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0 votes
It is well known that the workers should own the means of production because they interact with the means directly. They produce, not the capitalist.
A question I recently ran into that kind of stumped me.

"I, the capitalist bought the machines that automatically produces the product, I lay claim to it because I purchased it. "

Not sure how to respond to that.
I don't have time to respond in full, but a couple questions:

Is it well known that the workers should own the means of production?

What value does a capitalist buying said machines have outside of the context of capitalism?

Why do we want to keep the machines, the means of production, or the framing of this sort argument in either direction?
both workers and owners produce (there are plenty of working owners, etc).

who cares how an owner justifies what they "lay claim to"?

your question is how to explain to the owner of a fully automated service why they should support workers' power?

(finally, please don't tag with anarchist, anarchy, or anarchism. those are useless tags here.)
Upon further reflection the correct response might be to punch the person who asks you this in the face. Not saying I would default to that necessarily, but upon reflection, that seems correct.

3 Answers

–3 votes
My answer: "Just because you bought the machinery, that doesn't give you a free pass to exploit. The slave drivers bought the material that the slaves used."

"Are you comparing Capitalism to Slavery?"

"I am talking about wage slavery, but not equating the two. Just comparing."
by (240 points)
+2 votes
Like nearly all economic questions/positions this (implied?) question strikes me as a completely de-contextualized thought experiment. It ignores the non-quantifiable world we actually inhabit. It also ignores all which it's predicated upon and also in (same) name of some bullshit, vague,conception of progress: the colonialism, racism, genocide, patriarchy, classism, schooling, etc., as well as the glaring Roman Legion on the field: the perennially violent process of civilizing/domestication.

All economies of scale are built upon the above process(es), be it capitalist, mutualist, communist, socialist. In every case the bloodied ground is torn up in order to erect shitty factories, create a 'society' of confused, bewildered, displaced strangers, produce mass quantities of unnecessary shit, only to re-create and maintain this cycle of control and order.

As an anarchist, I say fuck this cycle, fuck the bawss, fuck the workers councils, fuck the factories, fuck the anti-social industrial 'society', fuck all those who'd categorize me as 'worker,' 'consumer,' and 'citizen.'

I want a different world than this.

Edit for clarity and to add that I say all this, not in hostility toward the questioner in particular, but more as a generalized hatred of the premises upon which economic questions tend to find their (bloody) ground.
by (7.5k points)
edited by
hey AF, can you explain why this is an answer and not a comment?

posts that do not do more than question the premise of the question are not answers, yea?

hey dot. i can see your concern, and i was going to post it as a comment initially, but in addition to ba@'s point about the OP's own questionless question, the OP implied a question by informing us they're unsure how to respond to a capitalist interlocutor.

if it were me in this conversation, i most definitely would (and do and have) questioned the capitalist presups with the logical consequence of questioning the notion of economics in toto. if the presups don't hold water then its seems to me kind of a question loaded with a priori  'givens'  taken as axiomatic and/or a ceteris paribus type reasoning which is a typical capitalist tactic. all 'other things' are **not** equal in the least.

i think my answer answered the capitalist as well as addressing the larger context of 'economics', no?

edited to add that i've just asked this question to address economics in toto among anarchists.

makes sense. "the question" is ambiguous, in your first line, and i was confused.
perhaps my edit will help.
thanks, but it doesn't. perhaps that is because i'm so critical of the poster's non-question?

but never mind for now. you have made it clear in the comments, and that is sufficient.

thanks. :)
glad it is an answer rather than a comment, just so i can upvote it.
+1 vote

My answer would be, who gave you the right to own the land? Without the land you have no resources; i.e. minerals, trees, water, etc. Without resources you have no product. It's like Proudhon said "Property is theft". No person can possibly own land, as land is not something produced by a person but that which is there via forces far greater than ourselves. Land is also not a static thing. Just like an earthquake can swallow our houses, or a wild fire burn everything in its path. The earth belongs only to the Earth. It's people putting boundaries on everything that makes them believe in ownership.

by (560 points)