Cork wrote:Tucker thinks that the only legitimate way to make a living is through labor: either selling the product of your labor or selling your labor itself (he defines the latter as wages). He believes it's unfair that some people have to make a living through labor while others are able to make a living by loaning out capital. He wants a world where everybody has to make a living through labor (whether selling one's labor or selling the product of one's labor), instead of "usury." At least that's how I interpret it.
IMO, the fact that he doesn't differentiate the two in the quote is simply coincidental. Either that, or the sentence might have just sounded too long and awkward if he had done so.
I'm pretty sure that Tucker is fine with the owner of capital goods employing the laborer. It's heavily implied in the quote, because he's responding to a guy who thinks only labor-owned firms are legitimate. In addition, it's basically much what Carson says in those quotes I gave you.
I have no doubts that Tucker meant what you say. I know he was actively denying labor-owned firms as the only way. But I think that if you examine the whole picture, he painted himself into a corner. He "didn't do the math" so to speak. In fact, let's look at it like a system of equations:
Tucker wrote:"Whatever contributes to production is entitled to an equitable share in the distribution!" Wrong! Whoever contributes to production is alone so entitled. What has no rights that Who is bound to respect. What is a thing. Who is a person. Things have no claims; they exist only to be claimed. The possession of a right cannot be predicated of dead material, but only of a living person. "In the production of a loaf of bread, the plough performs an important service, and equitably comes in for a share of the loaf." Absurd! A plough cannot own bread, and; if it could, would be unable to eat it. A plough is a What, one of those things above mentioned, to which no rights are attributable.
This "equation" clearly emphasizes that non-human capital does not have a legal claim to own the bread. Only the human factors, the "who", in production can own the product.
Tucker wrote:Oh! but we see. "Suppose one man spends his life in making ploughs to be used by others who sow and harvest wheat. If he furnishes his ploughs only on condition that they be returned to him in as good state as when taken away, how is he to get his bread?" It is the maker of the plough, then, and not the plough itself, that is entitled to a reward? What has given place to Who. Well, we'll not quarrel over that. The maker of the plough certainly is entitled to pay for his work. Full pay, paid once; no more. That pay is the plough itself, or its equivalent in other marketable products, said equivalent being measured by the amount of labor employed in their production. [here Tucker makes a common mistake of assuming the LTV applies to previous applied labor as opposed to the labor it would take now to produce it but it's neither here nor there - nf]
He again emphasizes in the "equation" that if you produce capital (a plough in this case) you should be paid for the "work", i.e. the labor that went into producing the plough. Tucker has his socialist hat clearly on here. He is emphatically against capital receiving money for being loaned. I think this equation gives an out for capital to receive some reward in the phrase "on condition that they be returned to him in as good state as when taken away". If the capital is money, then clearly money can always be returned in the same state but time-preference demands a premium. It's my theory that this time-preference and other such considerations (e.g. uninsured risk) will converge on the freed market "profit" that capitalists could expect anyway ceteris paribus
. But that's beside the point for now...
Tucker wrote:Ruskin next shows how this unjust transaction may be changed into a just one:
"If James did not lend the plane to William, he could only get his gain of a plank by working with it himself and wearing it out himself. When he had worn it out at the end of the year, he would, therefore, have to make another for himself. William, working with it instead, gets the advantage instead, which he must, therefore, pay James his plank for; and return to James what James would, if he had not lent his plane, then have had - not a new plane, but the worn-out one. James must make a new one for himself, as he would have had to do if no William had existed; and if William likes to borrow it again for another plank, all is fair. That is to say, clearing the story of its nonsense, that James makes a plane annually and sells it to William for its proper price, which, in kind, is a new plank."
Now Tucker freely praises the suggestion that loaned capital be paid for the used up inputs and returning the unused. This is exactly the proper thing. Now a "plank" not being a "plane" there is going to be some exchange-value involved. I would guess, if my theory holds, that the plank would fetch on the market something that would be more valuable enough that it would contain a time-preference element (making it acceptable to James as sufficient payment).
If the men who oppose wages - that is, the purchase and sale of labor - were capable of analyzing their thought and feelings, they would see that what really excites their anger is not the fact that labor is bought and sold, but the fact that one class of men are dependent for their living upon the sale of their labor, while another class of men are relieved of the necessity of labor by being legally privileged to sell something that is not labor, and that, but for the privilege, would be enjoyed by all gratuitously. And to such a state of things I am as much opposed as any one. But the minute you remove privilege, the class that now enjoy it will be forced to sell their labor, and then, when there will be nothing but labor with which to buy labor, the distinction between wage-payers and wage-receivers will be wiped out, and every man will be a laborer exchanging with fellow-laborers. Not to abolish wages, but to make every man dependent upon wages and secure to every man his whole wages is the aim of Anarchistic Socialism. What Anarchistic Socialism aims to abolish is usury. It does not want to deprive labor of its reward; it wants to deprive capital of its reward. It does not hold that labor should not be sold; it holds that capital should not be hired at usury.
