[OPE-L:3055] Re: Defining accumulation

From: Paul Zarembka (zarembka@ACSU.BUFFALO.EDU)
Date: Mon May 08 2000 - 14:06:15 EDT

[ show plain text ]

Ajit Sinha <ajitsinha@lbsnaa.ernet.in> said, on 05/08/00 at 07:59 PM: >I
think Paul Z's definition of accumulation is more like what other >people
call premitive accumulation. I think he thinks that there is >nothing
premitive about it. The whole history of accumulation of capital >has
ultimately led to what Marx talked about under premitive >accumulation.
The essence of accumulation of capital for him is the >so-called premitive
accumulation it generates finally. Am I wrong Paul?

I would persist in asserting that what many other people call "primitive
accumulation" is not what Marx had in mind -- that, for him, it was
concerned with the 15th to 18th century transition from feudalism to
capitalism. Andre Gunder Frank demonstrates awareness of this historical
focus and it is addressed in my paper.

But basically Ajit is on the right track, accumulation comes out of
exploiting living labor power and, if capital has more of it, it has
"accumulated" its class domination. Production of relative surplus value,
and associated issues having to do with changing organic compositions of
capital, are related, but distinct issues.

Accumulation entails penetration of non-capitalist forms of production,
absorption of labor power into capitalist production processes and the
"space" between them.

Luxemburg demonstrates the problem with Marx's reproduction schemes if
penetration of non-capitalist formations is excluded before issues are
joined. Nobody is stopping anyone from trying such a delimitation but
then we have Luxemburg's penetrating insights to deal with when following
through with the implications for Marxism.


Paul Cockshott <wpc@dcs.gla.ac.uk> said, on 05/08/00 at 01:58 PM: >> 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.) [PZ]

>then you can not validly sumarise accumulation as growth of the

Why not?

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

As in my reply to Ajit, accumulation is a two-fold process, "completion"
of which can be measured by workhours of productive wage labor (note the
related question of distinguishing productive from unproductive labor).

>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.

Ajit provided a partial answer, but there is much more to a full answer.
Remember that the whole theory of the falling tendency of the rate of
profit wasn't a big deal in early Marxist thinking, while you [Paul C.]
seem to reduce accumulation to this single issue. Above I provided some
other facets of accumulation, which (not so incidentally) are
international, not "national statistics", issues.

Paul Z.

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Wed May 31 2000 - 00:00:08 EDT