Communities and Labor Theory Value


After the rise of the neo-liberalism, there were discussions about the invisible hand written by Adam Smith. The context in which Smith’s invisible hand came into play was from the merchants who had the backing of national powers. Merchants followed the logic of mercantilism - to protect their own business, they intervened and mobilized to be a part of this public [national] power. As a result of their actions they created an unfair competition for those who have influence and others who do not. To fight against this logic, Adam Smith insisted for a fair competition where businesses can thrive without the government getting its hand in. To assert a fair & free competition, Adam Smith wrote about the invisible hand.

However, ignoring all of these connotations the argument for Smith’s invisible hand has become used for those in with political & financial power - ironically preventing a fair & free competition. As Jesus’ teachings are used to by large Churches to manipulate others, Adam Smith’s vision, goals, and his words are being presented against his true will. Neoliberalism set Smith’s invisible hand in the forefront to create a new Capitalist society where mass-capital creates an unfair competition. Resulting in a practical collapse of the middle class.

One thing we have to be clear though is that Smith was never a supporter of the middle class. Taking the nail factory case as an example, Smith believed organized labor could produce capital. Brand new technology is also produced through this sort of group labor. Fordism and the conveyor belt system, Toyota’s “just-in-time-manufacturing”, development of semiconductors, the internet revolution all resulted from trained workers by an organized system.

As such, no matter how well trained an individual worker is, by himself he cannot create a revolution or an increase in production. This all relies on how well organized a group of workers are in a labor force.

Regrettably, the average Joes’ lack the financial funds & the mental assets to withstand the early risks involved in creating an organized labor force to produce capital. As such, the system ended up relying on those with the capital to funds to train and produce organized workers to create goods. Those with the work skills, technology, and innovative ideas become a cog within these organisations machine that were backed & created by those who owned a massive capital. Adam Smith’s dream in revolution of production happened, yet his goal of a free & fair competition was shattered.

We commonly call a group of organized workers coming together to produce goods a corporation. Capitalists can fund these corporations for the duration until they can create positive returns, covering their losses with their massive funds. These capital owners take the immediate responsibility of all the insecure factors of the corporation, yet as soon as it becomes a swan that lays golden eggs - the returns are also their own. This results in where the average worker provides their talents & efforts for the corporation but receive only the minimum amount of gains. In contrast, those businesses that only require a small amount of capital to start up (small businesses) end up failing in most cases. Most of us choose to become a part of this massive machine due to these circumstances - a salary man like others call it.

Communists - and socialists in general - are enraged by the uneven distribution of wealth from such a corporation system. To go even further, they seed hatred & disdain against such capitalists that create the system. And as a result, socialists expect the workers in the bottom of the pyramid to become committed to their personal gains - just like the capitalists in which they are trying to fight - to come together and create organizations such as labor unions.

Yet these labor unions at best are only a sub-organization within another corporation that was created by the capitalist that the workers are ‘protecting’ themselves from. Only ever becoming a derivative of the entity they are working for, the unions only can do so much within their power.

But in a turn of other events, those who believe themselves to be socialists in perspective think to oneself being the righteous one to lead the people to salvation. With their heads held high, these people are too busy criticizing others while not providing the correct solution to the people that need it. Or sometimes conflicts are started through controversial accusations, letters, demonstrations that result into nothing but wasted time in life.

It was correct for these activists & revolutionists to be enraged by such injustice of the capitalist system, yet their activities easily led them to depressing ends with self inflicted damages. Yet I still find that these people who have the sense of justice to be much more humane than those immune to it in their everyday lives. And it is also true that thanks to the works of these activists with their sense of historic responsibility that mankind has gone on a less destructive path.


500 years ago when the Hutterites first surfaced they threatened the core power system of Europe. Unlike the serfs who had to rely on the landlords who owned the farmlands or the employee that relies in the capitalists’ capital in the modern age these people were entirely self-sufficient without any such reliance. Hutterites were able to organize their labors through a community. And with it they were able to avoid the fate of submission to landlords & capitalists. Free from the slavery and violence, it was completely independent from any world systems.


Furthermore, the Hutterites were able to produce a massive amount of wealth without the help of the world system. No knights or landlords or the funding of a big capitalist - these people just with their own laboring hands created wealth. The wealth created here is the exact model Adam Smith mentioned. Following the example of the early Church, the Hutterites & the Anabaptists were able to expand around Europe. Even so much that some historians argue there were more Anabaptists than any other Christians. Maybe if it were not for the harsh persecutions, the world would have been different now. (Their extreme pacifist ways were also evident in the method they spread their communal values. Without the reliance of the State’s army or the sword the sole source of their power to spread the message was from themselves. This was a different sort of communism in comparison to the violent revolutions seen afterwards in history.)

In turn though… The Hutterites became the common enemy of the landlord's, state, and the Presbyterian Church. The Hutterites may have failed to realize however they were in lead of living style that would break free the pyramid structure everyone lives in even now. A new form of economy, lifestyle, and faith. A Kingdom of God that would conflict with everything the ruling class were used.

During the rise of Anabaptism, both the Catholic & Presbyterian church believed that Europe would fall into complete chaos with the spread of this anarchist system. This was due to the clear vision that  communities would become independent of any social structure - capital, religious, or the state.

Therefore the European powers ordered any and all those who identified themselves as Anabaptist or Hutterites to be destroyed. Completely. As a result, the 12 different Anabaptist groups that were there have mostly been systematically wiped out. (There are currently 3 clear different Anabaptist groups). These people in power even tried to erase the memory of such a movement. Yet now the season of history have changed and the number of group shave gone from 3, to 7, to more than 12.

At the time, those in Europe started a violent persecution in the name of God. However the reason for the persecution was religious in nature as well. The sentence given out to these men & women who were martyred was “rebellion against Jesus” - just like how the early Church was prosecuted. Yes it was religious in nature but heavily inspired for political reasons as well. But maybe - somehow - the religious reason may have been bigger.

The Kingdom of God is not a derivative of the world but opposed of it. The Kingdom of God is different and will always stand against the world.

The labor theory of value was right. However for the laborer to take the wealth created by their work will require them to not rely on massive capital for their job. Rather, these workers should be able to create and organize their own work through solidarity & cooperation with others. The capitalist will never freely give up their profits because they believe they have taken the original risk. The capitalists rationalize such uneven distribution of gains because of the initial risks they take - allowing themselves to indulge in bigger profits when possible.


The modern age has been driven by this sort of conflict. In 2012 the co operative movement was the seed of such a movement. Maybe it is time we finish the work started by the ones 500 years ago?

Original Text: http://jungwonyang.com/post/Msg1015

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