Like so much else that dominated the twentieth century, Marxist “economics” was so ridiculous that nobody even talks about what it REALLY said. For example, Marx dealt with the “diamond-water paradox” by saying that if a person is dying of thirst in the middle of the desert, water is NOT more precious to him than diamonds.
The diamond-water paradox was an old challenge to supply and demand theory which said that, if diamonds are worth more in supply and demand terms, why is it that a person dying of thirst in the desert would rather find a ton of water than a ton of diamonds? Obviously, the value of anything follows supply and demand, and supply and demand depend on location and circumstances. Your demand for water is greater if you are thirsty, and it is absolute if you are thirsting to death and there is no water within a hundred miles of you.
Marx said that location and circumstances had nothing to do with the value of anything. The value of anything, said Marx, was the “objective labor time” involved in MAKING it. This is called the Labor Theory of Value. So the value of diamonds and of water is equal to the labor time each takes to produce. So if you stumbled on water in the desert, the water had no economic value.
This idea of value made some problems for Communist planners when it came to how many resources they should allocate to transportation. If goods are worth no more at one end of the railroad track line than at the other end, why build the track at all?
And, of course, this Labor Theory of Value REALLY screwed up statistics on economic growth. The hundred cars you build the first year are enormously costly. As mass production increases, each one costs less, at least in a market economy. But in a Marxist economy, all the later cars are just as valuable as the first ones.
And, of course, according to the Labor Theory of Value, there is no economic progress. If one farmer can feed a hundred Americans well and it takes seventy-five Russian farmers to feed twenty-five non-farmers, and both groups work the same number of hours, only the objective labor time, the hours, count. So the two groups are equally productive.
One should laugh out loud at “Marxist economics” the way we do at a “magician’s” spells, but many Western European scientific organizations declare Marx to have been a great scientist.
This objective labor time infested our society before Marx was born. Certainly Thomas Edison was no Marxist, but his “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration” is the same Marxist insanity. He wanted people to think that he did all his inventing because of his VIRTUE, which showed how wonderful a guy he was, rather than because he happened to be born smart in the right things at the right time. So if anybody else had been willing to work as hard as he did, they too would have invented thousands of things, including the electric light and the phonograph. There just had never been anybody as virtuous as Thomas Edison in all of history before.
Another example of this kind of thinking is the idea that I benefit from fellow citizens who are good citizens “because they vote and pay taxes.” I agree that if they pay taxes it is probably good for me, because the government is going to get that money and if it doesn’t get it from them it will get it from me. But VOTE? Why in heaven’s name should I be grateful to someone else for watering down my vote with his own? If he votes my way, fine. If he votes the other way, I am supposed to admire him because he VOTED.
But the real kicker in this is the labor theory of value when it comes to things like “doctors and lawyers.”
People equate these two fields of endeavor, but one is productive occupation and the other is not.
Doctors are useful to me. At best, all the efforts of all the lawyers are a zero sum game. In fact they are not only valueless they clog up the system so much that it is estimated that each of the two and a half million lawyers in America cost us a million dollars a year apiece by impeding every kind of actual production.
There is not the slightest shred of evidence that good lawyers produce ANYTHING. Only a good Marxist or some other kind of idiot could say that forty years of detailed legal experience and knowledge produce anything anybody wants. This crappy reasoning is contained in the idea “You can buy justice.”
No, you can’t buy justice. You can buy ACQUITTAL, and it is scary to have people serving on juries who say that acquittal is the same thing as justice.
A lawyer who gives you a long, impressive spiel about cases and Latin phrases in case law is exactly like an ancient Egyptian priest who could recite the complete service for making the sun come up in the morning. All the effort, all the time, all the experience and he is less useful than a child taking out chamber pots.
And Marx would say that chamber pots should still be used. They required objective labor time, you know.
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