How would they work?

I think I almost get it, but it says they would be non transferable, what would happen if I gave my labour vouchers to someone else? And what would happ en to them once they're spent?

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Is a certificarte that x person has done x job for x time , this socialized labour has a single origin (time and space of the labour done) and therefore is not transferable to another personas

You can't. It's not a banknote. It's for you only (recompense for your work, to be exact). We'd attempt it digitally (everyone having a personal voucher account) anyway.

You can't, and if they were physical things, then that person wouldn't be able to use it. Ideally they would be digital which would make non transferability much easier. Perhaps there could be family avcounts where kids can be given amounts or what have you.
They are destroyed/used for accounting purposes ie. Product A has had x units withdrawn in this quarter. All the voucher does is guarantee a certain quantity of the stock of publically available goods to a person. Once ypu have recieved those goods, your labor vouchers disappear. They dont transfer to any other economic unit, which is the whole point of the system. Think of it like a movie ticket, the theater doesnt keep collecting tickets they recieve from movie goers. They just count how many people see each showing and use that for planning and accounting purposes.

Not a clue on that one, at least in physical form, in digital form, would be next to impossible for someone else to use them.

Once they've been spent, then that's it, they're gone, never to be used again.

Kek, I remember watching a Roo video where he said the exact same thing about labour vouchers.

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Why? Its far more volnurable to fraud, fake bills, it costs money to produce and since you cannot transfer them anyway they have no added benefit for "le small merchants 10000 bazillion km from civilization".

I think its just a common example because Marx used theater tickets as an example.

Labour vouchers are a totally outdated concept now that we live in a digital society, why anybody even discusses them anymore is beyond me. The modern equivalent of a labour voucher system would be a digital credit system, we already use the concept for public transit in big cities where you have a card that you "fill up" with non-transferable, non-circulating points that you spend on buses and metro fees.

Non-transferable and non-circulating credits seem to be the correct way to do this.

I've been wondering. How exactly would we organize this? I'm not comfortable with giving the power to award labor tokens to a single organization. And we'd also want the system to be discreet, other people being unaware of the purchases you're making. Preferably your workplace should be hidden as well, although I find this less important.
How do we implement enough checks-and-balances to make the system secure?

"Labor vouchers" or "labor tokens" is still a nice way to refer to that concept.

labor vouchers can be physical and digital you dumbass

It could be virtually identical to our current system. Your workplace bookkeeper sends digital "labour cheques" to the state (after the banks have been seized and nationalized) and the labour points or whatever are deposited into an account tied to a physical card you carry around. Existing bank and accounting infrastructure could be easily re-purposed to accommodate this system. I'm no expert at all on this though, so I might have overlooked something stupid.

I just don't see why we should bother with physical vouchers at all when it just makes counterfeiting and corruption (you can't reliably enforce the "non-transferable" rule on physical vouchers) easier. We have had the technology to go full-digital for decades now even with currency. Maybe for under-developed countries physical vouchers would be useful for the transitional phase to a digital system.

t. Westernoid

The same thing that happens when you pay taxes. Physical money is shredded and digital money is deleted.

They'd probably have to either make a society where you'd never have a reason to transfer them to someone else, or make it illegal, like the Soviets made it illegal to buy foreign currencies with roubles.

How would we buy drugs though

Physical during transition to digital (if necessary).

There has to be some kind of limit or anyone could start their own company and give themselves labor points for doing nothing. Labor points must be allotted based on what labor is needed. I don't see what could do that besides a state apparatus.


Here's how I imagine we could get out of this: We don't have a centralized state apparatus, instead the power is divested into the workers locally. These workers then enlist a diverse set of agencies to check whether their agreements with other enterprises are being followed. If they find that they aren't, they organize alongside other enterprises in the economy to boycott the guilty party, that is, exclude them from the plan. This means that the labor-tokens they issue are no longer considered valid by the boycotting enterprises.

Among these enlisted agencies would be something similar to a capitalist bank. This bank can discreetly keep track of people's labor-accounts. My real question is how this would work. What assurance could workers receive that these banks aren't corrupt?

