Time Preference and Exploitation

Marx’s value theory and therefore Marx’s exploitation theory are vastly misunderstood in nearly all sectors of bourgeois economics. This fact is not a surprising one given the disastrous effects that exploitation theory would have on the sustainability of the capitalist mode of production and the destructive capabilities of a Marxian value analysis on bourgeois economic analysis. This misunderstanding can be found whenever you see an attempted “Rejoinder of Marxian Principles” and this essay will be a defense of Marxian Principles against Craig Duddy’s attempted rejoinder.

Duddy begins with an exposition of Marx’s class analysis and a general outline as to how he would adjust it. He uses Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s summary of the argument which is flawed in some minor ways, however, it is not worth addressing.

In his attempted refutation to exploitation theory, Duddy begins with a consideration of the ideological constraints that would make an exchange of labor-power for wages an “exploitative deal.” But this is rather irrelevant seeing as the Marxian definition of exploitation is simply the extraction of surplus-value which is then represented monetarily as the existence of money-profit.

Moving on, Duddy presents what’s known as the time preference critique of Marx. This critique essentially states that with “the labourer…gaining benefit from using the capitalist to receive more goods sooner rather than fewer goods later…” and the capitalist perceiving a profit to be made in the exchange, exploitation can not be reasonably asserted as the exchange is voluntary and both parties perceive a self-gain from this exchange. Thus, refuting exploitation and its effects on the interests of the worker and the working class.

The problem here is that it assumes that the only impact on the interest of a worker comes from their immediate valuation and that class conflict is dependant upon people recognizing their own exploitation.

In order for people’s subjective valuation of the exchange between themselves and the capitalist to be relevant, we would need to assume that Marx’s theory was intended to work on an individual level. In order for this to be true, the concept of class consciousness which is so vital to Marxism would need to be rendered invalid. Marx never asserted that class interests would translate to the action of the individual. In fact, he, and every other Marxist believe that it is vital to persuade people to act according to their class interests.

With that refuted, the claim that

“law of time preference, which would essentially just deduce surplus income to a thesis of interest income, the full value output is discounted by the rate of time preference and the capitalist is compensated for his previous format of abstaining from consumption to compensate these labourers before the profitability from that labourer’s output rolls in.”

The only way this could be taken as a valid claim is through a misunderstanding of surplus value as a concept.

Surplus Value can be best represented through Marx’s concept of capital. Marx’s concept of capital is symbolically represented as M-C…P…C’-(M+△M). It is essentially money being put forward to purchase means of production and labor-power prior to production, the production process, the sale of the commodities produced, and the recovery of money capital. It is clear, however, that more money must be made in the sale of commodities than was spent in the production of these commodities. This new increment of money will be called money profit. This money profit obviously does not just appear out of nowhere, it is not simply a monetary illusion. This money profit must necessarily be matched by an increment in labor time, or as Marx called it surplus labor. Presupposing the validity of the law of value, this surplus labor equates to a surplus in value. Of course, this surplus value won’t be equally distributed among capitalists as it can be “stolen” from other capitalists through the war-like competition of the capitalist mode of production, however, it is still there and being taken from the workers. This simply cannot be refuted through the use of time preference as time preference is completely irrelevant to the subject except maybe to the distribution of surplus value. Refraining from consumption before the surplus value is transformed into your money profit does not stop the money profit from being a result of the surplus labor performed by the workers.

The remainder of the argument either doesn’t interest me or apply to any of my ideals, so I’ll end it here. In summary, Craig Duddy’s attempted rejoinder of Marxian principles was an utter failure and I hope he’s developed better criticism since the release of this paper than this literal embarrassment.

Notes:
This is presupposing the validity of time preference theory

The paper being refuted: https://www.yipinstitute.com/post/policy-paper-a-rejoinder-of-marxian-principles

15 years old