Do you think he means every man?
Shawn Wilbur in another discussion mentioned that:
Tucker talked about making everyone dependent on wages. That's in many ways classic Proudhonian mutualism, where there are potentially hierarchical relationships, but everyone is involved in ways that balance each other out. If I'm the "boss" here, I'm also the "employee" over there.
I replied that "two wrongs don't make a right" since I was attacking at the time the autonomy aspect, but putting that aside, think about it practically. Do we really think that Proudhon and Tucker wanted people to have two or more jobs? I find that hard to swallow as the solution to this equation. I suppose it could be changed to say that some of us will be employers and others employees and that as a society it balances out, but that seems to contradict the "every man wages" idea...that is unless employers are not to be equated with capitalists...I certainly use the term that way (reserving the word manager for non-capitalist "bosses") but that doesn't mean Tucker or Proudhon use my semantics. Remember that being a boss and being a capitalist aren't necessarily the same thing. It's only the capitalist we are concerned with here. They don't really make it clear.
So like any system of equations, to solve it you need an answer that fits all equations simultaneously without violating any part of them. Can this be done? Bellamy and Tucker give two answers.
Bellamy via Tucker wrote:"Workmen will not receive a just proportion of the product of their labor until they receive the whole product. In order to receive the whole product, they must receive the profits which now go to the employers, in addition to their wages. In order to receive the profits which now go to the employers, they must become their own employers. The only way by which they can become their own employers is to assume through their salaried agents the conduct of industry as they have already (in this country) assumed the conduct of political affairs. The president, governor, and mayor do not make a profit on the business of the nation, State, or city, as employers do upon the industries which they manage. These and all other public officials receive salaries only, as agents, the business being conducted for the benefit of the people as the principals....As soon as the people wake up to the realization of this fact, there will be no labor question left. There will be no ground left for a dispute between workmen and capitalists, for every one will be at one and the same time employer and employee..."
To Bellamy, "employers" in this quote is in fact "capitalist" because he doesn't seem to think they get wages but rather the profit from the product, just to be clear on terms. By the way, the underlined sentence is about the most straightforward and accurate thing said in all these quotes and is something that by itself Tucker agrees with ("the natural wage of labor is its product"). It is in fact the solution we are trying to solve for.
It's the "they must become their own employers" part that gets Tucker steamed. Note that I've expanded your earlier parenthetical of [in cooperatives] because I think it hides the larger point and somehow implies something without outside capital ever being involved. If capital agrees to pay the labor upfront so they can live while they wait for a product he is prepaying as a customer for the product. The capitalist by paying "wages" is like someone buying something on layaway. They get a piece of the product with each paycheck.
So what's the difference then? All that to say it's just some semantic thing? No. The difference is in how people govern their work. Profits are assumed in economics to go to whoever is "the firm". The firm is whoever governs the work, whoever is the agent of responsibility. If you accept that labor should get the whole product then you commit yourself to 1) labor getting the negative product (used up inputs) not just the positive product (the output) and 2) the negative product implying responsibility
means that you should govern the work to be inline with the legal reality. Payment for the labor is fine but it must not be governed in its execution by the person paying labor or labor is not getting the whole product. In fact, only human beings through action can be responsible, so you couldn't reverse the situation if you wanted to. Oh you might legally do so and that is what capitalism today typically does. But de facto
, you can't and so it's the legal that needs to get in line with fact. How you get there isn't important, co-op, federation whatever. What matters is getting to full legal consistency of that underlined sentence.
Tucker wrote:When this struggle comes, the weak point in Mr. Bellamy’s position will be located. I point it out in advance. It lies in his enormous assumptions that laborers, in order to receive the profits which now go to the employers, must become their own employers, and that the only way by which they can do this is to assume through their salaried agents the conduct of industry. The Anarchistic solution shows that there is no such must and no such only. When interest, rent, and profit disappear under the influence of free money, free land, and free trade, it will make no difference whether men work for themselves, or are employed, or employ others. In any case they can get nothing but that wage for their labor which free competition determines. Therefore they need not become their own employers. Perhaps, however, they will prefer to do so. But in that case they need not assume the conduct of industry through their salaried agents. There is another way. Any of them that choose will be enabled through mutual banking to secure means of production whereby to conduct whatever industry they desire. This other way, being the way of liberty, is the better way, and is destined to triumph over Mr. Bellamy’s way, which is the way of authority and coercion.
