The Post-Industrial, Post-Modern Theory of Value and Surplus Value

(How the Abandonment of the Gold Standard led to The Abandonment of the Modern Labor Theory of Value)

The theory of conceptual-commodity-value-management is a theory, which descends right down to the depths and to the core of post-industrial post-modern bourgeois-state-capitalism; i.e., its bourgeois economy and its bourgeois financial institutions. So much so that today, the theory of conceptual-commodity-value-management is foundational, to such a radical extent, that it is the logic by which the central banks of the world’s global financial superpowers function and operate.

Initially based on the gold standard, the bourgeois economy and the central banks buttressed their financial transactions via gold, meaning that all monetary transactions within a nation and/or within international markets would be insured and secured through gold. Gold was the universal equivalent by which all commodities were measured and gold was, in essence, an insurance policy that if a specific national currency was devalued or loss much of its value, gold could nonetheless secure financial transactions both internally and/or internationally, in order to keep capitalism and markets functioning smoothly. For instance, as Karl Marx stated:

Every nation…employs… gold…as world money. Gold…in the sphere of international commodity circulation appear not as means of circulation but as universal means of exchange,… as means of purchase and means of payment. All commodities [including paper money]… are exchanged for gold. Gold and Silver…[are] the sources of world industry and world trade. Gold and silver help to create the world market. ((Karl Marx, A Contribution To A Critique of Political Economy, ed. Maurice Dobb (Moscow, Russia: Progress Publishers, 1970) 150-152.))

It is by means of gold, and to a certain extent silver, that financial transactions were secured and ultimately based, when gold was the universal standard and the universal means of measurement by which commodities, services and prices were established across national and international markets. In fact, paper money was designed to be a representation of a certain quantity of gold. For example, Marx states that it was “the state … [which] transform[ed] paper into gold by the magic of its imprint”. ((Ibid, 119.)) This transformation of paper into a symbolic representation of gold was founded on specific quantities of gold, that is, paper-money symbolically represented a specific amount of gold. As a result, if by some unforeseen circumstance paper-money lost its symbolic representational value as a means of exchange and/or as a standard value measurement in relation to gold, real actual gold could take the place of paper-money and act as measurement and as means of exchange for all financial transactions within a country and/or across international markets. Gold was the foundation of capitalist circulation, meaning that gold was the means by which transactions were buttressed, and as transactions grew so quantities of gold had to grow as well. One could not just print-money at will, one had to buttress this extra money creation with gold, if the velocity of the money currently in circulation could not itself cover these increases in transactions. As Marx states:

If the value of the mass of commodities annually produced and circulated grows, then the annual production of gold and silver must also grow, in so far as the increased value of the commodities in circulation and the quantity of money required for this circulation is not compensated for by a greater velocity of monetary circulation. ((Karl Marx, Capital (Volume Two), Trans. David Fernbach (London: Penguin Books, 1992) 400-401.))

In this regard, the gold standard grounded financial transactions in tangible real objective reality in the sense that it safeguarded business transactions in tangible real objective value, which was derived from actual material labor-time. The gold standard grounded financial transactions in a rational theory of labor, due to the fact that as Marx states, “the value of gold…like that of all other commodities, is regulated by the quantity of labor necessary for getting it”. ((Karl Marx, Value, Price and Profit, (New York, New York: International Publishers, 1976) 35.)) Therefore, Gold, due to its rarity and difficulty in procuring and producing, was always an efficient measurement of labor-time because gold’s value specifically was a good equivalent and measurement for what Marx called labor-time; i.e., paid labor-time and unpaid labor-time:

[An] article… has value only because abstract human labor is objectified or materialized in it…by means of the quantity of …labor, contained in the article. This quantity is measured by its duration, and the labor-time is itself measured on the particular scale of hours, days etc. It has the character of a socially average unit of labor-power…, the labor time which is necessary on an average [to produce the article]. Socially necessary labor-time is the labor-time required to produce any use-value under the conditions of production normal for a give society and with the average degree of skill and intensity of labor prevalent in that society. Commodities which contain equal quantities of labor, or which can be produced in the same time, have therefore the same value. ((Karl Marx, Capital (Volume One), Trans. Ben Fowkes (London Eng.: Penguin, 1990) 129-130.))

