[OPE-L:4880] RE: Re: Give us some NUMBERS, Fred! (was: rent and the working class)

From: Drewk (Andrew_Kliman@msn.com)
Date: Tue Feb 13 2001 - 00:55:24 EST

In reply to Paul Bullock's OPE-L 4876.

He wrote:  "If workers lived on air there would be no
exploitation, and so no capitalism, w[hic]h rather messes up the
general discussion doesn't it?"

Did Jerry put you up to this?

(He harangued me for months and months -- it felt like decades --
about this issue.)

It seems to me your methodological beef is not really with me, but
with the originator of the "live on air" assumption.   As I'm sure
you know as well as or even better than I, he said that, given a
large enough rise in the composition of capital, the rate of
profit would fall even if workers live on air.  He meant that it
would fall, not because of "no exploitation," but despite an
infinite rate of exploitation.

Marxists continually build models of reproduction without
including an armaments sector.  But capitalism could not reproduce
itself for a week, maybe not even for a day, if the State were not
armed to the teeth.  So your argument applies equally well against
such models of reproduction.  But once we include armaments, we
also need to include a separate sector for army boots, because the
military can't keep the "peace" barefoot.  Etc.  Etc.

What I don't understand is why no one ever raises the "capitalism
would be impossible" argument in such contexts.

In any case, I don't think it is good to try to constrain the free
movement of thought by making it conform so stringently to


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