There would have to be some kind of state authorization procedure before an organization could even start allotting labour points, and every workplace should have a state representative or group supervising the operation to ensure it isn't violating any rules, this is what China does.

READ COCKSHOTT you brainlit

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Zig Forums is living in 1950 dude you're sharing a board with people who have no earthly idea how a real economy operates.

Are you braindead? It's a total misnomer. Referring to "vouchers" when a voucher doesn't actually exist? Fucking why?

This is not a Western phenomenon. China is quite far ahead of them in regards to digital money.

Physical labour vouchers backed up by an e-system (voucher is only usable @ terminals/shops/etc. connected to a database) wouldn't be much of an issue.

I'd argue that since e-illiteracy is still considerably high in some demographic areas, having physical vouchers would be useful. Moreover, in case of a serious cyber attack, having a physical "backup system" is a strategic priority.


I hope people get labor stickers for attending those meetings, my god they sound long and boring.

Oh look an """Anarchist""" re-inventing the state again.

Why invent a new term? Just keep calling them wages. Making up a new phrase will just confuse people.

The vast majority of digital concepts are given names by analogy to physical things. The idea that we're currently "posting" in a "thread" on an image "board" is much more far-fetched than what I'm proposing.

Not sure what meetings you're referring to. The system could work without everyone being constantly involved in it.

The state is a single organization, this is a diverse set of organizations. It isn't a state.


I didn't say that.

They wouldn't work, not very well anyway. The LV concept was created before we could calculate effectively a plan of resource distribution with the resources themselves, and cannot take into account externalities like pollution and natural resource limitations.

Building a system of electronic accounting isn't the problem, other posters have answered that. Yes, they would be non-transferable, trying to institute a system where ordinary people could issue LVs would lead to shenanigans even if you put reasonable restrictions on how much could be issued to any one person or organization.

I don't buy into Cockshot's theory that the people don't know they're being robbed and that printing pseudo-money with the words "X labor-hours" will suddenly awaken them. Pretty much every adult knows they're being robbed, that it's just the nature of how the system works. At best you get the people to see just how much they're being robbed, but if you want social services and a central bureaucracy you're going to have to tax to dickens out of people in vouchers, and they'll likely grumble about the state taking their neo-money.
Simply put, the expectation of quid pro quo for labor isn't the issue we have to worry about when distributing resources, and you don't really need the LVs to solve the calculation problem (money or pseudo-money is an imperfect solution to the calculation problem anyway).

At most I could see electronic LVs as a temporary measure while rebuilding the global economy after the chaos of a revolution, before we can allocate minor consumer goods based purely on need and some scarcer goods based on a rational allocation scheme based on what the whole of society could produce and spare. (This is where you're more likely to see, for example, a community swimming pool, rather than a privileged worker getting their own private pool, because the former would just be a more rational and popular use of these resources.) Compensation in a socialist system likely wouldn't be a matter of paying more privileged workers more money so much as the status and direct privilege of being someone with an important job. Then you run into the problem of the shit jobs that no one wants to do, which would also be jobs with very little in the way of dignity and status, and you could offer all the tokens-of-credit you like and those jobs will still be shitty. You're talking about an issue which goes beyond simply paying enough to get the job done.

Why not? You just calculate the externalities into the labor-cost. The great thing about socialism is that externalities don't have to exist.

It's pretty hard to calculate for natural resource limitations that no amount of labor is going to realistically change, that's the big one. We only have so much arable farmland and water for irrigation, for example.

The law of value was intended to tell us why things cost what they do and to explain the physics of the market and capitalism. It necessarily doesn't account for everything. In the past this wasn't really a big issue because there was, typically, a theoretical source for more raw resources, but today we have to contend with very real natural limits on what we can extract, since mining asteroids and other planets is quite problematic for returning resources to Earth. Even just distributing the material and labor that we have on earth from point to point requires quite a bit of energy and labor input, and to an extent this is unavoidable if you want to ensure that the fruits of labor are available across the world.

