188.8.131.52 Price of Work
Work has an indirect and direct value. Indirect value of work is expressed by means of the value of work products, while direct work value is expressed by the values occurring in the duration of the work as such.
Currently, the work value is shown almost exclusively in indirect form, by means of the value of the work products, because the work is per se generally not propitious and, accordingly, does not have a direct value. Besides that, a scale that might measure such a non-value does not exist at all. The value of work products is formed on the market by the demand and supply of commodities, and is determined by the price of the commodities. The work finds the confirmation of its indirect value through the sale of commodities on the market. Then the price of commodities represents the work price as well.
In associated labour, each work price is determined by the work hours, productivity and work burdens with which workers participate in the production of commodities. As it is difficult to form in associated labour an objective measure of individual productivity and of work inconveniences, each worker by their subjective consciousness easily attributes to their own contribution to the achievements of the collective productivity a share larger than the one they objectively deserve. In this way, workers expect a larger share in the distribution of income, meaning a larger share in the distribution of the results of collective work.
Since the quantity of produced commodities is limited, the distribution of the associated labour results is performed on the basis of alienated powers in the process of production. Naturally, such distribution results in dissatisfaction among workers and in a crisis in the system of distributing joint operating results. Society has not found to date a democratic form of distributing collective operating results that could satisfy all workers. In this connection, the work price represents the basis of dissatisfaction and tensions in the process of production.
Below is presented how to set an objective price of work in a merged public company of the commune. Private companies will continue to form the price of labour as they do today.
Past labour is the basis of everything that the society has created, while current labour is the basis of everything the society is creating; therefore, they have to be respected objectively. Such respect can create the conditions for a just distribution of the operating results, which will have a stimulating effect on the individual's work and contributions to the prosperity of society.
In connection with the above, let us accept that the indirect work value (in further text: the work price) is in the unit of time equal to the product of past labour income-based value and current labour price.
Work price = (Value of past labour) x (Current labour price)
Past Labour Value
According to labour theory, the work price is linked with the average quantity of work needed to produce a certain product. However, each product incorporates millions of work hours spent in revealing and developing the processes of its production, beginning with the discovery of fire, through to the wheel, to the present day. The point is, naturally, that there is not a single investigation able to measure the quantity of work spent in producing any product. It is simply not possible to sum up the entire past labour of all generations that were creating the material and cognitive values that the society owns today.
The socialist system of business operation measured formally the value of past labour by the length of service. A longer service represents a larger quantity of past labour and brings a somewhat larger income. Since such measure of value is formal, as it does not objectively represent the individual contributions to the realized productivity, it is for this reason not productively stimulating and does not contribute to the prosperity of business activity. A great shortcoming of the system is that it did not take into account the value of past labour of the predecessors who have largely contributed to the creation of everything the society possesses.
The capitalistic system of business operation is more efficient in this domain because it shows the value of past labour by the market value of realized capital. Such presentation of the value of past labour may be useful in social terms, because the increase in capital is achieved by the rise in productivity of the economy. Naturally, capitalism has numerous deficiencies, but we have no better solution than to accept the market value of past labour results as adopted by the capitalistic system, and then to reform it in order to meet the criteria of the humanistic society.
It is possible to express the income-based value of past labour indirectly through past labour results the society possesses today. It is necessary to accept that behind the more valuable past labour results stands a greater value of past labour. A higher value of past labour needs to create a larger income, and vice-versa.
The value of past labour will be defined by a numerical system of values. The unit value of past labour will represent a certain value of wealth. Let us call the unit value “past labour point”. Once the unit value of the past labour point is established, then the substitution of private ownership in the form of real estate, movable property, securities and, money in the commune for the equivalent quantity of past labour points may take place.
For example: the unit value of a past income-based point may be, say, twenty monetary units. This means that capital worth 1,000,000 monetary units will bring to the owner 50,000 past labour points. Let the average possession of past labour points be 100.000. If worker had possessed 100,000 past labour points before he sold his ownership to society then the increase of 50,000 past labour points will ensure a 50% higher income. The example has been taken arbitrarily to give a better idea, while the actual value of past labour points will require a comprehensive study.
A larger quantity of past labour points owned by individuals will indicate a more valuable past labour, which will give to each individual a greater existential power of action, a greater voting power, a stronger status position and larger income or, more precisely, a larger share in the distribution of the collective operating results. The commune also needs to ensure the substitution of past labour based points for money in order to ensure confidence of the commune's inhabitants in such form of the commune's actions.
