2013/02/15 Minutes Economics Working Group
Wealth – what is it? how is it created? how is it distributed? so what?
What is it? Wealth is produced by labour only – capitalism is a particular means to produce and distribute; labour and land produce surplus/capital/wealth; product of human labour and what is left over after the inputs; you have to bend down to pick up a shell (labour and land), jewel etc.; resources of the planet – not the product of human being; garden of Eden; it was there before humans – it was a given; occurs in plurals. Wealth is quantified rather than qualitatively examined; wealth can be stolen and inherited; produced by labour. Use of an adjective – current usage superfluity – more than you need; well being = in abundance; not necessarily tangible goods – contrast banker with worldly goods v occupier with spiritual/social wealth. Relationship of wealth with time. Antithesis of Scrooge who led a barren life; the more you give, the more the wealth of the community increases; location value by virtue of available fruits, resources, fish in the sea; wealth is a state of mind. All wealth is socially produced; wealth and wellness; present system state of “illth”. Adam Smith: Wealth is the annual produce of land and labour in society. Derived from “weal” which means wellness;
Spirit level – greater equality of wealth is generally beneficial; what is the value of something? – what you are prepared to pay for it. Price v Value. What do you need to produce steel? Iron ore, energy, tools, skills, people, land, carbon, market – supply and demand; China v UK domestic production; wealth relates to human need; what are human needs? Things are valued according to their needs; Evening Standard – we’ll feel poorer for three more years; state of mind. Conflict soaks up energy and creativity.
Wealth is Created – inputs raw materials and energy → wealth + pollution; increased in value – added value;
Wealth is Distributed – space for production; frozen land – land; who owns the land demands their rent; can’t produce without money for production/working capital – interest on working capital; work and know how; frozen knowledge in each machine/tool; living knowledge (within the workers and machine manuals); rent from ownership of land; interest derives from ownership of working capital (law); interest is not necessary or desirable.Interest; rents; profit. Supply and demand? Will, desire? Happiness gap. Desire, volition is missing; People, land owners, money holders, shareholders, producer/consumers; blue collar (hourly rate) v white collar (annual salary); wages v salary; workers need money to buy what they need; perks; inequality built into this; profit is not analogous to interest and rent; social organisation and the legal framework are important factors to take into account; work ethic artificially created – a construct. Post black death people had sufficient and were reluctant to work beyond their needs; Lord Robens (coal board) – referred to the length of the miners working week, not inclined to work beyond their needs. Oved to work/serve (or working for God); servant to other human beings? Who gets what and how much? Production of goods and services; distinction services (low entropy); equity? Profit entrepreneurship; cocoa beans into chocolate; Rowntree family worked in the factory; knowledge vested in the shareholders; profits accumulated risk; cooperative model shared profit/(loss); competition – cut price – lower wages; IP as part of the commons. We cannot rely on altruistic motivation to change to the world; facilitation workshop 24th February: http://occupylondon.org.uk/events/facilitation-assemblies-and-decision-making-in-horizontal-groups
Need to think of radically different; Ideology of Work; Eleanor Ostrom; think in new ways; become as children; see something for what it is.