With regards to pollution, it isn't always a matter of "you have to pay X for this much pollution", it's that "if we exceed this much pollution, we are going to have major problems", thus placing natural limits much like the potential for resource depletion.
Perhaps "externality" is not the correct word.

Why can't we solve this with a simple multiplier. We'll just go "This item costs this much to create, but we say it costs this much to create because we want to encourage new consumption patterns." Put both values on the price label. Better yet, make it so people can get a complete history of each item by taking a picture of the barcode.
On the label we'd display three values: raw labor, socially responsible labor-price (including considerations of your kind), and market clearing labor-price. The plan would aim to make the market clearing labor-price fit the socially responsible labor-price.

We could also place a second rationing system on top of labor vouchers. The reasoning behind this would be that while labor should be compensated with other labor, every human has a right to the natural riches of the earth.

That you're talking about some entity (let's call it a state) attempting to cajole people into new consumption patterns tells you exactly what the problem is with this. There is a limit to what you can do with market forces, that people are going to tolerate. It might work as a short-term way to quantize the potential for environmental depletion, but at some point you have to ask a bigger question than "is this economic decision profitable by some quantized metric?" As a rule, people don't like the feeling that they're being cajoled and they're going to respond accordingly. That's why I feel like the question of building some voucher system as "omg the solution" is just not going to work in the long term, without something more substantial underpinning how we are supposed to think about compensation and the social contract we agree to in order to have a society and system we'd want to keep around.

If I were in charge of building a plan and we're past the stage where market forces and incentives are a necessary evil for building or rebuilding a base from which to work, I'd probably want to implement a system of delegated planning down to the village or city ward level, and radical transparency so that everyone in the system has an idea of what the other parts of the system are producing, to see if there isn't some scheme to hide resources from the people for the sake of some privileged or cheating minority.

As far as labor compensation - as a whole, we have plenty of labor. Tons of labor - so much, in fact, that if we rationally distributed labor, eliminated many of the bullshit jobs, and accounted for the difficulty of transport from home to the workplace, we'd still probably see much of the working-age and able population without a job. It would just be too inefficient to make them work and not too much of a burden on others to work say an 8-hour day instead of a 4-hour day. What do you tell people who are unfortunate enough not to be selected for labor purposes, who don't have a reasonable expectation of being allowed to participate in the system? Do you separate the workers into worthies and unworthies? Do you invent some make-work schemes just for the sake of creating the illusion that people ought to earn something? Neither sounds like a great solution, and these people presumably don't mind working and are more than willing to do their part on the terms offered to them by society, so long as the work they perform serves some useful purpose. Really, it's not the work so much that is the problem for most people I've observed, but the horrible terms under which they have to work and the people they have to work with that makes a job so crappy.

Shut up brainlet. All you have to do is scientifically determine the maximum amount of, EG, oil we can afford to use, and then enter that as the total available oil to the planning software.

And if the total available oil or plastic or whatever says that only 5% of the population can have X good, even though almost everyone can technically afford it? Then what do you do? You have a rationing problem that labor-time can't resolve.


Why? It isn't really a method to manipulate people. Most of us are already on board with protecting the environment. The problem is how we distribute the costs of this among ourselves. If you leave this to everyone individually no one is going to take any action. The impact of their actions on the environment are too small to make any noticeable difference, while the impact of their consumption choices might make a large difference in their quality of life. Nevertheless, they would happily adapt their choices to what's environmentally responsible if everyone else did so as well. How do we solve this problem? We make the actual prices of the goods to their environmental impact. Then individuals no longer have to think about these questions, and can consume purely on the basis of what they personally prefer.
Not taking these measures would require constant cajoling of the people.
We "tax" the labor of people who do work to maintain these other people. Something akin to a basic income. Next to that we increase the amount of free services available over the course of time.
Workers still get to see what portion of their labor goes into this stuff, and if they only end up with a quarter of their labor-value for themselves, so be it. That's the reality, we shouldn't hide it from them for propaganda purposes. Let's instead give them thorough insight into how their labor is being allocated. Being useful to society is a reward in itself, especially if you know in what way you're being useful.

