[OPE-L:4765] Re: On "capital scarcity" (reply to Paul C.)

From: Paul Cockshott (paul@cockshott.com)
Date: Fri Jan 12 2001 - 07:31:27 EST

On Wed, 10 Jan 2001, you wrote:
> Paul writes
> >Scarcity is unproblematised. Scarce relative to what?
> Relative to capitalists' desire for current-period accumulation.  Example:
> suppose for simplicity that all capitalists are industrial capitalists,
> workers consume all their income, capitalists use all of their profits to
> accumulate.  If, at the resulting rate of accumulation, additional
> investment would yield a strictly positive expected rate of return, then
> capital is scarce in the sense I've defined it.  
Here you are arguing at a very concrete level and one can draw
no real conclusions without taking into account a mass of other
factors relating to the current rate of surplus value, the material form
in which the capital was invested - does it cheapen the wage bundle
and contribute to relative surplus value, is the legal framework amenable
to trades unions using the period of accelerated accumulation to bid
up wages, etc.

These are all highly contingent factors and it seems inadequate to define
a precondition of capitalism - capital scarcity in your defn on a set
of contingent factors that pre-suppose the existence of capitalism in
the first place.
Paul Cockshott, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, Scotland
0141 330 3125  mobile:07946 476966

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