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Reply #172: You haven't answer the question: which of us is expropriating from the others? [View All]

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eallen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 11:31 PM
Response to Reply #128
172. You haven't answer the question: which of us is expropriating from the others?
The reason I posed my question is precisely that it brings in a vital issue of economics that Marxists generally do not handle well: risk. Where I work, different people doing essentially the same kind of work and enjoying comparable levels of renumeration -- modulo how they each individually value cash vs. stake -- have chosen different levels of risk. As a consequence of that, some will do significantly better than others. Which group does better depends, of course, on how the venture goes.

If the venture succeeds, the standard Marxist answer is that those who took the larger risk somehow expropriated the labor of those who chose otherwise. If the venture fails, as most do... well, I don't know that Marx much addressed that.

I'm less concerned about who "deserves" what reward in some ideal moral framework than I am in encouraging risky ventures. Technological and economic progress depends on lots of business ventures being tried, most failing, and the few that succeed thereby proving the technological and business processes that were tried in that market, and thereby providing the basis for the next generation of ventures. I know how capitalism encourages such ventures. Most Marxists don't realize the extent to which their own notions of what is allowed and what is verboten would dampen this.

The one normative value I have proposed relevant to this economic discussion is my desire for economic and technical progress. I don't have a strong measure of who deserves what. Unlike the libertarian, I have no moral principle against taxing those who succeed in such ventures, or what they would pass the wealth thereby acquired onto their progeny, etc.

So again, where I work: which group of employees is expropriating from the other? Those who chose to risk a lot on the venture? Or those who chose to risk little? It seems this should be an easy question to answer, given the emphasis Marx placed on his notion of expropriation.

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