[OPE-L:3429] Re: Re: Re: Re: Gil's criticisms

From: michael a. lebowitz (mlebowit@sfu.ca)
Date: Sat Jun 03 2000 - 19:04:23 EDT

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At 04:27 PM 6/1/2000 -0400, gil countered jerry's question in 3392 and wrote:
>Let's assume a system that we would all agree is capitalist--that of the
>U.S., for example. Now imagine that for whatever reason, capitalists elect
>to exploit workers solely via a modern version of the putting-out system,
>such that capitalists engage teams of workers to produce using solely
>equipment and materials owned and supplied by capitalists. The essential
>difference from the status quo is that capitalists exercise no direct
>control over the production process, and don't even independently control
>the management team that runs production. Thus they must either engage the
>entire labor team--both supervisory and line workers--or not engage it at
>Supposing that my reasons for amending your hypothetical question are
>satisfactory, Jerry, I can answer that I would certainly consider the
>hypothetical economy to be a capitalist one. To do otherwise, I think, is
>to confuse surface detail with underlying causes, something that Marx would
>certainly have warned us against.

        Given that capitalists remain the residual claimants and retain the option
to introduce direct supervision for 'historical-strategic' reasons (ie.,
class struggle), only surface details have been changed. But that's not
true in the case of the usurer or of the merchant who has not seized
possession of production.

Michael A. Lebowitz
Economics Department
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, B.C., Canada V5A 1S6
Office: Phone (604) 291-4669
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