege and of every privileged position to kill the mind and heart of men. The privileged man, whether politically or economically, is a man depraved in mind and heart. That is a social law which admits of no exception and is as applicable to entire nations as to classes, corporations, and individuals. It is the law of equality, the supreme condition of liberty and humanity. The principal object of this treatise is precisely to demonstrate this truth in all the manifestations of human life.” – Michael Bakunin, God and the State

“There were divers other minute circumstances to be observed, but, all of them of small importance and concern to the truth of history, though’ indeed nothing that is true can be impertinent: however, if any objection can be started to the truth of this, it can be no other, but that the author was an Arabian, of a nation but too much addicted to falsehood, though’ as they are at present our enemies, it may be supposed, that he has rather failed than exceeded in the representation of our hero’s exploits: for, in my opinion, when he had frequently opportunities, and calls to exercise his pen in the praise of such an illustrious knight, he seems to be industriously silent on the subject; a circumstance very little to his commendation, for, all historians ought to be punctual, candid and dispassionate, that neither interest, rancor, fear, or affection may mislead them from the road of truth, whose mother is history, that rival of time, that depository of great actions, witness of the past, example and pattern of the present, and oracle of future ages.” – Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote

Published by jim

Curator of things...

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