REFERENCE - Jonathan Nitzan » Tue May 16, 2017 8:18 pm:
i) "A society can price its commodities based on utility, labour time, energy contents, dictatorial decree, autonomous planning, or anything else."
ii) How can the joule contents of commodities be determined (for instance, what is the joule content of an aspirin, a software program or a medical service)?
Dear Professor Nitzan, I will now give an exploratory response to the above referenced extracts quoted from you.
1) What is a commodity and how is it priced?
Firstly I want to posit that financialised legal instruments are pseudo-commodities, and I therefore don't include them in considering how true commodities are priced. Under Higher Law, Justice cannot be turned into an income-generating "asset" by renting it out at a compounding rate of interest, in order for apex-power "market makers" to buy these "unlawful legal instruments" at discount, and then resell them for primary arbitrage gains as "securities" in secondary pseudo-markets (rigged financial casinos), whereby these unlawful legal instruments are then subjected to secondary-level arbitrage, through a series of long and short selling cycles, predicated on "price" volatility generated by casino-insiders who rig/game the unreal economy of financial [pseudo]markets.
Real commodities are the specialised product of human work (labour) which are available for purchase in the real economy market.
Regarding their pricing, this is not solely a matter of "relativistic demand".
The first consideration is the "return" due to the human capital INVESTED the work that produced the commodity; whether the commodity be in the form of a service or good (tangible or intangible). This return should be sufficient so that the individual can continue to invest their human capital in work (by provisioning their human needs and those of their dependants, plus furnishing their share of production wherewithal), as well as in developing their innate human capital further (through education etc).
Any real commodity comprises three components: (1) the added-value created by the investment through work of the individual's human capital; (2) the prior inputs of added value by others; and (3) the commonwealth of Natural and Cultural goods and services on which the existence of the added-value chain depends (raw materials; recycling-pollution abatement; ecological regeneration; transport infrastructures, education; healthcare; mutualised risk management (social and economic) law and order as human rights protection; social accounting system etc.
Therefore the price of the commodity must include:
(1) the return on human capital invested in the work that produced the final added-value of a given "finished" commodity;
(2) the return due to previous iterations of added-value as the commodity moved up the production chain;
(3) a contribution to the maintenance-regeneration of the commonwealth-overhead Natural and Cultural factors of production, upon which the production and purchasing of the commodity would not be possible.
This approach to the pricing of real market commodities is in line with what is called "associative economics", where "an economic sector is managed by associations of business corporations (industry associations) and consumer associations [and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs)] instead of by the Invisible Hand of the blind market (capitalist economics) and instead of by the government (socialist economics)."
A French economist, Michel Laloux, who is inspired by the economic thinking of the Austrian philosopher and social thinker Rudolf Steiner (including the Steiner's concept of "associative economics"), has written a book that presents why and how all the factors of production must be taken into account in pricing. Laloux's book is actually presents the obligations-rights monetary paradigm, and how this can be architectured institutionally in accordance with the three functions of a monetary system (finance, payment and transfer to the public goods and services circuit).
2) The lawful establishment of network of civil society sponsored special economic zones throughout the world, supported by a research-action faculty:
The practical realisation of socio-economic and cultural regeneration, based on the social accounting paradigm of monetised obligations-rights that has been outlined patchily above, can only be accomplished experientially, through the lawful establishment of a network of special economic zones throughout the world, with each SEZ having its own research-action faculty, from which an transnational multidisciplinary and cross cultural faculty can be established for international cooperation, orientated towards the establishment of a non-partisan international monetary system, provided as a public service by CSOs, and which will function on the basis of decentralised power through the decommodification of the social accounting entries, as well as cooperative subsidiarity. These SEZs will function as safehaven/lifeboat laboratories, to empirically test, pilot and refine the new social accounting paradigm proposed, as well as its subsequent replication in other territories. This initiative will be led and regulated by the Third Sector of organised civil society, and commence with an enabling civil society legal mobilisation, for the establishment of such SEZs, in accordance with a strategy based on the "rule of higher law" (see:  - [3c]).
3) How the price of commodities can be denominated, according to an international monetary unit of account referenced to food-energy
Firstly food-energy is the basic universal requirement for fuelling any kind of human work, whether physical, intellectual, artistic or spiritual in nature.
The question is not as you framed it; of trying to directly determine the "joule contents of commodities", whether "of an aspirin, a software program or a medical service".
