DietSoap- Robots, Abstract Labor, Etc.

In A Recent Interview on the DietSoap Podcast.  I discuss robots, value, abstract labor, and other matters with host Doug Lain. As always, it was an enjoyable interview. Doug is moving his podcast to a new host, so stay tuned to for more info on how to follow the podcast in the future.

I also highly recommend Doug’s past interview with Alan Freeman.






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4 Responses to DietSoap- Robots, Abstract Labor, Etc.

  1. El Pelón says:

    I am not sure your characterization of Hegel is accurate in this interview. In my understanding that “Geist” in Hegel is not something that is merely embodied in the head of individuals, but the driving force for freedom that is embodied in a given society. In Hegel’s schema of the Phenomenology, this passes through various stages as incarnated in various historical forms: religion as art in Greece, revealed religion in European civilization, philosophy and its relationship to revolutionary modernity, etc. In other words, the Idea just doesn’t sit in the aether, but is embodied in the struggles of a given society. Hegel really was the first philosopher or revolution, the first philosopher of labor, and came to the precipice where Marx started but later retreated in accepting bad contradictions in society (the Philosophy of Right), without ever renouncing the foundation of his ideas in the French Revolution. I would just emphasize the collective, concrete need of the Hegelian idea to incarnate itself in history is where Marx started off.

  2. Darren P says:

    I think you are wrong when you say the labour of slaves would create value. In Capital Volume 2, Chapter XX Marx says this:

    “In the slave system, the money-capital invested in the purchase of labour-power plays the role of the money-form of the fixed capital, which is but gradually replaced as the active period of the slave’s life expires.”

    • Thanks for the reference Darren. But what about in the chattel-slavery of the American South where slave labor existed within the capitalist system?… this was the sort of labor I had in mind when I was talking with Doug. Here slave labor exists within a capitalist system not a slave-system like ancient Egypt. Do you think the same analysis applies?

  3. Spencer says:

    Brendan, I love your blog and the “Law of Value Series”. They’ve been a real help for me in understanding Marx.

    I have a question though. Recently, David Graber wrote this about his new book, “Debt”:

    “In the book I wrote what I thought was a friendly challenge to Marxist theory – I said, basically, that we are used to writing as if

    a) capitalism is based on the relation of production between free wage laborer and the owner of capital
    b) the form and meaning of capitalist money emerges from this relation
    c) therefore it is inappropriate to assume any important continuity with earlier, pre-capitalist (that is pre-wage labor) forms of money

    In response I threw out an historical observation: that, surprisingly, almost all the key financial innovations which became typical of capitalism(…)developed not only before the factory system, but before wage labor was in any way dominant(…) I also observed that free wage labor was never as commonplace as many seem to assume even in Victorian England, let alone in the world system as a whole at that time, and cited Yann Moulier-Boutang’s arguments that there has never been a time when it was the predominant global form…”

    This reminded me of the interview you had with Douglas and the issue with slaves creating value. I don’t see any problem, from a Marxist perspective, when it comes to production under capitalism not being carried out entirely by ‘free wage laborers’ as Graeber says. Now, For me I thought that Capitalism is essentially a system of generalized commodity production through abstract, social labor( Is that assumption correct?). So is Graeber’s ‘challenge’ totally off base and missing the point?

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