[OPE-L:5193] Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: waste, value, and potential

From: paul bullock (paulbullock@ebms-ltd.in2home.co.uk)
Date: Sat Mar 17 2001 - 09:21:47 EST


Yes of course the capitalist class is very reluctant to allow the State to
be involved in production processes, the discipline of profit cannot be
clearly worked out in that relation, taxation is all too easily used  in non
productive activities. Neverthless it must be indisputable that where,
especially in Europe after WW2, the State steps in to reconstruct and
control the finances of steel, iron, coal, railways etc  these industries
are producing commodities for general sale and 'surpluses' were demanded by
the state of these industries... eventually the political pressures creating
the legal control of the process were changed and the relationship
transfered back to where it 'belonged'... privatisation... to private

Surely you are not going to rely on legal formality ? In the same way as
'profit' can arise in non productive circulating activities, (where a claim
is made on the SV produced previously) then  surplus value can be pumped out
in  'non private' production activities...as long as were are clear that the
State acts as the collective capitalist, producing a commodity, in specific
branches of industry, reluctantly and (historically) temporarily.

You won't recall Marx refering to the State and production, but you will
recall Engels consideration of the developing relation between State and
the economy.... history is dynamic.. we have to understand how the social
form of capital takes on  historical guises, fights against its own imminent
contradictions in every way. I don't think we can simply 'textualise'
contemporary reality. This is very important for political analysis.... is
the State a capitalist State? If it is it won't (without fetishising it)
want to create unproductive relations, to abandon its guardianship  of
private property of profit making.

I suspect a certain formalism in the approach that says the modern
imperialist state can be understood by refering to Marx's assessment of his
predecessors  economic view of  quasi feudal or early modern States.

Best wishes


-----Original Message-----
From: Gerald_A_Levy <Gerald_A_Levy@email.msn.com>
To: ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu <ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu>
Date: 15 March 2001 13:46
Subject: [OPE-L:5175] Re: Re: Re: Re: waste, value, and potential

>Re Paul B's [OPE-L:5173]:
>> Yes, case by case indeed, but it seems pretty
>> evident that the same road can
>> be used as part of the reproduction process
>> generally and/or for private
>> (revenue) final - non capitalistic -  use, as i said
>> before. Neverthless,
>> even this argument cannot evade the fact that>> surplus labour is
extorted in
>> the building of roads, railways etc  and I see this > labour process as
>> productive.... otherwise we will be denying that
>> all final consumption goods
>> production not aimed at reproducing constant or > variable capital is
>> unproductive ( eg luxury good production) and
>> this is clearly  contrary to
>> Marx.
>Suppose that all of the labor used in the
>building of the roads, railways etc. are employed
>by the state. In that case would surplus labour
>(time) be extorted by the state? Wouldn't that
>require that state employees be productive of
>surplus value and that part of the government
>wage bill would represent variable capital? I don't
>think that position fits in well with Marx's
>perspectives. Indeed, I don't recall Marx remarking
>on even a single instance in which state workers
>should be viewed as productive of surplus value.
>Can you?
>As for your last sentence, we have to examine
>also whether there is productive or unproductive
>*consumption* of capital. If all of the surplus value
>was unproductively consumed, then the
>accumulation of capital would not be possible.
>Thus, the productive re-investment of surplus
>value in c and v is a precondition for the
>continued accumulation of capital.
>In solidarity, Jerry

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