It is about ensuring the foundation of economic regeneration and realising the full potential of human life - healthy food produced sustainably and accessible to the whole population.
The paper by CasP researcher Joseph Baines shows that this foundation has been disastrously hollowed out to state of imminent collapse by the predations of the financial market system and its paradigm of commodified social accounting.
It is also about jettisoning the costly racket of Forex markets, where rigged volatility in purchasing power between different "floating" monetary units of account allow parasitic "traders" to rob the purchasing power of individuals and enterprises. This racket setup is also a threat to world peace, as it enables geopolitical bullying by the "currency hegemon" (the US Dollar) and its feudal barons (Euro, Chinese yuan, Japanese yen, and Pound sterling).
Incredibly, at the level of international payments, monetary units of accounts are treated as if they were real commodities, so that exchanges between national polities have to go through a system of transfers between central bank warehouses. Nobody questions why cannot a direct arithmetical conversion be made between the monetary units that are supposed to be a of measurement of purchasing power, as is done in the case between kilos and pound weights, or inches to centimetres.
Now each polity can keep it national unit of account ("currency"), but the conversion rate between units of account need to be stabilised, and any adjustment needs to be based on real economic factors, not because of parasitic speculation or geopolitical economic warfare and sabotage. What is needed is a fixed reference that measures something fundamental and universal to all national polities/bio-regions. I posit that "something" is the daily food-energy requirement of the "average" human being (1,200 joules), costed in the national unit of account, in terms of one or more high-energy staple foods (wheat, rice, corn, potato etc) that can be grown productively and sustainably in the given polity/bio-region. By this method, relative parity between each national monetary unit will be determined to a stable reference that is coherent with the actual economic performance of the country, relative to its natural and cultural (human development) potential. As the daily food-energy requirement of a human being is not a specific "thing", but a constantly renewable universal need that cannot be inflated nor deflated (without causing disease and eventual death), and therefore cannot be commodified nor manipulated through supply and demand dynamics like gold. Also, unlike gold, it is a reference that is present in every territory inhabited by human beings.
In fact, this is not such an original idea. The Big Mac Index, which is published by The Economist magazine, is an informal way of measuring the purchasing power parity (PPP) between national monetary units (currencies). What is new is to use a food-energy unit of account as a way of converting purchasing power transferred across monetary unit jurisdictions in the course of international trade of real commodities. This has been proposed by Michel Laloux in his book "Dépolluer l'économie" (see notes  and ).
4) Marx's labour value theory of money was sabotaged by his own erroneous conception of money
My premise that economic commodities are produced by human work has implications regarding the seemingly total dismissal in the current Casp theory of a labour theory of value (i.e. money represents human work).
I am not an expert on Marxian economics, so I don't know how well Marx articulated his labour theory of value. But one thing I did discover is that Marx regarded money as a commodity: "The truth of the proposition that, 'although gold and silver are not by nature money, money is by nature gold and silver," is shown by the fitness of the physical properties of these metals for the functions of money.". Further, economic researcher, Claus Germer, writes in the abstract of his paper: "Marx unequivocally defines money as a commodity and that he maintains this definition in his analysis of advanced capitalism [...] from the point of view or logic of his [Marx's] theoretical framework, money must be a commodity. [...] we can thus appreciate the total absence of any reference in Marx to the hypothesis that money must at any point become a non-commodity.".
Marx was therefore cognitively trapped within the paradigm of commodified monetary social accounting. This alone would make it impossible to develop a coherent labour theory of value, because he would have to occupy the conceptual space of the social accounting paradigm of monetised obligations-rights.
I therefore suggest that further research be done to establish whether CasP theory is also unknowingly trapped like Marx was within a singular paradigm. This would not undermine the capital as a mode of power thesis, but only make it more open to more promising social accounting alternatives.
 The rule according to a higher law means that no law may be enforced by the government unless it conforms with certain universal principles (written or unwritten) of fairness, morality, and justice[1a] (Lehman and Phelps, 2005). Thus, the rule according to a higher law may serve as a practical legal criterion to qualify the instances of political or economical decision-making, when a government, even though acting in conformity with clearly defined and properly enacted legal rules, still produces results which many observers find unfair or unjust[1b][1c].
