[OPE-L:3049] Re: Re: Defining accumulation

From: Paul Cockshott (wpc@dcs.gla.ac.uk)
Date: Mon May 08 2000 - 08:58:52 EDT

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At 08:19 08/05/00 +0000, you wrote:
> >If you define it as such, you have no theory of accumulation as disinct
> >from the growth of the working class.
> Do you mean "growth of employment", rather than "growth of the working


> A theory of accumulation is not a theory of population growth
>(with or without labor participation rates included), not for myself and
>not for Marx. (A theory of accumulation could have an IMPLICATION for
>population growth, however.)

then you can not validly sumarise accumulation as growth of
the proletariat.

> >We know that with cheapening of the elements of constant
> >capital, it is possible for employment to rise whilst the value of the
> >capital stock remains unchanged. Thus we could have growth of the
> >proletariat whilst the capitalist class consumed all of the surplus in
> >idle luxury.
> Yours is an interesting hypothetical, rather the opposite of the whole
>"c/v rising" jive. It is of course connected to production of relative
>surplus value, and I'll need to think more if it needs incorporation into
>my paper somehow.

Not so hypothetical, situation in the last 1/4 of the 19th century in
Britain came close to this.

> >By identifying growth in employment with capital accumulation you run the
> >danger of detaching the concept from that of the the capitalisation of
> >surplus value.
> >One can say that capital accumulation tends to be positively correlated
> >with a growth of employment but it is not identical.
> We would still be left with the question of definition of accumulation
>of capital.

I mean here accumulation in terms of growth of capital stock.

Paul, if you are doing empirical research using national income statistics
how do you determine in which years accumulation has occured?

> >>On your second point, accumulation of capital of course refers to much
> >>more than the falling rate of profit. [PZ]
> >Yes but you asked me where my theory would differ from the neo-classical.
> Then, except for units of measurement in the rate of profit, your
>"accumulation of capital" is otherwise indistinguishable from the
>neoclassical (and my original criticism may not be so "unfair" after all).

I was not aware that the neoclassical theory had a theory of the declining
rate of profit. It drops right out of the definitions I am using along with the
assumption of a slowly growing or stagnant size of the proletariat - the
standard condition in developed capitalism.

It was this that caused the decline in the rate of profit in the UK in
the 3rd quarter of the 20th century.

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