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Communist Dialectics


Communist Production: Technology Will Serve the Masses

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It’s no surprise that Trump lied about “saving” jobs at Carrier in Indiana.  And lied about getting SoftBank to invest in “creating” jobs.
But it might surprise you that communists don’t fight for jobs.  Living under capitalism, workers have to worry about finding or losing jobs.  Having a job is our only real chance to feed ourselves and keep a roof over our heads.  But a job means selling your labor power to a boss for a wage or salary. 
Communists fight to end this wage slavery.   In communism, there will be no buying and selling of labor power or anything else.   Everyone will work as much as she or he wants.  We’ll share the results of our labor so that everyone’s needs will be met.
In communism, everyone will learn and do many things.  We’ll all be “comrades” instead of being identified with a type of work like “plumber” or “teacher.”  Instead of “jobs” we’ll have opportunities to serve the masses.

With this in mind, let’s look at Carrier and SoftBank
United Technologies owns Carrier.  Its boss, Greg Hayes, explained:
“We’re going to make a $16 million investment in … Indianapolis to automate to drive the cost down so that we can continue to be competitive. Now is it as cheap as moving to Mexico with lower cost of labor? No. But we will make that plant competitive just because we’ll make the capital investments there.
That means, Hayes admitted, “There will be fewer jobs.” United Technologies will still send 700 factory jobs from Indiana to Monterrey, Mexico.  Meanwhile it will receive $7 million in tax credits from Indiana over the next decade.
SoftBank had already set aside $50 billion to invest, mostly from Saudi Arabia.  This was supposed to create 50,000 jobs.  But SoftBank executive Masayoshi Son suggested that Foxconn (which supplies Apple and Samsung) would be a likely recipient.  And for the last few years, Foxconn has invested heavily in automation. 
One Foxconn factory introduced robots last May, cutting 60,000 jobs in China. Foxconn has already talked about investing in a plant to build robots in Pennsylvania.  So any new jobs in the US would probably be for a few highly-skilled workers. 
Boeing now uses robots to paint the wings of 777X aircraft at Everett, WA.  Previously, 35–40 painters took 4.5 hours to do the first coat.  Robots do it in 24 minutes.  The 777X program also uses robots for riveting.  Drilling and fastening can also be automated.  “The less touch labor you have, the less it costs to produce,” explained a manager.
According to the Brookings Institute, “In 1980 it took 25 jobs to generate $1 million in manufacturing output in the US.  Today, it takes just 6.5 jobs to generate that amount.”
Under capitalism, “less touch labor” means fewer jobs and more of us facing destitution.  It means a downward spiral into intensified competition, crisis and war (see box, p. 16).
Communism is the way out.  Communism is based on cooperation, not competition.   Our goal will be to maximize benefits for the masses, not to minimize costs. 

In communist society, workers will decide where and when to automate aspects of production
Our relationship with technology will change qualitatively. 
Workers will figure out better ways to do things.  Some tasks are better done by hand. If doing the work right means bringing more comrades on board, we’ll do it
For other tasks, we’ll put our time and material resources into building robots.  When a job is automated away, there will still be plenty of useful work for those who used to do it by hand.  
Former riveters and painters won’t worry about paying bills:  there will be none!  They will learn other skills involved in building planes or in other work that interests them. 
We’ll all have more time to spend on strengthening communist social relations, deepening communist understanding and creating communist culture worldwide. 

Automation, capitalist competition and war… Or communist revolution

The bosses’ crisis of overproduction is reshaping the world.  Mobilizing for communism is even more urgent – and more possible – than before.
Capitalist competition drives companies to lower the cost of producing each unit.  That lets them lower the selling price and (they hope) grab a bigger market share. 
One way to do that is shifting production to places where racist terror has kept wages and living standards low.  Automation is another.  But there’s a catch.  Automation actually lowers the average rate of profit (the ratio of profit to capital invested). 
Profit is realized when commodities are sold.  But it is created at the point of production.  It’s the difference between the value workers produce and the cost of their labor power (wages). 
More automation means that more of the capital invested goes into “fixed capital” (machinery etc.).  Less goes to buy the workers’ labor power that creates all profits.  The rate of profit falls.
This falling rate of profit means that capitalists have to sell even more stuff to make the same amount of money.  They all increase production.  Competition for market share intensifies.  Now there is a “crisis of overproduction” because all that stuff can’t be sold.   
Individual enterprises try to answer the declining rate of profit with more automation.  The systemic crisis intensifies.
But powerful groups of capitalists have another way to answer the declining rate of profit:  their national governments.  They can terrorize workers into accepting lower wages.  They can impose tariffs or sanctions to keep products made elsewhere out of their domestic markets.  That’s what Trump threatens to do. 
But none of this can solve the global crisis of capitalism.  It intensifies the class struggle, laying bare the necessity for communist revolution.    And it raises the level of competition from company vs. company to nation vs. nation.  Inter-imperialist rivalry sharpens between blocs of nations.  Re-dividing markets means re-dividing the world. 
And that means world war.  The massive destruction of human life and other means of production allows capitalism to “reset” – but only if we allow it.  Instead we must mobilize now to build communism – if necessary, out of the rubble of capitalist destruction.

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