[1a] West's Encyclopedia of American Law (in 13 volumes), 2nd Ed., edited by Jeffrey Lehman and Shirelle Phelps. Publisher: Thomson Gale, 2004. ISBN 0-7876-6367-0. - https://searchworks.stanford.edu/view/5659855
[1b] Sellers, M.N. (2003) Republican Legal Theory: The History, Constitution and Purposes of Law in a Free State. - http://www.abebooks.co.uk/servlet/BookD ... 520n%2520s
[1c] According to Professor Mortimer Sellers[1d] "… legal systems require justification and that when this justification fails they have no claim on our allegiance. The proper justification for legal systems is the advancement of justice[1e]. He also argues that: "international law both historically does and properly should depend on this same principle for its authority."[1f].
[1d] Mortimer Sellers is Regents Professor of the University System of Maryland, where he is Director of the Center for International & Comparative Law - see: http://law.ubalt.edu/faculty/profiles/sellers/
[1e] Email communication between Raymond Aitken and Mortimer Sellers, about "Rule according to higher law", dated 29 March 2016.
[1f] Sellers, M.N. (2006) Republican Principles in International Law The Fundamental Requirements of a Just World Order. - http://www.palgrave.com/in/book/9781403997449
 "In some countries, the political leaders assert that the rule of law is purely a procedural concept. Therefore, they argue that any government may strip its subjects of their fundamental freedoms or infringe their vital interests so long as this is done by way of a duly implemented legal mechanism. For example, at the Nuremberg trials, in an attempt to justify their crimes against Jewish and Romany population of Europe during World War II, some of the former leaders of Nazi Germany argued that they had broken none of the laws effective when Hitler had been in power. It was only by invoking the rule according to a higher law that the Allied prosecutors were able to overcome such defenses."[2a][2b][2c]
[2a] SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rule_acco ... higher_law
[2b] Introductory note by Antonio Cassese for General Assembly resolution 95(I) of 11 December 1946 (Affirmation of the Principles of International Law recognised by the Charter of the Nürnberg Tribunal) - http://legal.un.org/avl/pdf/ha/ga_95-I/ga_95-I_e.pdf
AND, adopted as a resolution by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 11 December 1946 - http://www.un-documents.net/a1r95.htm
[2c] This historical precedent in International Law could inspire a "legal mobilisation" of Civil Society, whereby individuals invoke their lawful rights, and use litigation to defend or develop these innate and universal human rights, in order to rebut and rectify the unjust or illegitimate application of legalities, which contravene the rule of higher law. This perhaps is a strategy to be investigated for establishing a social accounting system (international monetary system), under the paradigm of money as rights and obligations embedded within a social contract, so that universal political-economy suffrage would replace the private undemocratic centralised power regime of the incumbent distorted system, which is based on the obfuscated unlawful accumulation of monetised social power through capitalist accounting. Since the social contract (the State) has since a longtime been co opted as the enforcer maintaining and upholding the interests of the financial-mafia, we need to educate civil society, as well as the members of the State enforcement apparatus (police and military) about the implications for them of the Nürnberg Principles. The only legitimate application of the State enforcement apparatus is to protect human rights (and uphold counterparty obligations), from both domestic (the police) and foreign threats (the military). Any other application is an abuse of power and crime against humanity, whose perpetrators at all levels (policy and execution), and from whatever polity, must be brought to justice.
 Legal instruments pertain to human2human (H2H) contracts, which to be lawful, must accord to the "rule of Higher Law" (human2Creator) - see  above. For legal contracts to be lawful, they must determine, in an honest and transparent manner, the respective rights and obligations of parties to a voluntary and mutually beneficial agreement, which agreement must not harm the rights of any third parties, whether directly or indirectly. There are prima facie grounds[3a][3b] for investigating the lawfulness of financialised (commodified) legal instruments; as well as the whole institutional edifice of the financial market system[3c].
[3a] Deception and fraud by banks: See "Banks don’t take deposits. Banks don’t lend money.", by Professor Richard Werner (2017) - http://educatedinlaw.org/2017/03/banks- ... end-money/
[3b] "The veil of deception over money: how central bankers and textbooks distort the nature of banking and central banking", by Norbert Häring (2013) - http://www.paecon.net/PAEReview/issue63/Haring63.pdf
[3c] "The Articles of Agreement [of the IMF] that Should Boil Everyone’s Blood", published by Covert Geopolitics (2016) - https://geopolitics.co/2016/02/05/the-a ... nes-blood/
 This is another component of the paradigmatic-shift to money as an obligations-rights (debt-credit) social accounting system. Every human being is born with an innate set of abilities, which can be developed and invested within the context of cooperative social structures (schools-universities, economic institutions and infrastructures etc). The notion of "labour markets" arises only within the enslavement (wage slavery) dynamic of the commodified money paradigm. Like financial markets, labour markets are also redundant under the monetised obligations-rights paradigm. Instead of "investors" being apex-rentiers holding accumulated purchasing power as a result of non-reciprocal pecuniary earnings, and using this commodified monetary power as ransom-lever over real economy producers; everyone will instead become an investor of their own human capital (their innate abilities/talents)[4a][4b]. Labour will cease to be a "cost of production" and instead be an investment upon which an equitable return is due.
