Capitalism is Opposed to Human Happiness Debate, Volume 2
It is an interesting model, but there could be difficulties here. First, there is the concern that some would have more shares than others, which would result in some being able to live off of the many. Second, it seems too centralized; for a Socialist society to flourish with liberty, such "corporations" should be spread out, small, and based on the geography or tendencies of the local people.
As to whether it is Capitalist or Socialist, it appears more like a workers' cooperative, which is a form of Socialism. Capitalism and Socialism are very vague terms. Capitalism encompasses everything from small, primitive markets without currency to Fascism, and Socialism encompasses everything from the small, communal village to Sovietism. No matter what title it has, I am in favor of a system where all have an equal right to society's productive forces. Not an equal right in that they can withhold it from others, but an equal right in having a voice in directing such property.
An ideal Socialist ideal, for the most part, would probably be many, independent, autonomous workers' cooperatives, each ruled by the democratic vote of their workers. They would either cooperate or compete with each other, according to what each preferred, but something in between is likely. With no industry governed by a boss or a few stockholders, there is no one with isolated economic power. Similarly, a workers cooperative could not become too large, since the economy favors specialization. The largest workers' cooperative in the world, the Mondragon Corporation, will always split its cooperatives in half when they start to expand the line of their commodities. The idea is to encourage specialization of skill and technology, so that each cooperative, dependent on its own income, will become best at the industry or commodity it sells. This is one of the underlining points that has led to a 98% business success rate over five decades (compared to the 50% success rate in the United States over five years).
With each cooperative in need of others for resources, and with each cooperative made up of equally empowered workers, there no longer stands any person with the power to exploit. There is no longer anyone who can live off of the labor of others, control land without the peoples' consent, and create artificial hunger to boost prices.
There have been an endless variety of schemes that people have developed in order to revolt against the inequality of bargaining power that comes with Capitalism. There are both worker and consumer cooperatives, communes and collectives. The Homestead Movement, for instance, sought free land for workers, so that they would not be dependent upon a Capitalist just to work. But, all the tiny plots of the Homestead Movement were either integrated into or consumed by monopoly Capitalism. Similarly, during the late 1800's, there was a series of collectives, based on the right to work, such as Charles Fourier's "North American Phalanx." Or, even the communes of Robert Owen.
In agricultural communities, it's not entirely unusual, either, for poor, family farmers to come together and try to set a price against powerful, merchant interests. This was typical in Canada in the period of 1900 to 1930. ("Canada: A Modern History," by J. Bartlet Brebner.) This is the reverse of normal price-fixing, where a few companies rig prices to exploit as much as possible out of consumers. It is more like the price-fixing of trade unions, where all workers refuse to employ their labor power except at a previously agreed upon rate. Cooperatives, communes, collectives, unions, etc., etc.. In fact, recently I have read a book titled "To Inherit the Earth," about a Brazilian peasant movement that gave land to millions of previously landless.
All of these are, of course, currents that occur within Capitalism that do temporarily influence bargaining power. But, those who benefit from these movements are very few, and their benefits are questionable, as we know of cooperatives that easily dissolve or homesteaders exposed to the brutality of unrestrained nature. Most of these movements, excluding the recent Brazilian movement, have been wiped out or have gone out of style in the thinking of the public.
Essentially, all of these movements have ultimately failed to achieve meaningful, long-term change in society, so that the majority would not be exploited by a very few. They focused on improving the conditions of those who were their participants; they did not expand their thinking to realize that they should achieve the economic emancipation of all people. Exclusive tyranny will not be content with itself, and will always encroach upon liberty. It is not enough to slightly change the bargaining power, or to help a few escape. It is necessary to create a wide, popular movement determined to guarantee an equality of voice in economics, just in the same style and trend as we achieved an equality of voice in politics (or, at least, a better equality).
If you look at history you see capitalism has done far more of the opposite.
In N Korea where there is no capitalism you have people starving to death and having anesthesia free amputations. Yikes!
Cuba is a slum.
Russia went bankrupt.
Free market systems have never had famines where it killed millions like controlled markets have.
Then you have the fantastic growth in China thanks to allowing more capitalism.
The breakdown of racial barriers with the advancement of freer trade.
The list goes on.
Sounds like capitalism does more than any other system we know to date!
Actually, let's look at the system of so-called "State Socialism." In this system, the means of production are owned by a very few, and they use their unequal bargaining power to dominate and control the many. Except, they call themselves "Communist Party Officials" instead of "Capitalists." No matter what phrases they adopt, the essential relationships within society have been maintained in fact if not in ideology. Communist Dictatorship, then, is a form of Capitalism in fact, since it is based on a very few (the party's elite) owning all of society's productive forces. But this inequality of bargaining power is even greater than it is within the typical, Western Capitalist nation. Of course, it results in even greater inequality of society.
The problem in both systems is how a few controls everything. I am not advocating a new form of Capitalism, where someone else controls everything. The economy ought to be organized according to small, decentralized, worker-managed firms within each industry. Every cooperative is self-governing, autonomous, and free in every respect. In this respect, no cooperative can dominate over its workers, since they each have a democratic voice in organizing the cooperative. And likewise, with many decentralized cooperatives, there is not a likelihood of any one 'syndicate' becoming all too powerful over the others.
There are problems in both systems. Simonde de Sismondi describes the condition of workers in his time, which equally applies to millions in our own time...
This was the condition of Chinese workers under Nationalist Chiang Kai-Shek, as it was under Communist Mao Tse-Tung. The problem is not "freer trade" or "freer barriers." The problem is the complete economic powerlessness that leads great masses of people to submit to the worst abuses just to eat.
I think you are on to something here Radical. What we need is extreme decentralization. I propose we divide society up into units - we will call them individuals - and give each individual autonomous control over their bodies and the property they own. Allow them to interact with each other, to trade, to make deals, if it suits both parties. See, this is even better than your proposal, because it goes further. Since the problem is centralization and individuals with too much power and control over each other, we need to totally remove the power and control man can weild over man, and allow only voluntary interactions. Every individual would be autonomous, self governing, and ACTUALLY free instead of enslaved to some idiot council.
Because it is, au fond, the believe that value can objectively measured by the amount of socially necessary abstract labour. But ofcourse, there is more than labour, 'socially necessary' is impossible to define objectively and no serious economist accepts that value is something objective. But as you know (and as the OP demonstrated), the exploitation theory is derived from the labour value theory.
You seem to be trying to say a couple of different things at the same time here, which makes it bit difficult to reply, but I'll give it a shot.
In the first place, the labor theory of value doesn't claim to be able to establish the ultimate, concrete value of any given commodity at any given time. That's really not its purpose, so I'm a bit puzzled by this objection. One doesn't need an objective definition of "social necessity" for the very same reason.
The usefulness of Marx lies in the flexibility and inclusiveness of his ideas, and he invariably goes to great pains to preclude excessively literal interpretations of necessarily abstract principles.
We can understand what value is only when we consider it from the standpoint of the system of social relations of production in a particular historical type of society, moreover, or relations that manifest themselves in the mass phenomenon of exchange, a phenomenon which repeats itself thousands upon thousands of times.
A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy
That being the case, its hard to see how such an idea can be "outmoded" by changes or variations in modes of production.
Also, I'm not sure what you mean by the "exploitation theory." Unless you're maintaining that Capitalism somehow returns all the surplus value generated by labor to all workers in the exact measure that they produce, its virtually impossible to see how Capitalism can be construed as anything but "exploitative," pretty much by definition.
Too much blabber...
I see a lot of happy capitalists...