A while ago I said I would posting a rebuttal to monetary capitalist's. It turns out it is more of a question preceding from their own response to socialism than a rebuttal, however.
Some people on Reddit have expressed dissatisfaction with my argument, neither accepting nor dismissing its conclusion.
My hypotheses is present below. You can accept it or dismiss it, of course.
However, as TZM is a collaborative movement and this is, no doubt, a collaborative forum, I invite those who see possibility in my conclusion but question my the efficiency of my argument, to provide perhaps a better argument for my conclusion.
In other words, despite whatever reservations you have about my overall argument, maybe we could brainstorm this problem to provide a stronger case in favor of my conclusion?
Thanks for your consideration.
The Capitalist Price Obsolescence Problem: Why Von Mises Is Wrong and Prices Will Die
Capitalists today are quite vocal in making the claim that both Socialism and a Resource Based Economy, without pricing, have an economic calculation problem that causes the inefficient use and distribution of resources. Of course, this alleged flaw was first pointed out most famously by Ludwig Von Mises in the early 1920's in regards to a priceless socialist commonwealth.
However, as I will expand on, Von Mises was committing a great miscalculation of his own in failing to take into account and foresee the impact that automation will have on pricing within a monetary capitalist economic model.
If we take the capitalist claim at face value and allow that any economic model will be blind without pricing, it must follow that Capitalism itself is no less susceptible to this blindness due to an absence of prices once full automation of labor and production is achieved.
For if full (or even semi) automation of labor and production is achieved, there will no longer be a need for human labor to access and produce many (if not all) resources necessary for human survival and/or comfort.
Without the need for human labor to produce anything, without a requirement to pay out wages and without a population with a wage income to make purchases, there is no need or possibility to charge a price for labor or the product of labor.
But, again, without prices, capitalist's claim it would be very difficult to efficiently distribute resources.
If all food is produced entirely indoors, under artificially controlled climates by free automated labor, for instance, how will a future society know how to distribute that food efficiently without prices? There are no wages to be paid thanks to automation or food scarcities to contend with due to weather thanks to indoor farming, so there is no need to put a price on food. No human is producing it. No human is demanding a wage for its production so how do you allocate food if it has no price due to full automation and no labor force with the income to purchase it?
Additionally, if a resource is scarce in a fully automated world, such as a precious mineral of some kind, you cannot demand a price for it under a fully automated world where no one is working and therefore are not receiving any wages to expend on the purchasing of scarce resources. And if presumably any scarce resources were substituted for with renewable resources, the pricing problem becomes even more difficult for the capitalist. Why put a price on a resource that is not scarce and does not require human labor to fashion into a consumable product or wages to be paid out for its production? Disregarding the lack of a paid human workforce in a fully or semi automated world where there are no wages with which to buy scarce resources, capitalist's think they are being smart when they respond at this point by saying that it doesn't matter if work becomes automated...scarce materials and resources, by the mere fact of being scarce, will still demand a price and thus preserve the necessity for monetary exchange. But this is actually not a very good response. Indeed, why even charge for a scarce resource such as a precious mineral if the basic, non-scarce resources you would spend the money on in exchange for that precious resource are already being provided to you free by free automated labor? At that point, even paying for scarce resources makes no sense.
Another angle capitalist's will use to respond to the challenge posed by automation is to say ďpeople will just move from the automated jobs to non-automated jobs.Ē
But when all the jobs that provide the basic necessities and comforts like food, shelter, healthcare, clothing, travel, etc have been automated and are available for free, what is the incentive to move into other jobs? There is no incentive. With automation the main necessities and comforts are covered for free. Why rent yourself out for work and a wage if the mainstays of your needs and comforts can already be covered by unpaid automation? The whole purpose of working other jobs is to get money because the basic resources and comforts produced by the former jobs weren't automated and free. However, when all jobs providing basic necessities and comforts are automated, all other jobs of monetary pursuit will be unnecessarily redundant. After all, why work those redundant paid jobs if all your needs and comforts are provided for by free automated labor? They can simply be engaged in as unpaid hobbies. In other words, all jobs don't have to be automated for work, and thus pricing, to be made obsolete, just the right jobs. Things like entertainment will be produced as unpaid hobbies by citizens who have been freed of the burden of working for their basic needs and comforts.
This all comprises what I call the Capitalist Price Obsolescence Problem.
Forget about socialism. Forget about a moneyless resource based economy. In a capitalist world of full or even semi automation, where there is no need to put a price on anything and no wages being paid, capitalist's would then be forced to face and solve the economic calculation problem themselves because pricing itself breaks down and becomes obsolete.
Capitalists claim the economic calculation problem is unsolvable without prices as prices are largely needed to reflect the cost of the human labor involved in production and the value of scarce resources.
But what I am suggesting is the economic calculation problem MUST be solved without prices because we are headed for a world where prices themselves are going to be phased out. In other words, not only do socialist's have to solve the economic calculation problem, but capitalist's will eventually HAVE to solve the same problem for themselves! With increasing automation, the economic calculation problem becomes just as much a problem for capitalists as it is for socialists.
This, of course, turns into an unsolvable contradiction for capitalist's that insist on the necessity of prices in the face of a challenge to the very need for pricing by growing automation.
And this problem is only going to get worse for capitalist's as automation and in-home means of production expand and take root in society.
So I ask the free market monetary capitalist's what will you do?
Let the claim and challenge be put forth today that...as long as capitalistís and advocateís of Von Misesís theory contend the Economic Calculation Problem is unsolvable without prices, they are, in effect, arguing that Capitalism itself will have to face and resolve the same dilemma as society becomes increasingly more automated.
I have no doubt monetary capitalist's will soon be spending a great deal of time and energy trying to solve or refute the exact same gnawing problem they have subjected socialist's to all these many decades. And to that I say, welcome to the club. So nice of you to join us. Now letís get to work and solve this problem together.