Gold, being the universal embodiment of socially necessary labor-time and surplus labor-time, in turn grounded business transactions in labor-time because all business transactions in the sum of capitalist circulation had to be buttressed in gold, both as a safety measure, and as a means to prevent inflation and currency devaluation. As Marx states, “the increase supply of precious metals…was a decisive moment in the historical development of capitalist production…and circulation” ((Karl Marx, Capital (Volume Two), Trans. David Fernbach (London: Penguin Books, 1992) 418.)) as now a part of “the annual gold production circulates in order to realize surplus value” ((Ibid, 412.)). For Marx, gold producing “constantly adds value to circulation” ((Ibid, 411.)), namely, the economy. In fact, according to Marx, gold producing is the primary element that permits the realization of surplus value, due to the fact that gold producing always adds more value than it takes out of circulation, that is, “surplus value is annually being produced in the form of gold” ((Ibid, 412)) within the economy. Consequently, gold has been transformed over time into the universal equivalent; i.e., the universal standard of commodity-value and the universal means of payment, by which the value of all other commodities are measured against and traded against. Gold eventually came to represent a certain tangible quantity of labor-time grounded in real objective conditions. Gold’s tangible quantity of labor-time embodied within its physical form was the basis by which the labor-time, embodied within all other commodities were related to, were measured by and were exchanged against. In sum, Gold grounded in the economy in labor-time; i.e., a modern rational labor theory of value and surplus value.

In this regard, in place of paper-money and/or any other means of payment and/or exchange, gold could always be a suitable substitute, as the universal commodity, that could be exchanged for any other commodity. Gold provides and provided security and reassurance if paper-money and financial transactions went awry. As a result, the gold standard lay at the foundation of capitalist accumulation and capitalist development due to the fact that it could be used globally as a universal means of payment and measurement.  As well, it could be used to secure the ever-increasing financial transactions that were multiplying everywhere, locally, nationally and internationally; and, its production supplied the economy with excess value that could be recouped by capitalists through the realization of surplus value via commodity exchange. Whatever form these financial transactions took, these financial transactions were always in the end based in gold, specifically, the paid and unpaid labor-time embodied in gold.

Notwithstanding, as capitalism developed and increasingly annexed more territory, more markets, more value and more economic practices, paper-money began to be utilized increasingly as means of exchange and payment; i.e., as universal equivalent, due to the fact that paper-money was very portable and due to the fact that the sheer quantity of daily financial transactions across the globe far exceeded the gold quantities in the world itself. And as financial transactions began to extend and multiply beyond the quantitative basis of gold, namely the gold standard, paper-money and/or digital money began to usurper the gold standard as universal equivalent and as the universal means of payment and exchange. As a result, increasingly financial transactions were no longer buttressed by specific quantities of gold, but flowed from hand to hand grounded in nothing but faith in the economy, faith in ephemeral currency and faith in the autonomous mechanisms of the world market. All in all, the amount of paper-money/digital money in circulation and tucked away in society in general had outstripped the amount of gold in actual existence. In consequence, gold became increasingly a barrier to capitalist accumulation and capitalist development because it was increasingly becoming scarce and difficult to produce. In sum, gold production could no longer keep pace with capitalist accumulation and capitalism development, and due to this, the gold standard began to hinder capital accumulation and capitalist development itself.

Finally, roughly around 1970, the gold standard was abandoned in favor of the weightlessness, instantaneousness and ephemerality of paper-money/digital money, specifically fiat monetary economies. And this fundamental change, profoundly revolutionized the logic and the mechanics of the bourgeois economics, moving bourgeois economics into a post-industrial, post-modern age, where financial transactions were no longer based on modern rational labor theories of value grounded in gold production; but, more or less, they became based on theories of conceptual-commodity-value-management. Having jettisoned the gold standard, and the economic safeguards that gold provided, central banks now became the principal pivot by which world economies functioned and operated, meaning that economic decision-making-authority was liberated from the considerations of the gold standard and placed squarely upon the mechanics of the central banks. In consequence, the fiat monetary system took root, which localized economic authority within the central banks, by removing economic authority from the basis of the gold standard.

