[OPE-L:2717] Re: Accumulation theory [Reply to Rakesh in 2711]

From: Paul Zarembka (zarembka@acsu.buffalo.edu)
Date: Tue Apr 04 2000 - 20:25:22 EDT

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Rakesh Bhandari <bhandari@phoenix.Princeton.EDU> said, on 04/04/00 at
01:33 PM:

>I don't have Howard and King in front of me. But as they note, didn't
>Bauer point out that excess surplus value in dept 2 could be deposited in
>a bank and lent to dept I to finance the expansion needed for
>equilibrium--that is, dept 2 doesn't itself have to produce additional
>fixed capital. Does Rosdolsky's point really hold?

You are correct, Bauer did try the bank deposit gambit. Luxemburg really
is under-appreciated: she dealt with this issue also and succeded getting
herself in undeserved trouble with Buhkarin (who tried to basically wipe
her off the map by claiming that her accumulation was "accumulation of
money capital").

Luxemburg's analysis is most detailed in her chapter on 'Marx's Attempt to
Resolve the Difficulty'. But she also responses directly to Bauer in her
*Anti-Critique*, pp. 96-97. Specifically but giving you only the
highlights, she says that Marx's departments mean "objective economic
categories. If a capitalist from Dept II wants to 'set up' and accumulate
in Dept I with part of his money capital, that does not mean that the
department of consumer commodities is producing in the department of means
of production, which is an economic absurdity, but that one and the same
person is acting simultaneously as an employer in each of the two
departments.... Thus *exchange* remains the sole connection between the
two departments. Otherwise, ...Marx's rigorous construction...
disintegrates". (p. 97) In other words, a Dept. is a Dept. is a Dept.
(paraphrasing Stein's "a rose is a rose is a rose").

>More later. Will have to relook at Bauer's reply to Luxemburg, as
>summarized by Howard and King.

>I think Paolo Cipolla's objection to my understanding of the necessary
>overproduction of fixed and circulating capital in even simple
>reproduction is quite strong. I am not quite sure what Marx is trying to
>demonstrate here--the discussion is confusing, no? Mattick does draw
>attention to this end of section 11 of chapter 20 as well. So I eagerly
>await your comments on this as well.

I take the above to be about your prior issue which I held off answering:

>Just to put the point in my own terms: after fixed capital is replaced,
>there couldn't be sales from Dept I to Dept II for several years.
>Wouldn't this mean the idling of the machines with which the newly
>installed machines were produced-- leading to the former's moral
>depreciation, if not physical destruction?

>Shouldn't one expect then that even after fixed capital has been
>replaced, there will still be pressure for overproduction of new
>machines,which should give rise to hyper competition in the capital goods
>sector that leads to tremendous innovation and thereby inducements to
>quicken the turnover of capital? From my reading, exactly because of
>persistent disequilibrium and overproduction capitalism has been such a
>dynamic and technologically innovative system.

I don't accept this understanding as the basis of the capitalist dynamic.
That is, I don't center the dynamic character of technology change on
"accumulation of capital" but rather on "production of relative surplus
value" or, what is the same, "real subsumption of labor to capital".
Thus, bringing in "individualized" capital (and competition) is
unnecessary, as least as a first take on the problem.

On the other hand, overproduction can and should still be analyzed in its
own right.

This response, however, may raise more questions and that is fine.


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