Mailvox: explaining the mistakes

Concerned wants a walkthrough:

The problem is that the only time when catching someone in a mistake can possibly be conclusive is when that mistake concerns the central foundation of an argument – Marx’s labor theory of value, Malkin’s assertion of West Coast vulnerability, Alterman’s conflation of corporation and capitalism, etc. – otherwise, a simple admission of error and a corresponding correction of one’s argument will suffice to allow the debate to continue.

Explain the mistakes, please. Honestly, I’m interested.

1. The Marxian justification for distribution depends completely upon the notion of profit being “expropriated” from the workers. This stealing from workers by capitalists is supposed to stem from the capitalist’s profit, which Marx identifies as surplus value. Marx believed that the inherent value in any product stemmed from the labor required to produce it, and that the input of capital was merely stored value, ergo, also stolen from the worker who originally labored to produce it.

The problem is that this is now obviously a non-starter in an age of robotics, when information carries more value than physical material. Either one must place a staggering value on the last human’s labor involved in creating an assembly-line robot, or admit that value stems from some other source entirely and the basis for Marxian economics is complete balderdash. Modern leftists, being generally untroubled by logic and knowledge of Marxian theory alike, prefer to simply hold on to the moral outrage and distributionist ends and ignore the fact that since there is no initial expropriation, their house of cards has no foundation.

2. Malkin’s entire justification for the WWII-era internment stemmed from her belief that the West Coast was in danger of invasion, spot raids, spying and sabotage that could have, in her words, “crippled the war effort”. Since a) the US war priority was Germany, b) the Japanese Navy had no capacity for invading Hawaii, let alone the West Coast and c) the US manufacturing advantage was so great that even a second attack the size of Pearl Harbor could not have slowed the rate of the USA’s material advantage vis-a-vis Japan by a single day, there was no need for internment whatsoever. In fact, an informed analysis of her rationale would lead one to conclude that it would have more been reasonable to intern Americans of Germanic descent or even the U.S. Senate. (A leak from a Senator’s office led directly to a Fuhrerbefehl less than two later.)

3. Eric Alterman repeatedly argues that the media cannot be considered liberal because it is owned by corporations, which he asserts are inherently conservative. This not only ignores the proven political loyalties of those in the media and the ease with which their output can be categorized, but even more fatally ignores the fact that corporations have co-existed quite satisfactorily in revolutionary societies such as the Soviet Union, National Socialist Germany and Communist China. Furthermore, one can find examples of corporations that are owned by the central government in almost every single country in the world.

Capitalism is an economic system based on the voluntary exchange of goods between parties. A corporation nothing more simply a legal entity, which can be a party engaged in capitalism or can be a socialist entity owned by and in service to the state. As with the two previous examples, Alterman’s argument is based on a fundamental fallacy and is therefore worthless.