Ultimately, this liberated central banks and capitalist accumulation and development from the despotism of the gold standard as the primary mechanism that determined and controlled bourgeois economic development and bourgeois economic considerations. Instead, decision-making-authority and ever-increasing administrative/managerial powers were concentrated within the central banks. The result was that effective and efficient economic management became increasingly vital for capitalist development, capitalist accumulation and overall economic performance, as the gold standard and the rational labor theories of value it is based on, became obsolete, outdated and increasingly inconsequential. This economic maneuver by the State/central banks, predicted by Marx due to the fact that Marx always stated that “if it were within the capacity of the capitalist producers to increase the prices of their commodities at will, then they could and would do so even without any rise in wages” ((Ibid, 414.)), transformed and revolutionized price, value and wage, by detaching price, value and wage, from any rational labor theory of value such as the one conceived by Marx himself.

First and foremost, according to Karl Marx, “price is the monetary expression of value” ((Karl Marx, Value, Price and Profit, (New York, New York: International Publishers, 1976) 35.)),   while value is the quantity of labor embodied in a commodity; i.e., “the value of a commodity is determined by the total quantity of labor contained in it…part of the labor…is paid labor; part is unpaid labor” ((Ibid, 44.)). And when a commodity is sold at its real price by the capitalist; i.e., at its genuine value, the unpaid part of the labor embodied in the finished commodity is what is deemed surplus value, that is, capitalist profit. Notwithstanding, according to Marx, labor-power is the only commodity that is in effect never sold at its actual value; it is always undersold and the laborer is always an individual under capitalism, who is cheated and swindled out of his or her commodity’s actual value, because under “the basis of the [capitalist] wage system … unpaid labor [always] seems to be paid labor” (( Ibid, 43.)). This is Karl Marx’s hypothesis in Capital (Volume One) and his underlying point that under capitalism workers are subject to an ever-increasing capitalist process of immiseration that “as capital accumulates…the situation of the worker…must grow worse” ((Karl Marx, Capital (Volume One), Trans. Ben Fowkes (London Eng.: Penguin, 1990) 799.)), due to the fact that workers are robbed of their unpaid labor.

Nevertheless, furthermore, value, in addition to reflecting paid and unpaid labor-time, as well represents specific relations of production in the sense that “relations of commodities as exchange-values, [that is specific values] are really the relations of people to the productive activities of one another” ((Karl Marx, A Contribution To The Critique of Political Economy, ed. Maurice Dobb (Moscow, Russia: Progress Publishers, 1970) 34-35.)). To reiterate Marx, labor-time is the average quantity of paid and unpaid labor necessary to produce a specific commodity within a specific societal branch of production; however, socially necessary paid and unpaid labor is as well indicative of relations of production between people, represented in the commodities they produce. As a result, according to Marx, price, in addition to being the monetary expression of value, is also the monetary expression of paid and unpaid labor-time and the monetary expression of specific relations of production. Value, price and wage, within Marx’s rational labor theory of value are simultaneously expressions of labor-time, relations between commodities and social relations of production between people. And the gold standard, within Marx’s rational labor theory of value, is the universal monetary measuring system, means of exchange, logic and/or language that value, price and wage, that is, labor-time, commodity-relations and relations of production, are articulated, mediated, and disseminated through.

All the same, when the pivot of the gold standard at the base of the bourgeois economy was abandoned around 1970, in favor of a fiat monetary system, value, price and wage, that is, socially necessary paid and unpaid labor-time, commodity relations and relations of production, were as well radically transformed and radically altered forever. These features were radically transformed and radically altered to such a radical extent as to render even Marx’s rational labor theory of value, obsolete, outdated and inconsequential in describing and explaining price, value and wage within the pervasive economic anarchy, irrationality and fragmentation of contemporary post-industrial, post-modern bourgeois-state-capitalism. In fact, the abandonment of the gold standard eventually gave rise to new post-industrial, post-modern theories of value and surplus value, based not necessarily on labor but instead based on enterprising-networks, technocratic-management and conceptual-perception, broadly speaking, the theory of conceptual-commodity-value-management.