Then you don't make it. Make a replacement that doesn't need the oil or plastic. Or do you want everyone to die? Fucking idiot.

The point I made before though is that you're dealing with natural limits, rather than a limitation of labor power. We have tons of labor power and machinery to amplify it, such that the cost of say a plastic controller is cheap as shit if we're just looking at labor costs and the cost of extracting materials. Yet, if we went about supply controllers and other doodads to all 8 billion or so people on the Earth, we're going to have resource problems. So, you have a resource demand that quite a few people want, that we can't resolve with the law of value.

I think the LV would work well in conditions where natural resource limits are not a major issue, and the vast quantity of labor time is spent on unskilled labor requiring little in the way of education. Those were the conditions in 19th century Europe and for much of the early 20th century. Even today, that still is very much the case in a lot of ways, but increasingly skilled labor and education matter more to the production process, and LTV doesn't have a good way to really calculate how much worth skilled labor has over unskilled (this is a pretty big bugbear - I agree with Marx that it is theoretically possible to reduce skilled labor to unskilled, but if you try to build a system around it you're going to find a lot of practical problems calculating just how much a skill is worth, and a lot of people who think their skills are worth more, and you've just created for yourself another calculation problem). It seems good and decent for a factory worker to be paid compensation in labor-hours, but it's harder to calculate for an engineer or a teacher. (Of course, money too is an inadequate tool for calculation purposes for much the same reason - and that is where I really think capitalism is going to run into the ground, when the class of skilled and educated workers is sick of their education being constantly devalued.)

So yes, where do we go from here? We've come to the conclusion that vouchers really don't help us with the calculation problem, so their primary purpose is to solidify the social contract we enter when we decide to work for the socialist system - if you do X amount of work, you are entitled to Y in return for your work. Yet, we see a situation where workers cannot get Y, or they think the calculation for X is unjust and arbitrary. (Just imagine a system when the overseer of labor arbitrarily decides to give all their friends "exemplary" marks, and the people they don't like "casual" marks for the quality of their labor.) In pushing the labor voucher system as THE SOLUTION, in the face of these issues, you are maintaining a blindness towards the nuts and bolts of how a planned system would need to function if it wants any sort of stability. Clearly you need something more, a sense that people at the local level - individually, and the whole communities to which they belong - are really part of the system, rather than subjects of the central bureaucracy. This goes beyond just telling people they have a vote and calling it good now that you've replaced wage-labor with… wage-labor.

Unicorns and rainbows, oh my.
This is the kind of retardation that lets right-wingers ridicule us so easily.

Nobody said that labour vouchers are a 1:1 accounting of labour, you're totally misinterpreting it. Obviously you wouldn't get back exactly the productive value of the labour you contributed, that would be impossible to calculate anyway, some people will get more back than they 'deserve' and others will get less even if everyone receives the same amount, but that's not the point. Labour vouchers aren't just a straight replacement for money, they're a safeguard against someone ordering 10,000 yachts for themselves. I think labour vouchers should only have a small variability from person to person if any, and it shouldn't be incentivised to spend them all anyway if you don't need to.

So sum up, even if it takes 1 hour of labour to produce a plastic widget, it would be priced far higher if there's some kind of unsustainability involved in its production.

What is your big issue with that? We have the technology for near-perfect recycling, just not the political will to put it into action because it's cheaper to just destroy and excavate more resources.

Labor vouchers don't create the issue of resource limitations, so I don't see how this is an argument specifically against labor vouchers and for something else which would be better in regard to this issue.

You talk as if this is hypothetical, but many countries do have different sales tax or VAT for different items, and this type of regulation has existed for decades.

That doesn't sound so much like a calculation problem, but a social one; and, like with the issue of limited natural resources, it is not something new that comes into existence with labor vouchers. Cockshott and Cottrell propose that training time necessary for working in production of a particular item should be priced in, but that's the price of the thing, not the salary. In their proposal, the public funds education and job training, as such you have no right to get extra compensation for having education. Though realistically, unless the whole world is under that system, we'll probably have to compromise on that.

Speaking of being realistic, I don't see any realistic alternative to labor vouchers.