Re: Labour theory of Value
The Marxist point is that the 'expensive things' (the drills, pumps et al) are also produced by labour too and take their Marxist value from that.
That's precisely the point. The labour that built the mining equipment wants to get paid. Someone has to pay them. Otherwise they won't build the stuff, and the mine can't be built.
Unless the equipment workers are willing to give the mine workers credit. If so, what are they going to live on in the meantime until the gold starts to flow? If they do it from savings, then they become capitalists - and will probably want a profit from the deal, to make up for the risk they've taken with their capital.
Now of course you could have a system where the government does all this on the workers' behalf. So they tell the mine equipment builders to make it, and the miners to dig. Paying them both from debt or cash, until the mine is profitable. Planned economies like that have been tried, and turned out not to be very successful.
One of the problems with all governments, democratic and otherwise, is that they tend to stop operating on the workers' behalf, and start operating on the governments' behalf. Which can vary from subtly different to the workers' interests to purges and gulags. Democracies win here though, as they can usually change without having to shoot people.
Actually planned economies can be quite good at things like mining, at least for a time. Heavy engineering can be quite predictable, so the planners have a chance of making a good shift of things. What central planning can't do is pay the workers. Sure it can give them money. But they have to buy things with that money. And workers/consumers tend to be a lot more fickle, and less predictable, than heavy industry. So while the government might successfully work out how many mines to dig, and how much kit to equip them with, it'll never work out how many sandwich shops to build, or TVs to manufacture.