In particular, the fundamental logic of capitalism, being a logic that stipulates that the basic imperative within the political-economic framework of bourgeois-state-capitalism is to “maximize profit by any means necessary at the lowest financial cost as soon as possible, while only satisfying the minimum logical requirements of [citizens]” ((Michel Luc Bellemare, The Structural-Anarchism Manifesto: (The Logic of Structural-Anarchism Versus The Logic of Capitalism), (Montréal: Blacksatin Publications Inc., 2016) 24.h).)), does not limit capitalists or capitalism to strictly adhere to any modern rational labor theory of value and surplus value. In fact, under the ideational comprehensive framework of bourgeois-state-capitalism, the fundamental imperative is to jettison any system, whether physical or mental, if this system impedes the accumulation and extraction of surplus value; i.e., capital, and to replace these malfunctioning systems with superior systems that enable and augment the accumulation and extraction of financial quantifiable capital. The aim, for the capitalist and the logic of capitalism, is to maximize capital and profit growth by any means necessary even if this means abandoning modern labor theories of value and surplus value. This is exactly what stimulated capitalists across the globe to abandon the gold standard, which tied bourgeois-state-capitalism to modern rational labor theories of value and surplus value.

By abandoning the gold standard, central banks around the world; i.e., the Federal Reserve, the Bank of Canada etc., were now equipped to print money, paper or digital, at will and to set borrowing rates at will. Central banks were in effect liberated from the modern rational metallic base grounded in labor, which governed their operations to date, and were now empowered with complete control over the amount of currency in circulation and all basic interest rates. As a result, according to David Harvey, a new global financial architecture was established based on an ungrounded network-like state-finance nexus designed “to facilitate the easy international flow of liquid money capital to wherever it could be used most profitably”. ((David Harvey, The Enigma of Capital, (Oxford, United-Kingdom: Oxford University Press, 2010) 16.)) In fact, David Harvey states this was in essence “the deregulation of finance” ((Ibid, 16.)) on a global-scale in order to maximize profit by removing financial barriers so that “banks could operate freely across borders” ((Ibid, 20.)), without recourse to the gold standard.

Realizing that modern rational labor theories no longer functioned adequately in sustaining maximum capital accumulation and extraction, creating problems and barriers for the logic of capitalism, the state-finance nexus, to use David Harvey’s term for it, adopted more flexible, more empowering post-industrial, post-modern theories of value and surplus value, that is, a theory of conceptual-commodity-value-management. The theory of conceptual-commodity-value-management, which came into effect with the abandonment of the gold standard, refocused and re-arranged, value, price and wage upon enterprising-networks, technocratic-management and conceptual-perception as the main factors in value, price and wage determinations and surplus-value determinations. Labor-time as a determining factor of value, price and wage was abandoned with the gold standard. This meant more control for capitalist-networks over economic events and situations. As David Harvey states, “capital has…to produce the conditions for its own continued expansion” ((Ibid, 67.)) and if something like the modern rational labor theory impedes and/or prevents this expansion, socio-economic reorganization must take place, a new model of capitalist economic growth must be established based on a new theoretical outlook. The theory of conceptual-commodity-value-management is a product of this reorganization in the sense that “capital has to create a landscape adequate to its own [logical] requirements”. ((Ibid, 86.))

Abandoning the gold standard in the 1970s, permitted the capitalist central banks to now print money at will and to set interest rates at will, ultimately “locating the power of infinite money creation within….[central banks such as] the federal reserve”. ((Ibid, 116.)) This economic maneuver gave capitalists and the state; i.e., the state-finance nexus, great liberties to manipulate interest rates and money-flows across the globe and within national borders according to their own arbitrary whims and necessary capitalist requirements. For instance, this new found control in the printing of money, paper or digital, enables the state-finance nexus of capitalism to overcome crises of overproduction. According to Marx, a crisis of overproduction occurs:

When stores are overfilled, the commodity stock expands as a result of the stagnation of circulation, just as hoards grow if the money circulation stagnates. The commodity stock is then not a condition of uninterrupted sale, but a consequence of the unsaleability of the commodities…[As a result, there is a] stagnation of circulation. ((Karl Marx, Capital (Volume Two), Trans. David Fernbach (London: Penguin Books, 1992) 225.))

