Marx and the Human Factory

If you want to create the maximum amount of efficiency in a society and an economy, communism is not the way to go.

No doubt about it.

I’ve spent thirty years in manufacturing and while communism shares the same goals as a high volume/low mix industrial factory – planning, standardization, and a condition of “sameness” – more properly a lack of variation in the production process that will yield products that are all alike, it does not include a very important component.

People who manage entities in this segment of the industrial world work to create specific procedures for employees to follow, design equipment with exacting tolerances to eliminate variation and we use all sorts of statistical tools to plan and execute the manufacturing process so that everything we make is exactly the same. We essentially try as much as possible to take the human element out of it because humans are natural sources of variation. We rely on the “process” to successfully produce the products we expect at the level of quality we designed.

This is actually how Genichi Taguchi, a leading Japanese manufacturing guru, defines quality. He invented what is called the Loss Function of Quality:

Quality is the loss imparted to society through variation.

I’ve always thought it strange that Marx, when fighting against reduction in value of physical labor brought about by machines, factories and industrialization, created an economic and social theory that sought to turn the world into nothing more than a factory for humans. He took the very theories that he detested in the industrial environment and applied them to humans – even though these theories were driving massive increases in productivity and rapidly decreasing prices of factory made goods. Marx essentially viewed the world as a factory and humans as both its assets and its product.

Look at how collectivists think:

  • They define “freedom” as the elimination of risk though having everything planned for you.
  • They define equality as everybody having exactly the same kinds and amounts of “stuff” – no variation.
  • They believe that both can be brought about by central planning and collective ownership of all productive assets.
  • They believe that the role of people is to fulfill the plan, no more and no less. Variation is not allowed.
  • They believe that happiness, freedom and fulfillment are found by working to the glory of the state that makes the plan.

Collectivists (and I use this terminology to define all socialists/Marxists/communists) like the acolytes of Marx make one simple but glaring mistake when they claim that a collectivist system will produce true “freedom” through a planned economy.

That mistake is that they ignore half of the equation. They believe that the central authority should own all the means of production but don’t realize that to do this effectively and efficiently, they must also regulate consumption because in a closed, planned system, these two must be equal. That means that if the total refrigerator factory output that was planned for 2013 was for 5 million refrigerators (all exactly alike, by the way), then demand must also be for 5 million refrigerators.

But what if the true demand (need) is for 6 million? How does that get balanced?

It gets balanced by 1 million potential consumers of refrigerators not getting them. Their choice is restricted regardless of their true need because in a collectivist economy, the plan is the determinant because all things must conform to the plan in order for the economy to be balanced.

What if the true demand (need) is for 4 million? How does that get balanced?

Citizens will necessarily be forced to consume the overage until the plan can be altered.

This is common in planned economies where overproduction and shortages existed at the same time.

In a state-owned economy, there are no real-time economic signals to indicate changes in the slope of the supply/demand curve. In a capitalist economy, this is what prices do. In an industrial environment, we use real time feedback from the process to constantly adjust. It seems counterintuitive that a stable process requires constant adjustment – but due to the infinite number of changing conditions that impact a process, it is true.

But for collectivists to control an economy there is only the plan.

Think about this in terms of your entire life being subjected to this refrigerator example in every single facet – from toilet paper to entertainment.

Planning and designing a human based economy or society to eliminate variation eliminates choice. If one cannot choose, one is cannot be free.

Contrary to the claims of the collectivists, the way to create the maximum amount of efficiency in a society and an economy is not collectivism. Collectivism guarantees mismatches in supply and demand. With these mismatches comes a restriction of freedom of choice, the result of which is the least amount of freedom.

46 thoughts on “Marx and the Human Factory

  1. They define “freedom” as the elimination of risk though having everything planned for you.
    They define equality as everybody having exactly the same kinds and amounts of “stuff” – no variation.
    They believe that both can be brought about by central planning and collective ownership of all productive assets.
    They believe that the role of people is to fulfill the plan, no more and no less. Variation is not allowed.
    They believe that happiness, freedom and fulfillment are found by working to the glory of the state that makes the plan.

    Everything above is a strawman.
    Collectivism is about creating a democracy in the administration of the means of production.

    Instead of prices, democratically administrated means of production will have surveys. You mark on your needs/wants list, what you would like to have delivered to your house next month and put them in priority order. Then they get produced.

    • “Collectivism is about creating a democracy in the administration of the means of production.”