Given that the whole community would ensure the individual ownership of past labour points, it will be more stable and secure than private ownership. In addition, past labour points will bring greater benefits than the ownership which is valued in society today. Because of it, the owners of private capital would voluntarily surrender their ownership to society in exchange for past labour points. This will, in conjunction with other envisaged measures, create a base for a broad social prosperity. In the new system, the individual will no longer display their power by ownership of material resources, but by past labour points that will indicate each individual's contribution to the creation of the values in the commune. On the other hand, some people would not like it to be known how much they have contributed to the creation of such values. These people will be able to keep the quantity of past labour points secret.
The quantity of past labour points will represent a form of humanistic shareholding. It will ensure income based on past labour, and also introduce a new humanistic-social dimension. As already explained in the chapters “Bases of the Policy of Humanism” and “Bases of the Economy of Humanism”, all commune inhabitants will achieve past labour points on the grounds of education, length of service, and all accomplishments that create values in a common ownership. In this way, all commune inhabitants will irrespective of their age, sex, employment or unemployment realize income in the commune.
A mathematical analysis can establish such a value of past labour points so that the total gross quantity of past income points of all the commune's inhabitants is equal to the commune's revenue. With the rise of production, the quantity of new products is also rising. This brings along new values that increase the income of the society. With the rise of income, the quantity of past labour points is also rising. The new points need to be distributed among the commune's inhabitants.
This measure refers primarily to the production where the work that increases the productivity and thus allows an increased income would be rewarded. The protagonists of such work would be awarded, by way of a special automatic procedure, depending on the increase in productivity and their responsibility, a certain number of income-based points. In this way the rise in productivity will be stimulated, and the community will accomplish thereby a greater prosperity.
On the other hand, in the same way in which the work or any activity can on a lasting basis promote quality of life, it can also be worsened. Production in social ownership has not been able to find to date a satisfactory solution for the issue of responsibility of workers for their work, which reduces substantially its efficiency. Moreover, when the individual is not accountable for the failure of their own activity, then not even success can bring them adequate conveniences. The society that is not responsible toward itself is the society that breaks down. The responsibility in the collective form of production may be borne by means of past labour points. The difference between the envisaged and realized productivity has its value, and such value can be determined and after that by an agreed-upon procedure deducted from gross past labour points of responsible workers. The application of such a mode of bearing responsibility may solve durably and efficiently the basic problems in production with the collective ownership of the means of production.
The bearing of responsibility by means of past labour income-based points is highly efficient, because in this way the individual is accountable with their past labour and their current and future income.
Naturally, the system may also apply to any activity beyond direct work relationship. The present-day system of sanctioning the persons who bring inconveniences to the society is cruel when imprisonment deprives freedom, or insufficiently efficient when the individual does not have anything to lose. The introduction of the system of past labour points enables the set up of an acceptable and efficient form of sanctions by taking away a determined quantity, set by law, of points from persons creating great inconveniences to the society. Today’s courts know what the punishment for each and every crime or violation of laws is. It should not be difficult to recalculate these punishments into income-based points. In such a system criminals may lose all their points end even get into negative. Persons who fall into negative points may lose some rights. If society accepts a new repressive regulation such a fall may psychologically, sociologically, and economically be very inconvenient. For example, these people will be required to wear special clothing that will tell everyone that they broke into negative values of past labour points. Such clothing will shame them which may produce to them inconveniences more painful than prison. They would also receive minimal incomes, regardless of where they work. Then prisons would no longer be needed. Each individual will work hard not to earn negative points and if it happens, try to escape as soon as possible. That will be possible only by intensive productive acting in society. Taking into account that the individual will carry their income-based points all their lives, the system will require very responsible behaviour of each individual towards society. Such a system would be acceptably repressive as it generally would not deprive the individual of the freedom of action, but will prevent society members from using their freedom to create inconveniences to anybody in society.
Since the society aspires to increased democracy, it has to give power to each member of society to punish other people who produce inconvenient actions in society. Each individual should get the right to evaluate the activity of any others. The negative assessment has to take away from each individual a certain small portion of past labour points. By introducing such a measure, each individual will try not to create inconveniences to, or to create them to the least extent possible at all levels of complex social relationships. In other words, each individual needs to know what is it that is not suitable to another individual, and will refrain from acting in that way. If the individual is not aware that they are causing inconveniences to other community members, the negative assessments and sanctions will force them to put it effort and, thus, learn where they are making mistakes.