Consequently, when a crisis of overproduction occurs, effective demand can be stimulated in the population via an injection of newly printed money by the central banks and/or by the lowering of interest rates. This sort of financial stimulus stimulates effective demand by permitting the working population and big business to borrow capital, through loans and/or credit, in order to purchase goods, which speed-up capitalist circulation and capitalist production. As Marx states, “as capitalist production develops, the scale of production is determined to an ever lesser degree by the immediate demand for the product, and to an ever greater degree by the scale of the capital which the individual capitalist has at his disposal”. ((Ibid, 221.)) When money and credit can be created at will, instantaneous lubrication can dislodge gluts and hoards in the market and in the economy so as to keep production and circulation moving effectively and efficiently, due to the fact that the scale of capital available to the individual capitalist and the population is greatly increased, stimulating desire and purchasing power. To quote Marx, “the credit system…modifies…turnover[s]…in so far as it speeds up both consumption and production” ((Ibid, 267.)), credit permits capitalists to overcome gluts in the marketplace and in production by allowing both workers and capitalist to buy on credit; i.e., purchasing goods on the basis of future revenue.

It is important to note that this instantaneous financial lubrication could not transpire if the bourgeois economy was still based on the gold standard due to the fact that all injections of capital and credit into the economy would have required an initial augmentation in gold-quantities, which is indicative of quantities of labor-time, in order to back-up the influx of instantaneous credit and newly printed money. It is the theory of conceptual-commodity-value-management, devoid of any rational labor basis, that permits the printing of money and the allocation of credit at will, without recourse to increase quantities of labor-time and/or gold, which require time and effort. The theory of conceptual-commodity-value-management allows central banks and the state to react instantaneously to economic crises; and in addition, it gives them the power and flexibility to address important economic difficulties without cumbersome and time-consuming rational labor calculations and/or production.

According to David Harvey, central banks being capable of printing money at will, “obviously in the short run inject sufficient liquidity into the system, as during the financial crisis of 2008…[which] was crucial to stabilizing the continued circulation and accumulation of capital”. ((David Harvey, The Enigma of Capital, (Oxford, United-Kingdom: Oxford University Press, 2010) 108.)) During the initial convulsions of the 2008 crisis, quick bail-outs, quick credit, and instantaneous capital injections through the state-finance nexus, enabled financial institutions, which were feeling the brunt of the crisis, to keep operating and functioning without stoppages, stoppages which would have brought the capitalist system itself to a grinding halt. As Marx states, “without credit…[the overcoming of crisis]…would clearly not be possible…[as] the credit system…makes capital fluid” ((Karl Marx, Capital (Volume Two), Trans. David Fernbach (London: Penguin Books, 1992) 420-421.)), enabling it to overcome crises and stoppages.

Notwithstanding, the increased nimbleness and power that theories of conceptual-commodity-value-management engender, when adopted by such powerful networks as the capitalist state-finance nexus, produces anarchy in other areas. It permits the detachment of value, price and wage from modern rational labor theories, which in effect throws value, price and wage into chaos, nonsense and obscenity. For instance, due to the fact that global economic/financial systems increasingly rely on technocratic-management, enterprising-networks and conceptual-perceptions, which are in essence ungrounded and in arbitrary, in order to regulate and reorganize capital flows, increasingly makes value, price and wage arbitrary, unstable and ungrounded. In fact, due to these underlying post-modern theories, value, price and wage have an ever-increasing tendency to be based on the vagaries of conceptual-perception, ruling enterprising-networks and technocratic-management, namely, what an individual and/or social group, that has been able to corner a profession and/or a market, are able to get away with and/or are able to socially construct through their specific ruling economic network.

Moreover, due to the theory of conceptual-commodity-value-management, value, price and wage are increasingly divorced from the basis of labor-time, which initially gave value, price and wage a certain rational foundation. In contrast, value, price and wage are increasingly subject to the arbitrary whims of the networks of capitalists, who manage value, price and wage in their particular economic branches according to their own personal desires and arbitrary determinations because these capitalist networks are able to control their specific economic branches through predatory exclusionary practices, price fixing and collusion etc. As a result, value, price and wage, under the theory of conceptual-commodity-value-management, are now primarily the product of what an individual and/or capitalist network is able to get away with.