      Oh geesh. Seriously Karl. you are going to try to sell that to us? Let me tell you what collectivism is all about. It’s about stifling individuality and diversity by insisting upon a common social identity, for the interest of another group focus. Collectivism is about vertically authoritarian nature where the fruition of another’s labor benefits the leading class. Collectivism sets up a notion that because a “majority” wins (an election for this example), the opposition is to submit to the majority, as we’ve seen Obama assert after this last election cycle, and it simply does not work in a Federalist-Republic, now did it? hehehehe.

      Collectivism flourishes while the people are regimented into a slave caste to serve a handful of self-seeking ‘supermen.’ (i.e., the ruling class), and their smokescreen serves perverse self determination of the individual.

      Do you really need a mob to tell you when you can take a dump, or which way you will wipe after that dump, Karl?

      I damn sure don’t.

      • “Collectivism flourishes while the people are regimented into a slave caste to serve a handful of self-seeking ‘supermen.’ (i.e., the ruling class), and their smokescreen serves perverse self determination of the individual”

        Um, ya mean like this administration?.

    • The only straw is in your brain, there Scarecrow.

      Your surveys/wants are fairytale bullshit. You clearly have no idea how any form of economy works. You say that this is a “democracy in the administration of the means of production”…what happens to the needs/wants of the losing side of the vote? There can be no “democracy” in the administration of production because you can’t run a factory with want/needs that are determined by a national survey.

      And yes, it has to be at a national level because that is what collectivism is about.

      You are such a moron.

      Same mistake the Keynesian economists make – putting supply ahead of demand.Collectivists want to specify supply so that they can manage the plan they think demand is a function of supply, that is what generates oversupply and shortages. Supply is really a function of demand, regulated by price. Too little demand, price falls until supply is equal to demand. Too much demand, price increases until the demand is quelled and production increased supply – them the price falls back to reflect the balance. It is called the free market – there is noting more equitable than a buyer willing to buy and a seller willing to sell.

      In a capitalist economy, we communicate wants and needs immediately with every single purchase.

      What you are claiming for collectivism is exactly what capitalism does – only better and more efficiently. Your want/needs model is the definition of Michael Dell’s mass customization model that brought prices of computers tumbling down so that almost every household either has at least one or has access to one.

      • Purchasing power does not equal democratic administration of an economy, as purchasing power is not equally distributed and final decisions are still reliant on the bourgeoisie. Orders and surveys are the same thing, except demand is already known. Consumers have already been found for the product. Rather than guesstimating the amount of demand for a product and then selling the product and later adjusting prices.

        • So you think that a person requesting a refrigerator that already is not guesstimating? Or will they not be allowed to get one until after the one they have is broken. Your model suggests a static economy just waiting for these “surveys” to be conducted. That implies that someone has to wait until production can be planned and executed…that’s a nice idea but what happens when the world keeps turning and the “needs” change?

          I never said that power equals “democratic administration of an economy” what I said was that “democratic administration of an economy” is an absurd, impossible and impractical concept – only believed by those simple of mind and ignorant of any kind of real production process. That’s why the main feature of collectivist economies are shortages – just like the entire socialist paradise of Venezuela running out of toilet paper a couple of weeks ago…not a few shops, the entire country.

          You demonstrate such an ignorance. This is not a Star Trek world with replicators that can produce anything you desire out of atomic matter on demand. Production is not conducive to democratic control.

          Final decisions reliant on the bourgeoisie? The bourgeoisie react to the flow of demand, producing products in the style and quantity demanded by the market and power is in the hands of the purchaser.

          You really have to be a simpleton to believe in Marxism. Collectivism is not about democracy or the proletariat, collectivism is about achieving power through rigid controls – though central planning. The only question is this: who plans for whom, who decides for whom and so on and so forth. He who plans for you has the ultimate power over you.

        • “After the collapse of central planning in eastern Europe and the Soviet Union,the only place in the world where Marxists were still thriving was the Harvard political science department”
          Peter G Klein
          (from “why Intellectuals still support Socialism ,2006)

  2. (rings buzzer)

    Alez Trebek: Yes, Karl?

    Karl: I’ll take economic modes of production for $200

    Alex Trebek: “where the fruition of another’s labor benefits the leading class.”

    Karl: What is Capitalism?

    Alex trebek: That is correct

    • Oh geesh! There you go again, Karl. But ok, if you just want to be a silly adolescent, then we can speak to you as such …

      Look around you Karl, see all that stuff that populates the room in your parent’s house? How about that fancy computer they bought you? Yeah Karl, that’s the fruition of Capitalism, which you benefit from.

    • EERNNRNT! (buzzer sounding wrong answer for Karl).

      This is what Utah is talking about: one-sided thinking. If the CUSTOMER did not benefit from what he/she bought, then they wouldn’t buy it (remember, FREE MARKET! Unlike your command economy, a free market is NOT FORCED TO CONSUME).