Here Tucker, in attempting to solve his own system of equations, makes some errors. First, he assumes that ownership of the means of production is what makes you the firm (thus thinking that getting some free money will let you be the boss). The fact that he believes this is going to allow him to take for granted that capital can govern the operations as the responsible agent. He's already
decided in capital's favor by believing this myth. And refer back to Equation 1. This part of the answer can't satisfy that equation.
And 2) He simply thinks (probably due to his Stirnerism), "there is no such must and no such only". Here he is doing what many do with the issue of rights comes up: they confuse descriptive with normative and normative with meta-normative. As Tucker will tell you, there is no must. But that's the "descriptive" realm. A right to your life doesn't magically stop the bullet of someone who wants to shoot you. That's true enough. But that doesn't mean there isn't a normative
principle that says we shouldn't
shoot someone. Tucker might even go on to say everything is morally equal and that morality is a spook. I'll grant him this for the sake of argument. But the right to autonomy is really meta
-normative as described in the ethical theories of Den Uyl and Rasmussen:
John Hasnas wrote:eudaimonia as an activity, not as a passive state of being. For them, human flourishing consists in the process of realizing one's potential as a human being by correctly integrating ends that are valuable in themselves into the inclusive end of living rationally or intelligently. Human flourishing is not merely living in accordance with virtue, but doing so through the effective exercise of one's practical reason; eudaimonia is not the state of having actualized one's potential, but the process of actualizing one's potential through one's own efforts.
According to [Den Uyl and Rasmussen], this implies a qualitative distinction among goods. Unlike possessing necessary material resources, being educated, being free from discrimination, and having adequate health care, "self-directedness or autonomy is not merely the necessary means to human well-being. Rather it is an inherent feature of those activities which constitute the human good that is human flourishing." Although many human goods may, in fact, be necessary for human flourishing, all but self-directedness or autonomy are conceptually separable from it. However, as a constitutive part of flourishing, self-directedness or autonomy is not merely "an activity (a virtue) which is an end in itself. It is . . . nothing less than the very form, the only form, of the natural end of man."
Den Uyl and Rasmussen assert that this gives self-directedness or autonomy a pre-eminent place among human goods. To flourish, individuals must exercise their practical reason to select the package of human goods most likely to lead to their self-perfection given their potentialities and circumstances. Hence, these goods are subject to the balancing and trade-offs of the dictates of practical reason. However, as a constitutive element of every individual's self-perfection, self-directedness or autonomy must always be present for one to flourish. In other words, in order to flourish, one must be self-directed or autonomous regardless of one's potentialities and circumstances. Hence, unlike other human goods, self-directedness or autonomy is not subject to the application of practical reason. This difference between self-directedness or autonomy and other human goods forms the basis of Den Uyl and Rasmussen's distinction between the meta-normative and normative realms.
My argument is easy to destroy. Just disagree with my ethical beliefs. I won't hide the fact that it relies on them. Just deny that we have the meta-normative right to self-determination and autonomy in the execution of our affairs. If contracts can contain within their very essence the obligation to obey in order for the contract to remain valid (it's this that makes it different from conductor/cellist etc.), as opposed to simply the obligation to complete the contract, what does that make them?
To return to Tucker, I think his two mistakes are fatal to solving the equations for the value "the natural wage of labor is its product" and Bellamy, on the other hand, gets an A from the math teacher (Aristotle probably, Stirner not so much). When Tucker says it's ok to "buy the labor or products of others" he can only avoid contradicting liberty if he means the distinction to be "intangible services or tangible goods" and not "governed work or ungoverned work" (He might have consciously meant the latter. I don't deny that). Does that mean that mutualism is opposed to wages? Well, mutualists have historically been, more so than other market anarchists, concerned with "the natural wage of labor is its product". So that puts them at least closer to it, if not all the way there historically
. I don't think Tucker succeeded in taking himself all the way (because of his egoist beliefs or whatever) to where he wanted to go. When the early drafts of the AN-FAQ said Tucker "logically entailed" worker control, I think they saw (or at least felt the tension in) this system of equations more than simply wishing Tucker was a communist.
I'm a Bellamy. I can't figure out how "mutuality and reciprocity" can be foremost without autonomy in
the "mutuality and reciprocity"