[OPE-L:5142] the capital-form and the state

From: Rakesh Narpat Bhandari (rakeshb@Stanford.EDU)
Date: Sat Mar 10 2001 - 13:18:00 EST

re Jerry's 5133

>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.

But let's say that some portion of the means of production which 
absorb labor and surplus labor cannot be or is best not owned 
privately. As Paul B has argued, the state may hold in trust (so to 
speak) some of the bourgeoisie's means of production. This would 
suggest that the growth of the state need not represent a non 
capitalist mode of production within capitalism or the inroads of 
state socialism. I still think Paul B's argument is not being met 
head on.

>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,

but means of production do not (after they have been purchased) again 
take the commodity form (assuming no scrap value) and they still 
function as constant capital. So why  should it matter (as in my 
previous example) whether each capitalist owns his own building or 
whether the state has purchased a building for several capitalists 
out of tax revenue?

>(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).

I think Paul B's argument has destructive implications for the the 
claim that the state sector within the advanced capitalist countries 
already has a   non capitalist character.

Comradely, Rakesh

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