[OPE-L:4745] Re: Re: Re: captal scarcity

From: Paul Cockshott (paul@cockshott.com)
Date: Tue Jan 09 2001 - 06:58:00 EST

On Mon, 08 Jan 2001, you wrote:
> >On Fri, 22 Dec 2000, you wrote:
> >> Gil writes [#4729]:
> >> 
> >> ... D)  As noted before, the key systemic basis for surplus value is capital
> >> sscarcity. ... capitalist exploitation can be eliminated simply through
> >> sufficient wealth redistribution.
> >> 
> >> I don't get it: if the cause of capitalism is capital scarcity, how does
> >> re-distributing what is already insufficient abolish it?
> >> 
> >> Julian
> >
> >Focus on scarcity is misleading.
> I don't know what "focus" means in this context Paul, but I think a
> necessary condition should be recognized as such, and Marx's insistence on
> the scenario of price-value proportionality necessarily obscures this link.
>  Which is unfortunate, because Marx himself insists on the necessity of
> capital scarcity, as I indicated.

Scarcity is unproblematised. Scarce relative to what?

> >One should look instead at the physical form of the means of production.
> Well, perhaps "in addition to", but certainly not "instead"--a necessary
> condition is a necessary condition.  

The necessary condition is not the scarcity of means of production
but the existence of a class deprived of means of production.

> >They are such that they 
> >1. require operation by a collective operative
> >2. their labour content per capita represents of the order of years of work
> >These circumstances inhibit personal private ownership of the means
> >of production and necessitate their ownership by either rich individuals,
> >firms or some form of collective ownership.
> This does not impinge on the argument one way or the other.  It doesn't
> deny that capital scarcity is a necessary condition for capitalist
> exploitation.  Nor does it deny the contrapositive that sufficient
> redistribution would, in Marx's understanding, eliminate the basis for
> capitalist exploitation. For example, we could arrange for these
> necessarily large firms to be owned collectively by workers rather than by
> rich individual capitalists.   GS

That is not redistribution. The means of production are indivisible and 
un redistributable. They must necessarily stand as a social power as
opposed to the individual worker. Only through control of this social
power by the public power - the workers state - can the domination
of the means of production as an alien force be brought under
control. Collective ownership - workers holding shares, does not
stop the firms being firms and thus capitals as opposed to the
individual worker.

Paul Cockshott, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, Scotland
0141 330 3125  mobile:07946 476966

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