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Labour Theory of Value

I want to take Marxian ideas about exploitation seriously but I'm having trouble understanding the labour theory of value. Is it true that all of Marxian theory falls apart if his theory of value is wrong? Personally, I have trouble buying the notion that a commodities value is determined by the labour time necessary to produce that commodity. Imagine this scenario: a concentration camp wherein cigarettes are used as currency. Let's say the supply of cigarettes is cut off abruptly one day. 2 weeks go by and everybody has smoked all of their cigarettes. One lucky prisoner find a single cigarettes underneath his bed. This is the only smoke in the entire camp, but our lucky prisoner is not a smoker, and he looks to exchange this cigarette for some food. The other prisoners try to outbid each other, offering more and more, until our prisoner is able to trade his cigarette for triple the amount of food normally traded for a single smoke. In other words, the value of the cigarette triples. But how is this value created by his labour? He didn't work at all to find it; he found it by accident?

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Dear Noah,

Prof. Wolff has posted a video answer to your question.  Please visit the RichardDWolff channel on YouTube and be sure to subscribe for more great content.  I have posted the link to the video response below for your convenience.  Subscribe to the channel for more great content and be sure to share it with friends and family. 

https://youtu.be/flFyaguUqIo

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Economic Update piece on how companies destroy unions and how worker coops will change this.

Joe Ricketts shuts down local newssites because reporters vote to unionize: http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/11/03/561830256/billionaire-owner-shuts-down-dnainfo-gothamist-sites-a-week-after-workers-unioni

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How can I get a paper I understand you wrote called "Marx's, Not Ricardo's, Labor Theory of Value."

Thank you, Stephen Price Seattle

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Do public teachers/counselors/admin who are in unions get OT pay versus non-union school personnel?

I live in Texas, where there are no unions for the people who work at a school, and because they are an exempt worker, they do not get any paid overtime. The school system budget in Texas has been cut back over the years, and to manage it, school districts have consolidated schools into mega-schools and cut out any redundant functions. This means the workers are now taking on more workload, teachers have more students per classroom, counselors have double to triple the amount of kids they manage, and the result is all employees are working a minimum of 48 hours a week to a max of 64 hours. Most administrators are putting in a minimum of 60 hours plus per week. These people are worked to levels that life isn't all that great these days, but if any of them question the hours they are working, they will be blacklisted and eventually fired. The environment is tyranny, people need their jobs and even though the workload is beyond any quality life, they will not challenge the system in fear of losing their jobs. Do these people have a path to challenge the system via a third party humanitarian group? Is there any legal non-profit groups who are taking the government/school systems to court for illegal practices? I want to know how to get involved and help these people. thank you

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217 years away from equality?

Women will wait 217 years for pay gap to close?World Economic Forums 2017 report for 2017 shows an alarming decline in gender equality in the United States, originally ranked 23 out of 144 countries in 2006, now places 49th, down 4 places from 2016. What's behind this decline?reports can be viewed here. https://www.weforum.org , original story here https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/nov/01/gender-pay-gap-217-years-to-close-world-economic-forum Also, do you have, or know where I can find data on Life Settlement purchases? I'm interested to see whether or not an increasing number of people are selling their life insurance policies in order to get by.

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Entire college faculty given pink slips by University before sale of college

Is there any precedent for non-profit universities giving pink slips to the entire faculty of a college in anticipation of selling that college to a for-profit educational institution? This is what just happened at Westminster Choir College, an arm of Rider University in New Jersey. http://www.rideraaup.net/dellomo-lays-off-entire-wcc-faculty.html For background information: http://www.centraljersey.com/news/professor-prospective-westminster-buyer-has-no-higher-education-experience/article_07b79dca-adec-11e7-bf92-e3d49234601a.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook&utm_campaign=user-share I would also like to hear Prof. Wolff's thoughts about the larger issue of education becoming a for-profit and often predatory venture.

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Entire college faculty given pink slips by University before sale of college

Is there any precedent for non-profit universities giving pink slips to the entire faculty of a college in anticipation of selling that college to a for-profit educational institution? This is what just happened at Westminster Choir College, an arm of Rider University in New Jersey. http://www.rideraaup.net/dellomo-lays-off-entire-wcc-faculty.html For background information: http://www.centraljersey.com/news/professor-prospective-westminster-buyer-has-no-higher-education-experience/article_07b79dca-adec-11e7-bf92-e3d49234601a.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook&utm_campaign=user-share I would also like to hear Prof. Wolff's thoughts about the larger issue of education becoming a for-profit and often predatory venture.        An even better article about the financial circumstances of the proposed sale.  https://planetprinceton.com/2017/04/24/no-financial-gain-from-selling-westminster-an-open-letter-to-the-rider-university-board-of-trustees-from-teachers-union-leaders/

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Can I buy your books directly from you?

I am a proud democratic socialist, and closeted Marxist, with that said, why!? Do I have to buy your book on Amazon, and let them skim the proceeds of your labor?! Can I buy your books directly from you?

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Can I buy your books directly from you?

I am a proud democratic socialist, and closeted marxist, with that said, why!? Do I have to buy your book on Amazon, and let them skim the proceeds of your labor?! Can I buy your books directly from you?

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How would you change the operating system of the United States?

If you could change the convert the United States government and economic system into something that was in the People's best interest, what would you change it to and how would you implement it? Remember, you have absolute power!

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Does the corporate buyback of stocks artificially inflate the GDP?

FOX news and other right wing outlets have been bragging about the GDP growing to over 3%, largely due to Trump. They also attribute this growth to the unemployment numbers dropping with millions of jobs created since the election. Just looking around, it doesn't seem that businesses are doing any better. They actually seem to be doing worst in many cases.

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Do we need a stock market, or one like the existing one?

Is a stock market necessary? With its propensity to become merely another form of organized crime that, like organized crime of the past, ran numbers or facilitated gambling, its current state, coupled with the "too big to fail", "The taxpayers will bail us out or accept economic collapse." state, is a complete danger to society. Could the stock market be dismantled without massive damage to living standards? In an ideal world or in a vacuum, could it be either dismantled entirely or reduced to merely an IPO only system where people invested in companies and only received compensation from dividends and trading was forbidden? Is there even a better option? With a media that we have now that creates short-term memory, people seem to forget that we end up bailing out billionaires about every decade. We did in the eighties, in 1998, and then again in 08. It seems those running these schemes know they can get away with it if they don't do it more than once a decade.

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Have you seen these?

https://youtu.be/meiU6TxysCg https://youtu.be/6qTiGlCxrIA

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Have you seen these?

https://youtu.be/meiU6TxysCg https://youtu.be/6qTiGlCxrIA

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