[OPE-L:5171] Re: the capital-form and the state

From: paul bullock (paulbullock@ebms-ltd.in2home.co.uk)
Date: Thu Mar 15 2001 - 05:52:54 EST


Your conclusion is correct, the capitalist state cannot be the basis for
reform, gradualism, etc. It was not my prime concern to say this, except
when I criticised you for talking of the state 'stealing',  or whatever word
you used , surpluses from the capitalists. Your expression then, as i said,
implied that the State and capitalists as a class were at loggerheads...
which is quite impossible. The State is the leading political force for
capitalists... nothing from Marx could be used to prove otherwise.

Paul B

-----Original Message-----
From: Rakesh Narpat Bhandari <rakeshb@Stanford.EDU>
To: ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu <ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu>
Date: 10 March 2001 18:10
Subject: [OPE-L:5142] the capital-form and the state

>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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