Such a measure may create a vast range of conveniences in society. Such a mode of assessment may, over a longer period of time, and by comprehensive application, replace in full the indirect form of responsibility assessment by judicial authorities, laws and regulations, which will thus become superfluous. The society will form an unwritten justice based on the natural knowledge about the rules of its developments and, accordingly, the ways for achieving natural conveniences. Naturally, each member of the social community needs to be allowed, on the other hand, to reward by their vote containing a small, however, influential value-based point the individuals who have in their opinion contributed to the creation of conveniences in society.
With such a law, each individual gets a direct and equal executive power in society, which would in an anarchical way stimulate a favourable social movement at all levels of complex social relations.
It may be noted that the value of past labour expressed by the quantity of points would need to be a universal measure of the individual's essential powers. In order for such a value to be fully adopted and formed, it must become the individual's sacrosanct ownership. Moreover, acceptance of past labour points by the society is conditioned by the possibility of their inheritance, and has to be ensured in full, or in a certain percentage according to the decision of the society. The quantity of past labour points would be a measure of the value of the work performed by individuals and the society through generations. It will present the power of individuals, and may as such become the basic measure of values in society. That measure will still be alienated but it will be much more acceptable and effective for building a healthy society than all so far accepted measures of values.
Current Labour Price
The price of current labour directly depends on the direct value of current labour. The direct value of current labour shows the relationship of all conveniences and inconveniences arising from the work, independent from the value of the operating result.
The conveniences connected with the work as such stem from the meeting of the individual's direct work needs, the necessary exchange of energy with nature, the realization of both physical and spiritual needs, the need for developing the individual's essential strengths, from the status value of the working position or presentation of the productive potency of individuals in the society, from helping others and finding satisfaction in it, as well as in their contributions to the development of society. The conveniences arising from the work as such bring, by their nature, long periods of pleasure and broadly embrace the individual's personality.
On the other hand, the work also brings inconveniences and due to that, it cannot be accepted as a value. The inconveniences in work occur as a consequence of forced work where the individual is a means for realization of needs alienated to them, or from forced work necessary to ensure existential needs. Such work is not free and, therefore, cannot realize the individual's productive forces or bring direct conveniences to the individual.
Direct value of work needs to show the relationship between total conveniences and inconveniences brought by each form of work while lasting. A greater value will present the work that suits more the individual's nature, their individual characteristics, which realizes more conveniences in its duration.
Let it be accepted that averagely convenient and inconvenient work has as direct current value labour, a magnitude equal to 1 (one). If the interval between the extreme inconvenience and the extreme convenience of work were from 0.1 to 10 then the convenient work would, in mathematical terms, be a hundred times more valuable than the inconvenient.
Each worker can most efficiently establish by themselves the direct value of current labour, because they know best how convenient or inconvenient the work they perform is. Each individual needs to assess the relationship of the magnitudes of everyday work burden and relaxation with all their psychophysical factors and compare them with other work obligations. The result of such assessment will be a magnitude between 0.1 and 10 that will indicate the relationship of the work conveniences and inconveniences on a specific work post against average work.
A lower value of current labour represents greater inconveniences in the work duration and therefore needs to realize a larger share in income distribution in order to compensate the work related inconveniences. A higher value of current labour advocates greater conveniences in the work duration in relation to average work and needs from that point of view to realize a smaller share in income distribution, and will thus realize smaller conveniences in the operating results.
The share in the distribution of operating results is determined by the price of current labour. The current labour price is inversely proportionate to direct current labour value. The current labour price will also have a value scale from 0.1 to 10. A more favorable work will realize direct current labour value higher than 1 (one), so that the price of current labour will be smaller than 1 (one) and the income thus realized will be smaller than average. For example: a very unfavourable work that by direct worker's assessment gets a direct current labour value equal to 0.2, will be five times less favourable than average work and will realize the current labour price equal to 5, and thus an income five times higher than the one on account of average work.
In a system of protected work posts each worker could by their own subjective consciousness evaluate their work as markedly inconvenient and would require a substantially larger share in the distribution of the performance of collective work than the one they would objectively deserve. The new system would ensure an objective valuation of work with the help of work competition in the work market. This means that in the circumstances of equal productivity, the right to work will be exercised by the worker to whom current labour brings greater direct exchange value, or the worker who will demand a lower current labour price and a lower income.
If work becomes a value in its duration, then a larger realized productivity would require a smaller share in the distribution of income. In that way a new trend in the society may be achieved in which direct exchange value of the work would rise to the point where it would become more important than the operating result. Such a trend may form a turning point in the development of the society.
