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Currency backed by labor

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Post 19 Jul 2012, 11:56
Why couldn't this be implemented in the Soviet Union?

The gold standard kept the American currency relatively leveled, but that system feel short because of lack of gold.

If you have a currency that's back by labor, they'll never lose their value, thus ending the inflation dilemma.

This is to include, but not limit to, either labor vouchers, labor notes/currency, time-stamp currency, or other such currencies.
Post 19 Jul 2012, 19:49
I don't know much about this, but as I understand it, work vouchers are the typical proposals of utopian socialists.

Engels criticized on such proposal, and this was a topic very recently:


Of course, you're saying something slightly different, in that currency be tied to value in a socialist economy, and this might need its own analysis.

If you have a currency that's back by labor, they'll never lose their value, thus ending the inflation dilemma.

Yeah, but in a market economy, value is socially necessary labor time, and what is socially necessary only arises after the fact. If working 10 hours means getting $10x, then you're eliminating social considerations as to what that labour is and how useful it is.

Under socialism, "value" should start to lose its meaning as the economy moves away from the market into a planned system. Working 10 hours and getting $10x is more of a work stimulus, not so much an economic indicator, since theoretically at least, abstract labor is no longer the measure of the economy.
Post 20 Jul 2012, 01:40
So what is the best way for someone to 'keep the fruits of their labor' if not by labor vouchers? I read from your reference that Engels said that such a thing couldn't be accounted for, but can't these be accounted for by a syndical, local Soviets, or some other variant of a vanguard? Can quality of work not be judged by an appropriate body designed to judge such a task? Can't such economies be localized and have a finite maximum to quash a market economy?
Weren't labor vouchers well implemented into Catalonia? And attempted, in Russia, under War Communism?

My suggestions above are a little Utopian-sounding, but that's because the material elements had been extracted from it. The Socialist stage will likely have some sort of economy on such a basis.
Post 20 Jul 2012, 06:43
I think that the point is not to have everyone become a petit-bourgeois, with everyone selling and receiving a share of their abstract labor. The point is to eliminate abstract labor altogether.

Engels didn't say that it couldn't be accounted for, he ironically said that it could. What he said is that without a market enforcing what is useful labor, all you have is a fantasy, because with individual actors, as is the theoretical case in a market economy, you need the market in order to express what is socially necessary.

Now, in a socialist economy, this changes, because you don't have a bunch of individual actors, but a group working according to an established plan. The distribution of labor and its products also has to be agreed upon, and though the idea of vouchers is pretty tempting, I don't think it would accurately reflect how production should be appropriated, considering there are things that have a social cost, but which are necessary.

I don't know. It's tempting. But still, what's important is that we as a class keep the fruits of our labor, not necessarily as individuals, especially since technological advances are at such a state that in a socialist regime, we would have plenty of free time, and plenty of needs easily fulfilled.
Post 20 Jul 2012, 09:56
Interesting. Thanks for clearing all of that up.
Post 25 Aug 2012, 08:08
Um, Marx and Engels did advocate some form of "currency" backed by measures of labour time. They criticized Proudhon because he had market relations in mind.
Post 26 Aug 2012, 02:46
Marx and Engels actually wrote favourable about "currency" that is backed by labour time. They only criticized Proudhon's labour money because, among other things, there wasn't any macroeconomic mechanism, let alone economic planning, to substantiate said labour money. The poster Paul Cockshott has more on this.
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