[OPE-L:5133] the capital-form and the state

From: Gerald_A_Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@email.msn.com)
Date: Fri Mar 09 2001 - 08:11:44 EST

Rakesh asked in [OPE-L:5129]:

> Don't we have here a public form of constant capital?

The state can own (and give away or sell through
"privatization") means of production. This doesn't
mean, though, that they function _as capital_ when
owned and controlled by the state.  This is because
the capital-form assumes a set of social relationships
that does not exist with state ownership and control.

Control *and ownership* matter: property rights 
matter; whether a product takes the commodity-form
matters, whether there is competition (a *necessary
form of appearance* of capital) matters, whether
there is a class relation between wage-labour and 
capitalists matters; whether a product has a use value
alone or whether it also has an exchange value and
value matters; whether there is production for surplus
value and profit matters. 

(My suspicion is that this topic matters to many 
Marxists, perhaps including Rakesh, 
 who want to leave theoretical space for
something called "state capital".  This, in turn, relates
to historical debates among Marxists on the character
of the Soviet economy).

One can always see curiosities, though, in a mode
of production. E.g. how would you classify the
means of production owned by Communes? 
Even though they have a similar use-value as when
owned and controlled by capitalists, do they (simply
if they were *once* commodities and purchased on the
market)  *now*  take the capital-form?  

In solidarity, Jerry

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