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Have any anarchist theories of value been proposed?

+2 votes
According to Wikipedia, (some) Anarcho-Communists reject the labor theory of value (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarchist_economics#Anarchist_communism). Capitalism obviously has no coherent sense of value, whatever it theoretical constructs in that domain. What, if any, anarchist alternatives have been articulated?
related to an answer for: Anarchist economists: any recommendations?
asked Mar 15, 2011 by enkidu (7,610 points)

4 Answers

–2 votes
Have you heard of relativism, broadly speaking?  I imagine that one would only find it practical in the sense that it might grant a greater peace of mind  or, more likely, a nihilistic outlook on life altogether.  I suspect that cigarette consumption would represent the biggest difference between the two outcomes.
answered Apr 19, 2011 by blark (1,160 points)
0 votes
Anarcho-communism´s main difference with Bakuninist Collectivist Anarchism and Proudhon´s mutualism is rejection of labour theory of value altogether. As such:

"Carlo Cafiero presented a report that was later published in Le Révolté under the title ‘Anarchie et Communisme’. In this report, Cafiero succinctly exposed the points of rupture with collectivism: rejection of exchange value; opposition to transferring ownership of the means of production to workers’ corporations; and elimination of payment for productive activities."

"The organisation of the new society, in its two aspects — communist and anarchist (in view of the necessary connection between a mode of production and its political form) — was to be based on the ‘communist commune’ (rather than on the ‘free commune’ of the Communalists), federalism (decentralization and economic self-sufficiency of regions or producing areas) and neighbourhood assemblies."

"The collectivists favoured the ‘right to work’, which is ‘industrial penal servitude’. In Kropotkin’s view, their pro-worker policy sought to ‘harness to the same cart the wages system and collective ownership’, in particular through their theory of labour vouchers. Kropotkin opposed labour vouchers on the grounds that they seek to measure the exact value of labour in an economy that, being socialised, tends to eliminate all distinctions as far as contribution of each worker considered in isolation is concerned. Furthermore, the existence of labour vouchers would continue to make society ‘a commercial company based on debit and credit’. Hence he denounced labour vouchers in the following terms: ‘The idea... is old. It dates from Robert Owen. Proudhon advocated it in 1848. Today, it has become “scientific socialism”. "

This s the reason why anarcho-communism has had problems with the anarcho-syndicalist program of "worker´s control" and proletarian revolution since it sees production has to have a communal consideration, and so of all members of it and not only or mainly those of workers. In this citation Kropotkin refers with irony to "scientific socialism" in order to criticize marxism as well and all its "proletarian" and "socialist" emphasis. This also leads to take into consideration what today has been called "consumer rights" since in a situation where enterprises are owned only by workers even if collectivelly, this only replaces the property of the single bourgoise owner or capitalist action holders by that of the "associated workers". And so "To make land — as with all else — a property question amounts to placing productive activity above the satisfaction of needs, to inserting a social actor between the population and the satisfaction of their needs."

I also think overemphasizing worker´s ownership will not take into account the environmental costs of production which can only be taken effectively into account by actual inhabitants of a territory. There is no reason why a worker´s cooperative cannot be composed of people living far from a specific place where it operates and so that it can become insensible to pollution and other impacts on local or close communities.  

This is the reason why there existed important anarcho-communist criticism of syndicalism and anarcho-syndicalism. As such "To say that the industrial and agricultural proletariat is the natural bearer of the revolution and communisation does not tell us under what form it is or should be so. In the theory of the revolution which we have just summarised, it is the risen people who are the real agent and not the working class organised in the enterprise (the cells of the capitalist mode of production) and seeking to assert itself as labour power, as a more ‘rational’ industrial body or social brain (manager) than the employers. Between 1880 and 1890, the anarchist-communists, with their perspective of an immanent revolution, were opposed to the official workers’ movement, which was then in the process of formation (general Social Democratisation). They were opposed not only to political (statist) struggles but also to strikes which put forward wage or other claims, or which were organised by trade unions. While they were not opposed to strikes as such, they were opposed to trade unions and the struggle for the eight-hour day. This anti-reformist tendency was accompanied by an anti-organisational tendency, and its partisans declared themselves in favour of agitation amongst the unemployed for the expropriation of foodstuffs and other articles, for the expropriatory strike and, in some cases, for ‘individual recuperation’ or acts of terrorism."

"First, there was the tendency represented by Kropotkin himself and Les Temps Nouveaux (Jean Grave). Second, there were a number of groups which were influenced by Kropotkin but which were less reserved than him towards the trade unions (for example, Khleb i Volia in Russia). Finally, there was the anti-syndicalist anarchist-communists, who in France were grouped around Sebastien Faure’s Le Libertaire. From 1905 onwards, the Russian counterparts of these anti-syndicalist anarchist-communists become partisans of economic terrorism and illegal ‘expropriations’." (all citations up to this point are from Alain Pengam. "Anarchist-Communism" http://www.theanarchistlibrary.org/HTML/Alain_Pengam__Anarchist-Communism.html#toc3)

It seems to me that all of this has to be reconsidered before overassociating anarcho-communism with platformism (and so later the anarcho-communist Sebastien Faure was a main proponent of synthesis anarchism as an alternative to platformism). But it should also be taken into account if someone is thinking in embracing the neo-collectivist Bakuninism of Michael Albert and his PARECON scheme.
answered Sep 6, 2011 by iconoclast (4,600 points)
0 votes
Anarchism has no use for any theory of value in an Anarchist economy, because the only use of value is to calculate exchange rates, which do not exist in a gift economy.
answered Sep 7, 2011 by RanDomino (150 points)
0 votes
As long as we put value on things we will be stuck in one form of capitalism (the pricng and payment of the value of things) or another.  

Humanity is the value and the means by which all received goods and services.  Creativity and cooperation sustains that system and all that it creates.  Any product only occurs through the people who each contributed to the process.  

Anarchy can allow us to realize value of people apart from and over the product.   In some way we have been idolators who worship (value) the creature (or created) and not the creator?
answered May 23, 2012 by afunctionalworld (3,290 points)