Incidentally, the theory of conceptual-commodity-value-management is able to explain the financial madness of CEO wages, which are completely divorced from any basic labor foundation. Likewise, the theory also explains why Casinos that have barely any labor-time embodied within them are nonetheless able to suck capital from unsuspecting patrons based on a set of arbitrary ratios and formulas. In addition, the theory of conceptual-commodity-value-management is able to explain why there are so many irrational price-hikes, while production costs are at an all-time low. The theory also explains the obscene salaries of reality stars, sports stars, movie stars, music stars etc., whom, according to Marx, do not produce surplus value, yet, within post-industrial, post-modern capitalism receive an ever-increasing segment of total capital produced within society. These sort of examples are endless across contemporary post-industrial, post-modern society and only a theory of conceptual-commodity-value-management can adequately explain such gross exaggerations in price, value and wage.

In general, when rational labor theories of value and surplus value have been jettisoned, and the gold standard has been jettisoned, and central banks, intertwined with the state-financial nexus, can print money at will and issue credit at will, without recourse to any basic means of rational measurement; value, price and wage, become solely a matter of the power, namely, what a particular enterprising-network is able to wield in setting and establishing value, price and wage, according to their own arbitrary calculations. Via a theory-conceptual-commodity-value-management, ruling enterprising-networks, exercising oligarchical force and technocratic-management, are able to socially construct conceptual-perception; in essence, they are able to establish certain arbitrary values, prices and wage-determinations according to their own fictitious personal assumptions since value, price and wage are a matter of conceptual-perception. As a result, these arbitrary unfounded values, prices and wage-determinations have nothing to do with rational labor-time, that is, the paid and unpaid labor-time that go into commodities, services and/or professions.  It is all about adequately convincing an unsuspecting public that these arbitrary values, prices and wages are legitimately based on solid rational assumptions.

The result of these types of post-industrial, post-modern theories of value and surplus value, has been a radical transformation of congealed labor-time, commodity relations and relations of production across society. From increasing financial inequality, to precarious micro-jobs, to nonsensical professions, services and commodities, theories of conceptual-commodity-value-management have destabilized social relations, politics and basic perception on the world.  In sum, due to the influence of the theory of conceptual-commodity-value-management on value, price and wage, which has transformed, value, price and wage into increasingly arbitrary, illogical determinations based on the arbitrary whims of ruling networks, has resulted in irrational quantities of labor-time, nonsensical commodity relations and illogical ridiculous relations of production and consumption.

In fact, Marx’s notion of rational labor-time no longer functions as any meaningful measurement of value, as instantaneous ephemeral commodities, spectacles with no rational labor-time embodied within them, command ridiculous prices and/or wages in the marketplace. Likewise, as automation and artificial intelligence increasingly infiltrates production, driving production costs and labor-time down, contrary to Marx, prices nonetheless continue to rise, because citizens are continually conditioned to accept perpetually rising prices, even in the midst of lower production costs, as a fact of life under capitalism. As a result, commodity-relations are out of sorts, out of whack and out of touch with any basic rational foundation, a rational foundation which could make rational sense for such post-industrial, post-modern distortions. It seems that the only legitimation needed under post-industrial, post-modern bourgeois-state-capitalism is profit, whatever is profitable is legitimate and just, as long as the ruling capitalist networks within their particular economic branches approve and benefit.

Finally, this nonsense of infinite money creation localized within the central banks, as per the theory of conceptual-commodity-value-management, is a direct contradiction of Marx’s notion that “labor-power constantly creates value and surplus-value as long as it continues to function” ((Ibid, 299.)); namely, that labor-power is the source of surplus-value. In contrast, according to the logic of the theory conceptual-commodity-value-management, surplus value is the product of value, price and wage management by a specific ruling network and/or state-financial nexus, that artificially and socially constructs particular values, prices and wages, based not on the specific amount of labor embodied in a commodity, service, image or spectacle; but, more or less, on what is economically, politically and publicly conceivable and sustainable by a ruling economic network. Surplus value is the product of the social construction of conceptual-perception via technocratic-management by a ruling enterprising-network.  Whatever a particular market segment and/or public is willing to pay for a particular service, commodity, image or spectacle, regardless of how much rational labor-time is embodied in the particular commodity, service, image and/or spectacle, is the grounding basis of value, price and wage within post-industrial, post-modern bourgeois-state-capitalism.

