[OPE-L:4987] Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: armaments and value

From: Gerald_A_Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@email.msn.com)
Date: Tue Feb 20 2001 - 06:38:43 EST

Re Paul C's [OPE-L:4986]:

Previously I asked:

> > Consider, for example, the bombing of Hiroshima. Suppose that aggregate
global value before the bombing equaled X.
> > After the bomb has dropped, is there a "conservation of value"  (value =
X) or has the quantity of value in the world been diminished  (less than X)?

Paul C responded:

>  The anwer seems patently obvious.
> Of course value has been destroyed. Labour had to be expended to rebuilt

I agree that this must be the answer.  Now let us consider the
implication --

*  what this instance tells us is that the aggregate value can be
*diminished*, rather than merely redistributed, through some mechanism other
than the consumption of use-value.
I believe that this *destruction of value* contradicts the so-called
"conservation of value principle".

Yet, at issue here is not only a theoretical issue (namely are there
circumstances in which the conservation of value principle does not hold),
but rather concerns some very important real-world phenomenon.

In particular,  the analysis of the following category of real-world
developments can not assume the conservation of  aggregate value:

(1) natural and social disasters. The present example of  a consequence of
war might be thought of as a social disaster. Neo-neo-classicals might call
these "external shocks".

(2) what happens during and following economic crisis. In particular, I
would maintain that there is (or at least can be) a *real* destruction of
(constant) capital values whereby the aggregate values is (or can be)
*diminished* rather than merely redistributed.  That, in turn, suggests that
the consequence of the moral depreciation of constant fixed capital can be,
rather than a zero-sum game redistribution of value among capitalists such
that aggregate value remains the same (I think this was Alan's position in
his "Links" article on moral depreciation [NB: without it actually being a
zero-sum game in his theory]), a decrease in aggregate value whereby some
percentage of the aggregate value is "lost".

I am still interested, though, in getting some answers to what the
*consequences of war* are (or can be) re:

1) the organic composition of capital?
2) the rate of exploitation (Paul B offered an answer to that)?
3) the turnover time of constant fixed capital?
4) the cost of constant circulating capital?
5) the extent to which there is a  temporal temporary dis-junction between
wages and the value of labor-power?
6) the size of the industrial reserve army?
7) the rate of profit?
8) the distribution of value internationally?

I realize, in advance, that there are no hard and fast rules for answering
these questions that apply for all wars, but I'm hoping that we can specify
some relationships and identify some trends.

I haven't worked out answers to all of the above questions myself and would
welcome any answers by others.

In solidarity, Jerry

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