If your analysis is correct, that it is not 'private ownership per se' but an ethos that flows from it that is the problem then this changes a great deal of Marxist theory! But I think that if you read the Paris Manuscripts (The Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts) more closely you will see that you can certainly be loosely included in the piecemeal would-be radical reformers; I will leave it to you to find what Marx has to say about these reformers.
Marx is consistent in his explanation that private property is objectified labour-power appropriated by the capitalist from workers. In the Paris Manuscripts, Marx quotes Adam Smith to demonstrate that Smith acknowledges that the title to property is power (power over the working class); the title to property, Marx explains by-way of another bourgeois economist, is therefore an inherited right to power, just as the power of the aristocrats under Feudalism was inherited.
When Marx writes the Paris Manuscripts he has not yet formulated his theory of surplus value, which Engels in, Socialism: Scientific and Utopian, explains is the key piece in a scientific understanding of capitalism. In Das Kapital surplus-value plays a central role in Marx's explanation of the length and intensity of a 'normal working day' under capitalism; namely surplus-value is the source of profits which are necessarily the sole end for capital.
The division between wage-labour and private property is key to why the worker remains a slave to capital; this is the fundamental class division in bourgeois society! I will provide one quote from Das Kapital that demonstrates that it is private ownership per se that is inherently the problem. I suspect if you were to lay each page of Das Kapital out in a grid and throw a dart at it, you would, in all certainty, hit yet another quote that makes this relationship clear:
"The worker always leaves the process [of production] in the same state as he entered it -- a personal source of wealth, but deprived of any means of making that wealth a reality for himself. Since, before he enters the process, his own labour has already been alienated from him, appropriated by the capitalist, and incorporated with capital, it now, in the course of the process, constantly objectifies itself so that it becomes a product alien to him. Since the process of production is also the process of the consumption of labour-power by the capitalist, the worker's product is not only constantly converted into commodities, but also into capital, i.e., into value that sucks up the worker's value-creating power, means of subsistence that actually purchase human beings, and means of production that employ the people who are doing the producing. Therefore the worker himself constantly produces objective wealth, in the form of capital, an alien power that dominates and exploits him..."
So, Tom, when you were writing your blog to publish on MR Zine, did you really think that you had stumbled across something that would tear open a brand new way of looking at capitalism and the solutions to the problems of today? Are you expecting to lead a mass movement for accounting reform, or are you expecting that the bourgeoisie will see the inherent wisdom of your observation and change their oppressive ways?
I have found that being part of a Marxist organization in which reading, discussion and action play in integral role has been very helpful in forcing me to identify what Marx is really trying to say, rather than pulling out quotes to support a thesis created a priori. I know that such organizations exist in Vancouver. If you are genuinely interested in genuine debate of ideas and in the advancement of the position of the working class, I suggest you look around for one to join.
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Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Posted by Sandwichman at 9:26 PM