[OPE-L:5110] modes of production and contemporary capitalism

From: Gerald_A_Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@email.msn.com)
Date: Mon Mar 05 2001 - 10:19:36 EST

Re Paul C's [OPE-L:5108]:

Previously I asked:

> >  <..., JL> you would agree that we
> > should think of the European countries (with the
> > possible exception of former "socialist" countries)
> > as nations in which the capitalist mode of production
> > is dominant and in which the remnants of prior
> > modes of production have only a marginal influence,
> > wouldn't you?

Paul responded:

> Prior mode of production yes, but the question is
> more one of articulation between:
> 1. Simple commodity production, one can not
> understand  the CAP without taking this into account.

This suggests that you view simple commodity
production as a distinct mode of production or
period of capitalist history.  How exactly do you
view SCP? (I need to read an answer to that
question before responding).

> 2. Private capitalism.
> 3. State capitalism.

In what sense are you using this term? It is worth
noting, of course, that "state capitalism" has
meant various things to various authors. E.g.
Lenin's perspective on what constiutes state
capitalism is diferent than just about all
contemporary authors who use that term.

> 4. The socialist sector.

Again, what are you referring to? If you mean
some part of the state sector in a capitalist
economy, then I think it is very misleading to call
it the "socialist sector"  (although going back to
the New Deal in the US right-wingers referred
to social reforms and welfare programs etc. as
constituting "creeping socialism").  The idea that the state sector is a
socialist sector under capitalism strikes me as very similar to a
Social-Democratic perspective on that

Or do you mean "socialist sector" in another sense?
E.g. one might claim that Utopian communities
can represent a "socialist sector" within a
capitalist social formation.  Or, others (following
Negri and Cleever) have asserted that "communism"
emerges during working class struggles under

In either case, I  think that it is in the nature of the
*domination* of a particular mode of production
that  remnants of prior modes of production (to the
extent that they persist in some form) or visions of
future modes of production are (as a rule) *subsumed*
by the dominant mode of production.

The categorization that you use above, imo, suggests
too rigid a separation between diferent aspects of
contemporary capitalist societies. E.g. "state
capitalism" is not counter-posed to "private
capitalism". Rather, the two are bound to each other
where the capitalist mode of production dominates.
Similarly, the "socialist sector" (if it means social programs
enacted by the state) is not counter-posed to the
"private sector".  It may seem that way (especially to
conservatives) yet these are diferent forms in which
social reproduction comes to take place *under*capitalism.

What do others think?

In solidarity, Jerry

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