      You are an idiot.

      • No one forces you to consume in a collectivist economy. No one is going to shove wheat rations in your mouth. If yopu don’t want wheat rations don’t put it down on your order form.

        • “No one forces you to consume in a collectivist economy. No one is going to shove wheat rations in your mouth. If yopu don’t want wheat rations don’t put it down on your order form.”

          Let’s translate that in to plain english so that Karl has to face the absolution of his morality ….

          “No one forces you to eat in a collectivist economy. No one is going to shove food in your mouth for you. If you don’t want to eat, die, so be it. Our mob is worth more than your shitty oppositional life anyway.”

            • Karl, are you just too stupid to realize that I’m blowing holes in your precious collectivism, or are you just offering a pathetic shitty attempt at a 180 degree spin?

              • How are you attacking collectivism? I don’t understand how force feeding people who don’t want to eat is relevant.

                  • No explanation or logic is present in your post. If I were to post capitalism doesn’t work, because Wal-mart isn’t Called Walton’s mart. You would say you don’t understand how that is relevant. If I truly believed in what I posted and it had some logic behind it I would explain to you my argument. What you do instead is accuse me of being unable to comprehend. When the truth is either you made a bad argument and stick to it even though there is no reasoning or you don’t know what your posting.

                    • I cannot help but notice that you never bothered the read the response to your original offering above (or you just decided to neglect it). Either way, my position was stated clearly, and at that point the onus is on you to follow the flow of these conversations.

                      “Collectivism is about creating a democracy in the administration of the means of production.”

                      Oh geesh. Seriously Karl. you are going to try to sell that to us? Let me tell you what collectivism is all about. It’s about stifling individuality and diversity by insisting upon a common social identity, for the interest of another group focus. Collectivism is about vertically authoritarian nature where the fruition of another’s labor benefits the leading class. Collectivism sets up a notion that because a “majority” wins (an election for this example), the opposition is to submit to the majority, as we’ve seen Obama assert after this last election cycle, and it simply does not work in a Federalist-Republic, now did it? hehehehe.

                      Collectivism flourishes while the people are regimented into a slave caste to serve a handful of self-seeking ‘supermen.’ (i.e., the ruling class), and their smokescreen serves perverse self determination of the individual.

                      Do you really need a mob to tell you when you can take a dump, or which way you will wipe after that dump, Karl?

                      I damn sure don’t.

                    • I’m glad you decided to take my advice and abandon the subject of force feeding people.

                      Anyways.
                      Have you ever read Ayn Rand? She sums up capitalism perfectly it is a system where “supermen” the capitalist rule over the lower not “super men” classes and derives private gain from them. It is the capitalist who hold beliefs in “super men,” and legitimize their control over the labor of the lower classes.Furthermore there is the idealist smokescreen in the capitalist system, that poverty and wealth are a choice and everything is meritocratic and perfect. Blind to the realities of the world.

                      Your talk about a federalist republic does not matter, since federalist republics may not exists in the future.

                      It is like me saying. Taxation with representation does not work in feudalism, doesn’t it? hehehehe.

        • Marx never mentioned an order form, brother. That is RUSSIAN STYLE COMMUNISM!!!

          See, we TOLD you that the things you say are NOT communism ARE communism.

          What’s more, you just conceded everything Utah said in his post. Thanks, for once again stumbling into an open admission that we are right and you are wrong 😀

        • Once you’ve killed all the farmers so you could take the farms, there won’t be any wheat, so you are partially correct.

  3. Man is not instinctive like a bee in a hive to do the one task it’s programmed and to do it equally with all the others. Even the slaves in Karl’s world, building refrigerators, will have a hierarchy. The weak get forced to do all the work well the strong try to stick their noses up the butt’s of their elite slave masters at the top for extra rations, privilege, or status. In he end they are all a miserable heap of humanity with no happiness in life. We know by looking at past history how expendable people are in this type of planned economy. But at least they can always use the overstock refrigerators as coffins to bury the overstocked/overworked workers that die as a result of running the animal farm.

    • If the weak are the majority it will be their interest that will come first.

      In capitalism it is a powerful minority class that rules and fits your analogy.

      • “it will be their interest that will come first.”

        And Karl adds his support to my post up above (which he chose not to disagree with).

