[OPE-L:4956] Re: Re: Re: arms, roads and fictitious capital

From: Rakesh Narpat Bhandari (rakeshb@Stanford.EDU)
Date: Sun Feb 18 2001 - 22:35:36 EST

re 4952

Hi Paul B,

Here are  four questions over which we seem to differ.

1. should production carried out by private contractors for the state 
be classified as Dept IIA or Dept III?

Following Mario Cogy (International Journal of Political Economy 17, 
2), I would answer the latter. But won't go over his argument or type 
out parts of it yet.

2. how does Marx define revenue?

You say it's linked to something but specify no further; I say 
surplus value which is spent but does not serve as capital, that is 
in the accumulation of constant and variable capital. Consumption of 
dept III products thus constitutes a destruction of capital, no 
matter the profits made by dept III capitalists themselves and the 
higher level of material production to which their activity 
contributes. This is Cogoy's argument (I believe), and we could 
return to it.

3. roads built by private contractors for the state are part of 
constant capital

I say no (Fred and Murray EG Smith had an argument about this 
earlier, and I agreed with Fred). The value of highways, airports, 
bridges,  or seaports is NOT preserved in their use and transferred 
gratis by labor to commodity output.
Of course we will have to argue this out.

But from my perspective, this is  why it would make no sense for 
Marxists to have argued with Robert Eisner for the inclusion of 
government investment (distinct from other government spending) as an 
expenditure category to the national income and product accounts. Or 
it would only make sense to include as government investment those 
govt owned enterprises in which wage labor is employed to produce 
commodities for the market.

4. are govt securities a form of fictitious capital?

Following Duncan, I say yes. It's fetishistic to assume that any 
asset which allows a revenue stream is capital. In fact you are 
implicitly defining capital as exactly such an asset and thereby 
emptying the term capital of its historical and social meaning.

Yours, Rakesh

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Thu Mar 01 2001 - 14:01:39 EST