For example, artwork values/prices function according to the theory of conceptual-commodity-value-management. How much a medical operation costs functions according to the theory of conceptual-commodity-value-management. How much non-material commodities cost, such as paparazzi images, are priced according to a theory of conceptual-commodity-value-management etc. Moreover, every time the central banks flood the financial capitalist systems with an influx of newly minted credit and money; out of thin air, an abundance of surplus value is manifested and readily available to be transformed into capital. The examples are endless. And the examples are indicative that the logic of capitalism and  bourgeois-state-capitalism have thoroughly shed the modern rational labor theory of value and surplus value. Where, according to Marx, the social condition is “the universal confounding and overturning of things…[a] world upside-down” ((Karl Marx, Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844, Ed. Martin Milligan (Mineola, New York: Dover Publications Inc., 2007) 139-141.)), a world, where modernity is discarded for post-modernity.

It is a world where economic “crises are, in effect, not only inevitable but…necessary” ((David Harvey, The Enigma of Capital, (Oxford, United-Kingdom: Oxford University Press, 2010) 71.)), where crises are both solved and created through the infinite possibilities of unlimited monetary creation housed within the state-finance nexus.

In general, post-industrial, post-modern theories of value and surplus value have a tendency to increase financial inequalities across society as those who belong to the ruling oligarchical networks manipulate economic events and financial flows in their favor, soaking-up all the newly-minted monetary manifestations of the central banks, leaving the poor 99% high and dry. Likewise, post-industrial, post-modern theories of value and surplus value have a tendency to manifest ever-increasing ineptitude within the circuits and processes of capitalism as an obscene concentration of capital at the top of the capitalist pyramid fuels a litany of financial over-abundance depravities; while, a complete lack of capital at the bottom level of the capitalist pyramid fuels a litany of financial shortage depravities. This capitalist feudalism and its “ever-increasing ineptitude is…increasingly impeding the accumulation and extraction of surplus value and in addition multiplying socio-economic breakdowns in the socio-economic processes of democratic-state-capitalism” ((Michel Luc Bellemare, The Structural-Anarchism Manifesto: (The Logic of Structural-Anarchism Versus The Logic of Capitalism), (Montréal: Blacksatin Publications Inc., 2016) 45.d).)), as irrationality, ignorance and nonsense increasingly take center-stage within the socio-economic processes of bourgeois-state-capitalism.

Indeed, socio-economic degeneration is in effect, as debt financing escalates across the stratums of everyday life, resulting in ever-increasing surveillance and disciplinary-mechanisms within the parameters of bourgeois-state-capitalism. As a result, bourgeois-state-capitalism is increasingly being transformed into a vast military-industrial-complex, that is, “a soft-totalitarian-state”. ((Ibid, 29.a).)) This soft-totalitarian-state/military-industrial-complex, is an administrative society were military-organization and industrial-organization are synonymous and stationed at the core of all socio-economic processes within bourgeois-state-capitalism. This  post-industrial, post-modern society is a soft-totalitarian-state in the sense that surveillance, discipline and police presence is omnipresent across everyday life, cajoling citizens, both softly and obdurately, to work, to consume, to obey, and to follow capitalist directives par excellence. The soft-totalitarian-state is soft in nature in the sense that its disciplinary-mechanisms are varied, both elastic and obdurate, depending on the extent and the severity of the deviations from the logic of capitalism. As a matter of fact:

The logic of capitalism unfettered and unbound strives for an ironclad… military-industrial-complex; i.e., a form of social organization where control, surveillance and work in the service of surplus value extraction and accumulation is paramount, highly functionalist and regimented. ((Ibid, 25.a).))

In this regard, with increasing decision-making-authority, capitalist mechanisms and capitalist processes are increasingly organized and designed to promote the imperatives and logic of capitalism; i.e., consumerism, capitalist production, capitalist ideology and the ruling oligarchical networks that govern bourgeois institutions and the state-finance nexus.