      • Mr.Marx, you see “crony capitalism” as true capitalism(which it ain’t) probably due to your government school indoctrination. Try reading something besides Das Kapital and Dialectical Materialism. Better yet, try running your own business and getting through the maze of government regulation and alphabet bureaucrats. Once you have complied with OSHA, DOT, EPA, IRS, EEOC, AWDA, Workman’s Comp, The Affordable Healthcare Act (which it ain’t) Etc. Then see if you can afford to eat.
        Government doesn’t streamline anything..
        Think of it this way … The entire Interstate Highway system act was 18 pages of legislation.. After 60 some years, government advanced so much that the Obamacare legislation started as 2500 pages and has grown to over 9000. Government in action !

        • If crony capitalism is the pursuit of private property in an environment of private ownership of the means of production? How is it not capitalism?

          The bourgeoisie state dominated by private interest is not collectivism or communism.

          • Crony capitalism is private industry, going to government, to obtain a benefit for themselves, and prevent competitors from competing on a “level playing field”. “kiss the ring” and you will be “blessed”.

            “state” or government “blessing” one entity or individual, to the detriment of others, preventing open competition, is the state controlling private industry, which is fascim.

            http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/Fascism.html

            • If the private interest is deriving value from the state, does that not mean the bourgeoisie are using the state?

          • I reiterate my thought- Try starting your own business. And then come back in a few years and tell us about it. Then you will understand the difference between capitalism ( trying but not being good enough, and failing, and not being propped up by government bailout) and crony capitalism (trying, but not being good enough and getting a monetary boost from your cousin the US Representative or your wife’s brother the Senator etc) Kinda like …. Pelosi and her husband getting government contracts without having to go through the tedium of actually bidding.

  4. Utah,

    You are such a moron.

    This is Eric, please do not call Karl a moron. If you did not get my memo yesterday please let me know and I will have someone on my staff send it to you. We can no longer accept this hateful speech on the Internet.

    Very simply you could have said ” You are misinformed my dear comrade.” See how much nicer this sounds.

    Sincerely,
    Eric Holder
    Attorney General

    • Sorry, Eric. I’ll try to do better. But if I may, it was my understanding that this prohibition only covered Muslims and Karl is some kind of collective “ist”, I’m not sure that he even knows what he is.

      I thought it was OK to insult the godless, lying, totalitarian loving bastards as opposed to insulting the cultish, lying, totalitarian Islamists.

      Noted for future reference.

      Thanks.

      Yours in submissive, compliant serfdom,

      Utah

      • Utah,

        Tell Eric to pound sand. Karl IS an idiot.

        Definition of IDIOT
        1usually [usually does NOT = always — especially when the term is accurate] offensive : a person affected with extreme mental retardation
        2: a foolish or stupid person

        The shoe fits, so let him wear it.

      • Dear Utah,

        This is Eric again….get with the F–king Program my man…..the prohibition shall cover who ever the Hell I and ( the Administartion) WANTS it to cover….Got IT !! ??

        The DOJ reservbes the right and authority to intimidate any Person, or group that we deem it imperative to Intimidate in the Interests of furthering the “Freedoms” of this administration and its’ allies. And we will not allow you to malign any Union or Group such as the Communists or muslims that are actively fuirthering our “Great Work”

        Be be so advised and warned

        Eric (da Man ) Holder

        Attorney (f–kin’) General………….. And don’t you forget it !

  5. Dear Mr.Bakanovic,

    You are scheduled for a review of your 2010 and 2011 Federal Income Tax Returns.

    We have found numerous errors in calculating your deductions and you will likely owe massive taxes and penalties.

    Please use the following Case No: 6661313 and report to the nearest IRS office so that they can assit in collecting the taxes you have attempted to steal from the legal owner.

    Respectfully,
    Lois Lerner
    IRS Commisioner

    Cc: Valerie Jarret, George Soros, D. Shulman, George W. Bush (Ret.), Karl (who’s the idiot now)

  6. Two quotes from Karl’s favorite philosopher.
    “The theory of Communism can be summed up in one sentence: Abolish ALL private property” my emphasis
    “The meaning of peace is the absence of opposition to socialism”
    Both from Karl Marx
    note the interchangeability of communism and socialism in his lexicon.

    and a final Marx quote ” I like my cigar too, but I take it out sometime”
    Sorry, that was Groucho

      • Obviously all dissenters will of needs be terminated or institutionalized.
        The two quotes point to the necessity of a totalitarian government for that system to have the remotest chance to work.

        I noticed no reply to the challenge to form your own business, not relying on government handouts. No useful ideas? or no ambition ?

        Of course you could teach, if you have no other skill sets. Or work for the Government…. or is that really the same thing.
        It seems to be that those most favoring Marxism, are those that have the least to offer “the collective” and would require the most upkeep. I grew up on a farm, and the rule always was ” no work, no eat!”

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