[4a] See: "Human capital: what it is and why people invest it", by Thomas O. Davenport (1999) - https://www.amazon.com/Human-Capital-Wh ... 0470436816
[4b] Extracts from the book referenced at [4a] above: "I define human capital broadly as ability, which I put into several subcategories. Knowledge, skill, and talent are the terms I use most. Things people can learn constitute knowledge, which are bits of information and insight one can gather. Skill is what people have when they develop the refined ability to apply what they know. Talent comprises inborn or intrinsic abilities. Take the total of those elements and multiply it by effort and you have invested human capital."
"Viewing people as human capital investors also requires us to understand that human capital investors – like financial investors – require a return on their investment. We might refer to the return on human capital investment as ROIw, the return on investment in work. You can categorize the return on investment in work in any number of ways, but I favor four specific categories: intrinsic job fulfillment, opportunity for growth and advancement, recognition for accomplishments, and financial rewards."
"To recognize that people are human capital owners and investors is to recognize that much of the control over the employment relationship has shifted from the organization to the individual. Employees come to work every Monday morning and decide how much of their intellectual, emotional, and physical resources to invest in a business. They can withdraw all or part of that investment at almost any time. They can move it to a different organization, or change the employment relationship, or change the terms of their implicit contract with much greater flexibility than we saw a decade or so ago. Human capital is a moveable asset, and people – not organizations – control its movement.".
 This contribution to the maintenance-regeneration of the commonwealth-overhead factors of production is essentially a transfer from the commercial-productive economic circuit to the public-regenerative economic circuit. Taxation was supposed to be a means to effect this necessary transfer between the two circuits of the economy, but it has been substantially captured and transformed into another vector of differential accumulation. Anthropological research tends to indicate that monetised debt-credit social accounting arose in ancient agrarian economies as a means of financing overhead factors of production and human development (large-scale irrigation system; urban infrastructures; social order; temple building; etc). Proto-State institutions circulated purchasing rights that stimulated further economic specialisation and productivity, buy "purchasing" existing goods and services in order to complete public works. The counterparty production obligations were not notarised as a production obligation (debt) of any person (individual or corporate), but as "public debt"; which was then cleared upon the completion of the corresponding public works, and signified upon a year-end demand on the whole population, to return the allocated purchasing rights (credit) so that the proto-State could clear the public debt.
 SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Associative_economics
 See also: http://www.associative-economics.com/
 See Michel Laloux's website: http://www.democratieevolutive.fr/index.php/fr/
 See Michel Laloux's book: "Dépolluer l'économie" - http://www.democratieevolutive.fr/fr/Pr ... ct/l3.html
 I have translated "Dépolluer l'économie" (see  above) into English. The author is in the process of preparing the English translation for self-publication.
 Accumulating through Food Crisis? Farmers, Commodity Traders and the Distributional Politics of Financialization, by Joseph Baines (2017) - http://bnarchives.yorku.ca/505/
 Foreign exchange transactions of US$1.5 quadrillion (1,500 trillion) dwarf international trade of US$20 trillion (less than 1.4 percent of all foreign exchange transactions). SOURCE: https://www.presencing.org/#/aboutus/eg ... ure-points
 Warehouse banking model - see: "WAREHOUSE BANKING" by Jason Roderick Donaldson et al (2016) - https://www.gsb.stanford.edu/sites/gsb/ ... entino.pdf
 See: "What a $7.54 Swiss Big Mac tells us about global currencies", by Katie Allen, Guardian Newspaper (2015) - https://www.theguardian.com/business/ec ... currencies
 Karl Marx: "A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy", Chapter 1, Part 1 - SOURCE: http://www.thegoldstandardnow.org/key-b ... d-advocate
 "The Commodity Nature of Money in Marx’s Theory", by Claus Germer (2005) - https://www.researchgate.net/publicatio ... 27s_Theory