The infinite credit and infinite money creation, brought forth with the abolishment of the gold standard, has set the stage for completely unfettered capitalism, where financial debts skyrocket and the reality of social relations are nonsensical, unbalanced and unstable. As Guy Debord states in The Society of The Spectacle, post-industrial, post-modern bourgeois-state-capitalism is “capital accumulated to the point where it becomes [total] image”. ((Guy Debord, The Society of the Spectacle, Trans. Donald Nicholson-Smith (New York, New York: Zone Books, 1995) 24.)) It is a world riddled with debt, surveillance, discipline and punishments set out in a variety of differing manners ranging from the soft to hard etc., and designed to hardwire citizens into capitalist socio-economic processes and the logic of capitalism. Subsequently, it is a world where “all that was once directly lived has become…representation” ((Ibid, 12.)), flickering pixels on the bank-machine screen, where nothing is truly what it appears to be. Describing this post-industrial, post-modern condition, Debord states:

An earlier stage in the economy’s domination of social life entailed an obvious downgrading of being into having that left its stamp on all human endeavor. The present stage, in which social life is completely taken over by the accumulated products of the economy, entails a generalized shift from having to appearing: all effective having must now derive both its immediate prestige and its ultimate raison d’être from appearance. ((Ibid,16.))

The post-industrial, post-modern condition is one of appearances, an admixture of fiction and truth, which has been financed and paid for on the extensive debt brought into existence via both the abandonment of the gold standard and the possibility of infinite money creation bestowed upon the central banks. Infinite credit and infinite money creation has set the stage for the degeneration of bourgeois-state-capitalism from a world of being to a world of having and finally to a world of appearing, where the vast majority of people, only own a fraction of what they appear to possess, the rest laid out on vast sums of credit.

Notwithstanding, what underlies this topsy-turvy post-industrial, post-modern capitalist society is the theory of conceptual-commodity-value-management. Due to the fact that the theory of conceptual-commodity-value-management detaches values, prices and wages from their former modernist foundation, namely, rational labor-time, commodity-relations and relations of productions; and instead, reattaches values, prices and wages upon the post-industrial, post-modern foundation of conceptual-perception, enterprising-networks and technocratic-management. These three principles comprise the underpinnings of the post-industrial, post-modern theory of conceptual-commodity-value-management.

It is for these reasons that the theory of conceptual-commodity-value-management descends right down to the depths and to the core of post-industrial, post-modern bourgeois-state-capitalism in the sense that it stimulates the rearranging of relations of production, commodity-relations, conceptual-perceptions and notions of value, price and wage. So much so, that nothing has been left untouched by this post-industrial, post-modern   “weltanschauung…transformed into [an] objective [capitalist material] force”. ((Ibid, 13.))

Bibliography: ((Bellemare, Michel Luc. The Structural-Anarchism Manifesto: (The Logic of Structural-Anarchism Versus The Logic of Capitalism). Montréal: Blacksatin Publications Inc., 2016.

Debord, Guy. The Society of the Spectacle. Trans. Donald Nicholson-Smith. New York, New York: Zone Books, 1995.

Harvey, David. The Enigma of Capital. Oxford, United-Kingdom: Oxford University Press, 2010.

Marx, Karl. A Contribution To A Critique of Political Economy. ed. Maurice Dobb. Moscow, Russia: Progress Publishers, 1970.

Marx, Karl. Capital (Volume One). Trans. Ben Fowkes. London Eng.: Penguin, 1990.

Marx, Karl. Capital (Volume Two). Trans. David Fernbach. London: Penguin Books, 1992.

Marx, Karl. Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. Ed. Martin Milligan. Mineola, New York: Dover Publications Inc., 2007.

Marx, Karl. Value, Price and Profit. New York, New York: International Publishers, 1976.))

Michel Luc Bellemare's latest book, Techno-Capitalist-Feudalism, was published in September 2020. He is also the author of The Structural-Anarchism Manifesto: (The Logic of Structural-Anarchism Versus The Logic of Capitalism). Michel Luc is a member of the Metis Algonquin Nation of Ontario, Canada. Read other articles by Michel Luc.