The society needs to form such a division of work so as to allow the work to realize a greater direct value. This is possible to achieve by automation of the production, by the redistribution of inappropriate forms of labour and by increased possibility of selecting the types of work where the individual may find the sources of realization of their productive, essential forces. The work as a form of realization of the individual's being may find a non-exhaustive inspiration and also a necessity, convenience and value. Such work has its usable value. The prosperity of the society lies in the approach where the work in its duration becomes a value, in which it brings conveniences greater or at least equal to the conveniences realized beyond the work.
The result of such an approach to the valuation of current labour is the number that shows the price of current labour of each worker employed in enterprises, where workers directly realize income by their work. However, each socially useful activity would need to be proclaimed as valuable, irrespective of whether it participates directly in the production. An unemployed individual contributes in some form to the society on a daily basis. The individual is a value to the individual, and this standpoint must be accepted by the society in order for such a value to develop.
This measure refers to all unemployed people: to pre-school children, to pupils, to persons of advanced age who are no longer able to work, to invalids and those not wishing to work. Accepting the values of each individual's current labour means to ensure to each individual an income-based compensation to the level of the recognized price of current labour. The current labour price of unemployed population needs to be determined by the commune's leadership on the basis of the commune's needs and possibilities, and adopted by the commune's assembly or council. Such values may be changeable according to economic possibilities and needs of the social community. If workers were not sufficiently interested in work, the price of current labour would with the unemployed portion of the population fall depending on the category of the unemployed, which would reduce their income and would rise, in terms on income, the interest in work.
On the other hand, if workers were more interested in work than necessary or, more precisely said, if direct work becomes a value, the current labour price of the unemployed portion of the population would rise immediately with the increase of their share in the distribution of the operating result, which would reduce the income-based share of the interest in work.
Such regulation of income between directly employed and unemployed portions of the population will contribute to the balance in the work demand and supply, and to the balance within complex social relations.
Such an approach of work valuation will ensure both economic and existential independence, and freedom to each individual, which is a basic prerequisite for social freedom, stability and prosperity. It is necessary to ensure to each individual their basic needs, because an individual’s endangered survival leads to the endangered survival of the society. This measure is nothing else but a universal substitution for social, pension and disability insurance, for solidarity-based payments to the unemployed, for children allowances, or for tax facilities in the case of multi-member families. Therefore, such a system of distribution does not represent any additional burden to the society, because everyone spends money anyway. Instead, it represents a simpler, more just and more efficient redistribution that is at the same time more natural and wiser when social determinations are concerned.
Each work contains elements of current and past labour. Past labour without the current one that maintains it has no value, while current labour cannot exist without the past one.
As current and past labour are mutually linked, and as production develops by geometric progression, the price of each work may be shown by the product of past labour value expressed in points of past labour and the price of current labour.
Work price = (Points of past labour) x (Current labour price)
Such price of current labour needs to be the basis of the work's indirect value. It clearly arises from the formula that the price of each work is proportionate to the quantity of past labour points and the current labour price. The more past labour points a worker gathers, the higher the price of their work, and the higher the supposed net income. On the other hand, the more productive and more difficult, more responsible, more dangerous, more complex, more inconvenient, more unhealthy work a worker performs, the smaller will be the value of current labour and, therefore, the work price will be justifiably greater, as will the income.
The association of enterprises in the commune realizes the right of workers to work of any work post, while the method of substituting indirect forms of past labour values allows them to realize income proportionate to the quantity of past labour points. The worker who possesses a larger quantity of past labour points will realize a larger income than the worker who possesses a smaller quantity of points even though both workers realize the same work performance. Past labour points will become a sort of humanistic shares that will bring income substitution for all kinds of profits, interests, rents, dividends of capitalist form of production. However, workers’ large individual incomes will not create a large burden to their companies because the incomes will be calculated at the level of commune. It will be better explained in the chapter “Commodity Price”.
The current labour price will be maximally objective because it will be directly established by work competition. Do not be confused with the small value of current labour price in relation to past labour points because an increase of current labour price of only 0.1, way according to the formula increases the price of work by a significant 10%.
The price of work will be a basis for forming the incomes of workers. As the price of work will be objectively established, the society will accept such a system of distribution as a just one. In this way, the big problems of income distribution today in society will be overcome. Such a system of income distribution may pave the way for a continuous productive orientation in the society. Naturally, the work price will find its confirmation or negation in the realized income that will depend on the realized labour productivity and on a multitude of other factors.
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November 13, 2013