TIL Karl Marx once participated in a London pub crawl. After 18 pubs he and his friends started throwing rocks at street lamps - at which point he was chased by 4 policemen who he managed to outrun.

Exchanging coupons is not capitalism. Exchanging coupons to make more coupons is capitalism.

Example: Everyone gets a bunch of food coupons. One guy finds a way to stockpile coupons. He goes out to someone in the government and convinces that guy to give him a factory in exchange for 30,000 food coupons.

Now, 1/10 of all food coupons that go to workers in the factory go to the guy who was illegally assigned possession of the factory.

So the guy the guy who "owns" the factory and is getting 1/10 of all worker food coupons doesn't have to do anything. He just sits there and collects food coupons.

So, in a few weeks, he has another assload of food coupons, and he goes back to the same guy in the ministry (who has everything he needs) and somehow convinces the guy in the communist ministry (who is completely provided for) to "give" him another factory.

Now, this guy "owns" two factories and is getting 1/10 of all the food coupons alloted to each of the workers in each factory. This is capitalism.

Capitalism is not:

1) Self employment.

2) Trade.

3) Possession of personal property.

Capitalism is the use of abstracted value as a means of the accrual of abstracted value.

It's the use of money as the means of production, or capital. Capital is "supposed" to only be things like machinery in factories. Under capitalism, a person can use money as capital, go out and buy something, and then trade that something for even more of something else.

So, if i have twenty dollars and I want to make more money, what can I do? I can learn a trade and practice that trade and make something, or I can go out and buy a coat, and then I can sell the coat for thirty dollars?

But what, really, have I done? If I'm buying a coat from a tailor on one street corner, and I walk a block down the street and start selling the coat I just bought on the end of the street for $10 more, what have I actually done?

I have just traded $20 for $30. That's what I've done. I came up with a story to make the coat sound exciting and different from the tailor producing the coats on the street corners, and I've attached the story to the coat I'm selling. And that's about it. I have performed no socially necessary task. Basically, all I did was exchange $20 for $30.

It doesn't make any sense. I mean, if you need to transport a coat, you transport a coat. If it takes time, it takes time. You deserve to be paid for all that. But in principle, the actual way that this accumulation works doesn't really make a whole lot of sense. It's not really rational.

/r/todayilearned Thread Parent Link - marxists.org